A few months ago, I got a cheap fitness tracker to help combat my daily inactivity, resulting from barely leaving my small studio apartment in Tokyo. While I knew 10,000 steps is generally recommended, I decided to aim for a lower and more manageable 5,000 steps, a number so achievable that I’d be more likely to do it consistently.
At first, I would try to explore a new area around my neighborhood every day, but it often led to an inconsistent number of steps, and I’d find myself walking in circles to round out the last few hundred needed to hit my target. …
One of my dissertation projects when I was a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab was Build in Progress, a documentation platform and online community for sharing DIY projects.
A main focus of Build in Progress was developing a tool that lets people visualize and navigate process-oriented documentation, or documentation that shares iterations throughout the course of a design project. Build in Progress was meant for sharing stories around how a project evolves over time rather than instructions for building a project, a more dominant form of project documentation in the DIY community (e.g., Instructables).
Last month, one of my favorite organizations, The Recurse Center, reached out to me about designing their new public newsletter, Still Computing. This weekly newsletter is intended to share the excitement and joy around computing that is at the core of the Recurse experience:
Expect stories about bugs and rabbit holes, computing ethics, career advice, art made by humans about computers and vice versa, plus other things Recursers are excited to share.
- from their Signup Page
I was super excited for this opportunity and agreed right away!
In the Summer of 2018, I spent 6 months at The Recurse’s programmers retreat in NYC (more on my experience here) and have always been inspired by their mission to provide the space and support for anyone to pursue self-directed learning. …
Since I moved to Japan a month ago, I’ve been keeping a food journal.
It started out as an experiment ; I bought a cheap set of color pencils from Tokyo Hands (under $10) and a $8 notebook from Ito-Ya and wanted to see how long I could keep up with it.
Mostly, I wanted a more collected way to keep track of the new things I’d be able to try (rather than a scattering of unorganized photos), and I also liked the idea of practicing drawing. …
A recent realization I’ve had is how easily many people, myself included, disqualify themselves before they’re even considered.
By disqualification, I mean that many people, particularly minorities, see themselves as other and thus do not necessarily feel they deserve certain rights or experiences.
One example is qualifying for an application. I’ve often found myself feeling that I am not qualified, or even that other people deserve opportunities over me, because I am unsure whether it’s a good fit or if I’ve wanted it enough.
When I applied to college, for example, I often felt guilty about my admission to certain hallowed institutions. It was easy to think that other people, who have dreamed of going to [elite college] their entire life, deserved to go over me, when I didn’t even consider applying to MIT, for example, until my junior year of high school. It’s also easy to get trapped in the affirmative action track where you feel like you don’t actually qualify as a candidate and have been considered in a separate pool because of attributes you had no control over (e.g., …
I really dislike side projects and one day will write a long blog post about why.
But I have what I’m calling a compulsive creator disorder where if I think of an idea, then I want to make it immediately, and if I don’t, then I get very antsy. And then I feel bad that I don’t finish most of them.
This is a compilation of side projects I worked on in 2019, some finished but most not.
I intentionally tried to read fewer books in 2019.
I realized in 2018, after reading 60 books, that reading was getting less fun. I felt that reading was getting in the way of me doing what I deemed to be more creative endeavors.
You know that feeling when you get a book and think, “This is going to answer a fundamental question I have in my life”, and you’re ultimately disappointed because it doesn’t meet those high expectations? I felt like I was using reading as a scapegoat for doing the creative work I needed to do to get out of a job I started to increasingly dislike. …
Earliest this year, I took the longest vacation I’ve ever taken and spent 9 days in Scandinavia.
Our vacation started in Oslo, found us taking taking a train to Flam and a fjord tour to Bergen, brought us to Copenhagen for a couple days, and ended in Stockholm.
At the time of the vacation, I knew that I needed a break, but I didn’t realize how much taking time off would help me refocus my priorities and perspective on living more generally.
In particular, I realized that many of the things I did on vacation, including planning our daily itineraries while also leaving room for aimless exploring, was how I aspired to live my life, even when not on vacation. …
I actually wrote this article 5 years ago, while I was a college radio DJ in grad school at WMBR, MIT’s radio station.
At the time, I decided it would be fun to learn more about how bands eat on tour, given that I had a radio show called Eater’s Digest about the intersection of food and music.
Over the course of three years, I interviewed 30 bands (mostly indie rock) about their favorite restaurants around the world, what they requested on their rider, and what they like to cook when they’re at home. It ended up being a surprisingly wonderful experience, not just because I got to meet a lot of great people and amassed tons of recommendations for where to eat, but it was also a lesson for me personally in how easy it is to start up a series like this if you have the ambition. …
I recently got an m5Stack, a small wi-fi-enabled development board with a built in screen, IMU (for measuring tilt and acceleration), buttons, and a speaker.
I think it can be a really cool platform for building web-connected games (or even just an ambient display that’s controlled by the web) since it’s super portable. And it cost $40, which is pretty reasonable! I got mine from Adafruit, and you can buy a version without the 9 DOF motion sensor for $35.