Avi Flax

Aphantasia: yes, it’s a thing

Just now, while writing a presentation with my Mac, I typed “aphantasia” and noticed that the spell-checker flagged it as an unknown word/spelling.

This made me chuckle. I’m used to having to explain aphantasia to humans — so why shouldn’t I have to teach my computer about it too!

It was first described in 1880; it’s really a thing! And yes, I really have it.

I’m still blown away by how compellingly Blake Ross described it:

I have never visualized anything in my entire life. I can’t “see” my father’s face or a bouncing blue ball, my childhood bedroom or the run I went on ten minutes ago. I thought “counting sheep” was a metaphor. I’m 30 years old and I never knew a human could do any of this.

Screenshot of a draft of this post open in the Micro.blog app on MacOS, showing the word “aphantasia” with a red squiggly underline, indicating that the computer has flagged it as an unknown or misspelled word.

New release of the FC4 Framework adds ability to render to SVG

I’ve published a new release of FC4, a FLOSS framework for authoring & maintaining C4 software architecture diagrams.

This release adds the ability to render diagrams to SVG in addition to (and even simultaneously with) PNG.

Thanks to Mike Fiedler for the feature request and to Simon Brown for Structurizr and Structurizr Express!

Before, during, and after the lower east side pickle festival!

That’s quite a station car.

On a lark, I just installed Lynx and used it to view the homepage of the FC4 Framework. It looked great! I got a real kick out of this; it took me way back. I was also pleased to see that the structure and content of the page worked well when represented in plain text.

Screenshot of the homepage of the FC4 Framework loaded in Lynx in a MacOS (10.14 Mojave) Terminal window.

I just released a new version of FC4, a FLOSS framework for authoring, publishing, and maintaining C4 software architecture diagrams.

The (abbreviated) highlights:

  • Rendering multiple diagrams is faster and more efficient
  • The versioning scheme has changed to work better with Homebrew

The release notes contain more details, including upgrading instructions.

I’d welcome any feedback you’d care to share!

Anyone else use an iPad with an external keyboard (Bluetooth in my case) and found that Safari is really flaky when it comes to responding to keyboard shortcuts? Maybe there’s some kind of focus thing I’m missing, but I’ve been really annoyed by this apparent bug.

I just used Proporti.onl to estimate the gender distribution of my Twitter followers and those I follow, based on their profile descriptions or first names. It’s not great: 1% non-binary, 36% women, 62% men. I’m gonna work on this.

I’ve been playing around with the recently upgraded @GitHub Actions and it was surprisingly easy to port some CircleCI jobs. Some intriguing features!

(The jobs are a little slower, but I suspect that’s largely due to the lack of dependency caching, and they’re working on that.)

Screenshot of this run of GitHub Actions: https://github.com/FundingCircle/fc4-framework/runs/205850664

As someone who likes both beer and kombucha, I thought I might like this. And I was right. Good stuff!

This is amazing: noparkinghere.com

/via @daveliepmann

Screenshot of Web essay at noparkinghere.com

Don’t tell my kid — I’m selling our Mini. She is NOT happy. 😅

App idea: Reliable Regular Reminders. Pops up reminders reliably at the designated time — daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, etc — and each “instance” of each reminder is supplanted by the following “instance”.

(Yeah, I’m really frustrated with the iOS Reminders app.)

Interesting idea came up in a recent chat with a colleague: that remote members of hybrid teams need on-site allies to speak up on their behalf, to make sure in-person meetings are recorded, or notes are shared; to address A/V issues; to invite them to ad-hoc meetings, etc.

First text message from the kid 😂

This is amazing — the authors of the tool Kodiak documented the differences between it and 13 alternatives in an extremely clear table. I ❤️this!

I stumbled downstairs this morning to find the kid (6) playing a math game on her device! 😮🥳

Idea: a feedback escrow service

I ❤️ git hooks, but I’m happier now that I’ve converted my pre-commit hook to a pre-push hook. Turns out I like to commit often, even — especially — when the work is still a mess — and clean it up before pushing. This new setup lets me stay in the flow!

US citizens/residents: if, like me, you’re giving Amazon more of your hard-earned money today or tomorrow during their contrived day of consumption, please join me in giving matching donations to RAICES or any org working to help immigrants and refugees at our southern border.


See You Yesterday is a wonderful film. Moving, fun, intriguing, and exciting. Highly recommended!

Just published my highlights from the wonderful Write the Docs Portland 2019 conference — I’m super grateful that this conference exists and I was able to attend!


I’m trying out Vale to lint my prose, and I’m feeling super called out here… 😱

Screenshot of results of running Vale on the homepage of the FC4 Framework, showing 0 errors, 6 warnings, and 0 suggestions via the write-good style. Of those 6 warnings, 2 are TooWordy, 3 are Passive, and 1 is Weasel.