Category Archives: review

Weekly review: Week ending November 20, 2015

This week was a good week for learning more about coding. The Toronto Public Library hackathon turned out to be an excellent excuse to dig into geographic visualizations and user scripts, and I picked up a few search tips from the mentors there. My tiny hack for displaying branch search results on a map of neighbourhood libraries won the best idea prize at the hackathon, yay! I spent some time after the hackathon cleaning up my code and turning it into something I can use without having a server running. I’m starting to really like this practice of having lots of small tests, too – hooray for Jasmine! =) See my notes for more details.

Lots of Emacs-related stuff. Another edition of Emacs News, another Emacs Hangout, and lots of editing of the EmacsWiki. It’s a good community, and it’s nice to be able to help out.

Ups and downs, energy-wise, but W- thoughtfully stepped in with some mid-week cooking. He’s so awesome. I’ll probably take it easy for the next few weeks instead of tilting the balance towards consulting. Still, there’s plenty to do and plenty to learn. =)

2015-11-23a Week ending 2015-11-20 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (34.9h – 20%)
    • Earn (12.0h – 34% of Business)
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
      • Rewrite to use pg backend
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (18.0h – 51% of Business)
      • Drawing (2.8h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
      • Exploring neighbourhood libraries, and other notes from the Toronto Public Library Hackathon
      • Convert to client-side code
    • Connect (5.0h – 14% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.5h – 2%)
    • Meet with M
    • G.t.
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.9h – 7%)
    • Emacs (9.6h – 5% of all)
      • Do another Emacs News review
      • Announce Emacs Hangout
      • Host Emacs Hangout
      • Queue Emacs News updates
      • Fix refiling from agenda
      • Clock into existing or new task
      • Write about setup for e-mail
      • Figure out what’s going on with my org mode HTML export and targets
        • Update CUSTOM_ID in my config
      • Write starter guide for Emacs community
      • Write GetHelp page
      • Check out yaoddmuse – johnw
      • Tell Gnus to never show HTML mail
      • Do another Emacs News review
    • Catalogue filing cabinet
    • Set up rsync backup
    • Memorize pronouns
    • Re-memorize declensions
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (2.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (10.0h – 5%)
  • Personal routines (31.3h – 18%)
  • Unpaid work (11.2h – 6%)
  • Sleep (64.0h – 38% – average of 9.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 13, 2015

That was a very full week. Lots of coding!

The Toronto Public Library sent some pre-hackathon resources before the weekend’s event. I had fun going through the CSVs and data feeds available on the hackathon data page. The XML file was a little unwieldy and undocumented (20GB uncompressed), so I wrote a few scripts to explore the data. I’m looking forward to digging into that catalogue snapshot over the next few weeks, when things settle down a bit more.

I added some code to my Emacs config to make it easier to create, select, and clock in on tasks. Actually, most of the code was already there, I’d just forgotten it existed. As a result of the code, I’ve been tracking my time and planning my days in even more detail. It’s neat to have the task-level reminders of what I was working on that day, not just the high-level categories I’d been tracking through Quantified Awesome.

I’ve been updating the EmacsWiki too, thanks to requests from johnw and other community members. It’s nice to organize information and flesh out notes.

In terms of consulting, I’ve been working with NodeJS and Angular. Angular programming was a bit slow in the beginning since I hadn’t used it in a while, but every time I try it out, I become a little more comfortable with it. I’ve been getting the hang of using Jasmine to write automated tests for my command-line tools, too, which is a handy practice.

I sewed another peasant top, since they’re so comfortable. A couple more, and I’ll be set for the week.

Social-wise, I’m still feeling rather introverted. I’m okay with that, though, and I don’t want to push myself too far.

I tilted the balance towards work and coding a lot more this week. It was great for momentum, although I ended up being a little tired afterwards. Maybe something in between would be good. I felt like I didn’t get a lot of sleep, although my time records say I did. Maybe it was more about having a series of morning appointments? Anyway, something to play with next week. I’ll take this week a little easier, I think.

2015-11-16c Week ending 2015-11-13 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (37.8h – 22%)
    • Earn (32.1h – 84% of Business)
      • Rewrite to use pg backend
    • Build (4.7h – 12% of Business)
      • Drawing (2.6h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
      • Learn how to do a geographic visualization
      • Investigate library xml dump
      • Braindump: exploring neighbourhood libraries, and other notes from the Toronto Public Library Hackathon
      • Convert to client-side code
    • Connect (0.9h – 2% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.8h – 4%)
    • Have dimsum with family
    • Meet with M
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.1h – 4%)
    • Emacs (4.0h – 2% of all)
      • Organize Emacs Hangout
      • Update missing podcast episode
      • Do another Emacs News review
      • Set up Emacs News mailing list
      • Set up hydra for quick logging of Quantified Awesome things
      • Burn backup of Emacsconf videos
      • Figure out what’s going on with my org mode HTML export and targets
      • Update CUSTOM_ID in my config
      • Host Emacs Hangout
    • Rake leaves
    • Check out Stoic Week
    • Memorize Latin pronouns
    • Brainstorm improvements for fuzzy brain
    • Renew pet licence
    • Set up rsync backup
    • Sewing (2.1h)
    • Writing (1.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (18.2h – 10%)
  • Personal routines (26.2h – 15%)
  • Unpaid work (8.0h – 4%)
  • Sleep (62.9h – 37% – average of 9.0 per day)

2015-11-09 Emacs News

Links from, Hacker News,, Youtube, and the Emacs commit log.

