Monthly review: April 2015

2015-05-04g April 2015 -- index card #monthly

Level up! I learned how to use Hacklab’s laser cutter this month. I’ve been giving it quite a workout with all these tops. It’s a lot of fun working with the laser cutter, since precisely-cut pieces are much easier to sew. Besides, it’s much better than cutting at home, where I often have to shoo the cats away from my fabric. =)

The weather has finally warmed up enough to start gardening and biking again. Whee! I’m not too positive about our chances of growing bitter melon – I think our garden has a disease – but maybe the other plants will be fine. The peas are starting to come up. The strawberry, basil, and tomato seedlings I planted seem to be doing fine too.

This month was a good opportunity to take a close look at my sub-optimal states. <laugh> Between squirrel-brain and fuzzy-brain, it’s a wonder I got anything done. Still, I managed to do the usual consulting bits, broaden my sewing experience, and collect ideas for things I might want to build someday and people I might want to work with. Anyway, the month provided plenty of practice in patience, persistence, and philosophizing, so I got some good out of it.

I’m not entirely sure what next month will be like. Still – onward!


Blog posts


Daily: 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 28 29 30


Category Last month (%) This month (%) Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Discretionary – Play 3.1 6.1 10 5.0
Business – Connect 6.2 7.1 12 1.5
Business – Build 4.5 5.1 9 1.0
Discretionary – Productive 8.8 9.0 15 0.3
Discretionary – Social 1.7 1.7 3 0.0
Discretionary – Family 3.7 3.6 6 -0.2
Business – Earn 5.8 5.5 9 -0.5
Sleep 38.5 37.5 63 -1.7
Unpaid work 9.3 8.0 13 -2.2
Personal 18.4 16.4 28 -3.4

That’s odd. Given all the fuzziness, I expected that I slept more this month, but it turns out that I slept less. Well, maybe some of that sleep got moved to playing Persona 3 (4.8% of the time, which is almost as much as I spent consulting!), since I was taking it easy. I spent a little more time at Hacklab, too. But yeah, interesting…

I expect May to be a little less sleepy. =) More biking (counted under Personal) and gardening (counted under Discretionary – Productive) too, I hope. And cooking, and sewing…

Weekly review: Week ending May 1, 2015

This week started off really fuzzy (sore throat, boo), but I’m feeling back to normal now. I remember that week to have been pretty slow, but now that I review it, it seems like a good week after all. Funny how that works.

Our new barbecue arrived, yay! We chose to assemble it ourselves instead of taking advantage of the store’s offer of complimentary assembly. It was fun putting the barbecue together with W-. Now that we have a rotisserie, we’re focusing on getting the hang of rotisserie chicken. That promises to be a yummy addition to our cooking repertoire.

As a personal reward for progress on one of my projects, I treated myself to Liberty fabric this week. It’s more expensive than other cottons, but it feels nice. I’m looking forward to cutting and sewing it into yet another one of my tops. Oh yeah, I sewed a soft-sided box and a lined zippered pouch… Mwahahaha!

Oh, and I watched Age of Ultron with my consulting clients. =) Fun movie! I wore that Marvel top I made, for extra fangirling…

2015-05-01b Week ending 2015-05-01 -- index card #journal #weekly


Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (17.5h – 10%)
    • Earn (7.4h – 42% of Business)
      • Prepare invoice
      • Send time to E1
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (9.8h – 56% of Business)
      • Drawing (8.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.7h)
      • Quatified Awesome
        • Fix user edit screen
        • Look into time graph
    • Connect (0.3h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (9.4h – 5%)
    • Check on project
  • Discretionary – Productive (19.9h – 11%)
    • Emacs (3.5h – 2% of all)
      • Send reminder to hangouts list
      • Help with Emacs Hangout
      • Update G+ event for conference thing
      • Announce upcoming hangout
      • Reschedule Emacs Lisp Development Tips episode with jwiegley
      • Update previous hangout with link
    • Sewing
      • Prepare pattern for boxes
      • Order PUL
      • Prepare fabrics for tops
      • Finish leggings
      • Cut tops
    • Writing (2.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (15.2h – 9%)
    • Check out cherry blossoms
  • Personal routines (24.2h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (12.5h – 7%)
  • Sleep (69.3h – 41% – average of 9.9 per day)

2015-04-30 Emacs Hangout – hosted by Philip Stark

Thanks to Philip Stark for organizing an Emacs Hangout that’s more conducive to European timezones! Here’s the video and the notes.

