Thinking about Communication

  1. I am twitching at 4 days a week. Twitching during a live stream – even when there is no one watching – is really leveling up my programing practice for two reasons.

Narrating what I am doing helps me understand what I am doing and to find better ways to improve – it provides transparency to my process. It reminds me of teachings. When teaching yoga for example you need to explain how to do each kriya and it is a much different experience than just practicing yoga. You get an inner and more nuanced understanding.

I am less likely to write garbage code. Since someone might watch, I take extra care to write good code. Its kind of nuts that I can only behave in the panopticon but it is a good thing to know about myself. I also take care of my environment and use tmux and my nice vi config.

2. I started my newsletter again – It’s going to be short and I hope fun. I am experimenting with different forms of communication – twitch, medium, my blog, my secret blog you can only access with my token (which I will gladly send you if you sign up for my postcard project

3. My favorite type of communication is one on one though. This could be hanging out, conversation, carousing, or pair programming.

Helms and Edges


These days I am into dual meanings or multiple meanings.

Two words that have stood out to me in the last few days are Helm and Edge.

Helm is a package manager for Kubernetes. Kubernetes is a system for managing containerized applications.

Kubernetes is an English rendering of the greek word κυβερνητική -pilot.

Helm is the front of a ship, also “the handle or wheel which controls the direction in which a ship or boat”, also the head of something.

I like that middle definition – the helm is a tool.

I also think of Helms deep from The Lord of the Ring. I also thing of the Helm of the astrology chart – which is the ascendant. The ascendant is often referred to as how the world perceives the chart owner. However, if we think about the ascendant as the Helm, then it is what drives the vehicle, the life.

Edges… Edges

One way to think about edges is in graph theory. We have nodes and we have edges. My older kid used to be obsessed with the edge of his train tracks – he would always ask what is an edge. I think about optical illusions as playing with edges. When I paint it is important to pay careful attention to edges. I was reading an article today and the more edges a field has the less vulnerable it is not pests. Edges are the in between spaces. Edge is also the name of a browser. Edge can also mean a quality – edgy itself is a quality.

If I were to write an esoteric language it would be a language of edges. maybe I would just represent them as pipes | or _ – / \. Now I think of super Mario. For some reason my edge language cannot have any bends or curves. = is not an edge it is a symbol – * is a shape. an edge is what makes a shape and a symbol.

A language of edges

Knowledge and Web3


I was working on a hackathon project today around web3 and knowledge creation. The internet seemed rooted in a utopian knowledge project and was inspired by things like Vannevar Bush’s Memex. The history of the world is littered with knowledge projects. Does web3 provide any technology to rethink knowledge? What web3 can do is connect knowledge with value in an exact and quantifiable way, and provide a clear lineage of knowledge – what ideas grow from which ideas.

We have the encyclopedists of the enlightenment – people like Diderot. We have the monasteries, universities, and libraries of the Middle Ages and the libraries of the ancient world like the Library of Alexandria. Reading and writing, once the barrier to knowledge, are table stakes, and the barriers now are things like spaceships and laboratories.

I am constantly amazed at what I can learn from web2 crowdsourced information like youtube and Wikipedia. This sort of knowledge is like a modern decentralized encyclopedia or library. For this hackathon, we are working on networks of knowledge – a flow diagram to accumulating more knowledge. It is about optimizing knowledge production – or perhaps solutioning.

To connect knowledge production to solutioning makes me uneasy. I definitely am interested in purposeless knowledge – but I am probably in the minority. And, truth be told, we do have a bunch of problems that could use organized knowledge solutions to fix – like climate change. Many times when I attempt to solution – one of the best things I can do is simplify the problem and remove chaos – ie do less and have other people do less. But with some of these tricky problems we are facing today perhaps we need a new way to think about knowledge just as the encyclopedia was a new way to think about knowledge during the enlightenment.

