Why I did not blog for two years

It's 2020 and I realized I haven't written a blog entry for a full two years since the end of 2017. It's not like I don't want to write. On the contrary, I do want to write, which is why I started the blog. I think it is cool to write and I have good ideas that some people and I will find interesting. So I figured I should break the silence this year by why I should write more often by writing about why I didn't write and what I am going to do about it.

The first reason I didn't write is that I feared that my writing will be judged by others. I would think about an interesting topic, lay out the essay in my head, then proceed to criticize it. Thinking too much about WWHNRS-What Would HackerNews Readers Say. Of course, by not writing anything at all, I don't get to find out what people would have said and worst of all, remain unhappy since I wanted to write and get better at it. I realized I have the same pattern with music. I like music and the thought of making new music but as soon as I try making something, I think to my self, this is cheesy, not good enough and so on.

Second, rather than writing something and edit it after, I try to perfect the sentence I am writing. This really hurt me at work last year because I had to write a lot (Amazon is famous for its writing culture). The primary reason for me to write at work was to convey my ideas in an understandable way. Impressing others was perhaps the least important thing to do in that context. Instead, I found myself stuck writing a single paragraph for an hour. It was tiring and was definitely not fun. Most importantly, it did not help me achieve my goal: conveying my ideas to others. In the end, I had to spend extra time trying to rush the rest of the document.

Here's a strange analogy: writing is like vacuuming my home. Hard to get started, but once I start the process, it's fun and it feels good when it's done.

What am I going to do about it? I'll write more this year, at least once every month. Well, that's a bit tautological. More specifically, I will write smaller posts like this one. Many of my past posts have been incredibly long, which are hard to write and even harder to read. I'll be more charitable to myself. It's okay to write something possibly wrong, or just completely wrong, it's not the end of the world. After all, it's not like what's in my head is always right or consistent for that matter.

Stay tuned.

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Published: 2020-01-21T03:26:59.293514
Last modified: 2020-01-21T03:26:59.293514

San Francisco Trip Part 2 - MOAH

Part 1 is here.

We dropped by a small house museum called the Museum of American Heritage (MOAH) on the way to Stanford University. I wasn't sure what to expect but it turned out pretty good. A pinball exhibition was ongoing when we were there so that was fun to play with. And there were many interesting old gadgets. A volunteer named Jim was guiding us throughout the visit.

An old can of Ghirardelli chocolate. So now you know how to read "gear-ar-delly"!

Ever wondered why pinball is named so? Well, when they first made it, it was literally a bunch of pins and a ball, no flappers or anything else. Hence the name "pinball". The earlier machines didn't require too much skill.

Here's a good old pin-ball machine. You can play a game of poker with this machine with this particular variant.

The sticker says

  • two pair - 1 free game
  • 3 of a kind - 2 free games
  • straight - 3 free games
  • full house - 5 free games
  • four of a kind - 15 free games

This is the most advanced mechanical pinball machine before electric components were introduced. When a ball reaches the "out" hole, all the balls in the middle gets flushed, and the out counter goes up. When the out counter reaches 3, it flushes all balls in the field.

When a ball makes it to the "hit" section, the entire plate rotates. Unlike all other mechanical pinball machines, this one was actually pretty fun to play.

This is an electrical pinball machine. It features bright lights and electrically operated bumpers that bounces the ball around. The bumpers make a nice "cha-ching" when a ball hits them.
This is the backglass art of the same pinball machine above.

Jim the volunteer told us is that quite a few pinball machines had nice backglass arts that expressed many progressive social ideas for the time, like female astronauts. Supposedly, those backglasses are more valuable than the pinball machines themselves.

The Intertype typesetting machine blew my mind. According to Jim the volunteer, arranging the physical types for a page of newspaper used to take a full week. Naturally, newspapers used to be published only weekly.

The Intertype machine made typesetting dramatically faster. At the backside of the machine, there is a cylinder of molten lead. As you type on the machine, the moulds for the letters you type fall into the tray in front of you. Then as you "flush" the current line, the molten lead is cast into types that you can use to publish newspapers faster than ever.

This machine helped the invention of daily newspapers. The machine was very expensive so people came up with various ways to keep it busy 24/7. One such way was to typeset a national newspaper earlier in the day, then to typeset a local newspaper later in the day (I think this is kind of similar to how earlier computers were all time-sharing systems; Computers were very expensive and valuable back then).

Unfortunately, I didn't really get to see it running live. They stopped running it live after many parents expressed concerns about their kids (at the museum) being exposed to lead fumes and all.

Catergorized under: uncategorized

Published: 2016-09-04T16:01:11.924575
Last modified: 2016-09-04T16:01:11.924691

San Francisco Trip Part 1

I was visiting San Francisco from June 1 to 7. Here are some pictures I took.

A street in the Mission District. Street arts are not hard to find and houses are painted with much brighter colours.
Another mural.

It's nice and warm when the sun is up but it gets really cold as soon as you are in the shade. Ocean wind, I guess. In general, you need to wear a t-shirt and carry a thick sweater to wear in case it gets cold.

The view from the parking lot of the San Francisco General Hospital. You can see the fog looming afar.

I liked seeing many old 80's cars in SF.

It's a cool angular scooter
Porsche 924s

The city is also incredibly hilly.

It's hard to capture the steepness in a photo.

There were many tasty mexican joints as well. A lot more common than the Chinese restaurants in Toronto.

Tacos from El Farolito. It was good.

I'll post more later.

Catergorized under: uncategorized

Published: 2016-07-31T16:34:44.888884
Last modified: 2016-07-31T16:34:44.889036

About Me

My name is Woongbin Kang.

I graduated from the University of Waterloo with Bachelor of Computer Science with Software Engineering Option and Cognitive Science Option (Here is the list of courses that I finished at the University of Waterloo during my undergrad career).

The views expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect those of my employer or its clients.


LinkedIn: profile
Twitter: @selasonic
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Published: 2010-06-27T04:00:43.000
Last modified: 2017-09-27T11:07:35.001856