Building an interactive plotter art installation |

“I was given the opportunity to participate in SIGGRAPH 2023 in Los Angeles, and I decided to showcase how art, code, and pen plotters all mesh together. In order to do this, I created an interactive art installation which brought together all three.

— Read on

Ask great questions, and Paul Graham’s How to Do Great Work

Imagine sitting at a dinner table.

Time is frozen.

Your friends or family surround you. This is where conversation happens.

What do you say?

Yesterday, I would have said something like “what book are you enjoying? Or “what have you learned recently?”.

I love learning- especially about people.

But today, I would say something very different.

I would say something similar to: “what is a good question you have been asking lately?”

Paul Graham has probably created more questions in my mind than anything else past 30 days.

His writing reminds me a lot of Derek Sivers. Reading their words feels like a longtime curious expert has paused in their work to explain something they thought was important. Like an expert chef has been creating some absurd levitating cheese foam, and then stops and turns — frothy cheese gently floating off their spoon — and starts talking about some important thing that changed how they worked with water when they cooked.

Here is a great example from How to Do Great Work

“Once you’ve found something you’re excessively interested in, the next step is to learn enough about it to get you to one of the frontiers of knowledge. Knowledge expands fractally, and from a distance its edges look smooth, but once you learn enough to get close to one, they turn out to be full of gaps

I’ve experienced a little bit of this already. Get close to the customer to find the real problems, ask them to show you. Ask why they do things, what they need and expect.

But Graham is talking about finding a way to follow other learners, learn what they found, and get close to the edge.

When I think about diving deep into something, learning to get close to the edge, where the gaps are…I sense fear and worry suddenly appear.

But what if it takes a long time?

What if I do all the work and get there, and I don’t find anything of use beyond the learning?

What if I don’t find valuable gaps?

How does the fear and anxiety “help” me? What protection does it serve?

Part of me feels drawn to doing things the same way- repeating the same instructions that others did to get the same result. A safe choice. A known outcome. The same painting, different colors. My life the result of a borrowed franchise manual.

You don’t get out what you put in

One of the most important things I didn’t understand about the world when I was a child is the degree to which the returns for performance are superlinear.

Teachers and coaches implicitly told us the returns were linear. “You get out,” I heard a thousand times, “what you put in.” They meant well, but this is rarely true. If your product is only half as good as your competitor’s, you don’t get half as many customers. You get no customers, and you go out of business.

-Paul Graham “Superlinear Returns

Bean dip: the quick savory dip we need

Beans, you’ve been so good to me.

Thank you.

You can make a great bean dip with only 2 cans of beans, some spices, and a blender.

My usual recipe:

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can pinto beans (or navy beans- I prefer “low-sodium Pinto beans in chili sauce”)

1 packet Lawry’s taco seasoning (for lower sodium, sub with garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, minimal salt and pepper)

1 shot Worcestershire Sauce (for umami/meatiness flavor)

1/2 shot Tapatio / Cholula (or any southwestern-inspired vinegar-based sauce. I haven’t tried Crystal or Tabasco, but I bet they’ll work)

Charles’ un-original-but-fast-and-available basic bean dip recipe

Wait. Why are we talking about bean dip?

What about “better” dip options, like sour cream, ranch dip, queso or salsa?

You ate them.

Or, you forgot about them days ago.

The sour cream tub has fuzzy friends growing.

The salsa is actively bubbling like some sort of chemistry flask.

So, what do we have left?

1. The things we rarely use: garbanzo beans and pinto beans.

2. The things we buy in bulk but never / rarely ever use up:

* taco seasoning

* tapatio sauce

The beans offer low-cost protein, iron and lots of fiber.

The spices offer…spicing?

The blender…why am I describing why a blender is useful?

Make sure we take notes

In almost all the meetings I attend, I’m always the note-taker by choice unless I have earmarked someone to take notes. My notes usually ends up being the go-to and shared document after the meetings.
I’m still learning, and I love taking pictorial/visual notes. Try it; it is fun. If one is interested, I suggest the books by Dan Roam[1]. They are quick to read/browse, and I keep re-reading them. If you are starting with just one book, start with “Draw to Win”.

Data protection
, Owner: (Registered business address: Germany), processes personal data only to the extent strictly necessary for the operation of this website. All details in the privacy policy.
Data protection
, Owner: (Registered business address: Germany), processes personal data only to the extent strictly necessary for the operation of this website. All details in the privacy policy.