Every page I visited on the internet today.

I’ve been reading the news too much.  I think knowing what is happening in the world is good, but checking the web every 15 minutes means I get lots of ‘sugar’ and none of the ‘meat’. It also means I’m failing to do important deep work.

It also doesn’t help that I spend too much time on social networks, stay up too late reading strange pages, and get taken off track by any number of ‘interesting facts to look up’ in a day.

The answer to most of my problems is ‘be open’.  So this is the list of every webpage I visited today:

I knew I was writing this post in the morning, so today my internet has been good as gold.

Desktop

My main work machine, it turns out I’m mostly looking up code and ordering from Amazon.

  • http://joereddington.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6498&action=edit
  • http://joereddington.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6498&action=edit&message=10
  • https://xkcd.com/simplewriter/
  • http://xkcd.com/simplewriter/
  • http://joereddington.com/wp-admin/post-new.php
  • http://joereddington.com/wp-admin/
  • moz-extension://ffb7b4ca-c803-2c46-9a9b-62d06290f6f9/tabDialog.html?dialog=loginSimple
  • http://joereddington.com/wp-login.php?redirect_to=http%3A%2F%2Fjoereddington.com%2Fwp-admin%2F&reauth=1
  • http://joereddington.com/
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=teapot&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://www.halifax.co.uk/contactus/call-us/#lostandstolencards
  • https://www.halifax.co.uk/contactus/call-us/#creditcards
  • https://www.halifax.co.uk/contactus/call-us/
  • https://www.halifax.co.uk/creditcards/help-guidance/existing-customers/
  • https://www.halifax.co.uk/creditcards/
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=halifax+credit+card&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=can+i+use+a+mini+displayport+cable+with+thunderbolt&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://www.cnet.com/news/confusing-mini-displayport-with-thunderbolt/
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=difference+between+thunderbolt+and+displayport&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=thunderbolt
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/
  • http://smile.amazon.co.uk/
  • https://www.amazon.co.uk/
  • https://calendar.google.com/calendar/r
  • https://calendar.google.com/calendar/r/eventedit
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=cak&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://github.com/eQualityTime/Public/issues/30
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Elliott-Lobby-Dustpan-Brush-Self-Closing/dp/B0032NA3WC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1536337421&sr=8-4&keywords=dustpan+and+brush+sets
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Handle-Handled-Dustpan-Sweeper-Silver/dp/B00ORZOL2C/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1536337421&sr=8-7&keywords=dustpan+and+brush+sets
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_4?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=dustpan+and+brush+sets&sprefix=dust%2Caps%2C177&crid=2XI0COZ9SQOEA
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_pg_2?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Atable+protector&page=2&keywords=table+protector&ie=UTF8&qid=1536337343
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=table+protector
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ref=nav_logo_prime
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Floor-Chair-Feeding-Splash-Painting/dp/B012D2V0Y2/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1536337274&sr=8-1&keywords=plastic+sheet+for+floor+baby+feeding
  • https://smile.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=plastic+sheet+for+floor+baby+feeding&sprefix=plastic+sheet+%2Caps%2C305&crid=1VJNZE111PFLV
  • https://gitup.co/
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=git+visualise+commits+osx&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://git-scm.com/downloads/guis
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=git+client+for+osx&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://github.com/tpope/vim-fugitive
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=vim+git+plugins&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/116559/is-it-considered-eithical-to-sign-yourself-with-name-followed-by-phd-when-in-fac
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/52219698/how-can-there-be-a-merge-conflict-when-git-rebasing-onto-an-the-same-branch
  • https://stackoverflow.com/posts/52219698/edit
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/52219698/git-rebase-commit-id-fails?noredirect=1#comment91389706_52219698
  • https://stackoverflow.com/
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4107265/pros-and-cons-of-gitx-vs-gitnub
  • https://www.slant.co/versus/1502/17584/~gitx-dev_vs_fork
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=better+than+gitx&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=git+branch+upstream&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://git-scm.com/docs/git-rebase
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=git+rebase+default+behavior&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/52219698/git-rebase-commit-id-fails?noredirect=1#comment91388381_52219698
  • https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/gitx/5Y4yJZd0PRk
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=you+CAN%27T+use+this+version+of+gitx+with+this+version+of+mac+os&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://github.com/pieter/gitx/pulls
  • https://github.com/pieter/gitx
  • http://github.com/pieter/gitx.git
  • http://gitx.frim.nl/contribute.html
  • http://gitx.frim.nl/
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=gitx+NOT+working+mac&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • http://gitx.frim.nl/release_history.html
  • http://frim.frim.nl/GitXStable.app.zip
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=gitX&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://www.sourcetreeapp.com/
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1838873/visualizing-branch-topology-in-git/1838938
  • https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-ab&q=git+show+tree&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjig_fY3KjdAhXoJcAKHTHVAnsQ7xYIJCgA&biw=1707&bih=983
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1064361/unable-to-show-a-git-tree-in-terminal
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=gitx+show+tre&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/8358035/whats-the-difference-between-git-revert-checkout-and-reset
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=git+reset+and+revert&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=git+reset+&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://stackoverflow.com/users/login?ssrc=head&returnurl=https%3a%2f%2fstackoverflow.com%2f
  • https://www.atlassian.com/git/tutorials/merging-vs-rebasing
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=why+use+rebase+when+you+can+merge&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://www.noisli.com/
  • https://learngitbranching.js.org/?demo
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/learnprogramming/comments/6radv4/what_are_some_good_resources_for_learning_git/
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=best+resources+for+learning+git&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab
  • https://leanpub.com/learngitthehardway
  • https://www.google.com/search?q=git+the+hard+way&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab

