Category Archives: monthly

Monthly review: November 2015

Lots of coding this month, and lots of tech-related blog posts. =)

Consulting-wise, I’ve been learning a lot about NodeJS and Angular. I’ve been refining the internal command-line scraping tools and dealing with new requirements. I’ve also been working on a mobile prototype that uses ng-touch and a few other niceties. I’ve been making good use of the Q library for promises, too. Good thing I spent some time last month learning more about asynchronous programming.

The Emacs News series I’ve been publishing every Monday was well-received, and I’m gradually creating little tools to make it easier to summarize the news from various sources. I’ve also been using it to queue up some tweets for @emacs, so there’s regular activity over there. We had a fun Emacs Hangout, and I’ve scheduled another one for next month.

I’m glad I came across the poster for the Toronto Public Library hackathon. It was a good opportunity to learn about neat things you can do with the library’s web interface and data. They’ve posted a recap, and I’ve also braindumped a bunch of notes on the hack I made for visualizing search results by branch. Boggle of boggles, my userscript still works. =D

I’ve been thinking about how I want to use my time during this phase of the experiment, since I have more energy these days. Spending more time consulting means building up useful skills and prototyping cool stuff that my clients find helpful, so that’s good. It’s also good to take some time to explore other interests and skills, and to prepare for what’s likely to come up. Playing it by ear seems to be the way to go. I keep a long list of little ideas to work on for consulting, and I’ve been cleaning up my Org Mode agenda files to make it easier to see the personal stuff I want to work on. Since the weather is nice today, I’ll go for a walk to the library. Maybe I’ll do some sewing this afternoon.

Also, I filed my business taxes. The dry-run I did last month paid off. All I had to do was update the numbers and double-check my calculations. Yay! I might actually be getting the hang of this. I’ve taken more notes, so next year should be even easier.

I’m back to dual-booting Linux, hooray! I’m still figuring out parts of my new workflow. I think I’ll get it all sorted out over the next few weeks. I’ll probably still boot into Windows for things like Quickbooks and TurboTax (unless I feel like manually crunching the numbers for business taxes – wouldn’t that be something!), but everything else seems to be just fine.

Still feeling pretty much in hermit-mode, although I did make it out to a few low-key things. Next month is probably going to be complicated, but we’ll see.

In December, I’m looking forward to catching up on the cool things that have been going on in the Linux world since the last time I checked. I’d like to document and automate more of my processes, too, in preparation for possible fuzziness. Onward!

2015-12-02a November 2015 -- index card #journal #monthly #review

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Daily sketches: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 27 29 30

Time

Category Last month % This month Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Business – Build 3.2 5.5 9 3.9
Discretionary – Play 6.9 8.9 15 3.4
Unpaid work 6.3 7.9 13 2.7
Discretionary – Social 0 0.6 1 1.0
Discretionary – Family 2.6 3.1 5 0.8
Sleep 37.4 37.9 64 0.8
Business – Connect 1.1 1.5 3 0.7
Business – Earn 11.2 10.7 18 -0.8
Discretionary – Productive 11.2 7.5 13 -6.2
Personal 20.0 16.2 27 -6.4

Huh. More drawing, more Borderlands, more cooking, actually a little
less consulting, and less time on personal projects and routines. More
time on coding, though. Didn’t expect that. Two and a half days is
still more consulting than the one-day-a-week pace I’d been keeping
before this recent intensification, anyway. Anyway, time still feels
pretty good, so I’ll carry on.

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 planet.emacsen.org, reddit.com/r/emacs, 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

Sketches

Time

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! =)

Monthly review: September 2015

Following up on the research I did in August, I had a lot of fun sewing in September. I tried out many free printable patterns with inexpensive fabric, and I found quite a few I liked. I’ve also been learning about drafting basic blocks based on measurements, but I still have a long way to go before I’m comfortable with those. The more comfortable I get with making things for myself (and the more I enjoy the benefits of customized clothing), the more I’m motivated to put in the effort to learn even more.

