Stable Sort

The personal blog of Andrew Quinn.

Consulting available under the business name Siilikuin. For inquiries please email my first name at

My Finnish language learning setup: September 2023


I continue to slowly, leisurely study Finnish on my own time, when I manage to find it after my day job and family life. I already live in Finland, but I currently work here as a software team lead, which is a famously English-dominant industry. So I don’t feel any particular urgency – but I’ve already started down this path, and I’d like to be able to talk fluently with my relatives and in-laws one day, and it’s good productive fun besides.

Thoughts on 29


I turned 29 today, in this, the year of Our Lord 2023. I don’t have any particularly profound thoughts on 29. It’s a liminal year - next year I’ll be 30, hopefully with a kid in tow, I mostly see this year as continued preparatory work for when I finally have a family to call my own. But even though they’re prosaic, I do have a lot of things I’m quite proud of either doing or continuing this year, which I would like to share here, in roughly descending order.

Working Effectively With the Modern Shell


These slides live at A more normal HTML version @ What I hope you leave with Use fzf Use zsh (minimum) Learn (some) vi tldr »= gpt »= man who am i hey i’m andrew 🇪🇺🇱🇷 => 🇮🇪🇺🇸 -> 🇫🇮 northwestern grad 2020 - bs in ee + minor in math devops by day fullstack+ai by night (best w/ django/htmx) why the shell? composability complexity speed on speed 0.

AI bounties revisited


The recent news of ChatGPT plugins has me waxing nostalgic about the days when I lived in the United States, studying electrical engineering and equal parts furious and depressed that AGI might well destory the world before I ever get myself properly settled in it. Ah, the glory days… Well, I’m doing a lot better now, both psychologically and emotionally. Having a beautiful wife and a full time job does wonders for the soul!

Hugo :: Netlify -> Azure


Recently my fzf post went really, really viral on Hacker News! This touched off a virtuous cycle where I was also featured in the TL;DR Newsletter, which I’m pretty sure is AI-generated? I digress. This was an exciting thing to see, except for the fact that Netlify is now banging on my door asking me for $110 in surprise bandwidth costs. Yeah, yeah, I know. Nobody expects the SaaS Inquisition. I humbly submit tht, as an ops guy, I should know better than anyone to keep things as braindead as possible - and Netlify is an absolutely, delightfully braindead option for me.

Copilot in the shell with Ctrl+X, Ctrl+E


A tiny convenience I recently discovered: Hitting Ctrl+X, Ctrl+E in a terminal window will put your command into your text editor so you can massage your commands. I often have long ansible or kubectl commands I want to either run, or insert slashes into to put into my company’s internal documentation. I do it here with vi (badly!), but there’s nothing stopping you from customizing things so you can do it with whatever floats your boat by setting the $EDITOR flag in your .

So you've installed `fzf`. Now what?


Software engineers are, if not unique, then darn near unique in the ease with which we can create tools to improve our own professional lives; this however can come at a steep cost over time for people who constantly flit back and forth between different tools without investing the time to learn their own kit in depth. As someone with a healthy respect for the tacit knowledge of people better than me, I think a great 80/20 heuristic is “Learn the oldies first”: venerable Unix tools like cat, ls, cd, grep, and cut.

How I Learn Things


The TL;DR’s TL;DR Read books. Not too fast. Use Anki. TL;DR Pick something to learn from the learning queue. Is it useful, given my current ambitions? If no, delay. Is it easy, given what I already know? If no, delay. Is it cool, given what I currently find cool? If no, delay. Read a book on it. Take Anki card notes, chapter by chapter. While actively reading: Review 10 new Anki cards, per book chapter, per day.
This blog's cloc:
Language                     files          blank        comment           code
Markdown                        17            143              0            825
HTML                             6             11             11             72
CSS                              1             13             20             65
TOML                             2             24             34             56
YAML                             1              3              3             39
Bourne Shell                     1              3              2              6
SUM:                            28            197             70           1063