Now

What I am up to these days

This is my now page. I’ll check in from time to time to tell folks what I’m doing. Now.

Current Location

Petaluma, California, USA (38.27377102230379, -122.67053388165631)

Profession

  • Radio host (since 1976) - currently hosting a syndicated weekend call-in show called The Tech Guy
  • Founder of the TWiT Netcast Network where I host six podcasts about tech.

Family

Married to Lisa with two adult children, both performers, and one adult stepson, occupation TBD. Owned by two cats, Paris and Samantha.

Motto

186,000 miles per hour. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.


Hobbies

Working on learning Lisp

Wed 04 May 2022 11:20:05 PM PDT

I got pretty good at Racket (Genus Scheme, Family Lisp) by reading How to Design Programs and taking a related online class from Gregor Kilczales from the University of British Columbia on EDX. Good enough to earn 37 out of 50 stars in the 2021 Advent of Code (although I stopped more because I ran out of interest than I ran out of Scheme).. My solutions are on Github. I’m really proud of them.

I’ve been programming for fun for a long time - more than 40 years. I wrote a daemon dialer for my Mac BBS in 68000 assembler in 1986. I know it was 1986 because I remember watching the Space Shuttle Challenger blow up while I was doing it.

A few years ago I decided to start over and learn how to program right. That’s when I started HtDP and Racket. But everyone agrees the king of languages is Lisp. esr says:

Lisp is worth learning for the profound enlightenment experience you will have when you finally get it; that experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days, even if you never actually use Lisp itself a lot.

Raymond is spectacularly wrong about many things, but I think he nailed it with Lisp. So now I’m working on that. I like Lisp because it’s exactly as old as I am and it hasn’t changed in 40 years. Unlike me.

I’ve been using the following books to learn:

  1. Common Lisp, A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computing by David Touretzky
  2. Practical Common Lisp by Peter Siebel
  3. ANSI Common Lisp by Paul Graham
  4. On Lisp by Paul Graham

I recommend all four in that order. I’m hoping to do this year’s Advent of Code in Lisp. And get all 50 stars, too.

Learning Emacs

Wed 04 May 2022 11:45:11 PM PDT

Part of learning Lisp is learning Emacs. They go hand-in-hand. I don’t think I can really become adept at it in my remaining 18 years but it’s fun to try. I’m also trying to learn its org-mode for journaling, note-taking, and list making. It’s pretty handy.

Planning a cruise to Alaska

Wed 04 May 2022 11:20:39 PM PDT

Sometimes I think the best part of travelling is planning the trip. The expectation is thrilling. I’m using Notion to plan it out. Lisa and I are going with Paul Thurrott (my Windows Weekly co-host) and his wife plus 100 or so TWiT listeners this July.

Coming to grips with aging

Wed 04 May 2022 11:40:07 PM PDT

My mom turns 90 in January my dad next July. They’re both sharp and healthy but they’re slowing down and I know I won’t have many more years with them. I’m 65. Retirement age.

According to the Life Expetancy Calculator I have about 18 years left. That’s it. I worry about being a burden to my family in my later years, even though my parents aren’t yet. I’ve read Atul Gawande’s excellent (and sad) Being Mortal and it scares me. I’m an atheist so I don’t have any hopes of an afterlife. Although, as I get nearer to the end I notice that Nick Bostrom’s simulation hypothesis gets more appealing. Even more believable.

I also wonder if I shouldn’t retire soon so I can enjoy my remaining years. (I have about the same amount of time left as I’ve been doing TWiT. That seems like a very short time.) I want to travel and my work schedule makes it hard to go on the longer trips I dream about, especially an around the world cruise. I have enough money saved to retire fairly comfortably, even go on that cruise, but I still am the primary support for several family members and I am afraid of leaving them in the lurch. And then I wonder if not working will drive me nuts. I think it’s likely I’ll begin to work less and less over the next few years and by the time I’m 70 just do one, audio-only, podcast a week until my voice or my brains give out.

Reading

I’m on book four of the very fun Bobiverse series from Dennis E. Taylor. Ray Porter reads it for Audible and he’s just perfect, as he was narrating the excellent Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. Porter’s a master of modern wise-ass delivery. (Wed 04 May 2022 11:51:48 PM PDT)

Also attempting David Graeber’s The Dawn of Everything (archeology and world pre-history) and I’m mired in the slog - book six - of the Wheel of Time. I may not finish that one. I only have 18 years left, remember. (Wed 04 May 2022 11:54:56 PM PDT)

TV

I watch way too much TV, usually a couple of shows each night with Lisa. Our secret shame is Peacock/Bravo’s Below Deck reality series. We started watching it during Covid because we missed traveling so much. But now we’re just hooked on the drama. We loved loved Loved Succession on HBO and Slow Horses on AppleTV+ but I’m having a hard time finding anything I love as much these days. Just started Outer Range on Amazon Prime - it’s kind of like Yosemite meets Stranger Things and I’m not sure whether I like it yet. Also started Under the Banner of Heaven on Hulu. It’s creepy and the partiarchal Mormonism in it hits a little too painfully close to home in our newly Christian Nationalistic America. (Thu 05 May 2022 12:00:15 AM PDT)



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