Streaks App

As I write this I've been using duolingo for exactly 74 days. How do I know? Because the app tells me I have a 74-day streak going. I've found that slight external motivator is enough to keep me conjugating verbs even when it's the last thing I want to do. The psychological pain of breaking that streak forces me to pick up the app and at least do the minimum required. Sometimes I pick it up and spend a long time learning the gender of German words, but the streak gives me a minimum requirement for days I don't have any motivation.

Years ago I heard that Jerry Seinfeld used this unbroken chain method to improve his writing productivity. I filed it away as something that might work, but it always seemed like something I should use for one big life task of some kind. Using it for a small thing like working in an app for 10 minutes means I have a constant sense of forward progress even if it's slight progress. I'm much less likely to put down the app for days at a time and eventually stop using it.

Now that resolution season is upon us I wondered if there was a way to create unbroken chains in other small areas of my life. Of course there's an app: Streaks. I've been using Streaks for exactly three days (guess how I know) and I've already found it's having a similar duolingo effect. I was already walking a certain amount each day, but seeing even the small number of days add up as a score is an extra push out the door.

Streaks integrates with other apps on my phone like the Apple Health app, so tasks like walking a certain number of steps checks off automatically. Non-automatic tasks are easy to schedule and it has a thoughtful interface for completing tasks. There are calendars and charts and everything you'd expect to visualize streaks. It has a large icon library so you can pick an appropriate visual ID for your task, like this:

screenshot from the Streaks app that shows a banana icon with the words 'Eat A Banana'

One annoyance I've found so far is a hidden action (shaking the phone) to undo an accidental task completion. Otherwise I highly recommend Streaks as an extra motivator for tasks small and maybe even large in the new year. In February I'll report back how many days I actually ended up using it.

Zombie Python

Back in 2015 I ruined good art by Audubon, Rothko, and Albers with a Python script that creates a low poly version of an image. I put the script on GitHub and forgot about it.

Until today! Someone submitted a pull request that updates the script for python 3 and some newer versions of the dependencies. I got it running again to test it out:


This is a low poly version of Van Gogh's Wheatfield with Crows.

In conclusion, coding in public is good and maybe there's a hidden demand for generating triangles with Python.

Oddly Specific YouTube Genre

Not since 80's music playing in an abandoned mall has there been a YouTube genre that speaks to me like Muffled Christmas Music From Another Room. Stumbled on this via the latest Links I Would Gchat You If We Were Friends which, well, hmm.

Music: Sunbreak

a row of trees with the sun overhead; hue-shifted colors

More guitar noodling in GarageBand. Having fun recording the piano chords and bass and then wondering if I can make a guitar line work. I tried something different with the drums this time but it still feels pretty far away from what I'd like to hear.

Substack Blog
So it turns out I subscribe to ~30 Substack newsletters and their new inbox tool is helpful. You can also add arbitrary RSS feeds into the mix if you want, but with no organization tools you probably aren't going to use this as a full-time feed reader. Neat though!
Facebook has spent much of the past four years kowtowing to conservatives, treating right-wing news outlets with kid gloves even as they flouted its rules and spread disinformation, while bending over backward to avoid offending the Trump administration.
What if the real value Zuckerberg bought with his fealty was the friends he made along the way?
Washington Post
"Legal efforts by Trump and his allies filed in states he lost have been stunningly unsuccessful — one minor win compared with more than 50 losses in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels."
[jazz hands] The Aristocrats!

Music: Annabel (Goldfrapp Cover)

I love this haunting Goldfrapp song from Tales Of Us.

Nice explanation of why CSS is different from other types of programming. It's a positive feature of the Web that we don't have the same control as the printed page. (I keep telling myself.)
The Atlantic
"The U.S. president is trying to steal the election, and, crucially, his party either tacitly approves or is pretending not to see it. This is a particularly dangerous combination, and makes it much more than just typical Trumpian bluster or norm shattering."
We need to call a coup attempt what it is, even if it’s shoddy. A stupid attempted robbery is still a crime.

Music: Amble

a path through trees with hue-shifted colors

A friend loaned me their acoustic pickup so I had fun making a lofi track with a higherfi acoustic sound.

Washington Post
"...another 222 GOP members of the House and Senate — nearly 90 percent of all Republicans serving in Congress — will simply not say who won the election."
It’s a whole Republican party problem, not a few bad actors problem. Also why we’re seeing no covid relief.
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