One of the factors that delayed me publishing more posts over the last twelve months has been the vast amount of yak shaving that I’ve had to embark on. Yak shaving, if you aren’t already familiar with the term, is the process of starting a job, but then realise that to complete it you have to first complete a separate job. And this process can escalate.

I think it’s best encapsulated by this Malcolm in the Middle clip:

Yak Shaving


For me, wanting a better way of noticing that my smart heating system device batteries were running low lead me to buy a Raspberry Pi. Then to try moving the OS from an SD card to a USB SSD (because, developer), to installing home automation software on it, to learning Python, to submitting pull requests for Python libraries.

Similarly, even the process of getting this blog on the web has involved a considerable amount of yak shaving. I’ve got my own domains and web server plan, so I had to find a blog platform to deploy. I settled on Das Blog, as it’s built using dotnet, and they have a version that is being migrated to dotnet Core, which struck me as a good learning opportunity. That has lead to me finding some bugs that directly impact my blog posts, so I’ve raised some issues, and  submitted some pull requests to fix those. At the time of writing this, the code sampled in my posts aren’t being displayed correctly, so I’m attempting to fix that.

I mention this as it feels eerily reminiscent of working as a developer; you get given a task, you estimate it will take x weeks. The more work you do on it, the more work you discover is required before you can complete the original task. And that’s why x weeks often ends up being 3x weeks!

So, I haven’t just been a little slack with these posts, I’ve been yak shaving!

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