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Lately, I've been leaving my phone in Android Auto mode when I want to focus. This basically turns it into a dumb phone but with Google Maps and an easier interface (and podcasts!).

You can still pull down notifications and get into apps that way, of course.

However, when you hit the “switch apps” button or the “home” button, you get a prompt to ask if you want to exit Android Auto. This is enough of a pause to get me to think twice. In Android Auto I have access to directions, phone, SMS, and podcasts. I can also access notifications.

This is what I need for 90% of my work day and my time with family.

Tags: #focus

This week was amazing. At work, we released a huge update and no bugs were found. This is terrifying for a developer. There are always bugs! Finally found one this week (fixed now) so greatly relieved.

Also this week, Spring came to our city (which is fairly “Northern”). It is amazing to go out in a thick hoody when a week or so ago it was parkas and longjohns.

We started our tomatoes inside, chipped 5cm of ice of the driveway, and I'm doing better with diet and exercise. Things are looking up!

Taking the boy swimming then we'll have lunch and go to a park. This afternoon I'm helping my nephew run some errands that require a vehicle with cargo space.

  • My sleeping seems to have more or less returned to “normal”, which is very good. I don't get enough sleep so I can't afford to lose the little time I do have for sleeping to insomnia. I think this is because a large project I was working on at my job has shipped and seems to be working well.

  • Spring has more or less come to the frozen wasteland we call home. Temperatures are above zero during the day for the entire week coming up. Snow is melting. Our seeds have sprouted (INSIDE) and the driveway is clearing itself of the crust of ice that builds up as we get sick of shoveling.

  • Keto – I have been less strict with “Keto”, lately, and find myself stable at a weight about 5lbs over my goal weight for April 1. This means I lost 10lbs since Jan 1st. I am hoping that additional exercise and trying to be more strict about Keto for the final couple of weeks will help but I am OK with where I am at. As long as I lose more than I gain each year, I am at least fighting the tendancy to slowly gain weight as I age. This will help me and I get a little more self-control every year when it comes to food.

  • Productivity has kind of stalled in terms of my personal projects but I am still able to pick them up because I've been working my list of tasks slowly but surely. My biggest TODOs to knock off this month are to complete my son's school registration and to get my taxes filed. I have a bunch of other goals but those are the only two that really matter to anyone but me. The school reg just needs to be dropped off now and the taxes are waiting on documents so things are looking up.

  • Do I have any insights here for this blog post? A reason to read? No, not really. But this week two people in my life have had very difficult health crises. Both seem to be OK right now but it makes me think I am lucky to have not had more issues like this by now and I am glad they both got treatment when they needed it. Fingers crossed, everyone.

Tags: #sitrep, #keto

I sit here having not gotten enough sleep, again. Each night I take my son to use the washroom at 10:30pm (moving to 10pm) and need to get up for work at 4:30am. This means the longest sleep I can get, assuming I immeadiately fall asleep, is about 6 hours. I have tried to sleep before the 10:30 bathroom trip but that seems to make it less likely I'll get right back to sleep after it. I am considering moving the trip to 10pm.

At some point, he won't need me to do this. At some point, his brain will wake his body up and he'll go by himself. Until then, this is my job. I can't ask my wife to do it as she has an even harder time getting back to sleep than I do.

I am working on various solutions. Coffee, for one. Keto diet helps me to stay more alert, and consuming matcha seems to help. I am toying with taking a 20 minute nap every afternoon but that is basically impossibly 3 out of 5 work days, normally. I guess I just have to stick it out until he's older. Which will happen faster than I think. Lots of parents would love it if this was their biggest problem.

Anyway, that's life. I'll sleep in on Saturday (until 7AM but still a big sleep for someone used to getting up at 4:30!).

Tags: #sleep

Well, we all made it to March 1. This is the turning point for me in “surviving” an Alberta Winter. It doesn't take long, here, for Spring to arrive and once it does, it doesn't stop. It gets nice quickly. In a couple weeks the snow will be melting steadily. The endless days of -20c freezing conditions will be over. I can walk my dog again, it will stay lighter for longer at night, the yard will be usable. And so on. We'll be starting our seeds inside soon. We made it.

Tags: #blog

I haven't been posting much so I thought I'd just fire up some bullet points.

