Category Archives: new!

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How to take your git skills to the next level

One way is to read this: How to become a Git expert – freeCodeCamp.org. There’s a lot of good pages on how to get started on git, but if you are joining a software project, you may be expected to know more than the basics. You may be required to know the kind of things that piece talks about. Of course you can ask people on your team for help, but why not get as much skill as you can first and then ask better questions? There’s always something new to learn when it comes to git and software management: learn as much as you can by yourself and increase your skill set and your value to the team.

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Do you want to read more women writers but need suggestions? The Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts has your back

How so? Here is a list of one hundred books by great women authors on a wide range of topics, including graphic novels like Persepolis. Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts – #VOTE100BOOKS. 

Regardless of the voting and which book gets the most, it is safe to say that everything listed is worth seeking out.

It’s unlikely even well read people haven’t read all these. If you find you want to read more women, you’re bound to find things on that list.

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The crumbling and outright destruction of “brutalist treasures”

If you are a fan of Brutalism, you will want to visit this: Attack the blocks: brutalist treasures under threat – in pictures | Cities | The Guardian

You might want to even visit them, because for some of them, their days are numbered.

I imagine that in the next 50 years, the number of Brutalist buildings currently existing will be significantly reduced. That would be a shame. Brutalism gets knocked hard, and I can see why. But worse than Brutalist building are boring buildings from all different architectural styles. I’d like to see those go first. The world could use good Brutalism in their cities. Here’s hoping it doesn’t undergo severe decline.

Some thoughts on insurance companies and the use of wearable technology

When it comes to insurance and wearables, I think the effect of these devices will be limited. I think this because:

  1. I don’t believe people are consistent about using wearables. I have been using wearables and fitbits for some time. I believe most people are prone to not wearing them constantly. Inconsistent use will make it harder for insurers to guarantee you a  better rate or for you to achieve one.
  2. You are more likely to wear it and use it when you are trying to keep in shape. If you are not, you will likely not wear it. The insurer can’t know if you are getting out of shape or just no longer wearing it. (I used to use a Nike+ device for running, and I ran consistently, but I did not use the device consistently. Many days and weeks I just didn’t feel like it.) The use of wearables is mostly an upside for you, and of limited value to the insurer.
  3. One reason I gave up on using wearables consistently is that they don’t give you much new information. I walk and exercise consistently and so they often give me the same information consistently. Which means I tend to not wear them often. I don’t need the fitbit to tell me I walked 10,000 steps. I know I did because my commute to and from work plus my lunchtime walk consistently gives me that.
  4. My fitbit scale is great for tracking my weight over time, but an insurer could also just ask me my weight, height and waistline and get a sense of my eligibility for insurance, just like how they ask if I smoke. A very low tech way to measure things. Men with a waist over 40 inches are more prone to heart disease then men with much smaller waists, regardless of what a high tech scale says. A insurer needs a limited number of data points to assess your health risks.
  5. I believe there is limited return for insurers to get this much data. I base this on my current life insurer. I can get life insurance from 1-6X my salary (assuming I pay the corresponding rise in premiums) without providing medical data. They only ask for medical data if I ask for more than 6X. It likely isn’t of benefit for them to process the data for lower amounts, so they proceed without it.
  6. Insurers are data driven, for sure, but I think they are good at picking out a limited number of good numbers to determine what to charge you for insurance. I don’t think the numbers coming back from wearable tech is all that good.

So in short, I don’t believe people or insurers will get much benefit from wearable tech. People will not get breaks on their insurance, and insurers will not be able to reduce their risk substantially with the use of wearables.

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Cooking at home sucks. It’s also great.

I like this piece: Opinion | Never Cook at Home – The New York Times

The title is deceptive: it is not entirely anti-cooking, and it does talk about the benefits of home cooking, but it does throw a bucket of very cold water on all those excited ideas about how great it is to cook at home.

There are many benefits to cooking at home, just like there are benefits to working out. But there are significant efforts associated with achieving those benefits. Those efforts are likely the thing that can cause you to stop getting out your pans and turning on the oven and head to the local diner.

The other drawback about cooking at home is social media. Now so many people (including me) post photos of the food they make. You might look at your own cooking outcome and get discouraged. When you combine the effort and the outcome, plus the indifference you get from those you cook for, you may never want to cook again.

Like exercise, the trick is to find the right level of cooking that works for you, and not get down on yourself when you aren’t cooking at some level you think you should be cooking, whatever that is. Some days you just need to eat, and a piece of fruit and a frozen meal is all you need to no longer be hungry. Other days you may be enjoying making pasta from scratch. If you find you are in a rut, start a simple log of what you are eating over a week and then look for ways to improve slightly: replace boxed cereal with a cooked egg, make a simple pasta rather than get take out pizza. (Bonus: if you make pasta, you could have lunch made too.)

Good luck. There are rewards to cooking at home, if you find the right level of cooking that works for you. Enjoy the fruits of your labour, however great or humble.

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How confidential are Gmail’s new “Confidential Mode” features?

According to EFF, not very confidential. To see why, read:  Between You, Me, and Google: Problems With Gmail’s “Confidential Mode” | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

 

 

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Friday night cocktail: a Sazerac


Arguably the oldest cocktail made, with a fine New Orleans history. I had one the other night with bourbon, which is a good substitute for rye. You can go with just one form of bitters, and mine had Peychaud’s. Try an orange peel: it goes well with the bourbon. Experiment with leaving out the sugar cube: you might find you don’t need it with the bourbon and the orange peel.

Best Sazerac Recipe – How to Make a Sazerac Drink