On this page:
  • Weekly review: Week ending September 26, 2014
  • Recovering from a sprint
  • My path for learning AngularJS
  • Yay! I rocked - (2)
  • Categorical imperatives versus genetic algorithms - (8)
  • Index cards - (3)

Weekly review: Week ending September 26, 2014

The big project I was focusing on worked out really well. Long days definitely paid off! =) I had fun using AngularJS and AutoHotkey to make something cool and useful.

Also, Hacklab has now moved to its new location, hooray! Looking forward to learning and exploring more, especially once my consulting gig winds down. We made minestrone for the last open house at Hacklab, and I helped pack things and assemble furniture. All this moving is prompting us to also redecorate a little at home. I swapped out my bedside bookcase for a lower table, and we moved the standing desk downstairs. Now we’re varnishing my bedside table and assorted shelves.

The minestrone was yummy, so I made it again at home. Mmm. Plans for this week: beef curry, basa fillets, pesto. Yay cooking! Happy to be eating (and making!) home-cooke meals. Our routines are slowly going back to normal! =)

Timesink: W- introduced me to this space-based adventure game called Out There. I finished one ending, but the other ones are hard! At least W- and I can compare notes about our misadventures…

Blog posts

Link round-up

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (68.2h – 40%)
    • Earn (50.8h – 74% of Business)
      • E1: Deliver big project, yay!
      • Earn: E1: 2.5-3.5 days of consulting
      • Now back to normal
    • Build (3.9h – 5% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Delegation (0.0h)
      • Packaging (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (1.2h)
        • Consider paying myself dividends
        • Inquire about conversion of business assets to personal use
    • Connect (13.5h – 19% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.8h – 2%)
    • Get rid of more stuff, clean up spaces
    • Varnish bedside table
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.1h – 0%)
    • Emacs (0.0h – 0% of all)
    • Deposit cheque
    • Pay Mastercard
    • Reflash tablet
    • Transfer some more into TFSA
    • Apply for passport
    • Ask two guarantors for passport
    • Get passport pictures
    • Pick up cultural access pass from Front and Parliament
    • Writing (1.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.9h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (18.2h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (11.0h – 6%)
  • Sleep (60.7h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)

Recovering from a sprint

Still a little tired from my work sprint, but I’m starting to feel the fog receding. I spent yesterday evening helping at Hacklab, holding up cabinets and assembling Ikea shelves. It was a little bit more work when I could be relaxing or helping out at home, but it will pay off, I think.

My client is a little apologetic since there are some more projects I need to work on instead of relaxing after the hustle of the last project. I can do it, but maybe a little more slowly. (I realized at 5pm that I’d spent the whole day with my buttons misaligned, but no one seemed to notice.) The perils of working on things I like because I want to: I want to leave them poised for success and I want to learn as much as I can, so requests are difficult to resist. But keeping my life in a certain balance helps me have more of those brilliant moments, so there’s something to that too.

I want to pay close attention to this transition. It might be my last sprint for a while, since I’m planning to change my pace to a leisurely stroll, dawdling among the fall leaves. So if this experience of coming down from a peak of concentration – like those programming competitions and website launches in my past – won’t be as common in the future, what do I want to remember about this now?

The preparation can be fun: building a temporary bridge and hoping it can hold up to the weight; planning for contingencies; working long days with good people. When the sprint is on, there’s something thrilling about being able to deal with the little challenges life throws at you. Maybe this is like tennis players getting in the zone. Afterwards, the high of celebration and of plans that worked. The signal to slow down is that light mental fatigue: small mistakes, reduced creativity and energy. I can do two weeks of 50-60 hour work, staying cheerful in the mornings and getting enough sleep, before I slow down; around that time is also when I strongly miss the discretionary time and the time spent at home.
On my own, I probably wouldn’t do any sprints. I’m not a big fan of deadlines and other fixed commitments. I’d probably focus more on steady progress, even if it’s slow. But it is nice to be able to point to something and say, yes, there, that was awesome.