Phone

Turns out my phone also includes Safari on laptop (I’ve had to redact some person information in a subject header).  Despite going on at length about how I only open my inbox four times I week, I briefly pop into my email to get something earlier.

 

Laptop

 

Gift Policy

 
Give me a book that has changed your life. Write your name on it. I will treasure it. If you haven’t got a book that has changed your life then go to the library and find one.  I would like to grow old with a shelf of books with names in them. 
I dislike receiving gifts. I have lots of good reasons for this, but they might come from some deep brain flaw rather than good thinking.  I know that my dislike of gifts makes life harder for people I care about, so I’m trying to be more open to gifts.
If you get me a gift then I will enjoy the act of gift giving and accept it with a happy smile. I will feel touched. I will remember the act long after the event. I may immediately give the gift to a charity shop if it turns out I didn’t have any use for it, but I can do that while still feeling really quite touched.
If you would like to get me a gift that I will enjoy in its own right, then I’ve tried to work at some ideas that will help:
  • Give me a book that has changed your life. Write your name on it. I will love it.
  • If you have already given me a book that has changed your life, or you don’t feel you know me well enough, then I have an Amazon Wish list that you can find here.
  • I check it pretty often and try to make sure there are ideas that are less than £5, £10, and £20. Second-hand gifts are even better than the new ones.
  • Feel free to give to charity in my name. I like Special Effect, but go wild.
  • Vegan-friendly chocolate (80-90%) is always a good save idea.
Some other notes:
  • Turning up to our house doesn’t need gifts. If you are late because you stopped to buy gifts then you have cataostrophically misunderstood my value system.
  • If you are in any way stressed about getting a gift for me, then stop. I don’t want you to be stressed. Give me the gift of you being unstressed. Get yourself a gift. (If you are in any way stressed about getting a gift for anyone, then you aren’t getting a gift – you are trying to swap something physical for some form of acceptance or approval).

Applying for jobs

 

Today I applied for a job at eQuality Time, the charity I set up (much more sensible than it sounds – it’s a genuine charity, so it’s important to make sure they get the best person for the job – particularly when people who are good at setting organisations up aren’t necessarily good at running them).

