It’s been a good summer so far. Some things I’ve been up to:


I got annoyed that I couldn’t find a decent GUI for systemd services, so I built one:

It was partially an excuse to experiment with ratatui for terminal UIs in Rust, and I think I like it quite a bit. ratatui gives you tools you need to do immediate-mode rendering efficiently, but the broad strokes of your application’s architecture are up to you.

Gardening + Patio

I spent more time than usual on our little outdoor space. Lots of flowers, a new planter, pressure washing, etc.

I’ve organized a fair number of get-togethers/dinners on the patio, it’s been really nice meeting new people and catching up with people who I haven’t seen since before the pandemic.

New ‘Puter

I finally took the plunge and bought a Framework Laptop:

Intel’s multicore performance has gotten a lot better in recent generations, so I figured I could replace my desktop for Rust work. So far, so good!

I like the hardware a lot. There were some teething pains getting Linux working properly, but that kinda comes with the territory.

I recently participated in the Handmade Network Visibility Jam and built a tool that I’d been wanting for my own use:

In a nutshell, Escape Artist shows ANSI escape sequences that are normally invisible. It’s kinda like View Source for the terminal; my hope is that it will be useful for anyone working on shells and terminal applications.

Tech Stack

Escape Artist is primarily written in Rust, using Axum to serve up a web UI using Tailwind+Preact. Events get streamed to the front-end over a websocket. I took great pains to keep the front-end simple; nearly all business logic lives in the Rust back-end, there is no front-end build step, and all dependencies are bundled with the application.

Escape Artist compiles down to a single-file 1.8MB executable, and nearly half of that is Tailwind and an embedded font.

Lessons Learned

Parsing escape sequences out of a stream of bytes is remarkably tricky. Thankfully the vte crate does most of the heavy lifting for us.

This minimal approach to web UI was generally pretty nice! I occasionally ran into a bit of trouble wrangling JS libraries that assume everyone is using NPM, React, and a bundler like webpack, but overall it wasn’t too bad.

I ended up needing to roll my own tooltip solution using Floating UI, and… wow. Their introductory tutorial is one of the best I’ve ever seen for a library in any language.

Recently on

Hot new web 1.0 features

I find working on my personal website to be soothing. It’s one of those never-ending projects in a good way, and I work on it in small bursts of energy whenever I have the time and inspiration. I’ve added a handful of new features in recent months and, uh, I’m sorry.

Some of these features are an attempt to revisit the glory that was the Geocities-era web; you might have noticed the glittery cursor trail (based on the excellent cursor-effects), or the animated snowy background that only shows up in December.

I’ve added custom emoji that I can easily use throughout the website (with Hugo shortcodes), here’s a small sample:

I use a lot of custom emoji on Slack and Discord; adding them to my website was the logical next step. I’ve also been toying with the idea of letting readers emoji-react to my blog posts but haven’t quite come up with a design I’m happy with. Speaking of emoji…

Whoa, what’s this?
I also added these, uh, Socratic dialogue bubbles between me and arbitrary emoji heads. These are heavily inspired by “Cool Bear” but with more characters because why not?
Got it. I’m sure everyone will love this and nobody will find it annoying.

These features are pretty dumb and they’d never make it past design review in the real world. In a way, that’s the point. Let’s make websites fun again.

Why Nushell?

We can do better than POSIX

I work on a command-line shell called Nushell (Nu for short) with some internet friends, and I think it’s pretty cool. To convince you that it’s cool (or at least worth a try), here’s a whirlwind tour.

Basic Querying

Let’s start by taking a look around the filesystem. We’ll use ls to take a look at the files in /usr/bin:


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