Past Emacs News round-ups

Weekly review: Week ending November 6, 2015

It was warmer and sunnier than usual, which felt great. Lots of long walks, and even a sunny afternoon on the deck.

More interactions with people, too. I made it out to Hacklab and helped with Tuesday’s dinner. On Friday, another friend dropped by and we went for a walk in the park.

Lots of coding this week. More progress on the scraper I’ve been working on, and some ideas for other prototypes my clients want me to build. Whee! Some fun on the Emacs front, too. I finally set up org-protocol, and I’m looking forward to playing with more integration points.

I filed my corporate taxes, yay! I’d done most of the figuring out in September before my fiscal year end, so it was mostly a matter of updating the numbers with the final statements from the bank and doublechecking all the calculations before submitting it to the government. Looks like everything’s good.

I might tilt the balance towards consulting a little bit more over the next couple of months. There are a few projects that might be interesting to pull off, and the team would probably find them very helpful. I can move the time from things like Latin and sewing, which I can reduce without much of a tradeoff.


2015-11-08b Week ending 2015-11-06 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (24.9h – 14%)
    • Earn (13.0h – 52% of Business)
      • Prepare invoice
      • Do monthly data dump
      • Start second scraper
      • Draft browsing interface
    • Build (8.4h – 33% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (2.5h)
        • Include September bank statements
        • Do Paypal USD conversion
        • Do HST quicktax calculation
        • Credit personal amounts
        • Doublecheck prepaid expenses
        • Write reimbursement cheque
        • Finalize return
        • File federal return
        • File HST return
        • Set up quarterly payments
    • Connect (3.5h – 14% of Business)
  • Relationships (9.3h – 5%)
    • Have dimsum with family
    • Hang out with Jen
  • Discretionary – Productive (12.3h – 7%)
    • Emacs (2.8h – 1% of all)
      • Do another Emacs review
      • Set up a nested hydra
      • Play with melpa stats
      • Update missing podcast episode
    • Sewing (1.2h)
    • Writing (1.4h)
    • Check out Stoic Week
    • Update Quantified Awesome goals
    • Rake leaves
    • Investigate library xml dump
    • Check out Stoic Week
    • Do another Emacs review
  • Discretionary – Play (26.0h – 15%)
  • Personal routines (21.0h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (9.4h – 5%)
  • Sleep (66.1h – 39% – average of 9.4 per day)

Monthly review: October 2015

What a month for learning and making. =)

I think I’m starting to get the hang of asynchronous programming using the Q library for Javascript, with its ability to defer execution and pass values along. After I sorted out the mistakes I made while coding – such as returning the deferred object instead of the promise, or doing a convoluted promise instead of using q(…) to simplify handling either return values or promises – things made sense.

I used d3 to sketch one of the little visualizations I’ve been thinking about doing for my consulting client for a while now. It was well-received. I should get back to it and make it interactive.

Also, tech-wise: nudged by John Wiegley, I’ve started summarizing new Emacs-related resources from,, and Youtube.

I’ve been getting my business papers together in preparation for another tax return, and my notes from last year have been helpful. I’ve added more notes, so maybe next year will be even easier. The more I write down, the better things are for my future self.

In terms of sewing, I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with the mathematics and programming involved in creating parametric sewing patterns using the Python framework I started playing around with some time ago. I’ve also moved into the mass production phase for some of the projects I’ve been working – well, not really mass production, but quite a few multiples of patterns that look like they’ll work out nicely.

Slow and steady progress through the Latin textbooks. I’m starting to get the hang of the first to third declensions, I think, and some of the types of verbs as well. It’s amusing to discover these little things about the phrases we’re so familiar with. In caveat emptor, caveat is the subjuctive of caveo (beware), so caveat is “let him/her/it beware”. Cave – from cave canem – is the imperative, “Beware!” Little things. =)

We cleared out the garden and got it ready for winter. The irrigation system was very helpful, keeping things surprisingly alive and thriving despite my neglect. We didn’t get as much out of it as we probably could have, but it was nice to have had a few bitter melons, a good supply of peas, and the surprise of a huge bok choy.

Lots of playing Borderlands 2: going through the downloadable content, and trying out a new character. W- and I have settled into a comfortable routine of playing an hour or two (and sometimes more) of Borderlands late at night, and then reading a bit before bed.

It’s been great being able to think clearly again, mostly. It’s probably more likely for me to assume fuzziness rather than clarity as the default. I wonder what I can put into place now so that later will be easier.

Let’s see what November will be like. It’s pretty cool to see the progression of months, each an unexpectedly full gift. Day by day, I know it adds up, but it’s still surprising.

2015-11-01c October 2015 -- index card #journal #monthly #review output

Blog posts



Category Last month % This month % Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Business – Earn 5.9 11.2 19 8.9
Business – Connect 0.5 1.1 2 1.0
Discretionary – Family 2.1 2.6 4 0.8
Personal 19.7 20.0 34 0.5
Business – Build 3.1 3.2 5 0.2
Discretionary – Social 0.4 0 0 -0.7
Discretionary – Productive 11.7 11.2 19 -0.8
Discretionary – Play 8.3 6.9 12 -2.4
Unpaid work 7.8 6.3 11 -2.5
Sleep 40.5 37.4 63 -5.2

A lot more consulting than I expected. The projects were useful and fun, so it was easy to work on that instead of other things. I thought I spent more time cooking and tidying, too, but the numbers don’t agree. Mmm. My time sense is a bit off for month-long spans, even though the days and the weeks make sense. Ah well, that’s why there’s data! =)

2015-11-02 Emacs News

Previous roundup – Links from,, and Youtube