Friday Four

Friday, March 20, 2015

1. You'd think that, having been a father for nearly four years, I'd stop being surprised at rapid developmental spurts. You'd be wrong. This week, strong-willed Pumpkin finally decided to finish potty training, starting the day before yesterday. She has been half-way done for a year, but I could not get her interested in peeing in the potty. To my great surprise and relief, she cajoled her daycare teachers to let her try Wednesday, and asked me to continue at home yesterday. Happy days!

Little Man has been engaging in cooperative play this week. For example, he has been carrying blocks over to me and building towers. He gets me to join and claps his hands when we've exhausted all the blocks with our respective towers. And then he knocks them down with gusto.

2. It's nice, in a way, to see that I'm not the only one who experiences this:

When you work from home and you have a bad day, it feels like you've done nothing! Maybe you had to start something from scratch because it wasn't done properly the first time, and when the workday is over and you're still on the same spot... it's a terrible feeling.
This and more comes from Pedro Semeano, writing about his first work-at-home experience. I keep an antenna out for posts like this, and this is the first to have mentioned this difficult aspect of that type of job situation. The rest of his post is equally perceptive and, importantly, lists the pros.

3. Loving plants and having dabbled in home brewing, I once became curious about growing hops. In the process, I came across an interesting article on commercial hops production.
"You can't grow hops here..." In fact, hops are remarkably easy to grow and are known for taking over the countryside if left unchecked. Moreover, hops can be commercially grown on as little as one acre. But before one plows up the side yard there are few things that need to be known about hop production.
If you want more than novelty from your efforts, expect to pay $10,000 per acre to establish your hop plantation and expend lots of man-hours.

4. I haven't provided an update yet on how learning Emacs has improved my productivity, but I have to say I liked this thought on "What Would Richard Stallman Do?" (WWRSD):
Create a text editor so powerful that, although it doesn't solve your problem, it does allow you to solve your problem by writing a macro and a few lines of Lisp.
No, I'm not going to claim to be coding in Lisp -- but there's a lot to be said for things like calling assorted editing scripts you've accumulated over the years -- or ridding a post of unwanted junk characters -- or inserting an HTML tag with just a couple of unintrusive, non-work-flow-interrupting key strokes.

The post and comments ask what quite a few other mathematicians and computer scientists would do. Not to be missed is Larry Wall.

-- CAV

No comments: