- Modular quick-release camera strap
- Brain filters and how people see software
- Vision therapy: Part Three
I'm pre-committing to kicking out at least a dozen blog posts by the end of the year (I am not going to hit this target 😬). Comments still available via Isso and the Grav JSComments plugin.
We're swinging into fall. It's getting dark in the evening and the temperature is dropping. I deeply enjoy summer, so I have some regrets but the cooler weather will be nice for kayaking.
Running is going fairly well. Since I'm without a gym until I finish the drywall and floor repairs, I've been running every day.I can see why people get addicted to it. Aiming to get comfortable enough with my physique to run shirtless so I can also get vitamin D.
I started vision therapy earlier in the year for refractive amblyopia. My hope is to improve some chronic issues I've had like depth perception and object tracking inconsistency. I posted a second update on progress in March. I'm working on a third post with new exercises and a progress update.
I went carnivore in October 2018 as an intervention for chronic health issues. So far, for me, it's the best nutrition approach I've yet tried. It was a logical next step after restricted AIP wasn't as successful for me anymore. My staples are grass-fed beef products and pasture-raised eggs. I try to mix in organ meats as frequently as I can. I'm supplementing raw egg shells with each meal as a source of calcium (among other things) and it seems to be helping.
Still working on Ward, the sequel to Worm, which is somehow longer than the first book. I had a really hard time getting through the first 15% of the novel. It's different enough from the first that it's taking a lot of energy to get into it. I am less engaged with the main protagonist. It's started to pick up after the conclusion of the first arc, though.
I've been working my way through The Daily Stoic for the past year. I have not kept a regularly page-a-day schedule very well, and the content itself is pretty shallow, but it's been helpful as a motivational philosophical text.
- Working in Public - Covers the process of open source software creation and collaboration from the perspective of working in public. It's a bit focused on GitHub (since that's the author's primary experience), but there are some interesting conceptual framings (e.g., user and contributor growth axes and the four types of projects: federations, clubs, stadiums, and toys). I think it correctly points to that, in most projects, contributions tend to come from a relatively small, core group of dedicated people and that maintainer attention is one of the most important resources. As open source work tends to be intrinsically motivated, sucking the fun out of it for maintainers by overwhelming them with extractive interactions from the Internet public is a big problem. GitHub's popularity and low friction to participate has made the problem much worse.
- Racing the Beam - The first book of MIT Press's Platform Studies series (which attempts to study platforms from both the technical and cultural perspectives) about the Atari VCS. I really enjoyed I Am Error (about the NES) and this one is also highly rated. I found it a weaker book, though, as it lacks both technical sufficient technical details for my taste and the clear explanations of I Am Error. It was interesting, though, and makes an especially effective set-up for I Am Error with the NES coming on the heels of the early-1980s video game crash.
- The Tragedy of American Compassion - It argues government-sponsored welfare programs have toxic incentives, neglect individual needs, and crowd out private charity that would be more effective in helping improve life for the poor. It develops its thesis through a historical overview of charity and giving in the US. The premise is interesting, though the cultural drift since 1992, when the book was first published, makes its suggested cultural and policy interventions even less feasible than they were then.
- Worm - This was an emotional journey (and long!). I went into it with zero expectations and was hardly able to put it down for the five weeks it took me to finish it. Well-written, engaging, interesting plot, good characters with interesting arcs. It's on my strong recommend list next to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.
- Books one and two of Karl K. Gallagher's Fall of the Censor series. Very good stuff. He describes it as more space opera than the harder scifi of his (also excellent) Torchship Trilogy, which is apt. These made me almost as mad as the Aristillus books! Book three is expected out this summer.
- The Three-Body Problem - Science fiction by a Chinese author (Liu Cixin). Very conflicted on this one as I can't decide whether I love or hate it. I won't elaborate more for fear of spoilers.
- Boundaries - There are some useful concepts in it, like the main types of boundary problems (The Compliant, The Controller, The Nonresponsive, The Avoidant) and how these problems tend to play out in relationships, but the book reads a bit like a reference-heavy humanities text with Bible verses cited several times a page. This isn't bad per se, but the text could stand to be cut down in length. Overall I found a lot of good information in the book.
- The Righteous Mind - Jonathan Haidt's treatise on social intuitionism and his moral foundations theory. I read this as part of a book club in a local meetup group. In the first half of the book, Haidt outlines social intuitionism, "how people's beliefs come primarily from their intuitions, and rational thought often comes after to justify initial beliefs," and the rationalist delusion. This is good material for me, as someone interested in proselytizing rationalism, to better understand how people really interact with belief. The second half of the book outlines the moral intuitions theory, which I found rather less compelling than the first half.
- Diamond Age - Another good entry from Stephenson. I wish I hadn't take so long to get around to reading it. Really strong part one, though the climax and ending stumble a bit. I went into this with very little priming on the plot and really enjoyed it.
- Revisiting Brandon Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive series. This is one I violated my policy about waiting for series to be finished before starting. I re-read The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, then finished book 2.5, Edgedancer, Oathbringer, and Dawnshard. Recently completed Rhythm of War. Really excellent series. Very recommended for fantasy fans. Sanderson is very good at his work.
- The Children of the Sky - Direct sequel to Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. I did not enjoy this as much the first book. It's all set-up with no payoff. More intrigue than world building and the intrigue struck me as a bit silly with overly villainous bad guys. We're still awaiting a concluding volume from Vinge, so it's difficult to offer a recommendation either way.
- I Am Error - Nathan Altice's excellent overview of history and technology of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). There's something about computers from the 80s that I find deeply fascinating. Machines of the era straddle between the wizardry of analog electronics and commoditized general computing hardware of more recent times. The book goes in detail on limiting features of the NES and how different games worked around them, both in software and hardware. The book is part of the Platform Studies series that aims to fuse a technical overview with historical and cultural details. This approach risks satisfying neither detail-desiring engineers nor humanities-types more interested in the cultural context, but I found the balance struck here reasonable. Recommended if you have any interest in older computing or video game platform.
- Fire Upon the Deep - First book of Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought trilogy. I went into this with no expectations other than "hard science fiction", which I think is probably the right way to approach it. Really enjoyed it.
- The Powers of the Earth and Causes of Separation - Books 1 and 2 of the Aristillus series by Travis J. Corcoran. I Kickstarted these years ago and finally got around to reading them. Great modern take on The Moon is a Harsh Mistress with a nice helping of L. Neil Smith thrown in.
- The System of the World - 3rd volume of the Baroque Cycle. Highly recommended, along with his other works.
- Starsailing - Speculative overview of solar sail technologies for inter-system and interstellar travel. More geared towards convincing 1980s NASA to take on a solar sail project than the details of the technology than I would've liked.
I work remotely in the contact center of a major national boating retailer as the Manager, CX and Workforce Analytics. My work primarily involves reporting automation (mostly Python) and data wrangling, building forecasting and payroll models, workforce planning, managing the Customer Care Operations team, and IT administration. I'm automating everything I can.
I recently took on a significant portion of work from our departing Workforce Analyst: a mess of Excel spaghetti, EoLed ODBC connections, MS Access programs, undocumented Python scripts, and Alteryx flows. The hand-off was frustrating and so is the work. I've made some progress eliminating, streamlining, and automating as much of it as I can until they can rehire the role.