Journal 2019-04-07

This weekend was great.

On Saturday, my wife and I took the kids to the Staten Island Zoo. One of my wife’s best friends is the director of education there, and she gave us (my 6-year-old daughter, mostly) a private tour. We all had a great time, and my daughter had an absolute blast. She loved everything about it, and got to touch a bunch of animals (sheet, goats, birds, snakes, lizards, an armadillo, a rabbit, and a chinchilla) that we never through she would touch. (You can’t touch most of these animals unless you’re on a field trip or you know someone who works there.)

On Sunday, my wife and I took the kids to one park in the morning and let them play a long time. My 2-year-old son, of course, only wanted to be pushed on the swing, but my daughter wanted to climb and jump and slide and dig in the same, and so on. We had a blast. I took her to another park in the afternoon, where she played for hours, blew bubbles, and made some little friends.

It was great to be able to watch my kids learn and play all weekend. We didn’t go too far from home, or spend that much money, but we all had a great time together.

Journal 2019-03-20

I have been working pretty steadily on finishing version 4.0 of SwiftoDo Desktop. I feel pretty good about the app, in general. It is coded in Swift now, as opposed to Objective C, and has a much more mature, and hopefully easy to support, architecture.

It will be a massive upgrade from version 3. While I would like to charge for it, even for my current customers, I feel bad enough about drastically changing an app I sold, even if it is for the better, that I am strongly considering just releasing it as a free upgrade. That’s basically my plan for the next version of SwiftoDo on iOS, which will be based on this codebase as much as possible.

My day job has been super interesting lately. I have hundreds of data analysis work papers to write, and I coded some pretty sophisticated scripts to generate all the data analytics I need to run, review, and report on. If only the software I was using made it easier to generate my work papers. I still have days and days of work ahead of me writing all the work papers that document the process. I also re-learned today about VBA’s superannuated support for interfaces, polymorphism, and delegation, for another project I am working on.

My wife has been baking cookies for Purim this week, which is a lot of fun, but incredibly tempting to me, as I have been on a low-carb diet the past few weeks. I have to loose all the weight I gained over the past 14 months, due to stress- and grief-related overeating. I am using MyFitnessPal, once again, to track my eating. I have also been doing low-paced treadmill workouts in the evenings, though not every night. So far, my diet and exercise regime has gone really well, but sweets can still be tempting.

One new wrinkle in parenting that my family is dealing with is that my two-year-old son has recently developed separation anxiety, which is normal at his age. It has lead to a good deal of interrupted sleep late at night, when he wakes up and screams “Mommy!” My wife bears the brunt of it, though. He cries for her, but not for me. I am definitely second banana during these intermittent nighttime terrors.

Journal 2019-03-15

I am going to try to post a journal entry now and then, because I have been neglecting my blog, and even my micro blog, for a long while now.

Today was a good day.

At work, I automated a data analysis process—and, just as importantly, the work paper creation process associated with it—that I will have to run about sixty times for one of my current projects. I am hopeful that all the effort will have been worth it when I can start using it next week.

I am stressing myself out a little bit while doing this work, though, because it would look like I spent the past day or two not moving forward on actual output at all, even though moving forward next week will be much more efficient. I always have to compare the time it will take me to automate parts of my work with the time it will take me to simply ground it out. Of course, both time estimates are usually just guesses for me, because most of my work is one-off project work, which is never repeated (at least not in the same way) on the next project. Luckily for me, I have the weekend off to forget about time and budget pressure for a couple days.

My daughter passed level 50 in Reading Eggs tonight, which she does at school and at home on her Chromebook. I am very proud of her. She has recently started working much harder at learning to read. My wife and I have been pushing her a little harder lately, too, and even hired her a reading tutor (who is super nice) to help her. The best thing to happen about it this week is that we are now all on the same page about, and saying aloud to each other, that increasing her reading skills is the top priority. It helps to be able to prioritize things.

My son probably will never need a reading tutor, but he will need to go to preschool in the fall, and my wife and I have to figure out how to pay for it. We have already started scaling back our expenses (mainly monthly subscriptions and dining out), but have not gone into full-on budget mode just yet. We have started talking about money again, which is good. We may start using YNAB again, but I don’t care for the price of their subscription.

I have been working on a huge update to one of my apps, SwiftoDo Desktop, which is a todo.txt task list manager for the Mac. The current version is super old now, and I re-wrote it from scratch, basing the model code on the iOS version I have been working on for a couple years now. At this point, the new Mac version is even better than the iOS version, but it is still not ready for release. Based on the brief time I can work on it, late at night, I imagine I have several weeks to go before I can release it.

Also, today, I released a bug fix update to one of my other apps, Simple Call Blocker. I fixed a bug that made its call blocking extension not load for a lot of people. It turns out the problem had to do with calling an Apple API incorrectly—and I think the rules changed since I initially released the app, because it used to work without a problem. I had thought the bug was related to the app’s Core Data stack, which I had no way to fix, but it turned out to be something different. It feels good to fix that bug, and hopefully put a stop to all the customer emails I get about it.