Episode 18 - Research Recap Nine: Constructing my Crusade

Last Month

Off the horse

What I thought was going to be a simple cold, was diagnosed a month later as strep throat. While I am feeling much better, I am still not feeling 100% so I’m trying to take it easy still.

Back on the horse

While I’m bummed that I missed a few weeks on this project, as well as releasing podcast episodes, I am excited about how quickly I was able to get back on the horse. If you may recall, as recently as 4 months ago, I was going to bed when I felt like it and waking up when I felt like it, getting as much or as little work done as I happen to feel like it on that day. Constrast that with my current schedule of 11pm bedtime and 7am wakeup every single weekday.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the quote:

Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition. - W. H. Auden

Calendar sculpting last week

In particular, I’m impressed by how quickly I was able to an idea-generating mindset. I think is mostly due to the calendar sculpting session I did last week. I will make sure to do that at end of this reflection.

screenshot 2017-11-28 at 10 52 36 am



At first I thought v4 of my plan would be the final version, but this was not meant to be. I’ve learned a lot since I wrote it and have thus deleted it and begun v5.

Here’s how I summarized v4 of the plan in v5 of the plan:

In this version of the plan I started keeping this running tab of past versions of the plan. (Something that the unbreakable-links library may one day do for each of my files automatically.)

I also articulated my mission as “empowering creative expression through programming” and my design principles, which I refactored out to their own page.

The central question is to build or to research?

But first, I need to make sure things are wrapped up at The Coding Space, WoofJS.

Then I need to do research on FRP or a blockly competitor.

And also think about sustainability.

Future Authoring

This was a fun exercise, albeit a bit repetitive given how much reflection I already do. I did however go on a bit of a rant that helped me proccess what I’m passionate about:

(1) humans = apes + tools (2) tools (including ideas, patterns of thought, software, etc) are the way that humans design the next version of humanity (3) We have to take them with us everywhere, otherwise we’re cutting off our arms and are diminished.

And have since come up with a fourth: empowering people to create their own tools is a game changer. That’s what the printing press did (through spreading literacy). Currently if you have a problem, you create an app to solve it for a lot of people. What if it was simple enough to just solve it for yourself?



I really like the crusade framing. Living for a cause. That’s the way this plan is structured.

In order to come up with my crusade I need to construct it. I need to do a lot of reading and reflecting, starting with Bret and going up through his influences.

Also, I had trouble coming up with crusades for Alan Kay and Steve Jobs, but I think I found them:

Alan Kay - democratize tool creation

Steve Jobs - bicycle for the mind

Next steps

Bret Deep dive, visit dynamicland

Essay about Essays

Great start here, mind-mapping on paper. Next step will be putting mind map to coggle or prezi as I did with the learning to code essay. Waiting on Nicky Case to continue working here, but he’s getting version 0 of JoyJS released so that is TBD. (Here’s my review of it.)

Essay about learning to code

You can see my mind map here.

screenshot 2017-11-29 at 11 36 58 am

Update on this from past journal entry:

This project has taken much longer than expected. Just another opportunity for me to improve my currently highly inaccurate planning skills. The short-term solution is quite reasonable: whenever I want to move or delete a file in this directory, I simply have to think through what will happen to all prior links to that page. I do this well with the now deprecated /journal page.

Reviewing Dyamicland Zine

Blowing my brain. Still need to continue re-reading but here are my notes so far.


Influences of my influences

FM Alexander of the Alexander Technique. Why is a postural theorist relevant here? Here’s a hint: he’s a collaborator of John Dewey. Another hint: I’m trying to make programming humane.

Jean Piaget: I didn’t realize he collaborated with Seymour. I thought it was a one-directional mentorship.

John Dewey: what a great writer! Love the way he argues for a positive progressive educational philosophy, not defined negtively in terms of what we don’t like from standard ed, i.e. “unschooling.”

How to measure anything

This book is blowing my brain. I used to think that anything could be measured. Then the naysayers got to me and I truly believed, and even went around saying, that the most important things we care about, such as educational quality, can’t be measure. Now I see this is BS.

So how would one measure education? Well, what’s the purpose of education? Resourcefulness. How can we measure that? Take a random sample of students (and a control) and administer either a test or interview their parents and teachers and friends. Resourcefulness shouldn’t be a difficult thing to measure. Does this person accomplish things quickly, cheaply, cleverly? Does this person easily overcome challenges?

This is particularly relevant to me now for two reasons:

  1. I am studying the philosophy of science, and science is the study of measurement. Re-read that sentance. It’s more profound than you think: science is the study of measurement.

  2. As I determine my goals, I’ll want to establish metrics to check in on my progress with.

Next two weeks


Calendar Sculpting

Ok, I have 20 good hours of work this week remaining and 30 next week, 50 in total. The vast majority of it shall be best reading and reflecting on Bret Victor’s stuff. I’ll also need 10ish hours on inbox tasks. Also, the custom log page feels like a fun 3-6 hours. Leaving 30ish for Bret Victor deep dive.

Here’s this week:

And here’s next week: