Holiday Tabs 🗂

Over the course of a week on holiday, I started reading many interesting articles. In lockdown there isn’t much to do but read articles, but I still find myself not that good at finishing them. My phone has lots of tabs open and has become a Rolodex of shame. This post is to confess my sins.

I’m trying to re-familiarise myself with Python. As with all modern software development, Python now seems atomised and hyper-complicated. As a result, this series of posts from Claudio Jolowitz was useful. He cuts through lots of the complications and explains why they are there. Someone should ask him to write a book.

Hypermodern Python

While discussing pyenv in the previous series of posts, the setup is for the Bash shell. But having started afresh with my Mac I’m now on the zsh shell that ships with MacOS as of Catalina. I’ve spent some time this holiday getting to know zsh and read about how to do fantastic things with it. I’ve even put most of them into practice. This GitHub repo features a pyenv plugin for zsh, so I’m hoping that will help me use pyenv more often in my Python projects and follow the Hypermodern Python post further.


The problem with choosing the programming language that you want to devote your time to is that you often read a piece saying that such-and-such other language is way better. Lo-and-behold, I read this article discussing whether Julia or Python is better for data science. I was familiar with most of the differences as I have dabbled with Julia before and this post makes an interesting case for monitoring Julia at least.

Julia vs. Python: Which is best for data science?

Having refreshed the look of the blog, this post about SVG favicons looks interesting. I used to spend a lot of time going after this kind of thing, often so that the vanity tile on my phone and tablet looks nice (it’s the little things). This time I’ve gone for a 32x32 PNG file because life’s too short. But this piece makes an excellent case for SVG files (which are, in the main, very useful) so I am saving the link here to find it again later.

Are you using SVG favicons yet? A guide for modern browsers.

Talking of the blog, I want to help myself write more by being more organised. This post claims to get your entire life organised in text files. I am sure that is little more than a splendid dream, but it would be better than attempting to organise my life on assorted scraps of paper and post-it notes, as I seem to be at the moment. That said, I’ve not used Emacs in any meaningful way since my PhD, so I might read this later more for the organisational tips rather than for instructions on Org Mode:

Org Mode - Organize Your Life In Plain Text!

Now for the more topical posts. The first explores the possibility that surrealist art might help people to come to terms with tough times. It’s the ‘tough times’ part that makes it topical. But I’ve also been thinking for almost a year about we might use artificial intelligence to both make and understand abstract art, and so this made my feelers tingle somewhat. I appreciate that surrealist art ≠ abstract art though.

A touch of absurdity can help to wrap your mind around reality

There’s not much to say about this brilliant photo essay from GQ magazine. Actually, there’s a lot to say, but these photos do most of the work. This is one article that I’ve read in its entirety as part of writing this post and I am glad that I did.

Life, death and humanity on a Covid-19 ward: ‘We thought we were ready. But we were overwhelmed’

Last, but not least, is this review of Moodymann’s “Taken Away” album on Pitchfork. I haven’t listened to the album itself yet, but I will do so sometime soon. This review is brilliant at placing art at the centre of current events and describing its place there. The review is pretty much what every review (of albums, books, anything) should be. It’s no secret that I enjoy writing reviews, but mine are a pale echo of reviews like this. Something to aspire to.

Moodymann, Taken Away (Pitchfork review)

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