February 23, 2021
Why am I so tired? I think it’s from spending so much time and energy configuring things.
I spent 2 hours yesterday trying some new visual config changes to Emacs for no good reason. Because micro-managing font faces is important! I’m not even supposed to be using Emacs, for crying out loud.
Then I farted with my TiddlyWiki for a while because I couldn’t decide if I wanted a sidebar visible or not and how should backlinks look, anyway?
After spending a week committing to using Lightroom Classic for everything related to my photography workflow, I ditched it entirely and have been setting up Capture One Pro and Photo Mechanic, which is what I used for a long time and had the whole workflow basically nailed. Now I’ve gotta start over. Again.
I have external hard drives, a Synology, and Backblaze for storage. You think I can come up with a decent, stable storage and backup setup? I can! But then I decide to configure it differently the next day because what if?
My Hugo-based blog at baty.net was breaking during builds for no reason I could find. I thought I’d try updating the theme but I’d forgotten how because I had recently reconfigured things to use Hugo modules instead of Git submodules. I just want to write and post something. Is that too much to ask?
I recently replaced my MacBook Pro and iMac with M1 versions of the MacBook Air and Mac Mini. I started from scratch with both, and it’s been weeks of configuration and I’m still not done.
Sometimes I think of all this configuration as just having fun tinkering with computer stuff. I’ve loved tinkering for as long as I can remember. Lately, though, spending time configuring things feels too much like work; like a crippling distraction rather than a fun diversion.
You’ll note that I’m posting this to my Blot.im blog. Why? Because it’s easier and there’s really nothing to configure and right now that is a welcome change. And I still haven’t fixed Hugo.
Maybe it’s actually “Decision Fatigue”.
January 17, 2021
Or maybe it’s about drawing (semi-arbitrary) physical boundaries in digital spaces: I need ways to differentiate between the digital equivalent of talking to someone in the street vs. at a restaurant vs. in my house, and drawing the line between diff apps lends a bit of physicality to those relationships
Nadia Eghbal, 2020–12–09
This is exactly the way I use messaging apps.
January 9, 2021
Following along with all my blogs
I created a combined RSS feed for all my blogs.
TL;DR is just subsribe to this…
Longer version here
January 9, 2021
What might I use Craft for?
Kevin asks, “I’m curious to know what kind of stuff you are tinkering with in Craft Editor?”. Good question, but I don’t have a great answer yet.
The short version is, not much.
Craft is a new-ish notetaking app for the Mac and iOS. It’s quite pretty and rather fancy. I of course try every new app for notes, so I have been playing with Craft for a couple of weeks.
Craft immediately reminded me of Notion.so, but I don’t like using Notion, so I dismissed it at first. After tinkering a bit, I grew to see it as a simpler, faster tool than Notion. It seemed to include the useful bits without all the hoo-ha of Notion.
So how might I use it? Well it’s certainly not going to be a replacement for Roam Research.
Roam has transformed the way I keep records and take notes. None of its competitors have tempted me away for any length of time.
I remain all-in with Roam for my daily notes.
Then, there’s Emacs.
For a few years I used Emacs for everything. Too many things, if I’m honest. Today I’m down to using it for notes on certain projects and for document creation. I’d like to move away from Emacs eventually.
I love LaTeX and Org-mode, but man, what a pain it all is to get right. I tweak and I tweak and I tweak. Personally, I love the way LaTeX renders and typesets documents. The people I share those documents with are less enthusiastic. I get, “Can’t you just send me a Google Doc?” a lot. No, I can’t send you a Google Doc. I don’t like Google or its Docs, so Craft could be a good option for the document creation tasks I now use Emacs for.
Craft makes it easy to create and share good-looking and easy-to-use documents, so to answer Kevin’s question, I’m considering Craft for creating documents I intend to share. I don’t know yet if that will be worth paying for, but it’s where I’m headed.
(I also posted this as a Craft document, but I’ve copied it here in case I delete my account.)
January 9, 2021
Bi-directional linking between anything using Hook
A few apps have offered some form of bi-directional linking, but it was Roam Research that made it famous. I’ve been using Roam for more than a year and it has transformed the way I take notes. It’s the way Roam does bi-directional linking that has me hooked.
