Annual recap — 2022
- Parents visited
- Bunch of paperwork
- Some IRS interaction
- Citizenship (!)
- Joint 39th birthday party
- Panorama trail (discovered the “open space preserves”)
- Arastradero Preserve
- Children’s Discovery Museum (x2)
- Palo Alto Zoo (via a birthday party)
- Taj Mahal (Agra trip)
- Camera Museo, Aravali Biodiversity Park (Gurgaon)
- Big Island
- San Diego: Legoland, Disneyland, California Adventure (!)
- Los Cabos
- Playing with magnets and iron filings
- Found an old board of Go
- Bit of Tennis playing
- Board games (Dixit, Ticket to ride), card games (Go Fish)
- Hawaii: Kuleana Rum Shack, Merriman’s
- Vive Sol (many times)
- New places: HiroNori, Kusan, Tilak, Little Blue Door
- India: Kitchens of Awadh(Gurgaon), Sana-Dige (Chanakyapuri), Peshawari(ITC Mughal)
- Went for a 10K race after a long time
- Mixed year at work
- Discovered a new Barnes & Noble location (Redwood City) and a new used books store (Menlo Park)
- Catching up & meeting with various people
- Tweaks to personal website/blog
- Tinkering with Urbit, Darklang, Mathematica
- Made a small puzzle RPG
- Living-room refactor, painting, curtains
- Lots of car trouble with the Subaru; trade-in for an X3
- Carpet cleaning
- Minor changes: Nest cams, wifi routers
- Birthday at Little Gym
- Weekly gymnastics here
- Apps: Minecraft, codeSpark
- Things that didn’t work out: Skateboard, T-Ball
- Things that did work out: Chess
- Fun little habit: playing Hangman with characters from Disney/Harry Potter
- Peninsula Youth Theater (summer camp)
- Some unintended gluten intolerance
- Some school tours for next year
- Various playdates
- Audiobooks (me):
- Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
- Plato’s Republic
- The Dawn of Everything
- The Return of Holy Russia
- The Red Book
- Something Deeply Hidden by Sean Carrol
- Audiobooks (Tara):
- Harry Potter (Goblet of Fire)
- Wings of Fire (books 1-3)
- Reading (with Tara):
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Mysterious Benedict Society
- Reading (me):
- Nemo (Alan Moore)
- The Untethered Soul
- Against the Day (finally completed!)
- Big City Greens
- All of Harry Potter 1-5
- Edge of Tomorrow (on the plane)
- Nightmare before Christmas (“family viewing”)
- Midnight in Paris
- In the hall
- Marcel the Shell
- Top Gun: Maverick
- Misc streaming
- Glass Onion
- Shaun the sheep
- Troll, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Bullet Train (weekend binge)
- Where the Crawdads sing
- The greatest Showman
- “The woman in the house across the street from the girl in the window” (very forgettable, but it led to us purchasing the same wine opener)
- Drive My Car
- Death on the Nile (nowhere close to the original)
- Dropout, Inventing Anna
- Moonfall (went too far)
- My Little Pony: New generation (disappointing)
- Stranger Things (latest season)
- Abbot Elementary (loved it)
- With Tara
- Rings of Power (colossal letdown)
- Harry Potter and the half-blood prince
- Junior baking show
- National Geographic wildlife documentaries
- Better sleep (long elusive)
- Minimal “good habits” around physical/mental health
A notebook sequence
I had started using the Midori MD line of notebooks about three years ago.
These are fairly minimal in terms of binding etc, but do come with a sticker you can affix to the notebook.
This sticker has space for a name (obviously?) but notable also has space for a “sequence number” and a “date range”, which lends itself well to turning this a “running notebook series”.
I recently switched over to a new one after filling up the previous one, and decided to bring them all together.
Bringing pen to paper is equal parts fun and therapeutic, and having continuity like this helps keep the habit going 🙂
Some “thoughts of the day“, from Colter Reed:
- Anything can be made worse by overthinking it.
- When you’re not sure what to do next, pick whatever will help you build some momentum back up.
- Give yourself permission to have bad days. The person next to you, too.
