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On seasonal change, open source, and carbon offsets

Hey there,

I hope you're well.

Autumn has flown by at a crawl this year. I'm doing my best to focus on the little glimmers of light shining through for me right now, and I hope you can do the same.

Speaking of which, here it is - a big change for me! I recently started a new job at Google as a Developer Advocate for Google Assistant. You know the one - β€œhey google, what's the weather?” - I'm thrilled to be given the opportunity to work on such a wildly cool product. The interview process was intimidating, long, and challenging, but I did it! To say I'm standing on the shoulders of giants is an understatement. (I'll also be adding a disclaimer to my newsletters from here in: the things I discuss here are my own thoughts and opinions, and not those of my employer.)

Photo of my black cat Jet, curled up in a fall wreath on top of a table
This is a picture I took recently of my cat Jet, who has fallen in love with a wreath we pulled out for winter decoration.

The brain is a strange place

Cognitive Psychology is the study of attention, perception, creativity, and other mental functions. Great software design takes advantage of cognitive biases to anticipate your behavior. For example, the framing effect is when people are able to draw two distinct conclusions from the same set of data, depending on how it's presented. Forex: I have 200 unread emails in my inbox. Should I panic? Nah, they're marked "To Do" -- I'll get to it later.

Working in Public (OSS!)

If you're interested in Open Source Software, you should check out the book Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software, by Nadia Eghbal (link). I just finished reading through it with a book club I was invited to, and I enjoyed the read. I plan on publishing my book notes to my website soon, as well.

Kicking around in the old domepiece

These are a few of the things I've found on the web lately. I thought you might benefit from them as well:

  • πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ I've been brushing up on my Spanish. It's a relaxing couple-minute ritual in my day. I enjoy it so much that I've been sprinkling in some Japanese here and there, too! I've been using Duolingo's free plan - my referral link is here if you want to give it a shot.
  • πŸ‘¨β€πŸ« How much do online courses make? Have you ever taken a course online, or thought about making one yourself as a side hustle? This is a tool that lets you peruse the aggregate statistics of various course topics across Udemy. Did you know that on average, courses on Next.js make $40/day? Pretty wild!
  • 🌳 Planting trees can make a difference. In the past, I've mentioned my love for Ecologi (that's a referral link), which was previously called I'm excited to share that my good friend Phil Sturgeon has embarked on a carbon offsetting project of his own - he's on a mission to plant a forest of trees on farmland near his home in the UK this winter. Check out his work at , and donate if you're able!

Thanks for reading Tiny Improvements. If you've got any feedback, my inbox is always open: If you've found this useful, I would love it if you shared it with a friend!

Be excellent to each other - talk soon.

  • Mike

Disclaimer: Tiny Improvements are my own thoughts an opinions, and not necessarily those of my employer.


Thanks for reading Tiny Improvements. If you found this helpful, I'd love it if you shared this with a friend. It helps me out a great deal.

Until next time - be excellent to each other!

On seasonal change, open source, and carbon offsets

Cognitive science and the framing effect, Open Source software and Working in Public, language learning, creating online courses, and reforestation.



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