Appliance Timers for bringing your traditional appliances into the modern home IoT

I don’t do a lot of super techs around home, not even a siri/amazon…but this I have an absolute need for… hooking up my oldschool espresso machine to run in the morning before I get up!

Even if I’m replacing my old style espresso maker, the ones with times start around $200, so going with a $30 – $100 old style, then adding a bluetooth timer to the power cord of the espresso machine saves me $100 for the same machine.

Highlights are it’s blue tooth to android or ios (apple, not cisco) and it programs via a QR code you scan … Link.  There might be a power draw issue, redditors recommend a slightly more powerful version – Link.

It’s almost enough to want to plug in an Echo Dot ( Link  ) upstairs so I can set the timer from my bedroom just before I crawl into bed!


I often try to help people.

Not sure I get it right every time.

It is something of a calling for me…though as time goes on I have to be more selective about it.

What I don’t often talk about is helping myself or why helping is important.

We won’t talk about why today either.

What I need today is to capture some thoughts.  These will probably not impact people or be easily understood – I have heard people say that ’emotional intelligence’ is a thing.  Well, there’s a phrase I’ve been playing with, ’emotional perspective’.  Something where the meaning & understanding are not as impacting once the moment is gone.


When you have a part of your brain that doesn’t work, how do you make the choice to pass that along?  For Asperger/autism spectrum it’s a struggle, but it’s not an altogether hopeless thing.  Most people are reactive to treatment for ADHD and develop some amount of coping skills, but some are crippled by the condition & not able to advance themselves at the rate of others.

This can be depressing.

When we get to double depressive, bipolar, manic type conditions … we are now talking about not just something that is making life hard, it’s literally eating / deadening chunks of your brain … stealing months & years off the end of your life.

Many days you barely make it through yourself.  How do you inflict that on someone else?  How do you risk it getting worse for your kid?

I know there’s many people who think you can just talk to the kids and that will help them understand…right?  Because we just talk to racist people & they suddenly give up being racist or we talk to clueless people who think picking on disabled is fun & they suddenly stop laughing?

The fact is that I’ve had to fight myself for my life … more than a few times each year.  More months than I haven’t … my brain gives me the feels & they are intense I weep with the beauty of music & my memories of wonderful people and things I’ve seen.  More regularly though, I am a mess inside and unable to comprehend the brutal world humans created for each other.

As an individual with autism spectrum w/adhd, a history of bipolar & double depressive on both sides of the family – I have issues comprehending people & their lack of context or why they can’t grasp my context.  How would I explain, guide & mentor a child of my own through their life.  Especially knowing it’s late in my life to start & my brain is taking vacations to destroy itself every so often each year?

What would be the content of the conversation…

  • You will see other people, but you mustn’t ever compare yourself to them – instead celebrate them & their joys like they are your own…because you might never experience their happiness for yourself?
  • You will live with fear, anxiety, depression, obsession for the rest of your short life?
  • These things will plague you at work, they will plague you in making & keeping friends, they will plague you in building a home & a life with your would be spouse.
  • You will always struggle with basic things that other people just get?
  • There are drugs that will help you, but eventually they will lose their power to help?
  • We need to live without attachment, to love fiercely, to appreciate every little thing, because no one is guaranteed anything other than death – except we are guaranteed to suffer more than others & to die earlier?
  • I have literally felt alone most of my life since 10 years old & you probably will too?
  • I traveled instead of of saving money as a young man & that you won’t have a chance in hell at college due to my choices, but that’s probably okay, because with all the disabilities – you would have to struggle much harder than other students?
  • I’m telling you this, but you need to struggle on anyways, even if one day I’m not around, even if I die early or lose my fight and choose to leave this world?
  • You might not have me to help guide you & honestly, I’m not sure how good of guide I can or have been?

Even if we come up with the perfect message & strip out all the negativity, will the very act of talking about it make it like a destiny to them?  Influencing and sticking that fear in their brains like a deterministic bias?

Can I medicate them from 9 years old till 18 to get them through the bad times without depriving them of time to develop their ability to cope?