I’m broadly applying for the job I already do much of, and that meant that applying for the job was a really interesting experience.

When you apply for a job you (I do anyway) look at the list of criteria and write about how you match them all in the covering letter. The interesting bit was that for some of the criteria I didn’t know what to write.  There are a few possibilities for this:

  • I didn’t feel like I had a particular skill
  • I felt like I had the skill but I hadn’t sucessfully demonstrated it.
  • I’d been carrying out the responsibility, but in an ad-hoc way, without any really plans or focus.

…and all of those are interesting signs when you are already doing quite a lot of the job.

So my covering letter ended up being a fairly honest apraisal of where I felt I’d done well as a person, and where I felt I had a lot to learn. and the latter is something I’ll be working on hard in the future.   It was a really interesting exercise and I’ll be thinking about ways to build it into future work.   Filling out the application form meant that I gave myself a really sincere evaluation, rather than what I have a habit of doing, which is evaluating the organisation in isolation.

For those interested, the covering letter is here:eqtcoveringletter and, if I get the job, I’ll be working hard on staff managment and information flow.

Saving keystrokes, baby advice….

A friend emailed today asking for input – he’s having a baby in the near future and was a bit lost about what to buy and what to avoid (particularly around clothes, which is why this post focuses on it.  I wrote a long email, and then Kat wrote her bit of it, and by the time I was finished adding to it I thought we’d leave it here to serve as an update of sorts – in many ways it’s less about advice and more about our experiences… .

Congratulations! 

Two facts about clothes – 
  1. you WON’T be able to move for people giving you new clothes
  2. they’ll miss out lots of important bits.  
This is an excellent time to start going to car boot sales – almost all of Nova’s clothes were bought for about 20p an item in a field. Quite a lot of the rest were hand me downs.   Anything with buttons is cursed, poppers are where it’s at. 
Important purchases: 
Useful facts: 
  • Going to the prenatal classes isn’t particularly good for information (Drinking game: take a shot every time the person in charge avoids a question by saying “Whatever works for baby”), but is good for relaxation – turns out that you guys are more ready that most of the people there (and you’ll find yourself *vastly* more ready than most to-be fathers).  It’s also good for your partner to start making her baby friends. This is essential for lots of sensible mental health reasons and it’s amazing how much the mummy groups  are the de-facto information source.  
  • Gender reveal scan – is fucking awful because it’s also the anomaly scan.  It’s thorough and it’s brutal to go through.  In advance agree to get the gender written down on paper (if you are finding out early) so that you can find out at home when you have calmed down. 
Kat will now take over the email… 
Hi XXXX, congratulations, how exciting! I got super confused about clothes (and actually most baby gear too :)). Top tips are:
Sizes – Newborn/First size means items they can wear for the first month. If you have a baby bigger than 8lbs, you probably only need a few this size as they’ll only be in them a week or so! 0-3 is the next size up and obvs will last until they are around 3 mths).
 
Items – I’m still unsure about the difference between a babygro/vest and a sleep suit! With Nova, at the beginning we had her in a babygro and sleep suit at night (and a sleeping bag/gro bag on top – these are great as the baby doesn’t kick them off). Now it’s summer, we have these old fashioned nighties, which mean you can change her nappy in the night without having to do loads of poppers. I think if I did it again, I’d prob have her in nighties (and babygro) from the beginning. Sleepsuits are still good for wearing during the day when you want to have a simple outfit (i.e. rather that nightmare for changing trousers and socks combo). I’d suggest you get 5-7 baby grow and 5-7 sleep suits to start off with (remembering Joe’s point above that EVERYONE gets you clothes :))
 
Baby gear – There is SO much out there, especially baby sleep aids. We used a moses basket but I’ve heard really good feedback on the next to me cots (CHICO I think is the brand). Try and get second hand (buy a new mattress) though as they’re only in them for 4 mths. One of the best bits of kit we got for Nova was a baby swing. I think she could go in it from 6wks and it gave me my arms back as she’d happily rock in there for a bit (whereas she got fed up with lying down for too long).
 
