Oh that social media

Maybe it would be a better strategy to just write short blog posts instead of posting to social media. I existed for years without social media and it was fine. Walking to the mall was a thing that happened. People had snacks at the food court. Nobody took any photos of that experience. It just sort of happened. I have a vivid memory of standing in a basement and listening to the album Bleach by Nirvana. We just listened to the music and nobody posted a single thing about it. Things were just different and I’m not entirely sure it was not better. Maybe it is some type of nostalgia or maybe social media is just not all that social these days. At the start of the blogging adventure I read blogs and knew people from their writing. It was different and more personal. Even some meetups happened with people getting together to talk about writing in person. That is probably something that I actually do miss. Getting together with a bunch of writers at some random bar or restaurant probably is something I should have appreciated more at the time. 

This little bit of a post is really just about my thoughts related to shifting back over to engaging in more long form writing and giving up micro blogging. I mean really most of my writing efforts would probably just be 500 word blocks of prose that were created in the moment and published without a whole lot of editing or revision. Literally, I just open a word process document and write for a bit before cutting and pasting that content over to be published out to a weblog. In this case, it gets published out to my weblog. 

https://www.nelslindahl.com/weblog/

You can certainly catch my weblog post feed and it still functions in the same way it always has. The latest post is at the top and you can read on to see what happened before. It has no real continuity between posts or anything that would really make it more connected than it having to be shared in the order in which it was written. Each blog post is effectively followed by another one and that goes on for hundreds of them. Ok that does not really tell the story of it going on for thousands of them spanning decades of content. 

Those early morning writing hours

A tree with leaves starting to turn colors

During the flight back from Orlando, Florida, I had started to collect my thoughts and write an essay about my trip to Disney World. Apparently, those words just would not show up to the part and that document remains in the false start files. Maybe I will be able to finish cleaning up that post at some point. I was really surprised that during the flight no writing really happened. For some reason I just was not in the mood to produce epic prose. I just did not want to sit down and write. Without question the reason for that probably has to do with being tired from a very busy week. 

This morning I returned to my writing routine at 0530 hours. Things moved along and the post for week 91 was edited and audio recorded. A huge update to the Audacity software was required before that audio recording could get under way. I almost gave up on recording a podcast this week and thought about moving back to just regular posting on Substack. I think it might even be possible to switch back over to my weblog and host the podcast that way. That is something that I might test out again tomorrow. It has been some time since audio files were added to my weblog posts which could be picked up as a podcast. It certainly would have the right RSS feeds to get picked up. One of the reasons that almost two years ago now I started using Substack was to let them manage the platform elements of the newsletter. Everybody at the time seemed to be getting into Substack. Over the last couple months that seems to have started up again. More and more people seem to be starting Substack newsletters. I have never tried to charge for my weekly post. Sometimes I do wonder if a paid subscription model might end up with more viewership. The quality would be the same of course. 

Today involved watching a ton of football on the television. That should afford me the time to sit and write while the game is on and I certainly had time to think about a few things. What did not happen was a bunch of writing on my Pixelbook Go. It is another example of where I had the time to write, but for some reason the words did not flow. That probably means I should mix things up a little bit and work in some different ways.

That one with a long post written during an airplane flight

I’m on a flight to Orlando, Florida right now. We departed from Denver, Colorado, after apparently some issue with a tray table was fixed. As delays go this one was not a very big deal and only amounted to around 30 extra minutes of standing. I’m pretty confident that we will make up a bit of time during the actual flight. We appear to be traveling at roughly 558 miles per hour. 

I’m going to spend this 3 hour block of time just writing. That is about to happen. You certainly could sit back, relax, and prepare to read a bunch of prose. 

During the course of cleaning out a drawer and a stack of papers I briefly considered going down the path of working on some public administration related academic articles. That type of consideration happens from time to time and is one of the things that at some point will probably happen. My 5 year writing trajectory includes a lot of things to complete. One of the things that has been a major part of that effort for the last 2 years has been working on Substack posts. That is a pretty distinct weekly cycle of creation to publish. 

What I plan on doing here after hitting the two year mark on that one is working toward a different method of weekly creation. Each weekend I’m going to work on creating academic articles and some of that content will be used to feed the Substack posting. Over the last two years things happened a bit differently. The content being created for Substack sometimes found its way into an article or manuscript. Flipping that scenario around will be key to boosting my productivity in terms of academic prose output. 

That will for the most part give me a set of two windows of 2-3 hours for crafting and generating academic content each weekend. Over time that will be enough to build out and write a bunch of different things. Some of that for sure will be literature reviews. Another part of it will have to be using a combination of publicly accessible dates and automated sentiment analysis to create original work. I should be able to build a sentiment analysis model automation and execute it for each academic paper if that is the dirrention things end up going. It will certainly yield original content. 

I think as we work into 2023 that is one of the things that I’m most looking forward to producing. Within the machine learning space I have produced original research into the MLOps space and looked at a lot of open source code repositories in that space. At this point, I want to shift away from searching out and reading academic articles and move from conducting an ongoing literature review in the machine learning space to producing some content that makes a substantial contribution. The field has had so much content added recently that just sorting out the ideas coming in is hard enough without trying to consume the best of it or even locate the very best of it. This has to be the peak academic period for machine learning based on the hype cycle. I think at some point in the next couple of years a lot of machine learning researchers will be shifting over to the study of artificial intelligence in general. 