  • I've been really enjoying working with an amazing piece of outlining software: Indigrid. I am emailing a little with the developer and he is a fascinating conversationalist, even when we are just talking about a bug report. Ha ha. I would encourage anyone interested in outlining to try this software out.
  • Latest podcast I am really enjoying: Mission to Zyxx. Hilarious!
  • Had a bad cold for about a week but am over it now. Could be this endless Winter. So tired of frigid ice-scapes.
  • The cold sapped my productivity. I just had enough energy for my job and family. My own pursuits fell by the wayside. But I started playing Clash Royale again. So, even more counter-productive!

Tags: #sitrep

Two minutes at lunch:

  • Going off #keto for a few days while my wife was out of town (partly for me to indulge, partly to eat the same food as my son) was a HUGE mistake. I am probably going through Keto Flu as I re-adapt. Oh, well. Live and learn.
  • It is finally warming up here. It is warm enough that snow is melting in the sun. You won't get frostbite during the day. How glorious.
  • I really miss going for walks and need to start going again now that our endless, frozen era has passed. My new Bogs should make it pretty much a no brainer to just got out the front door and walk in any conditions.

Tags: #sitrep, #keto

So, I have to use this software every day as part of my job. Here are some thoughts:

  • Search results should be improved – when I am looking at search results it would be great to be able to bookmark or add a debug point directly from the results. I get around this by docking search results in the left gutter, then as you run through them the file viewing buffer (middle pane) follows your clicks and you can do what you need to do there.

  • Speed – I would love if it made easier to figure out what is triggering all the background jobs. I have been trying for months to figure out how to turn off this one feature I am not using but which causes VS to churn for minutes at a time, occasionally.

  • Starting up debug threads – I have NO idea how you would do this but it would be nice if, when I am attaching to an IIS thread, it was faster. I know it is our crazy codebase full of massive DLLs that is slowing this down but it would still be nice if it were magically faster. 😭 One thing I do know is if I were to wipe my system and reinstall, it would be very, very fast and slowly slow down over time. I'd like to be able to figure out why this is happening.

Having said that, I do love the IDE in the way you love your family. This is my IDE and no matter how much I love Emacs, Linux, make files, and other software, I'll always come back to VS because it is what I know best, and the is the best tool for my particular job. While working in Windows I have tried to use Emacs as my main editor when not in VS and even went so far as to use Emacs keybindings in Visual Studio but I always end up reverting back (and using Visual Studio Code as my non-IDE editor).

One change I did make to VS Code after my last attempt is I replaced Ctrl-p with Alt-x to invoke commands (like Emacs) which has made the editor feel much more natural to me since in Emacs I use helm and hit Meta-x then type commands – this is essentially how VS Code works.

Tags #code

“Youth is wasted on the young” — attributed to George Bernard Shaw

I am not sure I really believe that but what I would say is that young people often do not really appreciate what they have. As you get older, your body deteriorates in various ways. Some people are better than others at preventing this decline. I tried. I mean for years I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted but I also did Karate, ran, surfed, meditated and tried in various ways to stay healthy.

But there were problems:

  • Software – my brain liked to stay up ALL NIGHT. No matter how much I meditated or exercised, I had really bad insomnia since I was a teenager. This is mostly gone now. I also was bothered by anxiety, and still am. These two factors really have an impact. They keep stress levels high, which is harmful.

  • Hardware – my body fights itself. I have a combo of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Crohns Disease. Nice. Inflammation causes chronic pain. This made exercise hard but still, I pushed on, I tried to get enough sleep. Then there was the operation. I now have an ileostomy and have for a few years. This alleviated a lot of the pain. But that left my abs weak and that makes your core weak.

Since the operation, as I got stronger I have tried to get back to something like good health. I am doing #keto to try to drop some weight and get back into a healthy weight. I try to do pushups which strengthen the core and back.

So this brings me to the inspiration for this post. About two weeks ago I started in a more focused exercise routine. This involved push ups. I was feeling pretty good and overdid it. I did too many push ups and I used a pull up bar on the floor so they were inclined pushups. I overdid it. This led to chest inflammation in my sternum. Only this morning did it stop hurting really bad and go to an ache. This is probably a result of not being in good shape and aggravated by AS.

But the recovery time is time is what is brutal. When I was in my 20's this would have been an issue for a few days, maybe a week. Now it's two weeks in and still feeling it. I am worried about doing push ups. I have been stretching that area out. I will ease back into pushups by doing them on the stairs, gradually working down to the lowest stair, then the floor. I will work up to more reps. And so on. But it is slow going.

The lesson: don't let yourself get out of shape, keep what you have, and make yourself better every day or, one day, you'll look back and wish you had.

Tags: #keto, #health