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A Sad Thing, React.js, Linux, and the Beauty of Post-Apocalyptic Boston

·889 words·5 mins

Wow! Half way through 2022, already! The past few years have actually felt a bit slower than normal to me, but 2022 seems to be flying by. Perhaps a relatively new job, an ever-persistent pandemic (well, sort of), and life changes have made the past few months feel a little short.

Whatever the reason, I was recently brainstorming ways to help myself reflect more on everything that’s going on and it seemed like a great chance to start posting to my blog more often. I don’t often get big ideas for blog posts, so I thought short, simple life updates could be fun, and help me spend some time thinking about what life’s been like.

That said, let’s get the tough update out of the way.

A sad thing #

Jess and I, after months of debate and unsurety, made the difficult decision to re-home our dog, Luna. This actually happened late in June, but it’s still fresh on our minds and the impacts are still being felt every day. I’m not going to get into the specifics of why we made the decision, but I will say that it was extremely difficult, and that it will take more than a few weeks to stop missing her.

a dog resting on a couch

A relatively recent picture of Luna

Now, hopefully the rest of my updates aren’t such sad ones 😔

Development goals #

As with many jobs my current role, now that it’s been over a year, can sometimes feel a bit stagnant. That’s just the nature of jobs like mine, you do very similar work day-to-day, and it can often feel like you’re solving the same problems over and over again, or building the same UI again and again (but with different colors!). So, in an effort to change things up and keep myself excited about what I do, I have decided to learn something new.

Since it’s been on my ‘Want to learn’ list for a while, what better time to learn React.js! ⚛ I’ll be using Codecademy’s Learn React course to get started, and hope to at least build a couple of small apps to really get the hang of things. Maybe a game? We’ll see.

Switching to Linux 🐧 #

Linux is really cool, and I’m excited to be giving it a more serious effort than in years past. With Valve putting tons of effort and resources into the Steam Deck and Proton, gaming on Linux has come a long way. And, of course, each new version of any popular GNU/Linux distribution brings with it cool new features while closing the gap between what Windows or macOS can do and what Linux can do. The fact that Linux has always been more friendly to developers was the main reason I got interested in Linux in the first place, but now it could truly put up a fight to become my daily driver. So, about a month ago, I decided to switch to Linux on both my laptop and my desktop.

Laptop vs. desktop #

Switching on the laptop has been super easy. I chose Pop!_OS and installing it on my Thinkpad was a breeze. The only hardware related thing I needed to get working was the fingerprint sensor, which was fairly simple to do. Pop runs great on it, and for my relatively simple use cases, Linux can do everything I need and so much more.

I have also been utilizing Pop!_OS on my desktop, but the results have been mixed. For the most part everything worked without a hitch, but gaming still isn’t quite there, in my opinion. That said, is it good enough? For me, yes. Of course, there are games or software that simply won’t run without causing headaches on Linux, so I have had to keep my expectations in check.

If you haven’t at least tried Linux in some form, but have been either curious or just don’t like Windows, I’d recommend doing some research (I really can’t stress how important research is here) and then giving it a try. It’s very fun, rewarding, and I think you’d be surprised at how much more it can offer than Windows.

There may be future posts about Linux here. If that’s something you might be interested in, check back once in a while.

The beauty of post-apocalyptic Boston #

I recently started a new play-through of Fallout 4, in which you explore a post-apocalyptic Boston in search of your lost son, and I forgot how beautiful the broken, decaying, harsh world of that game can be. It’s a heck of a lot of fun, and the graphics hold up very well.

One thing I’ve always really appreciated about Bethesda’s games is that they really suck you in to the world that they’ve built. The combat is usually a bit clunky, the characters often feel a little robotic or downright stupid, and the voice acting has, in my opinion, always been a bit lackluster. But these things bring with them their own unique charm. What’s amazing about these games is that, despite these shortcomings, there is a real sense of being a part of a greater whole… That your actions, interactions, and decisions don’t just matter, but subtly fit themselves in to the greater story. You often feel insignificant, but you shape the world immensely.

And that’s pretty beautiful.