A quote for many moments
“And some certain significance lurks in all things, else all things are little worth, and the round world itself but an empty cipher”From Moby Dick
There is an old maxim about “cattle vs pets”. Naming machines for personal use (naturally?) falls into the category of pets.
I was first exposed to “naming machines” during temporary sys-admin work, eighteen years ago. Up to that point, I had been limited to one computer at home, and the concept of it having a name hadn’t occurred to me.
I saw various themes over time: famous people, characters from mythology, literature and science-fiction, animals, etc. When it came to machines that I owned, I decided to go with planets, in particular planets from science-fiction.
I’ve never had more than half-a-dozen name-able machines (a laptop, a desktop, the odd Raspberry-Pi, a VPS, another VPS) and often had just one, or two. And so over the last decade or so, two planet names have dominated.
These were “well-known” but generally obscure enough that most people who came across these names hadn’t heard them before.
This year, however, saw the release of a movie and a TV series, each based on books that gave these two planetary names, so I feel they’re both a little less obscure now 🙂
The names, of course, are Terminus and Arrakis.
Annual recap – 2021
- Tara turned seven
- had a birthday party at Safari Run
- Halloween trick-or-treating with one of Tara’s friends and her family
- End-of-the-year hike at Stanford Dish
- Got a Foosball (and a kid-size pool table) in the garage
- Bunch of social meetups
- Various appliance repairs
- Discovered Kakaroto downtown (and then ate a lot there!)
- Tara’s graduation (from Kindergarten to 1st grade, lol)
- But a few friends’ families moved out of the area, which was sad
Trip to Mendocino
Trip to Gualala
Trip to Carmel
Trip to Aptos
Unplanned, but fun
Trip to Hawaii (Maui)
Lotsa pool time
Went to Haleakala summit
- Got our vaccines (and boosters)
- A new sofa, heh
- Redid the patio/backyard
- Hike at Long Ridge Trail
- Started off the new year with Sigma Computing
- Switched to Fastmail
- In-person office experience (and, meeting up with team-mates before that)
- Various dental things (a big sinus-lift-cum-extraction-in-preparation-for-an-implant, and some misadventures with the crown on an existing implant)
- Finished two puzzles (though, simple ones)
- Bunch of new playdates
- Front teeth came out
- Bunch of birthdays
- Monterey bay aquarium!
- Hatched a butterfly from a cocoon!
- Trapped some ants (as “pets”, lol)
- First full day at school (April)
- First trip to the library in over a year
- “Lego camp”
- A big doctor visit
- A few My Little Pony graphic novels
- Watched on Netflix:
- Money Heist
- Captain Underpants
- Wallace and Gromit
- Godzilla: Singular Point (!)
- Squid Games
- How to train your dragon: hidden world
- On the verge
- Raya and the last dragon
- Disney: Cars
- David Attenborough’s ‘A life on earth’
- Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
- The Dig
– Watched in the theater– Dune (!)– Boss Baby 2– Sing 2– Encanto
- Read the first two Narnia books
- Read, listened to (!) and watched, the first three Harry Potter books/movies
- Listened to The Idea of the World and The age of Entitlement
- Read The Hobbit (in entirety, and watched the movies)
- Graphic novels:
- The Graveyard Book (part 1)
- “Poop Bingo“, a birthday gift 😐
- (assisted with) Friendship bracelets
- Toy robot assembly (“Zivko”)
- Lego: Harry Potter advent set and Harry Potter “train station” set
- Growing crystals
- Making a “fairy garden”
- Clay modelling
- A paper robot from Instructables
Review from last year
- Last year’s review here
- I did do a puzzle
- Failed at a sleep routine (realize now that I was mostly sleep-deprived through the year)
- Intentional reading/writing/doing
- Better sleep routines
- Complete one more puzzle
- Find a way to improve on the exercise front
- Find a way to write/share more
- Contribute/help out more at work
Annual recap- 2020
- “Company kick-off” cruise in the Bahamas
- My first (and probably last) ever
- In retrospect, very happy this didn’t turn into a COVID super-spreader event
- Started tiny daily meditation habit
- Travelled back from India with Tara at the beginning of the year, spent a week with her (minor achievement)
- (Yes, enough content for her own section)
- Went climbing at Planet Granite (or rather, barely got the hang of it, before everything shut down)
- Missed the dance classes in pre-school, had to do her performance virtually
- (Virtual) preschool graduation
- Got a new scooter
- Learnt to ride her bike!
