Five Things for March

This past week has shed a little bit of light on what it might feel like to be a pet, locked inside and unable to go outside or enjoy the freedoms so many of us take for granted. In a stunning turn of events, time has actually moved slower this week than at any point that I can recall in the last 40 months. This is most likely due to a drastic reduction in physical activity and the daily arguments with the boy around simple things like picking socks off the floor. That said, there have been some things of note over the past seven days that are worth a paragraph or two of time.

Star Trek: Picard Begins

Episodes six and seven have renewed my hope in the series after four and five went down poorly. Heck, I didn’t even finish episode five, choosing to end the show with ten minutes remaining because it was just … terribly predictable. Mind you, Star Trek has had ridiculously predictable stories since the late 80s, so it’s no surprise that every modern episode of the franchise follows similar patterns. By the end of episode 7, I pieced together what I see as being the outcome of the show. Only time will tell if the various hunches are correct.

Depression Returns

With the lack of exercise and fresh air, I’ve found myself sliding into the familiar cycle of self-loathing and equivocacy towards just about everything. A good amount of personal time has been dedicated to getting more of the 10C platform built out in an effort to get back into a productive cycle, but its not really helping dislodge the unyielding lack of motivation I feel nor the dark thoughts that crowd the mind’s eye. Hopefully there is a resolution to the Covid-19 situation in the near future so that I can get back into almost daily treks around the neighbourhood without the stresses and hassles that come with every exit from the house.

Intel (and AMD) Are to Blame

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working my way through a commercial Learning Management System in an effort to get it ready for use by the day job. The software was purchased through a vendor alongside a bunch of customizations and now the system has been handed over to me to coordinate and manage the future direction of the tool. One of the things that has become incredibly apparent from the source code of this very common learning system is that the developers have not had to think about resource consumption at any point in the last decade. The number of blatant inefficiencies boggles the mind and gives me more incentive every day to toss the expensive software into the garbage and write a couple of dozen python scripts that read from flat files to deliver the same experience with 1/1000th the processing power and 1/10000th the network usage. These numbers are probably grossly inaccurate but, given what I see in the source of the LMS, there is no way any developer contributed a line of code from a machine with less than 16GB RAM and a quad-core i7 (or equivalent) CPU. Schools running this system likely pay many times more for servers and bandwidth than they should, all because of inefficient and unnecessarily bloated code.

Then again, maybe I try too hard and focus on the wrong things. The number of people who say “Who cares? So long as it works!” is … disappointing.

Coffee Without Milk Isn’t Coffee

Thanks to China’s uncanny ability to export highly contagious viruses, Reiko has “forbidden” anyone in the house from going into crowded buildings, such as grocery and convenience stores. As a result, we’re ordering our food online and having the store deliver it to the house1. This means no quick runs for milk, which means using a powdered substitute or drinking the caffeinated beverage black. Of the two, a powdered substitute is preferable, but just barely. Coffee was meant to be had with a bit of milk. Anything else is just spoiling the beverage.

Polyphasic Breakdown

Back in December I started a polyphasic sleeping pattern that would see me get two (or three) power-naps during the day with a 4-hour block of rest at night. This allowed for 18 and 19-hour day lengths, making it possible to work on personal things, spend time with the family, and tend to the day job. This worked out relatively well until around the end of February when the old habit of falling asleep in the middle of the day when napping was not an option started up again. I’ve since has to re-adjust the body to seven hours of sleep rather than five, and this seems to be working a bit better. There’s still another year or so of the “special project” at the day job, which means a proper sleeping pattern is at least twelve months away. Hopefully the new schedule will survive that long.

There are a few other items I could have written here, but then this post would have become a “Nine Things” article, which would probably be a bit too long. One thing I can say, though, is that it’s good to hear my kid laugh at British comedy. This is something we both enjoy greatly.

  1. I know. I know. Believe me, I’ve argued the faults in the reasoning for hours to no avail.