A very productive Sunday of writing

I’m up and ready to spend some quality time writing today. Strangely enough I found a wonderfully comfortable position in my chair today as I started the writing process. Strangely enough it just happened when I sat down to write. Nevermind, I moved around a bit and ruined it. Let’s just go ahead and jump to the next paragraph. This paragraph appears to be ruined. 

This may be one of those Sunday’s where I end up shifting over to my major writing project and abandoning the weblog post at the start. Yeah – that is what happened here. 

It’s now 0806 hours and I had a really productive run of working on a literature review post. A lot of really good focus occurred and that is truly a great way to start the day. I did swing back over here to keep working on this weblog post for the day. It may very well enough up a bit of a piece that was compiled across a lot of different little bits of writing throughout the day. 

I’m just going to hit publish at this point and I might circle back to writing more content here in a few minutes.

A few Thursday ramblings

My efforts this week to learn a bit of LaTeX in Overleaf have been slow going. That effort could happen on either my Chromebook or my desktop. Neither of those things seems to be happening in the evenings. During the evenings, I have been listening to a bit of science fiction from Isaac Asimov. I’m three books into that effort now and enjoying the initial foundation trilogy: Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953). Apparently, two prequels and two sequels were written to expand the foundation universe. This week I’ll finish up the “Second Foundation” audiobook. We might listen to the “I, Robot” (1950) book during our next big roadtrip. That is what we ended up doing with the first foundation book. During the 8 hour road trip between Denve and Kansas City it is a great opportunity to really focus on an audiobook. We have listened to non-fiction books about various topics and a handful of the best science fiction works. It is hard to believe the foundation series is roughly 70 years old at this point. The language used in the novels could pretty well be spoken today outside of the odd psychologist/history projections. Most of the futurists today do not accompany their predictions with mathematical models. 

 I go back and forth about the naming convention that should be used within the daily weblog posts. Years ago I simply titled them by date (YYYYMMDD) and that worked well enough for me personally. It did not however work very well for indexing and other communication methods outside of my personal amusement. To that end I started working on titles and most of them are longer than a word or two as that is what is required when you start to write hundreds of missives. At this point, it is rather difficult to come up with unique titles for these weblog posts. Normally, by about the second paragraph of the project I’ll find a title in a sentence somewhere that can be used. This one is intentionally not titled about the writings of Isacc Asmov. 

On a totally unrelated topic, I’m still struggling with the odd set of categories I have built for the weblog over the years. I know they were a byproduct of writing posts year after year. They are clustered related to the topics that I tend to cover, but for the most part the categorization is really not very good. I built a bad thing and cannot really go back and move them all around. In terms of storage and indexing the weblog has a core post, daily recap, monthly recap, and groups by category. All of that is designed to help make it easier for the reader to find content. I’m not entirely sure that works anymore. At this point in my online journey, the primary way people get to the weblog is from searching for a term or something that gets them to a page. They quickly realize that they are in the midst of a functional journal that might very well contain the technical answer they were seeking. I tend to write about the challenges that I overcome while using technology just as much as I muse about the process of writing. 

I should probably focus more on technical writing and really dig into the challenges we see in the disjointed presentation of technology that we run into on a daily basis. The only thing connecting the myriad of technology we use and interact with is us functioning as the hub. At this point, the fast majority of technology we use is not interconnected or controlled by voice or a common interface. My office alone is full of 10 or more sets of technology that require me to interact with them to make things happen. At some point the technological mesh will become more connected and it will be a fundamentally different experience for the end user.

Rain and a morning of writing time

Today I’m going to be able to spend some time working on that “introduction to machine learning” syllabus. It’s an 8 part series and getting the tone and content right is very important. Today feels like it could be an all in Twitter day. Maybe I’ll end up tweeting the day away. That is a possible part of the vacation efforts to  get up early and write on a daily basis. So far along the way I have managed to get up and spend a bit of time writing each day. Having enough time to get past the basic stream of consciousness writing part of the session and move into working on more complex things does help the process. The entire morning today until lunchtime has been set aside to work on things. Strangely enough, about 130 words this morning I’m ready to abandon this post and just shift over to working on a section about deep learning. 

A bunch of thunder just occurred and then it started raining. It’s an early morning rainstorm. One of the big differences between Kansas City and Denver is the way the weather arrives. Something about the mountains changes how storm systems arrive around Denver. We don’t really see multiple fronts or the interesting things that happen from the process of storm fronts running into each other. Yeah, I diverted my thoughts from writing about deep learning to thinking about the weather happening outside. It is nice to sit down and write with a bit of rain in the background. I can hear it all over the house here. Outside the rain is falling and the roof, gutters, and the pavement all have unique sounding responses to that weather phenomenon. Sure I should try to get my focus to shift to something else, but it does not seem like that is going to happen. Maybe I should just lean into this one and try to increase the velocity. 

Writing on the keyboard attached to this Pixelbook Go has a certain maximum speed. It is not like writing on a mechanical keyboard. The travel and return is rather limited, but still rewarding enough to make longer writing sessions acceptable. I’m actually a little surprised that I have not worn out any keys on this Chromebook. Sure the two shots of espresso help increase the velocity of my writing output, but the other element in that need for writing speed has to be the content. Sometimes you are ready  to produce content and other times that process just won’t get going and it certainly won’t have the velocity to worry about hitting maximum effort limits on a keyboard. Maybe it is the rain or the promise of several hours of researching and writing in front of me, but I’m highly reflective and ready to go at the moment. It really could end up being a day full of a bunch of tweets or I might end up producing a lot of content today.

A few thoughts on the ongoing grand writing experiment

Getting back to a bit of daily writing in a journaling style seems to be a good thing to accomplish. For some reason this style of writing has dropped off from my efforts. Every week I’m still producing pracademic style content and I’m gearing up to learn how to convert some of that into a LaTeX style editor for academic paper publication. Maybe that is the missing element in my progress as a writer. We will see if it really is the missing element or if something else might be a contributing factor. Within that framework I have a few thoughts on my ongoing grand writing experiment. For those of you who have been along for the ride you know that millions of words have been produced. A lot of them appear here on my trusty weblog, “Functional Journal.” It’s not my flagship production, but it is a central base that I come back to over and over again. Originally, I had considered just putting all content here as a sort of content hub. That is not a terrible idea, but it does discount contributions to other forms and how those avenues of communication work. 

Tomorrow the 75th post within “The Lindahl Letter” series on Substack will be distributed. All of that content gets packaged yearly into a book format. It gets distributed weekly as a Substack post which is functionally an essay on a topic built for the purpose of being informative and at times thought provoking. That type of writing is different from what gets shared generally on the weblog and that is one of the reasons why jumping on the Substack bandwagon made sense. It also has a very different publication mechanic. The weblog is something people have to elect to go visit. Substack as a platform has a mechanism to deliver the content by email. It follows that newsletter framework which is more of a push to disseminate content delivery vs. my traditional method of providing the content on a digital shelf without marketing or any push. I know that the weblog gets published out to WordPress that new content arrived, and I let it push a notification to Twitter. Based on the amount of traffic that comes in from WordPress or Twitter neither of those communication methods is particularly useful. 

As a communication platform, Substack has appeared to work out well enough. One of the main differences between my Substack writing and my normal writing paradigm is that all 75 posts for Substack were constructed in the same Google Doc. Each day for general writing I open a brand-new Google Doc and start writing from a blank page. I’m wondering if I should shift to working out of a single manuscript for my daily writing and just accept that it should end up as a publication at the end of the year like the Substack efforts are combined to produce a set of collective works. Maybe that is the right way to begin moving forward. I could easily take this essay and allow it to be the start of that project. I generally do not like working out of a Microsoft Word document using the online editor. That is one of the reasons that all of this work generally happens in Google Docs. I’m sure that is mostly preference based and either one could work as a word processing document management system.

A few changes occurred between the last two paragraphs. I went over to Microsoft Word and created a manuscript file based on the publishing template I normally utilize. That brand new file and the entire novel directory on OneDrive has now been synced over to Google Drive. I then opened the .DOCX file for editing in Google Docs which seems convoluted, but it works for me based on the efforts I’m about to undertake. Moving forward I’m going to keep working and writing for the weblog within this document. That is the plan and I’m going to stick with it until December 31, 2022. At that point the plan will be revisited and hopefully this document will be published as a manuscript.

A ton of digital housekeeping on a Saturday

To prepare for the annual publication of The Lindahl Letter book I went ahead and loaded up the posts from week 50 to 77. That involved doing the typesetting for roughly 25,000 words that spanned about 100 pages. I’m considering either bundling two years of posts together or just publishing one year at a time. 

I wrote the social media copy for sharing to Twitter and LinkedIn this week:

You can check out week 74 of my weekly technology newsletter The Lindahl Letter titled “ML content automation; Am I the prompt?” over on #Substack via the link below

—> Tags: #MachineLearning #ML #ArtificialIntelligence #AI #MLOps #AIOps

https://nelslindahl.substack.com/p/ml-content-automation#details

It got shared over to Twitter here:

The LinkedIn post is here:

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6946447208812613632/

I had posted weekly into Facebook as well, but that yielded very little traffic back to the actual Substack site. After a few weeks of that effort I gave up and just stopped that part of my weekly social media sharing routine. I’m not entirely sure that sharing on Twitter and LinkedIn results in any subscribers, but it does create a small amount of traffic each week. 

At some point today, I’m going to work on writing the “Substack Week 78: Why is diffusion so popular?” post to create a draft. That is all queued up as a task for the day.

Welcome to June writing

Yesterday a Substack post was released and now the backlog stands at 4 recorded episodes which should take us out to July 1, 2022. Right now I should be working on writing the July 8th titled, “What is post theory science?” I’m a little over 100 words into that writing effort and things have seemed to stall. Earlier I dropped a couple videos demonstrating how to record podcast audio on Audacity. They were single cut videos of recording straight into editing. Nobody seems to be watching either of those two videos. That happens sometimes on YouTube. It is a very feast or famine sort of platform in terms of views. I really should keep writing here in this window for a bit, but I’m probably going to hit publish here in a few seconds and send this very short missive out into the world of the blogosphere.

Oh that desktop clutter abounds

A bit of clutter has made it to my desk. It’s Sunday morning and I should be editing two different Substack posts. They are mostly drafted and otherwise complete, but need a bit of editing to really help bring the prose to the next level worthy of publishing. Recently, I have actually written a few weblog posts that just did not make it to the actual weblog. Sometimes that happens during the course of supporting an expanded writing routine. When I’m writing in the morning and sitting in front of my Dark Base Pro 900 housed computer I follow the workflow pretty well. At the point where the post is done I generally post it. When I’m sitting on the sofa with my Chromebook and just writing a bit that workflow breaks down and we end up with a few weblog posts that get written, but never get shared. I have zero plans to go back and sort out which ones need to be posted and which ones have already been posted. For all practical purposes those posts are simply lost to the weblog. 

This one will probably make it online given that I’m writing at my desk and well aware of the publishing routine at the moment. It is top of mind. Somehow I managed to get a bunch of peanut shell crumbles on my desk. It is seriously everywhere that it could be on the desk. I considered for just a moment using a can of compressed air to rapidly move the mess from my desk. In that case I guess the mess would have been moved to the floor near my desk. I’m going to get a wet cloth here in a few minutes and work on that mess. After that mess is sorted out, I plan on returning to editing on those two different Substack posts that need to be cleaned up. Tomorrow is the day that I need to record audio for both of those posts to get back up to a healthy backlog of 4 Substack posts ready for distribution. 

Notes:

Yesterday via Paramount+ the streaming service we watched a film called The Lost City (2022) and it was a passable two hours of adventure storytelling. To be fair on this one I was not really satisfied or dissatisfied with the movie.

Working fullscreen: I’m editing the “Substack Week 73: Symbolic machine learning” post to prepare it for audio recording tomorrow or potentially later today. It took about 20 minutes to edit the post. I did end up increasing the zoom from 150% to 200% during this editing effort. This post ended up getting a bit meta instead of remaining directly focused on the topic at hand. I’ll go with it this time around. This post is now ready for podcast audio recording.

Editing the “Substack Week 74: ML content automation” post took a little bit more effort. That post is now ready for recording as well. My writing efforts this morning were productive.

A bit of regular blogging

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.

A bit of birthday writing nonsense

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.

Focused purposeful writing

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.