# Monday, November 9, 2020

Episode 634

Scott Hanselman on Productivity

Scott Hanselman gives advice on how to use your time both effiently and effectively and maintain high productivity.




Monday, November 9, 2020 7:02:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, November 2, 2020

Episode 633

Glenn Block on Racial Justice

For the past few years, Glenn Block has been studying social justice and making himself more aware and more active. Glenn discusses some of the issues faced by marginalized people and what we can do to address these issues.


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Monday, November 2, 2020 8:09:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, November 1, 2020

Today I am grateful for a Spartan football victory over um yesterday.

Today I am grateful to see Joanna Connor in concert last night in Evanston.

Today I am grateful for live music and good food at Kaiser Tiger last night.

Today I am grateful for food that is both healthy and tasty.

Today I am grateful for matching charitable donations by my employer.

Today I am grateful for my personal trainer.

Today I am grateful to see the "Monet in Chicago" exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago yesterday.

Today I am grateful for email, text, and other communication tools on my phone that allow me to connect almost anywhere.

Today I am grateful for assistance from my teammates.

Today I am grateful to resolve an infrastructure issue yesterday that had prevented me from getting much work done this week.

Today I am grateful for a ride through Forest Glenn Woods last night.

Today I am grateful for honest people.

Today I am grateful for a negative COVID test.

Today I am grateful for my new Tiles and app to keep track of my wallet, keys, and phone.

Today I am grateful to attend a blues festival yesterday in Bronzeville.

Today I am grateful
-to vote yesterday
-for dinner with Tim at Frontera Grill last night

Today I am grateful for a diverse group of friends.

Today I am grateful for:
-the hospitality of Doug and Sherree this week
-a few hours working in East Lansing, MI yesterday afternoon.

Today I am grateful:
-to be Dylan's sponsor at his confirmation last night
-to visit Diane's new home for the first time
-for 7 years at Microsoft

Today I am grateful:
-to sort through old family photos with my siblings last night
-for a bike ride to Romeo with KL Schwartz Sharp yesterday

Today I am grateful to visit my brother and his family.

Today I am grateful to see Michael McDermott in concert last night.

Today I am grateful for audiobooks

Today I am grateful for:
- a walk around Fumee Lake and Lake Antoine in Iron Mountain yesterday;
- my first time spending any significant time in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Today I am grateful to hike around Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Presque Isle yesterday.

Today I am grateful for my first visit to Tahquamenon Falls and to Whitefish Point yesterday.

Today I am grateful for a bike ride in and around Petoskey with Patrick, Susan, and KL Schwartz Sharp yesterday.

Today I am grateful to explore hiking trails in northern Michigan with Patrick and Susan yesterday.

Today I am grateful for a walk through the woods with Patrick in Harbor Springs, MI yesterday.

Sunday, November 1, 2020 1:38:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, October 31, 2020

British author Anthony Powell spent most of his life creating the 12-volume series A Dance to the Music of Time. The story is semi-autobiographical with narrator Nicholas Jenkins standing in for Powell. But the story is not about Jenkins/Powell. Although he shares 50 years of his life - from the early 1920s to the early 1970s - he reveals very little about himself: We never even learn the names of his children. Instead, the story focuses on the people in the narrator's life during these decades.

We meet many characters. Some exit Nick's life forever; some exit and return in a later book; and some die. The lives of the characters often intertwine - sometimes via implausible coincidences (Nick often runs into friends on the streets of the enormous city of London and in small villages in the UK). The story is told mostly in chronological order, with each book consisting of 3-4 set pieces that provide insight into the characters and the time. The narrative seldom ventures outside of England - even when the Nicholas and his friends serve in World War II.

The novels tell a story of English society during each era. Because most of the characters are upper middle class, the story focuses on the lesser aristocrats and bohemians. History happens off-stage, reflected in the lives of the people in the story. We hear of the world outside through gossip and conversations at a plethora of dinners and cocktail parties.

In this richly layered work, Powell addresses themes of marriage, relationships, divorce; of the connectedness between people and events; and of the varying philosophies that people use to make sense of the world. But mostly, it is about the changes that time brings to individuals and to relationships.

Reading this series can be a challenge. Hundreds of characters are introduced, and the reader cannot always tell immediately which will be significant later. The most interesting character is Kenneth Widmerpool - other the narrator, the only one to appear in every book. Widmerpool is arrogant, ambitious, and decidedly unlikeable, but rises quickly in business, the military, and politics.  Widmerpool exists also to introduce his wife - the beautiful femme fatale Pamela. Like a venomous creature, Pamela lures men to her; then attempts to destroy them.

Powell includes a lot of dialogue, but it is good dialogue because Nick surrounds himself with Clever people.

Each book stands alone; but this is much better read as a complete series. Keeping track of the characters is a challenge, but it is more meaningful when a character appears after an absence of many years.

If you have the time to dedicate to reading the 3000 pages of this series, the rewards are great.

Saturday, October 31, 2020 8:27:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, October 29, 2020

GCast 97:

Accessing MinIO with the AWS S3 SDK

The AWS S3 SDK for Java allows you to read from and write to MinIO. This allows you to easily migrate an application from using S3 to using MinIO Server or Agent.