Roam is great at connecting nodes within Roam, but the missing, er, link, for me has been the connections between files and other apps. For example, I’m not using Roam for my todo list, but I don’t like using my todo list for notes, either. If only there was a way to link all these things together somehow.
Enter Hook — Find without searching
Hook is basically a tool that lets me connect things that are related to each other on my Mac. I can connect an email in MailMate with a task in Things or a Github issue or a note in DEVONthink or a blog post or…you get the idea. I can even connect my notes in Roam with stuff in nearly any app or file.
What’s really helpful is that when I link something to something else, the link goes both ways. That means that if I’m viewing a file in the Finder I can, for example, link to the web page from which it was downloaded.
Another feature I’m experimenting with is “Hook to New”. This reminds me of using Org-noter in Emacs, but lets me annotate everything and without having to use Emacs.
I’ve been using Hook to New as a way to annotate files and web pages. For example, while reading a web page I trigger Hook (Command-Shift-Space) and hit Command-N. This creates a new Markdown document, opens it in BBEdit, and creates a Hook link from Safari to the note and from the note back to the page in Safari. The difference between this and putting a link and notes in Roam is that I can jump to the notes directly from the web page, while I’m reading it. And back again.
Previous attempts to integrate Hook into my workflow have failed. This time, however, I’ve learned from Roam the value of backlinks, which gives the whole concept a better chance of sticking.
January 8, 2021
Time Traveler, by Waltzer
Bought my first new vinyl in like a year. This is “Time Traveler” by Waltzer.
January 8, 2021
Can you believe it?
No way, right? No way I’m here.
July 30, 2020
Cheating with digital
Photographs should not be significantly altered in post. It’s cheating. This is how I feel. I suppose if you consider yourself a “digital illustrator” rather than photographer, then sure, but otherwise, it’s cheating.
And oh my how easy it is to cheat these days. Here’s an example. I took the following photo yesterday during a walk at the beach with my daughter.
Ok, I lied, the photo I actually took was this one…
Pretty similar, right? Except that my photo had no birds in it, and the sky was dull and boring, as far as skies go.
It took me about 4 clicks in the latest version of Luminar to replace the sky with something slightly more dramatic and to add a few birds, just for the hell of it. The result is the “same” photo but just jazzed up a little, right?
No, it’s not. It’s cheating and it’s not what happened. My goal when taking photographs is to record things I’m interested in or to show how I see things. I realize not everyone feels this way, but cheating like I did here ruins the photo for me. Yes, if I were scrolling through Instagram I’m sure I’d prefer the altered version, but it’s not how I want to do things.
It’s so tempting, though! If it only takes a few clicks to go from decent to Wow!, why wouldn’t I? I’d like to make the slippery slope argument here. I mean, just look at how awesome this sunset photo is!
But, you know, some hard-working photographer somewhere is spending days getting to beautiful places and waiting long hours for just the right moment. Then, finally, the light and sky and everything comes together for the shot. By cheaply and easily altering my images, I diminish the work done by those who are out doing it for real. It feels wrong. It feels like cheating and I want no part of it.
July 27, 2020
Re-retiring the old iPhone SE
I’ve only had it out again for a few weeks, but I’ve already put my beloved iPhone SE back in the drawer. As much as I love its size, shape, and Touch ID, the little SE doesn’t fit as well into my life as well as the X. Its battery only gives me about a half-day of use. It doesn’t fit in my car holder. It’s a lot slower, and the camera is much worse. I could probably take care of most of these if I tried hard enough, but I’d just be swimming upstream.
Apple isn’t going to make another small phone like the SE. I’m better off moving on. It’s disappointing, but fine. It’s just a phone.
July 26, 2020
The MyHeritage Photo Enhancer
I ran one of my favorite found negatives through the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer and I have to admit it’s pretty impressive.
Before and after
The photos are enhanced using this specialized technology and are not manually retouched in any way. The technology infers what the original faces may have looked like by bringing blurry low-resolution or low-quality photos into clear focus.
The process focuses on faces in the photos and leaves the rest alone. It’s worked amazingly well on the handful of images I’ve tested. I want this for all of my very old negative and photo scans. Unfortunately, it requires a subscription to MyHeritage, in which I’m not interested.
The technology behind all this is licensed, so it must be available elsewhere. If you know where I might find it, drop me a line.