Interesting time standards

I’ve recently been interested in time standards like the local time e.g. Pacific Daylight Time and general times. And I saw a comment somewhere either on reddit or hacker news about how times would work in places not on Earth, like the moon. I came across Barycentric Coordinate Time which is a time standard that is intended to be used for outerspace objects like planets, moons, their orbits, and satellites launched from earth.

Of course, it’s pretty amazing that we’ve been using a calendar system created almost 500 years ago and it still seems to hold up.

The Sky naming scheme

Democritus Among the Abderitans by François-André Vincent (France, Paris, 1746-1816)
France, circa 1784 (?)

I wanted to share my naming scheme for my devices. I was bored by the basic “Muhammad’s iPhone” and “Muhammad’s 4th MacBook Pro” names so I wanted to come up with something a bit more interesting.

At first, I tried something like the names of planets but it became pretty limiting and was also very vague somehow. Like I had no idea what was “Saturn” and what was “Jupiter”. Then I tried colors (blue, black, white) and that was way too simple to remember anything.

So as I was listening to one of my favorite songs by A Tribe Called Quest, “Skypager” I thought to name my iPhone “Sky Pager”. The space is there to make sure devices like my Bluetooth headphones and Alexa pronounce it correctly.

Do you know the importance of a skypager?

Those who don’t believe, see you’re laid behind
Got our skypagers on all the time

“Skypager” by A Tribe Called Quest

For a song from 1991, it’s amazing that almost 30 years later, an iPhone is an important device you can dedicate a whole song to and possibly record the song on the iPhone as well. The lyrics in the Tribe song are just as applicable today as they were in 1991,

Moving on…

For awhile, it was just my iPhone that had the name with “Sky” in it. But then I realized, there are some other interesting names like Skynet that are futurist, interesting, and unique. Skynet became the name for my wifi setup and it fits nicely with the theme that it’s providing the internet for all my devices and carries the “Sky” prefix. There’s also my Chromecast which is “Skycast” which I’m very happy with 😊.

I also tried “Skypad” for my iPad but it didn’t sit right with me so I decided to go with Democritus.

The most made up name I have is “Skyphonics” that I gave to my headphones.

I still don’t know what to name my  Watch but I’m thinking of giving the MacBook the name “Skybook” but not 100% sold on that, yet.

Self-knowledge

I just finished reading “Self-Knowledge” from The School of Life.

It’s a simple book and I’ve used it as a meditative practice.

Sit down for 10-15 minutes, read and reflect on the topics.

It covers various parts of our emotional life that translate, sometimes incorrect, into actions we take in day to day life.

I don’t like star ratings for reviews so I’m just going to say, I would recommend reading it.

My recent interests

Being at home has given me a lot of extra time to try new things and do things I didn’t really have time to do before. Not all the things have been very positive or productive but hey, there’s a global pandemic going on, anything to keep me inside is a good thing.

Video games

Before lockdown started, I was gaming at a truly casual level: once in awhile, a day full of gaming but oftentimes, just an hour or so during the week. This has changed drastically in the past few months. It started back in March, I downloaded Warzone (part of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game), which introduced me to the latest Call of Duty game and slowly I discovered that my friends and my siblings were playing it. This made the game a lot more interesting because I could be playing with other people (who can resist this during lockdown).
What started out as a simple way of chatting with friends and playing a video game turned into a nightmarish addiction. So bad that in July, I had to force myself to be away from my computer desk so I wouldn’t get triggered by my PS4 controller sitting right there. (I used the same monitor for my computers and my PS4)
I’m happy to report that August has been a huge improvement, I’ve only played starting on Friday evenings through the weekend (mainly skipping on Saturdays and then picking up on Sunday). And I’ve been good about staying away from it on the weekdays.

At the same time, I also haven’t touched any other games, it’s only been Call of Duty. Both Warzone and multiplayer are so well done that once I start playing, I can’t stop. The drug-like addiction is well built into these games.

Reading

During the past few years, I’ve been slowly increasing my total reading time on a daily average and total for the year. In 2017, I was mainly doing audiobooks but now in 2020, it’s a mix of both. When the COVID-19 lockdown started, I was in the middle of a few books and I was trudging through them, not making much progress but some time in June, this shifted. I started to listen to the audiobooks pretty consistently while cleaning and doing other chores around the house. And for sitting down and reading, I just find a couple of minutes here and there throughout the day, which ultimately adds up to a good chunk of time.
My main interest has been fiction books, mainly to find worlds away from our current one. The pandemic did push me to listen to the Station Eleven audiobook, not the best dystopian book but definitely a cool concept. I also started to move towards familiar authors like Terry Pratchett, Charles Bukowski, John Steinbeck, Brian Jacques, and JRR Tolkien.
I’m thinking of picking up the Harry Potter series as a comfort read next since I’ve seen the movies, listened to the audiobooks (if you haven’t checked ‘em out, I highly recommend them).

