Matthew David Rodgers


Entry 20

Not too much to mention this week. Caught up with my friend for our pseudo book club on Capitalist Realism, and that was really enjoyable.

Although I must admit that “discussing” the book has so far been fairly, well, depressing. It’s all about how modern capitalism has entrenched itself so totally in our culture that it’s harder to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism– and it truly does feel like that most of the time. So most of our discussions have been how we find this inevitability of capitalism reflected in our daily life, and that’s not the most uplifting subject.

I’m hoping that the book is just developing a premise, and can posit something hopeful by the end. But that doesn’t seem to be its aim so far, and I won’t be upset if that’s not the case. In any event, it’s been really refreshing to engage critically with some work and share that with someone again.

My dad finished Halt And Catch Fire this week, after being incredibly underwhelmed (and even annoyed?) by the first season, and I’m excited to say that he loved it just as much as me. It’s interesting how his experience was definitely tinged with nostalgia, since he grew up alongside a lot of the big plot points of the show. He vividly remembers Netscape and Mosaic before it, which is fairly alien to me, even in my entrenched web-development world.

I’ve been having fun doing some of the early cryptopals challenges this week; I’ve been using Go to solve them, but I’m considering trying out Rust finally. I was drawn to them from a footnote in the latest post from the excellent Jesse Li (worth a read, as always), and the “pitch” of the challenges is remarkably similar to Bob Nystrom’s for Crafting Interpreters: yes, security and cryptograpy is scary, but a lot of that scariness is not really from unapproachable difficulty. With the right teacher and a little bit of grit, mastery is definitely within reach. And considering how much Crafting Interpreters did for how I think, I’m very excited.

Apart from that, I’m working on a small Go tool for making http requests from the command line - something between curl and postman - but it’s in early stages. The most fun part so far has been writing a little key/value store in a file for config data, basically implemented from scratch apart from open/write/seek on files. We’ll see how it comes along!