Lyotard – Book Club – Theory of Computation


100 years ago I went to Las Vegas with my girlfriends. Because I am a super nerd I brought along a copy of “The Postmodern Condition.” This is a short book and the only thing I remember is that Lyotard adds another level to the 3 metacategories of Kant: Aesthetics/judgement, Epistemology/knowledge, Ethics/action.

Lyotard adds speed. In the postmodern world we have a new category of speed. This really spoke to me as a technologist because computers give us power over processes. And this power, is the power to streamline (ie automate, ie make faster).

This also makes me think about the theory of computation. ToC is an Aristotelian project that attempts to categorizes computational processes by the time with which things happen. You have things that happen in polynomial time or non-polynomial time. This expands into space (in the time-space continuum), and certain processes have certain space limitations.

I would call this new category – Optimization. My notion of optimization is not really the fastest, but perhaps the most resiliant. It is a category the only pertains to networks and system – to relations not subject/object distinctions. Kant’s project is thoroughly embedded in the subject/object distinction.

Most people reference something about narrative as the most salient point of TPC -this obviously was not my takeaway.

I was reminded of Lyotard while I was listening to the Hermitix podcast on my way home from picking up a birthday gift for one of my children. The show interviewed Lyotard scholar Ashley Woodward, and one of things I found interesting was that there were not a lot of scholars familiar with the corpus of Lyotard’s work. One reason might be because it was so genre bending.

Sounds like my kind of corpus. So I went to Woodward’s site and found this list– about 30 books in Lyotard’s corpus. I thought -what if I read allof Lyotard’s books this month. That sounds a bit insane, but why not. Lets give it a shot. I doubt it will be the closest reading ever.

I remember reading about cinematographer Walter Murch and how he listened to particular composers or styles for months at a time and how that affected his perception of music. What I do that with authors.

Well I am putting down my current books – and picking up Lyotard.

I am excited for my month of Lyotard. I am thinking perhaps I will do other authors in other months.

Expertism and Do-ocracy and Loop


I was actually going to write about this yesterday but I forgot. I am dragging today. I am not sure why. I stopped drinking coffee in December but yesterday and today I could have really used a cup. Today I broke down and had some black tea -puer.

So on to expertism and the Do-ocracy and how to organize. I have been very interested in organizations and leadership, especially since my last job in “change management” and my current job as a “leader.” My friend Camille participated in this talk and it really resonated. It basically is about how to run egalitarian organizations – organizations were people are not differentiated by role or expertise or how much or how little they contribute. There are different strategies that panelists have for group admission – but once people are in the group they are valued as individual humans not with what they can do or contribute.

Can anyone be a leader? I recommend Every Cook Can Govern by CLR James. Although I want to feel like am special – I am special because everyone is special – not because I have some special leadership power… I also think that anyone can be a leader.

I am also reading Loop by by Brenda Lozano. I am sucked in by this book. . It is post-modern but in the most elegant and natural way – not precious I love the references to Proust and Beckett – I feel like the narrator and I are part of the same lineage.

Live Coding on Twitch


Today is the new moon in Aquarius – it is also the Chinese new year – the year of the tiger. I have decided to see if I can live code on twitch ( every day for the next 30 days.

I have been working on a lot of software projects lately. Some are on public repos – some are not.

One thing I got back into was writing generative audio and video. For this project, and really for most projects, I am using python -and if I need a front end I use react. This is not super sexy. I would love to program this in Rust – but it is much easier for me to use python and get it done quickly. I am using midi for audio and to manipulate the audio I am using the mido library for video. I was working on that today.

I notice then when I code I don’t always talk… so that will be something I have to work on. To narrate what I do while I code. Also some of my code is really ugly – but I have let that go. Maybe this exercise will force me to do some refactoring.

World Building Game


I wrote sort of a poetry world building engine.

The site… The repo.

I messed up my neck or I messed up my head. I stood in wu ji to become the open vessel.

Outside my window I saw a rock. A sturdy rock. How lucky was I to see this beautiful rock! I am this rock… smooth and sturdy and solid and so old.