That’s the main bits I can think of from top of my head. Feel free to msg Joe or me  any other qs that come up – having a baby is like learning a new language, there’s so much to take on board, but it is wonderful!

Everything I’ve watched so far in 2017

Last year I wrote Everything I watched on TV in 2016.  It was interesting and quite embarassing.  So I’m doing it again.

Netflix and Amazon Instant video both let you see the list of shows you’ve watched (I’ve also watched about five or so DVDs, a few trips to movies, two things on the iPlayer and no live TV – but I’m leaving those out for this)

Most of them where fun, but seeing the whole list together seems kind of big.    On the bright side, it’s smaller than last year – three months of Netflix last year is about the same as nine months this year and 12 months of Amazon last year is roughtly half the size of 9 months of this year.  So that’s good.

Still. Much of it is still rubbish,  so I’m going to make the list public again in the hope that this will be a bit of a clean break.

The missing numbers on the Amazon list are because I took out the things my other half watched without me (this time I also took out the things that I got about five minutes into before deciding to do something else).

My Neflix January-November 2017

 

24/09/2017 Transformers Prime: Season 1: Darkness Rising: Part 1
24/09/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 57
23/09/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 56
22/09/2017 Drunken Master
21/09/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 55
20/09/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 54
14/09/2017 Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Season 1: Secrets and Lies
13/09/2017 Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Season 1: Iron, Forged in Fire: Part 2
13/09/2017 Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Season 1: Iron, Forged in Fire: Part 1
12/09/2017 Snitch
11/09/2017 The Nice Guys
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Beach House
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Stakeout
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: The Pontiac Bandit Returns
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: The Road Trip
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: USPIS
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Lockdown
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Jake and Sophia
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: The Mole
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Halloween II
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: The Jimmy Jab Games
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Chocolate Milk
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Undercover
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Charges and Specs
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Unsolvable
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Fancy Brudgom
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Tactical Village
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Apartment
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Full Boyle
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Party
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Operation: Broken Feather
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Ebony Falcon
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Bet
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Pontiac Bandit
06/09/2017 Foxy Brown
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Christmas
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Thanksgiving
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Sal’s Pizza
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Old School
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: 48 Hours
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Halloween
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Vulture
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: M.E. Time
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Slump
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Tagger
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Pilot
05/09/2017 Jack Reacher
03/09/2017 Creed
31/08/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: World On Fire
12/08/2017 Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow: Series 1: Edinburgh
11/08/2017 Skiptrace
15/07/2017 Mechanic: Resurrection
15/07/2017 Sherlock: Series 3: The Abominable Bride
21/06/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 53
09/06/2017 Lucid Dream
09/06/2017 Headshot
09/06/2017 Limitless
10/05/2017 Furious 7
13/04/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: In the Blood
29/03/2017 Warrior
29/03/2017 The Mechanic
27/03/2017 Shrek 2
27/03/2017 LEGO: City
26/03/2017 Avengers: Age of Ultron
24/03/2017 Gantz:O
24/03/2017 Gotham: Season 1: Selina Kyle
23/03/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: Rabbit in a Snowstorm
23/03/2017 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1: Dragon Plays with Fire
21/03/2017 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1: Lead Horse Back to Stable
21/03/2017 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1: Bar the Big Boss
20/03/2017 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1: Black Tiger Steals Heart
16/03/2017 Fight Club
16/03/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: Cut Man
14/03/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: Into the Ring
13/03/2017 Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru
05/03/2017 Layer Cake
16/02/2017 Iron Man 3
09/02/2017 Gotham: Season 2: By Fire

 

