Day 229 the one where I just kept typing

Day 229 and 230 the ones where I just kept typing

Dear Reader,

Today was a day that finished with some typing. It was the kind of writing that just keeps going. Maybe that last cup of coffee was the spark. Sometimes just the rhythm of typing is enough to keep things going. Last night I just fell asleep.

This morning I deeply considered taking down my Functional Journal weblog. That would mean taking down almost 2,000 posts spanning 20 years of writing. Some of it is no longer relevant to the context it was written. Some of it was just poor writing. A few pages were probably thoughtful and ultimately epic.

One of the things that I am considering is using Twitter or maybe Google Keep to just track all my notes throughout the day. Over the years I have accumulated a huge stack of notebooks that contain my thoughts, observations, and ideas. Something has to give here and what was done by hand needs to shift over to a more digital approach. Part of that will be focusing on primarily using my phone as a primary writing device.

Right now the one note that was struck me in a way that was meaningful happens to be, “I need to pick something to focus on.” Picking one thing to focus on would be highly impactful. Really digging deep and creating a degree of depth related to one thing instead of farming increasing general knowledge breadth.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 228 the one with some wondering

2018: Day 228 the one with some wondering  

Dear Reader,

Today is going to be one of those days where this blog post does not have a featured image. I’m just not in the mood to deal with that brand of randomness today. In some ways it is probably the randomness of it that makes me want to reject it. A photo should add to the content instead of just adding a visual distraction to fill a convention. I’m still not comfortable writing in the Gutenberg editor. Right now I am back over in a Google Doc writing for the sake of writing. For some reason writing in the Gutenberg editor just seems to offend my sensibility. Change in this case is not inspiring me to be more creative. It is just encouraging me to stay entrenched in my standard word processing routine.

Today my thoughts and words are wondering around the point. Things on the edge of being useful are just in the shadow beyond any degree of imagination within this moment. Sure that sometimes happens. We move in and out of the moment. Being committed to the moment takes a certain degree of effort. Being committed to the moment is not inherent to stillness. Some degree of action is required to capture the moment.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 227 the one where I thought about using my phone as a computer

Dear Reader,

Using only my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone for an entire week could be possible. Right now I’m writing on my ASUS C101P Chromebook. That is my primary writing device. Neither of my larger computers downstairs inspires me to write. For some reason sitting down at my office chair and hammering out page after pape just does not happen anymore. Earlier today I started to think about using my Pixel 2 XL for writing and computing. I’m pretty sure that it would be possible to connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse via a dock. That dock in question has been ordered. Sometime next week a Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C multi-port adapter will show up via the mail. With that new device it may be possible to power down my main computer and just use my phone to do everything for a week. Perhaps that would be a reasonable challenge.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 215 the one with some Gutenberg WordPress

2018: Day 215 the one with some Gutenberg WordPress

Dear Reader,

You may or may not be surprised to find out that I have not been very excited about the new Gutenberg writing interface for WordPress. My writing routine pretty much involves opening a word processing application and typing. For years that was Microsoft Word and recently it has been Google Docs. Between those two applications my writing career is pretty much complete. Right now WordPress seems to be trying to get me to create using Gutenberg. That did not happen tonight. I’m writing write now in a Google Doc file and this passage of prose will be cut and pasted into the blog post you are reading. Working in that fashion does not appear to be the ended form of creativity for the new Gutenberg editor.

Cutting and pasting this block of prose over to WordPress was really weird this time around. Instead of just dropping the text in and checking to make sure the formatting was ok things got a little bit weird. Apparently, the power of the Gutenberg visual editor is to take the things that I just wrote in this Google Doc and parse them into pieces and in the process of doing that make things better. I’m really not sold on this new writing method. Maybe being this stuck in my ways is a sign that things are changing around me faster than I am evolving. Perhaps this is just an example of how I should return to my original philosophy on blogging or posting content online. Way back during the end of the last century I had just wanted to drop files online in an open and unstructured way. At this point, it might be easier to just make a directory of word files and post them each day. Probably the main reason that has not been my writing method is that it makes the content less approachable and consumable.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 210 the one with some keyboard testing

2018: Day 210 the one with some keyboard testing

Dear Reader,

Right now I’m trying to write using my new bluetooth keyboard and a vertical Pixel 2 XL smartphone. You may have guessed that both my Nexus 9 tablet and my ASUS Flip C101P are completely out of battery. This Logitech keyboard is pretty easy to use and it can be paired to 3 devices. I totally thought that the ASUS Flip was charged. It was on the counter right next to the charging cable, but for some reason I had forgotten to get it plugged in to the device. That was a pure oversight on my part. Today I almost started writing directly into WordPress, but that never feels right. Recently, I have been using Google Docs instead of writing in Microsoft Word. For the most part I prefer to use Microsoft Word on a full size computer and Google docs on anything Chromebook, mobile, or otherwise small screened device.

