Blog Articles 16–20


Whiskey and my notebook

Ritual is a powerful tool for navigating life. David Allen, in Getting Things Done, promotes a weekly review to take stock of your current Next Action lists, identify projects that need to be moved up (or down) the stack, and plan what’s next.

Regular rituals are an important part of my work management, linking together my notebook, runway, and self-care. My particular practices are modeled most closely after the tactical practices of implementing Michael Linenberger’s One Minute To-Do List on paper.

The Runway — Planning the Next Thing

Lit runway
Photo by Jordi Moncasi on Unsplash

In “Holes”, I noted that one of the holes in my work planning and management is a good tool for tracking and planning upcoming work over time. I have now filled that hole with my Runway Document, which also replaces “The Wall”.

Saving Plots

Drawing a chart

I use Jupyter notebooks extensively for data analysis and exploration. It’s fantastic to be able to quickly see output, including plots, and have it all saved and persisted and viewable on GitHub.

However, when it comes time to prepare for publication, I need to save high-resolution and/or vector versions of the plots for use in LaTeX or Word. The display in Jupyter does not have nearly high enough resolution to copy and paste into a document and have it look acceptably good.

Most of my projects, therefore, have a convenience function for plots that are going into the paper. This function saves the plot to disk (in both PDF and 600dpi PNG formats) and returns it so it can also be displayed in Jupyter. That way I don’t have two copies of the plot code — one for saving and one for interactive exploration — that can get out of sync.

Teaching Data Science

This fall is my third time teaching CS533 (Introduction to Data Science). I co-developed the class with Casey Kennington and taught the first offering in 2017.

This intro is a class I had long wanted to create — when I was on the job market the first time around, it was my answer to ‘what class would you like to create?’ — but I haven’t yet really been able to achieve what I wanted with it. This fall I am taking a step back and rebuilding it. I hope it’s successful.

The syllabus, class materials, etc. are all publicly available.1

This post discusses my design goals and parameters for the class, and its overall structure. I hope to expand on some specific aspects of it in future posts.

Spoiler Alert: Star Trek Returns?

Jean-Luc Picard and Raffi

Star Trek, when it’s doing its job, has something to say.

TL;DR: Picard has something to say.

Sometimes, that thing begins with an ‘f’, at least when said by one of his co-adventurers.