My Amazon 2017 Jan-November

1 Wonder Woman
2 Jackie Chan’s First Strike
9 John Wick Chapter 2
10 Sherlock Holmes
11 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Theatrical)
13 Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
15 CLUE
16 Clear and Present Danger
18 RocknRolla
19 Kiss The Girls
21 CLUELESS
22 Arrow: Season 4
23 Arrow Season 3
24 Justice League Season 1
25 Logan
27 The Girl on The Train
31 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 4
32 Mad Max: Fury Road
33 Eraser
34 The LEGO Batman Movie
35 John Wick
37 What If. . .
38 Limitless
42 Justice League Season 2
44 Batman: The Animated Series: Volume 1
49 Doctor Strange (Theatrical Version)
50 Beware the Batman Season 1
52 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 3
54 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 2
60 Batman Beyond – Return of the Joker

How I got my Apple Watch to give me sleep data going back to the first day I bought it.

The apple watch has some sleep tracking apps, but they all have the major flaw that you have to switch them on when you go to bed and switch them off when you wake up.

For me, this makes them unfit for purpose – it’s those days when I am too tired to remember to flick the switch that are the ones that really matter to me.  I want something totally automatic.

So that’s the problem.  Now let me show you my a week of my Google Calendar from a few months ago.

 

The green events are when I’m asleep, the purple ones are when I’m cycling, and the pink ones are when I’m using public transport.

That week I was working in Bounds Green on a very tiring project for whitewaterwriters.com. It was so tiring that on one evening I was abed by 8pm.  I was also building up to cycle all that way – as you can see I started by breaking the journey down, then tried to bite off more than I could chew on Thursday and gratefully got the train all the way there on Friday.

Here’s the cool thing – I didn’t collect any of that data on purpose.  I wasn’t tracking my sleep, or my movement, or anything else at this sort of detail. All of those events where automatically generated for me, after the fact.

The cycling appears on the calendar via the wonderful StravaICAL, and the other transport information comes in via some other code I wrote that imports my Oyster records. I’m going to use this post to tell you about how I managed to us my Apple Watch to give me sleep data going back more than a year to the first day  bought the watch.  This post is going to talk about how I did it, how you can do it, and what I learned from the process.

How I got the old information

Like almost everybody I charge my watch overnight. The last thing I do at night is put it on charge, and the first thing I do in the morning is put it on my wrist.

I’d also been wondering about sleep tracking for a while.

I tried to export the ‘time under charge’  log files from the watch  then I’d have a pretty good sleep tracker… Or at least ‘bed’ tracker, which is most of what I want.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get access to that.

I tried to see if there was any way I could regularly export the ‘lock’ and ‘unlock’ events from the watch, because that would be a good proxy for bed as well.

No luck there either.

However, I did discover something I could export.  My heart rate data.  Every ten minutes the watch takes a measurement of my heartrate. If it’s not on my wrist, then there is no measurement.

I used the app QS Access (app store link) to give me the file.  The process is: open app, press the ‘i’ by ‘heart rate’, choose ‘tabulate all samples’ and export the file to Dropbox.   It saved as ‘Heart rate.csv’.

Turns out that the Heart-rate data gives you pretty much everything you need.  Once I wrote the code,  which you can see here (run with ‘./watson.py sleep’, I was able to pull out data like this:

   25/04/17 22:42 to 11:09 (12:27)

    26/04/17 22:10 to 08:57 (10:47)

    27/04/17 22:56 to 07:34 (8:38)

    28/04/17 23:44 to 08:36 (8:52)

    29/04/17 22:37 to 09:13 (10:36)

    30/04/17 23:20 to 09:07 (9:47)

    02/05/17 00:47 to 08:05 (7:18)

    02/05/17 22:31 to 09:41 (11:10)

    03/05/17 23:56 to 08:00 (8:04)

    04/05/17 22:33 to 08:55 (10:22)

1st of May was a real late night – exactly the sort were I would normally have failed to switch on a sleep tracking app.

A little bit more code made it easy to automatically have this appear on my Google Calendar as you’ve seen above (I produce an ICS file and send it to a server, you could simply open it periodically in iCal)

What I’ve learned

The first thing I did when I got that lovely data was check that it was representative.  There were a few days where I’d forgotten my charger on a trip or similar that needed to be taken out. But it was mostly in good repair.