I have to imagine that my parents had some of these same thoughts or discussions between themselves.  Knowing this I can’t blame them for getting divorced … do you scare the living crap out of them or coddle the children?  Its not an insignificant choice.

This all assumes I could be a basically good & well intending parent.  That my depression, sadness, anger, etc don’t make me unable to be there for my child.  That my kid never has to visit the ‘hospital’ to see me while I’m fighting my brain … I’ve avoided that thus far, but if it’s a struggle where there’s more on the stake than just me – that’s a bigger deal and a heavy anxiety debt to carry.  This assumes that even if I avoid going away, that I will be 100% present.  That my sadness won’t dampen my children or the medication won’t make me less empathetic & excited around them…or take me to the point where I don’t care enough about them or understand their happiness/sadness enough to connect to them.  The worst assumption is the one that what if between all of the stress in life, I become a monster who lashes out at my children?

I can’t really see the screen through my tears right now to type & there’s a guilty part of me that is glad my girlfriend from 10 years ago miscarried, because this is a hell of a thing to think & write…much less if my child’s well being depended on me & I barely make it by as is …

Github’s extra features – issues versus projects – TDD/BDD

Trying to document a bit of what I am up too in the hopes it helps my workflow process improve.

Supposedly, when ADHD or tired this workflow will help you concentrate in order to be productive!

I’ve been hanging out on my project lately.  Using the Issues List as my per task driver for the TDD/BDD stuff.  I’m actually listing out each command with a checkbox as my aid for doing & reversing the code I’m working with … usually the second time.  I also tried the “projects” thing off github’s repository … the feature is pretty meh for control though.  My frustration is that I can get check boxes and exacting lists of whatever length I want from the Issues list.

I really hate the idea of cluttering up my github issues list on projects which might get a volume of people (obviously my early stuff won’t suffer from this syndrome), so I’m attempting to shoe horn projects in to that role.  Currently, I’m using projects to describe the title of what I’m doing & Issue’s with check boxes the behavior that needs to be fixed along with the steps taken to fix the issue.

By no means am I an expert – more of a new guy imitating what I see other people doing.  So here’s my screen captures …

Tactics to achieve programming

Deliberate practice – of everything, this strategy is the most important – keep doing something regularly till it becomes routine or a pattern of living … the corny teachers talk about ABC’s, or “Always Be Programming”, trite but true.

  • In learning new languages, at first it’s memorization & rote reciting…
    • The noises your teacher demonstrates so you understand how to read the written language.
    • The nouns, verbs, prepositions you repetitively write or sound out.
    • Your teacher has you pronounce them until they are happy with how it sounds.
    • You practice in class with fellow students by speaking to each other
    • You get quizzed or graded on use

Some things you might have never thought about that schools do for you automatically:

  • Setting a schedule, like …
    • Meeting every day for 20 or 30 minutes
    • Meeting a couple times a week
    • Doing studies independently to prepare for class
    • Doing it enough that it stays in short term & longterm memory
  • Doing chunks of things in small batches, so no one thing gets lost
  • Having a goal
  • Having a defined set of steps
  • Having a defined set of check points to ensure the steps are getting you to the goal

Ways to go about that when not in school … these are effort based, not results based, as the amount achieved each day will vary with what you are doing & how far in to it you are (ie locating a rare bug versus reading the latest change log)

