2023.12.24.

Read “Jack Baty | I won’t be joining RSS Club”

Mostly, though, it’s that blogging itself has enough problems with adoption. I’m not sure it’s a great idea to be “hiding” blog posts. Good blogs are hard enough to find these days. Why limit your writing to only those people who’ve already discovered you?

These are exactly my thoughts about this RSS Club thing. I don’t want to make my readers search for hidden content on my site (there is hidden content on my site, but it won’t be accessible by RSS), I want them to find my stuff easily.

It is already annoying that social networks, like Twitter, hide otherwise free content behind a login page; bloggers shouldn’t force readers into subscribing to something (maybe this is why I wouldn’t say I like newsletters too).

If you enjoy hiding your content, that’s fine, but we have a sparse number of good blogs these days. I want good content to be more discoverable, not hidden behind login pages and RSS feeds.

2023.12.21.

2023.12.16.

What’s up with Twitter these days?

I read: What should I do with my Twitter:

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my Twitter/X account. I don’t want to leave it dormant, because the current policy is to reclaim usernames from accounts that don’t post, which creates a risk that someone will come along and claim to be me later on.

I was worried about this, but I don’t care anymore.

Then… The idle elite:

At this point, if you’re still on Twitter, it might be time to accept a hard fact about yourself: there’s not a single thing that its leadership could do that would push you off the site. Since the takeover almost a year ago they’ve fired everyone who cared, they’ve invited back 4chan, kiwifarms, and sundry other threat actors, they’ve started revenue sharing with the rape peddlers and insurrectionists, they’ve given priority lanes to every paying NFT and AI grifter, and even outright blamed the jews for their bad finances. That’s not even close to an exhaustive list!

Twitter is the worst “social media” site you can use nowadays. Look at what is happening with Threads and Mastodon over here.

I still don’t trust Meta, though.

2023.12.08.

Read “Michael Tsai – Blog – Mac Menu Bar Icons and the Notch”

On my 13” Intel MacBook Pro, the icons reached to about halfway across the screen. On the 14” M3 MacBook Pro, ironically a machine with a larger display, at least 3 icons get hidden.

This “design” (or lack thereof) is so dumb. It is utterly ridiculous to me that this is still how it “works” two years after the introduction of the redesigned MacBook Pro with a notch. How hard could it be to add an overflow menu with a “«” (or should it be “»”?) button that shows the remaining apps and icons that can’t be displayed? This entire situation with the notch is ironic, because the iPhone notch and “dynamic island” are so thoughtfully designed with zero compromises regarding the functionality of iOS. In fact, they actually provide a better user experience. Yet on the Mac, how the notch interacts with macOS is laughably incompetent. It is shockingly lazy regarding attention to detail, and results in an outright disruptive and confusing user experience.

Here’s my current menubar:

I try to keep my less frequently used icons (like Hookmark) on the left because I mostly invoke them from the keyboard anyway. But I hate when Docker gets stuck behind the notch, and I have to quit other apps on the right to get Docker back to the screen.

Apple should do something about this behavior because it’s really annoying. And no, I’m not going to install a 3rd-party app to fix these issues, even if I love its icon.

Read “Jack Wellborn: “I just recently discovered tha…” – Mastodon”

I just recently discovered that you can select and drag multiple Safari tabs by holding shift or command, just as you would to select and drag multiple items in Finder.

I’m sure it has been added recently or was hidden in the system for like 15 years.

Sadly it’s Safari only, so it doesn’t work on other system tabs like Finder or iA Writer.

Gordon Smith:

My use case is to select those tabs I want to save as a group, right click one of those tabs to add them all to a new Tab Group (to keep things neat and tidy).

Read “What I Miss Most About the iPod”

Little things like this have me thinking more and more about the control I have over my music library. I love having access to any song at any time. But, at the same time, I want more control. Apple could easily allow for smart playlist stacks to exist on the cloud. I’d have nothing to write about at that point. But, as we’ve seen with Sony lately, Apple could take away content at any point, even if you paid for it in their store. It would be a much more expensive route to maintain a physical CD collection that I then rip into a media library.

