SkedPal

scheduleMay 8, 2021

SkedPal - the smart calendar app that schedules your to-do’s:

Do you thrive on schedules and action plans? Tell SkedPal the things you want to do and advanced algorithms will build a smart schedule for you.

I’m digging into this planning software, despite the 🚨 around some elements. Those concerns, namely being:

  • the current release v2.9 is creaky and ugly.
  • the beta v3 has been in development for over a year.
  • the last blog post was in mid-2020.
  • the user forums are quiet.
  • No CalDAV support so I have to do a Google two-step into my Fastmail experience.
  • it’s expensive.

Despite all of these misgivings, I am enjoying using it to schedule my days. It’s value proposition is the way it automatically time-blocks days based on all the task criteria while still taking into account your fixed calendar events.

This is basically the solution I’m looking for. So despite all the misgivings, I might throw my money at the company and see if it works for me.

At least as a paying customer I will apparently get access to the beta 3 software.

scheduleApril 28, 2021

I’m loving my new Asus ZenWifi mesh devices. Way faster than my old Google Wifi. It took an entire weekend of research and a lengthy Craft document with input from @Burk but I’m sure it has paid off. My internet is now the best it can be.

scheduleApril 27, 2021

As an update to my last post I’ve stress tested my wifi signal and I feel relieved. My crappy router is still crappy and a mesh network is necessary. Money not wasted.

A New Internet Stack

scheduleApril 27, 2021

My entire internet stack is being rebuilt. I changed ISP. The new ISPs connection uses a different protocol which wasn’t working with my Google Wifi, so I’ve temporarily reverted to my modem/router which has been in bridge-only mode for the past 3 years.

Now my wifi is faster than it has been in ages. Problem is, I don’t know whether it’s the new ISP or the removal of Google Wifi. So much for A/B testing. I do know that the last few firmware updates for Google wifi have been reported as being terrible for impacting overall speeds.Last night, before this change and after a weekend of research, I ordered the Asus ZenWifi XT8 to replace the Google devices.

So Google Wifi was always going in the bin, but now I don’t know whether I’ve set fire to a bunch of 💵 by buying the Asus, when I may have been able to keep the household running on my clunky D-Link DVA-2800 DSL modem/router.

Isn’t hobbyist computing fun?

scheduleApril 24, 2021

So with all my wifi research, I haven’t bought any new hardware, but I have signed up to a new ISP. 🤷🏼‍♂️

scheduleApril 24, 2021

I’m losing confidence in my Google wifi mesh setup. Is Eero any better? If I spend on a network upgrade I’d like for it to be appreciably better.

scheduleApril 23, 2021

I’ve got new glasses. I hate getting new glasses. Everything looks wonky through them and there’s always that feeling the prescription is wrong. New glasses are an anxiety creation machine.

Fixing the Big Sur proxy icon delay globally

scheduleApril 15, 2021

Brett Terpstra:

I had previously bemoaned the fact that the proxy icon is now hidden behind a hover delay in Big Sur.

Listeners of Hemispheric Views will be aware of my love for the macOS proxy icon.

I am overjoyed to learn that macOS-magic-man Brett Terpstra has found a way to have the proxy icon ready for action without delay. Thank you, sir, for fixing what Apple broke.

scheduleApril 12, 2021

Crap. I think I’m getting into Obsidian. Just when I thought I’d settled on Dynalist and DEVONthink.

scheduleApril 11, 2021

Donnelly River in the south-west of Western Australia features kangaroos and emus that are not at all fussed with people.

scheduleApril 11, 2021

I had my first drive of a Tesla. It was the Model 3. I want one now.

scheduleApril 10, 2021

I’ve discovered the ability to install GUI-based apps via Homebrew Casks. Saves mucking around with .dmg files, dragging and dropping to the Applications folder. Still fun to learn new things about computing!

scheduleApril 10, 2021

Discovered my internet was slow. After factory restores and firmware updates for all my networking devices, I’m back to full speed. I wonder for how long my network had been non-optimal?

My Version of the MacSparky Status Board

scheduleApril 9, 2021

Recently David Sparks has posted a number of blog entries about his status board creation1. This takes the form of a kanban board of significant projects that he manually updates, providing a graphical overview of his work and life.

I’m a big fan of tools based around the lean methodologies, so I was immediately taken by his idea. I’ve done similar things in the past, but David inspired me to build one with a new approach.

HyperPlan is my Preferred Software

Whereas David uses OmniGraffle, I have chosen to use HyperPlan. I have previously written about my love of HyperPlan.

What makes HyperPlan great for the construction of a status board is that it is data-driven and dynamic. David takes time each week to edit and change his status board in what is effectively a graphics application. By using HyperPlan, I can change database entries and the software intelligently reconstructs the status board. I have freedom to change the variables I want to ‘pivot’ the table around.

I can create and save ‘views’ of my data, which allow me to construct a status board that has the three key elements of my life: work, family, and me — and elect to view all or some of these. I can focus only on work by hiding the others, or I can view them all together in one kanban board, but still split by these roles.

The following image shows the card layout of a status board displaying key projects across all three of my areas of responsibility:

Statusboard structure

Whereas this redacted image shows my work projects, and demonstrates how the fields can be shown on each card:

Statusboard redacted

System-based URLs for Contextual Computing

HyperPlan has the ability to add hyperlinks to each card. This enables me to adopt David Sparks’ contextual computing linking. I am able to add links to OmniFocus projects, Hook references, or DEVONThink locations all within the relevant card. A right-click on the card allows me to jump straight to any of these locations.

Fun and Engaging

I appreciate David sharing his thoughts and ideas around the construction of a status board.

In building my own, it has been a reminder of how I can make work fun and engaging. The efficiency and pure project-processing of OmniFocus is great, but it doesn’t do visualisation. This status board is nice to look at, easy to update, and allows me to consider how loaded up my life is at any particular point in time.

I’m going to make this a key part of my personal management approach.

scheduleApril 3, 2021

Cooked perfect steaks on the barbecue tonight. Delicious!

Frenzic

scheduleApril 3, 2021

Frenzic: Overtime – Coming Soon to Apple Arcade • The Breakroom

All of us here at the Iconfactory have dreamt of creating a sequel to the original Frenzic, which first debuted on the App Store thirteen years ago. Thanks to Apple Arcade, that dream is about to become a reality.

Has it really been 13 years since Frenzic? I played it constantly on my iPod touch taking the bus to work. Excited to see it returning. I like this new approach from Apple Arcade.

World Autism Awareness Day

scheduleApril 2, 2021

Today is World Autism Awareness Day.

Our eldest son, now 9, was diagnosed with autism at age 5. This was young enough for him to benefit from early intervention support which has made a huge difference to his life. It was not, and cannot be, a cure. There is no such thing, nor would I want there to be one. Being on the autism spectrum is part of what makes him, him.

Yet if you suspect your child of having autism, push for an early diagnosis because it unlocks help and support pathways. Most of all, it helps build an understanding of what is going on with your child’s lived experience.

Autism doesn’t go away. My boy continues to face struggles. Likely, these struggles will impact him throughout life. The effects often appear cyclical. We have good weeks and bad. The last few weeks have been tremendously difficult for him. It has been hard for him getting through a school day, without a rift appearing. It’s hard for us as parents to get the loving and supportive parenting right all the time. It’s not easy for anybody. For our son, emotional disregulation is a daily challenge. We have learned to always be on the lookout for triggers. That might be a loud environment, or too many stimulators inputs, or the need for him to make consecutive decisions.

We are sure to get through this current difficult phase, but we have the knowledge that this is a challenge that will always be present for him. Our job as parents is to equip him with the skills and tools necessary to be able to have a good life, whatever the definition of that might be for him.

We keep working at that. Days like Autism Awareness Day help remind us of this important task.

scheduleApril 2, 2021

My second trial of HEY is ending and I’m happily retreating to my Fastmail/Sanebox combo.

scheduleApril 1, 2021

I like the idea of imputation - too many businesses miss this vital component.

scheduleApril 1, 2021

Dealing with my 9-year old’s autistic meltdowns is hard. 😓

Hannah Beazley MLA

scheduleMarch 30, 2021

Hannah and Andrew

I am immensely proud of my wife, Hannah Beazley, who has been duly elected as a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, representing the District of Victoria Park. As the WA Labor Party won the State Election, she is now a member of our State Government.

While the result was known on the evening of the official polling day on 13 March 2021, the WA Electoral Commission cannot formally declare a result until it has done a full count and exhausted all the preferences of those candidates who did not win. This is a complex system so counting the complete set takes some time, at which point the election is declared.

For the District of Victoria Park, that time has come and the result has been officially declared and published.

Victoria Park Result

Victoria Park was previously held by the State’s outgoing Treasurer, Ben Wyatt. Before him, the seat was held by Premier Geoff Gallop. Now, my wife, Hannah Beazley, has the opportunity to represent the people of Victoria Park in the State Parliament.

Hannah has worked for many years towards this goal. She has previously fought and lost elections, but never given up. Now, she is a winner, and it’s fantastic!

Result Summaries

scheduleMarch 28, 2021

I hit the basketball court for the first time in a long time yesterday. My free throw percentage was better than ever, but three point range was a struggle! 😩🏀

Fastmail

scheduleMarch 27, 2021

My mate Jason is digging into Fastmail, and liking what he sees.

Fastmail. Who Knew? - //Jason Burk:

Recently after a discussion about email on Episode 023 of Hemispheric Views, I dug into the settings and configuration of Fastmail and I was pleasantly surprised by how much more than a simple host they truly are!

I’ve been again trialling Hey for the past week or so, but I still don’t think it matches the combination of Fastmail & Sanebox.

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Canal

scheduleMarch 25, 2021

Jamie Thingelstad - Container Ship Queue:

They normally pass 50 ships a day through the canal. With so many backed up, it will be a few days before things get back to normal.

The linked article includes some cool graphical imagery of the shipping impact of the Panama Suez Canal1 being blocked.

It goes to show how fragile our trade system is; and the economic value inherent in the canal.


  1. My thanks to Steve Snider for pointing out my dopey mistake of calling out the wrong canal. Geography, eh? [return]
scheduleMarch 25, 2021

There’ll be a new episode of Hemispheric Views podcast dropping soon. Best catch up on the last episode then. The episode is named Perthonalities! as we reference people from my home town of Perth, Australia. 49 minutes of top-quality audio enjoyment!

scheduleMarch 22, 2021

I want an email app that works with standard IMAP, but is well-designed and something different, like Hey. Is that too much to ask?

scheduleMarch 22, 2021

A quick test post straight from Ulysses 22 to micro.blog. Awesome to see Ulysses supporting the best blog host on the internet!

scheduleMarch 21, 2021

My HEY experiment is not going well. For some reason, forwarding from Fastmail to HEY isn’t working. But I can’t be bothered figuring out why.

scheduleMarch 21, 2021

The battery of my iPad Pro 2017 has reached that point where it drains rapidly, even in standby. It does everything I need of it, so I could probably get a battery replacement. Or, I could buy the upcoming new iPad Pro or the current iPad Air. Prudent decision versus fun one. 🤔

scheduleMarch 20, 2021

Crowning Around

Me and my boys. Benji refuses to smile for any photo.

scheduleMarch 19, 2021

Dammit Microbloggers, now I’m trialling HEY again.

scheduleMarch 16, 2021

Downside of no Covid-19 lockdowns: stuffed nose/cold.

Johnny•Decimal

scheduleMarch 16, 2021

Johnny•Decimal: A system to organise projects:

There are a couple of core concepts, and they’re so simple you’ll wonder why you haven’t thought of them before.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that all of this is free, and it’s possible to implement it without any additional tools.

I was introduced to the Johnny Decimal filing system by @jack. I’m going to give a go with my own computer document filing. As organised as I think I am, I certainly struggle to find digital files on a more regular basis than I would like.

scheduleMarch 14, 2021

I’m in today’s paper, smooching my wife! ❤️😘

scheduleMarch 14, 2021

My wife is the incoming Member for Victoria Park in the Western Australian State Parliament!

scheduleMarch 11, 2021

Not often that I’m awake early enough to hear the kookaburras doing their morning laughs. Such a great sound.

scheduleMarch 11, 2021

That feeling when you wake up at 3:15am to record a podcast interview, then figure it’s not worth trying to go back to sleep after it’s done. I appreciate what @Burk deals with when we record @HemisphericViews now.

Calendar Hero

scheduleMarch 8, 2021

Calendar Hero » tyler.io:

It sits on your Desktop, below all of your other windows, and…shows your weekly calendar. It highlights the current day, the current hour of that day, and shows a countdown until your next event.

That’s it. That’s all I want.

This is terrific for somebody like me who is guided through life by his calendar.

scheduleMarch 3, 2021

I’ve settled into a great ’daily notes and other documentation’ system using Dynalist. I’ve never had this much consistent success with any app, except for perhaps Day One, which I also still use.

scheduleMarch 3, 2021

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 31: ‘defiance’ 📷

scheduleMarch 2, 2021

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 30: ‘privacy’ 📷

scheduleMarch 1, 2021

Micro.blog has been on fire the last few days. I’ve really enjoyed the interactions. Thanks everybody! 🔥 💯 🤚🏻

scheduleMarch 1, 2021

I do a weekly Australian National Basketball League (NBL) podcast, NBL Pocket Podcast. Today’s episode is out and I think it’s a particularly fun one. 🏀 🎙

scheduleMarch 1, 2021

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 29: ‘light’ 📷

scheduleMarch 1, 2021

Alfred on macOS seems to be much more dynamically developed than Launchbar. As a long-time Launchbar user I’m wondering if it’s time to invest in the Alfred PowerPack and retrain my fingers?

Unexpected events today:

  1. Credit card details stolen and $1,500 of fraudulent transactions incurred.
  2. Our 5-year old boy decided to wander off to fight criminals by himself. Eventually found, thanks to neighbourhood community and police.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 28: I cleaned ‘up’ the front porch. 📷

I’m feeling the urge to add a bookmarks manager to my workflow. I already use Instapaper, but now I’m thinking about adding either Pinboard.in or Raindrop.io to the mix.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 27: ‘pompasetting’. Hemispheric Views is the best podcast in the world. 📷

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 26: My ‘favourite’ sight of today. 📷

Give the tradie who’s been doing hard yakka in your yard all day a beer at the end of it. 🍺

I had settled on Dynalist. Now NotePlan 3 has arrived on Setapp. Just when I thought I would be able to settle on a single solution!

I watched the first 3 episodes of WandaVision. I’m not a Marvel guy by any means, but I enjoyed this show. To be honest I would have been good with it as a simple old fashioned sit-com and nothing more. 📺

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 15: ‘Reflection’ 📷

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 14: ‘Compassion’. Donating our money from bottle recycling to the Perth Bushfire Relief Fund. 📷

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 13: ‘Make’. I was able to make these acoustic walls today. 📷

As part of a backyard renovation, we are having a large tree lopped and removed today. Our whole family feels terrible and guilty about it. 😔

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 9: ‘Muddy’. When you go tadpoling with the kids. 📷

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 8: ‘Hope’. I hope he doesn’t crash. 📷

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 7: ‘Craving’ 📷

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 5: ‘Pets’. Fish are as close as we have at the moment. 📷

“Walk with Apple”: It’s difficult to take life advice from 22-year old Shawn Mendes.

Went for a walk around the block. Didn’t buy coffee from the local organics shop because they had an anti-5G poster in the window.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 4: ‘Layers’ of pants. 📷

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 3: ‘Comfort’. Bur-de-Bur, the teddy I received at my birth. He knows all my deepest secrets. 📷

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 2: ‘Morning Beverage’. I’ve already had two morning beverages, but didn’t see the challenge in time. Hence, empty cup. 📷

Who does Flickr? I use it as a storage location, but I admit I don’t have a community over there. Now I’ve ditched Instagram, I wish it had more people and everyday photos in addition to the ‘high art’ that tends to be its focus.

Micro.blog Photo Challenge: Day 1: ‘close up’. Apologies for the visage; no face-tuning here. 📷

🔗 Link Post: “A New Board Game: {macro}Dungeon - //Jason Burk”

Jason Burk writing for Burk.io:

“Players can advance in boring one increment moves or strategically build macro sets that can contain up to 5 moves allowing you to jump ahead of the competition.”

My friend Jason has designed and produced a genuine, actual board game that you can buy. He’s invested a lot of time and effort into this.

International shipping is currently a bit expensive, but if you live in the United States, I encourage you to make a purchase.

Here in Western Australia we’ve had a person out in the community who had the UK strain of COVID-19. So we’re all getting a week of lockdown. School was going back tomorrow! 😭

Good deed for the day: I approached the automated grocery store check-out machine as lady ahead moves on. At least $200 cash had been dispensed and was sitting there. I quickly called her back to get her money: the relief on her face was palpable.

I’ve checked in with OmniFocus. I have been yak shaving for the past three hours. I think I can now do what I originally intended to do.

It was fun to do another commentary of an NBL game on Twitch tonight. Cairns Taipans hosted Melbourne United. 🏀

I’ve disabled my Raspberry Pi & Pi-Hole combo as I try out NextDNS for a while. Early impressions are that it’s technically good, but documentation needs work!

This morning I took an Uber into the city, and it was a Tesla. Wow! This afternoon I came home on a bus.

Turns out Karabiner Elements isn’t so compatible with an M1 Mac. It caused a weird purple flash at shutdown and an OS error message upon boot. This article explains the problem and solution.

This water spill looks like Australia and some islands of Indonesia.

Listening to Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon. This album never gets old. 🎶

I had a heap of fun doing commentary on tonight’s NBL game on Twitch. Provides a reminder as to how well professionals can avoid dead air. Not easy to maintain constant dialogue! 🏀 🎙

I’m doing a Twitch commentary live stream of the first NBL game of the season today. Partnering with my podcast friend, Joe Corr, this is the first attempt at live-streaming by the NBL Pocket Podcast empire. 🏀

What’s that? I have to go back to work today? Noooooo!!!!

I’ve reactivated Resilio Sync to share content between my iMac and MacBook Air (and possibly my iOS devices). Figured I owned a license, so may as well use it.

Facebook: deleted. WhatsApp: deleted. You’re on borrowed time, Instagram.

scheduleJanuary 8, 2021

I’ve proceeded with a full Facebook account deletion. I previously archived it, but I’m so done with them now. Happy for the account to be trashed.

scheduleJanuary 7, 2021

I want to say something stupid like, “go home, America, you’re drunk”, but this is more serious than that. How about,“impeach Trump immediately”?

scheduleJanuary 6, 2021

I got to 87 daily reviews in Readwise before I broke the chain.

scheduleJanuary 6, 2021

My purchased licenses for BusyCal and BusyContacts ran out. My Setapp subscription to the rescue, with both of those apps included in the bundle!

scheduleJanuary 4, 2021

Okay, this is smart. Using a Discourse forum as a blog of sorts. Keeping topics tied together. This eliminates the stupid date-based approach of a blog, without the hassle of a wiki.

scheduleJanuary 4, 2021

Kyle, from Apple Fitness+, is no joke. I tried hard, Kyle, I promise!

2020 Retrospective

scheduleJanuary 3, 2021

The general world-view of 2020 is that it was shit. In many ways, I agree. However, living in Perth, Western Australia in 2020 had to have been one to the best outcomes. We have been largely unaffected by COVID-19 in terms of community transmission. We had a period of lockdown as a precautionary measure. However, thanks to a combination of geographic isolation, good government and civil obedience we have been able to continue a relatively good standard of life.

The year still seems to have passed by strangely though, without the typical beats that I might expect to see in a year. My mind was foggy about what actually happened in 2020.

I’ve taken the time to reflect on my diary notes and calendar to see what did happen in 2020. I’ve excluded the every-day work stuff, and the typical parenting, kid management things that are a standard part of my existence.

For me, the narrative that 2020 was a complete write-off is not fair. A lot happened in 2020 and much of it has been positive and transformational. The biggest personal change has been the development of me as a ‘podcaster’. I’ve listened to podcasts since around 2005 when Adam Curry hosted his Daily Source Code. To now be producing my own podcast content — a mere 15 years later — has been a blast.

I’m also proud to have established a weekly video call with my friends. I’m proud that I started it, but more proud of my mates for sticking with it. Every week, from March until now, we’ve caught up for a chat. It has strengthened our bonds and been a real highlight of a year that in many other ways has been highlighted with themes of isolation.

So, the following list represents my year in summary.

January

  • Our Standard Poodle, Jeff, died.
  • Holidays at a hotel and a caravan park.
  • My last interstate airline travel for a work conference in Sydney.

February

  • Outdoor cinema to see Jumanji: The Next Level.
  • Outdoor evening event at Perth Zoo.
  • Day at a public swimming pool and water slides.

March

  • The arrival of COVID in a serious way.
  • Bought my first podcasting gear.
  • Started my own podcast, Keep Practising.
  • Started a weekly COVID video call catch-up with my friends. This continued weekly for the rest of the year.

April

  • Cancelled our planned trip to the USA.
  • Took a bush walk in the hills of Perth.

May

June

  • Attended a BBQ with friends. This wouldn’t normally rate a mention, but in 2020 that was something!

July

  • Transitioned to a new employer, but doing the same work.
  • Watched every game of The Basketball Tournament.
  • Daily podcasts on NBL Pocket Podcast regarding TBT tournament.
  • This kicked off my regular role on NBL Pocket Podcast for the rest of the year.
  • Built a new friendship with the Trotter family.
  • Visited my friend Craig in Bridgetown.

August

  • Started taking Benji to my local coffee shop on a regular basis.
  • Committed to regular strength training.

September

October

  • Vacation in Broome.
  • Committed to a renovation of our backyard, including construction of a swimming pool.

November

  • My wife Hannah was confirmed as an endorsed candidate in the upcoming Western Australian State Election.

December

scheduleJanuary 1, 2021

2021 is go. No expectation that it will be a salve for 2020 but still taking the optimistic approach.

Did a 20 minute Apple Fitness+ workout. I need heavier dumb-bells. 🏋🏻

For any micro.bloggers that play games - even rarely and recreationally like me - there is a Discord server you might like. I think this invite link dies in 1 day, but the channel is Micro.Blog Game Days. discord.gg/7agXe9fG

In the last few days I’ve been more successful writing daily notes with Dynalist than I have been with any number of previous software options. I think outliners are simply my jam.

Started playing Animal Crossing. It’s a game of nothing that somehow consumes your time like a ravenous time phantom.

I need to tidy my study. Make things more accessible, particularly my dSLR which has languished. It used to be a core hobby, now I never touch it. Actually, the whole idea of photography sort of seems like work. The rise of camera phones has devalued photography as its own thing.

I don’t have the energy to truly investigate Obsidian. It’s software that is raved about, but I can’t muster the care to try it. Between The Archive, DEVONthink, Dynalist, etc. I already have too many places to take notes. Even if Obsidian could be the one I can’t find the drive.

More Evidence Against Trickle-Down Economic Theory

Keeping tax low for rich does not boost economy:

From the Department of the Blinding Obvious, which has been consistently challenged by the Department of Vested Interests, comes a new paper demonstrating that Trickle-Down Economics… wait for it… doesn’t work!

Major reforms reducing taxes on the rich lead to higher income inequality but do not have any significant effect on economic growth or unemployment, according to new research by LSE and King’s College London. Researchers say governments seeking to restore public finances following the COVID-19 crisis should therefore not be concerned about the economic consequences of higher taxes on the rich.

The foundation of an effective and fair progressive tax system is one upon which successful nation’s can build. Trickle-down economics can be expressed another way as ‘hollow-out economics’.

Via: Kottke.org: 50 Years of Trickle-Down Economics Didn’t Work

I’m impressed with Apple Fitness+. The quality of the entire thing - presenters, set design, technology stack. All brilliant.

Waking up a sleeping M1 MacBook Air really is fast. Now I understand what Craig Federighi was talking about. Open the lid - bam, ready to go. Guess what, @Burk - my Intel iMac really is trash now.

The screen on my new MacBook Air is never going to be this clean again.

I’ve got a problem where calendars shared from Fastmail via .ics link to Google Calendar aren’t showing any events in Google. Is Fastmail providing a malformed URL or is GooCal borked?

I express my gratitude to the community of micro.blog, so many of whom gave their best wishes to me when I shared the news of my Dad dying. This really is a great neighbourhood of the internet - thank you all. 💕🙌

Chrome is Bad

Chrome is Bad:

Short story: Google Chrome installs something called Keystone on your computer, which nefariously hides itself from Activity Monitor and makes your whole computer slow even when Chrome isn’t running. Deleting Chrome and Keystone makes your computer way, way faster, all the time.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Chrome. Reading this was enough to convince me to uninstall it for good.

This website has been published by Loren Brichter, who authored Tweetie way back when. I trust the guy.

I didn’t have the best nor closest relationship with my Dad. Today, however, he passed away to be with God and I appreciate the part he played in my life.

Kids are occupied, wind isn’t too bad, and heat has died down. It’s nice to be sitting on the front porch now.

HVmini // Craig's Desk

Are you curious to see how other’s set their desks up? We were @HemisphericViews so we asked listeners to share… and they did! First up is Craig. Follow along with the podcast with best-in-class show notes, including photos. You also get to see how the sausage was made as we share a screenshot of the edited file. Listen, learn, subscribe!

I’ve installed Big Sur on my iMac. So far, all seems well. I went to enable reduce transparency, only to discover I must have had it enabled in Catalina as the setting had transferred over.

Family night at the Victoria Park Family Christmas fair. Great to be out and about.

As usual, things get a bit crazy on @Hemisphericviews: @Burk drinks multiple beverages at once; I go overboard on ‘Media Corner’, selecting multiple items; and @martinfeld is shocked to discover that he is actually from the future. Is there an almanac for that? pca.st

There was the faint sound of an ice cream truck in the distance. Our kids have convinced Mum to take them in the car to track it down!🍦🚑

I’ve stayed up too late playing XCOM2. I can never get enough of that game. 🕹

This final microblogvember post shall reinforce and remind me how difficult it is to post in accordance with a pre-determined word every day for a month! But I did it! #mbnov

I feel I live in one of the few places in the world where a mask has not been required at any point (yet) through the entire coronavirus pandemic. #mbnov

What am I going to write for today’s microblogvember post? It’s a dilemma #mbnov

TheBrain is on sale at the moment. It’s still expensive though. Yet I’m tempted. Even though I feel like DevonThink has me covered. 🤔🤯

Nothing is so perfect that one can’t adjust it to make it a little better. #mbnov

I took a call from a lady in Adelaide today. Wrong number. #mbnov

“No-one gets rich just by working hard.”

— (Royce Kurmelovs, Just Money)

Resurfaced with readwise.io

I can’t wait to provision a new MacBook Air. I may set it up without Migration Assistant; a completely fresh start for new chip architecture. #mbnov

When I took photographer more seriously and used a dSLR I would work hard to capture the perfect frame. Now, with iPhone photography I don’t invest nearly as much effort, and the results demonstrate that. My photography has regressed. #mbnov

I wrote a TextExpander snippet with my pen. It didn’t work.

