Monthly Archives: October 2010

Things I wish I had already written, October 2010 edition

A monthly recounting of stories not told, or code not written, or things otherwise that should have been done by me or at least discovered by me, but not done; this, the October 2010 edition.

A detailed breakdown of AATA route productivity by hour and by route, showing which of the routes are the busiest at which times of day.  (A start at bus tracking; the easy to grab data is late times.) 

A set of recipes for quince, with notes on what I actually made and where to pick quince off the tree in parks in Ann Arbor based on the city tree list. (An account of making quince jam, using a quince purchased from ZZ's; doesn't look any harder than making applesauce.)

The automated script to pull a council agenda and hyperlink or wikify it to match Capitalized Phrases to wiki pages inside Arborwiki. (Alas, The Council Agenda Is All Capitalized Phrases; This Will Take Some Effort.)

How to hyperlink directly to Ann Arbor City Code (by short URL) and also to Ann Arbor City Council agenda items.

How to get a personal protection order if someone harasses you online and in person, and how to get a trespass order written.

A walking tour of the October vegetation at Olson Park, complete with a bunch of photos and Latin names for everything.

How to get to Chelsea on the bus, based on a ride that I made myself, with a full day commute complete with kid dropoff, morning deadline, lunch, afternoon moderation and kid pickup here. (Start with the Washtenaw Wave schedule.)

How to quickly go from wiki markup to publication-ready HTML markup using tools, and how to edit those tools to reflect your peculiar world. (wiky is the closest, but it's in Javascript which isn't one of my native languages.)

A review of the new Mighty Good Coffee on North Main, and how the Workantile vibe has changed now that it no longer has a cafe for a front.  (Done, partially, here: The view out the window from Mighty Good Coffee.)

A review of the Embassy Hotel, based on a overnight stay. 


Great Lakes wave forecast: 20+ foot waves on Lake Superior on Wednesday, October 27

The Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System has recent history, current conditions, and near term forecasts for wind, waves and temperatures across the Great Lakes.  There's a windstorm coming which is predicted to create serious waves; look at the 24+ foot predictions on Lake Superior near where the Edmund Fitzgerald went down in 1975.

image from

Wikileaks Iraq War Logs document release and media analysis

My twitter feed is full of the Wikileaks release of 400,000 records from the Iraq War. A number of news organizations got early access to the data; each of them wrote their own story.

New York Times: The War Logs.

Al Jazeera: The Secret Iraq Files.

The Guardian: Iraq: The War Logs.

Spiegel Online: Iraq War Logs.

CNN was offered the data, but chose not to take it.

CNN was offered access to the documents in advance of the release but declined because of conditions that were attached to accepting the material.

I won't go into any commentary here, except to note that the timing of the release was apparently a bit early; Al Jazeera broke the embargo 30 minutes before the scheduled time that all media would tell the story.
Boing Boing is tracking news coverage of the Wikileaks release, noting new news releases as they appear.

Typhoon Megi or Typhoon Juan maps

A few maps or links to same.

Tropical storm coverage

Tropical Storm Risk covers all storms in the tropics.


Weather China radar.


Taiwan Central Weather Bureau has maps and forecasts.

A rainfall map accompanies a Taipei Times story about rockslides.

Hong Kong

Map from Hong Kong Observatory.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center

Map of Megi.  JTWC is run by the US Navy.


Philippine Loop  from NOAA Southern Hemisphere Services. Updated hourly at 25 after the hour.

Project EPIC: Megi Map. Takes reports from Twitter, classifies and geocodes, puts it on a map.

Crisis Mappers has a link to major reservoirs in the Luzon area and their current status.

Wunderground's Jeff Masters blog entry on Typhoon Megi is full of analysis and imagery.

My year without the internet (as suggested by my son)

"When you retire," he says, "you should go offline for a whole year."

The idea is to sell all of your computers, turn in your cell phone, and generally shun any computer technology. Perhaps you'll still write, but it will be longhand or on a typewriter. If there's a phone call to be made, you'll have to be there to receive it, since there is no answering machine. No Twitter, no Facebook, no blogs. Whatever money you save in computing and telecom costs, you spend on pens and paper and postcards and stamps.

I'm not certain what this word "retire" means, but it's an appealing idea. For me, it would mean rewinding the technology clock back to the early 1980s.

A piece of the inspiration for this is the late Steve Cisler's unconnected project.

What we can learn from procrastination : The New Yorker

Academics, who work for long periods in a self-directed fashion, may be especially prone to putting things off: surveys suggest that the vast majority of college students procrastinate, and articles in the literature of procrastination often allude to the author’s own problems with finishing the piece. (This article will be no exception.) But the academic buzz around the subject isn’t just a case of eggheads rationalizing their slothfulness. As various scholars argue in “The Thief of Time,” edited by Chrisoula Andreou and Mark D. White (Oxford; $65)—a collection of essays on procrastination, ranging from the resolutely theoretical to the surprisingly practical—the tendency raises fundamental philosophical and psychological issues.


Naturally, I am reading this while procrastinating.

I gave precise instructions to myself in my journal in 1999, repeated in 2004, on how to avoid procrastination, under the guise of "time management". This presumes, of course, that all you need to do is make a few rational decisions and buck up and buckle down to work, in the ignorance of all other possible motivations.

A challenge in a world of infinite possibilities is that choosing to do anything means you are choosing not to do something else. This brings to mind Jim Benson's Personal Kanban, which only has two rules at its core:

  • Visualize your work
  • Limit your work in progress

A sure cure for procrastination, then, is simply to not do something, rather than putting it off. Alas not all tasks can be discarded so easily.