A blog on software engineering by Trevor Brown

Living Without a Smartphone

In January of 2020 I switched from a smartphone to a dumb phone. I purchased an Alcatel GO Flip 2 flip phone and, after a couple weeks of figuring out how to live without my smartphone, put my smartphone away in a box in the closet. I still own a smartphone but I only use it a couple times a year when I need to test something on a mobile app for work. While the transition wasn’t fun I think it was worth doing and things did get easier over time. It has been 14 months since I switched to a dumb phone exclusively, so I wanted to write a series of blog posts on the struggles of transitioning to a simpler phone and the benefits I have observed as a result.

image of my flip phone

Migration to OpalStack

In early October I got notified that WebFaction, the hosting company I was using, was migrating all accounts to tsoHost by June 2021. I had really liked WebFaction so I was disappointed to hear this. Then on October 16th WebFaction emailed me again saying that my account could not be migrated to tsoHost because I was using some WebFaction features that were not available on tsoHost. Because my account could not be migrated it would be closed by December 9th, 2020! This gave me less than 60 days to find a new hosting company and move all my sites over to it. I have about a dozen sites so it was going to take a while to get everything moved.

Performance of Elixir's System.get_env/0 Function

At work I was debugging a performance issue in one of our Elixir applications and stumbled across the strange implementation of Elixir’s System.get_env/0 function. In this blog post I’ll show how it caused performance issues for the application I was debugging and I’ll also propose a better implementation of the function. I’ll conclude by explaining why the better implementation is not used yet.