I still maintain my local music library in the Music app and buy music from the iTunes Store, Beatport, and sometimes CDs from Discogs (which I rip later).

At one point I even turned off iCloud Music Library and synced my music locally, which is still pretty cool, since it’s free and completely peer-to-peer. On the other hand, your music library turns into read-only mode, so I can’t edit my synced playlists on the device, which sucks (if I remember correctly, I can edit new playlists on the device).

I currently have iCloud Music Library turned on, but I always archive music files separately before importing them, and I also keep my library backed up by Time Machine. The problem with this approach is I have 3 Macs, so I have to pay attention to which one is holding the original song since iCloud Music Library doesn’t upload the original file but rather fetches the song from the iTunes Store. To avoid this problem, I basically keep a master library on my 16-inch MacBook Pro since I use that the most; all other devices are using the iCloud Music Library directly.

The iTunes Music Library and cloud streaming destroyed all of this, primarily because it wouldn’t allow syncing of smart playlists built off other smart playlists.

I tried this, and smart playlists based on top of other smart playlists are not synced to iOS devices. I couldn’t check if it syncs between Macs, which I want to know.

2023.12.06.

Read “Web Apps Are Better Than No Apps”

Since web apps can’t just use the components provided by the operating system, they have to recreate everything from scratch. And this creates a lot of burden for developers and, I think, lowers the quality floor. Creating beautiful, compelling apps is possible, but it requires so much work. People building native apps get it all “for free”. In fact, this could be one of the reasons Apple still has such a vibrant ecosystem of great artisanal apps since developers can build most things out of nice ready-made components.

Well, yeah!

2023.11.22.

Read “I love email”

You see, I love email. It’s gotten a bad rep, and numerous services and startups have both tried to replace it, and make it work differently. To me, email was never a bad thing, not since we moved over from POP3 to IMAP. Sure, there’s better and more secure technology out there, but the fact that my email account will work, and synchronise, with any device using standard protocols is great. Amazing, really. I don’t need a specific app for a specific service, not as long as I stick with the open standards (i.e., no Proton or Skiff). You can’t say that about Slack, possibly the worst solution to “the email problem” to date. There, you are stuck with the Slack app, which is basically the same as running the service in the web browser. And it whines at you in real-time, breaking your workflow.

I like email as well.

2023.11.17.

The myth and reality of Mac OS X Snow Leopard

I agree with this. We would be better off with a more “natural” update cycle on the Mac. It’s a slower-moving platform these days anyway:

Regardless of the motivation, the annual updates are more of a burden than a blessing to many Apple customers, including myself. I wish that Apple would drop the artificial schedule and let the major updates come more naturally. This isn’t just the attitude of a developer and so-called “power user”. Many “normal” users”, the proverbial moms, feel the same way. Actually, my literal mom told me she doesn’t like the ceaseless annual major updates either. She’s learned from hard experience that they’re not necessarily safe to install. Major updates can be very disruptive, creating new problems and wrecking old workflows. The press is always excited by major updates, because they give the press a lot to write about, but the public is not as sanguine. We occasionally need a break of 23 months, or more, from computing disruption. That would be another Snow Leopard.

Related to this: The Mac, The Myth, The Legend: How Snow Leopard became synonymous with reliability

2023.11.01.

Apple and journaling

Jason has concerns about the format of Apple Journal:

Like Apple Notes, the Journal app works without the Files app. Instead of your journal entries being discreet text files or similar that can be managed in the file system, they’re built into the app itself. It might work, like Apple Notes, using a SQLite database within the Journal app container.

I’m also moving into using more open formats for journaling, although I think there is a slight difference between a journal and a diary.

  • Keeping a journal in general is a mindfulness practice for keeping track of what I’m doing throughout the day.
  • Keeping a diary is more personal on the other hand. It helps us to write about our feelings and nice or bad things that happened to us.
    • This is the reason why I like to have the On This Day notification from Everlog in the morning.

