I’ve made some life updates and am gradually updating my website to reflect them, so please excuse any messiness.

Weekly Wanderings #4 (1-1-3)


This is the seventh? in a weekly series of what was previously called “little listicles”, then “weekly wanderings”, and now I’m just trying out random titles because I dunno!

You can read more about my commitment to these weekly posts here.

Also like last week, if you get this weekly post via email and that’s too much, you can change you’re settings or unsubscribe probably thru a link in this email.

1 thing that has been hard

I knew what I was getting into when I decided to apply to PhD programs, but it feels different now that I’m on the other side. I’m only two weeks into it, and it’s hard. I’m questioning if there are enough hours in the week to read and understand the things I need to read and understand while also living my life. The reading has been hard. It will get easier.

1 insight / connection to my past

This week for one of my classes we read 2 chapters of The Sciences of the Artificial by Herbert Simon. I had a moment of insight, and I thought he was saying that computer science is design. Then after our class conversation, it became clear that Simon was more like bemoaning that design was not included in engineering curricula, and wrote this treatise about exactly how design can be rigorously scientific.

We have to talk about what is design, though, because in academia, design is something way different than what I thought it was during my years in web development. In academic research, design could be any work that is about creating something new vs. understanding the world as it exists (this is from William Gaver). Based on the class conversation, it became clear that in The Sciences of the Artificial, Simon was taking a position like I did when I shouted to the world, “CSS is a programming language! Look, here is the evidence to back up my claim.” Simon was like, “Design is a rigorous science too! Look, here’s how.”

But then there’s this guy William Gaver, mentioned above, who is like, no, design is not science, it’s something else and that’s liberating. Hmm.

3 things I’ve been using for pro-active time tracking

By pro-active time tracking, I mean setting a timer for an amount of time in the future where I intend to work on a task e.g. I’m about to work on project Z, and I can set the timer for 30 minutes associated with project Z, then adjust it later according to how much I actually did on it.

  1. A digital calendar – I create time blocked events in my calendar for the chunks in the day I intend to work on specific projects. I adjust the chunks based on what actually happens. Last week I scheduled the whole of this week last Friday and that was helpful. I will do that again and take a photo of the plan, then another of what actually ended up happening.
  2. Horo Pro – this is what I’ve mainly been using successfully for the past week. It’s a small Mac app and very simple, but it keeps a CSV and basic visualization of the time you tracked, and you can categorize the timers with hashtags.
  3. Time Timer – this is a physical timer I have on my desk. I don’t think I paid as much as it appears to be sold for now, and I had no idea there were all of these different versions of it. I like the tactile aspect of it, and it can make a small beep when the time is done if needed.

Part of my also feels like “eff all of this omg just do the work whatever this is taking too much time to manage all of these things“…but I’m going to keep going with it for a while and see. This is probably my fourth iteration of a system where I’m feeling like, “this is the one!”, so yeah, we’ll see.