Computer Diary: Patrick Steadman
In Computer Diaries, lab members record a week of their computer use, with sometimes comic, often tragic, and always revealing results. This week: Computer Lab founding partner Patrick Steadman, 25.
smolson at the bar Mood Ring.
4AM: Wake up because I fell asleep with the lights on and my contacts in. Before
going back to sleep, I write for about forty minutes using the Thinkpad T440S Business Ultrabook
that lives on my desk. I’ve removed the laptop’s bottom plastic enclosure
because of some sort of issue that causes the fan to randomly run at full power.
When the case is removed, the fan works normally. This computer is called
daughter. I bought it in college, when I was super obsessed with ThinkPads.
8AM: Wake up and spend about twenty minutes on my iPhone 6s catching up on
Slack. I call my iPhone
shitbird because of its various glitches. I’m excited
about an article about medical over-treatment my colleague Willis has shared;
it’s related to the writing I was doing just a few hours earlier at 4AM.
10:30AM: Arrive at the Computer Lab office in Tribeca. I don’t look at my phone
on the train, instead I read the Wall Street Journal, though I do block out the
noise of the train using Bose
QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones. It’s Monday, so I spend about 45 minute performing accounting
tasks using my desktop tower computer, called
largeson. I built it earlier
this year, it’s a beast with an 8 core i7-7700k CPU running at 4.2GHz, 16GB of
RAM, a GTX 1080 graphics card, booting Ubuntu from 512GB M2 SSD. I deposit a
bunch checks that arrived on Saturday, which puts me in an even better mood.
Noon: Feed the pigeons and get a haircut.
1PM: Take a call from my desktop using GoToMeeting and my Plantronics USB Headset headphones. I really want to find a headset that’ll make my voice sound great in all sorts of environments.
2PM: Head back to Brooklyn to work at my friend’s house. I code on my new GPD Pocket
smolson, which has 8 gigs of RAM and fits in the pocket of my coat. No need to carry a
6:15PM: Take a call with my friend in the parking lot of Costco. I’m worried
shitbird phone will have issues, so we use Zoom on her iPhone 6s Plus.
8:30PM: Head a screening party with my GPD pocket (
smolson). Hope that I’ll
get a chance to write, but drink because I feel anti-social.
9:00AM: Get a ride back home to Bed-Stuy from Ridgewood. Decide to work from home, since I’m going to yoga in Greenpoint that evening.
10:00AM - 6:00PM: Bill 4.5 hours for coding and research. Debug some issues related to JSON Web Tokens. Auth is always tricky, and I find working from home is often good for trying to figure out issues like this. Figure everything out by the time I head to yoga.
9:30PM: Get out of yoga after a two-hour long class. I go across the street to get some Japanese food. My phone is dead. I sit there a long time, drinking the complimentary sake and reading the Wall Street Journal.
11:30PM: Get home and fall asleep after a shower.
10:00AM: Wake up without an alarm. Wednesdays are a day off for me, or rather a “hack day” where I don’t really do billable hours. I like to break up the work week like this.
10:30AM - 11:45AM: Buy a new phone plan from the Verizon website. I’ve wanted my
own plan for a while, because even though I get a better deal paying for my part
of my family’s plan, my siblings and I typically use up all the data before the
end of the month and get throttled. I’d rather be able to use as much 4G LTE
data as necessary, because I don’t like connecting to public WiFi networks and
want to use my phone as a tether. At the last moment I decide to get the iPhone
SE (which has the same form factor of the iPhone 5, but the processor of the 6s)
instead of the iPhone 8. What’s the point of having a big phone when I have my
smolson, especially since I have cubital tunnel issues? I’m also excited to be
718 area code number.
1:00PM: Head into the Computer Lab office.
2:00PM - 11:00PM: Spend most of the day using my
largeson to research
health insurance options. Do a quick call about the coding work I did the day
before. Feed pigeons.
11:30PM: Get home. Feel like I haven’t accomplished much, but remind myself that it’s a day off. I feel like this every Wednesday.
11:45PM: Decide to smoke weed and write. Get surprisingly high and waste more time (using bumble on my phone…), before finally settling in on my ThinkPad and making some good edits to my writing.
2:00AM: Eat eggo waffles and pass out.
10:00AM: Wake up, go to gym, then pick up my new iPhone SE. I name this phone
youngbird. I like it.
