Daniel Moch's Weblog

Giving The Dumbphone A Whirl

Less has really started to seem like more for me lately. In a pique of frustration over how distracted and low-key anxious I have felt, I deleted my social media accounts (except for one, which I need for work) and switched to a dumbphone. It hasn't been life changing, but the feeling has been something akin to stepping outside of a crowded building and taking off your COVID mask to breathe the crisp, autumn air. I've sort of eased into it over the past few weeks, but right now I don't miss it.

The particular phone I settled on was the Punkt MP-02. It's an elegant device, the VoLTE capability of which is supported by my carrier. It also supports tethering. A dumbphone that supports tethering fills a pretty valuable niche in my opinion, since it allows me to connect my laptop to my cell provider if I'm in a pinch. The killer feature, though, is that their most recent software update has added support for secure messaging via Signal. (Their implementation is called Pigeon, although it interoperates with the same Signal service smartphone users are familiar with. I assume the name was changed because the app was done by Punkt.) Because it's a dumbphone, this turns out to be the only way to do group messaging on the MP-02.

The only other thing I'll say about the phone is that complaints about the software quality, while they may have been accurate at the time, ring hollow today. Presumably they've managed to work out a lot of the early bugs, the device having been out for well over a year now. I'm not expecting much in the way of new features, but that is itself a feature.

If not for the MP-02's Signal compatibility, I likely would have ended up with the much cheaper Nokia 6300 4G. I'd be curious to hear from anyone using that phone about their experience, as I'd like to be able to recommend something to folks bit by the same bug I've caught, but who don't find Signal compatability worth thrice the price.

Regarding Semantic Versioning

So as not to bury the lede, I'll get to my point: Semantic Versioning is a meta-API, and maintainers who are cavalier about violating it can't be trusted to created stable contracts. I've lost patience for breaking changes making their way to my code bases without the maintainers incrementing the major version of their projects, especially in language ecosystems where Semantic Versioning is expected, and in such cases I'm going to begin exploring alternative options so I can ban such libraries from my projects---personal and professional---altogether.

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Announcing Xhotplug

I'm pleased to announce the initial, beta release of xhotplug, a small utility for automatically responding to X11 montor attach/detach events.

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Using QEMU Without Pulling Your Hair Out

I make it a rule to choose my tools carefully and to invest the time to learn them deeply. QEMU has been one of those tools that I've wanted to learn how to use for a long time, but was always a bit intimidated. I actually had been able to use it indirectly via libvirt, but it felt like I was cheating my rule by using one tool to manage another. Despite my vague sense of guilt, things continued this way until I read a recent(ish) introductory post on QEMU by Drew DeVault. The article is well written (as per usual for DeVault), and you'd do well to read it before continuing here. The point is that it was the kick in the pants I needed to finally roll up my sleeves and learn some QEMU.

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You Should Be Using Tags In Vim

Note: This is a crosspost of an entry I wrote in this year's vimways.org advent calendar. If you're interested in Vim, I recommend you pop on over there and read the other articles too.

I love you; you complete me.

  • Dr. Evil

I first came to Vim by recommendation. I was looking for a good Python IDE (at the time I was new to the language) and one recommendation was to use Vim with a variety of plugins added on top. That Vim could do a lot of the things I thought only an IDE could do came as a bit of a shock. I spent a summer as an intern using Emacs at a Unix terminal, but didn't have enough curiosity at the time to use it any differently from notepad.exe. I spent that summer wishing I had automatic features for completion, indentation, and all the things that made me appreciate the IDE's I used in college. How naive I was!

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