Letter to Albany City Council to Use Automatic Captioning for City Meetings on YouTube

Email I sent to citycouncil@albanyca.org

To make the meetings of City of Albany more accessible, please turn on auto captioning for all the city meetings that are streamed via the Albany KALB YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/AlbanyKALB/videos). With automatic captioning, even when it is not perfect, viewers can then more easily make sense of many hours of meetings by searching and reading transcripts.  It's a helpful measure in the absence of high fidelity transcripts or minutes generated by a human note-taker.

I noticed that many of the videos are already closed captioned but not all of them. When I went through the list of all the videos since July 2020, I found the following videos were not captioned:
whereas the majority were captioned:
Please turn on automatic captioning for all videos from now on.
-Raymond Yee

Collaborative editing: Google Docs vs Microsoft Office

What experience do you all have in collaboratively editing Word documents in late 2019?

Yesterday, a group of collaborators and I were making the final push to submitting a grant proposal to the NSF due yesterday (spoiler alert: we made it!) Until the very last day, we were all using Google Docs and Google Drive, which is a fantastic collaborative environment. Then to get the documents formatted, the Google Docs were downloaded to the lead collaborator's computer. This move then made collaborative editing/copyediting of the document tricky. For a while, we were confused about which document was the most recent. We couldn't see easily see what other edits people had made. It wasn't clear that the approach that some of us took (to use Track Changes in Word) and then send our version of the document to the lead author) was actually the right -- and consensus -- approach.

Are others of you taking a similar approach: do a lot of collaborative editing in Google Docs and then do final editing/formatting in Word? How about using Microsoft Office for the Web for the entire writing process? I'm wondering how compatible online Word is with desktop Word, especially for detailed formatting.

Pareto Black Beans

(2019.09.04) I often make a delicious and modestly elaborate black bean dip with the Instant Pot. But yesterday, while in a hurry to have black beans in any form to accompany the mouth-watering tomato salsa Laura made the day before, I made plain black beans in the Instant Pot. I threw in a couple of beans with several cups of water, set the Pot to 30 minutes and rushed out of the apartment toward Trader Joe's to buy some tortillas. I got back just 3-4 minutes passed the scheduled moment to do the natural release of steam.

instant pot black beans

80/20 rule in action: we got a small bucket of simple black beans (80% of the benefits of the dip) with about 20% of the work -- well, ok 40% of the work.)

Return to Regular Life in Albany


I'm pleased that on the first full day back at home from vacation that I made two healthy and delicious meals, which I consumed in moderation. Only one chicken leg, a small serving of Israeli couscous, and a heap of broccoli. Alas, I magically forgot my diet when I indulged heartily on spicy pistachios that a friend supplied to us at a meeting -- so watch those meeting snacks!

Going back to the classic editor on WordPress

Maybe the new Gutenberg editing experience is the present and future of editing in WordPress -- but it's been giving me a lot of headaches so far. I've been getting "Updating failed" and "Publishing failed" messages. Also the Preview doesn't work. I looked at posts like the following for help -- but to no avail:

I'm just punting and going back to the Classic Editor using Classic Editor | WordPress.org.

Preparing for 2019

I Wouldn't it be nice to write something every day in 2019? I have that hope but I'm learning to temper my expectations. Instead of setting myself that goal, I'll just indicate my intention to write when I can. And when I forget to write for months on end but decide to come back to my blog, I'll pat myself on my back and say: "Congratulations, Self. Carry on."

British baking brought close to home?

I like watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, which, I think, is a repacking of The Great British Bake Off. I'm not a baker myself and though I love to eat baked goods, I haven't seen baking as an essential skill for me to develop. But I'm inspired to re-examine that assumption, but instead of learning the riches of British baking, I'm inclined to try a recipe for something I love from dim sum: Hong Kong Egg Tarts - The Woks of Life. But wait -- aren't egg tarts derived from some European dessert? According to Egg tart - Wikipedia:

The English custard tart and the Portuguese pastel de nata are European forerunners of the Chinese egg tart, which displays characteristics of both. Before egg tart was introduced to Hong Kong, it is reported that it was first found in 1920s Guangzhou. Taking reference from the recipes of fruit tarts, the chefs in Guangzhou turned it into egg tarts by filling egg custards in the middle instead, a similar way to make simmered eggs with milk (燉蛋). However, as butter was very costly at that time, it was difficult for the chefs to make puff pastry for the tarts. Therefore, they may have used lard instead.