Links for April 2021

Updated on Thursday, April 22, 2021

ITHCWY Newsletter for March 2021

Book reviews for March 2021

The Spike: An Epic Journey Through the Brain in 2.1 Seconds by Mark   Humphries

The Spike: An Epic Journey Through the Brain in 2.1 Seconds by Mark Humphries



2034: A Novel of the Next World War by Elliot Ackerman

2034: A Novel of the Next World War by Elliot Ackerman



No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings



The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley



Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime by Sean Carroll

Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime by Sean Carroll



(Related: Extreme Environmentalism; Life, Non-locality and the Simulation Hypothesis; Religion's Kayne West Tendencies)

(You might also like: Open letter to Nancy Pelosi; Las Trampas Wilderness; Fog Heart)

(All Book Reviews)

I Love Email

Updated on Sunday, May 2, 2021


Everyone is always trying to kill email, and it's always because it's a supposed productivity villain and life will be so much easier when we can all live happily in some chat based universe. I've spent enough time in Slack and Teams and their predecessors to know that we should go back before it's too late.

Chat brings you infinite inboxes and no great way to tell which of them is important. Having looked away for a few minutes there are dozens of unread conversations. Some of them are people sharing a photo of their cat. One of them is an emergency requiring immediate attention but good luck finding it without wading through everything.

This brings me to a lack of useful state. I handle email in two quick passes - read everything (and discard anything that doesn't need further attention), deal with anything critical and then at some point go back and mop up the rest. In chat though you just blew past something that needs a response eventually and it fades from your mind as you fight the fire elsewhere. I never miss an email, I often miss a chat.

And good luck finding anything. Maybe a market leader or two will establish dominance for long enough but my experience so far has been lurching from one platform to the next, both professionally and personally, and having a hard time finding that one thing I know should be in there from the end of last year. My Gmail has emails going back to 1996, and yes that's almost a decade before Gmail existed. I can find anything.

On the subject of dominance, the real reason for all of the attempted email homicide is that it's one of the last open systems that everyone still uses. If only email would just die you'll be trapped forever in Messenger and Hangouts.

[email protected]

(Related: 1,000th Post!; Got It; Doing news right with Feedly and Google News)

(You might also like: How to Save a Planet (with an Infiniti QX55); Methyl L-α-aspartyl-L-fucking-phenylalaninate; Twitter's API has got too painful for me)

(All Etc Posts)

Out of Office Hours

Updated on Sunday, May 2, 2021


Inc has an article based on this blog suggesting that the solution to 'zoom fatigue' is reverse meetings.

I imagined that this was going to be a S03E01 of Red Dwarf type scenario where you get handed some notes and a few action items and then apologize for leaving early. But no, it's office hours.

""In a reverse meeting scenario, by contrast, I might take only 10 minutes from each colleague, taking up 50 minutes total of my time, and 50 minutes total of their time, for an overall demand of 100 minutes of attention, which is 3.6 times less cost," Newport writes. And voilà, he's just given your team back more than four hours of productive time a week."

Assuming that people manage to show up in perfect slots with no conflict and do so in a way that has perfect utilization for the victim and that there is no value in having someone point out that one of those 10 minute slots was full of incorrect information sending you down a two week rabbit hole that could have easily been avoided by having the right people spend some time together.

In a perfect world my ideal meeting situation is the meeting defragmenter. This involves software and cooperation unfortunately so the next best solution is out of office hours. I need focused time to get stuff done and blocking large chunks of meeting repelling time is really the only thing that works.

(Related: Meeting Defragmenter; Amazon Alexa Echo Wall Clock Review; I Love Email)

(You might also like: Crab at Fort Funston; Please fix phone spam Google!; StackOverflow DevDays)

(All Etc Posts)

Vernal (Spring) Equinox 2021


It's springtime in the northern hemisphere or autumn if you happen to live south of the equator. Rendered in Catfood Earth.

(Previously: Vernal (Spring) Equinox 2020)

(Related: Autumnal Equinox 2013; Vernal Equinox 2014; Vernal (Spring) Equinox 2020)

(You might also like: Better Paperless; Abrigo Valley; Autumnal Equinox 2020)

(All Code Posts)

Links for March 2021

Great Horned Owlets

Updated on Saturday, May 1, 2021

Great Horned Owlets

Two baby Great Horned Owls and one parent at Glen Canyon Park in San Francisco (Sony RX-10 IV).

(Related: Barn Owl; Coyote; Recent Wildlife)

(You might also like: Open Democracy; 3D DIY; End the Electoral College: Amendment, Compact, or Supreme Court?)

(Recent Photos)

Deep Fake Rob

Updated on Saturday, February 19, 2022

One Year of Tides Animated (with Sun and Moon)

Updated on Saturday, February 19, 2022

One Year of Tides Animated (with Sun and Moon)

This animation shows a year of tides in San Francisco with the sun and moon:

I was inspired to create this after adding a tide forecast to a personal weather dashboard I have running on an old Surface Pro. I realized I didn't understand tides that much. I still don't, but I know more than I did before.

The animation illustrates four components of the tide. The obvious ones are the position of the sun and moon. When the moon is new or full the Earth, sun and moon are all lined up leading to larger 'spring' tides, which happen twice a month just like spring doesn't. As the moon waxes or wanes and becomes half full the moon and sun are at right angles and partially cancel each other out resulting in lower highs and higher lows. This is the neap tide, almost as unhelpful as 'spring'.

As orbits are not circles the Earth is closer or further away from the sun over the course of a year and the moon behaves the same way. When it's close than usual we get super moons and king tides (finally a type of tide that does what it sounds like). In the animation the sun and moon actually grow and shrink in proportion to their distance from Earth.

Here's how to read the animation. The date and time at the bottom of the screen refers to the tide right in the middle. The full screen shows the forecast running from 12 hours before the current time to 12 hours later. The vertical range is from -4 feet to 10 feet, relative to mean lower low water (MLLW), the average lowest tide over 19 years. The sun and moon are on a different scale - 360 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically.

The tide forecast is pulled from the NOAA Tides and Currents API. I used SunCalc-Net for the position of the sun and moon, and the phase of and distance to the moon. For the distance to the sun I used a formula I found on StackExchange.

I wanted to both fit in a full year and run slowly enough to see what's going on each month so the video is around 20 minutes long. I won't be offended if you don't finish it.

(Related: Summer Solstice 2020; Animation of a year of Global Cloud Cover; Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse)

(You might also like: Baby Yellow Spiders; Coronavirus Hikes: July 2020; Crab at Fort Funston)

(All Etc Posts)