It was an excellent month for consulting, too: built lots of little prototypes and reports. =) My fiscal year ended in September, so I’ve been getting a head start on tax-related paperwork. Even though I fell out of the habit of updating my books weekly, it was easy to catch up on transactions and crunch the numbers for last-minute decisions.

I made it out of hermit mode a couple of times, hanging out with friends and meeting interesting people. Aside from that, I’m back to long walks, hooray for feeling better!

Also, lots more cooking, tidying up, and going for errands. We’ve started keeping tapioca pearls in the pantry, and bubble tea is now well within the realm of a possibility for an indulgent afternoon snack. A few other firsts this month, too: making udon noodles, making tapioca pearls… Mmmm.

We’ve completed the story missions for Borderlands 2 on Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, so I’ve been able to dial down the intensity of my video-game playing. W- bought the season pass, so we’ve been playing our way through the downloadable content. I usually join him for story missions, but I sometimes pass on optional missions and challenges. Instead, I’ve been spending a little more time drawing and thinking, taking advantage of the fact that my fuzzy brain has cleared up a little.

October: More sewing, more paperwork, more consulting, and more awesomeness (I hope)!

2015-10-06a September 2015 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Last month % This month % Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Unpaid work 2.6 7.8 13 8.7
Personal 14.8 19.7 33 8.2
Discretionary – Productive 8.6 11.7 20 5.2
Business – Build 1.8 3.1 5 2.2
Business – Earn 5.2 5.9 10 1.2
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.4 1 0.7
Sleep 40.1 40.5 68 0.7
Business – Connect 0.4 0.5 1 0.2
Discretionary – Family 8.7 2.1 4 -11.1
Discretionary – Play 17.8 8.3 14 -16.0

Monthly review: August 2015

I celebrated my 32nd birthday with a quiet day at home and a leisurely review of the past year. It’s mind-boggling how each little step adds up to something more. I’m glad to have built this habit of daily notes, weekly reviews, monthly summaries, and yearly recaps.

It’s not always about small steps, of course. This month was a big one in terms of house projects. Tiling the laundry and bathroom in the basement took most of our time and energy. W- did all the heavy lifting and grinding, and I helped with whatever I could. It was fun getting the basement in order. While that was going on, we washed our clothes at the laundromat – my first time in at least eight years, I think!

Borderlands 2 has become one of our favourite ways to relax. We finished the second playthrough (True Vault Hunter Mode) and we haven’t bought any of the downloadable content yet, so we’re mostly just practising skills and collecting loot. Borderlands 1 is also in our queue, thanks to J-‘s birthday gift for W-. The interface is a bit different, so it might take us a while to get around to it.

Oh, and the Emacs Conference on August 29 was totally awesome! More about that later, once I sort out the videos. The scheduled talks and the impromptu talks were fantastic. I loved being able to watch and participate in it remotely. I’m looking forward to this becoming a yearly thing.

I’ve been thinking about getting back into sewing. I’ve started researching patterns and picking up fabric so that I can ease my way in with simple projects. So far, so good.

August was still pretty blah with the occasional low point, but now I know that I should carry around earplugs in case I get overstimulated by a noisy environment (if I can’t just simply leave it). The bleahs seem to be retreating, so maybe next month will be even better.

Still, it was a good month. Lots of stuff done, lots of stuff prepared for even more doing, and lots of thoughts and little moments. Let’s see how September turns out!

