Category Archives: review

2015-11-02 Emacs News

Previous roundup – Links from,, and Youtube

Weekly review: Week ending October 30, 2015

This was a good week for making things. I coded a bunch of patterns and capabilities in the Python-based sewing pattern generator I’ve been tinkering around with. Now that I can easily rescale patterns and set measurements from the command-line, I can create paper models to test ideas. It was fun doing the math for rotating points and doing simple dart manipulation, too. In addition to programming, I also finished the mass production phase of one of my sewing projects. Yay!

Good cooking this week, too. We tried this General Tsao Chicken recipe – our first time to double-fry – and it was yummmmmy. I made a pan of lasagna, too.

The Latin 101 video course I’d checked out from the library turned out to have a few errors in the guidebook, so I’ve been using a combination of that and Wheelock’s Latin for practice. It’s fun feeling things start to make sense.

W- and I started a new playthrough of Borderlands 2, the shooter/RPG we’ve been playing for a few months now. We picked different characters, so we’ve been adapting to the new playstyles required.

Some fuzziness and tiredness, but such is life. Taking it easy. =)

2015-11-01b Week ending 2015-10-30 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts


Link round-up

  • Business (29.7h – 17%)
    • Earn (10.0h – 33% of Business)
      • Attend scraper meeting
      • Prepare invoice
    • Build (13.3h – 44% of Business)
      • Drawing (1.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.4h)
        • Include September bank statements
        • Finalize return
    • Connect (6.3h – 21% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.1h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (16.4h – 9%)
    • Emacs (2.6h – 1% of all)
      • Do another Emacs review
      • Do another Emacs review
    • Sewing (5.0h)
      • Add scale to tmtp
      • Try papercraft tmtp with my measurements
      • Programmatically rescaling and manipulating the darts in sewing patterns
      • Add SVG splitter to tmtp
      • Add seam allowances to tmtp
      • Sanity-check with someone else’s basic bodice block instructions
      • Python + sewing: Making basic shapes and splitting up larger patterns
      • Circle skirt pattern
      • Box tote pattern
      • Sew box tote prototype
    • Writing (2.0h)
    • Do a chapter of Wheelock’s Latin
    • Send in form
  • Discretionary – Play (17.1h – 10%)
  • Personal routines (30.7h – 18%)
  • Unpaid work (9.9h – 5%)
  • Sleep (61.1h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)

2015-10-26 Emacs News

Links were from,, and Youtube. Here’s last week’s round-up, too. Enjoy!

Weekly review: Week ending October 23, 2015

This was an excellent week for learning. W- bought a small riveter in order to fix the rake, and he showed me how to use it. Whee!

In terms of sewing, I learned a different way of attaching collar stands and stitching hems. I experimented with making a long-sleeved peasant blouse, too. I like short sleeves more (long sleeves get in the way of washing dishes and things like that) but it was a good thing to try.

I’ve been going through the Latin 101 course by Prof. Hans-Friedrich Mueller. The first three noun conjugations are starting to make sense to me now, hooray! Unfortunately, the guidebook turns out to have quite a few errors. I ran into a couple of mislabeled exercises in Chapter 12, and there doesn’t seem to be an errata page. I was thinking of flagging the ones listed in this review with sticky notes so that I don’t get confused by them when I come across them in the book, but maybe it’s better for me to just switch to Wheelock’s Latin.

I had fun getting together with former coworkers, chatting about business and social trends over breakfast at Sunset Grill.

There was hail last Saturday, and the weather’s been cooling down. Fall colours everywhere, too. I bought a new pair of winter boots, since my old ones were leaking. The online reviews are mixed, but we’ll see what my experience with them is.

Next week, I’m looking forward to more Emacs, more sewing, more code, and more learning. Yay!

2015-10-25a Week ending 2015-10-23 -- index card #journal #weekly


Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (25.3h – 15%)
    • Earn (20.7h – 82% of Business)
      • Continue scraper work
    • Build (2.7h – 10% of Business)
      • Drawing (2.7h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
        • Finalize return
    • Connect (1.9h – 7% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.5h – 3%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (24.7h – 14%)
    • Emacs (1.3h – 0% of all)
      • 2015-10-18 Emacs link round-up
      • Fix How to Read Emacs Lisp
      • Do another Emacs review
    • Sewing (11.0h)
    • Writing (2.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.1h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (31.8h – 18%)
  • Unpaid work (13.9h – 8%)
  • Sleep (63.7h – 37% – average of 9.1 per day)

Decision review: Mid-range phone (Moto G), and thinking about how to get even more out of it

My Samsung Galaxy S3 started uncontrollably turning off in February. Even after I cleaned the switches and contacts, it wouldn’t reliably stay on.

