Weeknote for 8/7/2022

Productivity

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I began looking at ways to implement my productivity system in Notion. I chose three processes from the system to focus on, and I began describing the first one, task management, which I currently do in Nirvana. This week I’ll finish describing how that process works and explore how I might create a Notion version of it.

Programming

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Patterns of Software by Richard P. Gabriel took me on a welcome side trip through programming philosophy. It’s a loose collection of essays on a cluster of themes centered around the author’s career in software development. I was interested because it seemed like a unique and thoughtful big-picture look at patterns in software development. And other than maybe the long autobiography toward the end, the book didn’t disappoint.

It started off with a bang with a foreword by Christopher Alexander, the patterns architect himself. After that the book gave me a better picture of Alexandrian patterns and reinforced my sense they were deep water worth exploring. I was especially struck by the point that patterns are about promoting a certain quality of vitality and not just generically solving common problems. Another essay drew some intriguing and useful parallels between natural language and software design. Later essays made arguments about programmer productivity and product success that I found rather depressing at first, but on a second reading I saw them less as an attack on me personally and more as a look at systemic issues in the software industry and at the nature of design and the market. Gabriel even persuaded me I should study poetry for the lessons it can teach on writing prose. It’s a book worth revisiting.

Music

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I’ve been making a playlist of reflective muted piano music. It’s a style I run across occasionally, notably in Thomas Newman soundtracks, but outside of those it’s not easy to find examples. So I’m collecting them. It’s great background music for writing. And some of it will get added to my playlist for contemplative dusk walks.

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