I wanted to check that the old data was fairly accurate so I did two things.

  • First, I’d attempted to use a different app for sleep tracking a few months ago (I only lasted a week) – I dug out that data and compared it to the watch data – it was the same to within a couple of minutes.
  • Secondly, I wore the watch normally for the next watch (making no intentional changes to my sleep habits), but with some awareness that it was now tracking me.  After that month I compared the ‘aware’ data with the ‘unaware data’. The averages and the standard deviations of sleep time, wake time, and length of sleep were pretty much the same so

I was happy to conclude that:

  • The data I have for the last year of my sleep is pretty accurate
  • I make NO unconscious changes to my sleep patterns now I know I’m being monitored.

There data itself was fascinating  – and I’ve made some lifestyle changes to see if I can improve matters – I’ll write another post in future looking at if they work or not.  For now – people who charge their watch like I do now have a way of getting to their data.

One day you die falling

“One day you die falling” turns out to be a unique phase on google.  I’ve misquoted it from the original which was:

“I wonder if it’s like this for mountain climbers, he thought. You climb bigger and bigger mountains and you know that one day one of them is going to be just that bit too steep. But you go on doing it, because it’s so-o good when you breathe the air up there. And you know you’ll die falling.”

There’s a thing I’m trying to articulate, which is:

Me has job to do

Life puts obstacles in the way

Me: I’ll never do this

Me: overcomes obstacles, does job

(later)
Me: has same job to do again

Life bigger obstacles, less time

Me: Never going to happen

Me overcomes obstacles, does job

(later still)

Me has same job to do

Life: lions, tigers, bears, complete lack of resources

Me: Definitely never happening now, NO chance

Me: well, I did say that last time as well

Life stuff is now on fire

Me: FFS

 

 

Simplewriter

I’m increasingly using SimpleWriter to write articles, documents and all sorts of other things.  SimpleWriter was made by XKCD – it gives you a window to write in and any word that is outside the ‘ten hundred’ most common words turns red.

There are three reasons this helps me:

  • It gives me a ‘game’ to play while I’m making something ready for other people to read.
  • It makes my writing clear and easy to access.
  • It helps me fight my ‘urge to seem more clever than you’.

I wanted to show you how different this approach was by giving you the before and after of the last thing I wrote here.  I can see on one side that there is lots of ‘fluff’ and lots of things that are only to show off in language. Everything on the other side looks much clearer.

 

