Very tired and sleepy, so you get graffiti ... good night.
Very tired and sleepy, so you get graffiti ... good night.
... finally, a chance to catch a break.
It's been a difficult few weeks due to "the Kerfluffle" which I hope to blog about shortly (those on my LinkedIn have seen it already) but equally as much from a Stanford extension class I was taking on Deep Reinforcement Learning (XCS234 - speaking as an expert in this area seeking to keep my skills sharp, I can highly recommend it: I definitely learned some things, and according to the graphs, so did my programs).
Finally, that's over, and I have a moment to breathe.
And maybe start blogging again.
Pictured: A mocha from Red Rock Cafe, excellent as always, and a learning curve from one of my programs from class (details suppressed since we're not supposed to share the assignments).
Up super late working on stuff, so you get this enigmatic graffiti instead of a blogpost ...
Been up super late chasing a paper deadline for the past few nights, so no real post for you; instead, enjoy this picture of a photogenic cat.
I do have to say, these past few nights pulling this paper together have proved over and over again that my ethic of "work just a little harder than you have to" pays off, as each night I wanted to quit, and each night I got a major chunk of forward progress done by working just a bit harder.
Now, sometimes that was 4 am, but still ... after spending a great deal of time with what felt like a giant incoherent mess of a paper (17 pages at last count), the exercise of pushing to submit a 6-page excerpt to this conference really crystallized the notion that, yes, we have done something good here, and, yes, if we take the time out to summarize it, it really does add something to our understanding of the problem.
Oh wait. This isn't an inside-the-firewall production. So, AHEM, "... it really does add something to our understanding of SOCIAL ROBOT NAVIGATION." Just to be clear on what we are doing.
Pictured: Loki, snapped between toe cleanings.
... a computer with a fast fricking hard drive. I use a backup scheme in which one older computer has all my file mirroring services on it (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc) and then backs that data up to a local Time Machine backup. But the old iMac I had had long ago reached the point where it couldn't back up to local network storage and needed a directly connected USB drive, and eventually that, too, gave up the ghost, with Google Drive and Dropbox essentially strangling each other to death if you tried to load them simultaneously. In other news, unrelated except for the inexorable passage of time, my personal daily driver laptop had reached the point where half the keys skip and the battery life was down to roughly 1 minute.
SO! I bought a refurbished Apple Silicon MacBook Pro. Even though it is a gently used machine, way cheaper than the most recent models, this M1 Max screamer has downloaded most of Dropbox and a large chunk of Drive without breaking a sweat. Apparently, the larger, faster SSD of a 2022 MacBook Pro beats the heck out of the old spinny hard drive of a 2015 (or is it 2013?) iMac. Who knew? And it can serve as a daily driver until such time as I can afford a top of the line machine, if I even need one if Apple Silicon is as fast as they say.
Cross you fingies ...
... still falling behind. But I'm not giving up on getting back on track. The key problem is making sure that time is carved out in the day for blogging, taking walks, taking care of yourself; once you start to let that slip, six months have gone by and you haven't posted. And when you have a TODO list two inches thick, it really is hard to make sure you carve out that time ... it's easy to trick yourself that it's much more important to get the "important" stuff done ... even though, sooner or later, you must do "unimportant" things like laundry. Building new habits is like doing the laundry ... the world turns, and so must the dryer, and if you don't make time for it to get done, you'll be sad when it doesn't.
Call your wife, take a walk, post on your blog. The "important" stuff can wait.
Pictured: A nice meal, somewhere (Iron Hill Brewery?) featuring fish and chips, a Moscow mule, and a book.
... still behind, but, whatever. Pictured: Left Bank in Menlo Park. Hadn't been there in years, but it was wonderful. Unexpectedly I turned out the other way from the bathroom and discovered a second stair with beautiful mosaic tile, sparkling in the late morning daylight in a way I never recalled seeing before.
Still pictures really can't do it justice, but it still is beautiful.
... I wouldn't have that many quarters, but there'd still be way more quarters than they ought to be.
Fortunately the installer agreed that, um, no, it shouldn't look like that.
One more thing to fix ...
... still a little behind. Pictured: the "back entrance" to Morgan Hill's very nice downtown; this little pathway from one of the parking garages always reminds me of coming down a gangplank onto a pier leading to a little sea town, even though in reality the sea is nowhere to be found.
Yeah. The microblogging will continue until the posting rate reaches 1/day.
I feel that one problem I have with "daily blogging" is that quick posts are no problem. But if I have a longer idea - but can't finish it in time - I then forget to do a shorter post to make up for it.
And missing a post itself is a problem. What I find when trying to build a regular practice (daily blogging, taking karate twice a week, whatever) is that if you skip one time, even for a "really good reason", then mysteriously the next two or three times you'll HAVE to skip for "unavoidable" reasons.
In this, case in point, I started writing a longer article on debugging software. There was more to it than I expected - I had wanted to make an off-the-cuff comment, and found my thoughts rapidly expanding - and then the next day I was flying, and the next day catching up on work, and the next day owed my part of the annual report to the church board, and so on. And then its DAYS later and boom no posts. I think at this point I am 8 behind in numbered posts, though there were a few un-numbered ones which I would count, except, if I don't, it makes the problem harder, which helps build the discipline I'm trying to build.
SO! Let's get back on that horse then. Update metadata, hit publish.
Pictured: my evening work ritual, 2-3 times a week when I'm not having dinner with my wife, is to go to some place to eat (preferably one with a bar or high top tables, so I can stretch out my bum knee), crack open a book, and read a chunk of a chapter while having a nice meal. Most of my books get read this way.