My life

1 Second Everyday : March 2020

The two highlights of the month are the coronavirus pandemic (an obvious major disruption to everything) and our adoption of a new kitten called Emma. So plenty of kitten footage this month.

1 – Playing with math
2 – Scout through the looking glass
3 – Voted on Super Tuesday
4 – Our sad empty local mall (pre-pandemic)
5 – Delicious fried calamari (and unknowingly one of our last out-to-eats for a while)
6 – Bought this book on Amazon
7 – This is delicious!
8 – Another new Nightwish track!
9 – Saw the new Pixar film at the theater (just in time before theaters close for the pandemic)
10 – Watching Netflix
11 – Creepy possum on our fence
12 – The frogs are out
13 – Stocking up on groceries amid coronavirus concerns
14 – Sadie playing a toy
15 – Virus news aaahhh
16 – Sadie in a window
17 – Dinner for the turtle
18 – Mall still open, but many stores are closed (I only go there for the post office)
19 – Watched the Mr Rogers movie
20 – Reading
21 – New kitten Emma meets the other cats
22 – Tiny kitten Emma
23 – Bought some new 3D blu-rays on sale
24 – Sleeping kitty
25 – Playing kitty
26 – Jumping kitty
27 – Duck eggs in our bushes… never had those before
28 – Yawning kitty
29 – Costco trip
30 – Playing with paper
31 – Obayashi’s film “House”… very weird movie

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

1 Second Everyday : February 2020

February flew by quickly. It was pretty unexciting; mostly continued programming and eBay selling, which I’ll continue this month.

1 – Playing with Sadie
2 – Super Bowl Sunday!
3 – Reading a Jungian book1
4 – At an antique shop
5 – Programming
6 – Sadie playing with a shoe
7 – Stormy weather
8 – Cat sitting on my back
9 – Watching Locke and Key on Netflix
10 – Listening to some classical music (can you guess the symphony?)
11 – Need some stuff at Walmart
12 – Doing some web app development
13 – Found at a used bookstore
14 – Sadie knocks over a bin of ornaments
15 – Programming
16 – Learning about Vuetify
17 – Really enjoying this show
18 – Sadie plays with a new toy
19 – Enjoying the new Nightwish track
20 – Doing some web dev with Vue ui
21 – Found at a used bookstore
22 – Still reading “Farlander”
23 – Sadie playing
24 – More web dev
25 – Sadie staring at me
26 – Watching NiNo Kuni on Netlfix
27 – New PS4 game!
28 – Cleaning my laptop with goop
29 – Testing out a RokBlok

By S P Hannifin, ago

Note-taking app update

Fortunately the nightmares have stopped and I’ve managed to get on a more regular sleeping schedule, going to bed at about 1 AM or so and waking up at about 9:30 AM. So that’s good.

Programming-wise, I spent much of last week just learning more about modern web tools; I’ve been away from web development for a while, so there’s a lot to learn. I switched from Feathers and React to what’s called a “MEVN” stack, which consists of MongoDB for the database (which I find easier than MySQL1), Express.js for the back-end framework, Vue for the front-end (which I find easier to learn than React), and of course Node.js for the back-end platform. In particular, this little tutorial on setting up a MEVN stack was super helpful.

Beyond that I’ve only just started programming some actual functionality. At the moment, you can create a note and delete it. And that’s it. Pretty boring. Much left to do.

As seen above, when you hover over a note, you get that little side-menu with edit, copy, and delete options. Looks a bit bland, but the design is definitely not final. Here’s my current todo list before making the app public:

  • Complete functionality of the sub-menu (the delete works, but the edit and copy buttons don’t yet)
  • Allow attaching or inserting media (at least images) to notes
  • Sort / search notes by tags
  • Create note with tags pre-filled (like adding a post to a category)
  • Allow some js widgets in notes, at least checkboxes and timers
  • Allow creation of new notes with bracket links (e.g. “[[]]”) as in MediaWiki (standard wiki feature)
  • Open related notes by clicking on these bracket links (without opening a new page)
  • Search and sort notes by content / data / date (only basic queries for now)
  • Create user login / registration system
  • Create user stats page (notes created, storage space available, etc.)
  • Collect user usage stats (for studying how users use the product)
  • Overhaul / finalize designs, make responsive and usable on mobile
  • Write Terms of Service, privacy, cookie use policies
  • Offer subscriptions, launch!

