Category Archives: Week.In.Review

Week 3048


I had a comment from someone about my previous enthusiasm for Ditz, a distributed issue tracker. I still love Ditz, but it didn’t have enough of a community to keep it going. However, that got me to look at what’s current in distributed issue tracking and I’m really liking git-bug, which is very robust and good.

Not only does the command line work, but there’s a really nice terminal ui.

There’s a decent web view as well, but it seems to be view only.

Distributed issue tracking is great for people like me who sometimes write code without a network connection. You have your code and your issues to work on all in the same place! It’s probably terrible for project that have lots of non-technical commandline using folks working on them.

Week 3047


OMG. I’m doing something right or Max is just having a better life. Last night he drew me these amazing cards.

Hearts around  dad I love you
Hearts next to  atrociously spelled “Dad I love you you are my favorite“


Not much motion, but I’m hip deep in some clever stuff around re-exposing imports from one namespace to another and our Python3 conversions. We are into the details here and it’s always a lot of grind.


OMG. My dude Ian Sudderth threw a birthday party at Momofuku Ssam. It was more food than I could eat, more drinks than I could drink and I biked home so full my guts hurt.

Week 3046

Grunting and Sweating

Amazing Trainer Christina, Deepa from work and I went to Obstacle Athletics on Saturday and had a lot of fun in their grown up playground. I got to do a lot of wall vaults and monkey bar work, ran up some wavy walls, balanced on beams and traversed long wall climbs. All were pretty cool. I also finally got to a place with a high rope so I could practice rope climbs!

Also finally got back to biking in! It’s beeyoootiful out.

Got to go to Georgia’s birthday party afterward and had a really swell time with my peeps there.


I’d vote for Biden over Trump – but I really think Biden will lose. He’s not even as exciting as Hillary was. There’s no reason to vote for him, just reasons to vote against Trump. Makes me wish again for Ranked Choice Voting. I’d love to see someone who has some enthusiasm get the nomination.

Skimmed the debates and it seems like Warren did great in her night as a real standout, committing to Medicare for all. On the second night, I didn’t check out as much but it looks like Biden’s skeletons are starting to become more known in the mainstream.


Last week of school for Max Lazer! He’s coming out of kindergarten. I got to read a bunch of material that had never made it home before from him!

A book from my dad and a book from my son

Max also has been back at his circuits and seems to have figured parallel and series circuits.

Max Lazer Rainbow Shield

Zeezus on the other hand may have to go to a reform school.

Week 3045


We did the IEP review for Maxwell and the school has agreed to defer to the CBST.

This means the Department of Education will take a shot at finding an appropriate school for him. If they can’t provide one, we will find one. The hope is we can get something within the school system, but if not, we’ll do what we need to.

Zelda is getting very verbal and very sweet. Last night she cuddled max and lay her head on his chest, and said she wanted to watch “my Mackie sleep”


The Fifth Risk was very good. Lost Gods lost me very early on.

The Fifth Risk

The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that’s terrifying. This is almost like Lovecraft in that the unknown unknowns are huge lurking civilization ending monsters. Oy vey.

I started reading Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi and it’s very powerful and sad. A lot of it reminds me of Maxie’s struggles. The surges and changes he experiences and the way neither he nor we are prepared or have tools to help him but we muddle through as best we can – they match this poor girl’s struggles. Sometimes I want to abandon a book because it makes me feel too much and doesn’t feel like an adventure, and I’ve felt that with this book.

Grunting and Sweating

I’m going with trainer Christina and my work partner Deepa to an Obstacle Gym on Long Island this Saturday before coming back for birthday parties in the park. I’m psyched to try some crazy monkey bars and experiment with new moves and obstacles. They have one of those American Ninja warrior pull up bar ladders!

Week 3044


Just finished up Tigerman by Nick Harkaway and it was a delight. A lovely struggle of a man who wants to be a father and ends up being a mysterious crime fighter, set against a post colonial outpost island sentenced to die and rotting as a Black Fleet uses the death of a nation to set up a zone without law. Really good fast-moving stuff of heroes and villains. Randomly checked out Lost Gods by Brom from the NYPL ebooks and it is holding up so far, though I feel irrationally suspicious that it will disappoint.

Also started The Fifth Risk after being reminded of Michael Lewis by the excellent Against the Rules podcast. I’m a bit full up on the mind bending horror of this age, though. My heart is really struggling for more meaningful ways to contribute within the time I’ve got.


Got an hour or so over the weekend to make a wee bit more movement on the Trello release notes.

Researched X-API-Warn, X-API-DeprecationDate, DeprecationWarning (Python), Obsolete (C#), and @Deprecated(Java).


I learned that you typically have 2 months of leaving notice in India and I can’t quite wrap my mind around it and all the implications of staffing and pacing of projects.

Also started working on an internal document around API deprecation policy. We do a pretty decent job of communication etc, but I want to make it a clear guide so that we can get better at it. Standards and checklists are good for things that we intend to do often.

Some good reading around this:


Maxwell is sleeping on the couch nightly. He goes from the bed to the couch in the middle of the night, some sort of bi-phasic sleep thing I imagine. Zelda sleeps through the night for the most part!

Week 3043


Finally got a date for Maxwell’s IEP review, so we can work with the school system to get him more appropriate education.

Max scrawls out "NO GRLS  ULAWD!" for his door.
Max is, however working on his writing since has found a use for it.


Spent a bunch more time exploring pytest to get through some testing. Discovered magic to skip tests, filter warning messages out, run only failing tests, and adding py.test flags to tox.ini – which is nice – I don’t like to have lots of different places for all the configuration to run.

Also started puttering around at night on yet another little project, based off of this fun idea from Alice Goldfuss. It’s just a cookiecutter project right now, but that makes it so much easier to get started with making something shareable. Cookiecutter is really good community scaffolding for python projects and I’ve been evangelizing it at work.


Been doing a lot of organizing and going through our backlog to remove old projects or identify what we don’t care about any more. I want to also start tracking urgency for projects which is a function of size of request, time since request – with a wave function. A request that is 2 weeks of work but has been waiting a little while is more urgent – because you are losing the window where we can actually help the customer well. A small project that waits for 6 months is probably not urgent at all – by this point everyone probably has a workaround and it should probably be removed from the queue in that case. A large project that waits a little is usually ok unless there is a firm deadline.

This was all in service of better tracking our work and being able to present more intelligently about what we are doing. The presentation went well, so it paid off at least once

I also had a really good conversation about what is in the espresso pods at work and how does decaffeination work – love getting obsessed and delving into things with people. Of course I made a wiki page – people need to know how to choose their coffee!

Finally wrapping up the last items for our first wave of the Py2-Py3 conversion work. I’ve been a bottle neck on some of it, but it’s really important to lay good foundations for future work.


More axe throwing with The Lawyers. Then drinking. Then Korean food. Then Karaoke. I was best at the eating and drinking where I have a phenomenal amount of practice and natural talent.

I will spare you video of the karaoke.

Week 3042


Went down to SC for Memorial Day with Max Lazer and spent time with my parents and some friends. My folks are having a tough time with Dad recovering from a stroke and a fall. My friends seem to be doing great – got to see lots of little babies.

Max was great at traveling – and seemed really adventurous at the pool, jumping off into the water. Of course, there was also the time he dog-paddled backwards until he was over his head and almost drowned( he didn’t).


In-Cell Stacked Bar Charts in Excel

At work I was trying to present how different groups balance their resources – how many high, medium and low priority issues they have. We had a big table, and then wanted to have one of the cells be a stacked bar chart of the ratio between issues per group. Just an in-cell sparkline style stacked bar chart. Sparkline describes small, word-sized graphics, a term coined by Edward Tufte in Beautiful Evidence.

Excel does sparklines, but not stacked bar charts, not that I can find. You can create multiple charts and try to attach them to cells, but that is an uphill way to work and breaks every time you change the format or charting of the data.

I was inspired by some clever ideas people had for creating in-cell bar charts before Excel supported sparklines. I was also inspired by Zach Holman’s Spark, which uses unicode to produce commandline bar charts, like so: ▁▂▃▅▇

I looked at using rept(“|”,datapoint), but you can’t change formatting with a formula within one cell. I also thought you could use a grid of cells and use conditional formatting to color cells to force a rough graph.

Then one of my colleagues mentioned Unicode and everything snapped together. There are 3 specific Unicode values in the Block Elements Unicode Block that are full glyph width but have visual difference: ░ , ▒ , and ▓ .

With that, you can put together a rough stacked bar chart in a cell.

Stacked bar chart using repeated unicode block element characters

One of the keys here is to make the blockcount very high and then shrink the font size – that way you smooth out the bars and hide the inevitable accumulation of rounding errors. The very right edges of those cells are a wee bit wiggly because of this.

Week 3040


We took a trip out to Liberty Island and engaged with a hollow symbol of things we think we value!

Mother’s day I took Max and Z out for hours to let Sam not be a mom for a bit. It was good but EXHAUSTING. I love them so much and wish that it didn’t require so much fighting. Or maybe that I didn’t fight so much.

Bonus song for the week:

Week 3039

Cinco de Matto was moved from the amazingly good Szechuan Mountain House to Famous Sichuan which helped emphasize how what really matters is the people you eat with, not the food. I’ll keep telling myself that. Cinco de Mala will come another year!

Monday I got ill and spent Tuesday in bed trying to watch movies in that listless state where you’re convinced you’ve seen all the good stuff in the world already. But on Wednesday I was fit and ready to get back out into the world! I got my work team to go out for an axe throwing outing and then we went to LIC Beer Project for drinks. Axes first, drinks after is my new rule. I got to ride over the Queensborough Bridge and the Pulaski bridge and they are both beautiful gentle arcs through the sky – very nice!

Max with a hole where his first baby tooth has fled

Max lost his first baby tooth!

Of course, it hasn’t made it home from school yet, but I’m still excited by it.

Bliss is eating a chocolate croissant

Bliss looks like Queen Z eating a chocolate croissant


I’ve really been digging Warren. She’s got actual policies. Those policies are pretty good. She and Sanders seem to have the most people focused policies – that aren’t vague handwavey calls to emotions.

I am really hoping Biden pulls out soon.

Grunting and Sweating

I’m registered to do the City Challenge NYC race in August, so come join me and climb things and swing from things and carry things! Should be fun and I’ve got a small crew already of good folks.