SIGAVDI #55: Lavender Yogurt Edition

Hello friends,

I just got back to Tennessee after a wonderful couple of weeks in St. Louis. Hey look, here’s another pairing video with Jess! I wanted to deepen my understanding of TypeScript, so we started implementing one of my go-to “learn a language” programs: a text adventure game.

TypeScript is boring, but that’s kind of the point. And it has some nice type inferencing.

BTW, Jess has a newsletter and if you like this one you will love hers.

Something I realized in conversation with Jess this past week: technologies and practices often act as proxies for culture.

You want to adopt microservices but really you want small feature teams to be able to act independently and quickly.

You wanted Linux in the server room but really you wanted a culture of sharing instead of information-hoarding.

You wanted Spring instead of J2EE but really you wanted a culture of open-source.

You want Kubernetes but really you want a culture of developers taking responsibility for delivery.

You want chaos engineering but really you want a culture of resilience to the unexpected.

Very often, we don’t consciously realize that a desirable technology is really a stand-in for a desirable culture. And in the absence of culture adoption, the technology fails to deliver the hoped-for benefits.

Technologies and practices evolve in a context: a context of culture. How do we import the culture and not just the tech? We can’t adopt culture by taking a course or reading a book.

Cultural adoption requires making contact with the society that has adopted the culture already. We have to attend their meetups and conferences. Follow them on Twitter. Maybe hire some of them.

I watched a movie called Liberal Arts last night. It was well-written but ultimately not worth the time I put into it, except maybe that it prodded me to think about the reasons I didn’t like it.

Our society is full of moralizing stories and books and movies about the Man’s Journey: how he sets out to seek his fortune and defeat his predecessors, and then, victory in hand, he returns home and accepts his proper role as a settled, contented, somewhat diminished pillar of society. A stabilizing influence and mentor. Jung talked about this narrative a lot. Joseph Campbell decided all myth everywhere was about this one story.

(Where is woman in this story? Oh, she’s there to support the Hero, give him a motivation, and to help him sort through his feelings, obviously. ????)

I spent the first part of my life trying to skip directly to the last bit, and I’ve since decided it’s overrated. I don’t want to be anyone’s pillar. I’m here to know less, feel more, and eat tacos.

This week kicks off almost two full weeks without my indispensable assistant Robin. She’s on much-deserved computer-free vacation. It’ll be interesting to see how I fare without her constantly greasing the wheels and lightening my email load.

What I’m grateful for this week: The card game Fluxx, and especially Cthulhu Fluxx. These games are a bit like Calvin Ball: the rule is that the rules always change.

This week’s chosen meetup: KnoxPy!

Let’s see how I did:

  • ???? Book summer camps for the kids. I filled out all the forms for the camp they really wanted and then found out it was completely full. I still need to look into alternates, but I already know most of them are too expensive for me.

  • ✔ Start on getting 2018 non-biz numbers to my accountant. This was easier than I’d feared because it turned out I’d kept YNAB up to date last year. I need to get on the ball for this year.

  • ✔ Write an anxiety-inducing email. Done, and it didn’t go over as badly as I’d feared.

  • ????Finalize Let’s Make a Chatbot in Ruby as a product, and prepare for launch. I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped with this, but I did start to break the one big video down into ~15-minute sections.

This week:

  • At least finish breaking up the videos for Let’s Make a Chatbot in Ruby

  • Get ready for the kids arriving for the summer.

  • Put some thought into scheduling: how am I going to spend time with the kids and also meet work commitments?

And that’s plenty for this week. As always, thanks for reading, and please reply with your thoughts.