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I recently learned of “prutsen”, a Dutch word meaning “to fiddle around”. In a lot of ways, I think it encompasses a lot of how I approach some of my computer diversions.

For example, this website, at the time of writing, has 135 commits on it. With a total of five published posts, and most of my posts being written within a commit or two, much of the work being done on this site is cosmetic. For example, tweaking CSS indentation or ensuring the RSS feed contains the entire content of the post.

Likewise, my dotfiles sit at a healthy 910 commits currently. I recently went through a bit of a dotfile purge that added quite a few of those, but in general, tweaking my dotfiles has been a hobby for the better part of a decade.

Prutsen gives me a name for all this tweaking and fiddling — so cathartic!


Update: After this post I truly could not remember where I had found “prutsen” in the first place. I finally found it: Do Inhabit, by Sue Fan and Danielle Quigley.

From the book:

This Dutch word translates loosely to doing something of very little significance that only looks like work, or tinkering.

Page 11, Do Inhabit

Good to know where it originally came from!