It is a little bit awkward to be typing on this keyboard that is about 5x wider than the vertical width of the Pixel 2 XL. This is pretty much the way I was planning to type when this keyboard was purchased. Maybe I’ll get a photo of this setup to help pain the picture. Both of the home keys have a slight raised bar to help me stay grounded while typing. That is enough to keep my typing on the right track. Today was one of those mornings where I thought about writing a novel, but could not get ready to get going. With my devices out of charge it almost seemed like a good idea to go old school and write using my fountain pen. That might just be what happens.

The timeout for the screen is a little bit of a problem so far. I seem to be pausing just long enough for the screen to go dark. I’m still watching disc 3 of the third season of Northern Exposure on the TV and that is enough to distract me. The fingerprint unlock makes it easy enough to unlock the phone and get back to typing.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 205 the one with a new Pixel 2 XL phone case

Spigen Neo Hybrid Herringbone

2018: Day 205 the one with a new Pixel 2 XL phone case

Dear Reader,

Today was going to be a day when I wrote something interesting. Not the day I wrote something interesting. Just a day of writing something interesting. Sure enough that did not really happen. In fact it appears that I leaned into the opposite of interesting and wrote a post about smartphone cases. If you enjoy that type of musing, then this blog post is really tailored to provide you a certain degree of enjoyment.

Back on October 5, 2017 I ordered a Pixel 2 XL smartphone. Today a new case for that phone arrived. This time around it was a Spigen Neo Hybrid Herringbone Google Pixel 2 XL case. Clearly listed in the features were flexible inner protection and some reinforced hard bumper frames. It seems like a pretty sturdy, decent, and reasonably secure case. I elected to get the kinda blue colored case. This new case is replacing my Caseology Parallax Series Slim Protective Dual Layer Cover Geometric Design case in navy blue. Sure that is a lot of detail to say that I now have a brand new case for my phone that is less than a year old.

Overall I have been very happy with our Pixel phone cases from Caseology. This new herringbone case just seemed to be aesthetically pleasing. The reviews had said that the new Spigen case would be hard to put on the phone and difficult to remove. Those reviews were true and observations were true. The case fits very tightly and is difficult to remove. That is not really a big problem. I do not take the case off my phone very often. Really the only time that that the case ever gets removed is if the phone is overheating from being outdoors.

Throughout the week I have been increasingly interested in reading about the pending Pixel 3 XL release. Getting a new phone is pretty exciting. One of my real weaknesses is always wanting the newest smartphone when it comes out. Over the years I have always wanted to have the best possible phone on the market. Having three different generations of Pixel phones is something that will probably be pretty exciting. Google appears to be releasing a phone every year vs. every two years. That pace will probably cause my smartphone collection to grow pretty rapidly.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 204 the one where I got a Gaiam ball chair

Gaiam ball chair

2018: Day 204 the one where I got a Gaiam ball chair

Dear Reader,

Sure a lot of options exist for office chairs. Getting a new Gaiam ball chair directly from Gaiam online seemed like a good idea. Certainly the first few minutes were exciting. About 10 minutes into using the new chair I remember just how out of shape my core muscles must be. Given my attempts to avoid using the Amazon marketplace for goods it seemed like a good idea to just go out to the Gaiam website directly and buy a ball chair. Thanks in part to a coupon at the top of the page it seemed liked like a good idea to buy one of the classic balance ball chairs. Seven color choices existed. At the time getting the blue one seemed like a good idea. Strangely enough the new chair arrived in the original box with a shipping label stuck on it.

Setting up the chair took a few minutes. Probably the hardest part of the entire process was trying to inflate the ball to the right level of fullness. It took two separate attempts to get the ball inflated to the right level. After completing the assembly and setup process I started using the chair. Today my total usage equaled about an hour of time and it was enough to begin to test my stamina and balance. We will see how I end up feeling about the chair tomorrow morning. For the rest of the month I plan on using the chair for two to three hours per week. It might be easier to just walk downstairs and walk on the treadmill. Either path is better than sitting in the same place all day. That pattern is not good for a lot of reasons.

Really my only reservations about the new chair are related to a general fear of falling. At some point either in the distant future or potentially sooner the ball is probably going to fail and the distance between sitting and the floor will quickly vanish. That fear might be a little bit exaggerated, but at the same time it is entirely possible.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 191 the one with more thoughts on repeaters

2018: Day 191 the one with more thoughts on repeaters

Dear Reader,

A lot of time and energy are spent trying to capture attention. Capturing even a small percent of the public mind at any time is a Herculean feat. Truly it is one of those challenges that just keeps getting harder. Earlier today I spent some time working on a Coursera class titled, “Serverless Data Analysis with Google BigQuery and Cloud Dataflow.” Overall it was my 8th class from the Google Cloud team on Coursera. Each of them captures my attention in total for a few hours. Alright — maybe some of them captured most of my attention. Machine learning and artificial intelligence in general have been hot topics, but they have only captured a small percentage of the attention defined within the idea of the public mind. Figuring out what the attention of the people is focused on is a difficult thing to capture to begin with. Things bubble up and sometimes things capture the attention of a large population.