11:00AM - 6:00PM: Do client work using
largeson. End up writing a small client
library for the Auth0 Authorization API. Most of the time as a programmer I
feel like I’m completing video-game-like tasks, but sometimes I find myself
dealing with pretty fundamental concepts just to get something to work. It feels
6:00PM - 7:00PM: Use my new phone to call my parents while I clean the office. I
largeson has accumulated a decent amount of dust. I keep it running
almost constantly; it mines Monero when I’m not using it. (The graphics card has
already paid for itself with mining!)
8:00PM: Get home and spend a while messing with my new phone. I meant to write, but I end up just doing yoga and going to bed around midnight.
8:30AM: Wake up feeling …awake. It’s a beautiful day. I take a shower and set up my new phone as a 2FA device so I can log into to some client services to check on things for a weekly meeting at noon. Talk with Rob about security stuff using Keybase teams, which I’ve recently come to love.
12:40PM: Finish meeting with client and head into the office. I feel good about how things are going with the client, we’ve finally selected a middleware vendor.
1:30PM-2:30PM: Work with Rob to set up a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) on AWS which will be used as the “live fire range” of the Computer Lab CTF. I learn a lot about networking in the process: I studied information science in college, so I only have a vague understanding of terms like NAT Gateway, subnet mask, CIDR block. The familiar AWS interface helps make everything seem a lot less mysterious. We also set up an EC2 Container Service cluster. We plan to deploy CTF challenges and scoring servers to this cluster. Now that the cluster is up, we can get started. I look forward to making some great Dockerfiles.
3:00PM-7:30PM: Zachary and Elias are also at lab. I work on client work, occassionally breaks to chat. It’s Friday! Take a long break to feed pigeons. I take some video of the birds eating from my hand.
8:00PM - ???: Arrive at Brooklyn Kava. Get some Kratom and use
research healthcare stuff for the event the next day. A bunch of people I know
show up, so I transition to being social. After Kava closes, we head to
Rebecca’s and then Skytown. I’m done with computers for the day, besides using
my phone to call an Uber to get home.
10:30AM: Wake up feeling extremely rested. Talk with Emily about how I want to become a part of ‘pigeon instagram’, and use my phone to add music to footage from the day before.
12:10PM: Realize that there’s no way I’ll be able to get breakfast with Emily
and bike to Max’s workshop in Red Hook before 1PM. We take an Uber to Pioneer
Works and a get quick brunch nearby. I take notes at the workshop using
smolson, and briefly use one of the classroom iMacs to scrape my social
timeline using a program Max wrote. (The program is an Electron app that hasn’t
yet been packaged for Linux.)
4:10PM: Leave workshop, and Uber to Brooklyn Kava.
4:30PM - 11:00PM: Post up in Brooklyn Kava, and alternatively talk with people
about their healthcare options and research a HSA for myself. Make good use of
Kaiser Family Foundation’s Healthcare Reform
and HSA Search. I tether
smolson to my new
Verizon phone because Brooklyn Kava’s wifi seems to have an DNS issue that
periodically causes the internet to hang. Rob talks with the bartender about
fixing it. The mobile tether works fine, but is perhaps a bit slower than I had
11:00PM - 3:00AM: Celebrate Rob’s birthday. Daylight savings time begins.
11:00AM: Wake up and laze about. Start to think that I won’t have time to go to
the pigeon shop before it closes at 2PM, but
a friend messages me that she’s in the neighborhood with her car, and would be
down to give me a ride to the pigeon shop. I grab
12:00PM - 4:00PM: The pigeon store is one of the least disappointing experiences of my life, and confirms my desire to start making more videos of pigeons. Maybe I will even buy a video camera. I have a lovely afternoon with Nadine. We get lunch at a Mexican place and talk about our mutual friends on facebook. She drops me off at Rebecca’s, a bar in Bushwick. Bushwick, three days in a row!
4:00PM - 6:00PM: Do a little coding and writing at Rebecca’s until a comedy show starts. Head over to Mood Ring, another recently-opened bar.
7:00PM - 9:00PM: Eat my leftover burrito and finish writing this diary. I’m
sitting in a booth at Rebecca’s with a bunch of other people who are using the
smolson always gets attention.
9:00PM - 11:00PM: My friend arrives and we hang out and drink. We use
to order some nootropics and look at our mutual facebook friends.
11:00PM - 12:00PM: My friend leaves because she has class in the morning. I make some half-drunk shitposts, and Citibike home in the rain.