WSL drama with hibernation

WSL is a first-party feature that allows you to run a Linux environment within Windows. It’s one of the key factors in solving for my ideal personal computing device:

  • Ultra-light, compact, with a decent keyboard: Thinkpad X1 Nano
  • Supports games I want to play: Windows
  • Functional power management: I couldn’t get it to work with Linux
  • Linux/Unix-like environment: WSL

So it was really disappointing when Vmmem (the main process for WSL) would occasionally peg the CPU at 100% out-of-the-blue, causing the fan to spin up loudly and slowing everything else down to a crawl. Running wsl --shutdown worked sometimes, but other times I had to resort to rebooting the computer.

Reading through this thread on Github, I learned that I wasn’t alone – WSL has a propensity to kick up an insatiable fuss when made to live through a hibernation. A fellow netizen offered the workaround of disabling the hibernate feature altogether, but this did not satisfy me, having grown accustomed to the Mac’s excellent power management.

Instead, I took a behavioural approach to working around this – shutting down WSL before putting the computer to sleep/hibernate, and putting up with fresh shell sessions when I come back.

It seemed okay at first, and felt like I’d adapted, but it took getting to a somewhat permanent solution for me to realise how much of a toll this adaptation really took. All the mental overhead of babysitting WSL through sleeps/hibernates, not being able to simply “pick up where I left off”, and keeping on top of saving my work because I never know when a reboot might be needed to temper its tantrum.

With the fix, it is now a non-issue. Seamless, almost magical, with zero consideration or effort directed to WSL – as it should have been from the very start.

When “just” belittles

Since coming across Just Don’t more than a month ago, I’ve become more conscious of my usage of “just”. For example, “Why don’t you just get over it?” Which I would follow up with an attempt to remedy: “… sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that it would be an easy thing to do.

Personal takeaway from the post:

"Just" (or: merely, simply, etc.) has the effect of "representing as a small thing" the action that follows it. In other words, it belittles or downplays the difficulty of the action.

A little test that I’d come up with is to tack on “…, how hard could it be?” whenever I say “just” and see if it makes me want to punch myself.

  • I’ll just drop it off on my way to work, how hard could it be?
  • You should just forget about the whole thing, how hard could it be?

Turns out, “just” is mostly wonderful when used on myself (true to my heritage that lauds self-deprecation), but much less so when used on others.

I doubt it’ll ever be one of those things I’d care to call anyone else out on, but it’s been satisfying to notice my own unconscious belittling and make an effort to correct for it. In most of the instances where I’d doubled back, the “just” was genuinely unintentional; and in instances where they weren’t, well, I should just be doing less of it anyway, how hard could it be?

Moving from Digital Ocean to Hetzner

I spent the afternoon migrating a bunch of personal services from a Digital Ocean Droplet to a Hetzner Cloud Server. The difference is pretty significant.

Digital Ocean DropletHetzner Cloud Server
Memory2 GB2 GB
Storage (SSD)50 GB40 GB
Traffic (per month)2 TB20 TB
LocationSingaporeUS West
Price (per month)12 USD4.54 USD (4.24 EUR)

For just ~37% of the cost of a Droplet, I get double the vCPUs and 10 times the traffic allowance.

There’s a little less storage out of the box, but an extra 10GB will cost 0.5 USD/mo. Also, there’s the difference of being located in US West instead of Singapore which increases the latency when SSH’ing from Australia, but this is largely factored away with most of the traffic being served through Cloudflare.

More importantly, by retiring the old Droplet, I’ve been able to continue running my personal services on one CPX11 instance, spin up an additional CPX11 solely for my Mastodon instance and still have some change to spare.

Empathic joy

Happier than if something great happened to me

Empathic joy is when a person derives pleasure from the good fortune of others. 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.

Sneaky peek

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.