Lyceum — dev log 58


Still automating local setup. I had to change contexts over to optimizing our database latencies (which I also did not end up doing, I showed up a list of slow queries and my team lead told me to take rest since he'd fixed 90% of them already) last week which pushed this more than was needed. Now we're just resorting to using plain old ansible.


Lyceum's refactor is under way in a new repo, go-blender. It'll take a couple of weekends to get this done at best, proabably more, but I'm enjoying writing go.

I've been experimenting with using and it's Daily Notes plugin for some weeks now. Since I'm constantly reading and learning about new things at work, I wanted to take notes in a way that the knowledge accreted into a digital external corpus that I could refer back to. My initial approach was to create notes and link them in a zettelkasten style but per usual I realized that I was trying to over-engineer something that should be simple. I couldn't put my finger on why, because the zettelkasten appraoch made sense, but I had a nagging itch that something was wrong. So I tried to rationally think about it, by writing. What follows isn't necessarily well written, I just wanted to show how using writing as a medium of thinking can be an excellent medium to reason about things.

Why takes daily notes?

Learning things usually involves significant effort. Grappling with the unknown is difficult and time-consuming. Notes (in theory), allow us to maintain a corpus of knowledge about information we have encountered, that can be referred to instead of the source material to refresh our understanding of the subject matter. This noble idea usually falls flat in practise if note-taking is done passively, just for the sake of doing it. Passive note-taking gives the illusion of ensuring that a piece of information won’t be forgotten, since we’ve written it down. Yes, it won’t be forgotten, it will be lost instead, in the pile of notes that get created this way. They won’t accumulate any insight. In reality creating an external brain of sorts, consisting of information accrued in interconnected notes takes significant time, effort and care itself. Take Andy Matuschak’s evergreen notes as an exmaple.

The above is traditionally the purpose of note-taking. Instead daily notes serve the following purposes:

Hence they are by design ephemeral. I don't need to spend time categorizing, tagging or linking them. Note things down if I need to get a better understanding of the subject-matter, or just to reinforce an existing concept, then forget about them.