My favourite books, games, and TV from 2022
29 Jan 2023
I've been putting off publishing my 2022 review for all of January now, so I decided to give up on it and just publish the media section for now.
(All links are from Goodreads.)Read more...
Comparing article parsers
16 Jan 2023
I've been trying out a couple of new read-later apps recently: Matter and Reader by Readwise. I do all my RSS and read-later reading on iOS, mostly on an iPhone. I currently use Reeder 5 for RSS and Goodlinks for read-later.
I did a couple of interesting experiments to test the differences in article parsing between these apps, and thought it was worth sharing the results.Read more...
Bring back blogging
29 Dec 2022
I'm not sure I believe it's a trend yet, but I've come across a handful of people talking about 2023 being the year of the personal website, or the year blogging and RSS rise again. I hope they're right, even if it's just a small increase. I love personal websites and RSS feeds, and I want more of them to discover and get lost in.
One interesting project in this area is Bring Back Blogging, a collection of people signing up to post 3 times to their blogs in January, and to share a link back to the project. The project site includes a directory of everyone who's joined, making it a great way to discover new personal sites and blogs to follow. Hopefully it'll also prove useful as a little kickstart to those of us who need some encouragement to get blogging again (me, for sure).Read more...
Weeknotes: December 27, 22
27 Dec 2022
- I'm a little late this week. I didn't bother to write these up over the Christmas weekend, and thought I might just skip this week, but then I saw Phil wrote up his weeknotes after all, because Alice and Tom did, and I didn't want to be left out.
- Our first week of holidays from work didn't quite feel like real holidays, because we still had plenty of chores and organising to get done before Christmas. Next week I start summer term for uni, so this week is my only "real" holiday week this year, I guess.
- Despite being busy last week, we did make time to go out for brunch on Friday afternoon. We were surprised it wasn't too busy out—we'd expected crowds of people so close to Christmas, but it was fairly quiet around here, and we had a really relaxing brunch.
- We've been watching Christmas specials this week, with Bäst i test and 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown already done, and a couple more to go, as well as the New Year's Treat from Taskmaster. We watched Big Fat Quiz Of The Year last night as well, which was excellent as always.
- I finished reading Ten Steps To Nanette by Hannah Gadsby over the Christmas weekend. I'm glad I read it, but I think it could have been cut down a bit. By the end I was really ready to be done with it.
- I haven't been reading plays much lately, nor graphic novels, so I planned to read at least one of each during the holidays. I've started Hangmen by Martin McDonagh, and I'm enjoying it so far. We recently watched McDonagh's film, The Banshees Of Inisherin, which was really bizarre, but good...in a weird way. I'm going to read The Best We Could Do for my graphic novel, which has been on my to-read list for ages.
- I've started my 2022 review, but there's quite a bit to go yet. Hopefully I'll get it done while I'm on holidays this week.
- This summer term at uni is the last chance for any online classes, as all classes are on-campus only from the start of semester 1. I'm really nervous about the risk of getting Covid from being on-campus and on public transport several days a week. I'm just hoping wearing a P2 mask and being as vaccinated as I can be will be enough to keep me safe.
Weeknotes: December 18, 22
18 Dec 2022
- We sent out our "annual" user feedback survey for Exist this week. I put "annual" in quotes because while it used to be annual, we haven't done one since 2019. Since we delivered manual tracking earlier this year, which was a huge new feature that took a long time to build, we're interested to get some user feedback about how this feature is working out and what other areas of the product we can improve on. So far, the feedback has been mostly positive, with some really effusive comments that made us feel great about the past 8-ish years of work we've put into Exist. It's a nice way to reflect and get motivated for next year's work, too.
- We finished watching season 2 of White Lotus this week, which I really enjoyed. I think I liked it as much as season 1. I'm not sure which one I liked more.
- We also watched a really nice documentary called Mr Bachmann and his class, about a teacher in Germany. He seems like a genuinely nice person who really cares about his students, and the students were fun and interesting to watch, too.
- We've been playing TOEM on Switch, and I'm really enjoying it. It's got a great balance of short puzzley quests to complete and silly humour that makes us laugh out loud sometimes. The quests are mostly small and simple, with just enough effort to be interesting, which is what I'm after. I have other hobbies that are difficult—games are for having fun and feeling good about completing stuff.
Weeknotes: December 11, 22
11 Dec 2022
- I finished my first round of Invisalign this week, and had a new scan done. While the next set of aligners is being made, which will take 4-6 weeks, I have to keep wearing my current aligner, but only for around 12 hours per day. It still feels a bit wrong when I notice I don't have it in during the day, but it's also a relief to not have to rush to floss and brush and put the aligner back in after every time I eat something.
- I finished reading Undoctored by Adam Kay, which I really enjoyed. It's harrowing and jaw-dropping sometimes, but also funny and easy to read. I kind of wish I'd read This is Going to Hurt first, since references to that book in Undoctored made me realise the TV series had definitely changed some things, and many of my assumptions were wrong.
- I started reading Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby. It's a little hit-and-miss for me so far, but there are enough good bits to keep me going for now.