My path for learning AngularJS

I’d been meaning to learn AngularJS for a while, and rapidly prototyping a data-binding-heavy Javascript application was the perfect excuse. The phonecat tutorial on the AngularJS site was a little too heavy-weight for me, although it would probably have been useful for learning how to Do Things Right. Simpler, from-scratch tutorials like AngularJS in 30 minutes and ng-newsletter were a little more useful for me. After I got the hang of setting things up and using a controller, I browsed through the AngularJS documentation and looked for different modules as I needed them.

Here’s the rough order I learned things in:

  1. Binding data with {{}}
  2. Retrieving data with $http (since I already had JSON handy from the NodeJS site I created)
  3. Iterating over data with ng-repeat
  4. Adding ng-click events
  5. Using ng-class
  6. Dependency injection
  7. Figuring out routing with ui-router
  8. Dividing things into multiple routers
  9. $interval and $timeout
  10. State change functions
  11. Resources (although I didn’t end up really using these)
  12. Directives

I still have to learn about filters, nested views, testing, proper file organization, and all sorts of other goodness. But yeah, AngularJS feels pretty good for my brain… =) Yay!

Yay! I rocked

I’ve been working long hours over the past few weeks, getting ready for an event that wrapped up yesterday. It worked out really well. Yay!

I picked up AngularJS for this, and I’m glad I did. Angular made it really easy to update parts of the page with data and bind various events to clicks. It would’ve been pretty hard to do it without a framework like that, I think, what with all the changes.

My brain is still a little frazzled from the concentration. We did a lot of prep leading up to the event in order to prepare for stuff, and I did some quick fiddling during the event to troubleshoot. Good to make things happen!

It’s nice to downshift from the intensity of the event. We have a few things to take care of, but now I can carve out more time to cook, to write, to draw. It was great to know that even with the long days and focus, I had enough sleep and enough energy. =) W- kept things going at home, and I trimmed practically all the discretionary stuff. Now that my schedule’s loosened, I’m looking forward to picking up what I temporarily put aside.

On to more adventures!

Categorical imperatives versus genetic algorithms

I was thinking about why I like thinking in terms of experiments, and how that’s related to how I generally don’t have strong disagreements with people.

I think most people I spend time with have a “live and let live” sort of policy similar to mine. We explore different life paths and have different opinions, but that’s okay. It results in more information and more insight.

Sometimes I come across people who express their opinions more strongly. Reading Reddit posts about people dealing with strong and probably well-meaning advice reminds me that there are people out there who are firmly convinced they know what’s good for you. I know I sometimes slip into that kind of advice-giving mode myself, especially around things that give me heebie-jeebies.

2014-09-12 Categorical imperatives versus genetic algorithms

2014-09-12 Categorical imperatives versus genetic algorithms

I like the idea that most of us are figuring things out in good faith. I haven’t thought through the limits of this idea yet (one’s choices might limit someone else’s, for example), but there might be something there worth exploring.

Index cards

I’ve been drawing more on index cards than in sketchbooks lately. I keep a stack of index cards on my bedside table, and I have a few more in my belt bag. Index cards are great because they really can contain only one thought, so they’re not at all intimidating to start. I know I’ll finish the card. Index cards are also sturdier than the small notepad I carry around, and since I’m not tearing off pages, I don’t have to worry about fiddly little paper bits. Compared to index cards, a 8.5×11″ sheet feels like such a generous expanse. Although the extra space of a sketchbook lets me get deeper into a topic, it also sometimes results in half-drawn pages when I’m distracted by another thought or something that I need to do.

2014-09-10 Index cards

2014-09-10 Index cards

So maybe that suggests a new workflow for developing ideas. I can start by brainstorming topics on an index card. Then I can pick some ideas to flesh out into index cards of their own, and from there, to sketchbook pages. Blog posts can explain one sketch or collect several sketches, and they can link to previous posts as well.

2014-09-10 Possible workflow for developing ideas

2014-09-10 Possible workflow for developing ideas

This should help me think in bigger chunks