Mac Power Users and the Future of Work

The latest episode of MPU with Sean McCabe was one of my favorites. I don’t listen to very many podcasts now that I don’t have a 90 minute commute but I try to stick with a few like Mac Power Users. This episode was chock full of ideas, some of which just make me giggle. I also enjoyed the closing conversation about work breaks and identity.

Creating a Color Picker Palette on macOS

Last week I was creating a presentation and wanted to use brand colors throughout. macOS has a built in color picker that allows for multiple color palettes and I thought that would be perfect. Here’s what it looks like: Creating a custom palette in Apple’s Color Picker was far more difficult than I expected. Here’s my runbook for creating one easily and also backing it up as a simple JSON file.

Zillow Just Gave Us A Look At Machine Learning's Future

From Vin Vashishta discussing the implosion over at Zillow: For Data Scientists, there are several lessons. You’d better understand the science before taking on significant projects. When revenue starts getting booked against Machine Learning projects, model reliability is critical. Research methodology is essential. When revenue growth starts being built around Machine Learning capabilities, those capabilities need to be comprehensive. The body of evidence supporting core models needs to be substantial.

Playbooks Before Automation

Jacob Kaplan-Moss in his “Simple Product Management Tricks” article: Playbooks are the middle ground I reach for in these circumstances. When I see a process like this, instead of either doing nothing or just diving in and writing some code, I’ll first write a playbook. A playbook is nothing more than a set of instructions for performing the task – a “recipe” if you will. The key is to be as specific as possible.

How Cells Work

While I enjoyed this interesting Cryo-EM/Cryo-ET explainer in Nature, I’ve really been enjoying a series of YouTube videos on the functions of cellular structures. I just love that stuff. It’s a nice way to visualize what is otherwise too complex for me to learn in detail. And now I know that ATP Synthase is basically a water wheel for protons.

An Oral History of Bank Python

Disregarding the fact that this is a written history, I found Cal Paterson’s essay fascinating. It could be that the biggest disadvantage is professional. Every year you spend in the Minerva monoculture the skills you need interact with normal software atrophy. By the time I left I had pretty much forgotten how to wrestle pip and virtualenv into shape (essential skills for normal Python). I’ve known people that worked in COBOL for the baking industry but I had no idea that a private Python branch was replacing it.

Link Archiving in Obsidian

I’ve tried hard not to write about the Obsidian text editor because it gets tedious and boring. But I’ve been very happy with a couple of new plugins and this topic is really about link-rot. Let’s backup and talk about that first. I’m a thousand years old now, so many of my bookmarks no longer work. The URLs are dead or, just as likely, the website is now behind a paywall.

Keyboard Maestro 10

I’m so out of the mix with Mac automation that I didn’t even realize there was a new version of Keyboard Maestro coming out. Version 10 has a lot of new shiny features. I can’t wait to do some fun stuff with the new Menubar display but the new unlock and appearance change triggers will probably be saving me a lot of time with docking and undocking my MacBook Air.

MacBooks are the new MacBooks

These are a few useless words about the new M1 MacBooks. I’ve very excited for the future of Apple’s hardware. Notch problems aside, I’m no longer afraid to upgrade a MacBook and might actually be looking forward to it. I hope Apple regains its dominance in the laptop market because it was always a joy to see a audience full of nerds with glowing Apple logos. I’ve been using a new M1 MacBook Air for 6 months and it might be my favorite computer of all time.

Adventures in Excel

I use Excel almost every day. I think it’s underrated by most people because so much of it is inscrutable. I try to watch Joel Spolsky’s “You Suck at Excel” video at least once a month. It’s chock full of tips that make Excel less work to use. The video also makes me chuckle. I’ve been working on a project that I estimated to take about 1000 hours to complete. I’m a couple of months in and wanted to see how my estimate was looking.