A little bit of an extended hiatus. It just goes to show how fragile some of these do-good habits are. Like meditation, language learning or healthy eating. The only way I have stuck with any of them is through a sheer grit and determination. Not truly because I actually ever incorporated these things into my like. They never became autonomous.

I bit like flossing. I’ve had the dentist lecture me incessantly for a decade or more and only in the last two times I’ve been to the dentist they didn’t mention it. Either because the flossing was finally self evident or perhaps the other horrors of my mouth didn’t allow for enough air time to get through the flossing lecture as well.

My point is, that was after a fairly concerted effort to floss my teeth every other night - I was being realistic. I knew that there was no way that I was ever going to achieve nightly flossing so I tried to just not go two consecutive nights without it.

And yet, and yet, a week in Mexico and it’s all shot to pieces. I managed to even get a quickie floss or two during Mexico but the habit was broken.

And really at this point I don’t know why I’m persisting with the flossing metaphor when I’m really talking about journaling. The week in Mexico was easy to justify. I completely unplugged for a week. No WiFi. No cell reception. I did take the phone for the sake of emergency check ins for the flight and I took a few pictures, but I was very proud to never unlock my phone in Mexico.

The objective was to completely unplug, and I knew there was no “dipping the toe in” option. An internet connection for the weather, enables the pop ups and notifications. The family WhatsApp group and pictures of parents in Spain quickly turns into checking email. And then I’m replying to work email on the beach. No thanks.

But the downside to going offline entirely was not my journaling options were limited. I mean I could have used a pen and paper. Maybe even transcribed it later if I wanted to. But I didn’t.

And then when I got back, I was sick, had Covid and I was at a research conference with odd hours. Much to do, and few hours to do it.

It was all too easy to justify not journaling for one more week until life went back to normal. But then it was a long weekend. was still sick. The in laws sick too. So now I’m solo parenting two boys, a dog, whilst still feeling pretty sick.

Now there’s no denying it. Back in the office today. Back to reality. So here I am. Making the effort. Doing the hard thing. The hardest part is always starting.

And maybe that’s the learning in all of this. Maybe the secret to being successful in all of this is acknowledging that habits will break. You will fall. But it’s the picking yourself up and starting again. Looking yourself in the mirror, knowing that you might have lost some progress and starting again anyway.

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What distinguishes you from other developers?

I've built data pipelines across 3 continents at petabyte scales, for over 15 years. But the data doesn't matter if we don't solve the human problems first - an AI solution that nobody uses is worthless.

Are the robots going to kill us all?

Not any time soon. At least not in the way that you've got imagined thanks to the Terminator movies. Sure somebody with a DARPA grant is always going to strap a knife/gun/flamethrower on the side of a robot - but just like in Dr.Who - right now, that robot will struggle to even get out of the room, let alone up some stairs.

But AI is going to steal my job, right?

A year ago, the whole world was convinced that AI was going to steal their job. Now, the reality is that most people are thinking 'I wish this POC at work would go a bit faster to scan these PDFs'.

When am I going to get my self-driving car?

Humans are complicated. If we invented driving today - there's NO WAY IN HELL we'd let humans do it. They get distracted. They text their friends. They drink. They make mistakes. But the reality is, all of our streets, cities (and even legal systems) have been built around these limitations. It would be surprisingly easy to build self-driving cars if there were no humans on the road. But today no one wants to take liability. If a self-driving company kills someone, who's responsible? The manufacturer? The insurance company? The software developer?