I'm Alex Kearney, a PhD student studying Computer Science at the University of Alberta. I focus on Artificial Intelligence and Epistemology.

I talk a lot about travel, dev, yeg, indieweb, grad-school, music, folk, tech, food, and smithsonian

Software Rots: SCUBA Edition

I'm going back through my d ...

Making Meaning: Understanding the World Through Firsts, Seconds, and Thirds

This is a fragment of my no ...

Indie WYSIWYG: How I Fixed My Instagram Problem

I talk about what-you-see-is-what-you-get posting system for my #indieweb site and how it improved my post quality.

Making more friends 🐒

Making friends 🐠

On my way to the barbados

Edmonton International Airport → Toronto Pearson International Airport → Barbados

On science communication and blogging.

Software Rots: SCUBA Edition

I'm going back through my dive logbook after a three year diving hiatus. The software I use to track my dives has become an ungodly mess of company acquisitions and software maintenance. Turns out the company that made my dive-computer was bought out by scuba-pro.

To even get my hands on the software to open my dive-log file, I had to scour looking for a hidden link that would take me to the SmartTrak site. That wasn't even enough alone, I had to engage in browser witchcraft to coerce the site to not redirect me to scuba-pro's main site. The file is nowhere else, at least by my searching. Interesting that no one liked it enough to keep a mirror of it...

Of course, the software didn't solve my problems. oh no. The dates were incorrect on some of my dives. Another example malady of poor software support: I could turn the background of dive profiles gradient olive green, but I could not edit basic dive info---e.g., the date and location of a dive. For the first-time in my life, I'm actually facing a deprecation of software that I need. It's important that I keep the data I collect when I'm diving.

After going through old dev-forums and dive-forums, I found a converter which takes shameful SmartTrack files and converts them into a modified XML for use with SubSurface. At least I can coerce the file into being read as XML, rather than proprietary nonsense. More than that, not only does sub-surface allow me to edit the date of a dive in increments greater than 7, I can edit multiple dives at the same time.

It's the future.

I can't help but feel that this is a sort of digital vagrancy. SubSurface seems great now, but what about in 3 years? 10 years? I know there's a trend of web-based dive-logs, but I don't want to have to shuffle around, converting what has no business being anything but XML or a CSV to bunch of proprietary, uninterpretable file formats.

Having been burnt by SmartTrack, I'm looking for robust export functionality. Luck for me, it seems sub-surface is able to export as CSVs. This seems like a clear candidate to make a stand and own my own data.

It's just screaming to be added to the blog. Then if something breaks, it's my own damn fault.

My cousin was visiting Edmonton today, so the family got together to make tacos. It's a tasty way to keep warm, I guess.

Grandpa Derek's 90th Birthday

Out in central Canada for my grandpa's 90th birthday.

Edmonton International Airport → Ottawa → Arnprior → Ottawa → Toronto Pearson International Airport → Edmonton International Airport

This is an interesting article which digs into what the distinction is between icons, indices, and symbols in Peirce's semiotics.

Went for a chilly afternoon walk in Belgravia with my uncle and his dogs. We made a few friends along the way.