Category Archives: throwaways

Inchoate thoughts, usually.

Where I’ve Been

Hi, How Are You?

It has been a while since I’ve had anything to say in public – the Lincoln quote about being thought a fool and all that – and I am not sure much has changed. I near the end of a third year as an academic law librarian, having learned much, having plenty more to learn. I teach, research, read, and maintain library tools and collections. I go to meetings. I walk around. In my free time, I work on coding skills and try to learn the ways of mindful self-support and self-compassion. I watch sports on television. I do the dishes. I sleep.

I Don’t Do Social Media

You won’t find me on the social media platforms any more. I miss the genuine connections I built with people and am grateful for the opportunities afforded by them, but the bad outweighed the good, and I tend not to be one for shades of gray, especially when it comes to behavior I feel is not allowing me live the richest life possible. There’s plenty that others have said on the topic that I won’t repeat, but in short, I have stopped twitting myself. Oh, and I do miss the constant affirmation and sense of belonging. That part is not so fun.

I (Try To) Make Computers Do Things

It’s no secret I’ve been learning to code with Python for the past two or three years or so, in fits and starts. The past several months have seen me rededicate myself, doing a version of what I must imagine Paul Ohm & Jonathan Frankle ask their students at Georgetown to do. I have done parts and wholes of several courses, but am focusing on strengthening my fundamentals. I’m learning more and more about working with files and directory structures across platforms, and about object orientation. I still like Zed, even if he is angry about strings, but Head First Python (2d) has helped me the most. I tried MIT’s 6.00.1x, but still cannot do math, which is sort of a problem!

I Support Open Web Technologies

I’m trying to add web skills to the mix, and have been working on [the resources available within Mozilla’s web docs platform] (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn). Essentially, this means HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, which is new for me. So many curly braces. And server-side scripting. In the midst of all this, I believe in supporting the open web, so while it ain’t perfect, I give some money to The Mozilla Foundation. I like OSS just fine, too, and run Ubuntu at home, though I prefer to send my cash to the Python Software Foundation and the Linux Foundation. And, of course, to developers who make useful tools – pay for what you believe in.

I want to learn more about how to collaborate on library-specific coding projects, too.

I Read, I Rest, I Drink Tea

Mostly mysteries, 19th century novels, and instruction manuals. Mostly on the couch. Mostly PG Tips.

Bye For Now

I’ll try to write more often. There’s plenty to share. Projects I’ve been working on, things I’ve been thinking about, etc., etc. Send me a message – I’m not too hard to find.

Totalitarianism and Work Modeling

I’ve been reading a lot about totalitarianism lately, and wanted to offer a brief, inchoate thought:

We want to model human work and behavior and encourage the invention of products that make accomplishing our tasks more efficient, or give us the ability to think of new tasks entirely.

We also don’t want to emulate Stalin, Mao, or Mussolini.

I think Steve Jobs’ vision and Google’s dominance are the reason I’m being drawn to think about totalitarianism. We are creating new people, or new, total ways of being people, and probably not for the better.

Selected Sources:

Bloc Heads,” a review (by Louis Menand) of Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe.

The Hungry Years,” a review of two books on China’s Great Famine (paywall).

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

Tim Cook’s Freshman Year: The Apple CEO Speaks,” in BloombergBusinessweek.

The tweets of Evgeny Morozov.

The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand.