2023 April status update

I’ve successfully neglected touching or updating this blog for (I think) close to two years now, almost all of which I have spent working full time as a software engineer. It’s largely been an enjoyable experience, but I think that what I wrote about in “On the enjoyment of work” has largely turned out to be true.

I’ve found that doing a 40-hour job that is effectively just coding has very much dulled my passion for doing anything with code outside of work. You can see this effect in the slow down of my activity on my GitHub account, on the lack of repositories over on SourceHut, and my lack of blogging about anything, as much of this blog’s content thus far has been coding related.

Instead of having coding as a hobby, a number of other activities have effectively replaced it; singing, cycling and rock climbing (more specifically bouldering). I currently cycle around 3-4 hours a week, sing three times a week for a total of around 8 hours a week, and boulder probably around 10 hours a week. These generally function as nice hobbies to have, that generally work my brain to some extent as well (with the arguable exception of cycling), and all improve parts of my health and well-being in various respects.

Since the last time I wrote a post, I’ve also entirely moved cities!

I moved from Perth (my hometown, though not where I was born), to Sydney. My work is based in Sydney, so although it was difficult to leave my family behind it made sense to move - especially with Sydney being a state with day-light savings, which always did my head in when I was in Perth as we did not have day light savings.

I was originally planning to move a few years ago once I got my job, but, as with many other things, the COVID-19 pandemic effectively put a stop to it for two years. It was a relief to finally move and put an end to the limbo-type situation that had occurred whilst I was in Perth, and although Sydney has only been my home for a few months it has certainly started to feel like home.

A few months ago I started on a project to create a cross-platform podcasting application. I made it all the way through to being able to go through feeds, download and play individual episodes before very much slowing down development. For the most part working on this has been good fun - although as noted above I don’t tend to code in my spare time very much anymore, which is of course quite limiting in terms of what I’m able to do. My main motivation was to have a cross-platform RSS/Atom reader and podcast player that I could keep synced and use between all of my devices. Due to my move to Sydney and thinning down of usable devices some of the motivation for this issue has been assuaged, however I think it may still be something useful to have around as an open source project.

An interesting project that is on a similar trajectory is termusic.

I started on it in Rust, as that tends to be my preferred language for coding at the moment. A major issue that I’ve run into is trying to integrate it into the “Now Playing” centre that most platforms have (on Apple platforms this is literally called Now Playing) - especially on Apple platforms. iOS (and macOS to some extent) require that integration with Apple frameworks is done using Swift, which is a fine language, just one that I’m not at all familiar with. There is a crate called swift-bridge which attempts to solve this issue which I’ve had some limited success with (mostly due to my terrible Swift code), but I think I may still be some way off of getting this working reliably.

As I write this, however, I’ve just discovered a Rust crate called Souvlaki which handles this for you, so hopefully there will be much quicker progress on this front soon.

I don’t think I’ve previously mentioned my faith on this blog at all, partly because I’m always a little bit leery of saying the wrong thing or misrepresenting a view and alienating people. This is particularly complicated by the fact that my particular faith (evangelical Christianity) has a tendency to be particularly maligned these days, particularly as the issue of sexual identity has come into such focus in the last few decades.

I mention this for two reasons; one that is coding related, one that is related to this blog. First, I have been looking into good methods of electronically studying the bible and extra-biblical resources (such as Greek dictionaries, commentaries, historical writings and the like). This is something that is technically available as an existing application, Logos Bible Software, which actually provides a good value offering for what is being delivered. I would - however, like a Linux version (despite not currently having a Linux computer), as well as the have the core of the software be free software. Perhaps there is a system that I could use with something like Calibre, but I’m not familiar enough with it at the moment. Regardless, its something that has been ticking over in the back of my mind.

Second, I would like to start trying to write down some of my opinions on religious things on this blog, perhaps through doing something like an exegetical study of particular passages. I’m likely to try to keep away from any controversial or contested issues as I simply do not have the expertise to wade in, but perhaps pointing to people or books that I found helpful on similar subjects may be useful. This is quite a turn around from my previous position on this (which was effectively “don’t mention or hint it at all), but I think that even if I get things wrong it will be helpful to be able to track how my opinions on these things change over time as I mature as a Christian into the future. Who knows - it may even be a useful resource to someone else in the future.