2015-09-03d August 2015 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Category Last month % This month % Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Discretionary – Family 2.6 8.7 15 10.2
Discretionary – Productive 3.4 8.6 14 8.7
Sleep 36.9 40.1 67 5.4
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0 0.0
Business – Connect 1.1 0.4 1 -1.2
Personal 15.6 14.8 25 -1.3
Business – Build 3.9 1.8 3 -3.5
Unpaid work 4.8 2.6 4 -3.7
Business – Earn 9.2 5.2 9 -6.7
Discretionary – Play 22.4 17.8 30 -7.7

Monthly review: July 2015

Last month, I wrote that in July, I wanted to:

  • Continue to take things easy: Yep, definitely did that. Lots of sleep and video games.
  • Enjoy hermit mode: It’s wonderful.
  • Focus on coding, cooking, and reading: My team won third place at an internal hackathon, yay!
  • Walk as often as possible: Yup, did a fair bit of walking
  • Water the grass and do some more gardening: The boulevard grass is a little brown, but the backyard is flourishing nicely.

My weekly reviews tell me I actually got a fair bit of programming in, which surprises me because I mostly remember July as sleep, Borderlands, and very little writing. It turns out that I worked a lot more because of the hackathon. I also did a little bit of Javascript and Emacs Lisp for personal projects, too. Neat.

This turned out to be a month of experimenting with posting twice a week: a weekly review, and another post. I prefer more frequent writing, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the groove of that as my brain returns. The daily and weekly drawings have been a great way to make sure the days don’t go by in a blur.

I think August will be a good month for working on household projects and getting things ready. Maybe more writing and drawing, too!

2015-08-03b July 2015 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Last month (%) This month Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Discretionary – Play 13.7 22.4 38 14.6
Business – Earn 4.6 9.2 15 7.7
Business – Connect 0.6 1.1 2 0.8
Personal 15.9 15.6 26 -0.5
Discretionary – Social 0.9 0.0 0 -1.5
Discretionary – Productive 4.9 3.4 6 -2.5
Discretionary – Family 4.5 2.6 4 -3.2
Unpaid work 7.5 4.8 8 -4.5
Sleep 39.7 36.9 62 -4.7
Business – Build 7.8 3.9 7 -6.6

Monthly review: June 2015

Lots of sleep and fuzzy-brain this month, which was a good excuse to learn more about both. I still got a decent amount of coding done, focusing on Angular and D3 for personal projects, and digging deeper into SQL and Bluemix for consulting. I also built a small Tasker + Javascript interface for my tracking things. It’s pretty convenient, although not totally reliable (Tasker weirds out sometimes).

June was heavy on the academics for J-. We helped her with her blackjack game programming project, physics review, English presentation, and university planning. It got me thinking about my processes for solving problems and revising presentations. Anyway, she made it through to summer, and is now working at her first job.

Also, lots of video gaming this month – W-‘s influence on me, plus a resolution to take things super-easy and go into hermit mode. I completed the main storylines for Ni no Kuni, LEGO Hobbit, and LEGO Jurassic Park. Now W- and I are working our (separate) ways through Persona 1. I could probably redirect some of the time I spend gaming to, say, reading or coding, but my reading and coding time seem pretty all right too. Time is not the limiting factor here. Although maybe I can allocate some more time to drawing, and then sit with the vagueness of thought a little longer…

Summer fruits, yum!

July will still be mostly hermit mode, I think. Anyway, I’ll just keep plugging along…

2015-07-06e June 2015 -- index card #monthly #review output

2015-07-06c Plans for July -- index card #plans

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Last month (%) This month (%) Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Sleep 35.1 39.7 67 7.7
Discretionary – Play 10.8 13.7 23 4.9
Discretionary – Family 3.0 4.5 8 2.5
Business – Earn 3.9 4.6 8 1.2
Personal 16.1 15.9 27 -0.3
Discretionary – Social 1.6 0.9 2 -1.2
Business – Connect 1.3 0.6 1 -1.2
Unpaid work 9.2 7.5 13 -2.9
Business – Build 10.5 7.8 13 -4.5
Discretionary – Productive 8.4 4.9 8 -5.9

Oookay. Lots more sleep this month, and lots more gaming. Still, lots of coding despite the drop in Discretionary – Productive…