I think as a species our attention span has vastly reduced recently. I wonder if there's a way of measuring that at scale? Everything sounds much more impressive if you add "at scale" at the end. It doesn't even mean anything. There's all sorts of scales. Social media is the obvious culprit, although I'm barely even on social media these days. Except Twitter. And Reddit. And YouTube. And LinkedIn. And the News. I know what you're thinking, the news isn't really social media. But I mostly only care about current affairs because I think other people are going to care about other affairs. I still don't really know what an NFT is, but most people in my circles think they're the worst and they seem pretty smart so therefore I hate them too. Google+ though, that was ahead of its time. I remember begging people to get an invite when it first came out. I neatly curated a set of hypothetical circles for all my social groups, but alas, they never came. So much of the internet experience is just about being first somewhere - to a comments section, to join a cool new app, to post a funny meme. I wonder what the first ever meme was? There's an article called "I Found the World's First Meme With Help From Meme Historians". I can make judgements on the quality of the article based on the capitalisation. There is no need to capitalise most of those words, but if you're going to do it, at least commit fully and capitalise the the as well. That was one of the rare times in life one can use the the and it not be a typo. It's important to cherish such small moments of joy. I'm not sure when the seo overlords determined that capitalising words at random captured more clicks, but it's clearly here to stay. Someone probably ran an A/B test. My workplace are running an A/B test that I'm pretty sure they've run before. To paraphrase Mr Einstein, insanity is running the same A/B tests over and over and expecting different results. Of course, chances are they actually will get different results. It's a blessing and a curse of working at the same company for so long - you get to see history repeat itself. I've often thought companies should hire historians - like Methuselah or Veda Vyasa - paid to chronicle all decisions and learnings over decades, and narrate them to anyone that cares to listen. Please don't let that be me though. I've been meaning to write some chronicles of my own. The Bitterverse Chronicles. A genre-bending myriad of short stories that are vaguely related to software engineering or technology. I've written a few already, but I retconned them to be about the same company called Bitterverse, so that I can attempt to build up to an Endgame-like conclusion. It's wild to think just two years ago I was vehemently anti-Marvel, and now it's such a big part of my life. Doctor Strange is coming out in May and it looks SO good, maybe even better than the last Spiderman. I need to try and get opening day tickets for this one. Spiderman came out in the height of the Omicron wave, so there was no way I was going to sit in a cinema full of excitable teenagers. I'm hoping to spend some more time writing the chronicles in some upcoming extended leave I'm maybe thinking of taking. I started working about a month after graduation, and haven't really had any gaps since. I know I deserve it, and am privileged enough to be able to afford it, but there's still a niggling voice programmed into my head I'm lazy and simultaneously too old and too young to be doing such a thing. Damn capitalism. That's another thing I mostly said to fit in with the crowd of people not fitting in with the crowd. I started plotting out what I'd do with X weeks of leave on a spreadsheet. I must have made about a gazillion spreadsheets this year alone. What if we as an engineering community stopped trying to replace spreadsheets with swishy web apps that nobody will support in 19 months time, and instead expended that same zest and attention on making damn good spreadsheets. Like, why can't we have component libraries and frameworks and design systems for spreadsheets. Maybe they exist, but I'm too blinded by my bubble to notice. The excitement quite quickly wore off when I realised that at least 6 of those weeks my attendance would be required at a wedding. There are lots of positives to having a large extended family, but the exponential number of weddings are indubitably a downside. Of course it probably doesn't help that you're one of the last remaining bastions of bachelorhood. Or maybe it does help, it's hard to tell. I should spare a thought for the couples getting married too. One minute you're the centre of attention, and the next another wedding comes along and you're yesterdays news. Like Boris Johnson's parties. Feels like an eternity ago we were all absolutely livid. Some noble souls still fight the good fight. The rest of us have now found something else to be mad about. And then something else. Meanwhile the first thing will be swept under the carpet. I wonder if this is a recent phenomenon, or it also happened in the yesteryears where we had physical newspapers. I've often romanticised the notion of physical media, but every so often I order The Economist when they have a 12 for £12 sale on, and it's just a lot. And, if I'm honest, I don't think it made me much smarter. A Freddo currently costs 26p. Problem is I'm not very good at retaining and recalling what I read. I tried using Obsidian to take a swish connected graph of all my knowledge. It was bullshit. I mean, the app was great. But the notion of building an all encompassing knowledge base and discovering all these connections to form new ideas was all a bit culty. Maybe one day one of these note-peddlers will in fact become the generational genius they expect to become, and I'll eat my words. I think I might try out the Economist again, and limit myself to reading the news once a week. To paraphrase Mr Einstein, insanity is getting the same subscription twice and expecting different results. I'm currently on day 32 of my Duolingo streak - by far the longest I've managed to do it. My Wordle streak is probably similar. I wonder how long the interest in Wordle (and all the *-dle spinoffs) will last. The Google Trends charts for Wordle are pretty interesting. In the UK, there's a big spike in searches at midnight, and then again at 7am. On the weekend, the second peak is a little wider, but people still generally seem to be waking up at 7-9am. Overall interest is still high, but may have peaked. I'll have to check in another month or so. The coronavirus data dashboards were a pretty good metric for whether to be outgoing or reclusive. I'd love to invent a metric that tells me if it's worth going somewhere or not. Everyone can adjust their own thresholds. I reckon it would be a combination of weather, travel time, busyness at destination, proximity to other excursions, prevalence of virii in the population, sleep patterns. I bought a fitness band at the start of the year, thinking it will spur me on to a new age of looking after myself. So far I don't know if I can make any conclusions, but I don't have the before data to compare it to. My sleep patterns have generally been