Stuff I like

This is a page of things I like. An ever-evolving page of recommendations for podcasts, blogs, books, software, and so on.

Podcasts

  • Partially Examined Life: A book club of ex- philosophy graduate students that you get listen in on.
  • Remainiacs: Brexit podcast. I am passionately pro-remain and these guys keep me sane.
  • Very Bad Wizards: A moral psychologist and moral philosopher with filthy senses of humour discuss ethics, social psychology, and their favourite movies.
  • Hardcore History: Amateur historian Dan Carlin tells gripping stories from the history books. A bit of artistic license here and there.
  • Disinformation Age: A British journalist and American data analyst dig deep into the world of online disinformation, fake news, and twitter bots.
  • My Dad Wrote A Porno: The most low-brow recommendation but I can’t not include it. Man discovers his Dad self-publishes erotic literature, and reads the absolutely bonkers stories to his friends. The funniest thing I’ve ever listened to.

Software

I use Linux but most of this software is cross-platform. I have highlighted keywords in bold so you can skim the list more easily.

  • Surfer: Fun and simple application for rendering algebraic surfaces, including many interesting premade examples. More for the beauty rather than a serious tool.
  • SageMath: Free mathematical software. Nowhere near as good as its paid-for proprietary competitors, but adequate for most basic computations and visualizations. Has decent support for number theory, commutative algebra, smooth manifolds, and so on.
  • My LaTeX setup: (neo)vim + vimtex + zathura. Vim is my text editor of choice, and together with the vimtex plugin it can be a powerful LaTeX editor too. Zathura is a pdf viewer with vim-like interface and controls which vimtex plays nicely with. Throw in Goyo and you have pure LaTeX zen:
  • Vimwiki: Personal wikis are a great organization tool. If you do not use Vim, the similarly-named but completely unrelated Zim software is another good choice with a gui. Personal wikis are like notebooks connected with hyperlinks. I use mine to make daily schedules, write down recipes, write these blog posts, and just record all the information life throws at me. With the taskwiki plugin, it even synchronizes with taskwarrior.
  • Anki: Anki is a very powerful open-source flashcards application. Create a database of interactive flashcards using text, pictures, audio, LaTeX, and so on, and then let Anki’s spaced repetition algorithm test you on whatever you are trying to learn. Very powerful for language learning, I also use it to revise for exams.  It has a mobile version, with synchronization, natch.
  • Beeminder: Beeminder is an online service that helps you stay motivated. Create a goal and a way to track your goal (automated if possible!), and then Beeminder will work out how much you need to be doing each day/week to stay on track. The catch is that if you fail to stay on the path you have set, Beeminder will charge you real money. To most people, this either sounds ingenious, or the worst software they can imagine.
  • Quality Time: I’m trying to use my devices more mindfully, and Quality Time goes a long way toward this. It monitors app usage and device unlocks over time, so I can see which apps are time sinks and how addicted I am to “just checking” my phone. It allows you to set times when certain apps and notifications will be disabled, for example disabling social and news apps in the morning allows for productive mornings.