As it turns out I was contorted

My body settled into its unconscious posture

my line of sight changed

and NOW I see a branch

it twists with a white belly

it sprouts asymmetrical protrusions

A big twig really

I want my rock!


Web3 and the Future of Routing


I have been playing around with content and crypto. I am calling this idea Route3. (like web3)

I connected my super secret mere coin with different pages on my website.

This made me think about the future of URL mapping.

When ORMs became popular with Ruby on Rails and Django we had the notion of mapping URL endpoints to functions. The functions would handle authentication and data (sometimes middleware would handle authentication etc).

With web3 we can connect smart contracts with URL endpoints – what does this mean and why is it important.

we are moving from URL endpoint to smart contract or token as the point of entry.

Instead of having a URL endpoint – rest like – I just have a token

I connect actions with the token, maybe the balance of the token, or some smart contract function or variable on the token.

Why is this important, what changes does this create?

REST endpoints were useful for storing and retrieving data. It centers around data objects and communicates with data and objects.

If we have smart contract controlled end points – we are now centering around access and authentication not data.

I don’t necessarily have to create the token in order to create a site based on access.

Here I have created a simple website based on having 1 USDC coin in your wallet – this is a stable coin pegged to the us dollar:

I did not create USDC. I don’t even have any USDC – so I can’t even use this site.

These are just beginning thoughts – but I imagine creating an ERC20 (or other protocol) routing token that users can generate to map to states.

If people are interested in learning more and in playing with these ideas please reach out.

What does it mean to be a leader?


As a child I felt really alone and misunderstood. As I grew up I gravitated to those things that let me work alone. I never understood the managers or leaders or coaches. I considered these people totally useless, and perhaps even worse – like parasites.

All these people did was get in my way. They did not DO anything. I never wanted to be a leader or a manager or a coach, just leave me alone to do my thing. I was actually able to do things.

This shifted for me in my last job in consulting. I worked at a really fantastic although completely homogenous consulting company – I was one of two or three women out of 150 consultants – not to mention race, gender and sexual orientation diversity. However, most of the people there were incredibly intelligent and accomplished. They like me, after a career of running things, they just wanted to just be left alone to do their thing.

I had a midlife crisis (I may still be having one). I did not want to run anything – I just wanted to be alone and do my technical thing. In the software world -we call this an individual contributor/IC. So I did that – at this wonderful consulting company.

What I found was that I could sit there and do my technical thing BUT SADLY the overall project would be a dumpster fire. This was bad for me in two respects:

  1. if my projects kept failing then no one would hire the company and I would be out of a job
  2. it was unpleasant for me personally to work on projects that were failing

Why were there dumpster fires? I noticed that the technical directors I worked with were:

  1. unable to pick the correct items to work on
  2. stay focused and make progress on those items
  3. have their team contributing meaningfully to forward progress
  4. communicate that progress to the client

I did not want to work on any more dumpster fire projects – so I decided to go back into management. I am really good at this.I think my secret skill is that I know what is important to work on.

How do you develop this skill? I think it is a type of wisdom. Through practice and intention. Your intention has to be – I want to build something that people happily use. Believe it or not this is often not the intention when working on technical projects (even for myself).

When I was technical directing projects – it felt really good. It felt good to see this progress, to see that clients understood this progress.

What is management vs leadership? I read an HBR article that said management is the ability to manage complexity and leadership is the ability to manage change. I was engaged in a management role – I was managing complexity.

I moved into a new position at a different company about 6 months ago. I offered my skills at managing complexity and optimizing systems but people did not care really about this. I wondered what was I going to do? Change… organizations these days are constantly changing. I think this is what it means to be post modern. You can never be the same as you were yesterday, your organization cannot be the same as it was yesterday.

How do you manage this change? You lead.

What does it mean to lead? You collect yourself in integrity and start steering the ship. It can be a small dingy of one or a massive ocean liner. But the leader is just looking into the wind not back at the passengers.