Justin Garrison
October 11, 2022

Sharpen your pencil - 123dev #93

Posted on October 11, 2022  •  3 minutes  • 534 words
A pine tree air freshener moves with video game turns


The right tools

I’ve been building a shed in my backyard and it has turned into a neighborhood project. Multiple neighbors have graciously provided labor, tools, and advice to help me. This past weekend I was measuring and cutting facade trim boards and my neighbor, who has done woodworking for decades, was helping me.

As we were measuring the wood for where to cut he was going to mark the cut and he stopped. He got down from the ladder and asked if I had a sharper pencil.

At first it seemed like a strange request because the pencil he was holding was perfectly capable of making a mark, but I knew he was leaning on his intuition that precision mattered. That taking a couple minutes to get a sharper pencil would save him the expensive time of possibly cutting the wood incorrectly.

He was later helping me put down roof tiles and as we were cutting felt for under the tiles he pulled out his special tool for roof felt—a 12" meat cleaver. Quite possibly the least precise “tool” you could use.

In development we often look for the “best” tools. We spend time configuring our environment to optimally flow with our preferences. We rarely stop to think if we need the level of precision we’re asking of our tools. Using something that’s good enough for the task at hand and spending extra time on the expensive tasks that matter.

Not everything needs to be the “best.” Those tools will usually slow you down with extra precision that has little added benefit for the end product. Find tools that match the requirements and update them as needed.

Glory to Ukraine

Anyone that has been reading the newsletter for a while knows I’ve been dedicating one comment to updates about the Ukrainian war. Last week there was hopeful news of victories by the Ukraine armies. Monday there was a barrage of bombs from Russia in retaliation.

It’s still unclear right now what the outcome of the attacks will be, but I still hope and pray for the people in Ukraine that they will stay safe with minimal injuries and this war will end soon.

We’ve probably all implemented bad ideas that worked surprisingly well. In this case, someone solved their problem of a website that would go down with bash and thinking outside the box.


ITAPPMONROBOT - The Daily WTFthedailywtf.com

How to restart your computer automatically.

You don’t have to be active in politics to want a better understanding of how your government works. This is a really neat REST API for The United States government. I’d love to hear if you know of other APIs that exist for governments in other countries.

Congress.gov API

An API for querying everything related to congress

I’ve been traveling more the past couple of months and I have avoided doing any development on planes because of the unpredictable internet access. I never thought about downloading the documentation I needed before traveling, but I’m going to give Zeal a try next time I want to build something at 30,000 ft.

Zeal - Offline Documentation Browser

Zeal is an offline documentation browser for software developers.

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