📅 February 12 - February 18 | Blog update

Carnaval, productivity and AI 🥴

Source: https://www.moderntiki.com/velvet-ti-punch/

Where I live, the week was dominated by Carnaval. It is one of two events that puts the entire island into a state of slowed-down activity. Most shops are closed from Sunday to Wednesday. A few essentials are open but generally limited to the mornings only. I’ve been a regular visitor to Carnaval over the years I’ve been living here, and I’ve documented through photography several times; however, this year, I decided to take advantage of the slow down by concentrating on some of the administrative work I needed to do … and a sneaky ti’punch now and again. 😉

I had a relatively stressful personal situation to deal with on Monday that ended on Tuesday that kind of blew out the day and prevented me from being able to concentrate on some of the more cognitive heavy work I had scheduled to do. Speaking of schedules, I decided to completely redo the task management process I had put in place many years ago. Firstly, the old process was not fit for purpose, and secondly, I read a nice blog post about a similar situation that gave me some ideas to implement my own system. Without getting into the weeds, I had recently decided to note down the time I’m assigning to different tasks. I’ve limited this primarily to work-related tasks, but there are a couple of personal tasks in there that I log. For example, this one is being logged as I write this. As a result, my planning and task management process was pretty much out of alignment with the timing system. So I spent a little time matching them both as closely as possible to make more sense to me and to help me —which is the overall aim of my decision to log the time I’m taking on various projects, tasks, etc.— get a better appreciation of how I’m spending my time and to see if there are any things that I can rethink, modify. I’m mindful not to fall into the cult of the ‘productivity optimisation’ trap, but believe me, it is very easy to do so if you let your guard down. To avoid that, I have limited and generalised how I’m doing the timing. I wrote about it before here if you’re interested in the things I’ve been logging.

I’m working on a proposal for a consulting project in Saint Lucia, and I spent a little time writing the required document during the week, but it was hard to sum up the motivation gods to get too deep into it. I still have a few days before the submission deadline, and I have actually progressed quite well when I look at it now. I’ll likely finish it and submit it today at the latest.

I went out one of the evenings to watch a film called La Tresse (The Braid). It’s a story of three women on three different continents who are eventually linked through various trials and tribulations of life. It was a good story and a well-made film (some of the cinematography is stunning), despite being a little too contrived for my liking, but I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

Lastly, we had some family over for an evening snack and drink on the last official day of Carnaval (Wednesday). It’s nice to have people over now and again to share a couple of hours chatting and having a glass together.

Oh, before I forget, I made obligatory pancakes (crêpes) on Tuesday morning. I’ve never made them myself, and they turned out lovely if I say so myself. Before you ask, sugar and lime. I’m not a monster.


I continued reading the learning materials for the Internet governance course I’m currently studying. There’s a lot to read, and many suggested documents that I have been amassing to read in the future or at least reference for upcoming projects.

I started to read in earnest The Eye of The Master: A Social History of Artificial Intelligence by Matteo Pasquinelli. It is not light reading, but I feel it is necessary for me to get a deeper understanding of the topic and gain insight from different perspectives. The eBook is about £8, so well worth it.

I caved and bought the third book in the iRobot series, The Naked Sun. It’s light reading and enjoyable to close off the day by reading a few pages each evening before sleeping.

I have got a lot of other papers and documents on the go. I’ll try to list some of the notable ones in another post.

Of note

I stumped up to pay for one year of Microsoft’s Copilot integrated into the Microsoft 365 subscription. I have resisted paying for this technology for a good while as I haven’t placed much confidence in it or had the results from the free versions that have made the value proposition of paid-for access clear to me. This is essentially a test, and I’m not endorsing it yet. I have had some interesting results and some, frankly, dreadful results that even the most inexperienced intern would have bested without breaking a sweat. It’s a young technology being sold as a breakthrough product. I can tell you it is far from that, and you can rest assured your jobs are safe for the foreseeable future. I’m testing it further and doing the necessary research to understand better how it integrates and how you must structure and set up your data policies. I’ve already had (local) anecdotal evidence of a user being proposed information from documents they should never have had access to. The technology is not at fault here; it’s the data access policies of the organisation concerned. Security by obscurity is completely blown apart when you enable these tools on your data stores. However, what struck me is that there are literally thousands and thousands of organisations in the region precisely in that situation that risk finding out the hard way. There will be a lot of incidents and repercussions for small businesses if they willy-nilly buy Copilot and activate it in their Microsoft 365 tenants. Let’s talk, I can help.

It’s ti’punch time. Have a great week.

Matthew Cowen @matthewcowen