It's that time again when we have to submit our annual self-assessment for the "end of year" process.

What to write about in a year that's been dominated by Covid and started with what I thought was an eye infection but turned out to be a recurrent case of scleritis and macular edema.

It almost doesn't seem possible that tomorrow will be seven months to the day since I started working from home.

I think this year has largely been about keeping the lights on and hitting targets while I still look for other opportunities. Nothing spectacular.

Lockdown and continuing restrictions have been both a blessing and a curse. In one sense it's been good not to have to worry about commuting and the risk associated with it, an attack vector for some anxiety is removed, but the timelessness caused by living within the confines of your home is not good for you and I continue to have ups and downs on the mental health front.

Considering that a lot of my mental health issues stem from self-esteem problems, the ability to adequately sell myself and any accomplishments has always been difficult. End of year reviews are hard enough at the best of times without the added complication of a global pandemic and everything it brings with it.

Those little voices in my head telling me I'm not good enough become almost overpowering in the isolation of lockdown and restrictions.

Still, I know I'm not alone, it's been a hard year for everyone and I take comfort in the fact that the lights are still on and I'm still able to function - it hasn't beaten me even though it's been hard. At times, really hard.

You just have to keep on surviving, appreciating the small wins whenever and wherever you can get them.

23/10/2020, 18:39

Liked MJD 59,143 - Venkatesh Rao...

"You’ll be pivoting towards either greater engagement or greater detachment. You’ll either help invent the future, or retreat with the declining age and turn into a producer of nostalgia."

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I should do a better job of documenting what I do here for my own reference as much as for sharing with others. I go through phases where I implement or change a number of things in quick succession but then have gaps and often can't remember how I did things.

The theme is a bit of a mess and could do with tidying up/sorting out as there are bits all over the place with repeated code in different templates when I could/should write once, use many.

I'll post snippets here and there detailing how I've done certain things but, unlike the plug-ins uploaded to GitHub, there normally isn't enough to re-implement it elsewhere.

21/10/2020, 18:14

A slight update: I could already toggle the posting form on and off so thought I'd incorporate the post edit icons into this action. Now I have them off by default and they toggle on if I hide the new post form. It's more a way to save space on screen than anything but also keeps things a little tidier.

21/10/2020, 11:52

Following on from the simple posting form I thought about making it easier to edit posts inline from the Daily page.

Now, when logged in each item has a pencil I can click/tap to switch to "edit mode" for that post:

This will load a form with the post contents ready to edit:

Hit update and that's it!

If I need to add something or spot a typo (more likely) I can do it without going to the back end.

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I'm not sure if it's just because MacOS Big Sur is still in beta or because my MacBook Pro is starting to show its age a little but it seems to be running hotter with the battery life dropping off.

To counter this I've just paid for Turbo Boost Switcher Pro, after using the free version for a while, which will counter both these issues.

There's not really anything I do on the MacBook that pushes it so I should be able to run it with turbo boost off most of the time.

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Due to the issues around sending the daily email updates I have decided to remove this feature from the blog rather than have an inconsistent experience. If you still want to get daily updates then you can use the RSS feed.

There is no change to the muse-letter and sign-up is still available here.

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Not feeling too good today. Logged in to work for a couple of hours as I was on the early shift but jumped off when the cavalry arrived. Going to take it easy.

16/10/2020, 08:58

The daily emails are still occasionally getting blocked by the over zealous outgoing spam filter. I still can't see any logic as to why one day would be blocked over another but it's beyond my control barring a complete change in the way it operates.

The daily RSS feed can be used instead and can be found here.

16/10/2020, 08:52

If there's anything akin to a cardinal sin among certain sections of the PC gaming community, certainly in World of Warcraft, it's being a "clicker" (see definition 3) - someone who clicks their abilities on screen rather than have everything mapped to keybindings.

And heaven help you if you're a "keyboard turner" - someone who uses keys to turn your character instead of the mouse.

