A few thoughts…

Some days are just a little different than others. Yesterday I really thought deeply about the prospect of just taking down my weblog. It has been years since that happened. The last time was years ago when the domain was moved from the .net back to the primary .com domain. At one point, I head both of those domains up and running for reasons that now seem unnecessary. All of that was related to my thoughts on the lost art of communication by writing letters. This weblog for the most part is a series of poorly written and edited letters in the form of functional observations. I had started to really think about what it would mean to approach this effort in terms of writing open letters. That would involve a different type and style of writing on a daily basis.

Those stuck words

Waking up seems to be going very slowly today. In a few minutes the sun will come up and the day will start, but my efforts to write are not that predictable. At the moment my Warren Zevon Pandora station is playing a lot of Bruce Spingsteen. Sometimes that happens in major spurts. Algorithmically some similarity must exist I guess. Nobody really wrote music and lyrics like Warren did for decades. You can tell that the writing process has not kickstarted yet this morning. I’m writing about my surroundings and not reacting to anything that is kicking up a strong emotion or thought about anything particular. That is generally a bad sign for the start or sustainment of an early morning writing effort. This whole page is not going to auto populate. I’m going to need to start writing something more substantial. Maybe at this very moment the right thing to do would be to shift gears and start writing a short story or maybe just dig into some type of fiction related effort. It does not feel like that is going to happen either. At the moment all of the good words appear to be stuck and those stuck words are not making an appearance on the weblog this morning.

Thinking about publishing platforms

Yesterday, I sort of missed using the Movable Type blog publishing platform. Initially all my online content was made using Microsoft FrontPage. Oddly enough I was really good at doing things with Microsoft FrontPage. It was really easy to use and administer. Along the way it had seemed like a good idea to switch over to using the Movable Type system. That was probably around 17 or 18 years ago. Somewhere along the way probably around 2009 things were moved over to WordPress. That is pretty much how things went. They went from the platform I really liked to two that I could take or leave. A lot of different options exist for people to build and publish content online these days. Both Movable Type and WordPress helped people along the way get used to publishing content online and they were pretty straightforward to get installed and to manage. The long pole in the tent requirement for me was that the software had to be self hosted. That rules out a lot of the platforms straight away. I want to have the code sitting on my server and manage it myself. That might be an outdated thing to consider in this world of cloud enablement, but my words are my words and I host them myself. 

Apparently, I could go out and learn how to deploy my weblog software on GCP or Azure. That is probably something that I should learn to do just to keep current on cloud deployments. I could deploy my own instance and manage it on one of those cloud platforms. Maybe that is something to think about working on for this weekend. The real trick would be scripting the entire setup on GCP so it could be executed in one shot. That might be a valid use of my time to demonstrate the ability to do a small deployment. These days figuring out ways to expand my toolkit to have examples of doing things in the cloud is probably not a bad way to spend my time. I spent some time looking at the newer courses for GCP out on the Coursera website. That is where the Google Cloud team has elected to store training content and in the past those classes have been pretty good. I have enjoyed a ton of them in the past. That might be something that I want to invest more time in here shortly.

My whiteboard is clean

Today I took the day off. It is like a placeholder day of sorts. Things are going to happen today and I’m going to try to focus on creating some things. My whiteboard is clean and ready for some thoughts about the future. That bottle of whiteboard cleaner is almost empty now. I thought that bottle would last forever. At the moment, I’m ready to throw some ideas up on the whiteboard and try to figure out what’s next. That is where my head is at right now. My thoughts are confused on the future and that is probably where they will be all day. I’m probably going to grab my Google Pixelbook Go and spend some time writing and working in the living room today. I could probably just as easily go old school with a notebook and my Parker sonnet fountain pen, but I’m thinking typing might be the right way to go today. Today is a day of words. It is one of those placeholder days where words outpace actions. The planning and the thinking have to gain steam to build up to getting things done. It happens from time to time. All the things that need to be set up have to be built out and put together. Without building out the foundation the totality of what needs to be achieved will be limited by the freestanding pillars that happen to be standing around when the action starts.

A 93-day publishing streak…

I’m generally pretty good at accepting or denying LinkedIn requests in real time. Right now I have 59 of them to dig into and figure out what to do with today. That is something that I can probably do while sitting on the sofa pondering the nature of the universe. I’m going to start noting the length of my current publishing streak at the bottom of my posts for a while. I’m getting very close to hitting that 100 day consecutive publishing streak milestone and that is exciting. That means that my daily writing routine is working well enough to keep going. The goal of that endeavor is to just keep writing a little bit every day while striving forward toward that perfect possible future.

Focusing on attention

This is a recording of my blog from December 17, 2019

I spent some time today thinking about exactly what focuses our attention. Some things within our space grab that attention and they might not do it for the right reasons or based on our best interests. Some of those alerts that grab our attention just dilute it and take away our focus based on contact switching and the loss of time which remains our most valuable resource. 

Alerting methods within a smartphone: text (MMS/SMS), app message notification, phone call, application pop up that takes over the screen, or maybe email notifications. I’m watching my Google Pixel 4 XL smartphone right now and trying to document all the different types of alerts that are taking up my attention. Right now I have an 4 alerts: 1) application alert from WordPress, 2) a news alert from the NYTimes application about congress, 3) Google Photos made a new stylized photo, and 4) Google News wanted to share something about a letter to congress. All 4 of those alerts require some type of acknowledgment or effort on my part to deflect them from taking up my attention. That is the type of attention grabbing items I have been thinking about recently. 

Earlier this evening I finished up some edits on my “Ai4 Healthcare NYC 2019” post from November 10, 2019. It looks like an earlier version of my talk got loaded with a few typos that needed to be corrected. I have also uploaded an audio recording of that approximately 5,000 word text for your listening pleasure. 

This is a link to a post that I edited today.