Today I Learned: Background

The really short tl;dr: I’m going to try and make some tech-related “today I learned” posts on this rather unloved site.

Some background: recently, I had to do some time consuming programming-tool-related meta-work. I ended up not understanding something and had to delve through a lot of background. I rather boldly decided that I needed to write a massive blog post explaining it all from first principles. 1,300 words later, and I realised that was a bad idea, because I’d then have to meticulously edit it into something publishable. Instead, I decided, nah, lance that boil. Split it up into the smallest possible chunks.

(At least then, if I do still wish to do a massive tutorial, I can split strange little alleyways and distractions off and turn them into hyperlinks rather than being meandering parentheticals or footnotes. Like this.)

There’s been something of a fashion for people posting tech-related “TIL” posts. Simon has a whole site for his, for instance.

I end up writing a lot of this kind of thing in my notes anyway, and so rather than gathering dust, I may as well share them online. There’s enough utter dreck, overheated bloviating, and GPT-3 generated dogshit online, I may as well do my bit and post some non-dreck that might help people in the future, possibly including myself.

Sometimes the posts are not wildly exciting and are not necessarily great discoveries. Part of the point of this isn’t to show off “hey, this is a stunning new finding!” but simply to document things I’ve learned or figured out. Sometimes these posts will become out-of-date (they are provided “as is” and without warranty to quote the familiar legalese), and they are very much not meant as a replacement for reading the manual or the documentation or doing your own reading, thinking or research.

I thought about creating a separate site and subdomain, but that’s a lot of effort and I may end up not writing a lot of TIL posts, in which case I’ve poked a lot of buttons making a site that contains no content. Instead, what seems a better strategy is to write first. If the content is any good, I’ll perhaps slowly spin it out into a separate site, or just move things around on the site, and noodle with URLs, to make the content work better. Or I might not. Let’s see.

Anyway, if these posts are useful to you, enjoy. If they’re not, well, the refund desk will be happy to return to you the full price you’ve paid for reading them.