Ben Crowder

Blog: #covid-19

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#art #cirque #coding #covid-19 #exercise #food #health #meta #momentum #productivity #tools #writing

We’re overdue for some kind of general life update, I think. Weeknotes-that-are-not-weeknotes:

  • The health issues I referred to in May are still largely unchanged, though I’ve come to terms with it enough that I should probably stop using it as an excuse for lower productivity. (I do need to rest more than I used to, but I also feel like I’m spending proportionally less time making things than is warranted. I’m now tracking my time using a completely rewritten version of Momentum, so I should hopefully have more actual data to work with soon.)
  • We’ve also had a month of worrisome family medical issues (including two late-night ER visits) that have been weighing me down.
  • On the plus side, I got some lab results that finally motivated me to start exercising more and make real changes to my diet. I’m three weeks in and the lifestyle adjustments seem to be sticking. Fingers crossed.
  • The rising case counts and Delta situation certainly is discouraging. My faith in humanity in the aggregate has eroded significantly over the past year and a half.
  • In spite of a spectacular lack of public results, I’m still writing, slowly. (Much more successful at avoiding it.) In the middle of figuring out a process that consistently gives me a) results that b) don’t make me cringe.
  • I’ve been trying to keep artmaking to the weekends so I have more of a chance at making progress with my writing, but it doesn’t seem to be working as well as I’d hoped.
  • Another thing I’ve been itching to do is get back into making web-based art tools like Cirque (which needs a lot of improvement). Several ideas here I’m excited to work on.

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Links #44

#covid-19 #electron #history #links #mechanical-engineering #medieval-history #personal-sites #renaissance #web

Tauri looks like an interesting lightweight alternative to Electron. Quill is the only Electron app I’m still actively using, but it’d still be nice to reduce its footprint a bit.

Ada Palmer on the Renaissance. Better than the Middle Ages? Doubtful. (Also, there was so much more plague over the centuries than I’d realized. Goodness.)

Robin Rendle on redesigning his personal site. The latter half of the post is what resonated most with me. Sometimes I feel like my site has gotten perhaps a bit too focused on smoothly delivering projects, at the cost of some character. I hope to restore some of that character over the next year.

Bartosz Ciechanowski explains internal combustion engines. His interactive diagrams are superb as always.

Donald G. McNeil, Jr., on the end of Covid. A fairly measured take, I thought. My wife and I are both fully vaccinated now, by the way, but we can’t unquarantine until the kids get their shots (mid-to-late fall is our current loose expectation on that).


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Weeknotes 2.2

#attention #covid-19 #death #health #remote-work #weeknotes #zoom

  • Almost eligible for the Covid vaccines! Yesterday the governor announced that everyone in Utah sixteen and older will be eligible starting Wednesday next week. Wonderful news. Not really looking forward to having to brave the virtual crowds to get an appointment, though. I’d rather just put my name on a waitlist and bide my time.
  • No real improvement on my back. At this point in my life, I’m realizing that corporeal deterioration is undoubtedly going to continue scraping away my ability to do the things I love, and it’s just a matter of which things and how soon. (I am clearly an optimist.)
  • Sadly, our neighbor a few houses down unexpectedly passed away at home this afternoon. That makes three deaths in our ward in the past two weeks, a trend we hope will stop soon.
  • I’ve been doing somewhat better at putting my phone away when my kids are in the room, and it makes a noticeable, wonderful difference. I’m finally becoming aware of just how important it is to give them focused, undivided attention — not just for them, but for me, too. Less mental friction.
  • The other day I realized that because my new job is remote, I have no idea how tall anyone is. It doesn’t matter in the least, but part of me is curious how closely my subconsciously created mental estimates match up with reality — and whether it’s influenced at all by camera angles in Zoom.

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Weeknotes 2.1

#art #blender #covid-19 #curves #fontforge #go #hinte #meta #process #react #texturing #weeknotes

  • Weeknotes are back, I think, and we’ll start a new season to celebrate the gap.
  • Today marks one full year since BYU announced that classes were going remote, and tomorrow is the anniversary of my work and the kids’ school following suit. One year. Whew. A bit mind-blowing. It’s certainly taken longer than we thought it would, but hope is finally upon us. My wife and I are looking forward to getting vaccinated next month, and then hopefully the trials with children go well. (We have a child with a high-risk medical condition, so we can’t really breathe easy until the whole family’s vaccinated. Which probably won’t be till the end of the year. Endure to the end!)
  • Quick update on the new job (which is great, loving it): while I still hit occasional pockets of onboarding slowness (new parts of the codebase, mainly), overall I feel like the impostor syndrome is mostly shutting the heck up. Also, Go turns out to be a great language for team-based work, at least in my view. Extremely easy to read, and it feels transparent, like it’s just you and what you’re trying to do, without the language getting in the way.
  • A couple weeks ago I messed up my back and have been dealing with the fallout since then. This time it’s taking longer to recover than it did a few years ago, which I suspect has to do at least in part with age. What a joy.
  • Art has slowed down a bit. I’m still planning to keep at it, but on a less regular basis. (It’s been my main thing for a while now and I think I’d like to focus more on other things.) When I do work on it, I’m planning to continue exploring the new texturing technique I used on Where Can I Turn for Peace? (probably redo a few old pieces with it). Maybe some more Blender, too, though I’m not really sure yet how that fits in.
  • Most of my writing projects are in the planning/outlining stages, so there’s not much to show yet there, sadly. (A fact which needs to bother me more, enough so that I start actually finishing stories. Good grief. But I guess part of working in public is being incompetent in public. Here you go! And I hope that the beats idea is the answer to my writing woes.)
  • I’ve finished the initial draft of lowercase letters on the Hinte typeface, and I’m in the middle of refining those and starting on the uppercase. Hoping to do much more type design going forward. (And eventually replace Literata on this site with something homegrown.)
  • As part of that endeavor, by the way, I’m itching to build that nice new web-based version of Curves. (FontForge is functional, sure, but its UI definitely does not spark joy for me.) Since I’ve already built the font-generating backend, the main remaining challenge here is just figuring out how I want the UI to work.

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Links #33

#covid-19 #links #newsletters #religion #robotics #web


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Links #20

#covid-19 #dinosaurs #generative-art #links #raytracing #writing


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Links #13

#anthropology #coding #covid-19 #links #tools #vr


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Links #12

#covid-19 #hci #links #productivity #web


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Links #10

#covid-19 #links #react #web


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#covid-19

Recommended: Zeynep Tüfekçi’s article We Need to Talk About Ventilation from The Atlantic, on the importance of air flow in fighting Covid.


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