You can add more comments on the event page. For more about upcoming Hangouts, check out our Google+ page.

Show notes (times might need a little adjustment):

  • 0:00:03 Introductions!
  • 0:03:03 A couple of Emacs semi-newbies =)
  • 0:03:52 Java and C# language support (autocomplete, refactoring, etc.); bridging the gap between Emacs and the runtime (Unity, Android, etc.). Batch mode for the latter. OmniSharp actually went pretty darn well this time around!
  • 0:06:10 OmniSharp demo
  • 0:06:13
  • 0:07:23 OmniSharp + company config, demo of completion. Includes API. Jump to definition as well.
  • 0:10:59 Cool refactoring stuff. Ex: intelligent rename. Watch out for bugs. Still neat!
  • 0:12:30 MS Visual Studio Code seems to run on the same backend =)
  • 0:13:18 OmniSharp background info
  • 0:14:53 New participant, working out the tech issues
  • 0:16:28 Java? Haven’t looked into it much yet, lower priority. Pain point: Eclipse project build chain. eclim? May give it a second chance.
  • 0:19:37 Wishlist: batch mode Unity for headless testing?
  • 0:20:05 Emacs and Python – working through the Google Code Jam problems. C-c C-c to execute code in the REPL, so much fun. Suggestion: org-babel blocks? =)
  • 0:21:37 Discussion about Scala and Ensime. Ooh, Ensime does Java too. Neat!
  • 0:22:49 New to Emacs Lisp. Discovering things and implementing them – good enough, but not well-polished. Writing. Helm, etc. So many things to learn! Balancing studying the Emacs Lisp intro and manual, and discovering things day to day.
  • 0:25:00 Separate Lisp file loading for experimental stuff.
  • 0:25:30 Woodnotes guide?
  • 0:26:32 Emacs StackExchange,, Planet Emacsen
  • 0:29:17 Spacemacs, packaged defaults. Learning with index cards. Learning curve. Emacs community is obsessed with documentation. Phenomenal! =)
  • 0:34:23 Documented conventions, nicely-designed keybindings etc. for Spacemacs
  • 0:35:50 Spacemacs setup asks you which tradition you want to follow
  • 0:36:46 nerdtree replacement – neotree
  • 0:37:27 Goal is to not rely on Spacemacs, but for it to be a stepping-stone / scaffold
  • 0:38:30 Differences between Linux window managers; simplified workflows
  • 0:40:24 Looking at configuration frameworks piecemeal, learning workflows
  • 0:43:05 Discoverability is a big issue. helm-c-yasnippet has helm-yas-complete, helm-yas-create-snippet-on-region . Can be configured to display the keys. (setq helm-yas-display-key-on-candidate t) Has additional actions if you TAB.
  • 0:50:24 Hydra demo. Ex: moving lines up and down. Hydra for Helm?
  • 0:57:25 Lispy-mnemonic
  • 1:02:58 Usability
  • 1:05:30 Lispy-mnemonic workflow – minor mode
  • 1:06:15 back-to-indentation and restoring the binding in Lispy
  • 1:07:36 org-timer and meeting notes
  • 1:08:14 Make timestamps better! =)
  • 1:10:53 Cognitive overhead of new IDEs. Ex: SublimeText C-d marks a thing (Emacs equivalent: expand-region)? More organic, flexible commands versus specific ones, staying within your mental model.
  • 1:13:00 multiple-cursors, transpose-chars versus backward-kill-word.
  • 1:17:30 helm-swoop
  • 1:21:06 micro-optimizations, command-log-mode, keyfreq, mc/mark-all-like-this(-dwim), guru-mode
  • 1:26:06 Dealing with Eclipse wizards, things that shift you out of your mental model. Discussion of Helm and Ido. Also, helm-show-kill-ring.
  • 1:31:59 Hydra and leader keys.
  • 1:32:31 Dan’s intro. Figuring out workflow. Export Org Mode to HTML. Yasnippet for HTML5 declarations? Org Mode publishing project support (org) Publishing options
  • 1:37:20 Magit, git-timemachine, git-gutter-fringe, git-wip (for committing work in progress each time you save;, git-wip-timemachine (forked git-wip,
  • 1:41:44 undo-tree
  • 1:42:57 git-messenger
  • 1:43:48 C-x v g, vc-annotate, colour-coding
  • 1:45:13 Emacs load times, profiling
  • 1:47:59 markdown and flycheck not finding an external command, checking the *Messages* buffer

Text chat:

M. Ian Graham 2:06 PM
M. Ian Graham 2:14 PM
Tim K 2:15 PM should be ok
Tim K 2:15 PM maybe someone has to unmute me
M. Ian Graham 2:15 PM
Tim K 2:15 PM i’ll just keep lurking for now then
me 2:18 PM
Tim K 2:19 PM tangentially related: ENSIME I used it for developing a web play framework project
M. Ian Graham 2:20 PM Ooo, scala goodness
Tim K 2:21 PM yeah it targets scala BUT it works for java as well !!
Philip Stark 2:23 PM Excellent.. Thank you Tim !
M. Ian Graham 2:25 PM
Tim K 2:25 PM @Will: Are you on Emacs.SE?
Philip Stark 2:26 PM right?
Tim K 2:26 PM yes There’s lots of good content for non-programmers there
Philip Stark 2:26 PM cool. I gotta check that out.
me 2:27 PM Yakshaving:
Tim K 2:32 PM For people who know their way around some of the starter kits: You could definitely score some points answering questions on Emacs.SE. My impression is that there usually aren’t that many people around who can answer these types of questions.
me 2:32 PM Good point!
Will Monroe 2:33 PM Thanks, Tim. That sounds like a good place for someone like me to start.
Tim K 2:33 PM Prelude is probably the one you’re thinking of
M. Ian Graham 2:45 PM
me 2:47 PM (setq helm-yas-display-key-on-candidate t)
Will Monroe 2:58 PM Hey everyone, I’ve really enjoyed listening to and talking with each of you. Have to go. See you all next time!
Tim K 3:03 PM Bye Will!
me 3:04 PM For the text chat: You might like
Tim K 3:12 PM Also: multiple cursors
me 3:23 PM keyfreq?
Tim K 3:25 PM guru-mode ?
me 3:41 PM
Tim K 3:41 PM
me 3:43 PM
Philip Stark 3:43 PM ah thx

Thanks, everyone!

Reading while fuzzy

Still fuzzy-brained yesterday, so I took a break from sleeping and playing video games in order to read through the stack of books I’d checked out of the library. Hooray for the library. If I had to make the buying decision for each book, I would have nowhere near this number and diversity.

Reading while fuzzy works surprisingly well. With a sharp brain, sometimes I get impatient with books that cover the same ground as other books I’ve read, or books that aren’t particularly relevant to me, or books that don’t have quite the right feel in their writing. I think: I could be coding or writing or figuring things out myself. With a fuzzy brain, I can take things more slowly.

2015-04-29a Reading while fuzzy -- index card #reading #fuzzy

2015-04-29a Reading while fuzzy – index card #reading #fuzzy

Anyway, here are the three books I got through.

2015-04-29e Raw book notes - The Great Work of Your Life - Stephen Cope -- index card #book

2015-04-29e Raw book notes – The Great Work of Your Life – Stephen Cope – index card #book

2015-04-29d Raw book notes - Makers - Chris Anderson -- index card #book

2015-04-29d Raw book notes – Makers – Chris Anderson – index card #book

2015-04-29c Raw book notes - Self-help, Inc -- index card #book

2015-04-29c Raw book notes – Self-help, Inc – index card #book

While filing them in my outline, I noticed that I had a bunch of other raw book notes: not pretty ones with doodles and colours, just index cards crammed with writing. I figured I’d post those too, since I often search my blog for things I remember.

