Showing posts from December, 2020

The Doggo Coat

This is my second year in Montréal. What I learned from my last winter here was that woodwork or  whittling were not viable options for me. Winters are largely indoors here. The dust and the chips- that doesn't work for me in my living space. So I think its going to be fabrics and leathers for the next little while. This has increasingly dawned on me as Aditi and I worked on The Doggo Coat. This is a coat for Jasper, my sister in law Pragna's  blue heeler . He lives in Calgary and likes the outdoors. So we want something that is warm, waterproof, and doesnt get in the way of his running around. I used a pattern from Wholefully  as a reference, and to help me get measurements from Pragna over in Calgary.  I decided to go with a waxed canvas and leather outer coat and a detachable inner flannel layer, with webbing  and metal quick release buckles.  I started with 10 oz duck canvas. Washed so it gets a chance to shrink. Cut it to rough shape. I doubled up the canvas, so the entire

Rediscovering writing

Its no coincidence that I started this blog around the same time as I started fieldwork this fall.  There's a profound meditative quality to developing a thought through iterations of text. I'm referring to memo writing, an important aspect of qualitative research methods. I am quite good at maintaining discipline among my numbers. All my quantitative data, be it from a research project or personal logs, are well organized. My folder structure is orderly, my paths consistent, my code annotated and clean. Read JP Ferguson's post on this for inspiration if you want to do this as well. However, the idea of discipline among my words is new to me. Which is why I so glad Samer insists on disciplined memoing to accompany fieldwork. For each observation session, I take field notes, always by hand (delike alpha with a fude nib with iroshizuku shin ryoku ink on 80gsm paper notebooks). I then type out my field notes into a word doc in a secure cloud drive to which Samer has access. T

My Coffee Ritual

Coffee is an important part of my life, and my daily coffee ritual changes every few months. My current method for preparing coffee is espresso. The Bean This week, I'm doing a 50/50 blend. I'm working with a Tanzanian peaberry and my usual base bean, the South Indian Malabar " monsooned " or age cured bean. Both are arabica. I bought both beans, unroasted, from Green Beanery . I have hand roasted both beans, each separately in my coffee cast irons to around  City+  this past weekend, so its now 3 days post roast. With African beans, perhaps because of the coffee processing practices in the region, I find that small bits of skin remain on the bean during the roast, which then fall off when I roll the beans in the skillet. With Indian beans, I have found that the whole skin slides off from the bean as a single "husk". This peaberry is quite dense and takes longer to roast than the lighter yet bigger monsooned bean, however the former rolls quite well in the s

Smart Scheduling and AI scheduling assistants: An extension of digital assistants

Smart Scheduling needs to be a thing. And by that I mean - AI-based (or: machine-learning-based) semi-automated scheduling assistants. It requires some giving in to the notion of letting an algorithm control a dimension of your life. But what you out of it is relief from the stress of scheduling. It would work best in a context where the transactions of scheduling (the negotiation of time, the creation of some textual artifact of agreement, etc.) are conducted between algorithms at both ends. That said, the alternative where the transactions are conducted between human and algorithm can be supported by an interactive virtual agent (IVA) beefed up with some conversational, possibly verbal, capabilitiies. Hello, this is Anand Bhardwaj's digital assistant speaking. Is this is a good time to talk? And the scheduling assistant can be plugged into other aspects of your lives. I have a pretty neatly organized calendar, organized into work (school, in my case), family, my wife's work c