On W-‘s recommendation, I switched to a Moto G (2nd gen) a few days after my old phone died. I bought the mid-range Android phone from Staples instead of getting it through a phone contract.

I was a little nervous about my Moto G’s storage limits (16GB, no external storage), but surprisingly enough, it’s been fine. I subscribe to a handful of podcasts, and I’ve given up on the desire to keep an offline copy of my sketches for easy flipping. I’ve picked a few Evernote notebooks and Dropbox folders to synchronize offline, and I leave the rest for online or desktop use.

W- recommended the Otter Commuter case, so I got that too. His is black and mine is purple. Since the phones and cases are identical, sometimes I accidentally pick up his instead of mine if I’m not looking. The case has been working out nicely as well. It’s nice not having to worry so much about dropping my phone (which I’ve done more than a few times) or cracking the screen (which I haven’t).

It’s been almost eight months with the phone. I’m happy with the decision to go with the Moto G instead of splurging on a higher-end phone or choosing something more basic. I mostly use it for alarms, activity tracking, reading, mail, calls, weather forecasts, timers, tethering, remote cheque deposits, and the occasional app or game.

I still haven’t gotten around to Android development, even though that was one of the things I was curious about. Web development is easier for me and more generally useful. I did get around to learning more about Tasker and Javascript, and the quick activity tracker I put together for my most frequently-used categories has been handy. I haven’t played around much with NFC either, since that activity tracker’s been convenient enough for quick interactions and it’s always available.

The recent Android OS update improved the power use. I’ve been okay in terms of battery life – enough to feel comfortable listening to podcasts or leave the pedometer app running in the background.

I’ll probably use my phone even more over the next year, so it might be good to think about how I can get even more value out of it.

  • I haven’t quite gotten into the habit of reading e-books on my phone, even though I have the Kindle and Overdrive apps installed. I think it’s a combination of being impatient with the low information-density-per-page-turn of non-fiction books and not building up a fiction backlog instead. I read a bit of fanfiction from time to time. Hmm, maybe I can slowly work my way through classic literature.
  • In terms of podcasts, I like listening to CBC’s Ideas program, and W- and I sometimes chat about the episodes. I also listen to podcasts about philosophy, and Stoicism in particular. I can look around for tech shows, like the one that Daniel Gopar is starting up around Emacs.
  • It would probably be good to take more pictures, too. Sewing, maybe?
  • If I trim my Feedly blog subscriptions a bit more and then add feeds in line with my current interests, that would help me get more out of blog reading.
  • Jotting quick ideas in Evernote worked well before, but I haven’t been doing it lately because I’ve been casually browsing the web instead. Since browsing has diminishing returns, perhaps I’ll shift more attention towards writing.
  • I wonder if the performance and accuracy of speech recognition has improved enough for it to be mostly usable. Hmm…
  • Time to get back to doing flashcards, too!

I’ve settled into comfortable routines, but there’s so much I haven’t explored yet. Looking forward to taking advantage of the phone’s capabilities!

Weekly review: Week ending October 16, 2015

Way more consulting than normal this week, helping the clients with reports and prototypes. Good stuff! I think I’m starting to get the hang of Q.defer() and promises in asynchronous Javascript. I also got around to getting Selenium working with both Chrome and Internet Explorer, so that should open up even more doors for automation. Yay!

The Emacs Hangout was lots of fun too. =) It’s great to have a place where people can chat about cool stuff they’re learning or working on.

This week was a good one for cooking: cheesecake and egg tarts for the Thanksgiving get-together, Japanese curry and pesto for dinners at home, and other little things here and there. Nice to get back into the swing of things.

2015-10-17b Week ending 2015-10-16 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (37.3h – 22%)
    • Earn (31.9h – 85% of Business)
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (5.4h – 14% of Business)
      • Drawing (5.3h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.7h – 3%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (13.7h – 8%)
    • Emacs (2.3h – 1% of all)
      • Re-cut wasamasa’s lightning talk on Emacs graphics
    • Sewing (5.8h)
    • Writing (0.9h)
      • Decision review: Mid-range phone (Motorola G)
    • Gather requirements for Philippine paperwork
  • Discretionary – Play (5.8h – 3%)
  • Personal routines (28.9h – 17%)
  • Unpaid work (11.1h – 6%)
  • Sleep (65.5h – 38% – average of 9.4 per day)