2015-01-22 Book – Leading the Life You Want – Friedman 2014 – index card #book

2015-01-15 Think Better - Tim Hurson -- index card #book #raw #thinking #creativity

2015-01-15 Think Better – Tim Hurson – index card #book #raw #thinking #creativity

2015-01-15 How to Read and Why - Harold Bloom -- index card #book #raw #reading

2015-01-15 How to Read and Why – Harold Bloom – index card #book #raw #reading

2015-01-23 Book - Leaving a Trace - Alexandra Johnson -- index card #writing #book

2015-01-23 Book – Leaving a Trace – Alexandra Johnson – index card #writing #book

2015-01-18 The Sense of Style -- index card #book #writing

2015-01-18 The Sense of Style – index card #book #writing

2015-01-14 On Desire - Why We Want What We Want - William Irvine -- index cards #book

2015-01-14 On Desire – Why We Want What We Want – William Irvine – index cards #book

2015-01-26 Book - How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci -- index card #raw #book

2015-01-26 Book – How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci – index card #raw #book

2015-01-15 Writing on Both Sides of Your Brain - Henriette Anne Klauser -- index card #book #raw

2015-01-15 Writing on Both Sides of Your Brain – Henriette Anne Klauser – index card #book #raw

Might as well get the thoughts out there. Who knows how they’ll ripple and come back?

Tech and the kitchen

I think I spend most of my time in the kitchen: cooking, tidying up, or simply hanging out. It’s the room with the most light in the house, so it’s easy to just pull up a chair and write or draw at the kitchen table.

There’s been decades of buzz around smarter kitchens – fridges that track and reorder groceries, gadgets that enable new cooking methods. Still, it’s been a little easier for me to imagine tech’s application to sewing than to cooking (at least in our household. I think it’s because we deliberately try to avoid cluttering our kitchen with the endless stream of gadgets sold in stores, on television, and now the Internet: from the “It slices! It dices! It even juliennes!” mandoline, to spiral slicers, to even workhorses like the slow cooker.

2015-04-28c Gadget trade-offs in the kitchen -- index card #tech-and-home #technodomesticity #tradeoffs #gadgets #kitchen #cooking #decision

2015-04-28c Gadget trade-offs in the kitchen – index card #tech-and-home #technodomesticity #tradeoffs #gadgets #kitchen #cooking #decision

It seems that innovations in tech and the home tend to cluster around:

  • the kitchen: cooking, eating, organizing, stocking
  • entertainment
  • automation, sensing, and control: thermostats, lights, energy consumption
  • sleep, health, exercise
  • working from home

Mmm. In terms of the kitchen, where do I want to explore? This might not overlap with where most of the startups are focusing on. Divergence can be quite interesting.

2015-04-28b Tech and the kitchen -- index card #tech-and-home #technodomesticity #kitchen #cooking

2015-04-28b Tech and the kitchen – index card #tech-and-home #technodomesticity #kitchen #cooking

Hmm… There’s a lot of interest around meal planning, but maybe I can play with the specifics of it. I’ve been working on building more variety by focusing on five colours and five ways, following a thread I found in a few Japanese cookbooks. (And five tastes – that’s another level I want to figure out =) ) It might be interesting to graph several of our favourite combinations, and then cycle through them as I add more variety.

2015-04-27e Imagining meal planning -- index card #cooking #planning #variety

2015-04-27e Imagining meal planning – index card #cooking #planning #variety

I wonder how I can build a tool to help me visualize and plan these things… I could probably get Emacs to display an Org Mode table with the current selections, previous meals, and possibilities, or I could do something more graphical with a web page and SVGs or Javascript. First I need to think of how I want to see it…

More thoughts on fuzzy days

I’m recovering from a sore throat and a cold, among other things. If I want to, I could spend all day in bed or playing video games (or playing video games in bed). That’s where my mornings have gone, actually, since I’ve been letting myself sleep in until I feel rested. There’ll be time enough for getting more things done. For now, I’m taking it easy. There are lots of things I can still do with a fuzzy brain.

2015-04-27a Quiet days -- index card #fuzzy

2015-04-27a Quiet days – index card #fuzzy

2015-04-26b When my brain is fuzzy because I'm sick -- index card #fuzzy #sick

2015-04-26b When my brain is fuzzy because I’m sick – index card #fuzzy #sick

It’s interesting to notice the little hiccups in my brain: skipped or transposed letters as I hand-write common words, misplaced items, a spike in my sleep time.

2015-04-27d Minor signals -- index card #fuzzy

2015-04-27d Minor signals – index card #fuzzy

Instead of getting frustrated with myself, I find myself curious: what’s the difference between this and what I would consider my normal state? Is it a gradient or a sharp transition? Can I influence being in one or the other? And it’s good to know these signals and tripwires, too. It means I know to stay away from big decisions or judgments, from making commitments, from writing code that other people might rely on. It’s also a relief to see that life goes on.