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 »

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. »

Daft Punk's legendary Alive 2007 concert with remastered audio and 4K video

Someone did it –the perfect Daft Punk tribute after their break up. Also ideal for those hard-coding sessions. For the first time in 14 years, experience Daft Punk like never before! The first professionally recorded live show; revived meticulously by remastering and restoring the audio and video. The Alive 2007 show is considered a staple in live performances featuring the signature ‘Pyramid’ and groundbreaking visuals, which is now complemented by a fully remastered audio track which aims to maximize the experience. »

Get the Fucking Vaccine Already, You Fucking Fucks

Wendy Molyneux, writing unabashedly for McSweeney’s, summarizes all I have to say on the COVID vaccine and never dared to say: You think vaccines don’t fucking work? Oh, fuck off into the trash, you attention-seeking fuckworm-faced shitbutt. This isn’t even a point worth discussing, you fuck-o-rama fuck-stival of ignorance. Vaccines got rid of smallpox and polio and all the other disgusting diseases that used to kill off little fucks like you en masse. »

Performance improvements in .NET6

I’m pretty psyched about the upcoming .NET6 release. I’ve already touched on ASP.NET 6 Minimal APIs. Continuing on the long-established tradition, the team has also worked hard on the performance side of things. File IO, for example, is seeing impressive gains: For .NET 6, we have made FileStream much faster and more reliable, thanks to an almost entire re-write. For same cases, the async implementation is now a few times faster! »

Travel is no cure for the mind

I stumbled upon a personal growth article this weekend, and that’s odd because I tend to stay clear from such things. Yet I found it quite relevant, so much that I thought I would share it (the delivery is also amusing, which is something new for this kind of content). It’s just another day… and you’re just doing what you need to do. You’re getting things done, and the day moves forward in this continuous sequence of checklists, actions, and respites. »

Finland's intriguing take on the homelessness problem

In Finland, the number of homeless people has fallen sharply. The reason: The country applies the “Housing First” concept. Those affected by homelessness receive a small apartment and counselling – without any preconditions. 4 out of 5 people affected thus make their way back into a stable life. And: All this is cheaper than accepting homelessness. Finland’s take on the homelessness problem is remarkable and gives hope. I live in a small town where the problem is not as apparent as in, say, San Francisco. »

On GitHub Copilot

Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve been following GitHub Copilot since its launch. It is an impressive achievement and a remarkable milestone for the deep learning industry, that’s for sure. We are obviously at the early stages in deep learning applied to software development, and it is somewhat unsettling to ponder what the future might hold in this field. Like many others, however, I worry about code quality issues and the risk of license infringements1. »

The Internet is Rotting

Terrific piece by Jonathan Zittrain, on The Atlantic, on link rot and digital preservation. I love how well documented and informative it is. Yet, it remains perfectly approachable for both the non-knowledgeable reader and the technically savvy. Too much has been lost already. The glue that holds humanity’s knowledge together is coming undone. We need more content like this. Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow @nicolaiarocci on Twitter »

Proust's Madeleine Was Originally a Slice of Toast

A long-sought first draft of Marcel Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’ surfaced a few years ago. Its fascinating story and intriguing news are revealed in a Tablet article titled Proust’s Madeleine Was Originally a Slice Toast. Being the Tablet “a daily online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture”, it makes sense that a good part of the article focuses on Proust’s ambivalence about his Jewishness. Still, there are many other interesting tidbits to be learned. »

A Beginner's Guide to Miles Davis

Sam Enright assembled a friendly Beginner’s Guide to Miles Davis. If you’ve always been curious about jazz but never really managed to get into it, then this resource might serve as a good starting point. I cannot say I’m one hundred per cent aligned with his choices, but we’re close. One remarkable statement I concur with is this one: Jazz is so interesting to me because of its fusion of intricate underlying structure with improvisation and spontaneity. »

Linus Torvalds addresses an anti-vaxxer

Linus Torvalds’ reply to an anti-vaxxer on the Linux kernel list is a must-read. Pre-2018, Linus would have destroyed the poor chump. He’s discouraging further discussion (Kernel list is not the place for that) while providing crystal clear and detailed mRNA vaccine information, all without renouncing to an opening salvo of his good-ole, grumpy style. As John Gruber affirms, this is one rant we can all get behind. Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow @nicolaiarocci on Twitter »

Open Source: What Happens When the Free Lunch Ends?

The article I’m linking today is authored by Aaron Stannard and focuses on the drama currently going on in the .NET Open Source ecosystem. We’ve all been there. A dependency we took aeons ago goes unmaintained or changes its licensing model. Why does this happen? Because at some point, projects need to become sustainable or else they fail. […] it’s inexpensive for maintainers to support a small number of users with relatively similar demands - but once a project achieves critical mass and the demand on the maintainers exceeds their desire to supply, something will have to give. »

Trade Wars 2002 and its connection to Eve Online

Trade Wars 2002 was a great 1991 online game I hosted on one of my BBSes back in the day. Not sure if it was Lorien or Phoenix BBS; it might have been the latter given the game’s release date. I totally forgot TW2002 until yesterday when I spotted this 1991: Trade Wars 2002 article on the 50 Years of Text Games newsletter. I humbly confess that, until yesterday, I never made the obvious connection between TW2002 and Eve Online. »

On Programming and Writing

My brilliant friend Salvatore Sanfilippo (otherwise known as antirez of Redis fame) has an interesting write-up on his website. How similar is programming to prose writing? After getting his own feet wet with novel writing, he is convinced that the two activities share many common traits. One year ago I paused my programming life and started writing a novel, with the illusion that my new activity was deeply different than the previous one. »

The Grim Secret of Nordic Happiness

For decades Scandinavian countries have been renowned for their educational systems, low levels of corruption, sustainable economy, social justice, overall quality of life. According to Jukka Savolainen on Slate, the reason why Finns have now been dominating the World Happiness Report four years in a row has little to do with these factors and more with their life expectations. Savolainen perspective is interesting because he is a Finn living in the US. »

Earth Restored

Only 24 people have journeyed far enough to see the whole Earth against the black of space. The images they brought back changed our world. Here is a selection of the most beautiful photographs of Earth — iconic images and unknown gems — digitally restored to their full glory. Toby Ord’s recent Earth Restored project is a must-see. Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow @nicolaiarocci on Twitter »

Adding is favoured over subtracting in problem solving (and software systems)

Consider the 10x10 grids of green and white boxes below. How would you make them symmetrical? Most people would add green boxes to the emptier half of the grid rather than remove them from the fuller half. Even when the latter would have been more efficient. The case, along with a similar problem revolving around the stability of a peculiar lego structure, is reported by an intriguing Nature article on the topic of psychology and human behaviour. »