By our State Government closing Western Australia’s border we have been spared the worst of the coronavirus. #mbnov

By using @LaunchBar 37 × per day, I’ve saved 27h 37m and became The Abbreviator! (since 17 June 2014)

As we head towards December, winter is becoming a distant memory. Next phase of our local weather should be ridiculous heat. #mbnov

I’m enjoying Pocket Casts as a podcast player. I’ve always been aware of it, but never tried it. Now I have, and I think it could be the best of the bunch.

Imagine if Trump decided to quietly fade into obscurity. What a blessing that would be. #mbnov

My son and I found it possible to fill our scavenger hunt egg carton on our afternoon walk. #mbnov

My Apple Podcasts experiment lasted about a day. The device sync is good. Nothing else is. Seems like Overcast is the only show in town for multi-device sync and a sane interface.

I’m taking a look at the default Apple Podcasts app. The library interface is inscrutable. Does this app make sense to others?

We all have a dependence upon our Earth. How about we stop screwing it up? #mbnov

My son has given me a bunch of reasons why a train is a cool vehicle. They’re comfortable, they let you travel around, they’re quiet… #mbnov

I’ve been a computer nerd virtually my entire life. I remember when a computer had 8 kilobytes of memory. Those were the days. #mbnov

When I was young I loved The Far Side by Gary Larson. Unfortunately his recent reboot hasn’t grabbed me in the same way. #mbnov

I’m contemplating the worth of getting a second HomePod (maxi), putting it into a stereo pair with my existing one. Then removing the receiver, giant speakers, etc. Just simplifying (perhaps?) it all.

I would be happy to watch a spooky movie tonight but I can’t think of one. #mbnov

Own Your Content

Om Malik on Instagram’s Updates:

I feel sad for photographers who think their future is on Instagram and the social network it brings. They don’t realize that they are there to help sell tchotchkes. 

The latest “features” added to Instagram provide a timely reminder that the only safe haven is owning one’s content. A personal website and domain name remains the most reliable way to avoid your content serving as feed stock for a commercial enterprise.

Challenge for the audience: How old would you guess I am? #mbnov

Pro … Air … Pro … Air … Pro … Air …

Send help!!!

I bought some new Brooks shoes on the weekend. Now I’m trying to wear them in. #mbnov

Hey. HEY. HEY! - //Jason Burk

In terms of quality of apps and experience using them I would currently rank them: #1) iPadOS #2) iOS #3) Web #8,968) Mac

I like the ranking as a result of some kind of Electron/web-wrapper Mac app that HEY is using. Mac-assed Mac apps required.

I have to say that I am mightily excited about the new Apple Silicon Macs. For geeks around the world, this is a great day. #mbnov

I got home from work today and passed out sleeping for the next 3 hours. Didn’t plan on that. On the bright side, it might help in terms of waking up at 2am to watch the Apple event live.

An elderly man driving a car almost crashed into my car today. I had to take immediate and drastic evasive action. #mbnov

Hey, look, science works

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in first analysis, company reports - The Washington Post

Vaccine development typically takes many years, even decades. But the coronavirus vaccines have been a rare success story in the response to the virus, able to move forward because of a flourishing of new vaccine technologies, a backbone of prior work on emerging pathogens and a mentality that rarely exists in the world of vaccine development — of governments and companies willing to devote nearly unlimited resources to make sure that a vaccine succeeds.

While early days, this is encouraging. Isn’t it amazing what science can achieve.

Imagine if the world started trusting science to deal with other issues, like climate change, for instance?

A thing that is a staple of sci-fi movies, but which I don’t think will ever exist, much to my disappointment, is the force field. #mbnov

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.”

— Susan Cain, Quiet

Resurfaced with readwise.io

Playing XCOM2, my soldiers constantly put in a bind by those dastardly aliens. #mbnov

Congratulations USA! You removed the stain on your country. I’m so happy for you all. Unite around this to build a stronger union. Repair starts now. 🇺🇸 🗳

A word a day for microblogvember. Why is it so hard to think of something interesting to say for the word inflate? #mbnov

Attic stash but somehow missing the OG Apple TV that got so hot it could fry an egg.

Trump’s attacks on vote counts seem to follow an authoritarian playbook - The Washington Post

“The Russian mentality is, ‘Whatever truth works for you in that moment is the truth you embrace in that moment,’ ” Farkas said. “Even if you say something different two minutes later, it doesn’t matter. You call on that second truth for your immediate need, and your followers don’t care.”

This is the most succinct explanation of Trump’s behaviour that I have seen.

My letter to Amiga Format

In the most recent episode of my podcast Hemispheric Views I mentioned the time I was featured in the Workbench section of Amiga Format magazine.

I loved the Amiga, and I subscribed to Amiga Format in addition to a few other British and Australian Amiga magazines. The highlight of my month was riding my bike to the newsagent to collect my reserved copy.

I always liked the productivity and system utility applications more than gaming. I was a weird kid like that.

Amiga Format’s Workbench section was the Discourse forum of its day. People would write in with questions (with letters as this pre-dated email) and the magazine experts would publish the question and provide a helpful response. It was this section where I learned so much and to this day, Internet forums are still the best way to learn things.

In any case, I recall being stumped on a problem so I wrote in to Workbench asking for some help. I am sure I sent it via Airmail, but even still, getting a letter from Australia to the UK, then into the printing and production cycle resulted in something like a 6-month lead time. I think I had forgotten about it after a couple of months.

Imagine my surprise then, when months later, I see my name in print, in the world’s best-selling Amiga magazine. This was huge! It was the April 1992 issue. That would have put me at 14 years old. Maybe I was 13 when I wrote the letter, who knows?

I kept my huge pile of Amiga magazines for years. Eventually, though, I had to say goodbye. I kept the issue that I was published in for longer, but finally I had to say goodbye to that one also. But I never forgot that I was in the Amiga Format magazine that had Felix the Cat on the cover.

That takes me to now. My friend and podcast co-host Jason Burk writes the best show notes in the podcasting business. He found and linked to an entire online archive of Amiga Format magazines. This was what I needed. I found my Felix the Cat cover, and brought up the issue.

There it was. Page 209. Workbench. “Missing Drawers”, from “Andrew Canion, Australia”. My letter lives on. Amiga Format

Article Full Text

Missing Drawers

From: Andrew Canion, Australia

I have been attempting to design my own split image icon for use as a drawer. I have copied the Empty drawer from my Workbench 1.3 disk. I have then split this icon using the IconMerge program on the Extras disk.

I then edit it with IconEd, and saved the two images back to disk before joining them into one icon with IconMerge again. The actual changing image works fine when I click once, but when I double click to open the drawer itself. I get an error message telling me that the drawer cannot be opened. I’m a relative beginner, so tell me in simple terms what am I doing wrong?

An icon is just a picture to click on. What you’re miss- ing is a directory with the same name (in this case, empty). You’re clicking on an icon, but your Amiga cannot find anything with the same name. To make a directory from the Shell, type:

Makedir nameofmydisk:Empty

It should work then. For nameofmydisk, put the name of the disk that you’re editing icons on. If the name has spaces in it, then you must put double quotes around the whole thing, for example:

Makedir "Name of my disk:Empty"

As I age, I reckon I’ll develop a stoop. That’s the price for being tall. #mbnov

I’ve added a TritonAudio Fethead to my audio chain. Without it I had to set my EVO4 audio interface to about 95% gain to support my Rode Procaster. With the Fethead gain is now set at around 45% and the audio sounds much warmer and richer. I’m a fan!

The Electoral College system makes for dramatic counting but I don’t see how it’s fair and supportive of a one vote, one value philosophy.

Microblogvember posts are probably better to be written near the end of the day, when I have some events to reflect upon as I try to fit the word in the post. #mbnov

I have remembered that the ‘race that stops a nation’, the Melbourne Cup Horse Race 🐎, was on today. It didn’t stop me. I forgot about it entirely and have no interest whatsoever.

Lunchtime workout of mowing the lawn is now complete. 🚜

People who buy into conspiracy theories never fail to astonish me. What happened to critical thinking? #mbnov

Keep Practising 18: US Election

I voice my anxiety about the forthcoming US election. I worry about the place the United States of America holds in the world, and what might happen to this in the future. I also have concerns about what might happen within the country, irrespective of the result.

I have anxiety about the US election, and it’s not even my country. I’m fearful that Trump will win. I’m fearful that he will lose and all hell will break loose with the crazy gun totin’ Trump supporters.

It’s extremely hard to concentrate on things with two kids in the house. #mbnov

Today is a rainy, dreary day. Perhaps the last rain before the full brunt of summer arrives. #mbnov

Can anybody recommend a reasonable monitor to be connected to a MacBook Air for business use? i.e. gaming performance not required.

Of course my kid’s ancient hand-me-down iPad Air dies 2 months before Christmas and his birthday. The family hand-me-down process is complicated by the A14X iPad Pro not yet existing.

Just another day in sunburn paradise. The Booj about to go on a 🐪 ride.

Vote Biden. The world doesn’t need 4 more years of this bollocks.

A Day in the Life #adayinthelife Willagee, Western Australia, 7:22am. Me making school lunches while wearing my Christmas Grinch pyjamas. I’ve made genuine friends through blogging. This has had a positive influence on my life.

Family Getaway - Four Elements Farm Stay

We spent a few days at Four Elements Farm Stay in the South-West of Western Australia. I relaxed into it quite quickly.

The owner of the Farmstay, Pete, offered daily activities for the kids in the morning and the evening. While the ride in the ATV would have been enough, catching marron in the dam was even better.

These photos don’t do justice to the size of this bonfire. It was pumping out some serious heat. Necessary farm activities can be fun, as well.

The funniest moment was when we went catching tadpoles (and some baby marron). In the slippery mud, little Benjamin had a suction event. He landed on his butt. Bad news for Dad, who had to carry him a long way home on his shoulders. Showers needed!

The last day was an opportunity for cart racing. For those who have listened to Episode 3 of Hemispheric Views, this was very “A Race for Bill!”

The micro.blog community is the best! Both @jack and @twelvety have provided me with with thoughtful, genuine feedback about Roam.

Kids and their phones these days. What happened to a good old fashioned conversation?

I’m being drawn towards Roam. I’ve emailed @twelvety for his thoughts, and I imagine @jack must have some too. It’s expensive, but I’m also searching for a really great daily note system and knowledge database combined.

scheduleOctober 8, 2020

Buying an iMac late last year must go down as one of my best ever computer purchasing decisions. I freakin’ love this thing, and timing it for the year of working from home has been perfect.

Outliners & Daily Notes

scheduleOctober 8, 2020

I’ve been considering whether my current DEVONthink daily note is the best system for rapid note taking. Of course there’s nothing wrong with it, other than it being super-basic.

DEVONthink Pros

  • Wikilinking (automatic and manual) to other notes.
  • Integrated into broader DEVONthink Search/See Also system.
  • No-nonsense, no futzing with formatting.

DEVONthink Cons

  • No genuine Markdown editing support.
  • No outlining support
  • Just a plain text document.

I’ve been looking at Dynalist and Workflowy. Yet both cost money and feel kind of clunky - like my hands are flippers. That’s because they are web apps living in the Wild West of UIs - no operating system standards holding them to account.

I still have OmniOutliner Pro, which I’ve toyed with once again. Maybe if I keep the OmniOutliner file simple and focused enough, it will do the job. I’ve paid for the software. It’s available on macOS and iOS.

I think the last time I tried using OmniOutliner, I over-engineered my outline with columns, formatting, etc. If I keep it simple it may work better.

Of course, that also means I lose the integrated DevonThink search.

Continuous CRIMPing1, that’s the name of my game.


  1. CRIMP stands for a make-believe malady called compulsive-reactive information management purchasing. Symptoms include: never being satisfied with your current system of information management; continuously being on the look-out for something newer and better; purchasing every new PIM program you learn about; and secretly hoping you won’t find the perfect PIM, because then you’d have to stop looking for a better one. [return]

Containers for Change

scheduleOctober 8, 2020

Over the past two years my wife has been working at Containers for Change. This is a not-for-profit organisation enabled by the Western Australian Government and funded by the private sector.

When she started it was a start-up organisation working out of a tiny shared office with big plans to get a container deposit scheme (i.e. return drink bottles and cans for cash) up and running across our State.

A week ago, the scheme launched. It features over 200 locations across the entire State where the public can go to drop off their recyclables. It is supporting new jobs. It is providing another income source for families where every dollar counts. It is reducing landfill and facilitating responsible recycling.

As part of the executive team, Hannah has built and managed an amazing team of people. Now, her journey is coming to an end as she moves onto a new challenge. I know she is sad about it and that this has been the highlight of all her career experiences to date.

As her husband, I’m guilty of not giving enough recognition for the job she has done. But I will write here that she has been amazing. I love her and I’m incredibly proud of what she has accomplished.

Who else can say they were able to put a 5.5 metre tall swan, constructed of steel and 10,000 recyclable bottles into the middle of a Perth pedestrian square? That’s an amazing accomplishment, but it’s only the most visible accomplishment of 2 years of hard work and other less visible achievements.

IMG 1284

IMG 1286

Today I took our two boys to recycle of first batch of containers. They were so proud to be dropping the containers onto the conveyor belt and see them be whisked away and converted into cash.

IMG 1352

IMG 1355

Social enterprise, delivering economic and environmental benefits. Lots of winners; no losers. That’s the way to do business.

scheduleOctober 7, 2020

An important breaking news update coming in from Cardboard TV Network. Headlines include Deadpool v Coronavirus. Tune in to find put more.

scheduleOctober 6, 2020

My brother casually mentioned to me that he had been building up a second brain using the PARA methodology in Notion, supported by Readwise and Instapaper. Does he not realise that I’m the geek of the family? He’s getting close to stepping on my turf.

scheduleOctober 6, 2020

I think I’m falling down the Dyanalist rabbit hole. I like outliners, and this is so much better than OmniOutliner, which has regressed continuously since version 3.

Trump Jokes Coming Thick and Fast at The Shovel

scheduleOctober 2, 2020

Australia’s answer to The Onion is The Shovel. They’re having a fun time with the news of Trump contracting COVID-19.

Frantic Donald Trump Unable To Open Childproof Cap On Bottle Of Hydroxychloroquine:

Shouting at White House aides to bring him a hammer or an axe, US President Donald Trump was this evening desperately trying to navigate the childproof cap on a bottle of hydroxychloroquine.

Trump Refuses To Accept Result Of Covid Test | The Shovel:

US President Donald Trump says he does not accept the validity of the COVID-19 test, saying it was a clear case of mail-in voter fraud.

Head on over to The Shovel and see what else they’re reporting on this important news story.

scheduleOctober 2, 2020

If I didn’t have OmniFocus to help manage my work; I’d be screwed. I have no idea how people get through work and life without one. I have so many juggling balls that OmniFocus is the only way.

The Sizzle

I have a paid subscription to an Australian daily technology newsletter called The Sizzle.

While I’ve sometimes already heard the news of the day from other sources, it’s the irreverent writing of publisher Anthony ‘@decryption’ Agius that I really enjoy. Case in point, from Issue 1217:

Part of me likes the fact a fuckwit can be sued by an MP for mouthing off on social media, but one day I could be that fuckwit so maybe it’s not so good.

YouTube-dl

My youtube-dl Setup - //Jason Burk:

There is a utility called youtube-dl that you may or may not have seen mentioned online. Here is a rundown of how I am now using it to manage all my YouTube videos I want to watch

Thanks to Jason @Burk for the write-up on how to create an offline YouTube library. I’ve now implemented it myself. Good stuff.

Had a full range of emotions today. Started bad; ended good. Anxiety can be a pain in the you-know-what.

🔗 Link Post: “How Work Became an Inescapable Hellhole”

Anne Helen Petersen writing for Wired:

The first part of this story describes a day of vacuous hell to me. I don’t know how people function that way, but I know many do. Reading the first part of this article makes me happy I’m older.

Later, we get this gem:

“When you “shoot off a few emails” on a Sunday afternoon, for example, you might convince yourself you’re just getting on top of things for the week ahead—which might feel true. But what you’re really doing is giving work access to be everywhere you are. And once allowed in, it spreads without your permission: to the dinner table, the couch, the kid’s soccer game, the grocery store, the car, the family vacation.”

It’s so true. Work can wait. It might feel it can’t, but actually, it can. Cut out the social media waste during work days and there is plenty of working time within regular hours.

Keep Practising 17: Exercise

As I’m no longer playing basketball, I’ve gotten fat and sore. Exercise seems to be my only option. In Nerd Corner, I talk about new audio configurations and a trial of Hindenburg Journalist.

After a dalliance with Firefox as my core browser, I’m finding myself drifting back to Safari 14. I might maintain Firefox as my work browser, though. It’s support for containers helps with having to manage two Microsoft 365 accounts.

I bought more audio hardware. And I don’t think this is the end. Hobbies can get expensive.

My 9 year old told me about the Shortcut he has built to run on his iPad. Proud Dad moment.

My Kia Sorrento decided that my Emergency Parking Brake needs to stay on all the time. A call to their Roadside Assist service and now my car will be put on a flat-bed and taken for repairs tomorrow. I’d almost forgotten I had that assistance service!

Microsoft finds underwater datacenters are reliable, practical and use energy sustainably

Microsoft finds underwater datacenters are reliable, practical and use energy sustainably:

Microsoft put a server farm at the bottom of the sea and let it run for a few years.

The team hypothesizes that the atmosphere of nitrogen, which is less corrosive than oxygen, and the absence of people to bump and jostle components, are the primary reasons for the difference. If the analysis proves this correct, the team may be able to translate the findings to land datacenters.

Or will it means data centres are plonked all over the oceans?

“Our failure rate in the water is one-eighth of what we see on land,” Cutler said.

“I have an economic model that says if I lose so many servers per unit of time, I’m at least at parity with land,” he added. “We are considerably better than that.”

Worth following the link to read more detail and see some images of the subsea vessel.

So apparently to my kid I appear as a giant angry potato with arms growing out of my ears.

Hemispheric Views is Go!

I’m excited to have worked with two other great people to put something new out into the world. Working with Jason Burk and Martin Feld, we have released the first episode of a new podcast, Hemispheric Views.

Our topics for this first episode range across condiments, technology and the price of petrol. Over time we anticipate the show will have a technology bias but we are interested to explore how Martin and I as Australians interpret things in comparison to Jason in the USA.

I’m proud of this first episode and I’ve got high hopes for our continuous improvement.

If you can find the time to have a listen, that would be amazing. Ideally, you’ll enjoy it enough that you will subscribe in your favourite podcast player app, and tell a friend about the show.

I’ve upgraded to a Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM fan in my OWC Thunderbay RAID array. I should have done this a long time ago. The noise has always bothered me. It’s so much more quiet now. Best $32 I’ve spent in a while.

I’ve been reassessing my note-taking apps again - that’s something that happens on a too-regular basis. NotePlan had been good, but I’m not keen on the v3 upgrade pricing. DEVONthink has shown it can work like NotePlan too. The answer is always DEVONthink. @jack @twelvety

Am I correct in thinking that each President of the USA leaves a letter in the Oval Office’s desk drawer, addressed to the incoming President?

If so, I wonder what Trump would write to Biden?

And I wonder how that would compare to the one that Obama left Trump…

One of the greatest things I discovered in Japan. Put soy sauce on vanilla ice cream.

scheduleAugust 31, 2020

My iPad battery has seen better days and I’ve been contemplating an upgrade. But if the new Apple Silicon laptop is going to be a 12” MacBook Adorable, that might be a better investment. Tricky decisions approaching.

Have I Found a Fix for Logitech Mouse Judder?

scheduleAugust 28, 2020

2020-08-31 Update: No, I have not found the fix.


I mentioned in Episode 15 of Keep Practising that my Logitech mouse was giving me the #$%@s with respect to the amount of judder and unresponsiveness on macOS. This problem exhibited irrespective of whether it was connected to Bluetooth or the Logitech dongle.

Good news. I may have found a solution. Early days yet, but since applying this fix I haven’t experienced the issue again.

I can’t take credit for the fix. That goes to ‘rubytraindriver’ on Reddit/r/MacOS.

The suggestion was to remove, and then re-add, both Logitech Options and Logitech Options Daemon from the Mac’s Accessibility options, within the Security & Privacy preferences pane, Privacy tab.

This simple - but entirely obfuscated and obscure fix - offers another example of how infuriating the Catalina macOS security model is for users.

I’m not on the Big Sur beta, but I hope that it does better at this stuff than Catalina.

scheduleAugust 28, 2020

Aw man. Now I have to wait another whole week for a new Ted Lasso. 📺

scheduleAugust 27, 2020

The United States is a shitshow right now. I feel for the many good people I know in the country who are having to cope with it all. A pandemic, murderous police, climate change, crumbling social infrastructure… All being enabled by a crooked kakistocracy. 😢 🇺🇸

3 Cheers for Tech Support

scheduleAugust 24, 2020

Recently I came across an annoying calendaring problem. I have a number of domain names, with associated email aliases. These all reconcile via my Fastmail account.

I noticed the other day that calendar invitations created in my calendar app of choice, BusyCal, were defaulting to being sent from one of my non-default email addresses.

There was no obvious setting for this in BusyCal and it was an issue that I hadn’t noticed at all over previous years so I assumed there was some problem at the server end. I checked Fastmail but its calendar settings were configured to send calendar events from my primary and preferred domain. Nevertheless, I fired a support ticket to Fastmail. Over the next few days (the one ding on Fastmail is slow support turnarounds) they verified my settings were correct. They inspected the logs generated by BusyCal created events, and tested things from their end. After all of this, they confirmed the problem was coming from BusyCal.

Off I went to BusyMac support. Their fast support turnaround confirmed that it was BusyCal causing the problem, and that the software had no ability to choose which email to send from - it took the first in the arbitrary list of available email addresses.

It didn’t end there, however. Soon after, I received an email saying that they had looked at the issue - agreed it wasn’t ideal, and built a new beta build that offered up an option to choose the originating email address for new events. They provided me a download link to this new beta.

It works perfectly. Now, BusyCal will create new event invitations from my preferred domain.

What really works, though, is tech support. These are the unsung heroes of software. Helping mere users like me get more out of their products. This is another reason why I am happy to pay for software. These people are doing real work, and like the rest of us, they deserve to get paid for what they do.

scheduleAugust 22, 2020

Ted Lasso is brilliant. Most enjoyable show I’ve watched in a long time.

scheduleAugust 21, 2020

The other day I was complaing about the lack of extensions in Safari. After hearing about Brett Terpstra @ttscoff talk about Workona I’m trialling it in Firefox. This thing is a game-changer. I’m loving it.

scheduleAugust 20, 2020

A reminder to my future self: Create email (and other) templates in Textexpander but embrace writing them in Markdown. Then use Brett Terpstra’s Markdown Services Tool to convert the template text into rich text prior to sending. This will solve the problem of Textexpander’s rich text editor being so flakey and annoying.

scheduleAugust 20, 2020

I deleted the YouTube app from my iPhone because I was sick of saying “No” whenever it tried to gain background access to my microphone. Own goal, YouTube.

scheduleAugust 20, 2020

I enjoyed hearing @miraz talk to @martinfeld on his Lounge Ruminator podcast. I like crosswords but I never seem to be able to settle for simple things. 🤔

scheduleAugust 19, 2020

My third visit back to the gym after a lay-off of about 18 months(!). Really happy with the weight training I did today. Improving quicker than I had anticipated! 🏋🏻‍♂️

scheduleAugust 18, 2020

I hope Safari 14 on Big Sur brings better extensions. I’ve been a Safari loyalist but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify compared with Firefox/Edge/Chrome.

Setapp Audit

scheduleAugust 16, 2020

I’ve been a subscriber to Setapp since it launched. In fact, I participated in a pre-launch user interview to help the MacPaw team develop the offering.

I’ve been a happy customer, and I believe I may be grandfathered into an older plan because I am permitted two seats. This has traditionally been for two Macs, but with Setapp now commencing a formalised iOS offering, I suppose this now makes more sense as a Mac + iPad combination. It’s a shame that the second license doesn’t include unlimited iOS devices, but that’s their business decision to make.

Setapp is a subscription service, and good financial management suggests that one should occasionally audit subscriptions to ensure a good deal is still being attained.

To that end I have completed a quick audit of my Setapp usage.

It pretty clearly indicates that I’m still getting what I would consider reasonable value. Of course, the longer one subscribes, the more you trend towards ‘should have bought it’. But if the major applications release a major paid upgrade, then once again the subscription calculation improves.

All up, I will keep Setapp for another year. And start putting money away for the next years subscription straight away using a YNAB category!

Software Mac App Store Price $AU
Use Regularly $414.90
Meeter $12.99
MarsEdit $79.99
NotePlan $46.99
PDFpen $124.99
CleanMyMac X $59.99
Using Direct Licensed Versions
BusyCal
BusyContacts
Use but Also Own
iThoughts X
Bartender
Marked
Use Sporadically $225.98
Meta $35.00
Path Finder $36.00
RapidWeaver $129.99
Dropshare $24.99
Use but Could Live Without 89.95
Receipts $89.95
AdGuard
Default Folder X
iStat Menus
Elmedia Player
Receipts
Diagrams
Capto
Typeface
Installed but Not Using
Taskheat
Screens
Ulysses
Tayasui Sketches
MindNode
Aqualero
CleanShot X
Permute
Gifox
SheetPlanner
PDF Squeezer
GlyphFinder
ForkLift
Sip
World Clock Pro
TextSoap
Be Focused
Photolemur
CloudMounter
Gemini
Noizio
Prizmo
Squash
scheduleAugust 9, 2020

It might be my imagination but this Microblog Photo a Day challenge seems the best yet. Lots of interesting and high quality photos being shared. Thanks @macgenie for coordinating it all.

scheduleAugust 9, 2020

Have I only now discovered that when typing URLs in Markdown - I don’t need the //. I can type https:url.com. For how long has this been a thing?

scheduleAugust 7, 2020

I’m no fan of WhatsApp but my goodness the group chat I have on it with my mates is brilliant.

scheduleAugust 6, 2020

How can the input levels of two USB microphones be so different? The Rode Podcaster barely registers a waveform while the Audio Technica ATR-2100x is ready to blow past the point of clipping. Both USB mics. It’s doing my head in trying to level them against one another. 🎙 🎤

scheduleAugust 6, 2020

I am so terrible at sticking with a single note taking system. I really tried to consolidate on OneNote… Then I remember the cool features that NotePlan has that would fit perfectly with what I’m trying to do here…

scheduleAugust 5, 2020

Finished reading: Chosen People by Robert Whitlow 📚

Down the Podcasting Microphone Rabbit-hole

scheduleAugust 5, 2020

Oh boy, it’s happening to me. Some months ago when I made the decision to start doing some podcasting, I did my research and selected the Rode Podcaster microphone as my weapon of choice.

It’s been working fine for me, but at the same time, I’ve never been totally certain that it’s the right mic for me. I’m an amateur and I’m learning as I go but the Podcaster struck me as sounding somewhat ‘thin’. Plus the gain from the mic was really low. Research suggests this makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the end result but it still made me curious about other options.

The Podcaster was not cheap so I’ve been reticent to spend more money on hardware. Yet I could resist it when I saw a good price on the new Audio Technica ATR 2100-X which is a combination USB/XLR microphone. I’m still in the USB world directly connecting to my iMac. I haven’t - and at this stage don’t want to - go down the preamp rabbit hole.

Today the ATR-2100x arrived. I’ve given it a 45 second test to date, so this doesn’t act as a review. What I noticed immediately is that it sounded richer and the gain was definitely higher. However, the dynamic range was therefore more limited compared with the Rode Podcaster. In the test I did, the Podcaster handled it all whereas the ATR-2100x experienced clipping.

I will keep experimenting and will likely record my next episode of Keep Practising with the new Audio Technica.

All this is to say, it appears I may be starting the slippery slide towards becoming an audio gearhead. Send help!

scheduleAugust 1, 2020

How on earth is it August already? Weirdest year on record within my life span.

scheduleJuly 31, 2020

If you’d like to hear me and a mate talk about NBL basketball 🏀 and team composition leading into the new season, then listen to NBL Pocket Podcast 🎙

scheduleJuly 30, 2020

End of the month and I’m “YNAB Poor”.

scheduleJuly 29, 2020

I’ve linked IndieBookClub to my micro.blog account. Not as many bells and whistles as GoodReads but simple and straightforward to use.

Keep Practising 12: Wrestling

scheduleJuly 23, 2020

I’ve always noticed a distinct intersection between those who like basketball and those who like wrestling. In this episode I discuss my history of watching wrestling. It used to be WWF/WWE, but these days I am more excited by EPW (Explosive Pro Wrestling) - an indie show that operates out of Perth, Western Australia.

In Nerd Corner I talk about my recent dalliance with the fundraising/supporter platform Ko-fi.

scheduleJuly 17, 2020

It was exciting to see an article of mine linked to my Brett Terpstra. Never had that experience before!

scheduleJuly 14, 2020

Does anybody have direct experience with Autex Peel ‘n Stick acoustic treatment tiles? I’m contemplating some for my study.

scheduleJuly 14, 2020

For the heck of it I set up a ko-fi account. I’m sure the revenue will start rolling in any minute now… 😂💰☕️

Keep Practising: 12 - Tipping the TBT2020 Winner

scheduleJuly 14, 2020

I was bereft not being able to record an NBL Pocket Podcast today. So to assuage my sadness I have brought in my son, David, to provide the hot tip. Who does he think will win the tournament? Tune in and find out!

Be sure also to check out the daily podcast we’ve been recording at the NBL Pocket Podcast. Each day we have broken down the TBT2020 tournament and provided a perspective from the point of view of the Australian NBL.

scheduleJuly 8, 2020

I’m having so much fun recording a daily TBT basketball 🏀 wrap on The NBL Pocket Podcast. I’ve missed hoops, so watching games daily then talking about them is a salve for the soul. Give it a listen!

Subscribe To NBL Pocket Podcast

scheduleJuly 6, 2020

A quick public service announcement to point you towards the NBL Pocket Podcast. Joe has been kind enough to have me on each day as we discuss the events of the TBT from an Australian perspective.

If you like basketball be sure to listen and subscribe!

scheduleJuly 5, 2020

So great to talk TBT basketball 🏀 from an Australian perspective. Listen to the NBL Pocket Podcast for the full rundown.🎙

scheduleJuly 4, 2020

My new employer has provided me with the new iPhone SE. This thing is tiny. Too small in fact. My fingers are too big for this screen and keyboard. So for the first time in my life, I’m running with two phones.

scheduleJuly 1, 2020

I’m thinking about going all-in with Microsoft Office as a trial, especially focusing on Teams and OneNote. I’ve a tendency to have stuff strewn across apps. Plus it’s a cross-platform solution.

scheduleJuly 1, 2020

I’ve been trialling krisp.ai for video conference noise reduction. I’ve only used it in my home office where the prevailing noise is a spinning drive array, but I think it’s been good? I need to remember to toggle it to test its efficacy.

My Last Day with CCI

scheduleJune 30, 2020

Today marks the end of a personal era for me; it is the last day of my employment with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia. I’ve worked at CCI for 3 months short of 13 years.

When I arrived, my plan was to stay for no more than 2. This speaks to the opportunities I have enjoyed while with the organisation. Over the time I have worked in Policy, Economics, Membership and the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, plus other temporary assignments.

I have addressed CCI’s General Council and the Board, and managed Member Forums and Committees. I have represented the organisation before Federal and State Parliamentary enquiries. I have developed and advocated policy positions, been in the media and analysed government budgets. I’m happy that my linkages with CCI are indelibly marked in newspaper articles and the annals of Hansard.

I have worked with people that invested in me, and trusted me. I owe much to many, including John Nicolaou, Frances Parnell, Dana Mason, Kristian Stratton, Jessica Shaw MLA, Barbara Jerkov and James Pearson: all former CCI colleagues who played various roles in my journey, each in different but valuable ways.

Most importantly, at CCI I have been provided a platform to help and support the WA business community. It has been my passion to see successful commercial enterprise operate while maintaining a social compact with the community to provide fair and reasonable opportunity, and improve all our lives as a result. Working to support this has kept me engaged throughout my CCI career.

I am proud to have dedicated 13 years of the one life I have to this organisation. I leave knowing that I will be continuing to deliver the Entrepreneurs’ Programme. This is a role I enjoy that is aligned with my passion: supporting local firms in their challenge to grow, succeed, and be part of the fabric of community.

scheduleJune 29, 2020

The birthday present I bought myself arrived today: a Keychron K2 keyboard with Cherry Brown switches. It’s delightfully chunky and immediately I’ve found myself typing with my wrists up, as my typing teacher taught me on an old typewriter at school.

Keep Practising: 11 - Graeme Speak, CEO & Founder of BankVault

scheduleJune 29, 2020

I welcome a special guest to the show, Graeme Speak of BankVault. BankVault has developed a cybersecurity product that can circumvent security risks such as key logging and man-in-the-middle attacks, by offering passwordless logins.

As well as discussing the BankVault product, Graeme discusses his approach to entrepreneurship. We talk about the differences between business in Perth, Western Australia where BankVault has been founded, and San Francisco, California where he is currently based.

A conversation about the risks and benefits of kitesurfing also ensues.

Graeme Speak on LinkedIn

Configuring Preside on iPadOS

scheduleJune 28, 2020

In an earlier post I wrote about how I replicated a HEY-style workflow with other email applications.

I thought some detail about how I’ve configured my preferred iPadOS email client, Preside to work in a similar way might be in order.

Preside is an amazing power-user email application for iOS. The application features a myriad of options. The hardest thing about configuring Preside is knowing where the particular setting or customisation might be found within its many nested folders of preferences and settings. What I have found is that my configuration has taken some time and has come together piece-by-piece as I discover another element of Preside’s functionality. Even now, I don’t consider my customisation of Preside done. I’m sure I will continue to tweak it.

I’m going to focus on my use of Preside on iPad. While Preside works just the same on iPhone, its settings don’t sync across the platforms. It’s been so hard to get the iPad settings right that I don’t even want to try to replicate it on iPhone. But there’s nothing stopping my approach from working on either platform. I beg of developer Rich Waters - please give us some method to sync settings!

With that preamble taken care of, on with the show.

Dashboard View

My Preside dashboard looks as such:

You see a number of favourite folders and smart searches across the top. A list view of emails down the left hand sidebar and the email content on the right.

How did I get the setup to look exactly this way? I wish I could tell you. Again, with Preside’s settings being so deep, I can’t exactly remember what toggles I flipped to get it looking this way. I’m sorry. I wish I could do better.

I can only show the following setting screen that shows how I have enabled the smart search folders:

My Preside Configuration

You will note that a number of the folders have ‘snowflake’ icons next to them. That’s a feature of Preside, in that each folder can be assigned a ‘type’. So I’ve assigned each of my SaneBox-managed folders as a context. This means that Preside will check those folders in the same way that it checks the Inbox, meaning my unread counts are up-to-date.

This screenshot shows the representation of these folders within my IMAP structure:

Looking at this, I notice I haven’t configured my Paper Trail as a context. Maybe this is something I need to resolve.

The ‘Focus & Reply’ and ‘Set Aside’ buttons along the top bar of my Dashboard are saved searches. They look for emails that have an IMAP tag assigned to them. You might recall in my post about MailMate, I’ve set up a toolbar button that will add these tags to a chosen email. As these tags are synchronised at the server level via Fastmail, Preside can see them, and the tag can be used as a variable in a saved smart search folder, as I’ve done.

What is great about Preside is that it too can apply IMAP tags. I use the ‘lightning bolt’ quick action to do this. I highlight the mail I might wish to ‘Set Aside’ or ‘Focus & Reply’ and choose the ‘Tag’ option. This brings up a picker of IMAP tags that I can apply, so I just choose which one I want to use.

This is a snapshot into how the ‘Focus & Reply’ smart search was configured:

And here is an example of how I enabled a SaneBox-managed ‘Paper Trail’ folder to show:

Desktop Level Email Features on iPad

With this configured I feel I’m very close to the holy grail of a macOS level email workflow on iOS.

I’ve tried many email clients. Some are rudimentary (Outlook). Some are unreliable (Mail.app). Some have opinionated design and callbacks to their own servers (Spark). Some are ridiculously expensive (Superhuman).

Preside is easily the greatest, most complicated and somewhat ugly email client on iOS. It has grown on me the way an ugly dog might find a way into your heart. You know it isn’t cute, but darn it if it doesn’t sit when it’s told and bring the ball back every time. It’s an email application that can learn new tricks - then you look back and don’t remember how you taught it. I want to give Preside a good old tickle behind the ear.

scheduleJune 27, 2020

Well, I’ve set up my Hey.com email address on a 14 day trial. ‘canion’ at hey dot com it is.

scheduleJune 26, 2020

My friends are enablers, encouraging me to buy Steam games. Shame on them.

My Random Thoughts from the WWDC Keynote

scheduleJune 23, 2020

These are my thoughts on the 2020 Apple WWDC keynote, presented in the order they occurred as I watched the show.

I’ve not yet read any other feedback so these thoughts are non-affected by groupthink:

General

  • The stagecraft and direction that Apple puts into these shows is amazing.

iOS

  • Widgets on the home screen - finally!
  • The new messages is great but still relies on everybody having iOS. Many of my friends are Android users, so I end up having to rely on WhatsApp. Even my attempts to transition them to Telegram or Signal failed.
  • That’s a kick ass wheelchair that lady owns.
  • No new maps for me In Australia.

iPadOS

  • Sidebars - like a Mac!
  • Search on the iPad seems like LaunchBar on the Mac, but it will probably be more like Spotlight, that is, not quite as good.
  • The new Pencil and Scribble feature looks great

Apple Watch & AppleTV

  • The scientific capability in Apple is incredible; the resources they can plough into movement sensing for exercise, surround sound, etc. is crazy.

Home

  • Yes! Adaptive lighting. I’ve got some LifX bulbs and that app has dawn/dusk settings, but this looks way better.
  • Is it time for me to get some security video cameras for the house? Whcih ones are best and most future proof?

macOS

  • Apple have done translucent menu bars before. I still don’t like them.
  • The spaced out menus are ugly.
  • I wish I had friends who lived this perfect Apple experience of sharing ETAs with me, sending memojies, etc. It doesn’t happen in my world.
  • I’ve been trialling a bunch of different browsers over the past week. Safari might win me back just in time.

Apple Silicon

  • Of course it’s not called ARM Macs.
  • Apple have built a hell of a competitive moat with Apple Silicon.
  • Talk of Linux virtualisation but not Windows. I reckon that must be gone.
scheduleJune 22, 2020

I tried out Otter.ai today which does voice to text transcription, recognising the different speakers. It’s kind of amazing, but I’m not confident of the privacy policy.

scheduleJune 21, 2020

I wonder if @Fastmail have any idea of the love for them on micro.blog. They should drop in and say hi. In the words of @cheri, we would probably all throw our tech panties at them.

scheduleJune 21, 2020

I edited my forthcoming podcast with a trial version of Hindenburg Journalist. It took some getting used to coming from Ferrite and it’s direct manipulation with the Apple Pencil. The main missing feature I noticed was ripple delete. I’m tempted to buy a license, though.

scheduleJune 19, 2020

I’ve been playing around with Ecamm Live this afternoon. I have no reason to do a live stream, but it’s fun to experiment.

Addendum: Replicating Hey.com Features in MailMate

scheduleJune 17, 2020

It has been pointed out by Martin McCallion that I failed to explain how I generated the “People Pages” view that is inherent within Hey into my own MailMate reconstruction.

To do this I created a new Smart Mailbox with the following mailbox filtering criteria:

People

Furthermore, in the same mailbox configuration window, but under the ‘Submailboxes’ tab be sure to select the checkbox to create submailboxes, and choose an appropriate filter. For creating People Pages, I went with the ‘From | Name’ option.

People submailboxes

My thanks to Martin for drawing this omission to my attention, and I hope this helps others.

scheduleJune 16, 2020

I’m contemplating shutting down my ad hoc blot.im blog over at canion.me and bringing it all over to micro.blog. Any reason not to do so? Then what do I do with the canion.me domain? Decisions, decisions…

Replicating Hey.com Features in Regular Email Systems

scheduleJune 16, 2020

Basecamp has released their much-anticipated1 take on email, Hey. As a long-time fan of Basecamp and a light user of their Basecamp Personal2 product I was interested to see how they were going to address the issue of email.

First off, Hey looks beautiful. Beyond looks it has a number of interesting features to support a healthier and more efficient email workflow.

Hey is a subscription service and I have no issue with this whatsoever. I already pay for email services, preferring to be a customer of an email service provider, rather than the product itself3. I’m a happy user of Fastmail which I use in conjunction with SaneBox, MailMate on my iMac, and Preside on iOS.

For my purposes then, I’m not looking for an email service that will allow me to migrate away from a free-of-charge provider.

Herein lies the problem, at least in terms of me being a customer of Hey. Hey is a standalone service. Unlike a typical email provider it doesn’t expose an IMAP interface which other apps can use. If it did this, it would probably lose all the pretty add-ons they have built into the system. Furthermore it doesn’t allow the use of a custom domain. You get a nice @hey.com email address but you can’t BYO a domain name. A key part of my email infrastructure is owning my domain and emails form a component of that. Moving to Hey would mean stepping away from that lovely setup. I like owning @andrewcanion.com and @canion.me.

For these reasons I quickly ascertained that Hey was not a product for me.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t have some clever workflows, and it does look pretty. I can’t replicate the pretty, but in watching the walkthrough demo by Jason Fried I was fairly certain I could replicate most of the functionality.

So to satisfy my own curiosity I worked with the products I already have - SaneBox and MailMate - to see if I could construct a Hey-style workflow.

Let’s step through the way I built my copy-cat workflow.

Triage - Yes or No

Hey lets you select whether new users will be added to your inbox (they call it an “Imbox” but I’m not going there).

I use SaneBox for this instead. It does the same sort of triage, using machine learning to determine whether a sender is important to you or not. If it thinks they are, it goes to your inbox. If not, it goes to an alternative “SaneLater” folder.

I have enabled notifications only for email that lands in my Inbox, so that matches the ‘quiet by design’ feature of Hey.

Focus & Reply

Within Hey, this is a neat bundle of messages that are tagged to be dealt with later, most ideally in a focused session of email. They sit as a little visual stack at the bottom of the window. I can’t match the visuals, but I should be able to match the functionality with MailMate.

I’ve created a new Smart Mailbox, named Focus & Reply that looks across All Messages, and filters as per these conditions:

Focus reply

Note the keyword designation. MailMate lets you apply keywords to any email. To make this easier, I’ve added a keywords toolbar to MailMate, and have it set to showing the two that are relevant to the Hey-style workflow. I have a magnifying glass for Focus & Reply, and a pushpin for Set Aside.

Tags toolbar

Now, if I click the icon on any email thread, it is tagged accordingly. I’ve enabled a column to show the keywords, so an email might look like this - note the magnifying glass:

Tag column

Now only emails that I’ve tagged by clicking the magnifying glass will appear in the Focus & Reply smart mailbox.

Set Aside

In Hey, Set Aside is designated for mail that you want to reference later. These emails are also taken away from the Inbox view.

As with Focus & Reply, I’ve set the pushpin tag to act as the determinant. Together with another Smart Search, I’ve got this group of emails configured as such:

Set aside

But to get the workflow where these are ‘out of view’ in my regular Inbox, I need to configure my Inbox view as well. So I’ve created an Unread Inbox, that works on a series of mailboxes and applies a condition to only show unread mail, as such:

Unread inbox

Unread inbox conditions

Now if I want to reference my Set Aside email, I can click the relevant Mailbox in the Sidebar.

Mailmate sidebar

The Feed

Hey uses a concept of The Feed almost like a social media scroll of email incorporating newsletters, advisories and all the other non-timely information we get via email.

I created this with the help of SaneBox. All my The Feed smart folder does is show me the contents of the default SaneBox SaneNews folder. It generally knows what should go in there, and I can train it as I go simply by moving mail into that folder as I see fit.

Paper Trail

The Paper Trail in Hey is for receipts, invoices, and other such transactional information.

Here, I created a custom SaneBox folder to replicate this feature. As I get receipts and things, I will move a few into this email folder and SaneBox will quickly learn and take care of them for me in the future.

Other Email

For now, I’m still using the SaneLater mail folder to catch other less-important email. Looking at Hey, it seems email can only go to the Inbox, The Feed or The Paper Trail.

So for now, I’ve either got more features, or more confusion. Yet to be determined which that is.

People Pages

Hey has a concept of people pages where you can see everything that relates to a single individual.

MailMate has me covered quite well here although it doesn’t look as pretty as what Hey has achieved.

You will note from the image of my MailMate sidebar above that I have a People Pages folder. When I expand that, MailMate shows me a folder for each individual sender. Click any of those and only email from that person shows in the main window. The image below shows this, with disguised names for privacy reasons.

People sidebar

With that, I’ve got a focused view of each person as well.

2020-06-17: I have created an addendum to this post, providing some more detail as to how to create the People Pages smart mailbox.

Attachments

Hey surfaces attachments and looks to do a great job of this.

I am sure that MailMate can do some kind of filtering based on attachment content, but I couldn’t figure out a combination that would get this to work effectively4.

However, SaneBox offers the option to connect to a cloud storage provider and save email attachments to a folder in that storage. Optionally, it can strip the attachments from the original email.

I created a connection to OneDrive and now SaneBox is saving email attachments there. To enhance search even further, I’m indexing that folder in DEVONthink which unlocks the myriad ways of searching and surfacing that DEVONthink offers, while keeping everything neatly in a folder structure.

Fastmail also offers the ability to save attachments to its storage space. I chose OneDrive because I wanted sync to my local drive. OneDrive was the best option as I have the most storage with it, and I’m off Dropbox now that their client has become bloat-ware. That’s not to say the OneDrive client for Mac is good - it isn’t. If only iCloud Drive was an option…

Stickies, Notes and Renaming Threads

Hey has me beat here. I haven’t identified a way to create notes against single emails. However this has never been a problem for me in the past. I use a combination of OmniFocus/Drafts/NotePlan to make notes and this is working for me.

The renaming of a thread is nice too, but again, not something I’ve ever felt the need for.

Summary

In summary, I think Hey is great. I wish them every success. If it offered the ability to work with my existing infrastructure, I’d be tempted. But as it is now the service isn’t right for me.

Yet the workflow is solid. By replicating the structure with the combination of tools that I already own/subscribe to I can benefit from the method of work, without the prettiness. I’m okay with that.


  1. At least in my small nerd corner of the internet. [return]
  2. I’ve long intended to write a blog post about my use of Basecamp Personal. One day… [return]
  3. Gmail isn’t actually free, as in beer, you know? [return]
  4. If anybody knows how to do this, please let me know. I welcome feedback. [return]
scheduleJune 15, 2020

I watched the first two episodes of Dear… on AppleTV+ tonight. The room got very dusty at times. 💦

scheduleJune 15, 2020

I’ve been using Microsoft Edge for Mac today, and I’m not hating it. I’ve gone so far as to download it for iOS as well.

Happy Birthday

scheduleJune 15, 2020

Looking Older Each Year

2020 wasn’t meant to be this way. I have distinct memories of working in government when up-beat policy visions with ambitious names like Towards 2020 and 2020: A Forecast of our Future were being pumped out1. These reports all had a commonality in that 2020 was guaranteed to be great! As long as we did whatever the document was promoting, from its publish date to 2020, things would be brilliant.

We must have failed miserably because 2020 is a shit show. On this I think we can all agree.

It is within this environment, that today I celebrate(?) my 43rd birthday. Honestly though, I’m happy enough to simply celebrate being alive. There have been more worthy souls than I that have had the fortune that I’ve experienced to avoid the range of ways that 2020 is trying to rain death upon us.

Actually, that’s unfair to a poor defenceless year. 2020 has nothing against us specifically. Rather we are the architects of our own doom. Whether it be through improper health controls allowing coronavirus to gain a foothold in China, or countries demonstrating a lack of leadership and coordination to corral a community towards effective COVID-19 transmission prevention, or racist hatred leading to people being killed for the skin they’re born with, we have created this 2020. This is our reality - not the one that was promoted in the glossy policy brochures in 2003.

And I haven’t even mentioned climate change. That doozy is still out there and I don’t see our humanity rising to face that challenge in a coordinated way anytime soon. The worst is yet to come.

A good thing about the past year has been that I have figured out who I am. No more am I self-conscious about the person I am or the way I think and perceive the world. I’m sure this realisation comes to others sooner but for me it has been this 42nd year that has provided me with the answers to my own universe2. This discovery has unlocked confidence in my approach to the world around me. I’ve overcome most vestiges of introversion shyness (except phone calls, I still hate them). Now at 43 years old I feel fully-formed with the confidence to deal with and respond to things I understand, the wisdom to learn about things I don’t, and the confidence to defer to experts without fear of appearing incompetent.

In turning 43 it’s not about me anymore. More importantly I’ve got two kids - aged 8 and 4 - and they are growing into a world that needs changing. I’ve been unsuccessful in making that change happen. Life is a lottery and I didn’t win the “become a leader of a country” prize. Look at who did and it appears obvious that it often relies on luck ahead of competence, intelligence or desire.

So this final statement I address to my children, and all the others in generations younger than my own. I wish that when you reach your own 43rd birthdays that you have the opportunity to look over the history of your own lives and the society you’re in that you can see positive world change.

Just remember that as you’re working on all of your Towards 2050 vision statements, that it doesn’t mean shit if you don’t take the hard steps towards enacting the change. Learn from us.


  1. With no prejudice (only a quick Google) I present Exhibit A, Exhibit B and Exhibit C. [return]
  2. Where would I be without this reference? [return]
scheduleJune 15, 2020

Does micro.blog support footnotes? I’ve drafted a post and they don’t seem to work? cc: @help

scheduleJune 15, 2020

A public thank you to @manton for creating micro.blog. This service allows me to easily activate my creativity whether it be written word, photography, video or audio. All wrapped up around a social fabric. I love it.

Marked 2 as teleprompter

scheduleJune 12, 2020

Marked 2 as teleprompter, revisited - BrettTerpstra.com:

Once you have the theme, you can start prompting just by hitting the ‘s’ key in a Marked preview. That will start autoscroll at the slowest speed. Use left and right arrows to speed up/slow down the scroll speed. (You can also click and drag on the meter that appears in the lower left of the screen.) That’s all there is to it.

So this is amazing. Love it.

Keep Practising: 08 - Joe from NBL Pocket Podcast

scheduleJune 11, 2020

I am joined by special guest Joe, host of the NBL Pocket Podcast. We talk about Joe’s experience making the podcast that is focused on the Australian National Basketball League.

We discuss favourite players and coaches, his best interviews, the NBL product today, and how the league engages with its fan base.

We also consider what makes for a quality NBL TV experience.

scheduleJune 8, 2020

I signed on as a Patreon of The Unmade Podcast. As I disassociate from big social media I recognise that direct financial relationships between creators and their audience is the best model.

scheduleJune 5, 2020

I had to visit the dentist today because of a sore gum. Anaesthetic injection and some digging around saw the job done. Now it hurts more than when I went in!

scheduleJune 2, 2020

It was brilliant to be welcomed as a guest by @martinfeld on his Lounge Ruminator podcast. We dived into our respective histories of computing. So much fun. feldnotes.com

scheduleMay 31, 2020

I feel sad for my American friends, who are experiencing so many civic challenges. Change the leader; change the country.

Keep Practising: S01, E07 - The Last Dance

scheduleMay 26, 2020

Keep Practising: S01, E07 - The Last Dance.

I give my thoughts on “The Last Dance”, and remember the time that I met Phil Jackson and Luc Longley.

I celebrate the big news from the NBL, and specifically the Perth Wildcats.

In Nerd Corner this week, I’ve been improving my webcam setup and installing Windows on my iMac.

scheduleMay 26, 2020

Given all the lockdown protocols how the heck have I caught a cold? I feel terrible.

scheduleMay 25, 2020

In order to play online Civilization 6 with my mates today I’ve had to install BootCamp, install Windows 10, then install Steam and the game. All because the Civ developers have updated the PC version and not the Mac so they are out of sync and won’t talk to each other.

scheduleMay 22, 2020

Our evening view as we relax on the front driveway.

scheduleMay 17, 2020

🔗 Link Post: “Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown | Free to read | Financial Times”

Edward Luce writing for The Financial Times:

“Other scientists have taken note of Bright’s fate. During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, when Obama’s administration sent 3,000 US military personnel to Africa to fight the epidemic, the CDC held a daily briefing about the state of progress. It has not held one since early March. Scientists across Washington are terrified of saying anything that contradicts Trump.

“The way to keep your job is to out-loyal everyone else, which means you have to tolerate quackery,” says Anthony Scaramucci, an estranged former Trump adviser, who was briefly his White House head of communications. “You have to flatter him in public and flatter him in private. Above all, you must never make him feel ignorant.””

This brilliant long read article details how the US has essentially become a failed state, led by a megalomaniacal madman.

scheduleMay 16, 2020

🔗 Link Post: “Daring Fireball: Financial Times Reports the Obvious: Trump Resisted Testing ‘Too Many People’ Lest the Results Spook the Stock Market”

John Gruber writing for Daring Fireball:

“The problem isn’t testing, the problem is sick people, and testing is a way to get a handle on the problem. Trump’s stance is like telling your girlfriend not to take a pregnancy test because you don’t want a baby.”

What a great line.

scheduleMay 16, 2020

Thanks to this video I have discovered how to use my old Nikon D7000 with 50mm lens as a webcam. Which led me to buying an adaptor to convert a mic boom arm into a dSLR mount. High quality video conferencing coming up.

scheduleMay 15, 2020

COVID-19 has been a boon for improving my friendships. Since the outbreak my closest knit guys have held a weekly group Zoom meeting plus chatting in WhatsApp. The bonds of friendship have been strengthened. I love it.

scheduleMay 14, 2020

The number of apps able to post to micro.blog are growing. The native app, Gluon, Drafts, MarsEdit and now the one I’m using here: iA Writer. No excuse not to post.

scheduleMay 10, 2020

The details are not the details; they make the product.

