2023 TIL

May 21

  • Lichess.org is one of the most popular free online chess websites. Its backend called Lila (Libre/live + scala) is in Scala, and it's FOSS!
  • Ding Liren is this year's grand chess master, and the first ever hailing from China. He was considered an underdog. He had a tough time leading up to the tournament match: lots of pressure, a breakup from his girlfriend, his prep games getting leaked to his future opponents, and thoughts of retiring from chess if he loses. One thing that kept him going was a quote from Albert Camus:
    • If you can't win, you have to resist... The is that is that if you see that you cannot win, do everything in your power to resist.

    • Source: El Pais
    • Reading this story gave me a renewed appreciation for chess, as well as validation in my emotional and mental struggles with work this past half-year -- I excelled last year, was rejected recognition I thought I deserved, felt incompetent for not getting it and simultaneously having a hard time with a new project, and (mostly self-inflicted) pressure to do more under new management. I made a new long-term goal to retire early, or at least work part time or a relatively chill job by age 40. I don't think (and I don't hope) I'll fully regain my resolve to keep rising the ranks in the corporate ladder. If I get another promotion, it's a nice bonus; but I will do my best not to get attached to the idea again. But I felt some kinship in this world-class chess player who felt hopeless and wanted to quit despite his incredible skills. I'm not saying I'm a world-class software engineer, but I know I don't give myself enough credit, and I shouldn't feel like I'm simply treading water. I am doing well. The only person who says I am not is the devil in my head. I need to resist it!

January 23

  • A retroactive post: NPS Solovair has the original Doc Martens manufacturers. Worth checking out if I'm in the market for those kinds of boots again.