I did my project proposal and started on the first phase I’d planned–adding the translation spreadsheet entries for Attempto Controlled English, which is a restricted form of English that a computer can interpret and translate into logical structures. I thought it would be fairly straightforward, but there turned out to be several issues that made me question my plan, which I’ll write about next time.
In the process of understanding the complications in my process, I came to a new appreciation for writing as a problem solving tool–specifically journaling. If you open a file or a page (or a voice recorder, if talking is more your thing) and treat it as a conversation partner as you work, not only can it help you break your work into more manageable pieces and think through it more carefully, but it can make your work feel less lonely too. I actually felt like I had a companion in my project who was interested in my work and could help me figure things out. I know this won’t work the same way for everyone, or maybe not right away, but it’s a practice worth trying, and I’ll be using it a lot more.
I got a Fitbit for Christmas, which I’d put on my wish list so I’d have more objective information about my sleep habits, and maybe I’d get around to some exercise too. It was immediately motivating on exercise, because I saw that my heart rate was consistently 10-20 beats faster than I thought it should be. I also want to stop my weight from creeping upward and try again to improve my cholesterol, so last week I returned to the MyNetDiary app I was using a while back, and I’m wading back into the TLC diet, just the basics for now until I come up with a more detailed plan. I paid for MyNetDiary premium to integrate it with my Fitbit, and apparently I’m more susceptible to gamification than I thought, because the combination of these apps has captured my attention much better than any of my earlier fitness attempts, so 2020 may be the year of the quantified Andy.
My Goodreads currently-reading list is getting kind of long, so I’m focusing my listening to get some books off the list and make it manageable again, and last week I finished Pomodoro Technique Illustrated, a conversational guide to using this well-known productivity method. I’m using the PomoDone app, and I’ve still only carried out the most minimal steps and not very consistently, but overall I’d say it’s pushed me to be more focused and productive that I would be on my own, and I’m going to try to practice it more fully.
Documenting your software for other developers can be a big problem, and it’s one I care about a lot. Last week I finished Cyrille Martraire’s Living Documentation, an excellent collection of techniques for capturing and presenting all kinds of knowledge buried in your organization’s minds and in its code, using both human processes and automated ones. I’m looking forward to experimenting with them and especially integrating what I pick up from my modeling research.
I was in the mood for October-in-January last week, so I made a playlist of dark winter ambient music and, while that was playing, played another playlist of snowstorm videos. With the ominous playlist in the background, the bridge video in the blizzard list made me feel like I was watching a creepypasta and I would witness something strange and bad if I waited long enough, which of course I didn’t because the video was meant to be relaxing. Actually some of the music was also rather soothing.