Notes for week 26 of 2021

Continuing steady progress on Graveyard. I’ve been mostly working on SQL optimizations to make social parts of the site faster. I plan to wrap up main feature development soon and move on to pay for production infrastructure and finalize reliable e-mail delivery.

This week, I felt like Defender Against the Nature. Particularly the habit of wasps to build few nests a day in an uncomfortable distance to my office table makes me antsy. No human casualities so far and yes, it’s a bit silly to talk about it after a week where killer heatwave and a tornado happened.

Graveyard

  • Recovering from #303, I’ve learned about the easy way to export CSV from MySQL:
SELECT columns FROM table
INTO OUTFILE '/tmp/export.csv'
FIELDS TERMINATED BY ','
ENCLOSED BY '"'
LINES TERMINATED BY '\n'
  • I knew about slow_query_log = 'ON', but didn’t knew about set global log_queries_not_using_indexes = 'ON'. Useful. Should be part of serious test suites and production monitoring.
  • Not putting .order_by() in a Django query set generates ORDER BY NULL SQL statement, which may or may not have index consequences

Books Finished

The Middle Ages: A Graphic History

Disclaimer: as you’ve probably noticed, I am Eleanor’s fanboi. Her blog sits high in my reader and do enjoy both the content and the writing style. So when I saw the announcement, I had to put a mild peer pressure on other members of the fan club and order in bulk.

The book is written in the same style as the blog posts, so I highly recommend reading one before considering it. But it feels that unlike the blog, the book has an editor and it feels like Eleanor’s personality got watered down. It feels like the edges were taken a careful look at and they were polished with a very rough sandpaper. Some of it went into the illustrations, but I still feel something was lost on the way.

It’s a thin book (176 pages) trying to cover a thousand years. That is hard–and the book doing a good job at that. It goes through the turbulent time period mostly chronologically, focuses on Europe and is mostly concerned with high-level events.

And this is, I think, my main disappointment from the book. What I like the most on the blog is going beyond the “standard history timeline” and instead focusing on various details with suprising modern consequences (like monk’s liturgy and time keeping) or interesting take on common misconceptions (like bathing, Dark Ages or a take on Islam as a party religion). There is some of that, but less than I’d hope; the book follows the “big history” blueprint.

I totally recommend this as an easy evening read and a refresh on how those thousand years went. But I also do hope for a sequel, “The Middle Ages: The Overlooked Parts”.

Eleanor Janega: The Middle Ages: A Graphic History. Illustrated by Neil Max Emmanuel. ISBN 978-178578-591-7. Rating: 3/5. Goodread website.

Personal

  • I’ve walked 42 km and swam 506 m. I’ve been active for 11.9 hours during 10 activities. This week’s max speed was 37.1 km/h.
  • I’ve discovered tabletop RPG safety toolkit, which looks like a great tool for open games
  • I deem Quest a very good introductory RPG. The mechanical core leave things to be desired and trial is and underdeveloped mechanic, but I don’t think beginners will hit those limitations in the first few games. Anecdotally, it also seems very kid-friendly.

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