Before After
“Even when Chivalry was not angry, being Skilled by him was like being trampled by a horse. Or ducked in a fast-flowing river, more like. He’d get in a hurry, and barge into you and dump his information and flee.” “Even when Chivalry was not angry, being Skilled by him was like being trampled by a horse. Or ducked in a fast-flowing river, more like. He’d get in a hurry, and barge into you and dump his information and flee.”
Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice
I worry that I can be quite a demanding conversationalist, particularly with people I feel are on the same wavelength. I have a real need to be challenged by the subject, either directly (recently, I spent the weekend with a medic who jumps out of helicopters for a living and it was a fascinating thing to learn about) or at meta-level (when you are working you a silly thought experiment with like-minded friends for the joy of playing with ideas). If there is someone I want to help I naturally want to help by giving information. I worry that I can be quite a hard person to talk to. I want to cut to the center of what we are talking about, so I ask questions that are hard to answer, attack other people’s points, and, when I’m talking – I talk quickly and for a long time to try and drive my point home.
Of course, the problem is this: if I’m interested in you, it can feel like a interrogation; if I want to help, it can feel like a brutal lecture. Spending time in Computer Science academia hasn’t helped; interrogation of the assumptions and brutal laying down of the facts is a target rather than a disadvantage. The problem is it can feel like a job interview if I’m interested in you, and if I want to help, it can feel like a lecture. I got away with this for a long time working in a university – It’s far too normal there.
Well, maybe he thought that your speeches were obscurantist policy tracts Well, maybe he thought that your speeches were obscurantist policy tracts
lost in a cul-de-sac of their own internal self-righteousness and groaning from the lost in a cul-de-sac of their own internal self-righteousness and groaning from the
weight of statistics. I’m just speculating. I can’t say for sure. weight of statistics. I’m just speculating. I can’t say for sure.
Will Bailey, West Wing “Arctic Radar” Will Bailey, West Wing “Arctic Radar”
I feel quite bad about having (relatively unintentionally) ridden roughshod over people who might occasionally like to get a few sentences of their own in amongst my ranting. I feel quite bad about having shouted down people who might like to get a few words of their own in between my yelling. I want to turn this ‘attacking’ off. Maybe use it sometimes, but as a choice, rather than ‘normal’.
I’d like to be able to switch this rather dominant approach off. I’d like to still be able to communicate this way, but certainly have it as an option rather than a default setting.
I’d like to be consciously taking less.
So this year one of my goals was to “swallow 100 stories in 2015”, it’s a very simple goal, all I had to do was, when an anacote occurred to me just keep quiet. So last year one of my goals was to “swallow 100 stories in 2015”. All I had to do was keep quiet when there was a chance to tell a story, or a ‘useful’ fact. 100 times.
This was really hard. Really hard. By May I’d managed to avoid telling about 20 stories. It’s been good thing to do in all of those cases, but it’s really really hard. This was really hard. Really hard. By May I’d managed to avoid telling about 20 stories. It’s been good thing to do in all of those cases, but it’s really really hard.
It’s also unclear if it’s more or less mindful. Either you can be about the topic of conversation or the conversation; either you are showing an awareness of the connection between you as people, or you are totally in the moment. This goal turned out to be ‘learn an completely new way of having a conversation’. A way that was took more notice of:
I think I’m mostly in-the-moment: what’s important to me is to think that a conversation is two or more people exploring an idea together. the topic; the other person; the time we had left to talk;what other things we were interested in talking about; how much detail we could go into
(I’d admit that sometimes my mind is on something else entirely, but that’s another thing).
So actually, what this goal turned out to be, was learning an entirely new way of having a conversation – being mindful of both the topic and the other person, of the amount of time we had left to chat and of how deeply we wanted to stretch out ideas. For someone who is used to the idea of conversation as ‘a tool to get the most information both out of me and into the other person and out of the other person and into me’ this is actually something of a departure. My old way was ‘get the most information out of me and into you and out of your and into me’, so this was different.
In fact, writing this four months in, I would now state the goal as “have a more conscious awareness of conversation and demonstrate that awareness by consciously passing up the chance to relay a story.”
I left the draft here and came back to it in November.
It’s now November, and I’ve just about got though my 100 stories untold. Some are refraining from boasting (Not telling a housemate about a BBC interview I had to turn down) some are avoiding an attack (I bit my tongue more than once with people who I felt deserved to be given a bit of a reality check) some are just me letting another person talk more. It’s been a really positive change. I’ve got a long way to go yet. But it’s nice to be taking steps on the road. I did get thought my 100 stories. Some where stopping myself from boasting, some where avoiding an attack, and some where leaving space in the conversation for the other person to break. It was a really good change. I’ve got a long way to go yet and I’m looking forward to taking more steps on the road.

100 stories untold.

“Even when Chivalry was not angry, being Skilled by him was like being trampled by a horse. Or ducked in a fast-flowing river, more like. He’d get in a hurry, and barge into you and dump his information and flee.”
Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice

I think I can be a hard person to talk to.  I try to cut to the centre of what we are talking about, so I ask questions that are hard to answer, attack other people’s points, and when I’m talking I talk quickly and for a long time to try and drive my point home.

The problem is it can feel like a job interview if I’m interested in you, and if I want to help, it can feel like a lecture.  I got away with this for a long time working in a university – It’s far too normal there.

