Weeknotes #12

in weeknotes

  • As noted in the previous weeknotes, I started working Mondays to Thursdays from home this week. It was a little difficult but not as bad as I feared. I had until recently been doing work from home using my own Mac but (fortuitously) I arranged for a work laptop a couple of months back. It’s one of those Microsoft Surface rip-offs from Dell and while it’s not great, the key thing is that it’s not my computer. Having a completely different machine to use helps me to be ‘at work’.

  • I created my first Amazon skill! We have two Echos in our house and mostly use them for listening to music. With everything that’s going on right now I really wanted a way to listen to NHK Radio’s Japanese-language news broadcasts. I already have an RSS feed that just has the 7pm bulletins but wasn’t sure of the best way to get it into the Echo. My solution was to make an Amazon skill using the flash briefing template. That makes the bulletins appear in the flash briefing service the Echos provide.

  • I took it an extra step further by also creating a routine. In our case, I say ‘Alexa, good morning’ and the Echo launches into the routine: return the greeting, tell me the weather and then play the flash briefing. It’s pretty cool.

  • Having spent quite a bit of time recently on Pondent, I threw myself back into Rouge this week. I’m still not close to clearing the backlog of pull requests that was my original goal when I joined the project, but I did make progress on a number of PRs that had been open for the past few months. I’m not sure how long I want to keep working on Rouge but it does feel good to be helping strengthen the Ruby community.

  • The best thing I read this week was Scott Alexander’s blog post ‘Legal Systems Very Different From Ours, Because I Just Made Them Up’. It’s a blog post imagining a series of different legal systems that take various approaches to justice and pushes them to their logical extremes (and maybe a bit beyond that).

  • After staying inside all last weekend, we took the kids out on Saturday to a nearby park for some physical exercise. I’m a little worried that we should be doing more of this than we are. What consequences will there be from an extended period of limited activity?

  • I continue to love this season of Westworld. After thinking that they had abandoned the puzzle box mystery angle that dominated the first two seasons of the show, I’m not sure that’s indeed the case. But that’s OK! It’s being done in a much more restrained fashion this time around and not in place of character development.

  • However, I’m almost ashamed to admit that the best thing I watched this week was Netflix’s Next in Fashion. I am most decidedly not a reality television person. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a complete episode of a reality TV show in my entire life. And yet I found myself utterly charmed by this one. It helped that the contestants (or at least the majority of them) were established designers rather than hopeful amateurs. I’m always up for watching very talented people solve problems in a creative way.

  • My ardour for Tan and Alexa only deepened after Eri and I moved on to Amazon’s fashion reality TV show, Making the Cut. We are only two episodes in but I already detest it. Rather than watching talented people solve problems in a creative way, we’re watching people fail and be mercilessly ripped apart. I gather this is much more of a traditional take on reality TV shows that deal with the world of fashion. All it’s succeeded doing so far is getting me to appreciate the skill that went into putting Next in Fashion together.

  • I subscribe to both Spotify and Apple Music and while I use Apple Music as my primary streaming service, I’m acutely aware that Spotify does a much better job with personalised playlists. That made the introduction of the Get Up! Mix a wonderful surprise. Courtesy of it, I enjoyed ‘Speaking in Tongues’ by Hilltop Hoods (Apple Music).

Michael Camilleri inqk.net