July 16, 2018

What a Difference a Generation Makes

My dad told me a story about a broken latch on the tailgate of his pickup.

He took it apart and noticed there was a small green part that had come loose. He removed the broken pieces and drove to a nearby Chevy dealer. They weren’t sure if such a thing was available as a replacement part. One of the mechanics then said, Hold on, someone ordered one of those and never picked it up. You can have it for $6.00.”

Satisfied, my dad went home, reassembled everything, and now has a working tailgate. It cost him a couple hours and $6.00.

I would have just bought a new truck.

July 16, 2018

Blot Gets It Right

I spent way too much time over the weekend trying to finagle my WordPress blog to work the way I want it to and I’m still not satisfied.

Blot, on the other hand, nails 99% of what I want right out of the box. Plus, my Blot subscription just auto-renewed for another year. Hmmm.

Blot’s Dropbox-based workflow is smooth like butter. Blot works the way I think. This reduces a lot of friction.

My one concern is the dependency upon Dropbox. We all know how depending on a third party API can go. Apparently, Blot can now publish based on a Git repo, which may alleviate that concern for me.

I post to WordPress because it’s easy and works with things like MarsEdit. I post to my Hugo blog because it’s all just Markdown files and a static site.

Blot splits the difference. I need to decide if the compromises are worth giving up the ease of WordPress to have a text-based publishing system that’s easier than Hugo for things like links, photos, and short posts.

blogging blot
July 15, 2018

Blot.im for another year

My annual Blot subscription auto-renewed over the weekend. I haven’t been using Blot recently, but I may, as I do, change my mind later so it’s worth the $20 on a just-in-case.

blogging blot
June 20, 2018

It’s fun to publish blogs using various publishing tools.

blogging
September 1, 2017

Setting up a new Mac

Whenever I get a new Mac, I start with a clean install and re-build and re-install everything from scratch. This is decidedly not the easiest path but it’s one that helps me think about what I need and also avoid the cruft accumulated from a year or two of use.

Here is the list of apps I install when setting up a new Mac. The latest of these was in August 2017 when the drive on my iMac died.

That’s about it. It’s always a longer list than I think it’s going to be. Then I end up spending a day tweaking preferences and things like…

  • Make sure all the right dotfiles are symlinked to where I keep them in Dropbox.
  • Configure and make sure my backups are in order.

After this most recent re-install I swore that next time I’ll just use a Time Machine backup. Then again, I say that every time.

apple workflow software
September 1, 2017

A Drastic Keyboard Change

Extended Keyboard II vs Magic KeyboardExtended Keyboard II vs Magic Keyboard

I have always been a keyboard guy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve used big, clicky, important keyboards. The way a keyboard feels and sounds has always been, well, key to my typing enjoyment.

Then along comes the iPad and its Smart Keyboard. Now that I’m spending a great deal of time typing on the little Smart Keyboard, I’m finding that switching between that and my dear old Apple Extended Keyboard II on the desktop is a bit of a shock.

So, continuing my recent trend of making my desktop and mobile experiences as similar as possible, I’ve put a little Apple Magic Keyboard on my desks and retired the big Extended Keyboards. This is a dramatic change for me, but it has brought a few improvements.

  1. I now have way more room on my desks. Just look at the size difference in the above photo.
  2. It frees up a USB port (I charge it using an existing Lightning cable)
  3. It feels similar to the Smart Keyboard, reducing the shock of switching from mobile to desktop
  4. I can finally remap Caps Lock to Control. (The Extended Keyboard’s Caps Lock key physically locks” when pressed.)

The down side is that I’m not sure I’ll ever be as good at typing on this little thing. Also, I’m not used to having no numeric keypad or Home keys, etc. I could get the larger Magic Keyboard with the extra keys but I’m trying to learn to live without them. Plus, how will my coworkers know I’m working if they can’t hear the loud clackity-clack of my keyboard? I’m quite sure they won’t miss it, to be honest.

It’s been a week since switching to the smaller keyboard, and I’m dealing with it, if not yet loving it. Eventually I hope I can learn to enjoy living like this and that the benefits outweigh the feeling that I’m giving up an important part of how I interact with these machines.

apple hardware