Compass | 2023 Feb 5-11

Got a good PR merged this week. It turned out to be fairly straightforward and apparently leads to a 6x speed up in reading the network graph. The heavy lifting to make this possible was mainly done in a prior PR introducing a certain type. Just recognizing that this could lead to a significant speed up was really the key element. Nevertheless, I was happy to help out and do the leg work to make this change.

An important takeaway for me here was noticing how the nature of this issue/change affected the flow of development. The first PR I made on rust-lightning took around 2 weeks to land, and I felt like by the end it was such a menial change. This latest PR landed in a day and it felt like it was meaningfully helpful. I think I can be more helpful and contribute more if I can find more issues like this where the value add is very clear, and I understand it well. It won’t always be as fast and straightforward like this one and that’s totally fine, but I think directing my effort towards the right issues can help a lot.

Leveling up

I am continuously getting better at editing in helix, and using git. Becoming more skilled is really satisfying. It’s not only more fun because I feel more like a hacker, but it’s just really helpful.

Still considering switching to NeoVim but I’m struggling with the setup whereas Helix I feel like I picked it up pretty fast without too much friction.

Staying humble

I read in an interview with Zero Fee Routing about how being able to “overpay” a payment across multiple routes and only have the recipient be able to claim the intended amount would really help increase routing success rate. It really seems like a great idea, and for a moment I got excited by the thought of being the one to develop this into a proposal to add to the protocol. Apparently there’s a proposal somewhere but it doesn’t seem super official or anything (update: turns out there is a pretty cool paper on it, Boomerang Payments!). I came to the conclusion however, that I’m getting ahead of myself. As much as I would like to make a splash in the community and contribute real change, I am not ready to do something like that. My focus right now should really be to understand as much as I can about lightning development. My ultimate goal is to help Bitcoin and lightning as much as I can, and I believe the best way for me to do this is to continue to grow as a contributor. Even if it’s slow and takes time, to know what is the best way I can direct my effort is more important than doing something novel and impressing people, and I still have a while before I can be really productive and understand well where to add value.