- Began physical school (kindergarten), in the last quarter (yay)
- all of Ivy & Bean
- First four Magic Treehouse
- Harry Potter (Sorceror’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets)
- Nutjob 1 & 2
- Equestria Girls
- Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone
- Scooby Doo (the 2012 series, the original series, the Scrappy Doo series)
- Nightmare before Christmas
- Mu Little Pony: The movie
- Kung fu Panda
- The Hobbit (old animated version)
- WFH changes (duh)
- Home layouts
- Haircut experiments
- Some repairs and replacements at home
- Tara turned 6
- 10th wedding anniversary
- Some hikes, some picnics
- A weekend staycation in Capitola
- SF Zoo (!)
- Sanborn County Park (a new discovery)
- Beach visits (Waddell, Rockaway, Greyhound, Pacifica)
- Family board games became a thing!
- Watched (Movies)
- Fantastic Fungi (!!)
- The Hobbit
- Parasite, Knives out
- 10000 BC, 2012 (repeats)
- Brittany runs a marathon, Outbreak
- Logan Lucky
- Trip to Greece
- The Bookshop, Little Women
- The Vast of Night (!)
- Social Dilemma
- Struggle: life & lost art of Szugalski (!!)
- Tenet (!!)
- Watched (TV)
- New season of Lost in Space
- Tiger King (!)
- Money Heist
- The Crown (season 4)
- Killing Eve (season 3)
- Hinterland (season 1)
- Lexicon (bought it at the SF airport, very original)
- Three-body problem (whole new world of SF)
- (Comixology) Witcher, Locke and Key, Alita
Review from last year:
- I did complete a puzzle (never got around to collecting and sharing pictures)
- I did scratch the “make a small app” itch
- No small book, but … there are some collage-ish scribbles I’ll pick up some other time
- No 10K, but … I did run 15 minutes (nearly) every Sunday morning
- (this is a bit pointless, unless revised during the year, but still …)
- Sustain what little exercise routine I have!
- Try (or keep trying) to get a good sleep routine
- Complete one more puzzle
- In general, create and share more
A time of transition
I’ve been at Confluent for a year and half now, and it was fun in many ways, but I’ve decided upon a change, and I’m joining Sigma Computing next week.
Another instance where I was looking for a different “local maxima” but ended up finding a global maxima instead.
Everyone wants different things at different points, but Sigma feels like a sweet spot for me right now.
It’s not too big and not too small, with a rapidly growing engineering team, there is a whole different bunch of tech to learn from scratch, an opportunity to work on an end-to-end full-stack product while also having significant infrastructure challenges.
I’ve learnt a lot from the folks I’ve worked with at Confluent, and I’m excited to begin the new year on a new adventure 🙂
My history with computers, part 4: The early internet
In my previous post I talked about how the realm of what was possible expanded when we got a better, faster computer … but it took a whole other leap with the first “on-line” experiences.
I think the first way of knowing anything about this was Internet for Dummies (probably this). Having literally no other point of reference, I read and re-read this.
It was wild.
Part of it was about the various “walled gardens” that were the most popular options: Compuserve, *America Online * (or so the dummies book told me, we had to start with what was available at the time, a “text” connection with a national telecom provider).
Part of it was gobbledygook about setting up PPPoE settings with an ISP (as an aside, folks who actually ventured into all this without a technical background in those days must’ve been effing brave. There was a lot of stuff to configure back then, none of this “oh is the WiFi on?”, no)
But all of it was about how cool it was to interact with people online.
I have a vague memory of this, but there was some sort of an “internet course” I signed up for (or rather my dad signed me up for). It was supposed to be a few days of an hour each, and was a bit dry, but in the end there was, yes, some time with an actual browser.
