Book Review: A useless man

Sait Faik Abasıyanık is an acclaimed Turkish storyteller. A useless man is a collection of short stories that spans nearly two decades of the author’s output, offering a glimpse into his imaginative and troubled mind. His overflowing love for others (even sensual, with a preference for street kids) combined with a “mal de vivre” that pushes him towards self-destruction are apparent. His passion for the most popular areas of Istanbul and, in contrast, the atavistic nostalgia for the simple life of the nearby fishermen islets exudes from these stories, which often run similar one after another. »

Chet Baker, born to be cool

A great piece of writing on jazz has recently been posted on The Smart Set. In Born to be cool, Matthew Duffus writes about jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, reporting about his troubled life, musical prowess, influence, and legacy. Some facts are well known, like the reception and then the competition with trumpet legends such as Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie; other tidbits are less known (to me at least). On Baker legacy: »

Book Review: Endurance, Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Of all the stories of maritime adventures I’ve read, that of the Endurance, masterfully told by Alfred Lansing in this book, is the most incredible and shocking. Unbelievable to say, given the premise (a crew of 28 men stranded on the Antarctic pack, camped on floating slabs of ice hundreds of miles from any human settlement, at the gates of the Antarctic winter), but the story does not end in tragedy. »

I'm a Moka guy

I’m a Moka guy, always have been. Admittedly, I also like so-called American coffee and, of course, espresso. But every day at my place, I’ll have a Moka-brewed coffee. Twice. As I wake up, and then in the afternoon before getting back to work. I’ve been observing the pods frenzy spreading all around me with curiosity and bewilderment in recent years, with dedicated retailers opening (and often closing soon after) everywhere in my town. »

Book Review: Mathematics is politics

Mathematics as the study of relationships: in this aspect lies the similarity and affinity with politics. And then the need in both cases to proceed with stubbornness and trust, without fearing error which, as in all difficult things, is not only lying in wait but inherent, and often, when it is discovered, it is the stimulus and engine of new successes and goals. Hence the need to respect rules and (not or, mind you) the compelling need for revolutions. »

How to automatically pull and deploy updated Docker images

We want our test and production stacks to be automatically updated every time something new is pushed to the test or release branch. CI builds the docker image on successful test runs, then stores it in our private registry. But how do you automatically pull and deploy those updated images? I looked into the Watchtower project, which is interesting. You add Watchtower to the stack, and it will diligently check for new versions of the images used by the containers in the stack, pulling, building and deploying as needed while the stack is up and running. »

Learn in public

Today I searched the internet for something, and the first result I got from @duckduckgo was a note I wrote months ago to my future self; how meta is that. Learn in public, it gives superpowers1. Also, in recent years, adopting POSSE was the best thing I did for my personal development. Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow @nicolaiarocci on Twitter I should do better. Post more TILs, for example. »

My ASP.NET 5 migration to .NET 6

I spent the last few days migrating our ASP.NET REST services, MVC web applications and Blazor server apps to .NET 6. Overall the process was pretty straightforward. The few issues I went through were easy to solve and well documented. Things got more involved with the EF Core 6 transition, especially with the Npgsql Entity Framework Core Provider. The official ASP.NET Core 5.0 to 6.0 migration guide was my first stop. »

The posthuman dog

Flo, our dog, spent her whole fifteen-years long life with us. Many, many times after she passed away, I wondered if she lived a happy dog life or not. In The posthuman dog (Aeon), Jessica Pierce poses a fascinating question that somehow helps find answers to my troubling question: If humans were to disappear from the face of the Earth, what might dogs become? And would they be better off without us? »

Is Eve still maintained?