Database | GCast | Java | MinIO | Screencast | Video
Thursday, October 29, 2020 8:24:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, October 26, 2020

Episode 632

Magnus Martensson on the Cloud Adoption Framework

Magnus Martensson on the Cloud Adoption Framework Magnus Martensson describes the Cloud Adoption Framework - a collective set of guidance from Microsoft - and how you can use it to migrate or create applications in the cloud.


Monday, October 26, 2020 8:13:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, October 25, 2020

At any given time, we all have many things to do. We cannot do them all at once, so we must prioritize them. And we must keep track of them. Most of us keep track in our minds, which forces us to spend mental energy on something other than actually performing these actions.

In his book Getting Things Done, David Allen provides a system for organizing what need to do and accomplishing more. Allen's "GTD" methodology focuses on productivity and remove stress by focusing on things that are important and accomplishing those tasks.

His technique is straightforward.

Distinguish between projects and actions. Projects consist of a list of actions. We perform actions; not projects we perform actions, so identify the actions necessary to complete each project - particularly the very next action you need to perform.

Record these projects and actions in a safe place that you can refer to often. This may be paper or computer files or a software application. This gives you a way to always know what you should be working on and frees you from stressing about them.

Most people keep their list of action items in their head or in an amorphous storage mixed in with other things. This adds unnecessary mental work every time we look at the list.

Allen advocates keeping a "Mind like water", meaning we should focus exclusively on the task at hand.

Allen focuses more on the individual actions in our lives than on long- and medium-term goals; but he does advocate documenting these, as they drive our projects and our actions. A periodic review of our projects and goals is important to ensure we are staying on track.

Here is a key diagram presented in the book to assist you while going through your inbox and determining how to handle each item.


This was my second reading of David Allen's "Getting Things Done" and my first reading of the current edition, which includes references to some software that can help. Allen tends to favor low-tech approaches, such as recording and organizing with paper, pen, and folders, but he leaves the choice of systems to the reader.

As an obsessive list maker, I was already using many of Allen's techniques, but his process added some clarity to how I should approach my organization.

My life is less stressful in part because of the practices I have adopted from this book.

Sunday, October 25, 2020 2:30:27 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, October 24, 2020

A Swiftly Tilting Planet is the third book in Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet, which follows the adventures of the Murray family. Ten years have passed since book 2's events and Meg is now married to Calvin and expecting their first child. Calvin's mother Branwen visits the Murray family for Thanksgiving, which is interrupted when the US president phones Meg's scientist father to inform him of an impending nuclear war threatened by the South American dictator "Mad Dog" Branzillo.

As in the previous two novels, the family seeks to avert the coming disaster and is assisted by an angelic figure - a winged unicorn named Gaudior in this story. But, while "A Wrinkle in Time" and "A Wind in the Door" dealt with time as a separate dimension, rather than a forward-only vector, this book introduces actual time travel. Meg's genius brother Charles Wallace and Gaudior travel back in time to discover the origins of Mad Dog and attempt to alter history and avert war.

This is a clever adventure story that kept me enthralled. It was nice to see Charles Wallace take a more active role, rather than being the child who must be rescued. Meg remains in the present but communicates telepathically with her brother across the centuries. The story spans hundreds of years, but is tied together by the familial relationship between the characters encountered by Gaudior and CW.  The only weakness was the transparent name games that the author played, which were too easy for the reader to figure out, even though it took genius Charles Wallace more than half the book to get it.

I look forward to volume 4.

Saturday, October 24, 2020 9:49:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, October 19, 2020

Episode 631

Gary Short on The Mathematics of Covid19 & the Hero You've Never Heard Of

Gary Short teaches about the work of 19th century medical statistician William Farr, who pioneered the idea of recording cause of death, which allowed us to compile mortality rates. Gary discusses how Farr's ideas are used today as we draw meaningful information by analyzing the COVID-19 data and the challenges in analyzing that data.

Monday, October 19, 2020 9:08:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle was one of my favourite books when I was a boy; and I enjoyed re-reading it a couple years ago. But I had no idea that L'Engle wrote a sequel. In fact, she wrote a total of five books featuring this family, which are collectively known as the "Time Quintet".

A Wind in the Door is the second book in the series. Meg is in high school and her brother Charles Wallace - a child prodigy whose intelligence borders on superhuman capabilities - is bullied at school because he is so different from his small-town classmates.

Meg and Charles's mother is studying farandolae - theoretical components of the mitochondria of human cells that are too small to be seen by any microscope. Charles Wallace is losing his farandolae and Meg shrinks down to go inside Charles's body and battle the evil forces that are attacking him in an effort to destroy everything in the universe. Meg is accompanied by her high school principal and assisted by an alien creature. During their ordeal, the team discovers that the farandolae are sentient creatures and that their destruction is engineered by the evil Echthroi, who are determined to bring chaos to the universe.

As with "Wrinkle", this book features an angelic creature who aids the children and a malevolent force bent on destroying the universe. In this case, the angelic creature is a many-eyed, many-winged monstrosity that resembles a group of dragons and the demonic race is the Echthroi.

While lacking the scope of the series’ first novel, this book does an excellent job of relating cosmic turmoil with personal struggles. The potential destruction of everything is reflected in the battle to save Charles. L'Engle combines the excitement of fantasy and science fiction with the normalcy of family life and the power of love in both contexts.

Sunday, October 18, 2020 9:43:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)