• GHDO for November 11: More of the Same (and that’s OK)

    November 11, 2020

    "More of the Same" 2020 is almost over and I am grateful for a lot of things, among them:

    • Good friends to keep me grounded, both online and offline!
    • The Virtual Coworking Cafe and its people!
    • Contract work that thankfully extends to 2021!

    This is also the second-to-last “Not Groundhog Day” resolutions report! If you are just joining me, 2020 is the first year since 2007 that I have not pursued some kind of “big goal”. It seemed that the big goals I picked were variations on the same thing, and they weren’t getting any closer to being resolved. So for 2020 I decided not to track any of these goals at all, and just see what I ended up doing as a way to reset my expectations. Sometimes you need a break to see the pattern in what you’re doing.

    It occurred to me today that I have a preliminary finding from this year of not-tracking: I may have found my “natural” energy-to-task equilibrium. The sobering hypothesis is that I can only manage ONE MAJOR TASK AT A TIME in any kind of disciplined manner by myself. If I try to handle more than that, my mental and physical health takes a big hit due to additional stress I put on myself.

    I want to hold on to that thought for the end-of-year review, but for now let’s get into the November review! (more…)

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    D.Sri Seah
  • Visual Word Counting Calendar for NaNoWriMo 2020

    October 25, 2020

    2020 Word Counting Calendar for Tracking Nanowrimo Progress I’ve updated my Word Counting Calendar for Nanowrimo again for international Novel Writing Month, which happens every October. The idea is to write 50,000 in 30 days. I did it in once 2013, but the real takeaway for me was this calendar design.

    Green Version


    • Download the standard green edition (PDF)
    • Download the color variations (archive on Patreon)

    You can find instructions on how to use the calendar at

    The Patreon-hosted downloads also include a 5000 word kid version that might be useful for kids participating in the Young Writers Program.

    All these calendars are free for people and organizations doing Nanowrimo! If you like the calendar, please let me know on Twitter or Instagram, and that will make my day. :-)


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    D.Sri Seah
  • GHDO for October 10: Looking Inward

    October 10, 2020

    "Groundhog Day Do Over: Looking Inward" Can you believe it’s time for the October Review already? If you’re just tuning in, I’m doing a report every month on the same days as Groundhog Day Resolutions, but am not doing my usual goal tracking. Instead, I’m seeing what happens when I instead do freeform focus on a single area of interest. I figured that going off the rails for a year might lead to unexpected insights while also testing to see what habits have been ingrained over the last 12 years. (more…)

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    D.Sri Seah
  • GHDO for September 9: Sloughing through the Month

    September 9, 2020

    "Groundhog Day Do Over: Sloughing through the Month" Monthly update time!

    It has been an unremarkable month that has felt busy but not very productive. In this report I’ll note some of the concerns I’ve had recently so I can address them in the month ahead. (more…)

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    D.Sri Seah
  • Thinking with Whimsical Maps

    August 27, 2020

    Diagrams For the past year I’ve been working on a complicated Javascript project that includes, among other things, an “agent simulation engine” that allows students to program an “agent template” where they could:

    • name a property to store a value
    • read and write the named property
    • conditionally execute code based on the value of a property
    • generate any number of “agent instances” from the template and run the simulation

    This did not seem difficult at first, as we already had a simulation engine that was already built around these principles. I then ran right into the main problem: while we could easily write this kind of code ourselves in Javascript, the implicit requirement was that students could define the first three operations IN ANY ORDER within the context of our simulation engine. That meant I needed to write some kind of scripting language or sequencing method on top of it because the students don’t have access to Javascript, and we can’t generate compiled Javascript code from source in the browser due to hard security constraints.

    There are a lot of things happening in this simulation engine already, and I was having trouble “reasoning” about the system. Not only did I have to think of sequencing the simulation engine, but I also had to sequence the student script engine on top of this sequence. I was getting lost in the wheels within wheels within wheels. So I made a bunch of maps to get the systems out of my head and onto paper so I could reason by mentally visiting the system from different points of view. I used the web-based app Whimsical because it’s awesomely well-designed and lets me get really fussy about lining things up. (more…)

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    D.Sri Seah