All things being equal, keybindings for abilities and using the mouse to turn your character and in-game camera are more efficient. But not everything is equal. Disabilities and learning difficulties can have a massive impact on the way you play. After a period of illness in her late teens/early twenties my wife was left with grip and dexterity issues in her left hand, for example and still has issues to this day.

I used to virtually live in video game arcades when I was a kid. I was good at the games, very good, to the point that the arcade owners would ask me to play new games to see if they would make enough money. If I could finish a game within the first two or three days of it being installed they probably wouldn't keep it. Some games had variable difficulty settings (who remembers dip switches) and I was regularly called upon to test changes to see if they made it hard enough.

In those days things were a lot simpler. I had excellent coordination and fast reactions but the controls were relatively minimal: a joystick and a few buttons at most.

For whatever reason I struggle with anything beyond that; I don't know if it's just because I'm older or that there's more controls involved. My mind refuses to deal with so many things and doesn't seem to send the right commands to my hands. I am unable to use an Xbox controller for the same reason meaning most console gaming is out for me as there is no alternative input method.

I'm probably about a 50/50 keybinds/clicker person - maybe more like 40/60 - and would likely get ridiculed for that from elitest players. I'll use the keyboard where I can but have to back it up - a lot - with the mouse. It takes me a long time to get used to a layout and I don't handle change particularly well. Call it muscle memory, or just familiarity or practice, but even though I know where things are that still doesn't always translate to being able to use them depending on what else is going on.

Times like this, when the game and your abilities change and you have to relearn things or move things around, are particularly difficult. It may seem melodramatic but the changes this time around mean that I can't play how I was going to over the next WoW expansion. Things have changed too much and I haven't got the mental capacity/physical dexterity to cope with it and remain a viable player.

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Ah, good old WoW patch days! That timeless cocktail of out of date add-ons, bugs, crashes and reduced frame rates. Some things never change.

14/10/2020, 13:40

Got some email replies out of the way - feels good to stay in touch.

Now half watching, half listening to the Apple event, not that I'll be buying an iPhone any time soon but it's good to keep abreast of things.

13/10/2020, 18:13

Nicholas Bate always has such positive things to say about Monday; it is, after all, just another day marked by a single revolution of our planet.

Yet, Monday is a construct, an artificial delineation, something upon which we have forced meaning and, in doing so, have come to resent.

I've said all this before.

Some of us working a traditional five day week resent/fear Monday's because we are not doing something we love, something we are passionate about, and that drags us down. It shouldn't.

There were things I wanted to say yesterday, observations I wanted to make, but couldn't bring myself to blog. It's a shame, dare I say a travesty - blogging is something I love and am passionate about but when Monday )and all its connotations) stops me from doing so I feel as though I've lost something inside.

I should blog despite and in spite of Monday, make Monday great again! Maybe, that will temper my feelings towards it and help set me up for the week in the right frame of mind.

If only blogging was my job. Would I still feel the same?

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I have been using the app Fit Companion as it fills a few gaps in WearOS and Google Fit including an ongoing activity tracker with sedentary reminders. Why WearOS/Google Fit don't include this out of the box is beyond me.

Fit Companion received a big update a couple of days ago to include a lot more detail for sleep tracking - again Google Fit is sorely lacking in this area. The recent Wellness update for Fossil family Gen 5 watches brought native sleep tracking to the watch but needed better tools to make the most of that data.

According to the data I actually hit my 7 hours target last night so why do I feel worse than normal? I don't feel rested at all.

Sleep chartClick for more...

The chart shows fluctuation in heart rate throughout the night with a number of high peaks. Is that dreaming or snoring? Snoring is like a minor sleep apnea and your heart rate automatically increases - who knew.

While the chart shows I had an initial period of deep sleep it wasn't very restful from 12:30 on. I know that smartwatches aren't necessarily the most accurate devices but the chart does help to explain the way I feel this morning.

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