Today I have a few hours blocked off to engage in a bit of writing and creating. Based on a review of the recent stats it looks like the Substack posts are working well enough. My draft of the week 73 Substack post is mostly complete. Drafting went well enough Friday into Saturday on that one. I’m going to rework it a bit here in a few minutes after finishing this post. It seemed like a good idea to just go ahead and do a bit of regular blogging right here before jumping back over to working on that post. Recently, I have been more likely to work on academic efforts and less likely to just produce a bit of stream of consciousness style prose. That seems to be a developing trend. I’m trying to avoid it becoming a pattern.
Strangely enough yesterday was actually a really big Google keep day for me. I took a ton of notes of things to work on and things to write about in the future. Sometimes that happens when I end up in a reflective mood. My notes are a wonderful little roadmap to producing future content. For those of you who do not take writing topic notes, it is a method of keeping track of things that could be promising without investing a ton of time into them immediately. My massive “Substack Posts” Google Doc has all the posts written so far and the backlog list which is functionally a collection of notes that goes out to 120 total topics. At this point along the journey, I have written posts 1 to 73 within that backlog. Right now I’m still working at a pace where one or more posts are being produced each weekend. Each one of those posts is just a written set of research notes cataloging my journey to better understand a topic. To that end my research notes are essentially provided free of charge to an audience on Substack.
My plan is still to take all that content and drop it into a 2nd edition of The Lindahl Letter book when the 2nd full year of publishing is complete. I’m not entirely sure Substack as a platform will last forever and memorizing the content in an actual printed publication format is not a bad method of persevering things along the way. Sure the content is available to people for free who want to consume it that way and as a book for people who prefer to read it in that format. That is just a part of the process and adventure along the way. I had done all the setup for posts and the pre-work on a bunch of posts up until the last post that was completed. I have now staged the posts up until week 104 which will be a big 2nd year of posting recap.
At the two year mark I’m planning on moving away from machine learning posts into just generally covering artificial intelligence and producing research notes related to a planned set of academic articles. That means that it is possible that weeks of ongoing coverage of something being worked as an academic article could be distributed. That is probably a good method to really dig deep into a few topics along the way. One of the things I have worked pretty hard to avoid is producing coverage of the same topic over and over again. Somebody who sat down with the book later on will see an ongoing coverage of topics and not encounter a repetitive reading experience. One of the things that I have really tried to avoid along the way is providing weblog-like coverage within The Lindahl Letter which would end up blending this type of content with that more research note type of coverage. I’m sure a blending of the two types of content would be possible, but that is not really the intended vibe.
I’m all set to sit down and write today. Today started out a few minutes early. My alarm was set to go off a few minutes earlier. That was a part of my big plan to sit down and do some typing this morning. Anything that could be done to avoid getting to the business of writing was pretty much done. I’m talking about a solid 30 minutes of just nonsense. Even just now I took the time to edit that last block of text down to fit into a single Tweet size format. Avoiding the process of getting into a bit of writing seems to be the order of the day.
Hitting the return key to get to a new paragraph does not seem to have helped out toward a better set of pathing. Maybe I need to begin to consider the very nature of things. Digging deeply into the safety of philosophy might be the way to unlock this bit of writing. At this point, even a bit of editing occurred for the above prose. Yeah, I stopped typing and went back to read this partial page of nonsense. That pretty much means the first block of text has been edited twice already which is beyond what is required for sure. Maybe it is time to try to move on to a new paragraph and see if things move in a positive direction in terms of writing.
Yesterday a 24 pack of Rabea Massaad Jim Dunlop branded guitar picks showed up at the house. Oddly enough FedEx noted that this package was delivered on Friday, but it must have gone out as a delivery to one of the neighbors. Thankfully it showed up yesterday. I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever need 24 total guitar picks. A lot of them will have to be misplaced to need to buy more at this point. I did not need to buy a variety pack to see what guitar pick would be the best for my everyday playing experiences. I have been pretty happy with the previously mentioned guitar picks. The only real wear or damage I have done to the ones I’m using each day is to slowly make the logo disappear.
I’m still enjoying a Nespresso Vertuo coffee pod each morning. That is part of an effort to mix it up from my normal routine of two shots of espresso. Sometimes it is better to just accept the routine and really work toward making the most of it compared to trying to mix things up. When it comes to writing and shifting from waking up to getting things done in the morning that is something that is probably wholesale true. The desired outcome is to sit down with reasonably good posture and engage in the act of typing on my mechanical keyboard to produce prose. That is the aim of the activity. It is the desired result of the writing process.