  • 20 minute rule – each day do something for programming even if it’s…
    • Thinking about a problem & jotting ideas down on a napkin
    • Listening to a podcast in the car
    • Planning what you will do for programming next week
    • Talking to someone on IM or phone
    • Watching a youtube video or a screencast
    • Read what changes will happen in the next patch
  • A calendar which you write how much time per session or day that you spent programming
  • A web blog which you can store snatches of what you were last working on so you can easily remember where you left off, what you intended & why you were working on it.
  • A web interface that allows you to work from anywhere with internet connections
    • wc3 java/html, fiddles, sandboxes which reset quickly online
    • cloud9 for web IDE developement or such
    • heroku, amazon aws, google servers or others for hosting files or services
  • Part of the 20 minute rule, if you’re working on something with no change in status & you’re not learning anything – change what you’re doing to learn more effectively for that specific type of thing – as not every type of problem is answered in the same type of source.
    • Always TRY to start with the quick start tutorials from the publisher of the language/framework as they often explain the process & what is intended the best
    • Independent tutorials are good walk through for overviews (check the date published of course) as the person doesn’t have an familiarity with the development of the language
    • Learn to books often provide a dense, but necessary process of learning from experts who are respected – there’s an open source trend for the same authors to publish the book electronically for free & you only pay for the book in hardcopy or donate if you want.
    • Cookbooks (like are often free & good to see common solutions
    • Official or API documentation are good for the specific syntax when adding options after you understand the process
    • Change logs combined with the date of a tutorial are good for finding bugs which might explain why a tutorial isn’t working
    • If the language or tools in question are open source, github or bitbucket repositories often have well fleshed out issues lists – which hold wonderful information about things common to people just starting to use the code in question
    • Independent online schools can be very helpful – codeacademy has an excellent selection of languages for learning the syntax – just realize you need to take that knowledge & learn to program with it afterwards.
    • Daily quick code challenges like codewars etc are nice ways to keep the problem solving frame of mind along with realizing small holes in your knowledge base
    • Stackoverflow paired with the specific language / framework’s issues submissions list often have most pieces of a puzzle to help you locate at the very least – the verbs/nouns you need in order to search more, if not the solutions to many issues you are going to experience.
    • Slack has channels for chatting with people for all languages & often specialized groups you can join later – make sure to pay attention to their chat channel rules before posting

A diary of regret – Leonardo da Vinci

From Time Magazine …


As the ultimate Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci meticulously recorded his thoughts, musings and sketches in journals throughout his life. Of the 30 that remain, his most famous is the Codex Hammer, named for the British nobleman who acquired the 72-page journal in 1717. Three years after Bill Gates bought the historic diary, he released a digitally scanned version for all the world to enjoy.

One of the most recognized names in western literature.

This is a man who, post humorously would be seen as unassailable in his brilliance.  He was no pauper as he was recognized for being great before death.

It’s insightful to hear that even he was plagued by that ever so human element of doubtfulness.

Throughout his life Leonardo da Vinci was plagued by a sense of failure, incompletion and time wasted. His favorite phrase, unconsciously repeated in whole or in part whenever he scribbled something to see if a newly cut pen was working, was “Tell me, tell me if anything got finished.” – Link

This speaks to me ever so much … not that I think I’m brilliant, but that I can recognize a pattern of desire in every living person, even the greatest ones.

The defeat of revolutions? Comfort & depression?

A little about depression … “double depression” (Dysthymia) that is and a funny perspective on the realities of society in the modern era … Link …

It reminds me of my grandparents when I was but 4 years old.  In one of a handful of those memories I actually recall vividly they babysat me.  We were at the park.  I was on bench between them.  Talking about things I didn’t really understand by telling me what things made people happy & sad.  Then instructing me one day it would be my turn to read the news papers.  I would have to know how to vote in order to help the country.  To do so, I would need to know how to read.

Also, if I knew how to read I would learn J. R. R. Tolkien was the great writer of the Hobbit & I could find more hobbit stories if I could read.

The funny part of the situation – 10 years later they were informing me they only consume media that is by comedians anymore – as the rest is too depressing … many years after they are gone, I found this today …

The distraction of the comfortable is always why revolutions fail. Once people reach a certain standard of living, they think they no longer owe it to the rest of humanity to continue fighting. They say they need a rest from all the hard work they did to get where they are. By the time they have kids, well, it’s over.

They gave it a shot.

Better luck, next generation.

Boomers, out.

But I don’t want to be their deadend.

And maybe you don’t either.

And if you’re fighting it, then you’re gasping for air while the rest of the free world is volunteering to drown.

If you’re taken in by the dread, it’s because it’s real.

You’ve seen the surface. You know this drowning world isn’t all there is.

Test.  I’m not sure why it speaks to me.  Test again.  Repeat later …