Friday Notes 071 - Sept 20 2019

This week has been way more stable with the kids and school. I've been helping coach x-country practice two mornings a week and we've seen a bunch of kids whose parents said would never come do awesome and have a great time.

For me, this weekend is a 50km race that I feel fairly well prepared for.

On the code front, the big issue is to figure out how to limit only certain WordPress accounts to login from a set IP address. My client wants to have accounting only login at the office. I've been unable to find a comprehensive write up on the WordPress login flow, so I'm working on that as I solve this problem for my client.

If you’ve found my content helpful I’ve opened up a Patreon page. You can help ensure that more helpful content keeps coming.

I Shipped

I didn't publish anything this week as I have a few bigger things in the works and figured I'd focus on those instead of rushing something out. But this post on building a productive workspace came out a few weeks back on Liquid Web and I don't think I shared it yet, so go read that.

Friday Five

1. Austin Kleon on Kids These Days by Malcolm Harris

I enjoy Austin Kleon's thoughts about Kids These Days.

On the one hand, we think of childhood as a place that should be free of labor -- we’ve decided, collectively, that it’s inhumane for our children to slave in sweatshops or dig in a coal mine -- and on the other hand, between the classroom, homework, and the extra-curricular activities picked to make a child the perfect college applicant, American kids work all the time.

I read and wrote about the book recently too.

I still struggle with sending my kids to school. On one hand, it makes two working parents easier, but on the other hand I'm not convinced that we're really preparing her properly for the future. Unschooling is appealing to me, but as I said when I looked at Unschooled, I'm not sure how two working parents can hope to fit in the work. I can't just drop everything when my kid is interested in something and investigate it until she's ready to move to something that doesn't involve me.

And yet, an hour of free time is like a drop of water in the dessert for kids. This doesn't sound like the childhood I remember.

2. The Impacts of Eating on Our Planet

On eating the planet to death at Wired.

So let’s start with meat. Raising livestock for slaughter is, of course, not particularly good for the planet. Animals demand lots of food and water: A single cow might consume 11,000 gallons of water a year. And that cow burps up methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

But going vegetarian isn't quite the answer

Switching humans to an entirely plant-based diet would solve some of these problems, but not all of them. For one, clearing forests and peatlands--essentially sparser forests laid on a bed of slowing rotting organic matter--to make way for agricultural land destroys essential carbon sinks. Healthy forests sequester CO2 during photosynthesis and store it. In the case of mucky peatlands, they can sequester carbon for perhaps thousands of years.

I also recently listened to a Running for Real podcast with Clare Gallagher where they suggested instead of saving the purchase a Tesla to save the environment, we should skip meat one night a week.

Nothing I've heard feels like the right answer end to end. At this house the plan is to grow a bit more of our own food next year and cut do a vegetarian meal a few nights a week. We already don't eat much beef because one of our kid's is allergic, so we're decentish on that front.

If anyone has a good all around solution they've heard about, I'd love to hear about it too.

HT: The Newsprint for the link

3. I Can’t Break Into Your House and Take Back What I Sold You

Cory Doctorow on DRM

When I was a bookseller in Toronto, noth­ing that happened would ever result in me breaking into your house to take back the books I’d sold you, and if I did, the fact that I left you a refund wouldn’t have made up for the theft. Not all the books Microsoft is confiscating are even for sale any lon­ger, and some of the people whose books they’re stealing made extensive annotations that will go up in smoke.

While I was big on eBooks via Kindle for a number of years, I'm back to purchasing print as often as possible. If I'm not sure about owning a book, I'll head to the local used bookstore or the library. There I borrow, or purchase a used copy and if it doesn't warrant a permanent place on my shelves I return it to the used bookstore for a decent credit, or just return it to the library with no expense outside of walking two blocks to pick it up.

I didn't stop buying eBooks for DRM reasons, I just wanted to be off-screen at the end of the day.

4. We Fill Our Schedules Without Realizing What's Happened

Julianna Poplin on No Sidebar:

We fill our schedules without even realizing what’s happened. We sign onto things without knowing why we are doing them. We go with the flow of what other parents do, what friends do, or what our family does without stopping to ask questions.

Do we want to be doing what we’re doing? If not, why are we?

Our current schedule is my 8-year-old skating 4 nights a week, which goes with my wife working since she is the program director at the skating club. Friday my 5-year-old and 3-year-old have swimming lessons from 4:30 - 5:30. Plus Thursday my little two skate as well.

We did manage to free up Saturdays this year since my 8-year-old doesn't skate on Saturday, but my wife will be coaching some of the Saturday's.

Oh, and we have three x-country meets on Thursday's coming up.

I know I look at my schedule and don't like it at all.

Later Julianna asks us to go over three things.

  1. Motives
  2. Priorities and Boundaries
  3. Wait to say yes

So here goes:

1. Motives for my schedule

My oldest loves to skate and we want her to do what she enjoys. My wife remembers skating as one of the best experiences of her life. While I didn't skate, I had a similar activity, and we both want her to have that option.

Swimming, it's important to be able to swim in a city where it's regular to head out to the rivers and lakes for swimming.

My youngest skates because she wants to. My middle one doesn't skate because she doesn't want to, she wants to do swimming lessons.

X-country, is something I can volunteer with at the school and it's only two mornings a week for a few weeks then three evenings done before 5pm. I love the chance to have input into the lives of the kids at my daughter's school.

2. Our Boundaries

Before this year it was Friday night, but now my daughter skates on Friday and my wife will coach sometimes. In some ways I don't feel like I had a choice in this since my wife pushed for Friday skating saying it would free up Saturday. So far, she's done other things Saturday and I'm in the same boat of having the kids alone again for most of the day.

3. Wait to say yes

We did recently say no to soccer because while it would be technically doable, I'd have to dray my two youngest to skating until late at night. See, we only have one car and transit in town is passable, but nothing like Vancouver. I'd have to run around to make soccer work, and I spend much of my evening running around already.

So, that's my three things. I don't love my schedule but since my wife's work is tied to pretty much every evening that the family is split up...how on earth do we "fix" that? I certainly don't want to venture near anything like guys that say women shouldn't work if it affects the family.

5. Justin Jackson Doesn't Have the Time or Money to Change Behaviour

From Justin:

The goal of bootstrapping is not to change the way people behave.

I liked this article on some of the motivation differences between bootstrapping and VC funding.

I'd wager that there are more people that end up successful out of bootstrapping. No not in the make a billion dollars and start a space company successful. The type of successful that lets them do what they want and live a comfortable life.

We may idolize one type of success, but the other is much more achievable for 99% of the population.