Category Archives: Uncategorized

On notes, and why I like to write in outline format

  1. I write in outline format because:
    1. It helps to organize my thoughts, which hopefully helps others understand them.
    2. It enforces concision; I try to stick to one line per.
    3. If 1.A and 1.B are done right, it’s easier and faster to consume than a paragraph.
  2. I use numbered, not bulleted outline format, because
    1. Things are easily referenced if needed, e.g. 1.C above.
  3. Gmail : the best tool for starting a new set of notes in, because:
    1. It’s always with you
    2. It’s easily and quickly searched, including built-in timeline
    3. It takes the least number of extra steps to share, compared to other tools.
    4. Quite often, notes should be shared.
    5. It’s a tool you have to know very well anyway.
    6. It’s got nifty keyboard shortcuts, which make things faster, which is critical. While composing an email on Mac:
      1. Command + Shift + 7
      2. Command + ]
      3. Command + [
  4. I sometimes take notes, send to myself, and then just archive the email. Rare.
    1. But just the act of taking them helps me remember important points.
  5. More often, I review them before archiving them, which helps with recall and CI WTF
  6. More often than that, I refactor them and send to someone else.
  7. Talking with one or more people for more than ~15 minutes about something you’re trying to get done?
    1. Face it : you’re in a meeting.
    2. Meetings that don’t produce anything are the worst kind of wasted time.
    3. So at the very least, I try to send to the participants.
  8. Playing back conversation P0’s…is a P0.
    1. More disconnects than you’d expect are discovered.
    2. You get bigger ears, critical for happy customers.
  9. Act on them or archive them – they’re either work in progress, or DONE.
    1. Lean : minimize work in progress, stop starting and start finishing.
  10. I use a common coding best practice, standard searchable notation to highlight needed action:
    1. TODO means “this thing should have action taken on it”
    2. VERIFY means “I’m not sure I know WTF I’m talking about; do you?”
    3. P0 means “do this highest priority next, along with the other highest priorities”
    4. WTF e.g. “why the f*** would someone care enough to write notes about notes?”
      1. Minutiae : it’s not only just the small and trivial; small and precise fits the definition also.
      2. Tequila: it’s not just liquid sitting beautifully in a bottle on the shelf.  Just a reminder.

Python vs. Ruby, Rails vs. Django

I’ve been learning the basics of these programming languages and development platforms lately. I’m impressed with the huge Rails movement, and Django seems like a very cool project. Both platforms allow web sites to be built at an incredible pace.

Both Ruby and Python appear to be relatively straightforward. But I must say that at this still-early stage in my learning, Python wins for simplicity and ease. Ruby’s “code blocks” are a bit obtuse, as example reasoning.

From what I currently understand about Rails and Django, their strengths lie in auto-generated code whether the implementation be application-supporting code derived from database schema (Rails) or database schema derived from application code (Django). Microsoft’s LINQ, which we’ve been using a bit at work, is similar but not foundational to the platform. It’s all cool stuff that makes DBAs anxious, which is always fun.

After trying to test out Google’s AdWords client API using their supplied code samples, finding that those code samples require old libraries that the latest Python release doesn’t support, and realizing that Django itself won’t support the latest version of Python (3.0) for a year or more to come, I’m wondering what it would be like to have a wonderfully supported and rich platform like Rails tooled with a simple and evolved language like Python.

Now I’m wondering what I’m going to have for dinner. I’ll probably get more mileage out of this wonderment.


A number of years ago I was employed as an audio technician, and had the wonderful opportunity to travel around the country, recording people say interesting things. Out of all the events that I got to attend, TED was my absolute favorite. I’d come home boiling over with inspiration and enthusiasm for technology. If you aren’t familiar with it, check out some of the video that they’ve graciously made available for free. I just watched a very cool clip with Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry about MIT’s “Sixth Sense”.

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