My writing is starting to happen in blocks that could be Tweets, “Ok links to week 68 of The Lindahl Letter have been posted to both Twitter and LinkedIn. Last week I wrote, but did not record audio for week 71. This morning I wrote the first half of a double issue for week 72.”
My goal for this week is to be really focused on purposeful writing. All my communications are going to be edited and rock solid this week. It feels like my ability to write lately has required more sustained focus. Something is different for sure, but it is not apparent.
Today is probably going to be a day of working on tasking and knocking things out. Normally my productive window is early in the morning hours, but today I’m going to have to be ruthlessly focused on getting this done during a 5 hour block of time.
Today started off well enough. I finished a draft of a new post, “Substack Week 71: What are the best ML newsletters?” Assuming things go as planned I’ll work on a bit of editing tonight and tomorrow morning. That will take the post from editing to audio recording late tomorrow morning. I have been trying not to record right after waking up. Apparently sounding slightly sleepy when recording a podcast is frowned on by the listening public. I’m successfully staying 4 weeks ahead of my publication commitment for The Lindahl Letter. For the most part each Friday my backlog is deprecated by a single post and a new post is being created on the following Saturday and Sunday. That routine and pattern has been working. At some point, I’m sure the backlog will diminish a bit. This summer I’ll have a couple of weekends where writing is probably not going to happen.
Overall I’m back on the writing bandwagon with a 5 day weblog publishing streak going. Getting to the point where the habit of writing is at the forefront of my daily routines is a good place to be. Writing generally begets more writing. I really do want to start my day with an hour of typing and working on writing.
Several days have gone by without my social media applications being installed on my Google Pixel 5 smartphone. On a side note to that thought, I’m considering upgrading to the Pixel 7 when it comes out and just skipping the Pixel 6 edition altogether. That being said, I have found that not being able to look at Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram on my smartphone does cause me to use those platforms a lot less. A long time ago when phones were just for calling and texting I used websites on a desktop computer or my laptop. My efforts now are focused on just checking those websites at my main Dark Base Pro 900 housed computer. They will get checked at a specific time and place of my choosing. Notifications are not going to be allowed to drive my attention to something. Only my specific interest in a thing will drive my attention to focusing on it and that is a key distinction to consider.
Focusing on accomplishing a deeper degree of work is an important part of the puzzle. I don’t want my focus and attention pulled away from the things I have deemed important. That is one of those things that helped me realize that focus on connections and effort has to be foundational to my planned actions.
We have connections with people. A few of them last the test of time. They are with us even after we part ways. Sometimes a song, feeling, or just happenstance can trigger that connection to resurface. For me, hearing the lead singer of Harvey Danger always makes me think of one person. It happens every time and neither the context nor the occasion will shake that connection from coming to the forefront of my thoughts.
Rain is falling outside this morning. It is a welcome bit of weather to a very dry year. Opining about the weather is probably not the best start to this writing sesion. It is a start however and I’ll take it for what it is worth. A few words as a starter to get the process of typing going. Sometimes a little nudge in the right direction is all the writing process needs. I’m still logging notes and other observations in Google Keep. That has worked out well enough. The key piece in taking notes is grabbing something useful and packaging it for later use.
Without the possibility of using it again the notes themselves are probably not going to be Without the possibility of using it again the notes themselves are probably not going to be revisited. Certainly I have a few notebooks that are full of long forgotten notes that will never be revisited. Some of my college notebooks are now a couple of decades old and have not been revisited at all or even really glanced at casually. They have simply been moved from bookshelf to bookshelf over the years. At this point, they are more of a visual reminder of something from the past and not a useful repository of stored wisdom. Over the course of so many years and so many notes a lot of nuggets of truth and a ton of false starts reside in those notebooks.
Today I’m hopeful it will be one of those days where things happen and things get done with a single minded purpose focused on pushing things forward. Moving in the direction of a perfect possible future. This month in general is starting off with a lot of possibilities. That is what happens when you look at the open space in front of you and think about what can be done with the time you have. Certainly the work will need to be put in to help drive things forward.
We made it to the last day of April. I have spent the last two hours researching and writing this morning. My writing output in terms of weblog posts was not very good this month. I have a calendar view that shows me the gaps in my daily publishing and it clearly shows that this month was not full of productivity. Overall my productivity was ok and no goals or deadlines were missed, but it was not the peak of my writing productivity.
