- Modular quick-release camera strap
- Brain filters and how people see software
- Vision therapy: Part Three
Summer weather is here and the temperature is fine. I crave the heat.
I didn't hit my physique goals for shirtless running (so I can also get vitamin D while running) but I decided to YOLO it anyway. I recently also picked up trail running, which is much more enjoyable than running on the road. It adds some variety and a nice touch of both agility and strength to the workout to navigate Central Texas's uneven, rocky trails. The constant low-level risk is also fairly bracing.
I started vision therapy 2021 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. Therapy has been put on hold due to other health focuses.
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 and am working to experiment with more here (I tried lamb sweetbreads recently, which are great). I'm supplementing raw egg shells with each meal as a source of calcium (among other things) and it seems to be helping.
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.
We finally rehired the Workforce Analyst position I was covering, but hired a fairly junior (though motivated) person, so onboarding has been a lot of lift. Better a smart, motivated junior than a capped-out person with more domain experience, though.
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. Been working at it for a year and only a little more than halfway through. This has killed a lot of my progress with reading this year.
Finally sitting down and reading It Starts With Food fully instead of skimming various selections.
- 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.