Streaming content

I didn’t want to separate YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc so this category sort of covers all that. YouTube has been a blessing and a curse in one. On the one hand, I can listen to relaxing background music and on the other, I can go down rabbit holes of various topics (my favorites being geography, history, and memes).

Netflix is sort of my umbrella term for any streaming services that offer TV series and movies. I’ve been watching the Studio Ghibli movies on HBO Max on the weekends and also just started watching Lovecraft Country. It’s hard to keep the traditional model of TV shows in my head nowadays but I also find it that I’m a big fan of the model, watching a series over an extended period such as a month or a couple of months helps me think more about the show, remember the characters better, and even come up with some conclusions that aren’t immediately apparent.

Naps

It’s been hot the past few days. Around 100ºF in Oakland and it feels new to me. Being in the middle of summer, always being home, and having a lot of chill music playing in the background has made me want to just nap at least once a day now.

Summer during the lockdown

I can’t believe it’s July already. There are so many people infected with coronavirus, it’s hard for me to understand just how many people’s lives are impacted, gone, or drastically changed because of this.

I don’t know how summers of the past have been in Oakland but this one is quiet and boring. But I am grateful to be able to type this with my health and safety in place.

Over the past few weeks, my addiction to Call of Duty has gotten worse. I was playing at a decent pace during weeks of the past, but now, I’m playing a couple of hours everyday. Starting today until this coming Friday, I’m going to pause playing the game to bring awareness back into my daily life.
The mornings start out fine and then late in the afternoon, around 4-5pm, I start to get the craving. After playing for 3-4 hours, I feel like I haven’t had enough. This is a big problem now because I neglect doing other things I take true pleasure in. COD’s developers have it figured out, the feature releases and the slot machine effects of the game keep wanting me to come back pretty much every day.

It’s a Mogwai kinda day

Every year when I clear out my Spotify library to start fresh, there’s tons of music that goes missing from my recent memory. I can only remember songs that either come to mind throughout a day or just artists that I was listening to days/weeks before cleaning up. So naturally, a lot of music gets forgotten about pretty quickly. This is good and bad. Good because I then end up finding new music that I enjoy. Bad because oftentimes, the new music is just reminiscent of the music I was familiar with or that it makes me forget about a great song or artist altogether.

This morning was interesting, the day was foggy and gray, unusual for Oakland’s sunny summer days and MONO started playing on shuffle, turns out I have “Ely’s Heartbeat” saved to my library. MONO is one of the dozen or so post-rock artists I’ve listened to and kept in my library. But there was something else to this song, right when it started playing, I remembered that there was another band I was a huge fan of that I hadn’t heard in a long time, Mogwai. My post-rock listening experience is sprinkled with a few of the big names and then some others. I don’t know where exactly Mogwai falls in the popular music spectrum but to me, they’re pretty high up on that list.

Their song “Tracy” is one of my favorite post-rock songs for it’s simplicity and nostalgia. The name also reminds me of my high school hometown which has a lot of strong feelings attached to it.

Mogwai on Spotify →

Black Lives Matter.

For too long the systematic oppression that’s codified in the American laws has caused too many innocent lives to be lost and too many black men to be wrongfully imprisoned. The current movement in America is not a sudden or unexpected event, this has been building up for decades and has finally started to boil over.

Below are some resources for more information:

Black Lives Matter website

Mapping Police Violence

George Floyd Protests around the world

Donate to the Black Lives Matter movement

Multiple resources aggregated

Some digging into embedding comparable images

I recently had an idea to compare two images side by side and ideally having a slider present to be able to see one more than the other. I wanted to get to a MVP of this but after spending a couple of hours, I decided to just jot down my notes about it so far and move on. Another reason is that I’m trying to make this blog into a thought stream instead of just polished posts of some kind.

Examples of embedded objects

This Spotify embedded object is a great example of both functionality and style, it looks and feels like using the Spotify app and it’s easily embeddable.

Some places like WordPress only allow embedding from certain URLs and others like Notion allow embedding anything that doesn’t block embedding, see a screenshot below:

↑ Embeds in notion ↑

I tried a couple of different techniques to try to get two images to be comparable, you can see them in this codepen: https://codepen.io/usmanity/pen/dyYaVpY

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a working version of it because my approach has been mostly CSS-first and I didn’t want to spend too much time writing JS to handle different parts of the dragging. One attempt I had was to watch drag and other events related to it, more here: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Global_attributes/draggable
This approach didn’t work because draggable is great for moving around elements but there was still no good way to get the difference in dragging unless I spent a fair amount of time calculating differences between the starting point and where the dragged slider was.

I also tried a border size and range input approach, basically use the value from the range slider and set that as the border size, but this didn’t work because the border would increase while decreasing the size of the image itself.

My next attempt will be to use a background size approach but right now I feel pretty burnt out by the past few approaches so I’ll wait on trying that.