Update for 3/5/2017
- Code console – I looked into documentation practices a little more, but right now this project is on hold for a bit while I catch up on the next one.
- Public coding guide – Writing helps me clarify my thoughts, keeps them moving, and lets me share them with others, so I’m documenting my process of revising my programming practices in a guide that I’ll post on the wiki sometime this week, a guide for moving from programming for oneself to programming for other users. So far I’ve written most of the introduction, and even though the code console isn’t in a usable state, I’ll want to post what I have on GitHub soon so I can link to it from the guide, since it’ll be one of the main ways I document my new practices. Once the guide has reached the stage of development I’m at in the code console, I’ll go back to working on the console, which is why I’m starting the guide now when that gap is small.
- Knowledge representation – I’m almost done with the book’s lengthy part one, but I’m going to put this on hold too until I’m where I want to be with the coding guide.
- Computer hardware – I got around to installing the new RAM into my desktop (8 G for a total of 14), which was easier than I expected, and it does feel zippier now, so it was a good idea. I also tried out my video adapter connecting my Surface to my desktop monitor so I can have two screens, and that worked well too, so now I have one less excuse not to stream.
- Nostalgia box – I bought a long reach stapler, so now I can easily and somewhat cheaply make my own custom notebooks to use for experimenting, practicing, and making small projects for the box. I’m still on February’s project, which is an experiment with a very nonlinear presentation of a random concept map in a 16-page booklet–illustrated, if I have time, and I hope I do, because page after page of words in circles really isn’t that interesting to look at.
- Algorithms to Live By – This book is about what I call transferable concepts, ideas from one field you can apply to others, in this case from computer science to everyday life–some of the ideas specific, like keeping a cache of recently used items so they’re easy to find, and some more general, like the need for good-enough solutions when perfect ones would take too long to find. It doesn’t really contain math, and I think most people could make use of its advice, but it’s probably easier to understand for programmers and mathematicians, since even as a programmer I’ll have to reread some of the explanations. I’ve wanted to write about transferable skills in programming, maybe not a book, but now that Christian and Griffiths have written this one, and much better than I could at this point, I have a lot of jumping off points for further contemplation and research.
- The Divine Conspiracy – For some Lenten reading I’m starting with this book, which is an explication of the Sermon on the Mount with the aim of showing that the gospel involves actually following Jesus’ instructions and adopting the view of God and the world Jesus held that makes his instructions make sense. For me Dallas Willard is a mixture of important ideas I want to hold onto and annoying or odd supporting arguments I’d like to replace, and hearing the latter in this book is reminding me of how much I value detailed and nuanced philosophical discussion. Willard was a philosopher, but that wasn’t the purpose of this book, and I kind of wish it was.
- Watership Down – I’d heard of this book in passing, but I always thought of it as a sappy sibling to books like The Wind in the Willows (which I also haven’t read because the just about only talking animal stories I don’t avoid take place in Narnia) until I heard my boss talking about it last week with my coworker, who got him into it, and he was marveling that anyone could think of it as a children’s book and was making serious remarks about rabbit names and warrens and dictators, so I was intrigued, and I started it immediately after Algorithms. I haven’t gotten to anything really dark yet, but so far it’s just a normal story, and I don’t feel talked down to or sickened by sentimentality, and I also agree with my coworker that the audiobook reader is excellent.
- TV – Friday night I watched some of a video on YouTube from an old instructional TV program we watched in elementary school called The Book Bird, where a story was read to the audience while John Robbins drew a picture to illustrate it, which defined a large part of the way I’ve thought about artistic creation, as a magical unfolding, which is only reinforced whenever I watch skilled artists work. As I glanced through the related videos, I thought of one of my unsolved childhood mysteries, the identity of another show we used to watch about spacefaring puppets (but not “Pigs in Space”), and there in the list I saw title that sounded vaguely space related next to a show title I faintly remembered, “Vegetable Soup – Outerscope,” so I clicked, and there it was–a rickety wooden cone wandering through space, manned by puppets that were much creepier than I remember. And thanks to the intrepid cultural preservationists of YouTube, I can watch many episodes, along with the show’s other segments that I barely remember, if we watched them at all.
- Worship team – We’re out a pianist, so until our worship minister can work something out, I’m playing for an additional team, though during Lent it’ll probably be only that team, since we’ll be playing for both services and he kindly doesn’t want to overload me. I don’t really mind the extra weeks, since I’m hardly doing anything else at church these days and I feel pretty comfortable performing now, and even playing for both services isn’t too bad because the morning schedule has some natural breaks that give me a chance to work on things like this blog.
- Birthday – It’s Tuesday, which brings me to a most inappropriate 39, since I still feel about 20, which I’m sure explains some things. I don’t have any plans yet except opening March’s nostalgia box folder, even if I’m not done with February’s, because I put some nice things in there with my birthday in mind.
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