Kevin C. Tofel

Defeated by the elves

Published on December 11, 2022

I know when I'm beaten and this week, I was beaten. I surrendered to Santa's elves after just a few days during the Advent of Code. No more stars for me. At least not for a while; I can always go back and tackle the coding challenges in the future.

I had high hopes initially, even knowing that my limited JavaScript skills didn't fully prepare me. And I'm satisfied that I was able to complete both parts of the first few daily challenges. Not only were my existing skills tested, but I added some new ones.

The first JavaScript course at Launch School doesn't teach you how to fully use Node.js, for example. So when I had to read in a data file for each challenge, I learned how to use Node's file system functions

Javascript code using Node for file I/O

All in all, I consider this year's Advent of Code meager participation a win. Anytime I can push boundaries and learn more is a good thing.

My personal brain dump of JavaScript

Speaking of learning things, I previously mentioned the use of Dendron for my JavaScript preparation notes. This VS Code extension is great for writing Markdown notes in a structured hierarchy. This week I learned how to publish my notes on a GitHub Pages site using a Next.js template and the Dendron CLI.

I had this running on my local machines last week. Now it's out on the web; at least for now. I may change my notes to private in the future. Until I do, you can see how it works right here.

I only got the publishing aspect working very late last night. So the "home" page is a filler template that I need to customize. More important is the left sidebar showing my note hierarchy.

Null in JavaScript

And the built-in search bar is awesome: Start with a "/" (no quotes) and begin to type JavaScript, Arrays, infinity, variables, or some other keyword. Watch the quick and accurate results!

Best of all is a GitHub Action I have for this repository of notes. Whenever I commit new notes to GitHub, it automatically rebuilds the site with the latest brain dump!

So long Insta?

This week I also downloaded all of my Instagram data. I haven't closed my account yet but I'm considering it. This morning, I created a new account at, which is one of a few Pixelfed servers.

My account on Metapixl

Yup, this is part of the same Fediverse as Mastodon.

In fact, using Mastodon, I can follow others on Pixelfed instances, which is slick. I'm still working through how all the Fedviers pieced connect and play together from a workflow standpoint. There's always more to learn!

In fact, that's one of the driving forces that keeps me happy and sane. I try not to let a single day go by without learning something new. It's a mantra that I've included in most of my adult life and it has served me well. Maybe it's one that can do the same for you.

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