Monthly Curations: November 2019

What the Apollo Guidance Computer looked like

Substack

(or, “Dispatches from ebbs and flows in a mind-web”)

I’ve been toying with the idea of an email subscription option, with no success:

  • I considered TinyLetter earlier on but never got round to setting it up.
  • I considered Medium once, but the aesthetic constraints never appealed to me.
  • WordPress has subscriptions too, but I do NOT want every single post to be an email update, I “mix in” a microblog within my blog, and don’t want to have the overhead of keeping that separate.

But it does make sense to have my monthly curations (the programming-specific one and the general one) be email-subscription-friendly …

… and then I discovered Substack, which seems to be a soft spot here — easy to use, easy to set up, hopefully not a hassle for you to consume from either — which inspired me to start a pilot project of sorts to use Substack to optionally serve these out.

For now, then, these posts will be duplicated there, available both on WordPress and as emails from Substack, so … pick whatever works. I myself have found it easier to subscribe to a small list of people that way, and once I saw folks like Matt Taibbi using it, it seemed “a credible enough platform” to use.

So, if you want to receive just the curation posts, by email, [Here’s the link] to sign up for updates on Substack.

(and here’s the link to (what will be) my Substack Archive)

Monthly recap (October 2019)

Leaf in my driveway

Major updates:

  • Home with Tara for a week
  • Trick-or-treating with Tara 😀
  • Poor sleep discipline 😔

Minor updates:

  • Finally got a “Real ID”
  • Met up with friends a couple of times
  • Diwali, Halloween
  • Pumpkin painting (twice)
  • Experimented with Airtable for a few inventory-ing tasks

Watched/read/made:

  • Random books in half-read stage
  • Watched (on Netflix) The 2000s, Modern Love, Oceans (one of the best documentaries ever), Death dive to Saturn, Dark Crystal (whole separate post on this …)

Random synchronicity

  1. There’s a particular house with a very elaborate Halloween setup, with movie scene recreations, and a screen playing various scenes. I take a few pics when I pass it once, about a week ago, setting out for trick-and-treating with my daughter.
  2. Passing it on my way back again, I notice a black-and-white scene playing on the screen, and there’s an air hostess and … someone I recognize, is that, hmm … William Shatner? (as in … Star Trek, and, uh, Priceline?)
  3. I make a mental note to look this up, but then forget all about it.
  4. I’m browsing Netflix, for “recommended shows”, and I like to pause at every suggestion, because I watch a few seconds of whatever “clip fragment” ends up playing, sort of gives me a flavor. After a while, I’m not really looking at the titles, just the clips.
  5. I come across a black-and-white scene, with an air-hostess walking back towards … huh? … yes, it is William Shatner, and he’s looking out, and then he sees … something or someone, on the wing.
  6. It’s literally a continuation of the scene I was watching a week ago, picking up right where that left off. It’s an episode of the Twilight Zone
  7. This isn’t some random Twilight Zone episode, it’s one of the few episodes that I actually remember, with the weird creature on a plane’s wing.

(P.S. the title for this post really should’ve been a ‘tag’, but what could I possibly put as a title then?)

Interesting links: October 2019

"Copernicus", by Stanislaw Szukalski
“Copernicus”, by Stanislaw Szukalski

(I feel I’m making up for the lack of links for the last three months …)

Books give-away, featuring Airtable

Roughly every three years, I find I’ve amassed too many books, and have to give some (around 50-75) away.

There was a great “used books store” in downtown Mountain View, which (tragically1) had to close up shop and move away, and the time after that, I went to the local Goodwill, and this time I’m thinking of donating what I can to the local library, we’ll see.

It’s somewhat disappointing that there isn’t any record of the hundreds of books I’ve given away over the last decade and change … so this time I thought I’d make a list.

Now the idea of making a list of the books I have, has come up in the past, but it has either

  • been on paper
  • or otherwise not accessible any more
  • or not re-attempted because there’s just no easy way to do it.

Until now.

I have this love-hate relationship with Airtable, it seems — I’ve written before about how their pricing is geared towards enterprises and lacking a good “personal use plan”, but … the fact is, for something like this, it’s dead simple to use.

What I recorded here is the name of each book, an image of the cover, and whether it’s hardcover/softcover2, and … I was going through them at the rate of about fifteen seconds per book.

Here3 is the result: an accessible list of everything I’m about to give away this time.

P.S. I realized something else: in case you live nearby and want to pick up anything on this list, leave a note on the list (it’s read-only, but comment-able), and I’ll figure out a way to hand them over.

  1. https://www.sfgate.com/books/article/BookBuyers-closes-its-doors-in-Mountain-View-7288142.php
  2. Not sure why I did this, it’s something I thought would matter …
  3. https://airtable.com/invite/l?inviteId=invfJzu4jolUgZd7t&inviteToken=ffd7628ff3a544f4f40ecd56c4406bdefbf232cfca5b0a274b3a62890945e512