Monthly Summary: Aug 2022

“Towers” in Minecraft I built with Tara

Major update(s)

  • Nearly a week in Big Island
  • A month-long saga of problems with my car came to an end, able to drive again

Minor update(s)

  • Playdates
  • School re-opened!
    • Bunch of “back to school” stuff
  • Family board games
    • Dixit (worked out!)
    • Karuba
  • Invasive double-implant dental operation


  • Audiobooks in the car with Tara:
    • Finished listening to book 3 of Wings of Fire
    • Started listening to Order of the Phoenix
  • Read The Untethered Soul
  • Tara watching new season of Bluey (one show we can bear to watch along too)
  • Watched Uncharted
  • Watched Stranger Things (season 3)


  • Tara started playing some Minecraft (only “creative mode” for now)
  • Some playing around with Wolfram Mathematica

Monthly Curations- August 2022

Sculpture at Waikoloa

  • Public art in a surprising place

Hilton Waikoloa’s art collection

In pursuit of that goal, Hemmeter traveled to China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma and beyond. He spent at least a year traveling and shipping artwork back to Hawaii on barges where it would then be flown by helicopter to the hotel’s property.

But the best thing about the collection, besides its sheer size and diversity, is that viewing it costs nothing, and that holds true for both guests and members of the general public.

Displayed throughout the corridors and common spaces for all visitors to enjoy, the Hilton Anatole’s varied collection ranges from 12-foot segments of the Berlin Wall painted by Jurgen Grosse to an 18th Century Thai Reclining Buddha fashioned in gilt-bronze.

The “just use Fossil” approach is particularly novel!

Spectacularly contrarian take: “Use one server

When you experience growing pains, and get close to the limits of your current servers, today’s conventional wisdom is to go for sharding and horizontal scaling, or to use a cloud architecture that gives you horizontal scaling “for free.” It is often easier and more efficient to scale vertically instead. Using one big server is comparatively cheap, keeps your overheads at a minimum, and actually has a pretty good availability story if you are careful to prevent correlated hardware failures. It’s not glamorous and it won’t help your resume, but one big server will serve you well.

Everything getting older

Food for thought

The Onion’s Our Dumb Century is a classic satirical look at the twentieth century, of course, but it’s also a nice tour through the American zeitgeist over that time. One of the headlines that hits a little harder than it used to is from 1985: “Dynamic New Soviet Leader Not on Brink of Death.” In the early 80s, the USSR successively appointed Yuri Andropov (68 years old, died in office in a year and a half) and then Chernenko (who took power at the age of 72 and died after just over a year). But now the US Senate is the oldest it’s ever been, the speaker of the House is 82, the party leaders in the Senate are 71 and 80, and the Presidency is held by someone who won at age 77, running against a 74-year-old.

A look at “low-level” schemes (though still missing a mention of Gambit/Gerbil)

An entertaining Youtube channel which also promotes a much-needed “cultural coming-together” in these times:

On the bio-electrical science behind how organisms control anatomy through gene expression.

On unifying “toy languages” and “real languages”

A blend of FreeBSD and macOS?

Sounds too good to be true, but good luck to the folks doing this 👍

Some Guix evangelism

Scheme in Excel? :-O

First Windows Subsystem for Linux, now this … how different from the world of 15 years ago ! 🙂

In which I learn about the python concurrency landscape

The promise of Rust, and a perspective on the languages that came before.

Matt Damon explains things 😐

(or, why moves are the way they are …)

Interesting overview of the types of computation in games (simulation numerical shading) and the varying performance aspects of each, and musings on “language suitability”.

Fun fact: a Russian team was hunting for Atlantis near Britain in the late 90s 🤷‍♂️

Fun fact: Alligators can go up to two years without food !!

(saw this while watching a new nature documentary)

Some interesting comments in this post on what was lost with the loss of the old Usenet:

Planta Sapiense

A look at Racket and Rhombus

Surprised I never came across this earlier: Cliodynamics

(Reminiscent of psychohistory !)

Monthly Curations: July 2022

Star formation inside the galaxy NGC 7496

Monthly recap: July 2022

A patch of ground

Major update(s)

  • An “almost forty” birthday party for me and Shivi
  • Car trouble (more on this later)

Minor update(s)

  • Found a new used books store in Menlo Park
  • “Family board game time” with Mastermind and Ticket to Ride
  • Re-re-discovered Wolfram Mathematica
  • Played Minecraft with Tara (yep, it’s fun and addictive)
  • CSMA camps for Tara: she made a bunch of fun art


  • Cleaned up and brought the decade-old Yamaha piano out from garage storage 🙂
  • Went to play tennis in the courts nearby
  • Half-way through season-3 of Stranger Things
  • Watched Marcel the Shell in the hall
  • Watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Monthly recap — Jun 2022

An experiment with freezing coffee ...