Earlier today I started to sketch out an algorithm to define offensive vs. generally normatively accepted utterances. That is something that I think could be defined as an algorithm to reflect a point of time, but I don’t think it would stay consistent over the course of time. It would probably take me about 4-6 hours to fully sketch and get the basic algorithmic definitions lined up. Today will not be the day where that time is committed to making that happen. Deciding how to spend time each day is an important part of the decision making process.
The weekend is upon us with the opportunity to get some things done. A few blocks of time will exist in the morning and the afternoon on both days to spend on something. It makes me really question just how wisely I can spend the time. Generally we don’t commoditize time. I do think of some blocks of time that can be spent on something. It is trying to make sure that we are spending those blocks of time wisely that captures a lot of my focus. My writing routine helps to keep me on track for the most part. Every day at 0500 hours the alarm on my Fitbit watch goes off and I start the day. Larger blocks of time are reserved on Saturday and Sunday morning for producing prose and really digging in deep. However, you can tell from the general pattern of the routine that each day starts out with a bit of writing.
My big plan for the day is to really get ready for a big trash pickup tomorrow. We have a few larger things that need to get sorted out. I generally feel the same way about my major writing projects. I have a few that need to get sorted out and the rest just need to be organized and worked to resolution. Sure my writing strategy should help make that easy enough. Sometimes you have to dig in and give the old writing strategy a bit of review to see if the trajectory is still sound. Producing prose for the sake of producing it has a certain amount of merit. However, working toward something more meaningful has a better case for spending the effort to get it completed. Especially if you are going to view that effort as a coin for a block of time that has to be spent wisely.
Posts can now resume with the great server migration completed. My thoughts over the last two weeks have been confused on things, but not on writing or chronicling my efforts along the search for the perfect possible path forward. During the course of the brief online freeze I did use Twitter a bit and that was an interesting journey. It appears that Twitter has been purchased and will become a privately held company. It made me wonder about the total value of stock for a company. Generally speaking at the given market price of a stock everybody could not sell their stock. At the point where everybody that held a stock was trying to sell it the value of that stock would plummet exponentially. Most companies in the marketplace could not support at their current value a total replacement of investors. I actually find it interesting to look at the amount of a stock volume that trades hands every day for a given company. For the most part, you will see a small volume of stock up for trade each day will be far less than 20% of total outstanding shares.
You can go look at the biggest average daily trading volumes (ADTV) for companies. Yesterday on April 26, 2022 for example the largest daily trading volume was for Twitter at around 115 million shares. The total number of outstanding shares for the company is around 763 million. That amounts to around 15% of the outstanding shares for the company being exchanged yesterday. In general, that is a large amount of activity between buyers and sellers for a single company. My thoughts then drifted into thinking about those metrics for a bit before circling back to the activity that is supposed to be at hand which is writing this morning. I had wanted to write 1,000 words in this very word processing document before sending this post off for publication. That is where my head was at this morning. I figured producing a good block of prose would help start my day off on the right path.
I had brewed a cup of the Ethiopia Nespresso pod coffee instead of two shots of espresso today. Sometimes you have to mix it up a little bit. I’ll probably order those pods again at some point. I have been enjoying them as an alternative to two shots of espresso. My afternoons of course should be green tea and that is how the plan is supposed to work. Coffee or espresso in the morning and green tea in the afternoon. Sometimes the green team simply gets replaced with more espresso. That happens from time to time depending on what is going on during the day. For the most part being focused on the work at hand becomes the priority and settling into a state of deep focus on the hard challenges is where things should drift to after the start of the day. The first few minutes of the day are generally cloudy and it takes just a little bit to go from that fog of daybreak to a truly productive state.
Even with that little bit of prose about coffee this post is only about half way to the targeted work count for this stream of consciousness based effort. Part of the desired process is to just let my mind wonder in whatever direction happens to be pulling my attention. At the moment, my attention is nearly wholesale focused on a task list and working toward the resolution of the things on that list. Everything else might as well be far off into the distance like shadows of things you could approach, but it would require a lot of effort to get to that point. Something will have to give on that front and hopefully it will be a burst of productivity aimed at reducing the task list to a manageable amount of things. That should open the door to some pursuits outside the process of revisiting a list for the next item. Sometimes you have to move beyond the get next command and ask yourself about the things occurring in the wild space outside that list.
