November 27, 2023

Neil Gaiman on Blogging, Writing and Fantasy

Neil Gaiman, on

The process of writing, is always a process of trying to trick my brain of into thinking that what I’m doing is not important.

This is just one tidbit of a great short interview in an Icelandic TV show. Really worth a listen.

November 26, 2023

Default Apps 2023

I’m so late on this that it’s likely evolving from a blogging trend to a LinkedIn shared post thread (ugh). Still, inspired by a recent podcast episode from Hemispheric Views, here’s my list of default applications/services:

  • 📨 Mail Client: Superhuman
  • 📮 Mail Service: Gmail and Migadu
  • 📝 Notes: Obsidian, but also  Notes (for anything with attachments or collaboration with Ana).
  • ✅ To-Do: Things 3 and  Reminders (for attention grabbing notifications).
  • 📓 Scratchpad: Drafts.
  • 📷 iPhone Photo Shooting:  Camera.
  • 🟦 Photo Management:  Photos
  • 📆 Calendar: Vimcal & Fantastical.
  • 📁 Cloud File Storage: iCloud Drive
  • 📖 RSS: Reeder
  • 🙍🏻‍♂️ Contacts:  Contacts
  • 🌐 Browser: Arc
  • 💬 Chat: WhatsApp and iMessage.
  • 🔖 Bookmarks:
  • 📑 Read It Later: Readwise Reader
  • 📔 Journal: Day One
  • 🛒 Shopping Lists:  Reminders
  • 🎥 Media Tracking: Listy
  • 🎵 Music: Spotify
  • 🎤 Podcasts: Castro
  • 🔐 Password Management: 1Password 
  • 🐘 Mastodon: Ivory
  • ⌨️ Launcher: Raycast
  • 🛤️ Habit etc. Tracking: I keep switching, leaving empty as a mark of shame.
  • 🌤️ Weather: Window outside (I’m in CR, so it will always rain) and  Weather when travelling
  • 👨🏻‍💻 Terminal:  Terminal
  • 🧮 Code Editor: SublimeText
  • 🎙️ Dictation: superwhisper
  • 🤖 ChatGPT: BoltAI and Machato

You can find a huge index of posts like this at Robb’s defaults site.

November 24, 2023

Black Friday 2023 Software Purchases

Here are my software Black Friday purchases this year:

These I didn’t buy — mostly because I already own — but I recommend:

November 14, 2023

Opal Tadpole Portable Webcam


Introducing the Tadpole the Smallest Webcam Ever Built. With a Category-First Directional Microphone, a Mirrorless Sony Sensor, and the Easiest Way to Mute Your Call With a Tap It’s the Perfect Webcam to Take With You Everywhere

The Opal C1 was intriguing, but this portable version is a bit more justifiable. Since Continuity Camera holders are way less convenient on laptops, I see this a good solution.

November 9, 2023

Team Scheduling in Superhuman


No need for time zone math or back-and-forth threads. You can now instantly see when your team is free, and schedule meetings right from Superhuman.

Been waiting ages for this. Many will roll-their-eyes, but I find it very useful to take threads that are going nowhere and scheduling a quick call1 to push the task forward.

  1. I know, I’ve become my own worst enemy.↩︎

November 6, 2023

Reset Screen Recording Permissions on Mac

Every so often, my Mac screen recording permission screen System Setting decides to completely ignore whatever setting is in the UI. Steps below have helped me a couple of times

Locate the bundle ID of the affected application:

  • On Terminal run
osascript -e 'id of app "App Name"'

Reset privacy database for affected application:

  • On terminal run:
tccutil reset ScreenCapture com.BUNDLE.ID

As always with the Terminal, be careful.

November 3, 2023

Ideo Layoffs Cut a Third of Staff and Close Offices

Mark Wilson, on Fast Company:

[…] Derek Robson, CEO of Ideo, on the morning of October 2 as he announced widespread layoffs, office closures, and a restructuring of operations at what’s been one of the world’s most storied design firms for the last three decades, collaborating with companies ranging from Apple to Coca-Cola.

You could argue that Design Thinking has become commonplace and Ideo is the victim of its own success. However this still feels off. While getting my master’s in Boston, IDEO was one the places I dreamt of working on.

October 30, 2023

MacStories Review of Astropad’s Rock Paper Pencil

John Voorhees, on

The experience of using the new Pencil tips along with the cover is the closest thing to paper that I’ve ever tried on the iPad. I’ve spent time taking notes in a variety of apps.

My preferred screen-cover on my last two iPad’s has been the Moshi iVisor, mostly because I like the fact it’s removable/washable (not that I’ve ever done it), which means it’s much less stressful to apply. Previously I used Paperlike’s cover, but it always ended up with some sort of bubbles — and the screen sensation wasn’t that amazing.

Very sure this will be the cover of my next iPad. Good news is that an iPad mini 6 version will be available soon.

October 30, 2023

Apple new MacBook Pro featuring M3 chips

Apple, on Apple Newsroom:

14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 now starts at $1,599

14- and 16-inch models with M3 Pro and M3 Max are available in a gorgeous new space black finish

Great lineup for the MacBook Pro’s. The new base MBP is a great option. However, I still think you get better performance at the $1800 range with a loaded up 13/15in MacBook Air M2.

Or… as my eBay watchlist currently makes evident: a loaded-up M1 Max MacBook Pro.

Either way, there’s no laptop you need to worry about in the current lineup, which is great news.