Major update(s)

  • Met my brother and his family, and some old friends, in San Diego
  • Became a US citizen (more on this later)

Minor update(s)

  • Legoland! Disneyland!
  • Weekend stay in Half Moon Bay
  • Hiking in the Open Space Preserves
  • End of a school year, had lotsa ice-cream
  • Farmers’ Market
  • I got a massage (after three years)
  • Got some new eyeglasses (the ones I had been falling off for several months now, in increasingly hilarious ways)


  • Inventing Anna (more on this later)
  • Stranger Things (couldn’t not watch it!)
  • Listening to Wings of Fire (more on this later)

Monthly recap — May 2022

Bird feeder getting some use

Major update(s)

  • Parents visiting for a couple of weeks, fun times

Minor update(s)

  • Resolved an issue with IRS (have to write about this later)
  • Failure: gave Tara non-gluten-free pizza, with bad consequences
  • A birthday party or two
  • Reworked personal homepage for the Nth time
  • Children’s Discovery Museum in SJ after a long time
  • Met up with a couple of people


  • Re-watched Harry Potter 1-5
  • Read Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The original Jurassic Park (blu-ray, from the library!)
  • Scooby Doo and the haunted house 🙂

Monthly Curations- Jun 2022

(The Smalltalk balloon)

(As before, simply lifted from my tagged posts, and, I realize, heavily skewed this month towards specific themes)

  • A minimalist scheme (R4RS, and fits in 4K of memory)

  • Lisp in the browser, playfully done.

  • Making (“printing!”) objects with Sound!

  • Of REPLs:

    It’s trivial to build human-friendly CLI on top of machine-friendly RPC, but much harder to build machine-friendly RPC on top of a human-oriented command line.

  • Resources for self-learning math

  • A counter-point to overly designing for flexibility in software.

  • A quick over view of the features in Tinderbox (by Eastgate)

  • Looking back at Erlang, but also the rich history of telephony from which it (and distributed systems in general) drew inspiration

  • The “weird elephant story”

  • Guides to the world of Smalltalk: 1 2

  • A good scene composition from Dune, set to the best track from the soundtrack

  • Showcasing the history of Smalltalk, or rather the role of Smalltalk in the broader quest for a better form of learning-by-modeling.

Monthly recap — April 2022

From a sculpture gallery in Los Cabos

Major updates

  • Trip to Los Cabos
    • Family pool time
    • Saw a bunch of whales
    • Lots of good food

Minor updates

  • Catching up with people after a long time, over lunch
  • Some family board game time
  • Some “science experiments”
  • Not doing well on sleep …


  • Finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (took a while …)
  • Watched Moonfall (wtf was the last half hour …)
  • Watched the Dropout (how many more cases like this exist, un-caught?!)
  • Watched the “new generation” my little pony (not a fan …)
  • Finished reading Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (resisted for a while, but …)
  • Watched more Scooby Doo

Monthly Curations – April 2022

The airship U.S.S. Macon under construction, about a hundred years ago …

Note: as mentioned last time, this is now based on the “Curated” category in my

Monthly recap- March 2022

A cardboard cutout castle we made together

Major updates

  • Weekend trip near Santa Cruz

Minor updates

  • Doing regular trips to SF again, some commute experiments
  • Got Tara her first “real” dictionary
  • Family time at the park nearby
  • Family board game time (a junior version of “Ticket to ride” is the current favorite)
  • Finally re-did a portion of our living room, replaced a TV from 11 years ago with a new one
  • Replaced a car we’d bought 10 years ago with a new one (!)
  • Catching up with friends and acquaintances over lunch
  • Bummer: spent time on tax stuff


  • Played with Wolfram Mathematica a bit, always fun and relaxing
  • Watched “Dropout” on Netflix (can’t believe this really happened)
  • Watched Death on the Nile (meh)
  • Watched Turning Red with Tara
  • Bunch of Scooby Doo episodes and movies with Tara
  • Watched Drive my car (excellent)
  • Re-watched Midnight in Paris