February was the last month of any formal recovery; my physical therapy came to an end, and I can pretty much do most normal things now (except for climbing down stairs, that’s still a work in progress).
To celebrate my walking without a cast, we went to the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose (and ended up getting an annual pass; it remains to be seen whether we end up using it).
The big event of the month was our trip to San Diego (my first after the leg fracture in October), for four days.
We went to the zoo on the first day, which was lucky because after that the next two days had surprisingly stormy weather. We spent a great day at the Children’s Museum the next day, and at my brother’s place the next two days. Much fun was had by all 🙂
This may only be interesting from a curation/archival point of view, but still: the folks at the “Long Now Foundation” (responsible for that big clock) have a “Manual for Civilization”, which is their canonical list of fundamental books as per various Science Fiction authors, artists, etc.
“The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.”
“Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery, and replace it with a mythology.”
I got to know about “Christmas Tree Worms” after seeing the photos someone took on a coral reef dive (there’s no end to weird stuff in the sea).
I don’t have time to really play console games any more (sigh!), but I can still drool. Though now I care less about “Call of Duty”, and more about stuff that has a compelling narrative. A leading contender here is “No Man’s Sky”, and here is NPR’s literary perspective on it.
Hypertext and interactive fiction is a recent fad of mine, so I found this article interesting, since it asks why we don’t have more hypertexts around (my own explanation is that this branch of fiction migrated from books, to video gaming instead).
Finally, I wasn’t sure whether to file this under the ‘science’ or ‘art’ category, and I chose the latter because it just looked so freaking gorgeous: a renaissance-era geometry book! Here is an example:
List is somewhat in flux because my, um, note-taking system was badly used the last several weeks. There was a lot of other interesting stuff, which is just … lost.
A reminder that none of this means anything, it’s a rough catalogue of “some stuff I came across over a month”, that’s all.
I’ve slowly started using my leg more and more, going from 0 to 25 to 75 to 100 percent of body weight allowed on it. This meant a bunch of small milestones, such as climbing the stairs, carrying something in my hand while I walk, etc.
We had some plans for Christmas, but we all fell sick with a stomach infection in the last week, which was bad for morale. Luckily, we recovered in time to enjoy the last few days of vacation time, and played a lot with Tara at home.
both Tara and I got a haircut on the same day
had whisky for the first time in two and a half months
I used to think that I alone struggled with various tools and apps to manage, track and digest all the things I want to keep track of, but I now suspect this is a pretty common source of discontent.
Every few years I go through a phase of ‘churn where I signup for something new, with the hope that now, at long last, my cognitive load will lessen, ideas will be remembered, snippets and quotes will be stored and retrieved, and so on. Yet inevitably, after some initial enthusiasm, the experiment ends in deadlock and decay.
In the best case, the tool or app becomes inconvenient and sluggish, while in the worst case everything laboriously entered in is los forever. So after about a decade and half of this ridiculous waste of time, I thought I’d try to think through to figure out what exactly it is that I’m looking for.
There’s no point pretending that the one true, great tool out there will solve these problems. So this post isn’t about finding solutions, but just listing problems.
I need away to remind me to do something on a one-off basis
I need to be able to track a small group of related tasks
I need to be able to make lists of things, sometimes collaboratively
I need to be able to write medium size posts, like this one, with minimum fuss
I want to be able to save bookmarks (lots of them!) and find them later, by date and ‘tag’
I want to be able to save quotes or extracts from web pages
I want to be able to save pdfs and later search within them
I need an easy way to make short notes without making an official ‘doc’ about something with a title, etc.
I want to be able to quickly snap a photo of something, annotate it, and file it away, sometimes with a reminder
I need to make notes about a certain topic as I go along, sometimes sigh snippets of text or code, and retrieve his later by date or by ‘tag’
Sometimes emails have to be be turned into tasks
I have to be able to quickly capture thoughts and ideas for future retrieval
I don’t want to be locked in to proprietary formats or hidden libraries, as far as possible
It should be possible to ‘sync’ between devices
I don’t necessarily want to keep everything ‘in the cloud’
I want a lot of photos around, forever, accessible from everywhere
I need to be able to search across text, images, pdfs, but without always doing a huge amount of tagging up front
I want to be able to create small ‘projects’ with tasks, but without having to fight some rigid ‘true way’ of defining them (fluid due dates, deferred dates, priorities, easy capture and editing)
I need recurring reminders too (sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, sometimes quarterly, sometimes biannually, etc)
I don’t want to think too much about where to file a given snippet, all I care about is being able to look for it later as if I had filed it correctly to begin with
I want to avoid the risk of some one going out of business and taking my data with them (stick to regular files and plain text as far as possible)
Yeah, a lot to ask for, but also … it’s not all that much, there has to be a way to get all this to work somehow.