Joonas Pajunen

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self-help

Self-help literature gets a bad rap. I like to think most literature, and especially non-fiction, is self-help in some way or another. After all, we tend to learn real world facts and lessons from them. Or generally hope to enjoy whatever we read. Preferably both.

Self-help literature in general falls within a spectrum, and some the most blatant output is obviously in the fishy end. There is obnoxious and malignant material, and some authors seem to have lost their marbles. Finding the realistic and personally best-fitting material from the noise can be difficult.

The best self-help would be that which is not explicitly trying to explain something directly. Some examples that come to mind are the fictitious Zorba the Greek and non-fictitious Meditations. Stories, whether fact or fiction, help us to better remember entireties and relate to situations. This is because the context is

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temporary choices

We are often delusional about the temporal nature of written software. After all, nothing is more permanent than temporary piece of code. We often think software should be beautiful or clever for it to exist at all. But, (rightly so) code is only as beautiful and useful as the information it outputs.

This might be because code is considered an end result, instead of a means to an end. The business needs for refactoring a working piece of a program arises usually only when the code is too difficult to work with. The more critical the domain, the greater the risks, and more difficult to take the responsibility for fatal errors.

All this shouldn’t be a problem, at least when we don’t fool ourselves. Commitment is positive, permanence can be soothing. Though excuses about time and later refactoring hopes are plentiful. Better yet, coming to terms with good enough is liberating. Always

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mental coupling and languages

Some people, myself included, act differently when speaking in tongues. Especially if the spoken language is learned later in life. I suspect this is so because the nth language is learned in conjunction with other, less primal skills, knowledge and associations. After all, we cannot remember most of events and happenings during which we learned our mother tongue. It is therefore a deeper mystery what is associated with it in our minds.

When conversing in English, I feel more open and less constrained (compared Finnish, that is). This is not a conscious thing, and something I’ve only realised recently. I don’t know why this is for sure, but I believe words, rules and grammar are coupled to the things we learn them from. These are often cultural things, especially when we learn them outside the constrained and politically correct environment of a classroom. When learning a language, it

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attention

Random, somewhat scatered thoughts on attention.

Attention is becoming an increasingly valuable asset. The information overload is getting worse. Companies should be happy if people pay any attention to something their offering for free. And for that, many are willing to pay hefty sums. As the saying goes, if you are not paying for something, you are being sold. Attention and time is becoming a kind of a meta-commodity.

Companies acquire rivals just because they are stealing their customers time and attention. Not necessarily because they have a viable business model or a sensible product, but because they one day might. A company with numerous users but not their attention, it cannot advertise directly. The view counts don’t accumulate. In that case, indirect attention grasp via selling data to advertisers is still possible.

The possible disturbances, the attempts to grasp your

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in praise of podcasts

I listen to podcasts quite much. Almost always while commuting, and sometimes during exercise. They’re an excellent fill for dull times. Here’s a few favourites:

  • The Joe Rogan Experience
  • Jocko Podcast
  • Waking Up
  • The Tim Ferriss Show
  • Hardcore History ( + Common Sense)
  • The Paleo Solution Podcast
  • The Drunken Taoist

Whichever one I’m listening to, I’m bombarded with facts, ideas, information and inspiration. There is slight problem, though. My mind is filled with bits and pieces of knowledge, and I sometimes forget important details, not to mention sources. “I just heard this somewhere, and I suppose it was along these lines”.

As Jocko mentioned in one of the episodes, audio has some kind of a special way of getting into the brain. That is, as opposed to the written word, and in the sense that immersion and retention is much better.

Even though the technology required to enjoy podcasts

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brownfield kintsugi

Kintsugi is Japanese for “golden joinery”. An art of repairing broken pottery with usually golden glue of sorts. The idea is that the resulting ornament is better of after the repair. It becomes one of a kind. It has a story. I can imagine someone breaking shit on purpose.

Software is shipped with functionalities and features assumed necessary. Rarely is one shipped without bugs. Software adapting to trends in the future is rather impossible to make. So it gets broken, becomes outdated, reveals weird and unexpected edge cases. It is then patched up with hotfixes and paskofixes.

These fixes, they can be golden, made of chewing gum, or of the dark essence towards which brownfield sometimes hints.

Yes, this is a far fetched and silly analogy, but what if age old software was more treated as like kintsugified pottery? Most software contain heaps of undocumented features and fixes made

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dunning, kruger, the expert and the impostor

When an expert underestimates their ability, they are likely experiencing the Dunning-Kruger effect. The accumulation of information, knowledge, or skill generates a gnawing understanding of the things yet unknown. The collection of the known unknowns grows larger. The unawareness of the unknown can first manifest as overestimated capability and know-how. But the inevitable overwhelmedness caused by our lack of knowledge exposes us to the impostor syndrome.

I’ve fallen victim to overestimating my knowledge on issues. Some things, they seem so simple at first. Time and again, I’ve come to realise I was only at the beginning of something, and needed to learn more. This has lead to a somewhat paralysing world view, by which I find it difficult to claim anything with certainty. Instead, I aim to only assess things to the best of my ability and current knowledge.

This is not a negative

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best practises

Best practices and standards exist for a reason. They encompass the wisdom of crowds, tried and tested approaches or just well-thought-out scenarios. Standards should never be enforced religiously, as contexts vary and technologies evolve.

The standard is best agreed upon by those who implement it. Optimally, it fits the current and particular situation, and is under constant review and scrutiny. Most importantly, these rules should never be based on a single person’s unquestioned opinions.

The mere existence of best practises is not sufficient. Somehow, they must be obeyed.

 enforcing the standards

Sooner or later, manually enforcing standards gets tedious and frustrating. To some, detecting errors conflicting with best practices are infuriating. Others, they couldn’t give a single fuck. A perfectly valid remark at the wrong time can be extra vexing, and creates friction between the

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tact

Between lies and truth, there’s omission, white lies, half-truths, confabulation and opinions. Somewhere there, around these themes, is also tact.

skill and sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues.

I listened to Jocko Willink and Echo Charles talk about this as the most important feature of leadership. As it happens, I’m finding the Jocko Podcast to have refreshing ideas on leadership, business, and personal philosophy.

Telling the truth is important. Spouting a serious truth without any consideration for the listener’s mental state can be a dick move.

 excuses

I’m in no way advocating lying or omitting facts in fear of hurting someone’s feelings. In fact, telling lies and keeping up and cataloguing them is mentally hard work. In a sense, one has to keep up multiple timelines about different truths, and perhaps even formulate several different versions of

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golang and positive constraints

I wrote a smallish program in Go around a year ago. Today, a colleague shared this article, and inspired by it, I went back and had a look at my now old project. The simplicity of it was surprising.

 an argument for any language

One can write good or bad software on any available language. Some languages are easier to adopt and master, some more performant, some academic, others like a double clawed hammer. Though the argument is valid, having no constraints might provoke showing off, or what we’ve come to call technological masturbation. Tinkering with some arcane and awesome features of a language rarely produce much value for the customer or the users.

Simple languages like Go enforce simple usage. I admit to being frustrated for having found no library for functionally manipulating collections, or just doing some basic stuff I’d gotten accustomed to in Scala, Javascript or even in

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