Posted in: Daily Note

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

☁️ Overcast +66°F

➽ I am of two minds about nearly everything. Dealing with social media, for example. Mind One wants to dive in and become great at it. To use it for marketing and self-promotion and as a tool to become more “connected” or perhaps even internet famous. Mind Two wants to back away and use social media to maybe chat with a few friends and occasionally share some thoughts. To win the game without playing.

md-roam enables the use of Markdown files in org-roam.

➽ When do we get to bring back drop shadows? I’m ready.

➽ I’ve a feeling that adding a new, powerful Windows/Linux setup to my office would be cool, but would make my life more complicated. Too complicated, probably. I do want to feel what running Windows on a fast, new machine is like. Same with Linux. But damn, it would be so very disruptive. Hell, I can’t figure out how I want to run things on my Mac. Let’s not throw more variables at the problem, eh?

➽ Speaking of being disruptive, let’s just throw the first developer beta for iPadOS 14 on my iPad while we’re at it. Ok I guess it shouldn’t be that disruptive. I barely use the iPad so if it breaks I’m not out much

➽ HEY email is very nice, but it limits the way I can interact with my email and I don’t know if I can get comfortable with that. Thinking I’ll pay for the year and continue evaluating it.

➽ Remember when I thought I’d switch from Firefox to Chrome? I used Chrome for a day and then went back to Safari. I wasn’t sure I’d stay with Safari, but it’s so much more pleasant. Also, in Big Sur they’re bringing extensions back and supposedly making it easy to convert Chrome extensions for use in Safari. That should do it.

➽ Moving backups from Arq/B2 to just the Backblaze app.

Posted in: Daily Note

Monday, June 22, 2020

⛅️ Partly cloudy +60°F

➽ Everyone: “So, what do you do?”
Me: “Scroll”

➽ I like using hey.com for email, but I’m not sure I’m willing to give up the level of control over my email that I’ve enjoyed forever.

➽ “It’s none of your business” is a valid and appropriate first response

➽ If I have to use what are basically iOS apps as “native” apps on my Mac, I may as well just use web apps instead.

➽ I’m starting to put more and more TODOs into Roam. Roam is a terrible TODO app, but having them all in there, linked with everything else is nice. A tad Org mode-like.

➽ So who’s going to make true, native, proper Mac apps now? Adobe and a few of the big companies, probably. Everyone else will start with iOS and say “Just use that! Mac nerds!”. Or maybe Electron. I’m nervous.

➽ If anyone has advice about PC workstations for photo/video editing and occasional gaming, I’m all ears. Budget is, say, $3,000.

Posted in: Daily Note

Sunday, June 21, 2020

➽ So I did end up including daily notes posts in the RSS feed. Posts with category “In Progress” are hidden from the feed, so the current day’s post is visible on the site but doesn’t get pushed, incomplete, to anyones reader. At the end of the day I’ll remove the “In Progress” category and then it should show up in the feed. Still tinkering, but if you do happen to be following along, let me know if anything unexpected happens.

➽ I might buy a big old PC with 2 giant monitors. I’d dual-boot Windows and Linux. I just want to try something new.

➽ Spent some time at my dad’s today. Mom was in a fun mood and everyone laughed a lot. My sister is nuts and I love her, too.

Posted in: Life

Nic-A-Pic

Nicotine toothpicks created by Wayne DeWitt

My good friend Wayne tried to quit smoking for a minute once or twice. He didn’t like gum so he invented cinnamon-flavored nicotine-infused toothpicks. I think this was in 1993. The idea was that having a toothpick soaked in nicotine in your mouth was more like smoking a cigarette than chewing gum or wearing patches and would therefore be more likely to reduce the urge to smoke.

He called them Nic-A-Pics. They never saw actual distribution but he got as far as this prototype. I thought it was genius.

Wayne passed away unexpectedly a few years ago, so finding this pack of his toothpicks was a pleasant reminder of some good times.

Posted in: Technology/Software

First impressions of HEY email

When Google’s Gmail went beta in 2004 I desperately wanted to try it. So much so that I traded an extra camera (A Canon Canonet GIII, no less!) for an invitation. Gmail was doing something different with email and, at the time, the trade was worth it.

There haven’t been many true innovations in how we deal with email since then. The plethora of iOS apps claiming to revolutionize email probably count, although I haven’t liked any of them. More recently, Superhuman has been making a bold attempt. I tried Superhuman but for some reason it made me feel like a self-important twat, so I decided against paying $30/month for an exclusive, fancy Gmail wrapper.