- I've been enjoying the song Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder by Alex Lahey this week. I really like the whole album, actually.
- We're slowly working through the TV series Am I Being Unreasonable? which is aptly-tagged on IMDb as both comedy and thriller. It's a very strange show, that seems to have a change of vibe multiple times each episode. It's not amazing, but I'm definitely intrigued about where it's heading.
- I've been reading through this Japanese grammar blog this week and I've found it to be really approachable for a beginner. I'm slowly beginning to get the hang of Japanese sentence structure and particles. According to wkstats, which only counts what I've learned on WaniKani (which is almost everything, bar a handful of kana-only words), I've learned 323 kanji and 406 vocab words in the 120 days since I started WaniKani. Which means I'm about 16% of the way through WaniKani's kanji lessons, and 7% through the vocab. I've got a long way to go.
Weeknotes: December 3, 22
3 Dec 2022
- Finished reading Vital Signs and decided I hadn't had enough medical memoir, so I started reading Adam Kay's new book, Undoctored. It's easy to read, but he tries too hard to be funny sometimes. I find the content—especially the medical parts—really interesting on its own, so it feels unnecessary to add mediocre jokes all the time.
- We finished watching season 14 of Taskmaster this week, and Kongen befaler finished last week. Both were as excellent as ever. We also finished watching the third season of Alone Denmark this week. It's a shame that none of the Scandinavian versions have quite got the right vibe compared to the original, but we still like watching them.
- We started season 3 of Staged this week, which seems good so far, and we're watching the second season of White Lotus which I'm enjoying a lot.
- I started playing Toem and I really like it so far. I need to make more time to play it.
- I've started getting a little more consistent with my workouts, which feels good. A few sunny days without rain this week have helped a lot.
- I'm on level 10 of WaniKani and sticking with it so far. I've started working through some Japanese grammar resources, but I keep running into vocab I don't know—especially kana-only words, which WaniKani doesn't teach, since it's a Kanji learning tool. I've been trying out different flash card apps for learning these extra vocab words but so far I haven't found anything I'm happy with. I'm really liking the Kanjiverse dictionary app, though.
Weeknotes: November 27, 22
27 Nov 2022
- I read Mr Salary by Sally Rooney this week. It's a short story, so hadn't been at the top of my list, but was nice to have another small dose of her writing.
- I'm currently reading Vital Signs by Izzy Lomax-Sawyers and really enjoying it. I thought it would be another collection of anecdotes from a hospital doctor along the lines of Adam Kay's books, and wasn't sure I needed more of the same, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it right from the start. Izzy is from New Zealand, so there are some interesting Māori words and concepts included that I didn't know, as well as details about how the health system works, and Izzy's hospital in particular. She also talks about what it's like to work with patients, how emergencies are handled, all the specific steps required to scrub in for surgery, and what it's like to break bad news to patients and their families.
- I finally ordered my Jibun Techo for next year (Japanese planners). After spending a long time deliberating on what to get, I ended up going with the exact same setup as this year (only with different cover colours): a Jibun DAYs mini and a Jibun Lite mini.
- I enrolled in Linear Algebra for the upcoming summer semester, and Foundations of Algorithms for semester 1 next year. If I can get through both and keep my average mark high enough, I think I'll finally have completed everything I need to be able to apply to start my degree—having not done any maths or science in my last years of high school, and being so old and out of school for so long meant there were a lot of extra hoops to jump through to even apply to start a Bachelor of Science.
- We had a state election this weekend and thankfully the Liberal party didn't win. I'm not a huge fan of Labor, but they're certainly the better choice of the big two parties. I'm glad to see the Greens pick up at least one new seat, too.
- I've been enjoying sail away by lovelytheband this week, and I'm looking forward to Tom Cardy's new album launching soon.
Weeknotes: Nov. 06, 22
6 Nov 2022
- Had a lot of stress and worry the past couple of days about a family member being ill. Feeling much better now that I've managed to find out some concrete information about the situation—I think the lack of information and confusion made the whole situation more upsetting and scary.
- Visited a new bagel shop in our suburb for lunch on Saturday and really enjoyed it.
- Attempted to cook this chicken parma recipe again, as a treat for Josh. As someone who doesn't normally cook much at all, this recipe is pretty full-on, and it involves frying in a big pot of oil which I find scary and stressful. The first night was a fail, but it turned out better the second night. One of those things I need to do more often so I don't get out of practice in-between.
- We finished rewatching Please Like Me and enjoyed it all over again. I was surprised how many big plot points I'd forgotten, and how sad the last couple of episodes were.
- I finally renewed my passport after putting it off for ages. It's a relief to not have this task looming on my to-do list anymore.
- Covid cases are rising in Melbourne again, so I'll probably have to switch all my socialising to be strictly outside again, after a brief respite where some indoor socialising finally felt safe. I still haven't had Covid, and I'm not keen to get it, but I'm really tired of the extra stress and hassle required to stay safe. I'm lucky to have friends who are amenable to making Covid-safe plans when they see me, but still, I'm pretty tired of being that friend who makes everything complicated.
- Work-wise it was mostly a week of debugging and working on fixes, but I also drafted a user feedback survey for Exist, which will be the first for a couple of years, and I wrote up a post for our company blog about our progress and stats for October which will hopefully become a monthly habit again.
Weeknotes: October 30, 22
30 Oct 2022
- I feel like I should address the fact that I stopped writing weeknotes posts and now I'm back again but I don't know what to say. Sometimes I don't want to write them. Sometimes I do. I may or may not write them weekly at some point in future, but here's one for today.
- Some personal sites that I discovered recently and have enjoyed reading the archives of: Veronique, Rach Smith
- I've found some interesting stuff from the Discover page of Bear Blog
- I started learning to read Japanese a couple of months ago. I'd like to write more about this sometime, but for now I'll just say this guide was really helpful for getting started, and WaniKani has been great for learning kanji.
- I've been learning about using django-debug-toolbar and used it to optimise some database queries. Doing this was extremely fun. I don't know why, but I love detective-type work with backend code.
- I've been fixing bugs for Exist most of this week, but I also shipped an update to include HRV data in our Fitbit integration, and started working on switching from Dark Sky to Apple's WeatherKit service.
- I started re-reading Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, in paperback instead of an eBook this time. I'm enjoying it just as much as last time.
30 Sep 2022
I've read Austin Kleon's books so many times, but somehow I find new points to connect with each time.
Also have to highly recommend the Post-it brand "tabs" (i.e. reusable sticky page flags). They're really sturdy, very sticky but easy to reuse, and pretty cheap. They come in a bunch of sizes and colours, too. (They also have "flags" which are thinner and less sturdy—nothing wrong with those, I just really like how thick and durable the tabs are.)Read more...
Weeknotes: July 17, 22
17 Jul 2022
- Finished rereading Under the Banner of Heaven. We gave up on the TV series after two episodes but it made me want to read the book again, and I'm glad I did. I think I took it in better this time around. It's pretty dense, and dragged a bit by the end, but worth reading if you don't know much about the history of the Mormon church (I disagree with the TV series calling it a true crime book)
- Josh sent me this list of popular Sci-Fi novels and I added quite a few to my wishlist. I started reading Girl One this week
- I'm playing Zelda BOTW on my Switch at the moment. I find it tricky sometimes and wouldn't mind a difficulty setting I could turn down, but it's also pretty fun
- We watched episode one of The Rehearsal, Nathan Fielder's new show, and really enjoyed it. It definitely has Nathan For You vibes, but I think I like it more so far (If you're a fan and haven't already seen it, How to with John Wilson is also great)
- We started rewatching Borgen and I'm loving it. I'll forever call Birgitte Mrs. Borgen, or Borgen for short
Weeknotes: May. 15, 22
15 May 2022
Less active this week! Daily average active minutes 30 down by 15 from last week average 45
Worked out less this week. 3 workouts, down from 5 last week
Listened to less music this week. 89 tracks played, down from 116 last week
Warmer this week. 19º average max. temp this week, up from 18º last week
Weeknotes: Apr. 17, 22
17 Apr 2022
Less active this week! Daily average active minutes 40 down by 2 from last week average 42
Worked out more this week. 7 workouts, up from 3 last week
Listened to less music this week. 27 tracks played, down from 80 last week
Warmer this week. 24º average max. temp this week, up from 21º last week
Weeknotes: Apr. 10, 22
10 Apr 2022
More active this week! Daily average active minutes 45 up by 18 from last week average 27
Worked out more this week. 3 workouts, up from 2 last week
Listened to more music this week. 80 tracks played, up from 79 last week
Cooler this week. 21º average max. temp this week, down from 23º last week
Weeknotes: Apr. 03, 22
3 Apr 2022
Less active this week! Daily average active minutes 26 down by 15 from last week average 41
Worked out less this week. 1 workout, down from 7 last week
Listened to less music this week. 79 tracks played, down from 88 last week
Cooler this week. 22º average max. temp this week, down from 24º last week
Weeknotes: Mar. 13, 22
13 Mar 2022
Less active this week! Daily average active minutes 53 down by 10 from last week average 63
2 beta releases this week
Worked out more this week. 5 workouts, up from 4 last week
Listened to less music this week. 191 tracks played, down from 221 last week
Cooler this week. 22º average max. temp this week, down from 27º last week
Weeknotes: Mar. 06, 22
6 Mar 2022
More active this week! Daily average active minutes 69 up by 10 from last week average 59
Worked out less this week. 4 workouts, down from 6 last week
Listened to more music this week. 206 tracks played, up from 177 last week
Warmer this week. 27º average max. temp this week, up from 26º last week
Weeknotes: Feb. 20, 22
20 Feb 2022
Less active this week! Daily average active minutes 62 down by 9 from last week average 71
Worked out less this week. 6 workouts, down from 7 last week
Listened to less music this week. 142 tracks played, down from 264 last week
Cooler this week. 26º average max. temp this week, down from 27º last week