March Check-In

Wow – this check-in is long overdue. In the interest of keeping up with my goals earlier this year, here's my semi-monthly summary of work, projects, etc.

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2560 X-Men Stories From Earth-616

Secret Wars (III) is Marvel Comics' 2015 summer event where – according to the press – the company will be ending their current multiverse that has existed since 1941 (Captain America, published by Timely Comics) and replacing it with a totally new universe that melds the mainstream Marvel Universe (Earth-616) with the Ultimate Universe (Earth 1610) and move forward with a single universe and continuity. This may also mark the point where I stop purchasing physical comic books regularly.

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February Recap

In keeping to my 2015 agenda, here's my recap for the second month of the year.

February threw a number of curve balls my way, from a blizzard early in the month (#5 all-time largest for Chicago), to some accelerated schedules in the office, to my introduction to migraines accompanied with auras and localized numbness. It was a busy month for me, so let's go over these items one-by-one.

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Midseason Television Check-In

I have a small time window available that isn't big enough for some of my larger tasks, so I thought I would follow-up on an earlier post on the 2014-2015 television season and see how shows have stacked up.

Rather than go through show-by-show, I figured I'd break them into four categories: the good, the bad, those treading water, and the unwatched.

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January Mop-Up Month Recap

In my last blog post, I laid out a rough schedule for the first two-thirds of 2015, and I designated January my "mop-up month" where I'd put in some extra time and effort to make good on my existing commitments before moving forward with new projects. Here's that recap for January and a look ahead towards February (even if it's already started without me).

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Agenda, 2015 Edition

As mentioned in my prior post, I'm trying to plan for the year of 2015. My ideas for 2014 didn't work out quite like I planned, so there's some carry over for this year. For the purposes of this discussion, I'll leave my day job out of this and focus on my extracurricular activities.

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How I Work: My To-Do List

After many conversations with people both inside and outside the office, I thought it might be useful for me to describe exactly how I approach my work and why the traditional 9-to-5 day hasn't cut it for me for almost a decade.

From a high level, how well I'm doing with my work is not a function of how many hours I've put into a given week, but rather the state of one artifact: my to-do list. I've used Remember the Milk for over seven years to keep track of what I'm responsible for and how I'm doing meeting my obligations.

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2014 Christmas Wish List

(If you’re not an immediate member of my family looking for Christmas gift guidance, feel free to ignore this post.)

For everyone who keeps asking for my Christmas list and not receiving my e-mails, here’s a list in a handy HTML format.

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The Peter Principle

Last week, I received a congratulations from an old friend for my second anniversary working at Northwestern (the second go-around) via LinkedIn. This was pretty surprising, because I was certain that I had started working at CBITs later in the month of September, and because it's amazing how quickly time flies. I figured that was a reason as good as any to put down some thought on how the last year went and where I'm aiming for the next year.

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An Embarrassment of Riches: Boob Tube Edition

I took a look at this season's schedule, and it's a beast. As a "comic book guy", I feel compelled to check out some of the new offerings based on books I've read. On another note, as the film industry has hemorrhaged quality writers (a topic too lengthy to get into here), the state of episodic television storytelling has risen exponentially in recent seasons. Thus, my DVR will be working overtime this season. Here's what's I'm recording this year.

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Speaking Gigs This Week

I wanted to post a quick heads-up that I'll be doing two public speaking gigs this week.

On Tuesday, August 26, I'll be speaking at Mercy Home for the Friends First program to prospective mentors about my experiences in their program with Willie. If you're interested in mentoring a kid, come check it out. It's a very well-run and well-executed program. (7:30pm @ 1140 W. Jackson Blvd.)

On Thursday, August 28, I'll be speaking at the Chicago Quantified Self Meet-Up group about last month's trip to Six Flags and how I recorded the acceleration traces using Purple Robot and my Pebble watch. It should be a short fun talk among several others and the QS meetings are always worth attending. (6pm @ Merchandise Mart)

If you're interested in either of these and want to accompany me, just let me know and we can coordinate.

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Vacation 2014 Recap

I'm wrapping up my 2014 summer vacation today, with regular work resuming tomorrow. Before I found myself wrapped up in the daily minutia, I figured that I would record a quick recap with impressions of the places visited.

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Assessing 1H-2014

A somewhat lengthy look back at the first half of 2014.

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Book Review: "Flood" & "Ark" by Stephen Baxter

A brief review of Stephen Baxter's end-of-the world duology, "Flood" and "Ark".

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URL Content Tracker and Geospatial Presence

I implemented two new features earlier today to kill some time. The URL Content Tracker is an extremely unsexy, but very useful tool that periodically goes through a list of URLs and sends me an e-mail when the destination's content has changed since the last check. The second tool is called Geospatial Presence and uses data collected from Purple Robot on my smartphone to generate a heat map of where I've been over an unspecified period in the past.

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Scratching an Itch: The Social Poster

The first tool is up and running: a unified interface for publishing content to a variety of social networks from a single form-based interface.

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Welcome Back!

The public website is largely complete and now live for everyone. However, the accessible portions of this site are just the tip of a larger iceberg that is an intentional effort to test whether Doug Engelbart's bootstrapping strategy can be applied on an individual basis to create better technology creators.

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Site Updates: OAuth

The last weekend in May, and the first weekend in June saw the site receive upgrades to talk to OAuth data sources online.

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2014 Des Moines High School Commencement Address

My high school alma mater was kind enough to invite me to deliver the commencement address to the graduating class of 2014. This speech is a version of what I ultimately delivered. (Doesn't include Apple ad-libbing and may also include some typos that were fixed between writing and delivery.)

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2014

Looking back at 2013 and forward to 2014.

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State of Things, 2013 Edition

2013's long-delayed blog post.

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Three weeks in

Three weeks into the new job...

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