Isaac's Blog

Happier than if something great happened to me

Empathic joy is when a person derives pleasure from other people's good fortune. Sounds simple. Cleverly scalable too: why rate-limit your experiences of pleasure to the occurrences of your own good fortune, when you could theoretically bask in #happiness whenever someone has a lucky break.

Yet there are myriad factors that make this simple, logical concept hard in practice. Scarcity is one that comes to mind – where one person's gain implicates another's loss. In many cases this holds true, and the inquiry can end there. We are the product of years of evolutionary efficiency gains.

But careful consideration could uncover pockets of abundance where scarcity might have been previously assumed, and therein lie veins of happiness to be tapped.

How and Why I Stopped Buying New Laptops

Reading this makes me want to dust off and revive my trusty Thinkpad X201. It's going on the list of low-priority tinker/hobby activities to do instead of binging or doom-scrolling.

This is a hack, not a new economical model

I have been warned.

On my “off-days”, I occasionally like to pop into Work Chat to approximate (like a parallel timeline simulator) what I'd be up to were I still engaged in my prior role and capacity.

It's a pointed reminder of things I've since moved on from, but more importantly, it sets a baseline for the things I am currently pursuing, and motivates me to do so with greater purpose and focus.

I patched, built and deployed my very first go program in #writefreely. This adds a new config.ini feature to make drafts only viewable by their owners.

Installed the tooling, followed the instructions, compiled my first binary. Had to recompile it for my VPS, but other than that, it was surprisingly easy.

The golang development process is actually quite nice.

Now to see if writefreely will accept my humble contribution.


Building a shed is a finite process with known steps that produces a tangible result. If you spend time on it, you will make forward progress and be able to see it.
If you are a knowledge worker, this is frequently lacking. […] And at the end of the day, what you accomplish might not be very visible or might end up being finished but useless.
So it's nice to do something where you feel like you actually did something. – saalweachter on Hacker News

This struck a chord for me in how neatly explains the uptick in my at-work satisfaction when I pivoted from management back into individual contribution.

The desire for finite steps and tangible results also looms over my investment practice. Coding up reports and executing trades – fun! Doing analysis, sitting on my hands waiting for a trade to materialise – less fun.

Yet it is in still-infinite and not-yet-intangible that the new, the wonderful and the profitable lay waiting to be uncovered.

I run my own Mastodon instance at (Not anymore) Over time, it accumulates avatar and header files of accounts that I do not care about in the live/public/system/accounts directory, and it gets quite large.


colleague: My housemate would throttle me if anything bad happens to our beloved porcelain bowl

me: You mean like reduce the number of times you can use kitchen equipment per time period? 🤓

At the time, my understanding of the word “throttle” involved two concepts. The first is the car pedal that a driver steps on to make a vehicle go faster. The second is what a web service does to prevent a client from overwhelming it with too many requests.

This exchange prompted me to look up the actual meaning of throttle: to choke, suffocate or strangle, which was what my colleague was pleading us to prevent from happening. I'm pretty sure this definition predates its use in automobiles and web requests.


Just finished reading Promise Me, Dad. Easy, enjoyable, emotionally-rich read. It was a refreshing departure from Capitalism without Capital which was quite academic and An Elegant Puzzle which was quite task-focused.

The thing that stood out most prominently to me is how much time Joe and staff spend strategising, writing speeches, delivering speeches, setting up meetings and calls and corraling people.


The engineering team at Sidekicker recently moved to a fully containerised approach to deploying software. I thought it would be a good idea to write about why we did it, and how it sets us up for the long run.