Just for content if you were trying to produce a solid million words per day instead of working on a 1,000 word start of the day posting production target. You would have to work a little harder and probably invest a bit more time into the production target of 2,740 words per day. Given the reality of sustaining that level of productivity you probably will want to work toward a production level of posting target of 3,000 words per day. Sitting down and writing 3,000 words in a single sitting or flourish of creativity is possible. Doing it for an entire year is a different matter altogether. That type of sustained writing productivity is geared more toward something that a professional writing would achieve. Producing a million words in one big giant pile of prose for any reason is an awfully large amount of content. Very few people sit down and try to engage in that level of production. You could very well say that it would be a big year. A categorically larger than what you would expect to the point of being you considering it a “big” writing productivity year. That point is probably not worth any more inquiry. It has been examined and can probably stand on its own merits at this point.
My closing thoughts on this writing session are all over the place at the moment. I’m thinking about trying to take on a big year again. At the same time, I’m remembering that that is a very big investment of writing time and energy. Sitting down and writing 3,000 words without an outline or any guide posts of what should be covered is a really intense commitment into the world of stream of consciousness prose. At that point the final outcome of what is created will be a consequence of the process, not the achievement of something on a task list.
At this point in the Substack journey, I’m still working 4 weeks ahead in terms of finished posts. Audio editing and recording is working out well enough. The podcast is up on a variety of platforms thanks to the RSS feed. My writing output is still focused on the one post produced throughout the week with audio being recorded during the early hours of the weekend. For this week I’m a little bit ahead of schedule and will be able to focus on some other things in terms of academic writing. To that end, I’ll need to make sure and really take advantage of the opportunity to do something interesting.
Earlier this week I changed my desk charging configuration to include two Pixel stands. Getting to the point where I’m not picking up or looking at my phones is always a key driver for my desk management plans. I have a Pelican G40 Personal Utility Go Case, but sometimes I need to have the batteries at full for future adventures. I’m wondering if a general movement away from carrying smartphones around will occur. I’m going longer and longer stretches without dealing with the phone. When I’m at home the phone actually rings to a Bluetooth paired traditional handset system with a couple bases throughout the house. That makes it function in the ebay a landline would have performed.
Things on the weblog publishing front have not gone well this month. Last month included several solid streaks and daily writing. For some reason this month has had solid focus on producing quality outputs, but writing for the weblog has just not occurred properly. I actually have a few Google Docs with content in them that were never transferred over to actual publication. Sure that happens from time to time as sometimes the path to art becomes about the process and not the final product. I know that not everything that gets started is going to get finished. False starts are a part of the writing process and they are going to happen from time to time.
Apparently this weekend the Coachella festival happened and I’m not sure I really understand it. You can watch it on YouTube if you have a need to consume streaming concert footage. This morning I listened to an hour or two from the Saturday lineup. The production value is pretty high for a live concert. That is what I took away from it outside of the striking need to make more shots of espresso. After going to the Colorado Avalanche game last night things seem to be off to a slower start.
It took about 30 minutes for me to really wake up today. This particular Monday is off to a somewhat delayed start. My writing efforts yesterday were solid enough and progress was made, but none of that progress was on the weblog front. On the brighter side of things I started to really consider some different research interests. Sometimes I will entirely form up a presentation deck or idea and then build it in PowerPoint or write it up in a word processing document after the fact. Building things mentally before trying to work them out in between a presentation construct, the keyboard, and my thoughts can involve more layers than are necessary during the creative part of the question. Generally the more thought that goes into what is going to be produced the better the quality the final product will be at the end of process. Other times I’m just ready to make it happen from the point of sitting down in front of the keyboard.
This week should be an interesting test on the writing front. Tonight is the national championship game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Pretty much all writing will stop for the game and it should be entertaining. I vividly remember the 2008 game and how wild it was to watch that one. That seems like it happened so long ago, but some of those things we pick up in memory are just more vivid than others. While the outcome of that game should not really impact my writing productivity level for the entire week it probably will have an impact. It is natural for emotion to drive or curtail the writing process. Being really productive is such a mercurial thing that it could go either way really. We will see what happens at the end of the day.
I’m going to need to stay about three issues of “The Lindahl Letter” ahead of publication based on my commitments this summer. That should not really be a problem based on where I am at currently. Some essays are going to require a little bit more investment than others based on how deeply the research needs to go on them from start to finish.