‒ Charles Eames 💬

scheduleMay 9, 2020

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.

‒ Frank Tibolt 💬

scheduleMay 8, 2020

As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.

‒ John Glenn 💬

scheduleMay 7, 2020

I got a Stream Deck today. Will be fun to see what interesting shortcuts and automations I can concoct with it and Keyboard Maestro.

scheduleMay 7, 2020

Life is not about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.

‒ George Bernard Shaw 💬

scheduleMay 6, 2020

A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.
 — John James Audubon 💬

scheduleMay 5, 2020

Big storm here tonight. We’ve had a backyard fence blow down. ⛈

scheduleMay 5, 2020

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum, while all the time the presuppositions […] are being reinforced by the limits put on […] the debate.

— Noam Chomsky 💬

scheduleMay 4, 2020

I’ve had fun using Ferrite Podcast Studio to edit an upcoming podcast episode. At this stage, I’m not sure if it’s faster than using a Mac, but it’s definitely more fun.

scheduleMay 1, 2020

Garage door adjustment is going to be the death of me. Whatever combination of screws I turn, I can’t get it right.

scheduleApril 29, 2020

New nerd achievement unlocked: I created a Digital Ocean droplet and spun up an instance of a Discourse Forum today.

scheduleApril 28, 2020

Episodes of The Last Dance fly by so quickly. I’m just settling in and then - bam - they’re finished. Such good TV.

scheduleApril 26, 2020

I’ve been investigating best value podcast editing software for my Mac. Then the penny dropped; the best software isn’t on the Mac - it’s on iOS, and it’s called Ferrite.

scheduleApril 25, 2020

Today’s view from the porch could be worse.

scheduleApril 24, 2020

Our work had an online Zoom-based quiz game today using Kahoot.it. It was fun and I got bragging rights - came second in the first game, and won the second game. In your face, team! 😂

scheduleApril 22, 2020

I got out and shot some basketball hoops today; first time in months. I loved it. Playing basketball is the physical activity that feels perfectly natural to me. My body knows exactly what to do. There’s nothing else like it. 🏀

scheduleApril 21, 2020

I watched Episode 1 of The Last Dance and was reminded of why I fell in love with basketball. 90s-era NBA offered genuine competition in what was a small commercial enterprise. Also fashion!

scheduleApril 21, 2020

I have no idea as to what represents a ‘good’ number of downloads for a podcast, but I’m excited to have seen 767 for my latest effort. Thanks to everyone who did listen!

scheduleApril 18, 2020

I’m falling deep into the audio production rabbit hole. I’ve bought Loopback and Audio Hijack Pro from @rogueamoeba. Anybody want to do a podcast with me?

scheduleApril 16, 2020

I’m happy I bought a license for Black Ink. It’s been great using it in combination with my subscription to the NYTimes crossword. Thanks for making great software, @danielpunkass

scheduleApril 15, 2020

With all the Zoom meetings in our house now, I’ve created a Siri Shortcut, “On Air” that turns one of our smart lamps red. No more accidental interruptions!

scheduleApril 13, 2020

Today I’m partaking in another great Easter tradition: the giant yard cleanup and other assorted handyman jobs.

scheduleApril 13, 2020

Good morning. Third morning of backyard tenting, our Easter holiday experience in a time of COVID-19. I can report the birds in our neighbourhood are loud.

scheduleApril 11, 2020

It’s not Easter without camping. Our COVID-19 response has been to set up in the backyard. David cooks the best marshmallows even though he doesn’t like eating them. So sit near him!

scheduleApril 9, 2020

My plan to upgrade my webcam from the iMac camera to a digital camera was foiled by both my cameras being too old to support a clean signal sent via HDMI. Seems I’m stuck with the rubbish webcam.

scheduleApril 8, 2020

I had to pay $138 for 454g of ant killer today - and that’s not even COVID-19 pricing! Research indicated that it was the only stuff likely to work for this particular type of critter. Early signs are positive.

scheduleApril 8, 2020

I’ve cancelled my web host. Now I’ve got my web page hosted on Fastmail. Nice way to save some money.

scheduleApril 7, 2020

My 8-year old son is obsessed with US politics, even though he is Australian. I think he has inherited his Poppy’s genes.

scheduleApril 6, 2020

It’s nice to look at my calendar for tomorrow and see that while I have three client calls, all of them are people I know well enough at this point to consider them friends. Turns a business call into an opportunity to catch up.

Keep Practising: S01, E01

scheduleApril 5, 2020

Keep Practising: S01, E01.

Andrew starts a podcast. As is the cultural norm, this first podcast episode is dominated with talk about podcasting.

scheduleApril 2, 2020

🔗 Link Post: “Introducing 1.1.1.1 for Families”

Cloudflare Blog:

“Introducing 1.1.1.1 for Families — the easiest way to add a layer of protection to your home network and protect it from malware and adult content. “

I used Cloudflare DNS in the past, but more recently have been using OpenDNS to block non-kid-safe content but its relatively slow. Now I’m moving back to Cloudflare.

scheduleApril 1, 2020

I recognise all the dodgy security and behavioural issues at Zoom. At the same time, their service has been rock solid helping me get work done during the day, and in touch with family and friends at night.

scheduleMarch 29, 2020

PSA: If your home network goes down, don’t assume it’s the fault of a device. It might just be a dodgy Ethernet cable. Of course, I would realise that straight away and not waste 2 hours diagnosing various other possible causes.

scheduleMarch 28, 2020

I’ve rebuilt my Raspberry Pi and am once again avoiding ads, thanks to Pi-hole.

scheduleMarch 28, 2020

Furniture rearranging day. We converted a bedroom to a kids activity room, reorganised the layout in the study, and created a second home office desk. I’ve surely had my exercise for today.

scheduleMarch 28, 2020

My Raspberry Pi died. Already missing Pi-hole ad blocking.

scheduleMarch 28, 2020

I’ve spent the morning rearranging furniture in my study. After a week of Zoom meetings I discovered the lighting was terrible, making my head look like a tomato. Hopefully this change improves things!

scheduleMarch 22, 2020

I never anticipated that I would experience (and hopefully live through) a pandemic in my lifetime. Our lives - and our dominion over the planet - are fragile. We need to come out of this much more aware as a global society.

scheduleMarch 22, 2020

🔗 Link Post: “Donald Trump Is a Menace to Public Health”

The entire article is certainly worth reading. It was hard to pick out excerpts because it’s all so well written.

Adam Serwer writing for The Atlantic:

Authoritarian leaders prize loyalty over expertise, and part of the way such leaders determine loyalty is through demanding sycophantic praise from underlings, smoking out those unwilling to bend the knee.

Democracy can be thought of as a garden; if you don’t tend to it, it doesn’t take long to be overtaken by the weeds of alternative, less-preferred civic models.

“Trumpist media outlets, by contrast, have created a bubble of unreality where nothing but the most effusive praise of Trump is acceptable, where anyone who disagrees with or criticizes the president is part of a grand conspiracy to destroy him, and where the only facts that exist are those that reflect well on the president.”

Having denied that the coronavirus was a major issue for months, the president sought to recast himself as an oracle, and conservative media followed suit, shifting their tone from downplaying the severity of the pandemic to praising the heroic efforts of the president to address it.

I’m old fashioned in that I like my news to give me the news, not an opinion. Right-wing media is out of control - pretending to be news but actually delivering propaganda.

The president is a relentless scammer at heart, and even during a pandemic he will attempt to get what he wants while providing as little as possible in return, as though he were trying to save cash by stiffing a contractor.

This pretty much nails it. Everything is for personal gain; not for the collective good. In Trump’s world, everything is a zero-sum game.

scheduleMarch 15, 2020

🔗 Link Post: “Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” - Washington Post”

Harry Stevens writing for Washington Post:

If the number of cases were to continue to double every three days, there would be about a hundred million cases in the United States by May.

That is math, not prophecy.

The simulation diagrams in this story provide the best example of how social distancing can be beneficial.

scheduleMarch 15, 2020

I took my kid to the park and we met a lovely family who is new to the neighbourhood. We had a great conversation while our kids played together. We maintained appropriate social distance for a coronavirus world, and the social interaction has improved my mood.

scheduleMarch 15, 2020

If we are all going into quarantine - and potentially seeing reduced personal income - budgeting becomes even more important. I recommend YNAB - I’ve been a happy paying customer for years. 💵

scheduleMarch 11, 2020

If we arranged a global agreement whereby the entire world entered isolation for two weeks, essentially pausing everything, would that eliminate the virus and minimise the economic impact?

scheduleMarch 11, 2020

I’ve draped nine towels around my study. It sounds so much nicer in here now. I’m sure the appearance will not gain approval from my wife, however.

scheduleMarch 10, 2020

Like You:

Like You is a mindfulness podcast for kids, exploring feelings & encouraging self-esteem through imagination-based exercises.

I’m supporting this podcast on Patreon. Both my boys enjoy the show.

scheduleMarch 10, 2020

Given societal concerns about COVID-19, I’ve turned to offering people I had scheduled face-to-face meetings with the option to meet via video conference instead.

scheduleMarch 8, 2020

Should I be more worried about COVID-19 than I am? I can’t help but think about statistically likelihoods and the probability still seems low compared with more mundane disasters. Also, I lived through a bout of swine flu which might be giving me false confidence in my immune system.

scheduleMarch 2, 2020

February Photoblogging Challenge, Day 30: Vision.

scheduleMarch 1, 2020

February Photoblogging Challenge, Day 29: Leap.

February Photoblogging Challenge, Day 24: Double. Two WD Red drives ready to join the array.

Productivity rating has been at 💯 today. I’ll probably crash tomorrow.

February Photoblogging Challenge, Day 23: Station. Going back in time for this one. A younger me excited to be riding the trains of Paris.

February Photoblogging Challenge, Day 18: Space. The storage space I had on my NAS is not looking good.

One drive in my NAS reported SMART errors. I replace it. While rebuilding the RAID array with the new disk in place I’m notified of major errors on another disk. What are the odds? Will the RAID array be able to rebuild successfully? It’s currently at 41%. 😥

🔗 Link Post: "Boeing 737 Max: debris found in fuel tanks of grounded planes"

The Guardian:

“Boeing has ordered inspections of its entire fleet of grounded 737 Max planes after it found debris in the fuel tanks of some of the aircraft, in the latest setback for the US plane-maker”

Boeing seems to have forgotten the key tenets of lean manufacturing, especially the part about fixing problems at the source and not passing faults up the chain.

It used to be said that, “if it’s not Boeing, I’m not going”. Nowadays, I feel more comfortable with Airbus.

Mark Ritson is a very impressive presenter. The audience is totally engaged with it.

I’ve added a /reading page to my website to display articles I’ve starred in Inoreader, and the books I’ve logged as reading in Goodreads.

I met a guy who used to work for Nashua. Immediately I recalled the days where if you wanted to secure your quality Amiga 500 warez you would buy Nashua floppy’s.

One of the drives in my ancient NAS is dying. I’m going to have to replace it. What I want now though is a ThunderBay RAID enclosure to directly connect. I’m sick of network drives.

🔗 Link Post: "Donald Trump, the view across the pond"

Paul J. Miller:

“Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.”

Paul offers some thoughts and insights regarding Trump, from a British perspective. I think the Australian view is similar, but members of our society are more likely to say, “well, what else would you expect from a Seppo1?” Disparaging critique is a key element of our culture.


  1. Seppo, short for septic tank, which rhymes with Yank, which is slang for an American citizen. [return]

There are some cracking photos on Micro.blog - thanks @macgenie for surfacing them in the Discover tab.

I was a user of Overcast from launch until last year. I switched to Castro and it’s inbox feature to help with podcast overwhelm. Now I’m trying Overcast again mainly because of boredom.

Watched the first episode of Mythic Quest on Apple TV+. Not sold, but not ready to give up, either. 📺

I was able to go lap swimming in my lunch break today. I am so aerobically unfit.

iOS 13 is a dumpster fire. My iPhone crashes, hangs and generally craps out on an extremely regular basis. Not having the same issues with iPadOS, interestingly enough.

CARROT Weather’s forecast for today

It’s a nice temperature now the heat of the day has subsided. 🥵

February Photoblogging Challenge, Day Three: Reflect.

IMG 0530

I previously had an account with meditation app Headspace. Is that still considered the best? I’m seeing some buzz around 10% Happier but it’s considerably more expensive. 🧘🏼‍♂️

I’ve just finished an 8-hour Lego building shift. My son better appreciate this in later years.

Our second boy is entering his Lego play phase. I’m thankful my wife colour-coded our massive stockpile of Lego to simplify reconstruction efforts.

Beginning a build

I am constantly adjusting my app usage for work meetings and facilitation sessions. Today I went back to beautiful basics: iThoughts on ¾ of the screen, OmniOutliner in ¼. Capture where possible straight into iThoughts, but use OmniOutliner for parking lot/unrelated notes.

Great to have Miles Plumlee in a Perth Wildcats uniform. It’s a pipe dream, but it would be great to get him back for a full season next year. 🏀

🔗 Link Post: “Clayton Christensen dies at 67 after lifetime of business, spiritual influence - Deseret News”

Tad Walsh writing for Deseret News:

“A true disruptive innovation, he taught, first appealed only to a niche market and appeared less attractive than the powerful incumbent it eventually usurped. In fact, the incumbent typically looked down on it as inconsequential until it ate up huge swaths of its market share.”

This article rightly focuses on Christensen’s impactful theory of disruption.

In my work I often crib Christensen’s case study about the utility of a milkshake as part of the ‘jobs to be done’ theory.

Rest In Peace, Mr Christensen.

Little America is one of the funniest, heart-warming, enjoyable series I’ve seen in a long while. Brilliant stuff. 📺

My pre-order of NoteBooks 10 for iOS arrived this morning. This has led me to re-install Dropbox on my Macs so I can experiment effectively. WebDAV syncing sucked too much. DEVONthink remains more powerful, and I have so many other note-taking apps I don’t know why I’m bothering trialing another one. It’s an addiction. An affliction. It’s fun; and I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied. At least I’ve stuck with the same task manager for years and years.

We are enjoying the quintessential Australian summer caravan park holiday. Holiday feels

🔗 Link Post: “Playdate December Update”

Panic writing for Playdate newsletter:

“We’re a smedium-sized crew — 25 people, 5 on Playdate.”

The Playdate gaming device is coming along nicely. Amazing what a small team has achieved, with this device and across other projects.

I like that Panic aren’t taking money in advance and that they are cash flowing the production. It’s real business.

scheduleJanuary 8, 2020

Staycation hotel life. We spent most of the day in the pool but this was a moment of TV time.

scheduleJanuary 7, 2020

Downlink is a great free app for putting satellite images on your Mac Desktop. Now I can look at my country from above.

scheduleJanuary 6, 2020

The processing of creating a zettelkasten is gelling with me. I’m finding it’s clarifying my thinking and helping to capture knowledge in a way that other methods haven’t. I’m primarily using The Archive, additionally indexed in DEVONthink.

scheduleJanuary 5, 2020

It has been kind of so many people of micro.blog to reach out after reading about my dog, Jeff. It’s a great community to be a part of; thanks everybody!

scheduleJanuary 4, 2020

We had to say goodbye to our dog, Jeff, today. As much as I know it was the right thing to do it’s still a sad time. He had a good 12-year run. I’ll never forget Jeffenhausensteinenberg.

IMG 0394

IMG 0243

20160922 P1070503

scheduleJanuary 1, 2020

I’ve got bloggers’ block. I’ve got a few ideas for posts but can’t summon the motivation to write anything. They continue to sit as drafts, waiting…

I had migrated away from WhenWorks due to its shutdown. Now I receive an email saying that it’s been acquired by @rosemaryorchard. Wonderful news but now I’m financially invested in an alternative scheduling platform. Timing not so good for me, but great news for @macgenie

Merry Christmas Eve, especially to all my micro.blog friends. 🍻

I’ve gone on a software spending spree. Through Winterfest I bought SpamSieve & BBEdit. On Steam I bought TABS and X-COM 2.

I wasn’t going to renew my Flickr Pro subscription but now they’re struggling for cash. It doesn’t fit my workflow these days but I don’t want to see it go away.

Emerging from the gastro bug. This has been a long 36 hours. Both me and my wife, down for the count.

Kid Jr claims success. He has passed on his gastro to the rest of the family. What a lad.

I’ve been enjoying the content of Apple TV+ more than anything recently shown on Netflix. Critics seemed to pan the Apple shows, but I’ve liked For All Mankind, See, and Morning Wars.

So great to have swimming weather again. This summer I want to get into swimming for fitness. Pumped that my boy can do it with me. He managed 300 metres yesterday.

With a 🤮ing kid in the house it’s time to step away for a quick afternoon Nespresso.

Since I gave up my Lightroom subscription I’m looking for an iOS based photo editor with good presets. VSCO is good but it doesn’t interact directly with the photo library. Darkroom lets me edit in place but it’s editing doesn’t seem as impactful.

With recent talk on micro.blog about trying to find international voices, I’ve added the Australian flag 🇦🇺 to my profile blurb. Maybe that will help.

Finished Firewatch last night. I’m besotted with Delilah. 🕹

Hi @davewoodx - awesome to find you on micro.blog. Thanks for your support via Twitter with TV Tune Up. I endorse your app for effective TV calibration.

After a couple of years of using Fiery Feeds, I bought the latest version of Reeder, which used to be my go to for RSS. It’s not nearly as full-featured but it’s nice.

My employer has reduced password age to 45 days - due to cybersecurity insurances policies. I contest that short password durations are worse for security. Better to have a long passphrase and be done with it.

I connected my HomePod to my Apple TV. The audio quality for television shows is impressive.

Float, the Pixar short film on Disney+, tugs all the heartstrings.

Bluey is the greatest kids television show ever made. This article explores the production side of making an animated show.

The Mental Office

I’ve been trawling through some old text files of mine. I came across a note from 2012 that I initially thought was my own, but now recognise it as the work of Shawn Blanc.

Shawn’s post highlights issues relating to working from home. He references a podcast that I used to enjoy listening to — the Home Work podcast, hosted by Aaron Mahnke and Dave Caolo1 . I can’t find an active link for the podcast. It was last hosted by 5by5. Since the podcast ended Aaron Mahnke has gone on to fame and fortune with Lore and Dave Caolo has moved on to other projects.

Leveraging the notes posted by Shawn Blanc, I see that the podcast noted working from home as thus:

Working from home isn’t always about notebooks, apps and office furniture. Much of it happens in the head, between fighting distraction, staying focused and keeping things organised. In this episode, Aaron and Dave chat about leaving work at work (even when it’s in your home) and doing a mind-sweep to keep things clear.

This is a challenge worth remembering, particularly now in 2019 when ubiquitous networking and powerful mobile devices makes it so easy to do work not only from home, but from anywhere at anytime. There is a clear risk of dedicating too much time to work because it’s possible. Yet this doesn’t make it the right choice. We really need to protect our leisure time.


  1. My claim to fame in relation to the Home Work podcast was that I once emailed in a question, which the hosts addressed in one of their shows. [return]

Politics

Day 30 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

You thought religion was a dangerous topic? No, I’ve left the really dangerous one until last. Today, let’s talk politics.


My origin story

I’ve been interested in politics since I was 12 or 13 years old. Perhaps influenced by my conservative parents, and having grown up in an Australia where for the length of my memory Labor had been in government, I felt Labor were taking it all for granted.

I determined that Labor were not for me. The Australian economy was in recession and it felt that our family had been forgotten.

Impact of education

Time moved on and I began to take a different outlook on life. I realised that our family was living on the margins in low-income outer suburbia.

I did well enough at school that I was able to attend university. This was a foundation for self-improvement and growth. It helped me begin to see there was a broader world beyond that in which I had grown up.

I came to see that were it not for the efforts of the Labor Party to make university education affordable for everybody irrespective of their family situation, societal status or upbringing, I would never have been able to afford to go to university, even if I was clever enough. I also saw the people who were involved in the Liberal Party - and I knew they were nothing like me. My suburban story was foreign to them.

The Labor Party, on the other hand, was full of people that I could relate to, who had similar stories to mine.

My involvement in the Labor Party accelerated when I met my future wife, Hannah, who happened to be the daughter of Kim Beazley. He was the Leader of the Labor Party in Australia’s national parliament at the time. It’s not good for romance if you vote against your girlfriend’s father!

Ironically, I didn’t meet Hannah through any political connection or event. We met in a nightclub. Those were the days!

Politics engrained

That was in 1999. Since then I’ve been involved in politics in ways and to degrees that my childhood self could never have imagined.

I’ve worked on campaigns, I’ve door-knocked, I’ve called voters. I’ve twice supported my wife as a candidate at State and Federal elections. Unfortunately she was not victorious, despite running excellent campaigns and being generally well-regarded. The big swings that are needed to change a seat in politics simply didn’t eventuate.

It is easy to get caught up in the game of politics. When that happens to me, I think back on my own story. I believe the purpose of politics is to help communities, and enable people to have a fair and equal opportunity to become the best version of themselves. It’s about allowing kids like me living in poor suburbs have a chance to get an education. For me, an education unlocked employment opportunities and life improvements that I would not have ever imagined. It also helped the nation, because being qualified to get higher paying jobs I’ve been able to pay a lot more income tax than I otherwise would have.

Governments and politicians are servants of the people. When this responsibility is forgotten the system breaks down. When Paul Keating was in charge and the recession was in full swing, I looked at the situation around me and felt forgotten. When I look around now I feel that many, many more are forgotten. That needs to be brought to their attention. If it is, then perhaps they will elect to have a government that will be an effective servant who acts in their best interests.

Religion

Day 29 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

My life has always been connected to religion and it has played a formative role in my upbringing.

Baptised Anglican, and the son of an Anglican minister, I remember sitting through interminably boring sermons and church services that seemed to go forever. I also remember visiting the church with my Mom and sitting on her lap and steering our car through the parking lot while she dealt with the pedals.

Then our family transitioned away from Anglicanism towards a Pentecostal approach to religion, and we attended an Assemblies of God church. My memories of that church was that it was more interesting than the Anglican Church. Looking back, I think it drifted further towards the charismatic ‘modern’ approach to Pentecostalism. This was a long time ago, and I was growing through my teen years, so I can’t confirm if that is an accurate assessment - but it is my memory.

At this point I drifted away from organised religion.

Later I married a Catholic girl, so I have become familiar with the yin to the Anglican’s yang. I actually don’t mind the Catholic service - except for all the random sitting and standing, and then some kneeling for good measure. I always just copy the person next to me. Of course, both the Anglicans and Catholics strike fear into the heart of all introverts with their ‘peace be with you’ bit. Really, must we?


Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had two work meetings divert into topics of religion and churches. This doesn’t worry me at all. What I find interesting is that Australia is a secular country, and rarely in my working life has religion ever come up in a work context before.


At this time our country is being led by a Prime Minister who declares his faith. What I find unfortunate is that this faith is tied to the Hillsong church business. I cannot abide this organisation. Their ‘prosperity doctrine’ has worked for their founders who have become obscenely rich, and (I believe) powerful behind the scenes despite having no formalised legitimacy. The Hillsong business spreads a message that deviates far from the original word and intention of Jesus. Cherry picking gospel and turning church into a rock concert doesn’t seem the answer to me.

Now they have the ear of our Prime Minister; and I’m sure they tell their followers that is further evidence of the truth of their mission. I’m not so believing.


Religion has forever played a part in keeping civilisation in order. It has provided guidelines for appropriate lifestyles when there has been no governance system or rule of law to steer societies.

Religion has been an enabler of great deeds. Religion has been a driving force for wars and hatred.

There is no doubt it is a complex issue. We will either get all the answers at our death, or we won’t.

I took advantage of Apple’s Black Friday deals to buy a new Apple TV 4K. Then discovered I was only on the Netflix “HD” plan - not the “UHD” plan so had to give them more money. Meanwhile, Apple TV+ and Disney+ offer UHD by default for less than the basic Netflix plan! 📺

Microblogvember: 29 days into the challenge; 1 day to go. Fantastic!

Hope

Day 28 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I hope my children have a good future. Challenges confront them large and small.

Some of my immediate hopes include:

  • they don’t fall in with the wrong crowd.
  • they develop deep friendships - the type where you can trust the other with your deepest secrets and fears.
  • they don’t fall down a drug vortex.
  • they find fun in their childhood.
  • they muddle through their difficult teen years.

Any prior generation to mine could probably stop there. Yet now I feel like our kids are faced with an existential crisis, the likes of which we have never battled before. I fear that the world they grow up in will be damaged and impacted by anthropogenic global warming, that will bring down all sorts of issues. In this sense, I hope:

  • their generation can actually recognise and respond to this ‘wicked problem’, as economist Ross Garnaut described climate change.
  • they don’t experience a dramatically less hospitable world in which to live.
  • they don’t experience wars and upheaval resulting from large-scale migration from inhospitable locations and a fight for diminishing resources.
  • they can still eat fish caught from the sea, hoping that they haven’t been fished to extinction.

It’s a worrying world. Some of my hopes for my children I can influence through effective parenting. Others are completely outside of my direct control. All I have is hope.

Microblogvember: Prices of property in Perth went through the roof a few years ago as we experienced a ‘mining boom’. They’ve settled down again now but houses are still way more expensive relative to income than they were a few decades prior.

Loss

Day 27 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I get frustrated when I lose something basic, like keys, glasses or my wallet. I have a designated ‘home location’ for these items. Despite that, they still seem to have a tendency to disappear from time to time.

It is the most frustrating kind of loss, because I know they have to be around somewhere. But that somewhere could be anywhere. The loss usually seems to occur when I’m in a rush to get out of the house. Murphy’s Law, hard at work.

Apple’s ‘Find My’ service is great for lost devices. Also great for lost spouses - it’s not stalking when you’re married! Unfortunately this service doesn’t work for keys and wallets. I’ve been tempted to buy some tiles, but I’m never feeling the pain of the loss when I’ve considered buying them, so I put it off.

I’m interested in the rumours about Apple developing a similar tile tracking device. Since I’m already all-in with Apple devices I imagine these would have great integration with everything else in the house. It might even make losing things fun, because no doubt it would integrate with the Find My app and probably make some gentle pinging noise to help me locate the item.

Losing things will always be annoying but if we can get some cool tech gadgets to offset that, then I’m all for it.


I literally finished writing this post, got up to put my bag away, and realised my wallet was missing. I found it, but not before suffering a mild anxiety attack. So frustrating,

Microblogvember: I may not be rich but at least I have my health. (Glass half full, glass half full…!)

Shoes

Day 26 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I’m not a sneaker head by any means. Though there was a period when I was a teenager that I did pay a little more attention to the shoe world, and basketball shoes in particular.