Well, maybe he thought that your speeches were obscurantist policy tracts
lost in a cul-de-sac of their own internal self-righteousness and groaning from the
weight of statistics. I’m just speculating. I can’t say for sure.
Will Bailey, West Wing “Arctic Radar”

I feel quite bad about having shouted down people who might like to get a few words of their own in between my yelling.  I want to turn this ‘attacking’ off. Maybe use it sometimes, but as a choice, rather than ‘normal’.

So last year one of my goals was to “swallow 100 stories in 2015”.  All I had to do was keep quiet when there was a chance to tell a story, or a ‘useful’ fact.   100 times.

This was really hard. Really hard. By May I’d managed to avoid telling about 20 stories. It’s been good thing to do in all of those cases, but it’s really really hard.

This goal turned out to be ‘learn an completely new way of having a conversation’.  A way that was took more notice of:

  • the topic;
  • the other person
  • the time we had left to talk
  • what other things we were interested in talking about

My old way was ‘get the most information out of me and into you and out of your and into me’, so this was different.

I did get thought my 100 stories in the year.  Some where stopping myself from boasting, some where avoiding an attack, and some where leaving space in the conversation for the other person to direct.   It was a  good change.  I’ve got a long way to go yet and I’m looking forward to taking more steps on the road.

Making your priority list actually work.

After a year of a bad system, I’ve finally worked out how to use priorities on my ‘to do’ list.   I’ll explain what I did in this post, I hope it helps people.

Note – I wrote this post about two months ago, I wanted to keep it quiet so that I could check that everything was still working months later.

About a year ago, I followed the work of people like Randy Paush and started marking things on my ‘to do’ list with how important they were.

These where the markings I used.

  • 0 – not known, might be very very important, must sort
  • 1 – “Send Funding proposal” so anything to do with money and making sure I had a roof over my head.
  • 2 – “Fix Gym Membership” Things to do with my 2016 New Year’s resolutions.
  • 3 – “Review Jane’s Proposal”  tasks that are part of larger projects
  • 4 – “Get birthday present for Steve” tasks that are social in nature – friends and family.
  • 5 – “clean house” all the ‘normal’ things we need to do as humans
  • 6 – “See if you can make a cup holder from wood”  ‘play’ things.

I’ve been mostly ignoring them.  They have an effect (the fear chart counts 1’s as having six times more of an affect on the chart than 6s) But I really don’t have an urge to work on the low numbers first, which is the whole point.

The reason was that they were wrong.  Kind of. You see, those numbers were exactly for someone focused on building a business, or making themselves better. But it turns out those aren’t the things I care about. I care about other things, both for myself, and for other people.

So something that is a lot more important to me than success is integrity.  So I wrote out the markings again with that in mind.  Here’s what I ended up with:

  • 0 – not known, might be very very important, must sort
  • 1 – “Send James the new slides they need” – actions that I have committed to and that a named person needs before they can do something, with a deadline.
  • 2 – “Send James the book he asked for” – actions that I have committed to and that a named person needs before they can do something, but that don’t have a set deadline.
  • 3 – “Register for Saturday fun run”: actions that have a deadline and I have said I will do (to at least one person or in public), but only I care about.
  • 4 – “Go running” Like 3, but without a hard deadline.
  • 5 – “Make doctors appointment” actions I have promised myself, or I feel make me the person I like being
  • 6 – “See if you can make a cup holder from wood”  ‘play’ things.

 

The big sign I got that this was going to work was this: as soon as I changed the markings on my old ‘to do’ list, I got a big jolt of guilt from looking at all of the 1’s together.  So guilty that I had to get up and walk around the room – it was as if I had found all the things on my list that were causing me some worry and concentrated them together.After I pulled together the willpower to tackle them, I felt a lot better, and I think that’s probably a sign that the new list is a bit more “aligned with my values”.

So the call to action is this – mark your ‘to do’ list with the things that matter to you as you are, not who you think you are, or who you want to be.