Thoughts and Writeups

by Davis Haupt

Digital Mindfulness

Jan 4 2022

I’m not normally one for new year’s resolutions. Mostly because I’ve found it hard to make lasting changes to my habits in the past. This year, though, I’ve got a pretty open-ended one: to be more mindful and intentional about how I use digital technology and the Internet.

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I built a clock! It runs Linux. Sounds like quite the over-engineering project, but I learned a ton along the way and was able to flex some muscles that had been lying dormant for a while. I write a decent amount of code, but I hadn’t worked on an electronics project in years and had never really embarked on a 3D modeling or design project outside the classroom.

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I’m graduating from college in May. Over my four years working towards my degree, I’ve taken about forty different courses. As I enter the last month of school, I thought it would be a good time to look back and reflect on the courses that I enjoyed the most. I’ve picked out five classes, and instead of trying to make any absolute ranking of them, I just decided to present them in the order they were taken, and try and express how each one impacted me.

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Hotwire, which seems to be short for (H)tml (O)ver (T)he (Wire), is a collection of frameworks just announced by Basecamp that work together to help build “traditional” server-rendered web applications that look and feel to users like modern, Single-Page Applications (SPAs) built in React, Angular, Vue or other frontend frameworks. Basecamp’s CTO put out a blog post on why he believes in Hotwire, but most of the justification seems to be handwavy claims that JavaScript is inherently “complex,” never mind that Ruby’s syntax and dynamic type system can be just as head-scratching to a newcomer. I think that Basecamp’s built a really interesting tool, and a better argument for Hotwire can be made by fully engaging with the benefits that SPA ”thick clients” bring to the table, their specific shortcomings, and all the different ways framework developers are trying to address those shortcomings today.

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