Tonight someone opened a ticket on the Eve repository. I jotted down a quick reply and was about to hit the Comment button when I thought a more articulated reply was in order. I also want it published on my website. So the question is: Is Eve still maintained? My reply goes like this: Hello, yes, Eve is in ‘maintenance mode’, as I call it. I don’t actively develop new features anymore. »

Book Review: King and Emperor, A New Life of Charlemagne

In this scholarly biography by Janet L. Nelson, Charlemagne is stripped back from the years of mythologizing and idolizing that have occurred since his death. He is presented as distinctly human, and this book is the first time I have felt I could reasonably understand Charlemagne as the man he was, not the man he has since been painted to be. Moreover, Nelson is excellent in her discussions of Charlemagne’s wives and their roles. »

Book Review: Language of the Spirit, An Introduction to Classical Music

In this introduction to classical music, Jan Swafford explains the different musical periods and their differences. Each period has its introductory chapter, followed by chapters dedicated to the most influential composers of the era. The choice is comprehensive and well cared for, with the most relevant names well-investigated both in biography and works. For each composer, Swafford also offers some listening suggestions. Biographies thicken as we get into the contemporary era. »

I met with the wolves

I sit under a wild apple tree at the edge of the clearing. Like a plant, I absorb the mild October sun. At the same time, I attentively listen to the sounds of the forest. Suddenly I hear a stomping of dry leaves about twenty meters ahead of me, slightly to my right. A wolf emerges out of the thicket. He stops for a moment, glances around, then starts crossing the clearing. »

Drama going on at the .NET Foundation

A few months after I released my first .NET open source project (a niche one targeting the Italian fintech world), I was contacted by a representative of Team Digitale, the digital innovation branch of the Italian Public Administration. He suggested joining the Developers Italia initiative and moving my project to the their organization on GitHub “to enjoy enhanced visibility and broaden the audience”. I politely refused. I did not doubt my counterpart’s good faith. »

The word for web is forest

When I read Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake1, I was stunned by the scale and importance of the mycorrhizal network that lies beneath the surface of any given forest in the world. The “wood wide web”, as scientists started to call it, sounded like the perfect metaphor for such an incredibly efficient, symbiotic relation between fungi and trees. »

An nginx playground

Every single time I need nginx, I end up spending way too much time fiddling around with its configuration. If you’re like me, rejoice! Julia Evans built a lovely, helpful little tool called nginx playground. Hello! On Wednesday I was talking to a friend about how it would be cool to have an nginx playground website where you can just paste in an nginx config and test it out. And then I realized it might actually be pretty easy to build, so got excited and started coding and I built it. »

What getting old really feels like

In a new study published in Ageing and Society, researchers Sam Carr and Chao Fang spent over 130 hours interviewing older people to understand what it’s like to get old and cope with loneliness. The Conversation UK features their report, appropriately titled Loneliness, loss and regret: what getting old really feels like. We found that ageing brings about a series of inevitable losses that deeply challenge people’s sense of connection to the world around them. »

ASP.NET 6 Migration Cheatsheet and FAQ

David Fowler has a very informative gist up on GitHub. It’s titled Migration to ASP.NET Core. NET6 and it’s filled with details, recipes and FAQs on migrating an ASP.NET Core 5 web app to ASP.NET Core 61. The focus is on the new, streamlined hosting model, also known as Minimal APIs2. To be clear, You don’t have to move to the new model. As the FAQ section emphasizes: Do I have to migrate to the new hosting model »

Book Review: Nausea

Antoine Roquentin, the protagonist of the novel, is a former adventurer who has been living for three years in Bouville, a fictional French seaport town, researching the life of an 18th-century diplomat. During his previous life around the world, Antoine has seen many places, met many interesting people, done exciting things. For the last three years, however, he’s been alone in Bouville. He has no friends and no desire to make some or meet anyone. »

The American Style of quotation mark punctuation makes no sense

Years ago, I translated an essay by Terry Windling, On Tolkien and Fairie-Stories, from American English to Italian. I remember arguing with the author about her use of periods in quotations. Each quotation would end with a period before the closing mark. I was puzzled. We don’t do that in Italy. More importantly, I read many English texts where the period was left outside the quotation itself. She insisted that her style was correct1. »