Basketball Shoes

This was the era of Reebok Pumps and the original Air Jordans. When shoes were big and high tops were really high. Fluoro colours were cool. Modern design technology was getting started and companies were testing the limits.

The shoe I desired most during this era were the Nike Air Jordan V, in white. The blacks weren’t nearly as good. The white ones featured a silver feather inset on the side, and the way they had a thick side sole with some red flames just made them look brilliant. The mid-cut ankle made them look even more streamlined.1 These shoes were amazing. As much as I wanted them, though, our family budget said no.

Jordan 5

I did ultimately get a pair of Jordans. Unfortunately, they were the Air Jordan VIIs, which were about the ugliest version of Jordan’s released through that era. Oh well.

Jordan 7

My favourite basketball shoes ever were a pair of blue Reeboks. They were a lightweight material and were low-cut. They were incredibly comfortable. I was obsessed with blue shoes and these ones I got were fantastic. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of them at all. I’ve tried searching for them, to no avail. They were the greatest shoes I’ve ever worn, though.

Having worn these and many other basketball shoes over the years, I will say that Nike are the least comfortable shoe, while Adidas and Reebok tie for most comfortable.

Dress Boots

Outside basketball shoes, I had a pair of Doc Marten 8-holes, that were English-made. In fact, this was around 1997 so I don’t even think they were made anywhere but the UK. In any case, these shoes were absolute hell for about two weeks, ripping my feet up creating many blisters. I pushed through and they became the most comfortable boot I’ve ever owned.

Doc marten

Now I’m all grown up, and my favourite shoes now are a pair of RM Williams. These are great to wear but I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re not as comfortable as the DMs.

Rm williams


  1. I wrote the description of this shoe from memory. I’ve now looked at a photo and I’m impressed by my descriptive accuracy. These shoes were heavily imprinted on my brain. [return]

Microblogvember: I enjoy reading my micro.blog feed because of the interesting mix of people I get to interact with.

I watched the first episode of See and liked it. Not sure why it was so heavily criticised? 📺

I bought a UPS for my iMac today. The hardware seems fine but the software is some janky Java thing. I’m pretty sure I have to have it running to enable auto-shutdown though - there’s nothing standard built in to macOS, right?

Money

Day 25 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack
Money, it’s a hit
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit
I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet

Pink Floyd, Money

Money is the great enabler. Its presence enables people to climb out of poverty. Others can build their ego collecting it. Some feel good giving it away. In acting as a proxy for elements of human behaviour and achievement, money allows us to communicate status, success and worth.

Money is a human construct. It is a renewable resource. It’s a shared fiction that relies on us to all believe for it to work. Fortunately we well and truly believe in it. In fact, we practically worship at its altar. It is the central and universal element upon which all of us must give consideration. Criminals, office workers, paramedics. Whatever one’s role in life, money is at the core.

Microblogvember: I am glad our kids feel safe and secure in their home. It’s sad that many kids must not.

Infrastructure

Day 24 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

Many years ago I was employed as an Advisor to our State Government’s Minister for Planning and Infrastructure. This followed previous work in the State Department of Transport and for a large grains cooperative which built, managed and utilised transport and logistics infrastructure.

Infrastructure is often taken for granted It’s reasonable to suggest that’s when infrastructure is working at its best. When people start talking about traffic or fresh water or power failures it usually means something has gone wrong at an infrastructure level. Not enough road capacity has been built, the desalination plant has failed or the baseload power generator failed to get a steady supply of fuel. There are teams of people across all the various infrastructure providers responsible for ensuring citizens don’t think about them or their service. Mostly, these people do a good job. Infrastructure management relies on effective processes driving preventative maintenance schedules. Combined with regular capital works investment to upgrade, improve and stay ahead of the demand curve, infrastructure ideally stays ahead of demand.

The ingenuity of humans, that we are able to build, design and operate infrastructure so effectively is incredible. Additionally we have been able to develop an economic system that incentivises delivery of services. This includes the ability for government to step in as a supplier where market conditions don’t support commercial operations.

Infrastructure is also the enabler of unrelated money-making projects. Without basics such as power, water and Internet access, Australia couldn’t support the development and operations of companies like Atlassian and Fastmail, to suggest two technology-based business examples. Infrastructure enables these and all other firms to employ people, generate profit, and pay taxes. Infrastructure firms, however, rarely (ever?) are afforded the status that is probably deserving of them. Mike Cannon-Brookes has become a billionaire but I can’t find any CEOs of infrastructure firms that have become billion-dollar poster children for their industry. Rather, infrastructure firms are the staid companies that superannuation firms love to buy shares in, as they deliver a boring, regular dividend stream.

So here’s to the infrastructure, and the people that work on it, that makes our lives better each and every day. Please keep up your yeoman’s work… even if it goes unnoticed and under-appreciated.

Microblogvember: I used Uber Pool yesterday. It was an enjoyable experience because I was paired up with great people. It’s not always bad to be in the company of strangers.

Toast

Day 23 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

John Siracusa built an empire talking about toasters, but what about the toast?

I like a slice of toast that is crispy on the outer but remains soft under that toasted exoskeleton. The bread should be a golden brown. I don’t want no black bits.

Onto that toast, slather some butter. It really should be butter. Margarine is a substitute that allows sufficient oiliness to support the subsequent spread of a condiment but in itself doesn’t taste good. A nice piece of toast is one that has butter - and only butter - lathered across it. This toast can be eaten as so and should bring some sweet joy to your morning.

You don’t want two pieces of buttered toast though. That buttered slice is the entree to the second more flavoursome slice. Here you can go two ways. If you want something sweet, run with peanut butter. I think it needs to be crunchy peanut butter and I want it spread on thick. Remember, it still needs butter first. Then get the peanut butter thick and gooey. If you’re going to have it go hard, or go home.

If you don’t fancy the sweet option, then the umami of Vegemite is what you need. The slightly salty, bitter taste of Vegemite is great. Vegemite has had its problems of late, but they do seemed to have reverted back to a better quality more recently. It’s not what it once was, but it is showing improvement.

You need to be careful not to spread Vegemite too thick. This is the mistake visiting Americans always make. Vegemite is the anti-peanut butter. Spread it thin.

Those two slices of toast, prepared that way, will get you off to a great start in the morning.

Now I’m hungry.

Microblogvember: A word I never use, but like the sound of, is woebegone.

I’m exploring Receipts that comes as part of my Setapp subscription. I think it could replace my current DEVONthink usage for receipt management. Its OCR smarts are great.

Observations on Android, five years later | Riccardo Mori

On iOS, what you see on the screen are essentially the contents of an Application folder. On Android, the screen’s real estate is like a Desktop where you put shortcuts (in the Windows sense)

I’ve never been an Android user but this description finally enabled me to grok the difference in Android’s approach to home screens compared with iOS.

Sport

Day 22 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I’ve always watching and playing sport. As a kid, I tried most sports that entered my world view. I can remember playing:

  • volleyball
  • cricket
  • basketball
  • tennis
  • football (Australian Rules)
  • soccer
  • baseball
  • swimming
  • athletics (I loved high jump, hated running)

The sports I really enjoyed were cricket and basketball. If I’d had a better experience with cricket, I probably would have stuck at it longer. I loved bowling and would be happy doing it for hours on end.

The sport I excelled at was basketball. I was an athletic white guy. I am 6’3” and was able to throw down some good dunks. Although my mates were always frustrated that I seemed happier firing from beyond the three-point line! I maintain I was ahead of my time - look at how the game is played now.

Unfortunately basketball has taken its toll on my body. I’ve got an ankle that won’t bend properly, hips that are creaking, and knees that have lost their cartilage so they crack and pop as I climb stairs, misaligned fingers and a thumb that strains with the slightest effort.

Despite all those injuries and the awareness that things are going to get worse, I wouldn’t change anything. I loved playing basketball so much. For me it went beyond a sport; it was a lifestyle. I made so many friends; I have amazing memories of playing with some incredible players and I’ve met some impressive people.

The two most famous basketball people I’ve met are probably Luc Longley and Phil Jackson. Ironically, neither of these encounters came because I was a basketball player. Rather, they came about because my father-in-law was Australia’s Ambassador to the United States of America and both me and those basketball celebrities were at a gala “G’Day USA” event.

Now I’m transitioning to the next phase of my sporting life. I am watching my eldest boy try a variety of sports. To date, it seems he is enjoying cricket the most. I wonder what my younger kid will get interested in?

Microblogvember: My wife likes to fall asleep to the hum of some white noise like a fan. I’ve had to get used to it.

Unrequited

Day 21 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

adjective
(of a feeling, especially love) not returned: he’s been pining with unrequited love.

Who set these prompts anyway? That guy should be put to the sword for this one. I can’t think of anything to write about ‘unrequited’.

A couple of days ago I wrote some thoughts on love. So this post could be those thoughts, unreturned?

In searching for some inspiration about what to write about, I did discover that ‘Unrequited’ was the title of an episode of The X-Files. It was also the title of a low-budget movie that doesn’t look very good.

Sorry, that’s all I’ve got.

Microblogvember: I have no qualms about accepting a hollow victory! A win is a win. Nobody ever talks about hollow losses.

Fight

Day 20 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

You gotta fight
for your right
to party!

My thanks to The Beastie Boys for their guest introduction.

I’m not a fighter; never have been. I recall Jason Bulpitt (may he Rest In Peace) squaring up to me in the school playground one day. I countered by being a smart-arse, running my mouth. Intelligent diatribe was my competitive advantage - not fist fights.

This approach to fighting has probably led to my engagement in politics over the years. A focus on the verbal stoush ahead of the physical kind. The kind of fight I might have a chance of winning. Plus, winning can benefit a lot of people.

Political fights can be hard and deflating. They can also be exhilarating and rewarding. That’s why we keep coming back for more. It’s good to fight for a better country.

Microblogvember: I’ve got a bit less than an hour, then I’m off to my second meeting of the day.

Which gaming system is better for kids and sometimes adults: Xbox or PlayStation? ❓

Love

Day 19 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

Love is a super-complicated topic. I know I love my wife, I love my kids. But truth be told, I don’t know how I know that I love them.

I know that I love, in a technical sense. Yet I only feel it rarely. To be fair, I do occasionally experience an overwhelming sense of affection that pulls at my insides. This is probably the truest expression of love. But I don’t get that often. Is that a standard, everyday feeling for others? Am I missing what other people experience?

I wonder if others have a clearer understanding of what love is, or how it feels. Perhaps I’m missing out on the feeling of emotional love. It’s like my rational side gets in the way of my emotional side.

Heavy stuff. A bit too daunting to think more deeply about at this point.

Dolly Parton’s America podcast is awesome. I’ve suffered the Tennessee Mountain Trance myself. castro.fm

Microblogvember: We have seen our intense hot weather in Perth abate but since it’s not even summer yet, I know it will be back. I look forward to summer through winter, and then it arrives… it doesn’t live up to the hype!

Microblogvember: It blows me away the things that humans have been able to build. For all our failings, we make some amazing things.

Game

Day 18 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I’m not a gamer; this month I unsubscribed from Apple Arcade because I wasn’t playing any of the games on offer despite a number of them being good. It’s an opportunity cost issue. There are only so many hours in a day and I find enjoyment doing other things ahead of gaming… most of the time.

I say that because rarely I do become obsessed with a game. My most recent example is Zelda: Breath of the Wild. With that game, I would sneak away with my son’s Switch and play it for hours. At first I was making my way through the game naturally. Then as I progressed, I got more serious and downloaded an iOS app to help me track the locations I had been, and which areas I still needed to unlock.

I continued to upgrade my character, beyond that which was necessary to claim victory over the big boss. I didn’t know that at the time of course, but given how relatively easy the final boss battle was, I’d say that I had swung the scales significantly in my favour.

Zelda was an epic game. It captured my mind for months. It was an expensive game but on an entertainment per hour basis, was incredibly cheap. I don’t know when I will encounter another game that captivates me in that that way but I’m sure it will happen, I’ll become a gamer for a month or two, then go back to normal non-gamer life.

Microblogvember: Bryce Cotton is a superb basketball player for the Perth Wildcats.

Party

Day 17 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I’m not one for parties; my introversion means I’m diametrically opposed to them.

Having said that, I’m actually attending a party this afternoon/evening. It is a 60th birthday celebration though and should be a nice one. It is incorporating a showing of Blade Runner. I haven’t seen that movie in about 20 years, so I’m interested to see my interpretation of it now.

Another party issue arising is planning to host a 4th birthday party for our youngest son. Trying to decide what to do for that is a puzzler as well. Do we host it at home, or out somewhere? Who to invite? We don’t have friends who have kids of a similar age, but it won’t be much of a party if he doesn’t have some similar-aged kids around. We need to get moving on the planning so we can get the invites out, but we’re having trouble generating motivation. That’s not good parenting, is it!

Animal

Day 16 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

Our family might be about to lose our second animal of the year to old age. Our Standard Poodle, Jeff, is not holding up so well. He has developed large cysts under his skin, his teeth are wearing out and now he seems to have hurt his paw.

Earlier this year we had to say goodbye to our Airedale Terrier, Indi. Her absence seems to have accelerated the decline of Jeff. He relied on her so much to be top dog and I don’t think he has been the same since she has been gone.

I recall a couple of months ago when we were at the dog beach with Jeff, and we saw another Airedale Terrier. Jeff went running up to it, and you could just tell from his body language that he thought it was Indi. A sniff and a closer look confirmed that it was a stranger. If a dog can look deflated, Jeff did in that moment.

We bring animals into our lives knowing that it’s not forever and that one day we will need to make hard decisions about their future. The knowledge of that, however, doesn’t make the reality of the situation any easier.

Microblogvember: The old proverb is that it pays to be selective. Don’t just settle. You can do better than that.

Renovation

Day 15 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

About three years ago we did a house renovation. We had our kitchen gutted and rebuilt, our bathrooms reconfigured, wood floors sanded and interior walls painted, and a new front deck.

A huge job already was made bigger because we had to move all of our furniture into storage and move our family into a short-term rental for the duration of the project. It reminded me why I don’t like moving house. Packing is the worst!

The renovation grew our mortgage significantly but improved our quality of life. We spend so much time in our home that making it a comfortable environment was worth the investment.

We had an excellent builder on the project. I’m no handyman so it was absolutely necessary to employ a professional to do the job right. That’s an element of our renovation for which I hold no regrets. It’s also a standing principle of mine: if you’re not good at something and have no interest in learning the skill, pay somebody to deliver. Money is a resource that can be deployed strategically to save your own frustration and heartache. When it comes to a renovation, if I were doing it myself there would be plenty of both. I’d rather be without the money!

Microblogvember: I don’t enjoy swimming in bodies of water where I cannot see below my feet, into the murky depths.

I want to remove the www from my andrewcanion.com domain but I somehow have a weird mishmash of redirects to `http(s)://www’ that I can’t figure out what to change, where. Anything I’ve tried to do has broken all access.

Recycling

Day 14 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

Recycling is kind of a big deal in our house. Our council runs a three bin system for rubbish management: one bin for food and organics, one for rubbish, and a third for recyclables.

My wife Hannah works in the recycling industry. She is the Head of External Relations at Western Australia Return Recycle Renew (WARRRL). This organisation has responsibility for establishing a new container deposit scheme for our State. That will mean that for every drink container brought back to a recycling point, 10 cents is given to the recycler.

As well as reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the scheme provides an opportunity for community engagement. I could choose to have my recycled containers benefit an organisation that elects to participate. For instance, if my son’s local Scout group gets involved they can use it as a fund-raising measure.

Western Australia is a geographically huge State and this is rolling out across it all. Hannah and the entire WARRRL team have been working hard to get this initiative up and running and I am proud of the work they are doing. It will be exciting when the system is ready to launch!

Microblogvember: Our poor old dog Jeff has a big lump at the top of his neck.

Beverage

Day 13 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

My favourite beverage is coffee. There is no contest. There is not much better than an Australian flat white.

Italian coffee is great but it’s a transitory drink. You get it at the bar, drink it and leave. Don’t sit down because it will cost you a fortune.

American coffee is bad. It’s either sweetened and flavoured to the point where its more milkshake than coffee, or its drip-filtered and been sitting in storage for a while.

Australian coffee has the quality of the Italian style, but there is a social norm of sitting down at the coffee shop to drink it. Our baristas are great at frothing the milk to achieve micro-foam rather than aerated fluff, and we benefit from a delicious crema when they pour.

Regarding other beverages, I enjoy sharing a pot of tea at home with my wife. She is addicted to tea and doesn’t drink coffee at all. I think that’s weird, but there you go. I rarely drink soft drink. Perhaps an occasional Coke Zero. Never in my life have I had a Red Bull or other super-caffeinated beverage. I can’t see how they can possibly be good for me.

Microblogvember: I write this microblog from an event that I have been able to organise. We have a room of people undertaking strategy development and financial forecasting.

Smells

Day 12 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

A smell can be a most evocative sense. It can stimulate memory, facilitate calm or revulsion, or provide us with timely information.

If I smell new carpet, I am transported back to my Year 1 classroom which had been renovated and new carpet laid. That’s an associated formed around 35 years ago. The smell of a basketball stadium: that combination of sweat, dencorub, and timber treatment to this day hastens my heart beat.

Today I was between meetings so I had the opportunity to park near the beach for a few minutes. As I opened the car window, my olfactory senses were treated to that wonderful scent of salt air traveling on a warm breeze. That is much nicer smell than that of a dirty nappy, which over the past 8 years I’ve become far to familiar with.

A smell I miss is the cooking of roast beef and yorkshire pudding. That was a staple of my childhood diet but I don’t have the time or inclination to make it myself these days.

Of all our senses, I think smell is the most associative. I don’t think vision, hearing, touch or taste can transport us back in time or recall memories of a person or place the way a smell can. We should probably take more time out to appreciate our noses.

Microblogvember: This morning I wanted to stayin bed. Unfortunately, a want was insufficient reason to do so.

I’ve watched the first episode of The Spy on Netflix. Highly recommend! 📺

Childhood

Day 11 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I miss my childhood. It was such a different era; it’s hard to recognise my childhood as an experience compared with those of my kids.

The memories of my childhood seem like something that should be written off as me looking back through rose-coloured glasses. But I contest that not everything was great and nice, but it really was what retro throwbacks show the 1980s to be.

Some of my key memories across a relatively wide age range include:

  • Leaving the house to ride my bike around the streets without saying where I was going. I didn’t know where I was going - how could I tell others?
  • Staying out until dusk then going home to either my own home, or my friend’s house for dinner. I think I almost split my time 50:50.
  • Riding our BMX bikes through citrus orchards where dirt bike jumps had been constructed, and getting mega air.
  • Playing pick-up basketball all day, and sweating litres.
  • Playing multi-day games of Monopoly. Leaving it set up to pick up the next day.
  • Climbing trees - but never as well as my friend.
  • Spending hours throwing a ball against a wall, then playing a solid cricket stroke when it bounced back to me.
  • Backyard camping for days (maybe even weeks?) on end. We had a big block, so we could pitch the tent in the back yard and be invisible from the house.
  • Playing a season of Under 13’s cricket and being completely isolated by the other boys - and the coach. (Things are much better in this regard now, it seems.)
  • Abseiling, rock climbing and other cool activities at school that probably wouldn’t be allowed anymore.

I’m proud of my childhood. I had enough freedom to be adventurous and I managed to avoid any major dangers. I learnt to know my limits and stay within them. I had a sense of place in my suburb.

If I had a time machine, I would happily go back to the early 1980s and do it all again.

Microblogvember: I used to touch a basketball every single day. It’s now been months since I held one.

Book

Day 10 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I’ve made a concerted effort this year to increase my volume of book reading.

In recent years my reading has been dominated by web pages, articles and RSS feeds. This resulted in a decline in my book reading - something I used to do a lot of.

To track my reading and add some motivation I set a target on Goodreads.. This has worked because I’ve read 23 books against my target of 20 - a target I revised upwards mid-year.

Another thing that has helped has been an Audible subscription. I think it’s fair enough to consider listening to audiobooks as reading. I’m still consuming the story; it actually takes longer than reading the printed version, and it allows me to read in ‘gaps’ of time, notably driving.

I’ve enjoyed my return to reading. Once more I feel like my mind is being stretched and my imagination activated.

Catalina and wifidiagnostics files multiplying like Tribbles

I’ve got problems with my Catalina install. I have wifidiagnostics files multiplying like tribbles in my private/var/tmp/ folder. With each of these files weighing in between 200Mb and 400Mb, my entire SSD is being swamped with these files, to the point of the operating system being crippled for lack of disk space.

I thought a short-term interim solution would be to set up a Hazel watch script to automatically trash these files as they are created. I’ve hit a problem with this as well, because they are system files the user doesn’t have adequate permissions to delete them, so Hazel isn’t able to do it. I haven’t yet figured out how to combine some kind of chmod or chown command within Hazel to get it to change permissions and then delete the files.

In searching for a solution on the web, I’ve only found one other mention of the problem.

I have deleted all my wifi settings and rebuilt them. I have deleted a security profile I had. I have toggled the enable/disable diagnostics by option-clicking the wifi menubar icon to see if that might rewrite a .plist file. Nothing has resolved it to date.

I think this must be an underlying bug in the wifi networking frameworks of Catalina, but that’s above my pay grade.

I hope it’s resolved in a future update. For now, it’s an annoying bug, and another indicator that Apple’s software quality is not where it should be.

Microblogvember: My son is building a Lego craft at the moment that is designed to go into space.

Television

Day 9 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

There is so much high-quality television programming available now. We have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Free to Air, etc. There was a time when it was necessary to find things off the back of a truck. I think those days are almost gone.

This overwhelming choice has led to a strange outcome, in that I’m actually watching less TV than I probably ever have. I feel like the onslaught is overwhelming so I’m just going to close my eyes and block my ears and hum to myself.

The competition now is for attention. As all the streaming services vie for our television attention budget, the television budget is being attacked by gaming, web browsing, reading, exercise and whatever else there is to do in recreation time.

My sacred cow of TV shows over many years has been Survivor. I would always find time for this show. My wife and I would watch it together. Now, we are 2 seasons behind in that. If we can’t keep up with that show, what hope have I got of ever finishing Season 3 of Stranger Things?

Microblogvember: Today’s temperature is forecast to hit 38 degrees Celsius. That is the opposite of cold.

Technology

Day 8 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

This week I’ve had a massive technology upgrade. I’ve moved from a 2013 MacBook Pro (the generation of MacBooks which had great keyboards), to a 2019 27” iMac. I had been deferring this computer upgrade for ages, as I dithered between getting a new MacBook (and which variant?), an iMac or even a mac mini. I was hoping the iMac would gain the T2 security chip and possibly a new display with reduced bezels. I was waiting for Apple to return to manufacturing laptops with scissor mechanisms in their keyboards. By the end of October, none of those had come to pass. All the while I was becoming more frustrated with the slowness of my MacBook Pro.

I bit the bullet and bought the iMac. I’ve had a 27” Apple Cinema Display for years, so I’m used to a big screen. Yet this is the first time I’ve had retina resolution at this size. For my ageing eyes it is incredible. In use the iMac feels much faster with my old machine. I know it’s not near the processing grunt of an iMac Pro - but I don’t do video, podcasting or programming. For my productivity app usage and a bit of photo editing (and less than I used to do) this is plenty powerful enough for me.

A quick run of Geekbench on this Mac, compared with what I found in the Geekbench browser for my old laptop, highlights the difference:

iMac MacBook Pro
Single Core 1053 710
Multi Core 4875 1565

It’s not all speeds and feeds, though. This new iMac feels nicer, supports newer features such as Sidecar, and has cleared clutter on my desk!

Technology upgrade cycle

All technology needs a regular upgrade cycle. Technology ages out and the industry moves forward. Inevitably devices need to be changed out. Obsolescence generally occurs before devices fail.

Over my most recent technology cycle, I’ve been depreciating my devices over a longer period. I’ve accepted not having the latest and greatest and have upgraded only when there has been a compelling reason.

For interest’s sake I maintain a spreadsheet to track how long I’ve owned major technology assets, and compute ‘life of service’ and ‘cost per week’. Two of our TVs, however, pre-date this spreadsheet, so they are definitely ready for replacement!

Some highlights from my spreadsheet include:

Device Service Life Weekly Cost
MacBook Pro 5.8 years $5.71
QNAP NAS 6.4 years $3.12
Cinema Display 8.8 years $2.82
Average1 3.6 years $4.50

It all comes back to budgeting

Letting the equipment age was fine in itself. Now though, we have a backlog of technology all set for replacement at the same time. The problem is I haven’t been reserving cash to replace the depreciated items. I responsibly saved up for the iMac, but other technology has not had a regular savings pattern applied to it.

Writing this post has prompted me to create a new line item for technology upgrades in my YNAB budget. I’ve set a monthly savings goal. This way I’ll be able to build my savings to facilitate a household technology refresh. I will keep ploughing money into this category on a monthly basis so that when the next device needs replacing, I’ll have the money sitting there waiting to be used. That beats going into debt - and don’t even get me started on the scourge of Afterpay! That’s a post for another day.


  1. I’ve excluded the brand-new iMac from this calculation. [return]

Kids cricket is winding down as the sun sets. Yay summer! 🏏

Microblogvember: A pet peeve of mine is when people describe an asterisk as either an asterix or a star.

Watched Episode 1 of For All Mankind and enjoyed it. It brings to mind how fragile the success of the Apollo missions were, despite how much we take it for granted now. 📺

Over the last 24 hours I’ve been running on a brand new 27” iMac 3.1GHz 6-core i5. Compared with my old 2013 MacBook Pro this thing screams. I know it’s not an iMac Pro but this is plenty enough for my needs. Also glad that I swapped out the default Fusion drive for SSD only.

Work

Day 7 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

All in all I have a pretty great job. I’ve been doing it for long enough that I feel I have well and truly mastered the fundamentals.

With my interest in personal productivity I have constructed a range of efficiencies into my process flow to make things easier for me. This enables me to increase my overall productivity, do more with no more effort.

Despite all of this I am still working with people, and they can’t be automated, and the margin for error is greater than that of machines and systems. As a result, sometimes I have days where I turn up for a scheduled meeting only to find out that they are no longer available or that there was a ‘diary mix-up’.

When this happens, I don’t get upset. I see it as an opportunity to either recover some bonus free time, or it unlocks the ability to get ahead on some other piece of work.

I enjoy the responsibility of self-management like this. I think I would struggle having to return to a job that was micro-managed, or doing something that was a small cog in a larger wheel. I like owning the process soup to nuts, and making things work the way I think is best.

Microblogvember: We tend to think that we always have complete agency over our lives. If you stop and think how much is actually left to random chance, it can be a bit frightening.

Adobe Technical Support chat was so slow in linking me with somebody, that I was able to trawl forums and test random solutions. Just when somebody got to me, I had solved the problem. Great work, Adobe. 🤔

Microblogvember: I take my kids to the park and inevitably they find a stick to play with. Trees make the most versatile toys ever known to man. A stick can be a proxy for any number of imaginary things.

