Ah January — a time for setting goals and making resolutions to change. So many of us do it, yet by the end of the month so many of us have gone astray, reverting to our old ways. This month’s book is one to help us define and stick to our resolutions by forming new
Yes, focusing on habits is much more likely to end in success than trying to focus on goals. As James Clear puts it, Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. Every team intends to win the championship, but it’s the ones who put systems (habits) in place to make sure the work’s done right every day who are more likely to succeed.
Atomic Habits will change your understanding and approach to habits. It’s not only a good, solid description of how to to get those habits built (or torn down, in the case of exiting bad habits), but also the reasons why habits work or don’t, stick or don’t. It’s all about making small, sustainable changes in your daily life, intentionally creating an environment to encourage those changes, and making yourself accountable. While those may sound like easy things to do, actual change takes planning, and persistence — building the daily system, the end result of which is the change you desire.
Besides, February 1st — or whenever you read this — is just as good a day to start your journey to a new you as January 1st was. Get yourself going today; watch yourself turn tiny changes into remarkable results, with Atomic Habits.
This time ’round, my Book Of The Month is actually two books: Mary Robinette Kowal‘s The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky.
Dr. York, the protagonist here, is a smart, hard-working survivor of an immense environmental disaster. Along with a team of brilliant and talented — and often petty, sexist, and condescending — scientists, pilots, and managers, she does her part to save humanity from its eventual demise.
These novels – historical fiction about humanity’s first manned mission to Mars – are super-well written and delightful to read prequels for the short story “The Lady Astronaut of Mars.”
They also give us a good look behind the curtains of classism, racism, and sexism. They are, as Rick Klau put it, “a master-class in privilege: what it looks like when you have it, how it affects those who don’t, and how it can make progress harder.”
The perhaps unexpected exploration is that of anxiety, and how it can be debilitating for even the most “successful” and “got it all together” people. In my opinion, the most important paragraph of the two-book set is one that many readers may never get to — the very end of the final afterword.
Pause here for a moment, and re-read that.
The Calculating Stars — get your copy today, and enjoy the journey; I trust you’ll want share it with your friends and immediately follow it up with The Fated Sky.
November’s #book recommendation, a true-life adventure, a detective story to uncover it, and more: “a story of remarkable athletic prowess: On the treacherous mountains of Crete, a motley band of World War II Resistance fighters—an artist, a shepherd, and a poet—abducted a German commander from the heart of the Axis occupation. To understand how, McDougall retraces their steps across the island that birthed Herakles and Odysseus, and discovers ancient techniques for endurance, sustenance, and natural movement that have been preserved in unique communities around the world.”
Having enjoyed McDougall’s Born To Run I was looking forward to his latest book, and it did not disappoint. He weaves together historical events — the mysterious kidnapping of a Nazi General and the subsequent hunting and evading — with a current-day search for clues to the whole story, and combines these with his own quest to understand just how it was done. How were these mostly-untrained, very unequipped men able to get themselves and their prisoner across the rocky, dangerous mountains of Crete? Journey with him as he uncovers history along with truths about the physical capabilities of the human body.
Christopher McDougall’s Natural Born Heroes.
Here is a sample of a PowerShell script that I use for finding text in files, having “grown up” with a more Unix-like syntax. I know, this isn’t exactly a clone of grep‘s functionality, but it gets me closer than having to remember exactly how to wrangle PowerShell’s Select-String commands to my liking. Note that I normally am looking for things recursively, so my script does that automatically.
ls -r $filename | sls $target
I call that by using an alias, set in my $PROFILE
Set-Alias grep c:\code\ps\Grep.ps1
Then I can just use a command like one of these
c:\> grep \code\*.ps1 version
c:\> grep *.txt hobbits
c:\> grep $HOME alpharetta
Also available, with any changes since this was published, in this repo.
Yay! Another new Star Wars book – this one in support of Solo: A Star Wars Story. That movie gave us some backstory to Han Solo; this novel gives us more and sheds light on the history between him and Qi’ra as well as (the first?) mention of an ancient Jedi manuscript, The Annals of Light and Being. Ignore the YA designation; Most Wanted is a fun story and adds even more depth to our favorite characters.