Every day that I have been at home since 2006 has involved being able to enjoy the mountain views of the great State of Colorado. That realization was a pleasant moment of reflection and a reminder to appreciate the greatness of natural splendor. Like I said it has been a day of reflection. Maybe a combination of the lake views and a lot of computer labs was enough to make me ponder things. That is something that is great in spurts. Being a reflective practitioner is a great way to go about engaging in deep learning and an equivalent level of understanding. None of that helps me write better or more epic blog posts, but it does help me dig a little bit deeper into the world around me and that is an awfully good way to go about things.

Within one of the slides today the instruction was talking about a new specialization for learning Tensorflow. Strangely enough I ended up getting a no results found for my search on, “advanced machine learning with tensorflow on GCP”. The slide from today noted that was the next specialization that I should consider for learning about machine learning with Tensorflow at a deeper level. Obviously, that seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but it does not appear like that next set of courses is out in the wild yet. I’m sure it will be out in the wild soon enough and I will be able to enjoy that next batch of 5 courses on Coursera.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 190 the one with builders not repeaters

lens flared photo of the lake

2018: Day 190 the one with builders not repeaters

Dear Reader,

Earlier today I was thinking about potentially starting up a YouTube show that just involves me telling a series of short stories. Yeah — that sounds like an epic idea. It would go beyond a spoken word performance series (not a vlog) and really delivery some non-fiction based short stories. That thought lingered for a few minutes or maybe like an hour or so earlier today. Maybe it is one of those things that could end up coming back. Some thoughts are like ideological boomerangs that end up showing back up to shape the future.

Outside of that I started to think about the nature of how we respect builders not repeaters. That argument is related to creativity not the actual act of physically constructing things. Building toward a new stronger future involves creating. It pretty much involves creating within the moment in new ways all the time. Constantly producing and building new things is much harder than simply repeating the same thing over and over again. Stump speeches are one of the things things that made me think about that. Imagine for a moment the modern chautauqua running daily where the speaker tries to educate people via the same story day in and day out. It would be much harder to continue to evolve and build on the same talk every day. Things change for lectures in the world of higher education, but they do not really change day to day. Professors for the most part deliver relatively stable content year over year in most academic disciplines. Sure some outliers exist where rapid change is ongoing and will continue.

The mundane nature of being a pure repeater is harder than you might expect. Entire novels have questioned the nature of being content without any attempt to striving forward. Maybe it would be easier to become a Luddite and work toward a minimalist existence. Rejecting anything new and simply repeating the same pattern go forward sounds like an awful plan to me. Waking up and following the exact same routine every day might make you feel like you an know what will happen in the future, but the pattern is not really evolving. It is not really changing. For me something would have to give. Something new would have to be interjected into the routine to create a certain degree of chaos to the routine.

You can imagine that based on the title for this blog post that I wanted to write something insightful. It had to be good. It had to be really good. The title alone was enough to pretty much require that level of commitment. Sure it probably fell short of my expectations, but maybe over time the post will grow on me upon further review. Today was one of those days that made me really question things. Outside the weather was very hot. A certain kind of heat that was muggy and oppressive towards the middle of the day. For better or worst that type of heat wore me down enough that I really started to think about the nature of being creative and the nature of giving up any effort to create and just repeating a routine.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 185 the one with the 4th of July and a trip to the Zoo

2018: Day 185 the one with the 4th of July and a trip to the Zoo

Dear Reader,

My writing has become somewhat conflicted. Throughout the year I have wanted to engage in huge writing projects. You could describe it as the epic creation of weighty tomes. My level of focus and dedication to the craft of writing on a daily basis did not support that type of production. Part of the conflict was based around what to produce and how to produce it. Throughout the course of this year. This year is over half way done and I’m really getting bogged down with a series of technology related rabbit holes.

For example:

Both of my desktop computers sport the 4000 model of the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard. Microsoft has released a newer version of it that is wireless and had a better more awesome design aesthetic. You are probably right about the relative necessity of buying a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Wireless Desktop Keyboard to replace my current one. I’m guessing that my current keyboard will last for several more years. It is entirely possible it might last for a decade. It is wired and the keys are in pretty good shape. Nobody outside of this office has ever used either of those keyboards. Sure that probably means that they are in prime operating condition for years of typing. In some ways that is enough of a reason to not need to purchase the Sculpt edition of the keyboard.

That example was probably enough of an example to set the stage as to what exactly keeps pulling me down technology created rabbit holes. Some type of technology will catch my eye. Over the course of a few minutes or a few hours I’ll start to learn about it, to research it, or maybe to even watch pointless videos related to it on YouTube.

We are about to head out to the zoo. Today was one of those days where the zoo was very empty. Only a few folks elected to celebrate independence day at the zoo. We were listening to the radio and somebody was talking about being a champion of things. It was on of those moments where i wondered about being a better champion of things. I’m a champion for a stronger civil society. I believe the fabric that holds us together creating a degree of civility works. That fabric at the moment is strained in parts and might have a few tears. Maybe I need to return to my roots and spend some time every day writing about civility and civil society.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado