Ugh, gone is my server again!

I made the same mistake I made some time last year where I accidentally made it impossible for me to log in to my digital ocean box. Last week, this happened with my go.mhmd.us server. Which means I will have to start from scratch on some setup there, but this time, I’ll be more careful and I’ll document things as well.

I’ve started using bash and ruby scripts more often to do some repetitive tasks, maybe this will be a good place to try this.

So yes, all go.mhmd.us links will break now and I’m not going to try fixing them right now. I will go on with something else…

Dark mode in 1 step

This should work relatively well for most websites:

@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
  body {
    filter: invert(1);
    background: #000;  /* since most sites declare the background color */
  }
}

This will work pretty well for most sites unless your site has a lot of images.

Examples

If your images are inverted like reddit above, use the following:

img {
  filter: invert(1); /* flips it back */
}

I really wanted to like Outlander

So I’m thinking about how some time last year, I tried watching Outlander. The beginning of the show is amazing, premise and environmental setup of the whole show is amazing but something got me to stop watching it. I’ve thought a lot about what this something was and it’s mostly that there were just too many damn rape scenes and gore from unnecessary things like the main character getting whipped on screen for a solid two minutes was not something I wanted to watch.

I really wanted to like it but I just can’t go back to watching it. I got about 7 episodes in before quitting on one half way through.

Book review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I recently finished this book and I am going to summarize some of my thoughts in a concise list below:

  • The book has great writing
  • The buildup in the book is pretty amazing but there is no climatic part
  • Characters are pretty well developed even if a bit hard to relate to
  • About 3/4th the way in, Mrs. Montague is added but no real plot or character development is done by this
  • It’s clear this book can be an influence for many movies and books that came after it

Overall, this book is a 3 out of 5 stars, in my opinion.

October update

I’ve been busy the past month with work and when not working staying away from the computer. I want to highlight some changes to my daily routine and also update on some books I’ve read or listened to recently.

About 2 years ago when Kristen and I adopted our dog Samson, I started waking up early with him because he had some magical internal circadian rhythm telling him to wake up around 7am. This was new to me and I had a tough time getting used to the first few months. But as time went on, I started to go to sleep earlier to accommodate waking up early. Nowadays, I’m automatically waking up around 7am and taking Samson on a walk.

This has also led me to be mindful about what I do with my time at night. One main change being that I’ve stopped browsing the Internet on my computer. The last time I interact with my MacBook is either if I get a Pagerduty alert from my work or when I leave work around 5-6pm.

And so because I’m not on my computer, I’ve started reading more or on days when I’m feeling lazy, I’ll play video games but the main goal is to not be reading random blog posts or new articles on my computer. And that reminds me, I’ve read and listened to quite a few books since I last posted so I’ll cover those below.

Books
I’ve been pretty diligent about reading books and listening to audiobooks. Any spare moments I’ve had, I try to read. The book I’m struggling through right now is The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Mainly because it’sa horror book that I don’t like reading before sleep 😴. Below are short reviews on recent books. Headphones 🎧 means I listened to the audiobook version.

  • Dune by Frank Herbert, a classic sci-fi epic that keeps you wanting more. It’s definitely worth a read to see where other sci-fi worlds like Star Wars might get some influence.
  • The Body by Bill Bryson 🎧 a fun listen most of the way, gets a bit depressing and unavoidable by the end. Bryson covers the whole body and its many functions and shortcomings. Narrated by Bryson himself! I highly recommend this one. Probably one of my favorite listens of the year.
  • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. I am not a huge Gladwell fan but this one I was able to get through the whole way and I did like some points that he made, especially the fact that most people default to truth when talking to strangers and familiars alike.
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman 🎧. This I’m only posting because I didn’t like the book at all. I had a hard time getting through the whole book.

Right now, I’m still making good progress toward my goal of 24 books read by the end of the year. I don’t include audiobooks as part of that list. I’m currently at 23 books! So close!

Samson’s Halloween costume

Reverting to an old school way of posting

I don’t like the WordPress editor, even with its features that are probably the best in the industry, I don’t find myself craving to write in it. The main reason for me is that the features get in my way, I have to hide away all the UI cruft to be able to write. So, I was thinking of how I liked posting, almost 10 years ago. This was back on my favorite blogging platform, Posterous. That was through email, so I started thinking if it’s possible to do that with WordPress, turns out, it’s very much possible using Jetpack’s ability to write from email. So I’m trying that right now, this was posted with email.

I’m sure when there are posts that require more organization, I’ll write using the block editor (Gutenberg) but for a lot of my posts, they should be pretty simple so I wanted to try this.

Update: so it looks like it worked well! There is a link to Posterous and that carried over fine. I’ll be posting more like this now.

The Goldfinch, movie vs book

I was in the middle of writing my thoughts on the book version of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and then I realized that I should just wait until the movie comes out to write up my thoughts on both together.

If you’ve read the book and haven’t seen the movie, I’d suggest not reading ahead.

The book is about 800 pages and I listened to the audiobook version which is about 35 hours long. Listening to it entirely took me about a month since I was listening on and off. The book is great, Tartt does a great job of describing important scenes and emotions within and around Theo. A lot of stuff happens in the book and so the 800 pages feel warranted and not excessive in my opinion.

Now, the movie tries to squeeze everything that happens in the book in about 2 and a half hours. That’s not enough time. Some scenes felt like they were skimmed or filmed for the sake of showing fans the faces to characters they’ve read a lot about. My favorite character, Hobie, gets little screen time and as someone who is such an interesting character, he is hardly shown in his true form. The casting for Hobie was perfect but a little bit of screen time doesn’t make up for that.

The plot is extremely intricate in the book and in the movie, it’s confusing and downright annoying at times because things just don’t make any sense from scene to scene.

iPhone 11

Today, Apple announced new three iPhones, an iPad, and the Apple Watch series 5. I’m sure you’ve already seen all the news about this, my post is not about specific features or what Apple didn’t release. I’m only posting to note that I’m going to be buying the iPhone 11 not the “Pro” model.

This will be my first time upgrading and not going for the flagship model. In the past, Apple has mostly kept to the mid-size and large size iPhones but as of the iPhone XR, it’s clear that the line up will now have a 3rd, the lower end iPhone. Here “lower” end doesn’t necessarily mean low-end, because the specs of an iPhone 11 non-pro are pretty spectacular except the screen which is still the LCD screen. But is an extra $300 worth the slightly brighter screen?

You might be thinking is it really slightly brighter or actually very different? Let’s go with the latter, let’s say the OLED screen is vastly better than the LCD screen. Does that mean it’s necessary for an average smartphone user to have a vastly better screen on their phone? Probably not. After today’s announcement, some features are not must-haves at this point for me, and I bet for a lot of other people as well.

I upgrade my phone every two years and this year, I might be moving very much laterally than upwards with a new iPhone.

Maus #1 by Art Spieglman

I just finished reading Maus: My Father Bleeds History, written and illustrated by Art Spieglman. I’m still processing it. I’ve been reading it over the past days. I’m currently in New York City and I brought the book with me. I wanted to read something different while traveling. I didn’t know much or even anything about the book before I started it. I got it as a gift from a friend last year and I’m finally getting around to reading it now.

If you’ve never heard of this book before, it’s a graphic novel that’s written about Art’s parents, from an interesting perspective. Art visits his father over the course of the novel and each time finds out a bit more about his parents’ time in World War 2.

I enjoyed reading it because I’m on vacation here in New York City. I took breaks whenever I couldn’t take any more of the grim reality Art’s parents were going through.

September in New York is pretty much perfect and I’ve taken advantage of the weather. Whenever I took a break, I either napped or walked around the neighborhood. I’m still processing the book so walking around, with nothing but what I had just read in my head, I’m grateful for this experience since I’m privileged to be able to do this.