Editing termfool from a cafe

June 22, 2018

It’s peak hipster time! I’m sat in a fancy cafe on a sunny morning writing a blog with a cup of posh tea next to me and my scruffy beard.

The ostensible reason for this is to see if it’s a reasonable way to get coding work done, or if it’s just a marketeer’s construct to sell beard products and overpriced caffeine.

tl;dr - after an hour or so, the conclusion is…

Well, in a push it does work. I wrote this post, browsed t’web and ssh’d into a server. But, nah, I’m not going to be looking for chances to work like that regularly.

Basically, the logistics and the environment mean it’s really hard to focus on one task and build the mental context needed for dev work.

The rest of this post is basically a stream-of-consciousness of me sat in Tamper drinking loose-leaf English Breakfast tea and trying to both write this post and debug some mqtt problems on a remote server ok, a Raspberry Pi running ssh .

As with all the posts on this site, this was written on a crappy old netbook, using a single terminal window running tmux, with jekyll serve running in the background to let me preview the site.

First impressions - my god it’s noisy in here!! Like Friday night in a pub noisy. Although that may not mean much given my preferred choice of pubs. But after working for years from a quiet office, this feels like a seriously loud place, how the hell does anyone concentrate in this?!

Ah well, time to settle down, I’ve got the wifi pwd, let’s get writing this, previewing, faffing with ssh and all that stuff. Got my tablet next to me too, and enough elbow room, I can deal with this, surely.

Oh, one thing I just realised, I’ve been writing for my Grav blog and other AppendixV blog most of the time recently and they use different flavours of Markdown and a different set of theme/style widgets.

So no {:.alert alert-success} tags to slap in a Bootstrap alert and no FontAwesome icons to scatter around like webby confetti. Bah! I guess it’s time to crack open some custom CSS rules like a proper ponytailed web designer, I’m stereotyping myself to the maxxx :-)

Right, that’s iftop installed and running in a 3rd pane, I can see all the network traffic to and from the netbook. Sadly it looks like the cafe has set up their router fairly securely - traffic only goes from connected devices to the outside world, no routing between devices on the local network. So no previewing on my tablet unless I do a publish to the public version of this site. Ah well, it’s not like anyone is reading itunless you are - hello friend!

Ooh, it’s the “I’ve got Friday off” crowd, that explains the noise. Here come the beers and the flowery drinks. Another difference from a lonely office - there’s smells! Not bad ones mind, just not something I’m used to - along with these bench seats, which aren’t too comfortable after an hour.

Anyway, it appears my MQTT problems may be the reappearance of an old issue I’ve been seeing. The Pi acting as the broker is sat in my garage plugged into a solar panel inverter and it’s close to the edge of the house wifi coverage. On really humid days or when it’s raining hard, the connection drops quite often.

It’s come back intermittently, so I guess I just need a better antenna. And logistics comes to bite - I’m sat at a little table on my own and have been drinking too much tea. Do I leave my stuff all laid out and trust to the goodness of everyone, or pack up, pee and come back? Hmm.

Yeah, I’m not a trusting type, so that’s a faff. Maybe if there was a group of us, or even just a pair, that’d be simpler.

So I’ve written a waffly blog post, updated some CSS for the site and kind of diagnosed an actual problem on a remote server. Also my teapot is empty, so I’m calling time on my hipster morning.

Just time to git commit, publish to public, log out, pay the bill and enjoy the wonders of Sheffield’s fine (ahem) bus service.

Editing termfool from a cafe - June 22, 2018 - Adam Carless