Family

Day 6 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I am most comfortable within a nuclear family. I grew up in a family with my Mom and 3 siblings. We had a few extended family members, but most lived in different parts of the country or overseas.

As an adult the nuclear family is again the structure we are living in, except now I’m the Dad. My two sisters live in the same city, while my brother has recently moved to Switzerland. There’s no animosity between any of us, but we simply don’t see each other that much.

My wife has some family on her side, and those are the people we see the most.

In reality, we live our life as a small nuclear family of four. This is generally fine, except for when we would like to have a grown-up night out, or have some respite from children. Without the babysitting potential that comes from an extended family, we have to go to the open market and find a babysitter. That added cost and inconvenience does mean that we don’t get out as much as we might like.

While that’s not ideal, I also know that we are creating a strong and safe environment for our kids. They don’t have any fears of violence, abuse, drunkenness or any of the other things that occur behind closed doors that can lead to the destruction of a loving and peaceful childhood. That is a wonderful gift we are giving them, and I’m sure, as adults, they will appreciate that more than not having enough uncles and aunties to visit.

At the checkout of the IGA grocery store three employees and I each claimed our childhood James Bond. We had Brosnan, Moore and Connery. Plus one, “no idea”. Friendly staff for the win!

Nature

Day 5 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

Right now in Perth we are in the perfect time of the year to enjoy nature. We are moving into nice spring sunshine with temperatures in the mid-twenties. This is a time to enjoy, before the Perth furnace gets cranking for summertime and I can’t step outside without getting burnt. The grass is still green from winter, before it browns off over the summer months.

I visited Queens Gardens in East Perth. Nature was in full bloom. Multiple groups of ducklings were running after their mothers. A group of cygnets were sitting under the shade of a tree. The cygnets were a grey colour, before they grow their unique black feathers; black swans - a feature of Perth’s naturescape.

There is a downside to Perth nature, and that is the flies. A few years I have a recollection of our then State government cutting the amount of funding dedicated to fly management by dung beetles. Over the last few years I am convinced that we have more bush flies than we used to. It’s frustrating, but if I want to take the good of nature I suppose I have to accept the bad.

You do get used to doing the what I know as the Aussie wave.

I’ve bought an annual subscription to Harmonizely as my replacement for WhenWorks, which is shutting down at the end of 2019.

Microblogvember: When I was a kid my friends and I would typically play sport on the street. Cricket and tennis were the two typical games. I don’t see kids doing that anymore.

Food

Day 4 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

Over the past year I’ve been enjoying food a bit too much. Concurrently I’ve stopped playing sport. This has led to an imbalance in the food in/energy out equation.

In turn, I’ve seen the growth of a generous belly for the first time in my life. I’m not particularly pleased about this. My kid calling me ‘fat Dad’, is jesting that cuts a little too close to the bone!

I’ve been trying to do a little more exercise but time is a constant challenge. Plus, if the exercise in question doesn’t involve a ball, I have a hard time maintaining interest. While I’ve done gym work plenty in the past, I’ve never loved it and have a hard time sticking with it.

What I can do instantly is reduce the input side of the equation by changing (and reducing) what I eat. So I’ve put myself on a diet. I’ve turned to the service of Lite n’ Easy to deliver portion controlled, dietician planned meals. The food is okay, albeit somewhat repetitive.

I miss the more flavoursome fattening food but hopefully the changed diet will pay off over the next few months. I reckon I need to lose about 10kg. That will get me back to what I consider my ‘standard’ weight. I don’t need to lose it all in the next month, but I need to lose it over this next year.

Catalina has filled my drive with hundreds of wifi diagnostic files for no apparent reason. Cool.

Microblogvember: If you want to be arithmetically precise, don’t say average; instead say mean.

Failing

Day 3 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

It seems that part of the human condition is to view failure as an end in and of itself. I think it’s better to consider it part of the process towards success.

A life well-lived encompasses a procession of trade-offs. We necessarily fail to do all the things we might want. We can’t be good at everything. We don’t have time to do everything. Are we failing because we don’t manage to do it all? Are we failing because we’re not multi-tasking our way to success?

That kind of thinking is probably a path to depression.

“Failure is not an option.” — A phrase credited to Gene Kranz and Apollo 13, but never said in reality - probably because he knew failure is part of the equation.

Failing is a trade-off. Failing is inevitable. It’s not possible to achieve the highest goals without accepting failure along the way. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up over our failures, because they are necessary to build success.

Time is limited. A failure to do something can represent a successful engagement with something else. I think I’m making the case for a Mr. Holland’s Opus approach to life, failure and success. Our greatest success might be hiding behind what was first thought a massive failure.

Microblogvember: I haven’t been invited to a fancy dress party in years… which is good, because I don’t really like them.

Microblogvember: When does a mark become a blemish? Is it simply in the eyes of the beholder?

Trying

Day 2 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I’m not a handyman. Never have been. When I was young, I would be roped into helping my stepdad do work around the house or on the car. I dutifully participated despite the boredom. I couldn’t find joy in repairs and construction.

As an adult my disinterest in physical work consolidated. Handyman tasks were a burden, made harder by the knowledge that my efforts would not match what could be achieved by paying a professional. I would rather throw money at the problem than attempt a DIY.

Now I’m a Dad and my son has to build a wooden Kub Kar as part of his Scouts program. At the briefing session I saw the thrill and excitement of other kids… and other Dads. Meanwhile, I felt dread. Here it was: a construction/woodworking project that I would have to motivate my kid to get involved in. While simultaneously trying to motivate myself.

This has to become a car.

In my boy I can see the same mindset I had as a child. He’s not showing any desire to work with tools to build an impressive car. I imagine those other kids with their Dads, working away in the shed to build something great. Meanwhile, we’re just trying to build something that will roll.

I’m trying to be a good Dad. I’m trying to show interest. I hope my son will try to get engaged in the project.

Without skill, effort is all we have.

Back to the Blog – Dan Cohen

In this older article, Dan outlines the benefits of blogging, but also the challenge of getting people to see beyond big social media.

It is psychological gravity, not technical inertia, however, that is the greater force against the open web. Human beings are social animals and centralized social media like Twitter and Facebook provide a powerful sense of ambient humanity—the feeling that “others are here”—that is often missing when one writes on one’s own site.

People still love the likes.

Recollection

Day 1 of Blogvember. A full list of prompts for the month is available.

I must rely on vague and fading recollections to remember anything of my life that happened more than a decade ago. Any key events forward from around 2003, I start to have digital records to draw upon as a memory trigger. For instance, I can say with absolute knowledge that on 17 June 2006, I was playing with our new puppy, Indi. I recall this evening, but only by accessing the metadata of the photos can I know when it actually happened. Earlier this year, Indi died. So much time has passed.

Indi and I

With digital records now pervasive, recollection can be supported by hard data. No more complete reliance on a fuzzy memory.

I remember as a child playing at a friend’s house; I remember it seeming absolutely enormous. We spent the day running through the garden, up and down the stairs inside and around the giant lounge room. I can visualise it clearly. But I can’t say what year it was, where it was, or why I was there. My recollection of the scene is strong, but the situation is unknown. I don’t have the option of reviewing a geotag to be able to revisit the location as an adult. It’s a memory and nothing more.

My kids will experience a different world. All their life events have been captured, whether through photos, video, audio or journal entries written by their Dad. All those pieces of data have metadata. If they have a recollection in the future, it is likely they will be able to enter the date into their device of the time and bring up the evidence of the memory in glorious detail.

I wonder, though, if this will make their recollections richer, or whether the reality of the evidence at hand will diminish the richness of their mind’s eye?

Trick or treat. (But preferably treat, thanks very much.)

I’m on the verge of splurging for a new 27” iMac. I’ve been saving for ages but am still nervous. An expensive purchase. But the 2013 MacBook Pro is showing its age.

I spend so much time farting around with various information capture and management apps, when really, DEVONthink can essentially do it all.

Blogvember Prompt List

I’ve mentioned previously an idea to make November my own Blogvember.

From that idea, @galexa asked if I would have a list of prompts. I hadn’t even considered that, but he makes a fair point. If I’m using Inktober as my guide, it has prompts, so why not offer them for Blogvember as well?

So, I’ve put together the following list of prompts. Some will be easy, some might be personal, and some could prove controversial. Doesn’t that sounds like a combination of the content you might want to find on a blog?

The Blogvember Prompt List

  1. Recollection
  2. Trying
  3. Failing
  4. Food
  5. Nature
  6. Family
  7. Work
  8. Technology
  9. Television
  10. Book
  11. Childhood
  12. Smells
  13. Beverage
  14. Recycling
  15. Renovation
  16. Animal
  17. Party
  18. Game
  19. Love
  20. Fight
  21. Unrequited
  22. Sport
  23. Toast
  24. Infrastructure
  25. Money
  26. Shoes
  27. Loss
  28. Hope
  29. Religion
  30. Politics

My iPhone has been acting really weird the last couple of days. Losing network, apps failing to load, hanging apps and loss of screen responsiveness. I’ve taken the nuclear option: Erase and Reset. I blame iOS 13.

I saw a lady wearing a taped-up cardboard box on her head. In the library. Using a computer. Life is interesting.

In the blogging world, this month is Inktober. I am thinking I might challenge myself to make November, Blogvember. August as Blogust would sound better, but I don’t wait to wait another 9 months.

My mind keeps circling back to Dave Winer’s blog. I like how he maintains a pithy flow of commentary through the day. I like that he blogs using an Outliner. No wonder it’s the oldest blog in the world.

WhenWorks, the calendar scheduling service that has been brilliant for me and my clients over the past two years, is closing down. It seems Harmonizely is the next best option as it supports CalDAV and Fastmail.

My kid is getting in to Pokemon. This has led to my wife and I watching YouTube videos explaining how to play Pokemon: Trading Card Game. Life takes interesting turns.

I’ve been entirely swamped with work. 🙇🏼‍♂️

scheduleOctober 9, 2019

I bought some NFC stickers to use with HomeKit devices. Now I need tot honk of some clever applications.

scheduleOctober 8, 2019

Fastmail does Snooze

Not all emails arrive when you’re ready. Hit snooze in Fastmail to bring it back at a better time for you.

With iOS 13’s Mail being terrible and Fastmail introducing snoozing, I’m using their native client as my primary mail interface.

scheduleOctober 7, 2019

Over the last couple of days I’ve gone geocaching with the kids and by myself. It’s fun; it makes me feel like I’m on Survivor hunting down the hidden immunity idol!

scheduleOctober 3, 2019

I’ve re-engaged with Curio for some work projects, and I like it so much. It’s incredibly versatile software.

scheduleOctober 2, 2019

I’m not an artist, but I’ve had a crack at the Inktober day one challenge: ring.

I’m enjoying the native swipe keyboard in iOS 13. I also like the mini keyboard available for iPadOS.

I’ve not had Dropbox installed for months, and haven’t missed it at all. In an earlier time it was indispensable.

Is WeWork A Fraud? | Zero Hedge

A lot of people could have done what Adam Nuemann & Miguel McKelvey did, they don’t because they’re not prepared to engage in a fraud.

Putting money into WeWork would be a bad investment.

Card of Darkness on Apple Arcade is fun and the drawing and animation is delightful. 🕹

It seems the stock calendar app in iOS 13 might finally be good enough for me.

Grindstone on Apple Arcade is fun. These games are killing my battery, though. 🕹

I’m walking through Bulding 402 at Curtin Uni for the first time in about 25 years. Where’s the window from where I used to pick up my print jobs?

With iOS 13.1 out I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve also started an Apple Arcade trial, with the micro game reviews from @manton as my guide.

I made a “Piggy’s got the conch” reference in a meeting today and nobody got it. What is the world becoming?

After months of enjoyment I’ve now completed Zelda Breath of the Wild. What an amazing game. Possibly the best game I’ve ever played. 🕹

I’ve been experimenting with pCloud for online storage. It seems fine. Yet between iCloud and Resilio Sync to my NAS, maybe storage is a solved problem?

This TED talk does a great job of breaking down why neoliberalism is wrong, and what is needed to build a new theory of economics that benefits all.

I bought Untitled Goose Game for Switch today. I knew it was published by Panic, but didn’t know it was Australian made. Good to have supported the local industry. 🕹

I’m showing tremendous restraint by avoiding iOS 13.0 and waiting for 13.1. It’s like I’m a different person!

I’m home again after my three-day work sojourn to Canberra which took 9 hours of flight time. Australia is big. ✈️

My Apple Watch Series 1 battery has suddenly become incapable of holding a day’s worth of charge. It’s like it knows the Series 5 has been released. ⌚️

Is The Far Side making a comeback? I was obsessed with these comics as a young teen growing up in the early nineties. Our science teacher would stick a new comic up in his classroom every day. Reading it each morning was the highlight of the day.

First time at the beach for this season. First sunburn too. 🥵 It’s no fun being a complete whitey. 🏄🏼‍♂️ 🏖

The Australia v Spain 🏀 game was epic. Double overtime. Aussies with one day less rest combined with some interesting refereeing did them in. So no gold or silver medal on this journey, but they can still make history by winning a bronze.

I forgot there was an Apple event today. That’s a new experience for me. Now having caught up, I wouldn’t mind upgrading from my Series 1 Watch. Arcade and TV+ are well-priced. iPhone 11? Meh.

I’m going crazy adding emoji as the first character in my calendar events. Send help!‼️

Heading into wildflower season. The canola fields were a vibrant yellow but didn’t get a photo of those.

The boy and I took a weekend road trip to Hyden, Western Australia to see Wave Rock.

The USA v Turkey 🏀 was bonkers. Turkey missed their opportunities and the US can breathe a sign of relief. Previously, the Brazil v Greece game was almost as good. My Boomers won ugly, with thanks to Joe Ingles.

A fun night at EPW wrestling my 8 year old son. Compared with a year ago, he gets into it so much more now! He even started a chant. But he still feels sad for the wrestlers who lose. 🥰

scheduleAugust 31, 2019

The corrupting of democracy - The Economist

Politics used to behave like a pendulum. When the right made mistakes the left won its turn, before power swung back rightward again. Now it looks more like a helter-skelter. Cynicism drags democracy down.

Will democracy self-correct?

scheduleAugust 30, 2019

Just one day until the basketball 🏀 World Cup commences. I’m excited! Two weeks of my favourite sport. I want the Aussies to do well, but I’ll happily watch any two nations play at any time.

scheduleAugust 29, 2019

Basecamp now offers a free plan, but it’s restricted to 3 projects. I’m excited, but how to ration my projects? And since it’s team-focused, how do I get anybody else (likely my wife!) excited about this?

scheduleAugust 27, 2019

Tokyo’s Famous Capsule Tower May Not Be Doomed - CityLab

In the densely packed Tokyo neighborhood of Shinbashi, one building stands out from all the others: the 13-story Nakagin Capsule Tower, completed in 1972. Its two stacks of small metal capsules, each with a signature round window, look more like a collection of washing machines than an apartment complex.

I can see that time has passed on this concept but I love that it was an idea brought to fruition.

scheduleAugust 25, 2019

My current home screen. I don’t love it, but it’s serving the purpose.

scheduleAugust 23, 2019

The more I see of fintech product offerings, the more convinced I am the gap they are exploiting is a lack of basic financial education together with an unwillingness to forego immediate consumer gratification. That’s not technological advantage, it’s social manipulation.

scheduleAugust 22, 2019

Fun game of 🏀 between Australia and USA tonight. Good sportsmanship all around. But where has Joe Ingles’ jump shot gone?

scheduleAugust 22, 2019

Inhaling the beautiful aroma of this giant lemon-scented eucalyptus before it is cut down in the name of “development”.

scheduleAugust 16, 2019

Work just provided me with an iPhone XR. Which means I’m on the Animoji bandwagon now. Watch out!

scheduleAugust 11, 2019

There’s a sense of spring in the air. Birds are chirping and we have a blue sky and a gentle breeze.

scheduleAugust 10, 2019

My wife’s iPhone XR was lost/stolen. Somehow Find My iPhone was disabled. How was this done with FaceID and passcode required for access? Carrier has blocked IMEI so it’s essentially a brick at this point, as best I can tell.

scheduleAugust 7, 2019

The Boys on Prime Video is worth watching. Funny, gruesome and thought-provoking all in one.

scheduleAugust 5, 2019

My thanks to the flu which has enabled me to sleep night and day for the past three days. 😷

scheduleJuly 31, 2019

I’ve just bought and installed Better on macOS and iOS. I’ve used 1BlockerX until now, but I’m interested to see if this other app is, indeed, Better.

scheduleJuly 30, 2019

I’m nearing the end of my MailMate trial, and I think it’s going to be a case of “take my money”. It’s really good.

scheduleJuly 28, 2019

I’m experimenting with disabling Fastmail spam filtering, and instead using SpamSieve on my Mac.

scheduleJuly 25, 2019

There are a few things I don’t like about MailMate but there are many things I do. I imagine I will end up buying a license at the end of my trial period.

scheduleJuly 24, 2019

Day One has embedded itself into my life. I’ve been writing in it since November 2011 and have over 1,500 entries. That must be the longest contiguous piece of work I’ve created.

scheduleJuly 23, 2019

Into the Personal-Website-Verse · Matthias Ott:

Whenever you stumble upon an interesting thought on another site, write about it and link to it.

I stumbled across this article, and I liked it. It outlines why the IndieWeb should really just be the web.

As a result of finding this article on this website, I’ve subscribed to its RSS feed, so I’ll automatically get future content delivered to me. This is what makes the open web so great.

scheduleJuly 20, 2019

My iPad has been hit by that weird bug where Spotlight search slows to a crawl. After attempting random voodoo solutions, I’ve now gone for the nuclear erase and restore option.

scheduleJuly 16, 2019

I’m experimenting with the iOS app, Secure Shellfish, for SSH/SFTP. It works great, but I don’t really have a need for it.

scheduleJuly 15, 2019

I have upgraded my micro.blog account from monthly to annual payments. A no brainer deal!

scheduleJuly 11, 2019

I’ve bought Calendar Paste for iOS to see if it will help with time blocking. First downside - no iCloud sync, which feels like table stakes these days.

scheduleJuly 10, 2019

I bought Working Copy for iOS tonight. I only use git for Blot publishing but the app is so good it deserves all the support it can get.

scheduleJuly 9, 2019

I watched the first two episodes of Black Mirror season 5 tonight. I enjoyed them both. They seem more focused on people and relationships than some of the earlier episodes that get highly involved in ‘future tech’.

scheduleJuly 7, 2019

The Economist: The global crisis in conservatism

At its best conservatism can be a steadying influence. It is reasonable and wise; it values competence; it is not in a hurry. Those days are over. Today’s right is on fire and it is dangerous.

I’m not a conservative but I understand why some are. The Economist explains the damage the rise of the far right is inflicting on conservative politics and, by extension, effective democracy.

scheduleJuly 2, 2019

Not a bad place to stop for a coffee meeting. Good weather for mid-winter, too.

scheduleJune 29, 2019

This is the first time I have ever put a sticker on one of my devices. @burk

James Shelley on Busyness

scheduleJune 28, 2019

I have both written about and noted upon the false value of busyness within our societal norms.

One of my favourite independent writers, James Shelley has published an interesting take on the same topic. He cites many references, including one of my favourites, Thorstein Veblen, he of the famous Veblen Goods economic paradox.

James puts a focus on busyness as status symbol:

we need to appear busy because we all know that valuable people are busy people. When we tell others that we are working all the time we are ‘implicitly suggesting that we are sought after, which enhances our perceived status.’

So claiming to ‘be busy’ is virtue signalling our perceived value to the world. It has little to do with the actual work, but the importance of the person to whom the work is attached.

In my articles, I determined that busyness is not a badge of honour, but should be seen as a cry for help. James arrives at a similar conclusion. He explains that busyness should be perceived as one being overcommitted, unclear or unable to prioritise and eliminate.

The alternative to being busy is having clear priorities about what constitutes the highest value, triaged within strict parameters, and then defiantly walking away from everything else that falls below the threshold.

This is not something to be celebrated, so let’s not. We need to find a new definition of personal value. James has a good idea for this, but I’m not going to spoil the surprise. Go read his article and find out what he suggests!

scheduleJune 27, 2019

Big thanks to Jason @burk for sending micro.blog shwag all the way to Australia.

scheduleJune 27, 2019

Thanks to David’s help at @blot I now have a cool tags view of my posts on that site.

scheduleJune 25, 2019

Micro.blog successfully imported my Instagram archive. This site is fast becoming my life stream. I’m owning my content.

Atlassian declares 'The M&A process is broken'

scheduleJune 21, 2019

Atlassian is an interesting company that possibly doesn’t get the kudos it might deserve. As an Australian, I have admiration for seeing one of ours hit it big internationally. Atlassian and Canva are probably the only two Australian companies that immediately spring to mind as having won big in the international IT space.

I’m impressed that Atlassian continue to walk the walk in regard to their world-view and values. This is evident in their now public approach to mergers and acquisitions. They are trying to reduce the angst and power imbalance and increase the fairness and focus on outcomes.

From their blog post announcing the release of a new public term sheet to support merger and acquisition deals:

one thing has become very clear to us about the M&A process – it’s outdated, inefficient, and unnecessarily combative, with too much time and energy spent negotiating deal terms and not enough on what matters most: building great products together and delivering more customer value.

There is plenty of ego in the IT world. The ‘bro’ culture permeates, and it promotes ego and ‘winning’, rather than value creation and shared successes.

In an effort to reduce this unnecessary friction and increase trust, we’re doing something that, to our knowledge, no company has done before: we’ve crafted a new M&A term sheet and we’re making it public.

So much time is wasted through replicated effort. The software world is built on the reuse of frameworks. Not having to re-invent the wheel each time a new project begins is how great advancements are realised. What Atlassian are doing here is providing a fundamental public framework for mergers and acquisitions. Spend less time, money and effort doing things that have been done before and instead focus on getting the deal done and realising the value that prompted the M&A in the first place.

The reality is that because of the leverage that many buyers exert over sellers, certain “market” terms have evolved to buyers’ advantage, even though, based on the data, it’s simply not necessary.

Another example where pure laissez-faire markets are wonderful in theory and damaging in reality. Market power is a thing that is readily exerted. This creates a culture of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ where the real focus should be on having the reason for coming together create a win for all. This doesn’t need to be a zero-sum game.

I hope this new approach to M&As catches on, and less money is spent on wasteful lawyer fees and negotiation and everybody can end up with a better outcome at the end of the process. The market will be better off, customers will benefit, and the stakeholders to the deal will both be better off with less of the angst, stress and ill-feeling that can arise at the end of a protracted M&A process.

scheduleJune 20, 2019

Thanks for your kind words, micro.bloggers. On a day when our dear pet left us, it’s nice to have positive responses. So different - and so much better - than the snark I might expect on other networks. I love this place.

scheduleJune 20, 2019

Today we said goodbye to our gorgeous Airedale Terrier, Indi. Loyal friend for 14 years. She will be missed.

scheduleJune 19, 2019

I’ve decided that I’m not going to renew my Lightroom subscription when it comes due. I’ve just gone through and brought all the photos that were on the Adobe Cloud back to my local NAS. I just don’t do enough photography anymore to justify the expense.

scheduleJune 18, 2019

Well, this is a good reason to completely leave Google. It’s not sending me 2FA codes to my devices, and my attempt at recovery failed. So, I guess no more access to my Google account?

Slaughterhouse-Five

scheduleJune 18, 2019

Slaughterhouse-FiveSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this because it seems one of those books that should be read before one dies. So it goes. The worldview (universe view?) of the Tralfamadorian’s resonated with the reading I have done recently on stoicism. Perhaps that was always as it was meant to be?

I am glad to have read this book. but will have to contemplate more on what it means for me, who is currently living in an existence in a different era.

View all my reviews

scheduleJune 18, 2019

Yes! I got my Hugo/Netlify site up and running. I’ll go run my victory lap now.

scheduleJune 16, 2019

I succumbed and bought iA Writer for macOS.

scheduleJune 16, 2019

Hey micro.blog friends, you’re a coercive bunch! I think I’m going to have to run with iA Writer! Is there a way to get x-callback URLs to render as tapable links though?

scheduleJune 16, 2019

I’m getting the hang of using git from the terminal now.

scheduleJune 15, 2019

I’m really in the mood for shaking up my apps. Now I’m looking at Mailmate for email. It’s an app I’ve known about for years, but now I’m genuinely interested.

42: The Meaning of Life

scheduleJune 15, 2019

“The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.”

– Douglas Adams

In that case, I’m looking forward to true enlightenment because today is my 42nd birthday.

I was fortunate to be born in Australia. We didn’t have much growing up. Raised by a mother whose husband returned to the USA without his wife and four children, we benefited from the generosity of the country’s social safety net to keep our heads just above water.

Life went on, I enjoyed my education and saw it as a pathway to something bigger. The nation helped me once again with its low-cost loan system to support students in the costs of attending university. Without the ability to defer these subsidised university fees until I was employed, I would not have gained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Law.

At 22 I met my wife, Hannah, through a random chance encounter during a night out. We hit it off and things grew from there. As it turned out, my wife is the daughter of the man who at the time was Leader of the Federal Opposition party, and who had served with distinction as a Minister in the famous Hawke government.

The fact that I, a boy who grew up with not much, should be thrust into this very different world, is a measure of the egalitarian potential of our nation. It has led to a whole range of circumstances that seem unimaginable from my perspective of a boy from a low-income family.

In 2005 we married. Since then we have owned and operated a small business and had two wonderful children. Over the years we have had had medical emergencies and fun and sadness. We exist most happily when we have a project to focus upon.

I played basketball until I was 40, at which point my knees and hips said, “enough”, and I was forced to give up my favourite sport.

I’ve always been interested in computing and technology. This interest persists even as I’m no longer the young whipper-snapper.

My hair is greying, my wrinkles are deepening, my belly is expanding. I am a family man who values his wife and children over and above his job, a career, or professional reputation.

I see the potential in Hannah to participate in the body politic of our nation. The country that held me close, lifted me up, and gave me the chance to build resilience in my youth and explore my potential in adulthood.

So here I sit in the foyer of middle age, full of interest for the future.