I have some other big features I’d like to add, but I’d like to launch it first, just to get it out there. So how long will all that stuff take to do? Assuming I can tick one off every day, only two weeks. But some will be easy and some will be difficult, and you never know what task you might get stuck on. So we’ll see. I’m going to aim for two weeks. Though I do have some family stuff going on that will likely also get in the way.

Plus this really awesome guy sent me the PS4 game Dreams that I’m eager to try…

By S P Hannifin, ago

Startup programming update

Here’s a quick update of what I’m working on…

First I’ll admit that I’m in a bit of a mess sleep-schedule wise; I don’t know what’s going on with my brain. I’ll sleep for 10 hours then stay awake for 10 hours or less, getting suddenly really tired at seemingly random times, constantly out-of-whack with a 24-hour schedule. And I keep having weird nightmares so my subconscious must be a bit anxious about something. (Part of what makes them weird is that they’re often emotional nightmares; I’ll be really angry or sad or depressed in the dream, rather than just having bad stuff happen to me in the dream. But I can’t find much information about emotional distress within dreams; most articles talk about emotional distress in life causing nightmares, but I’ve got the opposite problem. It’s bizarre.)

Anyway, I’m taking a short break from working on TuneSage to work on a quick related project. I’m not sure what I’ll call it yet, but it’s a note-taking / note-organizing web app. I mostly just want it for myself. I know there are already dozens out there (like Evernote), but none of them work quite the way I want them to. Specifically I want an app in which I can:

  • Keep and organize random notes / ideas
  • Keep todo lists and reminders
  • Keep and organize bookmarks (similar to what I use Pinterest for)
  • Keep and organize timed sessions (such as for freelancing)
  • Keep logs of stuff (such as books owned & read, movies owned & watched, TV shows watched, etc.)

All these things can already be done with existing tools, but again, not in quite the way I want.

Anyway, the tools I’m using to create this app are tools I want to learn for use with TuneSage, so it will ultimately help with TuneSage’s development too. Plus the app itself will help me organize my notes regarding TuneSage. So I’m trying to kill a bunch of birds with one stone.

I’ll of course release it and if it gains any traction, so much the better. If no traction, it’s still something I want for myself.

As far as TuneSage goes, I’ve stopped using Rust for now, and instead switched to the older but more popular Node.js. Node.js is mainly Javascript for back-end, and it’s much easier for me to program in an easy language I already have experience with than learn a new more complicated language like Rust. (For instance, I love not having to worry about variable types… most of the time.) And since Node.js has been around for a lot longer, there are a ton of resources out there for it, which is also a huge plus.

For this new mini-sidequest of a note-keeping app, I’m learning some other tools that I think I’ll need for TuneSage anyway, so the note-keeping app will be a good learning experience. I’m currently learning React for the front-end, which helps with creating user interfaces, and Feathers for front-end to back-end communication, which is what I’m finding more confusing at the moment, mostly because it seems to have a lot of “parts”.

So that’s what I’m up to at the moment! Stay tuned for the release of the first version of the note-keeping app!

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

1 Second Everyday : January 2020

“1 Second Everyday” is a phone app for which you log a second of video everyday for a year (or a month) and then create a montage (or a “mashup”) of those 1 second clips. The creator talks about the concept in this TED talk years ago:

I’ve been trying to do this for several years, but I always end up missing a day or two or just losing interest after a month or two. So this year I’m going to upload my “mashups” for each month as they pass as an attempt to encourage myself to continue through the year. Here’s my mashup for January 2020:

You can see that usually I forget about the app until the evening when I’m playing with the cat. And even when I’m not, my days are usually rather a bit mundane. But such is my life. Here are the captions for each day:

1 – Happy New Year!
2 – Programming… although not being productive here
3 – Scout watching paper printing
4 – Sisters leave
5 – Sadie loves the guest bed
6 – Playing with Sadie
7 – Snowing!
8 – Our 20 year old cat very sick before dying 🙁
9 – Went to see Star Wars 9
10 – Standing by the fire with a headache
11 – Reading a novel called “Farlander”
12 – More programming
13 – Getting stuff that sold from the eBay shelves
14 – Freelance work
15 – Catching up on GOT
16 – Playing around with a CD burner from Goodwill
17 – Coding on the guest room bed
18 – Enjoying some Mozart of smalin
19 – Programming (TuneSage, coming soon!)
20 – More programming
21 – Final GOT episode! (what a nonsense last season!)
22 – More programming
23 – Cat in a box
24 – Buying some cereal at Walmart
25 – More freelance work
26 – RIP Kobe Bryant and others 🙁
27 – Sadie wants to play, but I have work to do
28 – Feeding the turtle (named Covfefe)
29 – Watching the movie “Millennium Actress”, great movie
30 – Sadie eating grass, yum
31 – A visit to the used bookstore