That shift is probably good overall. My views which have been shared previously are that a lot of both model production and intellectual overcrowding has occurred within the machine learning space. A lot of papers have been written. It’s great that people are producing content and I’m happy they are mostly sharing it online without any paywalls or other limitations. You will have to admit that the sheer volume of it is overwhelming and at this point beyond any method of conventional sorting. Some of it gets promoted by social media and other actual interpersonal interactions where content is shared. People are having to really go out and share a paper to get it noticed or picked up by the top contributors within the field. 

I think at this point in the program I’m going to drop out of weblog writing mode and work on some different essay related content.  I might circle back to this one or something else might show up.

Oh those problematic strings of words

I’m spending more time working on the weblog than usually gets put into that platform in the last few years. This is one of those things that happens in waves and typically just happens based on a point in the cycle and not for any real empowered reason. Within the backend of the site it has 2,561 total posts that go back to the early 2000’s. A few of the essays I wrote back during my college years are worth updating at this point. Most of that content was just the beginning of things as I sort of booted up to the writer than I am today. Most of the time I can now power through a block of prose with very little editing required. My base writing state is now passable to just dump online without a lot of clean up. That probably should be more exciting than it actually seems to be for me at the moment. Sometimes without a doubt when I get into a hurry or am not paying attention to what is being written things will go horribly wrong in terms of grammar and style concerns. I’ll get the idea out, but the construction of the words bringing it forward can be highly problematic. For the most part, the main thing that happens is that word will be missing. 

Today again I’m misbehaving and writing out of a Google Doc instead of that Microsoft Word document that is supposed to be my daily writing home. It turns out that I really don’t want to continually write out of the same document every day and that I really do want to open up a blank document on a daily basis and begin writing from a fresh starting point. That is problematic in terms of collecting things together in the end for publication purposes, but it may very well be something that I’ll need to live with going forward. I had successfully switched over for around 30 days and then that habit fell apart the first time that I was a little bit tired and just opened a word processing document on a whim. It was that moment of tired whim that got me back over here into Google Docs. It is entirely possible that I prefer the editing features in Google Docs and maybe just got used to them over time. One solution to the problem would be to try to add the next missive to the end of this document and see if I could at least keep all the words together. 

I did manage to break down the problematic posts in the writing plan to get to 104 issues of The Lindahl Letter. At some point, I just had to accept that a couple of the topics were going to just end up being shorter than I had planned on allowing them to end up. A few of the topics have one central person who contributed to them and are super straightforward. During my planning sessions I should have tried to zoom out a bit or maybe picked different areas of focus where a bit more coverage would have been possible. I have been (for better or worse) in the habit of writing weblog type missives for the last 20 years. I’m probably not going to stop doing that at any point. Some of them never get posted, but the daily habit of sitting down and offloading some thoughts into some type of word processing document, notepad, sketchpad, or just a pad of paper is probably going to keep happening. The part of it that I find the most confusing is that I tend to go back to Twitter a few times a day and it has also become a part of my daily routine. 

My efforts recently have been on reducing my response times to alerts and notifications to help focus and be present. That is key moving forward. It is probably one of the reasons that my early morning hour writing plans have been so successful as nobody is pinging me or creating alerts at this time of the day. Even corporations and application teams tend to slow down the attention seeking during the hours when people are commonly sleeping.

Welcome to some October posting

Yesterday, I used Google Docs to write a post. That habit is apparently very hard to break. It was in the evening after dinner, and I was working on my Google Pixelbook Go Chromebook and it just happened. A Google Doc got opened pretty quickly and a short post was crafted. Today I’m back in my trusty Microsoft Word document, but I’m going to have to go copy and paste that content right above this post. I was in one of those modes where I just deleted my entire Tumblr account on a whim. That should give you some idea of what carried all of that action to resolution.

I’m currently curious if Google will send me a refund from my Stadia founder’s edition bundle (night blue). I had purchased a couple of games as well. To be honest on this one. I only played this thing the day it arrived and then I gave up on it in total. It turned out I was way more likely to hook up an Xbox controller to my computer and play games that way.

For the last few days, I have been testing out leaving my phone in do not disturb mode with an exception for repeat callers or contacts. Only phone calls from my contacts are disrupting my workflows. So far I have to report that it is working out much better than I expected. Right now the only way any of those extremely aggressive notifications get my attention is when I pick up my phone by choice. I’m sure it has slowed down my mean time to respond to application alerts and text messages. 

Functionally it has not changed my response time to phone calls as that remains the same. Seriously, I did not realize how many times a day some ping, alert, notification, or other push method informational notice was pulling my attention from other things. To really sit down and work deeply on things not having all those alerts works much better. Overall, I’m coming up with more notes and observations about things. I guess the relevant note on this one is that my overall focus on things improved. 

For the second day in a row sitting on the sofa watching a bit of television I broke down and worked out of Google Docs again. Maybe when left to my own devices and during periods when I’m just generating prose for my own personal amusement, that is the word processing document application that best meets my needs. It is certainly the application I open from my browser without thinking about it.