And now there’s HEY from the Basecamp team. I’ve only been using HEY for a few days but I can already tell that this qualifies as a New Thing.

Email gets a bad rap, but it shouldn’t. Email’s a treasure.

It feels great to get an email from someone you care about. Or a newsletter you enjoy. Or an update from a service you like. That’s how email used to feel all the time.

So good news, the magic’s still there. It’s just obscured — buried under a mess of bad habits and neglect. Some from people, some from machines, a lot from email software.

I still love email. Efforts to get rid of email often make things worse by basically creating yet another inbox. Email is still the best way to reach someone (as opposed to everyone). And I own it.

I’m enjoying using HEY for email. They’ve really thought this through. Here are a few quick notes I’ve been jotting down while using it, in no particular order.

  • Imsorry but “Imbox” is stupid. I get why they don’t want to call it “Inbox”, but still. I doubt I’ll ever get used to it.
  • Merging threads is super useful
  • I love the ability to change the Subject line, and that the change is only visible to me. I no longer have to constantly run a translator in my head for badly named emails.
  • Every sender requires an opt-in from me. A sane default, without the harshness of whitelists, etc. Also, I can give people a code along with my email address and it’ll get them right in.
  • The Feed takes some getting used to. Not sure how to use this yet. Plus, it needs some keyboard shortcuts.
  • I sometimes fear doing the wrong thing. I know it’s all reversible but still, I worry that I’ll accidentally train HEY badly and lose stuff.
  • Not having an Archive button is so weird and is going to take a while to get used to.
  • I want to search Screened Out emails in case I can’t find someone and wonder if perhaps I accidentally screened them out. It would be fine if that search worked in the Screened Out view only.
  • I like automatically having a separate page for every sender. Feels a little Roam-like.
  • Generating a public link for specific threads has already come in handy.
  • Links to emails are just web URLs. No need for message: handlers or anything.
  • Adding notes to emails is great. There are two kinds: “Stickies” that can be added to the list of messages in the Imbox or “Notes to self” that can be added anywhere within a thread. I would ask HEY to find a better name than “Sticky”. I had trouble finding the feature because I assumed “Sticky” meant something like “Pin”.
  • I love that I can “bundle” chatty senders (like Github notifications, etc.) into a single line.

HEY is pretty nice, and I love what they’re trying to do. However, if I’m going to consider moving my email there, I’ll have to get over a few things.

  • HEY is not normal IMAP. This means it’s a standalone thing that doesn’t work with the 30-year old standard. This is not a trivial distinction and makes me rather nervous.
  • I can’t use my own domain (yet). They spin this and talk about “a fresh start” but moving to a @hey.com email address is no small thing. Do I really need jbaty@hey.com when I already have jack@baty.net?
  • Apple may not allow the iOS app into the App Store. That would suck, since I can’t just use some other email client on the phone to read my HEY email (See the first point).
  • HEY won’t import my old messages. Again with the “Fresh start” spin, they promote the idea that I can simply leave my old messages where they were. But what if I’m moving from another service into HEY? There may no longer be a “where they were” unless I want to continue paying for the old service forever. Sure, a lot of people will be migrating from a free Gmail account, so less of a problem for them, I guess.
  • Once I move to HEY, my choices drop to one. I can’t use MailMate if I’m feeling geeky or even Mu4e if I’m feeling really geeky. Everything has to be done the way HEY wants me to. Can I live with that?

For now, I’m going to continue using HEY, and if I still love it after a week or two I’ll have a decision to make. I’ve been a happy Fastmail customer for years, and this is the first time I’ve seriously considered anything else.

Posted in: Daily Note

Saturday, June 20, 2020

➽ I wish BMW drivers didn’t have such a douchey reputation. I have wanted a BMW since I’ve been able to drive, and last year I was fortunate enough to afford a used one. It’s a wonderful car, and I love it. It makes me happy every time I drive it, but I often feel like I have to apologize on behalf of non-douchey drivers everywhere. On the plus side, it causes me to be extra courteous on the road. “See!? We’re not all assholes.” 🙂

➽ Simple and opinionated verses powerful and flexible are the two modes between which I alternate. For example, Hey.com vs Mailmate. Or Things vs Org mode. Or Lightroom CC vs Capture One. At the moment, I’m in the simple and opinionated frame of mind.