Both of these practices provide a clearer picture, bringing us closer to the state of the past than just a simple memory.

Our memories give a false image because we can only remember the good things. This distorts the past and overvalues things that were not as good as we remember.

We can’t trust our memories, but we can trust a diary/journal, since it acts as a bookmark to the past, showing what happened in our lives. It functions as a backward tickler file, bringing things from the past to us. This retrieved information helps us to better understand ourselves in the future. We can see the difference between the past and our current state clearly, which can provide a new perspective on how we handle a current situation.

In essence: both of these practices allow us to compare our present self with our past one and draw conclusions.

So back to Apple Journal…

The only thing I see myself using Apple Journal for is the missing “add a description to multiple photos” app for now.

Sometimes I want to have a short description of an event that is stored in Photos, and since both apps are from Apple, hopefully, the integration will be better than duplicating my photos into yet another app as attachments.

Otherwise, I don’t see myself migrating away from Everlog in the foreseeable future.

2023.10.29.

2023.10.27.

The Handcrafted Artisanal Web – nadreck.me

I’m still a big believer in having expertise in something and sharing that with your peers.

The future is returning to an artisanal web, where you cultivate your niches and small communities, where maybe you don’t become a millionaire and a star, but you do feel a sense of belonging, and maybe make enough to get by.

But having enough money is what people forget to realize. You can get a nice online side business up and running relatively quickly if you have an interesting “product”. Making that a full-time job is yet another step, but you can still stay a niche without losing your soul.

2023.10.19.

Avoiding Distractions in Modern Computing

Notes from Avoiding Distractions in Modern Computing:

Most of the upcoming generation will never experience “slow computing”.

Slow computing can be done in a “distraction” heavy environment like email. It all depends on how we set up our tools and what we let our computers do. I can still control a lot of aspects of macOS and iOS and I don’t feel them distractions, but simple tools.

It baffles me that people buy pricey phones and have no idea what these devices are capable of. All they do with them is browse TikTok and Instagram.

It is like a blank canvas with no outputs, just waiting for a command about what I would like to do next. At this point I might navigate to a blog directory and open a document with my text editor of choice: emacs. When done writing this post I will add it to git, my text versioning system. After this I do whatever I please with the text file. I might push it to my central blog repository where a static HTML file generates on a public area or I may pipe it to some other program. This is the Unix philosophy.

The terminal-based environment can feel like an island of peace. Not because apps are distracting but because it is a limited interface that is very easy to control.

Some people, like me, feel at home with a customized Unix prompt.

2023.10.13.

2023.08.09.

How I get shit done (or at least get started) while having executive dysfunction

I like these ideas, but especially gathering all information.

Let’s say I need to reply to an email. I start by reading the email I’m supposed to reply to. If there’s any more information I need to be able to answer that email, I go and get that information. I then dump all the information I have into an email draft for easy reference, and write my email from there.

I learned this behavior by keeping a Zettelkasten for writing. It is always easier to start with existing content rather than starting from scratch.

These days I even use journaling as a tool for getting started. If I have no idea what’s the next action on something, I begin to write about it in my notebook. Sooner than later, I figure out something by rambling about the problem in my journal.

2023.04.08.

Twitter Has Stopped Working in NetNewsWire

Looks like Space Karen caught up with NetNewsWire too:

Twitter suspended NetNewsWire today because, according to Twitter, “This App has violated Twitter Rules and policies. As a result, it can no longer be accessed.”

I still have a couple of feeds in Reeder, which are working for now, but I don’t expect them to be around that long.

Honestly, I don’t care about Twitter (or social media in general) anymore. I can do everything I want with this blog regarding publishing my stuff on the web.

I still POSSE my blog posts to Twitter using Micro.blog because some people still follow me there. I may turn that off one day because very few people are coming to this blog from Twitter.