This is my 42.

scheduleJune 14, 2019

Some time ago I purchased a license for Resilio Sync. I use it only occasionally but it also could make a fine replacement for Dropbox.

scheduleJune 14, 2019

I ain’t got no time for this new bloated Dropbox garbage. I don’t use Dropbox for that much already - might be time to let it go. The one thing I will need to figure out though is how to publish to @blot with Github.

scheduleJune 14, 2019

I feel emotionally drained after watching Bob Hawke’s memorial service. What a magnificent Prime Minister he was for our nation. I’m honoured to at least say that I met him a number of times.

scheduleJune 13, 2019

I’ve borrowed a book from the public library, this copy of which has not been borrowed by anybody before me. It feels wonderfully decadent to have access to a brand new book for free. 📚

scheduleJune 12, 2019

I’m trialling DevonThink 3 beta, and the side bar workflow is weird. I know what they were trying to do in terms of making it more like Mail, but the new structure has made me much less efficient.

scheduleJune 12, 2019

Getting SSL encryption on micro.blog was a heck of lot easier than with my previous hosting provider. I’m feeling pretty good about this transition.

scheduleJune 10, 2019

I’ve just signed up for a paid micro.blog account and this is my first post to it. I think this could be the way out of my Wordpress quagmire.

scheduleJune 10, 2019

DNS reconfiguration tasks are the purgatory of the Internet.

scheduleJune 10, 2019

@brentsimmons NetNewsWire is great, thanks for bringing it back to life. I understand why Feedly is next on the sync list, but can I request Inoreader support after that?

scheduleJune 10, 2019

I’m proud of myself - I just debugged somebody else’s Javascript code, and I’m not even a programmer. Now it works as intended.

scheduleJune 9, 2019

@jamesshelley I am checking in with you as I have enjoyed your writing in the past. Your website now seems in some bit of disrepair. I hope you are still out there and doing well.

Uber’s Path of Destruction - American Affairs Journal

scheduleJune 8, 2019

Uber’s Path of Destruction - American Affairs Journal:

Since it began operations in 2010, Uber has grown to the point where it now collects over $45 billion in gross passenger revenue, and it has seized a major share of the urban car service market. But the widespread belief that it is a highly innovative and successful company has no basis in economic reality.

An examination of Uber’s economics suggests that it has no hope of ever earning sustainable urban car service profits in competitive markets. Its costs are simply much higher than the market is willing to pay, as its nine years of massive losses indicate.

Enjoy the Uber ride while it lasts because at this rate the service won’t be around in the future. Ultimately, the tune will stop playing on this game of musical chairs.

scheduleJune 7, 2019

I think I might try ditching Fantastical in favour of the stock calendar app on iOS. I’m fed up with Fantastical not supporting travel time, and by using Drafts I should still be able to add events using natural language.

scheduleJune 7, 2019

I’m having to upgrade to the 2Tb iCloud tier for our family. My wife takes too many photos!

scheduleJune 7, 2019

Ctrl-Cmd-G has to be about the best feature in the new version 3 of DEVONthink. It’s the equivalent of Cmd-O in OmniFocus.

scheduleJune 6, 2019

I was just able to successfully extract over 2000 articles from Instapaper into DevonThink using an AppleScript. Now I can search and leverage my reading history. I’m going to cease using Instapaper now, and consolidate around DevonThink.

Microsoft says mandatory password changing is “ancient and obsolete”

scheduleJune 6, 2019

Via Ars Technica:

Microsoft said it was removing periodic password changes from the security baseline settings it recommends for customers and auditors. After decades of Microsoft recommending passwords be changed regularly, Microsoft employee Aaron Margosis said the requirement is an “ancient and obsolete mitigation of very low value.”

I use 1Password to reduce my own security risk by allowing it to automatically generate random passwords as required, but I’m not most people.

It’s good to see one of the industry giants admitting to the risks posed by security theatre and changing its best-practice recommendations for password management.

scheduleJune 5, 2019

I have ploughed hours of time into Zelda and I still feel that I’m only just scratching the surface.

Getting Back in the Swing

scheduleJune 4, 2019

It’s not particularly easy getting into the swing of work after an extended absence. Today is my first day with my legs back under the desk after enjoying an extended break.

This is a time of reacquainting myself with things. Picking up projects and tasks that have laid idle for some time, waiting for my return. Checking in on others and hoping that progress has been made in my absence.

This first day back has not been productive in the sense that tangible and visible work has not been completed. Nevertheless, it’s given me a chance to refamiliarise myself with the job. I’ve got some fresh perspectives on how I want to do the work, so I’ve been able to think on how those might be incorporated.

Of course, I’ve also had that lovely job of reading through hundreds of emails that have built up. Fortunately, with the help of Sanebox, my inbox had been automatically sorted into groups ranging from ‘totally useless’, through ‘probably not useful’ ending in ‘aged, but still probably worth reading’. This made me email triage job quick and easy. At the same time, I was able to unsubscribe from some mail that was clearly junk.

So, today is the day where my engine has been started, and left to idle gently while it warms up. Over the next couple of days, I would expect I might be able to get out of the driveway. We shall see.

scheduleJune 2, 2019

Beautiful weather for my first time at Perth’s new stadium. This place is magnificent.

scheduleMay 26, 2019

I’ve spent the last few days in Albany, in the southwest of Western Australia. I haven’t been here for years. I had a memory of loving it, and I can confirm I do love it.

scheduleMay 22, 2019

I’m enjoying having MarsEdit available on Setapp.

Keyboard Maestro Field Guide

scheduleMay 22, 2019

Keyboard Maestro Field Guide | MacSparky Field Guides:

With Keyboard Maestro, you can automate just about anything. In addition to teaching you all of the mechanics of Keyboard Maestro, this course includes a number of walkthroughs of automation workflows you can use, download, or alter to automate your own Mac.

Keyboard Maestro is one of the Mac apps, alongside other automation tools Hazel and Textexpander, that ensure I get 40 hours of work done each week with about 30 hours of effort.

MarsEdit on Setapp

scheduleMay 20, 2019

I have previously written about trialling MarsEdit but ultimately the app didn’t stick.

Now MarsEdit has been made available as part of my Setapp subscription, so I’m able to give it another go, this time as a paying customer. This post is being written and published using MarsEdit.

It will be interesting to see if the software establishes itself as a consistent part of my blogging workflow. The big challenge is that there are so many great writing apps on macOS (and iOS), so competition is intense.

scheduleMay 1, 2019

Zelda Breath of the Wild is addictive!

scheduleApril 26, 2019

I met some new people today who were just brilliant folk. Hit it off with them immediately. It’s not often that you get to make ‘new friends’ through random chance.

scheduleApril 21, 2019

My Easter bunny related news: I finished Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. What a great game.

scheduleApril 15, 2019

My Apple Store visit was a huge success today. My capable Genius confirmed my iPad discolouration patch, and replaced the iPad with a new one on the spot. Best part about that is I get a new battery!

scheduleApril 12, 2019

Adobe Rush for iOS is good. Some bugs in places, but it’s helping me to edit together video successfully.

scheduleApril 11, 2019

My iPad Pro has developed a ‘lighter’ splotch on the screen, just a bit above the home button. I keep thinking it’s a smudge, but it’s definitely the screen. Now I can’t unsee it. Must be upgrade time. 😅

scheduleApril 10, 2019

RSS reader update: Reeder is too ancient, its panels don’t look nice on a portrait iPad and it has slow sync. Unread is pretty but there is so much swiping and long-tapping needed to do anything. I might be slinking back to Fiery Feeds.

scheduleApril 9, 2019

After using Fiery Feeds for some time, I’m doing an audit and testing other RSS apps again. Fiery Feeds seemed to be using a lot of battery. So far, Unread is winning.

scheduleApril 8, 2019

That was fun, spending $672 on car maintenance, with news of more expenses to come soon.

scheduleApril 6, 2019

It was great to be out in the bush with our old girl Indi.

scheduleApril 3, 2019

Further investigations into my missing wedding ring are leading to the unfortunate conclusion that my 3-year old boy flushed it down the toilet. He will be hearing about this when he’s older.

scheduleApril 3, 2019

I seem to have lost my wedding ring. Oh no.

scheduleMarch 28, 2019

@martinfeld Your latest rumination on travel as work resonated with me. Not that I do it, but that I also think it’s a trap. Wage growth is already anaemic, why provide additional labour at no charge?

scheduleMarch 28, 2019

As of today I’ve been off Twitter for one year. My life is better for it!

scheduleMarch 25, 2019

I shaved off the beard I had been growing for months and now have regrets.

scheduleMarch 25, 2019

On iOS, iA Writer may look better, Ulysses may seem better, but 1Writer actually is better!

scheduleMarch 25, 2019

Somebody needs to tell the tightly-wound petrol station guy that if I reverse into the spot, I am not entering the station from the wrong direction. I’m just a good driver.

scheduleMarch 25, 2019

This is a post purely to test whether my Inoreader rule matching is working. If it is, certain others will receive this post by email.

scheduleMarch 25, 2019

You are not supposed to get locked out of your own car with a keyless entry fob…

scheduleMarch 22, 2019

Thanks to @joshsullivan for reminding me about CloudMounter on Setapp I had given up on OneDrive for sync because of its poor performance on Mac, but this might be a good solution!

scheduleMarch 21, 2019

Carrot on the pulse with Apple’s strategy.

CARROT Weather's forecast for today 😝

scheduleMarch 20, 2019

I hit a roadblock with my v7 of Keyboard Maestro. I needed a feature from v8 so pulled the trigger on an upgrade. I live just a couple of minutes away from the developer in Australia but still had to pay in US $! That’s the global economy for you!

scheduleMarch 19, 2019

Today is our 14th wedding anniversary! Time flies! 💏💍🎊

scheduleMarch 19, 2019

I love annual leave. Second day in a row at the beach with no guilt.

scheduleMarch 18, 2019

I spent the morning at the beach with only myself for company. It was glorious. Floating in flat water, looking up at an azure sky.

scheduleMarch 16, 2019

I continue to watch and hope that Voodoopad will rise from the dead. Development seems glacial and communication to users is not great on their forum, though.

scheduleMarch 15, 2019

I previously bought Postbox v3 and have been offered a discount to upgrade. They’re now on version 6 and offering a ‘lifetime license’ upgrade. Any users of Postbox out there? Any recent feedback on the software?

scheduleMarch 14, 2019

It seems I might be drifting back to Ulysses for my writing, despite its Markdown foibles. The ability to publish to Wordpress and have an External folder linked to Blot, with great cross-platform syncing, is very nice.

scheduleMarch 14, 2019

@twelvety Is there a way I can get your email address? I would like to reach out to you about something.

‘I’m Busy’ Isn’t a Badge of Honour

scheduleMarch 14, 2019

It’s common within Australian business culture for people, when asked the question of ‘How are you going?’, to respond with something along the lines of, ‘I’m really busy’, or ‘flat out’.

This might be a reflexive response to avoid having to provide a more substantive answer, or it may be bluster to hide the fact they are anything but busy. Mostly, I think the response is given in the belief that “busy-ness” implies importance, worth and value. I think this is misguided.

When I hear somebody say they are busy, I tend to interpret it as:

  • I don’t know how to delegate, so I’m doing everything myself.
  • I’m disorganised and can’t structure my days.
  • I’ve failed to prioritise and eliminate extraneous activity.
  • I’ve actually got nothing to do, but I don’t want anybody to find out.

Being busy is not a badge of honour. It’s a cry for help. Either you’ve got too much going on, or not nearly enough. Either way, there’s going to be a lack of focus on the projects and activities that really matter, and deliver true value.

Customers don’t pay for busy-ness; they pay for value provided. A customer doesn’t care how much work went into something; they care if it solves their problem.

If you find yourself busy all the time, don’t accept it, and don’t feel good about it. Identify how to eliminate, automate or simplify the tasks that are eating away your days. Gain back some time that can be put to better use, such as long-term planning, blue-sky thinking, or relaxing by the pool.

People are not machines. Our lives should be balanced. Sacrificing some busy time for a chance to pursue enjoyment, self-development, or diversification is a trade worth making. If you’re not busy, these alternative activities will fill your time in productive ways and build knowledge and capability over time. If you’re too busy, rebalancing and jettisoning the things that don’t add value will help you to concentrate on the things that matter.

scheduleMarch 14, 2019

I put my name down to volunteer at the school canteen this morning. I’m breaking down the gender norms - I was the only guy on the list.

scheduleMarch 13, 2019

When reconstructing a soup your wife has previously made, don’t get the ratios wrong. Using too much broth, thereby not leaving enough for future servings, will get you in trouble.

scheduleMarch 11, 2019

The more I use Notebooks app, the more impressed I am. It destroyed Agenda in my head-to-head test. It’s much nicer on iOS than DEVONthink is. Very impressive software.

scheduleMarch 8, 2019

My holiday plan sounds like a Tinder profile: long walks on the beach, exercise, reading…

scheduleMarch 7, 2019

“Tim Apple”. Carrot is up with the latest Trump news!

CARROT Weather's forecast 🤣

scheduleMarch 6, 2019

Dice Roll: The Phantom Gambler

And just like that, the man won over $1.5 million. He calmly filled the empty suitcase with his winnings, exited Binion’s into the desert afternoon, and drove off. It was the largest amount ever bet on a dice roll in America.
scheduleMarch 5, 2019

That moment when you show up to the event you are hosting… only to realise it’s on tomorrow.

scheduleMarch 4, 2019

One last visit to Wikitown, then off to bed. It’s past midnight!

scheduleMarch 3, 2019

I’ve been typing away on the keyboard form my 2013 MacBook Pro tonight. I love this keyboard. No failing keys to be found on this workhorse.

scheduleMarch 2, 2019

Many years ago I was right into photography. I shot RAW, edited carefully, and posted to Flickr as a Pro member. Now I’m trying to decide if I should get a Pro subscription to Flickr once more, and try to rediscover that past hobby.

If you wanted to keep generalised daily work notes, would you choose OmniOutliner, Day One, or something else entirely? #askmicroblog

Our Studio Neat Mark One pens arrived today. The knock mechanism is rougher than I hoped but the ink flow is superb and it feels nice in the hand.

Spending Annual Leave Wisely

I’ve got some annual leave time from work coming up. I’m not going away on a holiday. It’s going to be time spent at home supporting the family.

Despite there being a lack of travel and adventure tied to this leave, I still need to make sure I construct a plan for the time. I don’t want to get to the end of it and be confronted with a return to work, only to realise I’ve wasted my leave not doing much besides noodling around on the computer for no meaningful outcome.

A recent post from David Sparks about Intentionality aligns well with this thinking. I also like his idea of using a birthday as a personal annual review day. That’s clever. With my birthday being smack-bang in the middle of the year, it also can work as a half-year review.

I hit the basketball court today, after about 6 months of not even touching a ball. I actually had good shooting touch, but man, my back is sore! 🏀

Digging into Notebooks app and discovering that it might be an excellent replacement for read it later services like Instapaper and Pocket. Being able to create a task list based on document counts is really interesting.

This has been a great evening of futzing around with my computer and, of course, updating my wiki.

What’s the best method to simulate “grab a scrap of paper and start writing” (such as jotting a number on a phone call, etc.) using a Mac? I have a million apps, and none seem right for this. DEVONthink has a jotter with kb shortcut, but the interface doesn’t feel right. Ideas?

A winning situation: the family down the street have a kid the same age as ours. The kids now go to the same school and are becoming friends. The Dad visits today, and we have a conversation about Star Wars v Star Trek. My kind of neighbours!

I’m in a quandry about the beard I have grown. I’m getting slightly annoyed by it, but it represents months of investment that I will probably never undertake again, should I shave it off.

It was an interesting thing to be doing some research, and then think, “Hmm, I’m sure @twelvety has written on that. Let me check his wiki.” And bang, there it is.

Working from my second public library in one day. I love community resources.

A pathetic zero content post because I can’t think of anything to say but want to keep my streak alive. 🤔

Roald Dahl's Work Environment

Roald Dahl’s books brought me hours of enjoyment when I was a child. There was little that could top the excitement of reading one of his books that would, of course, be illustrated by Quentin Blake. He created a world into which I could immerse myself, no matter how fantastical the setting might be.

Now, via Jason Kottke, I’ve had an opportunity to see, in the video embedded below, the environment in which Dahl worked, and to him him speak of the mindset needed to create such amazing works of fiction.

There are concepts arising in this video that have started to again be considered relevant in today’s modern world as being helpful in improving productivity and performance.

Highlights from this short clip include:

  • The need to immerse himself, for around 4 to 5 hours per day, in the work, and be away from other things. This reflects perfectly the concept of 'deep work' as recently brought into public consciousness by Cal Newport. It takes time, focus and the avoidance of distraction to reach a zone of high productivity. This place is rare in the modern workplace. Making time for extended periods of focus can represent a huge competitive advantage over the competition.
  • The simplicity of the tools. No computers, typewriters, productivity methods. Just paper, pencil, a basic desk and a thermos of tea. The tools don't make the work. They are, however, customised to his needs.
  • The necessity for play. Play is again considered relevant and useful in improving productivity and well-being. Dahl spends time with friends playing snooker on a regular — and scheduled — basis. I have no doubt it released stresses from his mind and left him fresh to focus on writing when it was time to do so.
  • The smoking. Okay, so that was an unknown negative at the time. We're doing better on that count.

When you go to the wrestling, it’s important to embrace the experience.

I bought Castro, but I think I’m going to be heading back to Overcast.

I’m about two-thirds through the audiobook of Educated by Tara Westover. It is such an amazing, but heart-wrenching story. Incredible to think it is a memoir from our modern era.

Writing on a wiki seems easier than publishing a blog post. I feel a latent pressure for a blog post to be of a certain quality and style. A wiki is just continuous editing and improvement.

I keep checking my friends’ Wikis to look for the latest updates. I think I’m addicted.

After enjoying Vegemite for 40 years, the new ownership group have destroyed it by changing the texture. Today I bought the ripoff OzEmite and it’s more like Vegemite than Vegemite. Sad times for an Australian.

@twelvety You bought Tinderbox? Man, you are in deep. I look forward to hearing more about it. That is one app I’ve never quite understood.

This season of Star Trek: Discovery is already better than the last.

I’ve spent a little time delving into a bit of economic theory today. It’s been so long since I’ve involved myself in that, it’s hard to believe that I hold a Bachelors degree in Economics. The achievement of that qualification was a long time ago.

I am grateful for micro.blog. It’s hard to find people that share with me a similar Venn Diagram of interests, but through micro.blog I’ve surfaced a number of them. Thanks to @manton and @macgenie.

I love this quote from @twelvety about the benefits of using a wiki:

[…]it’s like swirling hot chocolate around in a mug: By keeping everything visible and mixed in and active, the good stuff doesn’t settle to the bottom where it can’t be enjoyed.

It appears that Fastmail have fixed my problem with Google Calendar invitations. It would be nice if they would reply to/close my support ticket. 🤷‍♂️

I had the opportunity to visit Perth Observatory last night and look at stars, nebulae, the moon and other celestial bodies. I was taken by this control panel for a telescope that used to take images with glass plates.

I had no idea about this aspect of Nepalese culture:

She became a goddess at three years old, but when puberty hit, it was back to an anonymous life in the suburbs.

via ABC News

Loving the work of @fhlostonparadiseduo with @hannahbeazley4swan at @the_belmont_tavern

To all those who told me to just suck it up and buy iA Writer on the Mac, I think you are right. I’ve used the demo for a couple of hours and it has made me forget about MultiMarkdown Composer.

2009 v 2019: Italy v Staycation. #10yearchallenge #2009vs2019

My Fastmail Account is not receiving calendar invitations sent to my custom domain from Google or iCloud. Office 365 invitations work. So far, I’ve been unimpressed with their support, which has gone downhill since my last experience. Am I going to have to change providers? 😫

Ask Micro.blog: Does anybody know of text editors that support the Dokuwiki syntax? I’ve found Textastic and nothing else - not even BBEdit or Atom.

@twelvety Regarding your Plex server on Raspberry Pi, does yours connect to a NAS for the media? I’ve got a 3B+, but all my media is on an old QNAP NAS. I can’t figure out how to connect the Pi to the media drive over the network, so I have to keep Plex running on my MacBook.

scheduleJanuary 9, 2019

It has been interesting to experiment with a constructing a personal wiki but I am sure that as a single user I am better served putting this information into DEVONthink. It is less fiddly and better able to bubble-up related information - but I can’t share the information. 🤔

scheduleJanuary 9, 2019

After earlier discussion here on micro.blog I can report that I have paid for and switched to Castro for podcasts. I like its queue, but I don’t think its EQ is quite as good and I miss iPad support and multi-device sync. It looks great and operates well though.

scheduleJanuary 8, 2019

Listening to @jack talk on the Micro Monday podcast about avoiding snow to date, while I sit by the resort pool. 😝

scheduleJanuary 6, 2019

I got a couple of levels into Mario & Rabbids on the switch, before my son decided he needed to play.

scheduleJanuary 3, 2019

Summer sunshine. Out with @hannahbeazley4swan. Thanks for the hat, @yasmin_ivie

scheduleJanuary 2, 2019

A quick test to ensure that in-line micro.blog names are working, thanks to @smokey.

scheduleJanuary 2, 2019

I’m on a bit of a spirit quest to find my ideal Markdown editor on Mac. I’ve tried BBEdit, Typora, Multimarkdown Composer and Atom with plugins. What do others use?

scheduleJanuary 1, 2019

I had a WordPress plugin or some other customisation that parsed micro.blog usernames. It now appears not to be working, but I can’t remember what it was in order to fix it!

scheduleJanuary 1, 2019

My thanks to @amit for helping me get @blot webmentions sorted.

I just overheard my 7 year old boy explaining how a payday loan company that is advertising on TV is a bad thing. He said they give you money but then you have to give them thousands more back later. Parenting win!

The boy received a Nintendo Switch for Christmas. Dad approves of Super Mario Odyssey.

Boxing Day in Western Australia and it’s overcast and not hot. What an outrage. I want my money back.

I’ve been an Overcast user since it launched, but feeling a little bored by it. Wondering if Castro might be worth a try. Do people have thoughts?

I miss playing basketball 🏀. I was good at it and now I’m just old and decrepit.

I’m getting itchy to restructure my web properties. Trying to sort out how best to use my website, Wordpress blog, Blot blog and Micro.blog in a way that makes sense and plays to each of their strengths.

In Customer Service, Genuine Interactions Matter

Our family recently travelled to Bali for a holiday break. It was a week of relaxation at the tail end of a year that has been pretty crazy, and a 2019 that we expect will be even more hectic.

When you travel with kids, conversations can move in varied and interesting directions. Our 7-year old boy took a particular interest in the toilets that were installed throughout the hotel we were staying. The brand — TOTO — is one seen all over the world, but less so in Australia. He was enthralled by the features: from automatic flushing with infrared sensors, to in-built bidets. Even the design of the loos was novel to him. He was fascinated. Next he realised that TOTO had also been responsible for the all of the tapware as well. Incredible!

As a responsible Dad, I kept the toilet banter going, egging him on to explain to me further what he loved about them. I tried to add some interesting educational angles as well. I suggested that as a Japanese company, TOTO probably took great care in their manufacturing processes. I explained how Japan was the cradle of modern manufacturing methods, and how the Toyota Production System changed the world. I’m not sure he bought into my lesson on lean thinking, though. I will have to try again in the future.

Over the length of our stay, our conversations escalated to the point where I suggested we contact TOTO directly to let them know what great work they were doing with their toilet design. He took to that idea! So we did it. My son wrote an email to TOTO Customer Service, noting how impressed he was with their toilets, and expressing his desire to have them installed in our house as well.

I figured that would be the end of it. I didn’t expect to hear back, or if we did, I assumed it would be a boilerplate response. After a few days, we did in fact receive a reply, and it was a wonderful, personal email from TOTO’s Senior Manager of Customer Service. In the email, she expressed gratitude for my son’s kind words, and also offered to send him some tokens of appreciation if we could provide our mailing details.

We replied, and for fun, included a photo of David and I enjoying ourselves in Bali.

A few more conversational emails bounced back and forth between TOTO and ourselves, and they asked if we could send a photo of David with his items once they arrived.

Within the next few week, we received an express mailed package from TOTO in Atlanta, to us in Perth, Australia. Just this concept alone was enough to blow my son’s mind. As promised, we sent another photo back with David holding onto the gifts he had been sent, and this was acknowledged by TOTO with thanks.

I see two key lessons in all of this:

  1. Always embrace crazy conversations with your kids. They’re fun, and you never know where they might end up. Genuine customer service — not selling — is the key to building great brand equity. I might never buy a TOTO toilet. My son might never buy a TOTO toilet. But I think both of us will be TOTO brand ambassadors from this point forward. Not because we were sent some trinkets, but because we had a genuine human interaction. We connected with a person who was obviously engaged enough in their own job to engage positively with us. If that employee is happy, then the company must have something going for it, and that’s the kind of company I want to see succeed.
  2. From a business perspective, customer service shouldn’t be about hitting sales targets or avoiding bad press. It should be about working to have people care about your brand.

So thanks TOTO, for bringing fun and joy to me and my son’s lives, and for making sure this particular Bali holiday will have a very strange and unique anchor memory.

With the help of Be Focused I cranked out the Pomodoro sessions today. Achieved everything I wanted to, and more. It’s satisfying to end the day with a high productivity quotient.

I’m experimenting to see if I can eliminate my use of Bear, moving its notes into DEVONthink Pro. This would save me a subscription charge and lessen the “within which app did I save that information?” problem.

I would love for one of my micro.blog followers to take advantage of my Backblaze coupon. You get a month free. I’ve been a happy customer for a couple of years now.

Trevor Noah is one funny man. His “Son of Patricia” show on Netflix is great.

I’ve done my bit for quality journalism: I bought an annual subscription to Crikey plus their bonus offering at the moment: 3-month subscriptions to The Monthly and The Saturday Paper.

Work has generously provided me with a Linkedin Learning (formerly Lynda) account. So now, on what should I educate myself?

I had the opportunity to tour Google’s Sydney HQ today. An interesting environment, but not one I’d enjoy working in day in, day out.

I ran the thought experiment as to which new Apple computer I would buy to replace my 2013 MacBook Pro. End result: wait for the next release of the iMac which will feature a T2 chip amongst its upgrades, and use my current iPad Pro as my laptop.

Using my iPhone 8+ with a Microsoft foldable keyboard at a coffee shop, writing in Ulysses, is an extremely pleasant way of working.

My first Raspberry Pi project has been successful. I’ve got Pi-Hole running as a network-level ad blocker benefiting every device on my network while also having my Google WiFi pucks apply their ‘adult site’ blocking.

One of the joys of having a good ol’ southern boy with us - he makes a mean sweet tea!

It’s Raspberry Pi night. Mine arrived today. Soon as the kids are in bed, I get to have a play.

I took the boy jet skiing today. I thought we would be driven around, right up until the driver got off and told me how to start it. 15 minutes later I’m a jet ski pro! Got to love Bali.

This Bali holiday is just what I needed. Relaxation, swimming, massage, sleep. All things I’ve been short on in my real life.

Yesterday we met a lovely family who also had two boys of similar ages to ours. The four kids played for hours. They were nice enough to take a photo so all four us could be in it.

Travelling in Indonesia so I’ve got the TunnelBear VPN cranking. It’s a solid product.

I’ve just got my Indieweb on and got OwnYourGram set up, so Instagram posts now get cross-posted to my website.

This is a post being made through Quill, after signing in via an Indieweb authorisation.

I have successfully guided myself into 2 weeks of holiday time with nothing appearing in my OmniFocus forecast for the entire period of my break. Planning victory!

scheduleOctober 8, 2018

Ask Micro.blog: Is there an effective way to find sites running on blot.im infrastructure?

scheduleOctober 1, 2018

In macOS Mojave I’ve built a macro using Keyboard Maestro to automatically switch between Light and Dark modes for day and night, respectively, since Apple failed to incorporate that obvious feature themselves.