pretty poor - although I do get a reasonable number of hours on most days. I do think I've probably walked more than I would have without the band. I like walking anyway, but usually in warm weather. I bought a treadmill too, thinking that I can start taking walking meetings. That hasn't really happened, but I have been taking occasional jogging breaks, or a mindless stress-relieving walk after work. I've been meaning to do a park run for a few weeks now (or years, depending on how you look at it). Printed out the bar codes and everything. That's another thing on my sabbatical TODO list. When Obsidian didn't work, I started using Post-It notes and Index cards for my TODO list system. It was a solid first few weeks, until I got displaced from my regular office space temporarily. I give it a month before I go back to Notion or something. To paraphrase Mr Einstein, insanity is trying the same productivity apps over and over and expecting different results. God I'm exhausted. I've now committed to spending some of my work time learning something, and having an accountability buddy. I've been crap at doing this over the last 5 years, so let's see if this works. I reckon at this point I'm the developer equivalent of that Steve Buscemi meme where he has a skateboard and says "how do you do, fellow kids". Isn't it a little strange that the word sanction means both permission to do something, and also punishment for doing something bad. I haven't been to a Tech Conference for quite some time. The last was probably JSconf in Berlin. I miss Summer. There were some glimpses of sunshine today, which was nice. It's a palindromic day today! I've set my alarm for 22/2/22 22:21, so that I can take a screenshot of something a minute later and then....well, do nothing with it I guess. It's been a solid few months since I deactivated Instagram for the umpteenth time. I'll tell you what really grinds my gears though - when did people become so infatuated with the bloody moon?! Every frigging month there's a trending topic about some blood worm harvest playstation monster beaver moon. And people taking pictures as if nobody has ever seen the moon before. It's literally right there, you can't miss it. It's been there for billions of years, and will probably stay there for billions more. Unless you're a believer of that new movie that's just come out. I totally get it though. Most of those people don't really care about the moon. They care that other people care about the moon. Who wouldn't want those sweet, sweet, likes to help give you a reason for being. I'm as attention seeking online as the worst of us, I mean what do you think this whole diatribe is for. According to Google Trends, it was some time around 2017 when people started caring about full moons. There should be an app that when you try to take a picture of the moon it replaces it with the creepy moon emoji. The sad truth is I'll never know if anybody will have actually read this entire thing. If I was a monster I'd mention now that hidden inside this passage of text are a serious of clues, each more intricate than the last, leading to a hidden treasure beyond your wildest imagination. Luckily my social experimentation days are behind me. Truth be told, who in this day and age has the attention span to read an entire blob of text. Remember when Facebook first came out, and everyone had walls, and you'd write on people's walls, and basically have an entire private 1:1 conversation with someone That was super weird. We were so young and naive. I recall having entire conversations with people about what halls I'm staying at in University, holiday plans, invitations to parties. That's right - I got invited to parties. Once. I actually went as well. I'd quite like to go back to my university at some point. There was a lake behind my halls, and sometimes after a night out I'd go for a walk on my own by the lake and through the fields. At the time it seemed like a hike through the wilderness, but I think if I did it now it would be like a five minute walk. Maybe I should have tweeted instead. "Hot take: our attention span sucks". Is it even a hot take? I'm not sure. Is "Hot take:" something you can add in front of anything to sound like you know shit and get more likes, like capitalising a sentence? Sometimes I like using the wrong social media for the wrong thing. Like on Instagram posting a hot javascript take (I don't have any software engineer friends), or on LinkedIn posting a picture of what I had for dinner. It keeps people on their toes I find. I just posted a picture of two cows hiding behind a tree to LinkedIn. If that doesn't get me hired I don't know what will. I hope someone comments saying "Congratulations Arjun!". Remember #Kony2012? It would be pretty fitting to have tea at 22:22. Because tea is two minus two letters. That's not as strong a connection as I initially thought. I'm writing this while watching a TV show on the other side of the screen. Speaking of spectacle, I bought two new glasses last week! They didn't take me as long to buy as the trainers did, but still a solid six months. I still have contact lenses, but these days I rarely wear them, even if I'm going out. I'm going to a stag do this weekend - my first post-pandemic (that I'm going to attend - and I think I'll just wear my glasses. They hide my gigantic nose. I'm in two minds about whether to get my hair cut or not. At it's current length, there's a 20% chance my hair will look good, and a 80% chance it will look like crap. With a hair cut, there's an 80% chance it will look acceptable, and a 20% chance it will look crap. It's a big decision, I don't know how I'm going to make it. Maybe if some kind reader did make it this far down, they can make it for me. One of the first bits of code I wrote for the FT was some code to track the "attention time" to measure how long people are spending actually reading the content. The code was trash, and it was running obliviously for several years until Matt H did the mercy of fixing it. Maybe I could repurpose that code to see if anyone is still reading this. Click if you're reading this. So far 0 people have gotten to this point. Hello friends. I hope you're keeping well. Oh no my Macbook battery is getting low. I think the battery on this thing is busted. It's been a pretty good run frankly. It's a late 2013 Macbook Pro, so getting to nearly 10 years! None of my other laptops have lasted me this long (although I did recover my university old Sony Vaio magically a couple of years ago). Oh shoot I forgot to publish this before the stag! It's probably out of date now. Looks like there's a war now, so that's going on, but I haven't read all the articles yet. I think I need to say something nice about myself, to build up the old self-esteem. Although I am pretty tired so perhaps should just cut my losses and go to sleep. There's always tomorrow, until there isn't. Anyway, as I was saying, maybe this collective shortening of attention spans is a bit of a problem and we should try to do something about it? Don't really know what though, so post your ideas in the comment section and don't forget to hit that like or subscribe button. Peace.