➽ Now I’m wondering if I should find a way to include the daily notes in the main RSS feed, but not until the end of day. I could wait to publish, but that sort of defeats the purpose for me. Still noodlin’ on it. Probably something with categories.

➽ Most WordPress sites that are about WordPress are hellish landscapes of popups, sticky headers, SEO desperation, and a cluster of other things ruining the experience, and I’m sure they’re all “available as a plugin”.

➽ One way to become a popular photographer on social media is to pay pretty girls to pose in various stages of undress and write about expensive camera gear.

➽ I’ve added recent posts to the sidebar to help with the “losing sight of the rest of the posts” problem. I started digging in to how to exclude the Daily Notes category, but then found the “Smart Recent Posts” plugin which handles everything. WordPress is too easy, much of the time.

➽ Oh crap, I’ve begun thinking about moving even more content from the wiki to here. I hope I don’t hate myself for it later.

➽ This whole Apple-HEY thing has me pretty pissed off at Apple.

➽ Today, I feel like throwing everything away. I’ve started.

Posted in: Daily Note

Friday, June 19, 2020

➽ This is the first post of my Daily Notes experiment. I’ll just add stuff here throughout the day as I think of it. The idea is that it would replace https://rudimentarylathe.org/ as the place I do this. I don’t love the idea of moving away from TiddlyWiki, but I do love the idea of putting more of my writing in one place. Daily Notes will not appear in the main RSS feed. This is just me typing random shit and there’s no need to force it on anyone 🙂

➽ I’m conflicted about Hey from Basecamp. On one hand, it does much of what Superhuman tries to do, without all the hoohah. And more cheaply. On the other hand, it’s basically proprietary email. Email is one of the few remaining democratic protocols everyone still uses. I need to feel like I can get at my email in other ways than via Basecamp’s apps. Still, it’s pretty nice. I’m jbaty@hey.com.

➽ Trying something. That little arrow before each new paragraph is supposed to indicate that I’m starting a new topic. Normally I only use paragraphs but we’ll see. Does it look like it’s supposed to be doing something else though?

➽ Trying out other fonts here. I found the one that ships with the theme to be hard to read. I don’t think I’m finished with this yet.

➽ Another thing I’m considering is to show the full content on the daily post but only show excerpts on the rest. I waffle between thinking full posts are too much and thinking how easy it is to just scroll more.

Phil quoted a post from Uses This about Rachel Demy. In it, she says, “Honestly, I couldn’t want for anything else at the moment. I am not a huge gear nerd nor do I collect just to collect.” A fine sentiment, that, but I can’t fathom how anyone using a Leica Monochrom (as just one of several Leicas) can get away with claiming they’re not a gear nerd. (I like her work though!) I’m probably just jealous :).

➽ Speaking of being a gear nerd, I just got a Ricoh GR III. I’ve had a GR1v film camera for years and used it all the time until it finally broke a couple years ago. I also had the original GR Digital. Now, with the GR III I once again have a well-built, “serious” and pocketable APS-C camera. I’m sure I’ll write more about it soon.

➽ And here’s a photo of my dog, just to see if I like images in these daily posts.

Alice

➽ I have a big-ol’ 16″ MBP and whenever I look for a tiny SD slot and don’t find one it pisses me off a little.

Posted in: General

Thinking about keeping Daily Notes here

Here’s what I’ve been thinking.

You may have noticed that my Rudimentary Lathe wiki has evolved into a blog. 90% of new content is simply added to that day’s “Journal” entry. It got me thinking again about consolidation. I mean, I have a blog, right? You’re reading it now. I wonder if it’s possible to create Daily Notes posts right here instead.

The trick is that there’s an RSS feed, and the day’s post would show up in the feed as soon as it’s first published. Not ideal. I don’t actually want the daily posts to show up in the main feed at all, so I suppose I’d need to categorize them and exclude them from the feed.

I also want today’s post to be “pinned” to the top, even if I add other posts that day.

Ideally, the Daily Notes post would be a collection of microblog posts, collected into one entry. Somehow. That should allow for permalinks to be created for each microblog post in addition to the one for the enclosing post. This is secondary, but feels important enough to consider.

The best example of what I’m looking for is Dave Winer’s http://scripting.com. Also see Colin’s blog. And to a lesser degree, my wiki.

I’m running this site on WordPress (again) now so I’m betting this is all possible. Just need to find the energy to try it.