Monochrome photo of a dog laying on the floor in a bright sunbeam

Wednesday morning sunbeam puppy update: puppy is in the sunbeam.

Photo of a TV screen showing Josh Ritter playing a guitar and smiling

🎵 Josh Ritter performed another Silo Show from his home on Saturday. He likened our quarantines to sitting at so many small, lonely campfires in the dark, and that with these performances we get to, for a while, sit together at one fire. It was a beautiful, moving sentiment.

Also while I’m catching up, this Joan Armatrading album is amazing.

Spent a good chunk of the day learning how to make a Shiny app out of my Destiny Armor Profiling Thing. That was fun and my brain is also broken.🎮

A forest path along a railing and bank of pine trees, with low sun shining in background

It was a nice afternoon for a walk in the woods.

There’s a direct line from his cheering on of a mob running his opponent’s bus off a highway, to multiple people on my street telling me they are afraid to put up a campaign sign among their MAGA-flag neighbors.

🎮 Speaking of Destiny, a note out to my micro.friends gamers: The upcoming expansion will be free for XBox with Game Pass, so if any folks new to the game are interested in checking it out, I’m happy to team up and show you some ropes! (I’m actually playing primarily on PC/Steam, so equally happy to meet up there.)

This was an extra-long season of the game due to delays in the launch of the next significant expansion, Beyond Light. That length worked well for me because I bounced out of the game for a while this summer and fall and enjoyed some other games and pastimes from my mostly-quarantined home. (The seasonal experiment has been at times a lot of fun and often really frustrating, because it created a game loop that was often too much of a grind.)

But then I happened into spending more time with a nice community of friendly and welcoming players, and had a really good time the last several weeks checking off activities that I hadn’t completed and earning my first titles in the game. Those are special designations that players get to wear in-game for finishing significant sets of activities centered on seasonal quests or specific game modes. It feels good to rock the MMXX label while shooting space magic at aliens. 


I’m happy to have come back and really enjoyed the game lately, pleased to have earned some titles, but most fulfilled by having done it alongside folks who are good company. We cheerfully helped one another complete raids we hadn’t checked off and finish incomplete quests.  Having finished off the title for both the current season and the “moments of triumph” title for 2020, I’m ready for more.


Previously in this series:

Reaching the point in my Friday afternoon where I just said “screw it I’m going to write this in excel.”

Furnace is on. That’s not just a metaphor, it’s gonna be like 18°F tonight.

My dishwasher has a timer delay of up to 24 hours. Who has two sets of dishes and a spare dishwasher? I’m going to eat again tomorrow.

Is my dishwasher made for those intermittent fasting bros who can’t stop telling me about how they’re fasting today?

Photo of a cappuccino in a blue mug, with a flower-shaped pour of milk

Lovely light and shadow on a nice afternoon cappuccino.

Long story short, in response to my wife telling a self deprecating joke, my son just said, “don’t you dare take coal from your own train.” And damn, he doesn’t realize how good that line is.

Photo of the album cover for Darlingside’s Fish Pond Fish: four faces merged into three sets of overlapping eyes

The new album by Darlingside arrived tonight. I tucked in my family and plugged in my headphones to listen to this small treasure, alone in a mostly dark room.

Flagstaff, AZ, USA, 9:30pm local time

Screenshot of an enclosed area filled with grass and a path between openings in two opposite walls

Today in Townscaper: Learned that garden paths exist! And how to make them!

A black dog lying in the sun on a striped rug.

Monday puppy update: sunbeam.

Some special debug modes in Minecraft require pressing F3+some other key, which is a real mess for accessibility; function keys aren't meant to be modifiers of other keys, and the Minecraft folks have some explaining to do on this.

That said, my son came to me with a problem: He wants to do something called "showing chunks" in Minecraft, which requires F3+g. Pressing F3 on his 60% keyboard requires using the _fn_ key, so if he presses another key while holding that key, it also activates the alternate function command mapped to the second key. Without some kind of reconfiguration, his keyboard literally cannot send the combination of fn3+g.

After banging my head around forums for a while, I was surprised that nobody seemed to have posted a working solution. So here's what I came up with, using the key programming available on the Ducky One 2 Mini:

We're going to set the left shift key to imitate F3 without needing to press fn:

  1. Press and hold fn+alt+2, to enable the second keyboard profile. This will separate the keyboard abuse we're going to inflict from the main profile.
  2. Press and hold fn+alt+tab for several seconds until the keyboard blinks
  3. Tap left shift: this selects it as the key to be programmed
  4. Press fn+3: this selects that combination as the input to map to the newly-programmed key
  5. Press fn+alt again to save the macro
  6. Press and hold fn+alt+tab again to exit macro recording mode
Try it out: left shift+g should now emulate fn3+g and toggle the "show chunks" setting on and off. Importantly, this key is bound to profile 2; after using it, swap back to profile 1 with fn+alt+1, so that left shift works as expected again (or just bind it something that makes more sense). 

a townscaper screenshot with many platforms and tall support struts building a high tower

Today in Townscaper: A series of terraces lead steeply upward from the pier, to a tower where either a wizard or a coffee shop overlook the town.

Screenshot showing red, orange and purple brick buildings floating above a shimmering sea

I started playing with Townscaper last night. It’s a city-building toy that lets you paint colorful houses and buildings over an empty seascape. It’s absolutely delightful.

Oh dear. I just learned that I am That Dad who shouts COASTER PLEASE when my kid puts a glass down on unfinished furniture.

The White House is a shitshow as positive tests continue to roll in, and Pence is now playing chicken with Harris in order to claim a political media cycle. What an embarrassment, what a pathetic failure.

I’m getting incrementally better at Star Wars: Squadrons. It has cross play, so if any micro.friends are down to try blowing up some capital ships together, well, Red 5 is standing by. 🎮

Likely not on the radar for most of my academic, stats and data sci friends: the Tableau conf is free and online this week. While the tool may not be in your wheelhouse, it’s almost certainly in your institutional/civic infrastructure. Good oppty to see the conversation here.

Gotta take the little satisfactions where I can find them these days, and I just refactored the shit out of this dishwasher load.

Okay, Star Wars: Squadrons is fun because flying spaceships with lasers is fun. But I’m utterly awful at it. Oof. 🎮