By S P Hannifin, ago
Year's best

My favorites for 2017, 2018, and 2019

Haven’t updated my “Year’s Best” for a few years now… to catch up, I’m only going to do movies, so here are my favorite live-action and animated films from the past few years. I have really good taste, I think you’ll agree:

Best live-action film 2019:

Best animated film 2019:

Best live-action film 2018:

Best animated film 2018:

Best live-action film 2017:

Best animated film 2017:

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

RIP to our cat…

Our 20 year old cat passed away on my lap at 1:47 AM today, January 8, 2020. She’d been in declining health for a while, but went down hill very quickly at the end; she had a vet appointment later this week and seemed like she’d last at least until then. But she suddenly lost the strength to even stand up and was gone hours later. RIP Nellie, 1999-2020.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Interesting things

My Solution to the Collatz Conjecture

As promised, here’s my attempted solution to the Collatz Conjecture. My solution is pretty simple, so if you understand the conjecture, you should understand the proof. (I’m not a pro mathematician anyway, just an amateur hobbyist.) I’m eager to get feedback, especially if I somehow missed something subtle (or worse, something really stupid).

PDF of my proof: click here.

If you prefer to watch a video instead, I’ve uploaded myself explaining my solution here:

Here’s to hoping my proof is confirmed!

By S P Hannifin, ago
Interesting things

The Collatz Conjecture

I’ve been tinkering with the Collatz Conjecture on and off for a couple years; it’s madly addicting, patterns within patterns within patterns, and yet strange and puzzling disorder seems to lurk around every corner.

I have an attempted proof which I’ll type up and post hopefully this week along with a video, unless I find some glaring mistake while doing so. And then I can get back to programming.

By S P Hannifin, ago

Y Combinator’s Startup School in retrospect

Y Combinator’s latest Startup School session ended this week. I still haven’t gotten nearly as far as I would have liked in TuneSage’s development, but I did make some progress, and I’m hoping to launch it near the end of next month. Of course, that prediction is probably still off, since it feels impossible to predict, but I did submit an application to Y Combinator’s core program, so the sooner I can launch it the better. If they’re looking at my application and can find no demo videos or samples online demonstrating what TuneSage can do, so much the worse for me.

Anyway, here are some of the biggest things I’ve learned from this year’s startup school:

  • Launch your product as soon as you can. The initial version doesn’t have to be as polished as you might imagine. They talk quite a bit about launching an MVP, a “minimal viable product”. This allows you to start getting feedback from early adopters. Handling the initial version of your product like a manuscript submission or a film premiere that needs to attract a crowd upon release isn’t the right way to think about a tech startup launch; the initial version won’t be polished. (For TuneSage, the initial version will likely only generate melodies and chords.)
  • After launching, it’s all about growth, and organic growth at that. Pay attention to new users you’re attracting, user retention, and how users are using your product. (Paying to advertise your product isn’t a great idea because having to pay to obtain your first customers isn’t going to scale, and may throw off any traction metrics.) Decide what to work on based on how it will stimulate growth.
  • Set concrete goals (preferably having to do with growth) so that you know whether or not what you’re working on is having the desired affect.

I’ll admit that some of the finance stuff (stock, shareholding, vesting, etc.) is still a bit over my head; some of it is just lingo to learn, but I also think I need to see more examples of it in action.

The Startup School videos are on YouTube, available for anyone to watch (I’m sure I’ll re-watch some of them), but participating in the course also gave me an opportunity to have weekly meetings with other founders. This allowed me to develop my “pitch” and get real feedback. I will admit that I need to get better at talking. A bit too much repeating myself, ending sentences on conjunctions (“and, yeah…”), forgetting words and stammering. Sometimes I wasn’t so bad, but it’s definitely something to practice. And, yeah…

Overall, it was a great experience, and I’m excited to get TuneSage up to a launch-able state. Like I said, I wish I had made more progress during Startup School itself, but I should have more time next month.

By S P Hannifin, ago