Matt Langford - Shortcut for micro.blog link posts

here is a shortcut that will help in sharing link posts to micro.blog

Running this Shortcut script as a test.

I’m looking forward to the NBL v NBA games coming up this week. Such a shame my Perth Wildcats will be without their starting centre, Angus Brandt. We needed that unit, who has a build like Aaron Baynes. 🏀

I love operating system update day. Beforehand, I’m all like, “I’ll wait a few days to avoid any zero-day risks”. Then on release morning I rush around in a giddy haze updating all the things.

My iPhone 8 Plus Product(Red) is still nice and new to me. I have no desire or need to upgrade to an iPhone X variant. My wife, on the other hand, who is still rocking the iPhone 6S might be interested!

I’m addicted to Hearthstone. Are there any players in the micro.blog community?

I played a few levels of Starcraft tonight. Been about 20 years since my last game and I still remembered it perfectly. Took me back to the days of LAN parties.

scheduleAugust 29, 2018

I have to give credit to @manton and @macgenie - I think micro.blog is the nicest, most value-additive internet community I’ve ever been a part of. They have established a great culture.

scheduleAugust 29, 2018

I’ve hardly used Lightroom this year, but after trialling the photo apps in Setapp, I think I’m going to stick with it Creative Cloud for another year.

scheduleAugust 28, 2018

I can’t get a good Dropbox workflow for writing in iA Writer. I keep going back to Byword because of its simple integration with Dropbox. The iA Writer approach of using the Files interface is just too clunky.

scheduleAugust 24, 2018

_Mission Impossible: Fallout _ is a great movie. So much fun.

scheduleAugust 24, 2018

Mission Impossible: Fallout was awesome. Now enjoying a post movie 🍺

scheduleAugust 23, 2018

The other day I signed up for Audible. 25 years ago while delivering pizza for a job, books on cassette tape were my sanity. Now I’m going to rebalance my listening: reduce podcasts and increase books.

scheduleAugust 23, 2018

I’m having some fun on Mastodon. Interacting with people I would never have come across on any other social network.

scheduleAugust 23, 2018

This dude has brought a thermos, an old laptop and a giant external clacky keyboard to the library. He is ready to rock and roll.

scheduleAugust 22, 2018

I’ve just set up an account on a Mastodon instance. It feels much more like Twitter than micro.blog. That’s not a knock on micro.blog which I see more as being a social RSS reader.

Personal Finance Should be Part of Core Education

scheduleAugust 20, 2018

I believe personal finance should be a core subject taught to our children at school. We should teach how to manage and budget money, the concepts of savings and compound interest, and the risks of credit and deferred payment. Finance and money management education should be threaded through each year of schooling. I think it would offer more practical value - and a better return on investment - than some of the traditional subjects taught.

An opinion piece in The Age by Liora Miller, “Is PayPass the enemy of the young?” reflects on some of the risks of tap and go payments, especially for young people.

Australian Tax Office research this year reveals that only one in five Australians still prefer using cash for purchases.

Last week I bought lunch from a sandwich shop. I paid with cash. The look of surprise on the server’s face was clear; to the point where we both made a joke about the rarity of somebody paying with ‘real money’ as opposed to PayPass tap and go. In Australia, tap and go is essentially the default.

Cash use in Australia has fallen by a third in a period of six years.

That’s about how long tap and go transactions have been available, and I would think the next third of cash usage will decline more rapidly than another six years.

When I use tap and go, I take the extra step of entering the transaction into YNAB on my phone. YNAB’s direct bank import features don’t work with Australian banks but I consider that a feature because entering each transaction keeps me connected to my money and my budget. I recognise, however, that I’m an outlier. Most people are not taking a similar extra step - it’s spend and forget.

A cashless society in the near future appears to be an inevitability. We need to focus on ensuring young people understand the implications of deferred payment.

This is the key point of the article, but unfortunately, Miller fails to suggest how this might happen. This brings us back to my initial premise: that we as a society need to get serious about financial literacy.

I am Treasurer and Director of Midlas, a not-for-profit organisation that offers financial counselling as one of its key community support services. The government provides funding support to enable Midlas to offer this service. Yet demand is outpacing supply, and this is a common refrain across all the providers of financial counselling.

As great as it is that government provides financial support to assist organisations such as Midlas help people in financial stress, the policy settings are wrong. Just like medicine, where spending on prevention is cheaper and more effective than spending on a cure, spending on financial education would be more effective and deliver greater good than spending on help after the damage is done. Avoiding financial stress would lessen the prevalence of issues that often stem from financial stress, such as illness and poor mental health, relationship damage, homelessness, and drug and alcohol abuse. Not only would this benefit the individual but it would help broader society who share the negative impact of these societal problems.

Through us, the government needs to get serious about teaching our kids about personal finance and money management. The growth of tap and go is a lead indicator of a problem that may come to bite us in years to come. We should act before personal indebtedness becomes a national plague.

scheduleAugust 17, 2018

Much gnashing of teeth about Twitter knobbling 3rd party apps. While I think Twitter is nuts to do that, I don’t care since I quit the service months ago and don’t miss it a jot.

scheduleAugust 17, 2018

I had to stop the car to let these guys cross the road today.

scheduleAugust 17, 2018

I went to bed earlier and had a solid night’s sleep. My mother will be pleased to hear this. 🤣

Value Curve of Service Delivery

scheduleAugust 14, 2018

It was recently reported and brought to my attention that Elon Musk had issued a memo to the staff of Tesla. I’m no Musk acolyte, but within his commentary there can be found some good stuff. Within this particular memo Musk highlighted a number of productivity boosting tips. One tip jumped out at me because it is aligned with how I explain to my customers the way I aim to deliver the Business Evaluation service of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme. This is fundamental to how I work to be respectful of their time commitment.

Elon Musk was reported as writing:

Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get rid of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.

The aim of my engagement with my customers is not to prove myself, or the worth of the service, by hanging around for hours and hours on end. If something can be achieved in two hours rather than four, then it’s bad business to take the four hours. If the work needs four hours, then I will commit that time. I won’t commit six.

What I say to my customers is that I want to stay with them for as long as I am delivering genuine value that is over and above the time, effort and person-hours they are committing to the process. Once I see the value they are receiving is tapering off, then I will wrap things up. The last thing I want to do is overstay my welcome, using up their time when they could be doing something else that could contribute more to their business success.

Just as Musk implored his staff to keep meetings short, so I remind and encourage myself to only use as much time is necessary – and no more.

scheduleAugust 14, 2018

@danielpunkass Does Black Ink support crosswords from the Washington Post? I can’t figure out a valid subscription URL.

scheduleAugust 14, 2018

I know Ulysses is the markdown darling but the way it handles markdown links is a pain in the butt. I just want a simple inline view that is compatible with Terpstra’s SearchLink service. I’ve had to fall back to Byword to make it work.

scheduleAugust 13, 2018

@jack Quick question if I may: how do you get YouTube video embeds to work on Blot.im? I see you’ve done it - I must be missing something obvious…

scheduleAugust 13, 2018

I’ve just had a cortisone injection into my hip. After suffering a labral tear and having pain for a few months I really hope this will help. After the doctor finished the injection he told me “it was one of the more difficult ones”. He was also using an iPad for MRI - amazing!

scheduleAugust 11, 2018

I’m not a gamer by any means but I just got hooked playing Marvel Strike Force on iOS for far too long.

scheduleAugust 9, 2018

After listening to the latest episode of The Omni Show, I’m now researching every tiki bar in Perth. I’ve only ever been to one and that was about 9 years ago.

Calendar Management for Productivity & Sanity

scheduleAugust 6, 2018

I lean heavily on my diary to plan ahead, guide me through my days, and establish a rhythm to my life. The type of work I do has a tendency to drift towards haphazard if not controlled, so a calendar helps me establish and maintain order.

The problem I’ve faced in more recent times is having an overabundance of calendars I need to refer to before being able to commit to something. In simpler times, if I had a gap between 9am and 5pm, it was available to be taken up by a meeting. With the added complexity of kids and a wife who has an even more complex and random schedule than my own, things have reached a point where I need to check about 5 different calendars before I could confirm if I actually had availability for a meeting, irrespective of whether there was a gap in my calendar.

This year I made a personal pact to get better at managing this uncertainty. I’ve considered how I could build a system that works better for me and my family, while maintaining flexibility for my clients. Many of the methods I’ve adopted are not new ideas; in fact, some are a blast to the past when people used paper day-runners and had a personal assistant (secretary?) who would prepare things on their behalf. Alas, I have neither of those, so I have leveraged my skills in process design and automation.

Following is an outline of my diary management workflow as it has developed to date. It remains a work in progress and I expect it will continue to change.

Structure

I started by establishing clear and non-negotiable days for which I was available for visiting and meeting with clients. I refer to these as “External” days. The remaining days were locked in as days to spent at the office - my “Internal” days. These days are consistent every week, to help with that rhythm.

When visiting clients a lot of time is lost in transit. By collating these visits into a fewer number of days, I reduce my transit downtime, and have the opportunity to fill those days more effectively.

My “Internal” days facilitate getting into a flow state more often because they aren’t broken up by meetings and appointments. Again, a more productive outcome.

For calendaring, I rely on BusyCal on the Mac and Fantastical on iOS.

Technology - WhenWorks

My next area of improvement was in the way I was booking the meetings with clients on my “External” days. I had been spending too much time and effort bouncing emails back and forth, doing the ‘availability exchange’ - trying to find a time that works for me and them. I needed to find a better way that was efficient but respected the impact of items on my other calendars.

I started with a trial of Calendly. This cloud-based service provides a method for people to book a meeting time that is subject to the parameters I set. Calendly was good, but had its drawbacks. I use FastMail for email/calendars/contacts and it uses standards-compliant IMAP/CalDAV/CardDAV protocols. Unfortunately, Calendly wants to only work well with Office 365/GSuite/iCloud. My employer provides me with an Office 365 account so I could still make use of the service, but it meant that I had to remember to replicate my Fastmail calendars to Office 365. It worked, but it never felt simple and seamless.

Enter, WhenWorks. After trialling this for just a couple of weeks, I have purchased an annual subscription. WhenWorks is fundamentally an iOS app that is supported by a cloud-based booking platform. By running on my device it improves on Calendly because it can access all my calendars, irrespective of what platform they reside upon. WhenWorks can take into consideration the impact of every single calendar when making times available for others to book.

WhenWorks is simply brilliant. It looks great and offers a full range of options without being overwhelming. Most importantly, my clients have used it without any problems whatsoever.

Automation - TextExpander

For the first half of this year I have been using saved email templates in Cloze to correspond with clients and ask them to select a meeting time using my Calendly service.

Now with my change to WhenWorks, I’m moving away from Cloze and back to using TextExpander to send email using Mail.app instead. With TextExpander I can make a few choices upon snippet execution that lets me customise a boilerplate email. This way the email the client receives is quickly and efficiently tailored to the type of meeting we will have, and will prompt them to schedule a meeting using the appropriate WhenWorks meeting template relevant to that meeting type.

Credit to David Sparks for providing some of the tools that helped me get this up and running quickly and easily.

Routine & Preparation - OmniFocus & Daily Papers

The last step is incredibly low-tech, but has made a profound difference to my state of mind at the beginning of each day. It is not a new approach. It is common sense. It is simple. But it requires discipline.

I have set a daily repeating task in OmniFocus that commences at 4pm and is due at 5pm, prompting me to prepare for my next day’s meetings. That’s it; a simple prompt.

This prompt, however, ensures I remember to gather the various documents, information and whatever else I need to have ready to be successful for the events of the next day. Sometimes this process takes 2 minutes, sometimes the full hour.

Since doing this, I’ve found I don’t have stress the next morning, suddenly realising that I’ve got a meeting first thing that I have not prepared for. It creates a calm state of mind for the evening, knowing that I’m ready for the next day. It enables my mind to cogitate on what I have coming up, such that when events unfold I find myself better prepared and ready to roll than I otherwise would have been.

Final Thoughts

Each of these elements is fairly straightforward in and of themselves. Bringing them all together, though, has improved my flow, and has largely resolved the problem of double-booking and calendar mixups.

Of course this stuff is never done, and it will change with workload and circumstance. For now, however, I feel like it has gotten me closer to the concept of ‘mind like water’ than I was previously.

scheduleAugust 4, 2018

Just found this archived screenshot from my Google Reader account before it shut down.

Searching for Hobbies

scheduleAugust 3, 2018
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

It’s very easy to spend time focusing on work. It has a tangible reward - income! It provides an emotional response - we might love it or hate it (or even just feel meh about it). And, for many, it defines who we are.1

I’ve been taking stock, and have realised that I need to add some more variety to my days. I do my work, I look after my kids, and despite us sometimes being ships passing in the night, I share time with my wife. What has gone missing though, is a third interest. What else can I do? How else can I bring some interest, variety and further meaning to my life?

I don’t want to be passing time here on our earth, responsibly moving projects and tasks forward without having some fun and spontaneity along the way.

It’s clear what my answer must be - I need to find some hobbies!

Ideally, these hobbies will stretch me out of my comfort zone. While I have always been enjoyed technology and basketball, I should move outside these domains to see if I can find something else that is fun and different.

I’ve drafted a list of ideas, with ideas ranging from board games to cooking. I plan on experimenting across a range of areas to see if anything grabs me. And because you can’t manage what you don’t measure, I will try to keep a journal in Day One to track any major hobby events and record my thoughts and impressions of things I try.

I hope I find a new and interesting activity to engage with, but even if I don’t, it will be an interesting life experiment.


  1. This concept of work defining who we are is particularly weird. The work we produce is a product, not a state of being. By defining ourselves by our work we are limiting our potential. The work we do should be a combined result of our skills, traits and personality. The work is achieved because of who we are; it is not who we are. Have I just buried the lede in this footnote? 
scheduleAugust 3, 2018

A great quote from a post about web bloat:

You know how building wider roads doesn’t improve commute times, as it simply encourages people to drive more? It’s that, but with bytes and bandwidth instead of cars and lanes.

The Bullshit Web

scheduleAugust 2, 2018

I’ve bought an annual subscription for WhenWorks. Already today my meeting scheduling has been so much easier. They just need to support UTC dates on their website.

scheduleAugust 2, 2018

@smokey I just added your script to my functions.php file. Let’s see if this message reaches you…

scheduleAugust 2, 2018

@manton Do micro.blog hosted blogs offer ‘pages’ as well, that aren’t specifically a blog? It seems like your page has them - is that standard?

scheduleJuly 31, 2018

My next adventure in workflow optimisation: I’ve installed SaneBox. I don’t get copious email so not sure I need it, but that’s what trials are for, right?

scheduleJuly 31, 2018

After hearing from my micro.blog friends, I’ve decided to go ahead and upgrade to the TextExpander subscription service.

scheduleJuly 30, 2018

Back on board with TextExpander. I’m still running the non-subscription version, and I see no compelling reason to “upgrade”.

scheduleJuly 24, 2018

✈️ time. From Perth to Canberra. From mild to freezing cold. Here we go!

scheduleJuly 23, 2018

I have a hip labral injury. Physio and strength conditioning underway; and I’m back at the standing desk.

scheduleJuly 17, 2018

I’ve been trialing WhenWorks for scheduling meetings and have been quite impressed. I think I prefer it over Calendly. Now I just need to convince my employer to pay for my subscription.

scheduleJuly 17, 2018

I’m falling into the trap of spending more time figuring out how best to automate OmniFocus - using Workflow, Drafts, Taskpaper, scripting, etc - than I am spending actually doing the work specified by the OmniFocus tasks.

scheduleJuly 15, 2018

I’m impressed with my wife’s ability to make this “zombie” birthday cake for our boy’s 7th. It was a hit with all the kids.

scheduleJuly 13, 2018

I just got my first Internet connected LIFX lightbulbs. I’m addicted. 💡

scheduleJuly 12, 2018

I had my first CarPlay experience today, driving a hire car. I definitely want it in the next car I own. Although Apple Maps in regional areas 👎🏻. Good that Google Maps will be supported in the next version!

scheduleJuly 11, 2018

The Burrup Peninsula is really quite beautiful.

scheduleJuly 5, 2018

I’ve been digging into DevonThink tonight. There’s so much that piece of software can do, it’s easy to forget how it can be used. It’s been a nice solid session of nerding out.

scheduleJuly 4, 2018

It’s an interesting combination of art and science, thinking about how to layout a new iPad home screen. I’m still not leveraging the iOS 11 dock and multitasking abilities as well as I would like to.

scheduleJuly 2, 2018

I just watched the most insane 🏀 brawl. Australian Boomers @ Philippines. Had been getting chippy, then a hard foul suddenly escalated to the Philippines bench clearing and smashing Aussies all over the place. Disgusting display. Can’t believe they’ll be hosting the World Cup.

In Flow

scheduleJune 29, 2018

Some days the work just flows. Tasks feels easy, decisions are made, words transfer from the brain to the keyboard with nary a pause; and engaging with people makes you realise the world is full of interesting characters.

These days of flow are generally few and far between. We structure our days such that we have no breathing room. Alternatively, we don’t structure anything and drift through without a clear and achievable goal in mind. If we can happen to find the Goldilocks Zone between those two extremes, and establish a mindset that is engaged yet relaxed, well, I think that’s where the magic happens.

Most days, of course, the work doesn’t flow. Things are a grind and stuff fails to work out as intended.

So the days where flow occurs; embrace it, because there’s no guarantee it will be back tomorrow. Get the most out of this rare and elusive asset!

scheduleJune 28, 2018

I just received some quality support from Fastmail. Makes me happy to be a paying customer.

scheduleJune 22, 2018

Earaches all throughout the house. Isn’t the combination of winter and kid germs fun?

scheduleJune 19, 2018

Drink time. Sure it’s weird and green, but she seems happy!

scheduleJune 18, 2018

When your birthday dinner finishes with cups of tea all round, you know you’re getting old.

scheduleJune 17, 2018

Last night we were out for dinner and ended up at the casino playing roulette. For the heck of it my wife and friend put chips on the date of my birth - 15. That spin, it turned up 15! 100 to 1 odds! We should have placed more chips on the turn!

scheduleJune 16, 2018

For my birthday my wife upgraded me from my work-issued iPhone SE to an iPhone 8 Plus Product (Red). What an upgrade; finally I’m using iPhone apps as they are intended. And my hands which can palm a basketball are much happier with the bigger keyboard.

scheduleJune 15, 2018

Happy birthday me. I made it through another year. 41 years young.

scheduleJune 11, 2018

I’d typed a huge note into Agenda for iOS, when the app crashed and lost everything. I’m likely heading back to Bear sooner than anticipated with that kind of performance.

scheduleJune 11, 2018

It was fun to put the kids to bed tonight with a couple of “telling stories”. Of course, they were the main characters in the stories and accomplished a number of heroic deeds, besting both Rory the Dinosaur and an Evil King!

scheduleJune 10, 2018

It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole following guidance documents on the Australian Tax Office website. What starts as a simple administrative tax task leads to high-level introspection and doubt about one’s correctness.

scheduleJune 10, 2018

My next software experiment is Agenda. Might it find a place somewhere between DevonThink, Bear, OmniFocus and BusyCal - or will it wither on the vine?

scheduleJune 9, 2018

My kid is best friends with my best friend’s kid. That makes for good times!

scheduleJune 9, 2018

Had a great basketball fitness session today. Really got the blood pumping!

scheduleJune 8, 2018

That mode where you are doing every other bit of work except for that one thing you really should be doing.

scheduleJune 7, 2018

Trying out the app uBar which was just added to Setapp. I’m conflicted as it seems useful, but makes my Mac feel a bit too much like Windows for my liking.

scheduleJune 5, 2018

Has Overcast been Sherlocked? Apple’s Podcasts app continues to demonstrate integration benefits, but until they enhance their app and can compete with Smart Speed and other niceties, I’ll just have to live without the benefit of those deep platform hooks.

scheduleJune 2, 2018

I played basketball today. I couldn’t makes midrange shot to save myself, but I was about 45% from 3 metres beyond the three-point line. Go figure.

scheduleMay 31, 2018

Driving through Bassendean where we owned our first home and being reminded how pretty this area is. Our kids, who never knew this area, would probably love living here.

scheduleMay 22, 2018

My 6 year old is into Roblox. Should I be concerned?

scheduleMay 17, 2018

I’m loving Cobra Kai. Hannah is not convinced.

scheduleMay 16, 2018

I just suggested to the owner of this Mercedes who parked on Hackett Drive that it might be an idea to pull forward and allow room for another whole car.

scheduleMay 13, 2018

I notice that VoodooPad has recently been updated. This was such a great app many years ago, and then was left to wither on the vine when Plausible Labs owned it.

scheduleMay 9, 2018

Airports. Where alternative economies exist.

scheduleMay 9, 2018

I’m off to Brisbane today. There’s nothing quite like a 5-hour cross-continent flight in economy class to make you question your life choices.

scheduleMay 8, 2018

Our front room is really starting to transition into a great adult space. Tonight I discovered we had a decanter, which is perfect for scotch. A glass of scotch with chill music playing on HomePod makes for a nice environment as we head into the winter months.

The Challenge of Social Engagement on the Indie Web

scheduleMay 7, 2018

An Independent Web that is More Social than ‘Social Media’

James Shelley:

"When Riley posts something on Facebook, there is almost always feedback. Riley’s friends often click an innocuous-looking ‘like’ button that serves as a low-cost, high-value social signal that reinforces Riley’s use of the platform. By contrast, Riley has no guarantee that sharing their thoughts on a personal blog would reach much of an audience at all."

This quote encapsulates the problem that the Indie-web movement has yet to fully resolve. While micro.blog is a great step in the right direction, it still doesn’t provide that immediacy of connection - and that endorphin hit of a ‘like’ or a ‘retweet’ that social media is able to provide.

I encourage you to read the rest of the article; it is well-written and effectively articulates the challenge.

scheduleMay 5, 2018

Exercise fail. I pulled a hamstring.

scheduleMay 3, 2018

The fortnightly YNAB is done. Dollars have been given their jobs.

scheduleMay 1, 2018

Not something you get to experience every day - your Poppy being sworn in as Governor of Western Australia. Although David was more interested in watching the soldiers prepare to march than look at the camera!

scheduleApril 30, 2018

Now being the proud owner of a HomePod, I’ve been giving the native Podcasts app another try. Its UI/UX is a mess and I miss Smart Speed and gradual speed controls from Overcast, but it’s nice to have a native, synced experience across all Apple hardware.

scheduleApril 28, 2018

The HomePod has received a bad rap based on Siri/smart home stuff. But if you want a voice controlled speaker that sounds great, it’s hard to criticise. I’m not into smart home stuff, and I’m stoked with the HomePod. Although I wish I could use Overcast for podcasts natively.

scheduleApril 28, 2018

The boys made some new friends at the park this evening, and did not want to come home!

scheduleApril 27, 2018

Okay, so I succumbed and bought an Apple HomePod. So far, I’m loving it. Sound is awesome and Siri has been fine for what I need. Its ability to hear me say “Hey Siri” from anywhere and over whatever it is playing is crazy.

scheduleApril 27, 2018

I’ve never received mail from Ukraine 🇺🇦 before! Happy birthday Setapp!

scheduleApril 26, 2018

He had to call his broker. More bad news about AMP led to an arbitrage opportunity.

scheduleApril 25, 2018

Legacy Bear enjoying a day out with his owner.

scheduleApril 25, 2018

I didn’t make it to an ANZAC Day dawn service, but I just heard an Air Force fly-by from home. Lest we forget.

scheduleApril 24, 2018

I finished reading Thinking, Fast and Slow. It’s clearly the benchmark book about behavioural economics and is more interesting than the Keynesian textbooks that formed the basis of my economics degree. The only downside was the final section, which dragged just a bit. 📚

scheduleApril 23, 2018

Still thinking about Wild Wild Country. I’d love to know what happened to some of the people who were on the ranch. Did they become Grandparents? Did they go back to living ordinary lives?

scheduleApril 22, 2018

Wow, Wild Wild Country is a tour de force of documentary production. I remember Bhagwan and Sheela from TV reports as a kid, but this told the larger story in such a compelling way.

scheduleApril 22, 2018

I hate that feeling of knowing there was something you wanted to say to somebody, but can’t for the life of you remember what it was. So it just nags at the back of the mind, teasing you.

scheduleApril 19, 2018

Had an awesome day in the city with Mr. 6 year old. We followed our noses all day, which led to a series of great experiences. With no pressure to meet an agenda it seemed we were more open to accept experiences from the world, and the world delivered.

scheduleApril 19, 2018

In Apple Store Perth and even the demo MacBook Pro has a dodgy ‘n’ on its keyboard.

scheduleApril 18, 2018

Firefox for iOS seems really fast and I like its tracking protection. But not being able to set is as a default browser is such a pain (iOS issue; not their fault). Does anybody else bother trying to use it full time?

scheduleApril 16, 2018

Don’t anticipate the worst; it might just work out better than that.

scheduleApril 14, 2018

It was fun to volunteer to hit a free throw in a ‘triple or nothing’ scenario at basketball fitness training today. Nothing but net; saved everybody some running. 🏀

scheduleApril 12, 2018

3 years ago today I was at the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee. I want to go back!

scheduleApril 12, 2018

Tried using the native Apple Podcast app again, mainly because of its Apple TV app. The experiment lasted less than 24 hours. Skip controls in-car pushed to new episode, not forward a few seconds, no smart speed is a huge loss, and interface is way too spartan. Back to Overcast.

scheduleApril 12, 2018

I knocked my presentation out of the park! Thanks for the well-wishes from the micro.blog community!

scheduleApril 11, 2018

I’ve done two practice runs of a 30 minute talk I’m delivering tomorrow. Each run through has been very different, but both have finished exactly on time. Let’s hope that at the actual event I am as effective with my time management.

scheduleApril 9, 2018

So happy to be back into reading, and out from social media. This afternoon I had an unexpected wait. I didn’t read Twitter. I opened the Kindle app and read a book. Turned a frustration into an opportunity.

scheduleApril 8, 2018

My boy is having fun with the say command in Terminal, and learning some text editing principles at the same time.

scheduleApril 7, 2018

My boy made me a bookmark. It makes me smile each time I start to read.

scheduleApril 7, 2018

Finished another session of Full Court Fitness. Not as ruined as last time, but I still worked really hard. Despite the physical exertion, there’s nothing much better than being on a basketball court. 🏀

scheduleApril 7, 2018

Seems like I picked a good time to delete Twitter. I was never a fan of their native app, and now third party apps are being hobbled.

The looming end for third party Twitter apps www.loopinsight.com

Replacing Social Media

scheduleApril 3, 2018

I joined both Facebook and Twitter many years ago, when they were technical ideas, as opposed to advertising machines driven by algorithms.

Part of the reason for joining in the first place was for me to reserve my namespace. Just like gold rushes of old, it’s always important to claim your username before somebody else jumps in befor