I’m sure there are millions who experienced it the first time this way: Netscape Navigator, the coarse-grained meteor logo with its brilliant flash … and then the page loads … what is this thing?!
If this sounds lame, well, I was lame, but this was also a genuinely rare experience at the time.
On-ramp to the information superhighway
The way magazines talked about this new thing was pretty funny too, in retrospect (and given where we’ve ended up, painfully idyllic). The world-wide web, the information superhighway, all kinds of phrases trying to describe what people thought about it, all of it optimistic.
Well, nearly all: I watched a talk by Neil Postman towards the end of the 90s, it was a devastating critique of the impact of television, it sounds like an early warning today (if you like that sort of thing, byte-sized versions: 1, 2)
“Cyber cafes” sprung up like weeds, offering 30-minute slots to be online. Just imagine that, having your entire web presence — not just your laptop or desktop, not just your smartphone or smart tv, everything! — being limited to this tiny slot of time, not just per day, but per week! This was, for many people, the only chance to catch up on emails, chat, whatever.
I used to go for a sort of computer class … think of it as a sort of after-school activity … and there was time at the end when I was waiting here, when I opened the browser (the wars were swiftly over by now, Internet Explorer had already won, though I kept trying out new releases of Netscape Navigator (later Communicator) on our home computer) and just randomly go places.
My early web
I wish I could remember more, but I don’t, so here are a few initial forays that come to mind.
WWF (now the WWE)
(Where would I be without the Wayback machine, to remind me how things used to look?)
I wouldn’t watch a minute of this today, but back then I was about-to-stop-being-a-fan. So I printed out a t-shirt design and my mom (yep, I had a great family) actually copied it onto a real t-shirt with fabric dyes. Totally lame, but it felt epic.
I was a legit fan (maybe I still am, at some level … more on that later). So the official X-files website was the first one I devoured in depth-first fashion.
Then discovered fansites. Then discovered the shipping sites. And now you know more about me than you want to. Okay.
Ooh, Geocities, such a 90s thing. A utopian take on having different tribes and communities(there was already such a diverse bunch) have clusters of home pages.
Obviously, I hung out at “Area 51”.
Someone tried re-inventing this recently with “Neocities”, but … you know, you can’t repeat the past.
(Update: someone made a mirror of the old site)
My first email. Probably one of the first “email-as-a-service” offerings. At this point it might be possible to guess my first password.
Yes, for a long time, this was the only password I had: there were no other places to “log in” to, and the computer at home was single-user!
(It was a whole six years before I switched to Gmail, but I shouldn’t jump ahead)
There weren’t blogs as yet, just stand-alone websites (this was when people actually wrote html! Think about that! People are capable of so much more, and yet …)
Every online activity wasn’t directly related to “surfing the web”. There were a bunch of things like downloading themes and desktop backgrounds that happened because it was easier to do them.
AOL Messenger! (yes, the one part of America Online that survived longest)
ICQ! (what a weird name, now that I think about it … and having to memorize numerical userIDs … sheesh)
I forget which came first, but I ended up using all of these extensively, and (naturally) all of these chats and contacts are now lost.
There is definitely some tradeoff between keeping records and throwing them away. While I’m apprehensive about having everything I do recorded these days, I also like coming across at least a few key images or emails etc from the past.
I didn’t really use a lot of this, only knew about it from the Dummies book in fact, and … really one of those “alternative routes” that never really got taken because “the internet” and “the web” became synonymous, and that was before “the web” became “2.0”.
Hoo boy, Napster. The way people got music — and also the way music really became globally available and accessible, in the days before Youtube/iTunes/Spotify/whatever.
Run software. Search. See results. Download. Wait
I didn’t even have a fast internet connection (it was measured in kbps), in the beginning, so I waited a whole day to download one measly MP3.
I’ll tell you, it felt wonderful to listen to that one little MP3 over and over.
Yes, I know. It sounds … pathetic, now. No real takeaway, except perhaps that we value whatever we put in effort for, heh.
Time to stop, and hit publish, or this’ll never be done.
Next time? Dunno, maybe my first (and now that I think about it, also the last!) “personal desktop”.