[more short book reviews]
Atlanta Georgia, 1948 – quite a different city than we know today. Darktown is a historical novel telling the story of the first negro police officers here; men with what has always been a difficult job, made even tougher given the racial bias of the time.
Many pages were, like those of Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, difficult and almost painful to read, but it’s important to face and learn from our history – a long and tough journey along the road toward democracy, freedom and equality for all.
I know, there are plenty of people who say “it’s over, it’s in the past – get over it.” They might have said the same thing about slavery in ’48, the year in which this book was set. But cultural history has multi-generational impact. We don’t think twice about a coworker who’s great-grandparents moved to the US from Italy and never looked back, working to speak with a bit of an accent and sharing his family recipes. Or those of us who do our best to never wear orange because of our great-grandfather‘s struggles. I have a friend who is vocal about his refusal to buy German- or Japanese-manufactured vehicles because his grandfather fought in WWII. Families and people-groups have history, and they’re all part of the fabric of our nation.
The characters, in particular some of the white offers, seem a bit over-the-top but that’s when reading from my current-day suburban mindset. When I put myself into the story, I find myself thinking that plenty of Dunlows likely existed; it’s Rakestraw and his internal struggle that portray the hope that the novel needs.
recommended: Darktown: A Novel by Thomas Mullen (Be prepared though; it’s set in a period in which racial epithets were thrown with impunity; you’ll see ‘the N word’ and other slurs used quite a bit, though never glorified or used lightly. It’s historical, be ready for it.)
[more short book reviews]
on October 25, 2011 I wrote a post on Getting highlighted text from the Amazon Kindle. Most of that still applies, but Amazon has changed several pages’ address and formatting. The info formerly at “your books” is now read.amazon.com, and “your highlights” is now “your notes and highlights” at read.amazon.com/notebook.
Almost every article “out there” on setting up an FTP Server on Windows 10 starts with using the “Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User control panel” – which doesn’t seem to work/exist on my computer – or to some “Administrative Tools” control panel applet – which also doesn’t exist here. I don’t know; I suspect that the various versions of Window 10 have things moved around so much that nobody’s sure where to find what’s really needed.
As of today, on my computer (which just identifies it’s version as “Window 10 Pro”) this worked.
Type “features” into the Cortana Search Box.
If the search box doesn’t show on your computer, try right-clicking on the taskbar and chosing
Cortana > Show search box.
This will get you the Windows Features selection – which should be/has been/might be also available from Control Panel Apps & Features, but isn’t always.
For whatever reason the FTP Server ‘feature’ is tucked into the Internet Information Services section of the Windows Features selection, though most of us might think that’s only for, ya know, Internet Information Server a.k.a. IIS a.k.a. the web server.
Now you can use the IIS Manager (again, use Cortana if you need; search for IIS). Right click on Sites and choose Add FTP Site
Easter Rising, Enniscorthy 1916: writing about a revolution (Irish Times, 26 Mar 2016): Three writers remember three women – George O’Brien his grandaunt Greta Comerford, Roddy Doyle his grandaunt Una Brennan and Colm Tóibín his neighbour Marion Stokes
Una Brennan, about whom Roddy Doyle writes in this article, was my great-grandmother. My mom was named after her, and one of my sons is named after her husband.
see more posts in the Ireland category.
I use Evernote. A lot. I’d consider it to be a backup for my brain, except that often it’s more like the primary storage instead of backup. Recipes, lists of books, notes on projects, and much more gets dumped into Evernote for future reference.
Of course, reference requires good methods for browsing and searching. The search box tends to be just about the most-used piece of Evernote’s interface for me.
If you poke through the menus (Edit -> Find), you’ll learn that you can use the
Option-Command-F key combination () combination [
F6 for Windows users] to jump straight to the search box without having to use the mouse. That’s helpful.
What’s perhaps even more useful, and not found anywhere (that I could find, anyway) in the user interface, is that you can search Evernote from anywhere – yup, as long as Evernote is running, you don’t have to be switch to it first in order to search. While reading this post, for example, or while working on that important report you should be writing, just press the
Control-Command-E key combination () [
Windows Shift F for windows users].
That’s super useful!
(It would be good if the “universal” key combination also worked while in the app; for me, at least, Ctrl-Cmd-E does nothing while Evernote is the foreground app. Having to know two different key combinations is… less than optimal.)