March 10th, 2010

Semiformalishmaybe

Slinky Season

Weather has scaled back from bitterly cold, past cold, and down to chilly. With adequate layering it's pretty nice to be outside. The huge piles of snow are looking increasingly lonely and misplaced. Mostly working for a coffeeshop today - it's nice to be nearer the fresh air. Conference situation resolved, I'm preparing/polishing a demo and chewing on a poster design. It's funny how much stuff is best done by background tasks in the mind - with active effort, I might create an ok poster over a brief period of devoted time, but if I just start chewing on it alongside all the other things I'm chewing on, the work gets done with very little direct time or devoted effort, and it gets done more creatively. I find the majority of the design part of programming to be best done that way too - with experience, one can avoid most of the pitfalls of "just do it" by having one's mind play with the possibilities in the background for long enough, so that implementation is usually a short implement/debug cycle. I'd bet being an author is like that too (not that I have direct experience); maybe thinking in general is best not done at a sprint.

On my way here I tried to go to Brueggers, but failed twice because I passed an old dude playing awesome woodwind instruments where SqHill's Panera's porch used to be. Very good music, but totally distracting - had to pull my meandering mind entirely to not walking right past Brueggers for a third time. I felt bad for the poor employees there who had to listen to elevator music, but maybe it's just as well - people using sharp knives to make custom orders of food for people might not need music of ultimate distraction.

I'm not sure if I'm glad or not that I didn't run into the old Hare Krishna I sometimes see in SqHill Collapse )

Still kind of stuck between trying to hop right into grad school, getting another academic job, or maybe even working in industry. I am amazingly good at indecision on very important life-direction things where the data doesn't really point in a single direction! Still, I think not going to Santa Barbara was probably a mistake, and not going to Qatar was probably another one. Maybe that'll help inspire me to break inertia - there's hardly enough land left here to stand on. Moving probably won't help, but there's nothing else left to do.

Interesting thinking about risks and learning - learning from mistakes is an important part of intelligence, but it's undesirable to "learn" from managed risks. Collapse )

I try not to be generally excitable about Google things - apart from their HR people (as well as a former boss (and maybe friendish) of mine) jerking me around, and their being a mostly advert-supported company, I'm nervous at how much gets built on top of their technologies and I'm not sure what we could replace if they decided to close everything tomorrow (e.g. there's all sorts of cool stuff people do with google maps - are there public alternatives to all that sat data they licence from the various companies? Do we need a company like Google to sponsor the basics like this, or is decentralisation possible that would let us break their (so far mostly unexercised) options to restrict or ad-embellish things)? Relying on them is dangerous to the extent that we have. That said, it's pretty cool that they now have bike trails in Google Maps and let people get separate walking and biking directions to places (thanks to jwz for pointing it out). Although entering that mode takes one to San Francisco, it seems to know plenty of Pittsburgh trails too.

Just to top off this scatterbrained post (think of this as a cherry?)

Quote of the day:

  • "Superiour pilots uses their superior judgment to avoid needing to exercise their superiour skill"
  • Current Music
    Avril Lavigne - Keep Holding On
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