This is a special post for short-form writing by Randomized, Controlled. Only they can create top-level comments. Comments here also appear on the Shortform Page and All Posts page.
7 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:51 PM

I've worked as a professional programmer for nine years now. I think in at some point a few years ago, it actually began to erode my sense of agency working with computers. At a certain point I became less interested in hobby programming. This was 100% a healthy thing, I started doing things like dancing a lot of contact improv and rock climbing. But when I largely stopped hobby programming, almost all my programming experience was coming from working on production systems. Writing production code is slow. I've routinely had the experience of one or two line changes taking hours or days to get merged. I've worked on modest features that take days or weeks to finish. More and more I began to associate any change to a computer system with inertia and working through complex, unpleasant trade offs.

This feeling has also been exacerbated by trialing internet blocking software. Selfcontrol is probably the best one I've tried, but it's def not everything I'd like. I've occasionally thought about trying to extend it, it's open source, but I've never done any Objective-C and have never been motivated enough to figure out how to get a dev environment for it running and then try and situate myself in a new code base. I've looked at freedom and rescuetime and a couple of others, but I've also been gun-shy about giving these apps deep access to my system. I do my banking on here.

Today I decided to do a quick investigation into the minimal amount required to make my machine shutdown at 10pm everynight, with 15 and 3 minute warnings. It was super easy! I think if you asked me, I probably would have predicted this was easy to do, but I was still somehow emotionally surprised to do a thing with a computer in about 30mins all in, including research.

How to set your system up to warn you, then shut down every evening:

Done! Save your work when the machine politely reminds you, and get a nice night of sleep.

Caveat programmer: this may not be very bulletproof. I tested each part of this individually, but I'll find out over the next few nights how well it works in practice. I'm excluding some steps that might be a bit confusing if you're not comfortable creating bash scripts or in vim (you don't need that much vim, I barely remember how to quit vim each time I open that damn program). Figuring this stuff out might take you a bit longer, but overall it's still probably pretty fast.

Two days later: this is working quite well so far.

A rough typology of music micro-skills from my first year and a half learning saxophone.

  • Reading music

    • Getting notes + annotations correct

      • Binding notes + annotations + physical movements together crisply. Annotations were learned significantly after notes.
      • Reading the rests as intervals
    • Reading ahead on the sheet

    • Executing the next physical move correctly

    • Keeping your place in the music synchronized with what you're fingering...

    • ...even while you're beginning to chunk the music into phrases

    • Knowing where I am in the piece of music, being able to find my place again if I lose it.

  • Generating an internal metronome

    • Those moments when I notice I'm swaying to the beat vs trying to kickstart with a foot tap
    • Maintaining a foot tap in time with the music
    • This is close to, but distinct from Synchronizing with the beat/metronome and Continuing to count beats as you play
  • Perception

    • I feel like at least half of the learning has been being able to perceive things, especially in the time domain.
    • Being able to discern/repeat beat patterns, eg, couldn't even perceive 1/4 3/16 1/16 3/16 1/16 1/4 at first. Slowing down + isolating to the minimal (ie, clapping), localizing to different body parts + drawing out the 16th interval all required to integrate what feel like even more granular nano-skills, just with my hand on my leg.
      • Reminds me of cog reflection tests, where my rhythmic intuition intuition STRONGLY force me towards playing 1/4 1/16 3/16 1/16 3/16 1/4, the inverse of the intended swing. This was made worse by the visually even spacing of the notes on the page.
  • Breath

    • Getting breaths between notes: not running out of wind
    • Exhaling from the diaphragmatic, with an open throat. Mostly the breath stream should be continuous with stops created by the tongue on the reed -- maintaining a steady stream of lung pressure is counter-intuitive.
    • Volume control
  • Mouth

    • Not destroying your tongue when tonguing notes
    • Not destroying your lower lip
    • Coordinating fingers, tongue and breath
    • Stable embourche
  • Hands

    • Keeping the fingers on the keys
    • Hand/finger positioning to minimize strain
    • Eg, getting crisp transitions between notes
    • Slurring
      • Eg, getting crisp transitions between notes, eg B -> C
    • Crossing the break, from C to high D
  • Sitting and standing postures that don't leave me sore or with soft-tissue issues

  • The ability to love the sound and love the process

  • Instrument maintenance & care

    • Daily and less frequent cleaning
    • Safe handling
  • Executing multiple micro-skills at the same time or quicky in a chain

  • Breath/mouth/hand coordination

  • Diagnosing problems: is it the reed, mouth, sax, etc? Guidance here is important.

  • Vocalizing the beat to yourself internally?

    • Probably not everyone does this?

I'm very confused what the situation with Delta in Ontario is right now. Looking at for Canada as well as other countries, Delta seems to be ~99% market share. But going to Public Health Ontario and the City of Toronto's dashboards both show no Delta.

I'm inclined to think Something Is Wrong with the dashboard.

I see a some cases of Delta on the 2nd graph of the Public Health Ontario page, but much less than 99% (e.g., 7 Delta to 205 No Mutation for week of October 6). Likewise, the Toronto dashboard has mostly delta in the VOC graph since July (it's a bit hard to see without excluding the Alpha counts from earlier which are much higher and make the y-axis too big). says:

Lineage B.1.617.2 (Delta) includes cases identified by genomic analysis. Mutations common to 
B.1.617.2 are not included in the current VOC mutation test.

Which I interpret to mean they're just not testing most cases for "Delta-ness". Since non-Delta variants are just about zero, 99% Delta seems like a good guess.

Is this incompetence? Book-cookery? Something else?

This is the system that is planning to finally [replace their fax machines by the end of 2021]( (which means they'll probably get that done around 2025), so I'd say expecting up-to-date VOC tests is being too optimistic.