We take Boxing Day seriously here as a day of relaxation. So, I’m disappointed to have exceeded my 0 minutes target. The spike around 2 was when I went upstairs for a nap 😴

The Labo VR kit is great fun to build and play

I’m most certainly in the target demographic, so perhaps not surprising that I enjoyed For All Mankind. I like these sorts of alternative histories and space exploration is a fascinating topic. I’m looking forward to whatever comes in season 2. πŸ“Ί

The Stiehl Assassin by Terry Brooks is okay. Given this is the last series he plans to write, I’m curious to see where he takes the fourth book. Based on the three books so far, the plot is pretty standard for Shannara series. I’d hoped for something more dramatic.

After the original series, I think the Genesis of Shannara series is the most inventive one. πŸ“š

Great fun with my siblings last night on our annual Christmas dinner adventure. Storm Crow Manor was very entertaining with nerd-themed drinks.

I declared podcasts bankruptcy and recovered with a better curated subscription list πŸŽ§πŸ‘

Declaring podcasts bankruptcy

Podcasts are great. I really enjoy being able to pick and choose interesting conversations from such a broad swath of topics. Somewhere along the way though, I managed to subscribe to way more than I could ever listen to and the unlistened count was inducing anxiety (I know, a real first world problem).

So, time to start all over again and only subscribe to a chosen few:

  • Quirks & Quarks is the one I’ve been subscribed to the longest and is a reliable overview of interesting science stories. I’ve been listening to this one for so long that I used to rely on an AppleScript to get episodes into my original scroll wheel iPod, well before podcasts were embraced by Apple.
  • In Our Time is another veteran on my list. I really like the three-academics format and Melvyn Bragg is a great moderator. This show has a fascinating diversity of topics in science, history, and literature.
  • All Songs Considered has helped me keep up with the latest music and Bob Boilen is a very good interviewer.
  • The Talk Show has kept me up to date on the latest in Apple and related news since at least 2007.
  • Exponent has really helped me think more clearly about strategy with discussions of tech and society.
  • Focused has been a very helpful biweekly reminder to think more carefully about what I’m working on and how to optimize my systems.
  • Making Sense has had reliably interesting discussions from Sam Harris. It just recently went behind a paywall. But I’m happy to pay for it, which comes with access to the Waking Up app.
  • I admire what Jesse Brown has built with CANADALAND and happily support it.
  • Reconcilable Differences is a bit niche, though I enjoy the dynamics between the hosts.
  • Mindscape has had some of the most interesting episodes of any of my subscriptions in the last several months. There’s definitely a bias towards quantum mechanics and physics, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
  • Liftoff keeps me up to date on space news.
  • The Incomparable is great for geek culture.

When all together on a list like this, it looks like a lot. Many are biweekly though, so they don’t accumulate.

I use Overcast for listening to these. I’ve tried many other apps and this one has the right mix of features and simplicity for me. I also appreciate the freedom of the Apple Watch integration which allows me to leave my phone at home and still have podcasts to listen to.

A mind bending discussion on the Making Sense podcast: what we perceive as reality is only a “user interface wrapper” that natural selection has created to enhance our fitness. It has no necessary mapping to the truth of reality.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is an imaginative literary romance novel wrapped in a time travel espionage plot. I really enjoyed it, though it was not at all like my usual sci-fi reading πŸ“š

Gamer

I’ve just bumped up my monthly support of CANADALAND to the next tier. Plenty of great content that I’m happy to pay for.

Great fun at the Axe Pancreatic Cancer fundraiser last night! Thanks to everyone that joined us to raise money to support two promising clinical trials.

A cool visualization and exploration of the network of scientific papers

As a daily AeroPress user, I enjoyed watching this documentary on its origin and culture

I finally got my flu shot and hope you did too 😷🦠

A great conversation between Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins on the Making Sense podcast. Nice to hear Dawkins talking about evolution again.

Several catchy songs on Joseph Arthur’s new album Come Back World

Recursion by Blake Crouch is an entertaining time-travel, multiverse story. Distinct from his previous Dark Matter novel, but with the right kinds of echos πŸ“š

With an agent based model you can explore interesting scenarios. Our latest post models the πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ election with another Liberal scandal, new Conservatives climate change policy, or proportional representation. The results are not obvious, showing benefits of non-linear modelling.

At my son’s soccer game, but I’m not that familiar with the game. Anyone know what position he’s playing in this picture?

Axe Pancreatic Cancer is back! Join us to throw axes, drink beer and wine, and raise money for pancreatic cancer research. Early bird tickets are sold out. So, don’t wait!

We’ve been using our agent-based model to analyze the upcoming Federal election here in Canada. Now that we’ve generated our predictions, we’re going to explore how best to explain the outcomes. πŸ—³πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

My “Best Dad” mug has been recalled. Apparently it may break when filled with hot liquid, which is exactly its function. Hopefully this isn’t some metaphor for my parenting

Task management with MindNode and Agenda

For several years now, I’ve been a very happy Things user for all of my task management. However, recent reflections on the nature of my work have led to some changes. My role now mostly entails tracking a portfolio of projects and making sure that my team has the right resources and clarity of purpose required to deliver them. This means that I’m much less involved in daily project management and have a much shorter task list than in the past. Plus, the vast majority of my time in the office is spent in meetings to coordinate with other teams and identify new projects.

As a result, in order to optimize my systems, I’ve switched to using a combination of MindNode and Agenda for my task managment.

MindNode is an excellent app for mind mapping. I’ve created a mind map that contains all of my work-related projects across my areas of focus. I find this perspective on my projects really helpful when conducting a weekly review, especially since it gives me a quick sense of how well my projects are balanced across areas. As an example, the screenshot below of my mind map makes it very clear that I’m currently very active with Process Improvement, while not at all engaged in Assurance. I know that this is okay for now, but certainly want to keep an eye on this imbalance over time. I also find the visual presentation really helpful for seeing connections across projects.

MindNode has many great features that make creating and maintaining mind maps really easy. They look good too, which helps when you spend lots of time looking at them.

Agenda is a time-based note taking app. MacStories has done a thorough series of reviews, so I won’t describe the app in any detail here. There is a bit of a learning curve to get used to the idea of a time-based note, though it fits in really well to my meeting-dominated days and I’ve really enjoyed using it.

One point to make about both apps is that they are integrated with the new iOS Reminders system. The new Reminders is dramatically better than the old one and I’ve found it really powerful to have other apps leverage Reminders as a shared task database. I’ve also found it to be more than sufficient for the residual tasks that I need to track that aren’t in MindNode or Agenda.

I implemented this new approach a month ago and have stuck with it. This is at least three weeks longer than any previous attempt to move away from Things. So, the experiment has been a success. If my circumstances change, I’ll happily return to Things. For now, this new approach has worked out very well.

Stranger Things season 3 is fun with 80s nostalgia and familiar characters. Not as delightfully creepy as season 1 though.