October 29, 2023

YouTube Blocking Adblockers

Zhenyi Tan, on And a Dinosaur:

YouTube isn’t rolling out the anti-adblock to everyone. It seems to depend on things like your account, browser, and IP address. And if you’re not logged in or you’re in a private window, you’re safe. As a result, there are a bunch of people saying, I use XYZ and I haven’t seen an anti-adblock popup yet,” unknowingly spreading misinformation.

But here’s the thing: YouTube isn’t just targeting adblockers. Use Privacy Badger? You’ll get flagged. Use Malwarebytes? You’ll get flagged. Set your Edge browser’s tracking protection to strict”? Yep, you’ll get flagged. So a lot of people think their extensions are safe to use, but actually they’re not.

I mostly used the author’s Vinegar Safari plugin until GoogleFi gave me a year of YouTube Premium with our plan change. However, not sure if I’ll be renewing next year — I need more friction to control by YT rabbit holes.

Keeping an eye on this.

October 19, 2023

Obsidian Importer Apple Notes Support

kepano, on

Today we’re excited to share that Importer now works with Apple Notes, and is compatible with its many content types — including internal links added in iOS 17. See our guide: How to convert your Apple Notes to Obsidian.

I currently have a workable mental model for what goes into Apple Notes and Obsidian in my workflow. However, I’m planning to use this plugin to create a standalone vault as a backup for Apple Notes.

October 17, 2023

Apple, on Apple Newsroom:

The new Apple Pencil is the most affordable model, making it ideal for everyday productivity and creativity. With USB-C charging and pairing, the new Apple Pencil is great for iPad (10th generation) users and also works with all iPad models that have a USB-C port, including iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad mini.

Basically it’s the Apple Apple Pencil (2nd generation) without pressure sensitivity, double-tap for switching tools and wireless charging. Ok, I’ll bite, having bought a few of alternative pencils without these features, it’s a good compromise for a lower price.

The new Apple Pencil will be available for purchase separately for $79 (U.S), with availability beginning in early November.

Wait, what?! Go home Apple, you’re drunk. The Apple Pencil 2nd Gen is usually found on Amazon for $89 , and generic pens with similar features cost half the new Apple Pencil.

Less difficult to recommend than the Apple Pencil (1st generation), but still hard to do with a straight face.

October 12, 2023


Matthias Pfefferle, on News:

ActivityPub is a WordPress plugin that facilitates seamless integration between your blog and a host of federated platforms, including Mastodon, Pleroma, Friendica, and more. This plugin empowers your readers to follow your blog posts on these platforms. 

In addition, replies to your posts from these platforms are automatically turned into comments on your WordPress blog, creating a more interactive and dynamic conversation around your content. Synchronicity for the win!

This is really cool. Specially the second part: the ability to channel reply’s as comments is something that would have been a killer Twitter feature back in the day.

I’m glad this is out. Specially with rumors that Tumblr ActivityPub integration is shelved. Not sure I’d use it in Wordpress, but will have it enabled in an instant on

October 5, 2023

New WhatsApp AI Features

Meta on

Starting today, some users can start testing the following in chats with friends and family:

  • AI stickers: You can now create a custom sticker that represents a thought or idea that’s just right for your chat.
  • AI chats: With Meta’s AIs, you can ask any question to find out more about topics or try and settle a debate in your group chat, including getting the perspective from dozens of characters Meta has created that respond in interesting ways.
  • Photorealistic Image Generation: By typing the prompt /imagine, AIs allow you to generate images to represent an idea, place, or person.

I’m amazed of what Meta managed to make generally available these features in such a short time. I haven’t figured AI stickers, but the AI chats and image generation are impressive … and free”.

October 3, 2023

OpenCore Legacy Patcher Project Brings macOS Sonoma to Old Macs

Andrew Cunningham, on Ars Technica:

Yesterday, the OCLP team announced version 1.0.0 of the software, the first to formally support the recently released macOS 14 Sonoma. Although Sonoma officially supports Macs released mostly in 2018 or later, the OCLP project will allow Sonoma to install on Macs that go back to models released in 2007 and 2008, enabling them to keep up with at least some of the new features and security patches baked into the latest release.

Planning to try it with my 2016 MacBook which Ana uses. And thinking about using it on the 2015 MacBook Pro I use as a home sever.

October 2, 2023

Google Intros Chromebook Plus Category

John Maletis, on Google:

More than 10 years ago, we created Chromebooks to bring you easy-to-use computers that offer reliable performance and unmatched security. Today, we’re introducing a new category of Chromebooks that takes the promise even further: Chromebook Plus.

I was once really into Chromebooks, but is just seems like a way to try to differentiate crappy laptops with less crappy laptops.

September 28, 2023

Vivaldi for iOS is Out

Team Vivaldi, on Vivaldi Browser:

Vivaldi on iOS has our distinctive look and feel with a set of built-in tools that includes Desktop-style tabs, Speed Dials, Panels, Notes, a Reading List, and a Tracker and Ad Blocker. And, of course, with the Sync functionality, we give you a secure way to take Vivaldi — and your browsing data– with you.

Really great mobile version — especially on the iPad. They took a long time, but it shows. I’ve said it before, but if Arc wasn’t available, Vivaldi would likely be my work browser.

September 28, 2023

Day One Announces Shared Journals

Kristen Webb Wright, on Day One | Your Journal for Life:

Create a Shared Journal with Day One Premium, coming soon for iOS and the Web. Android support coming next.

I’m a daily Day One user1, so I’m excited about having a shared journal with my wife Ana.

I have a kids journal in which I save occurrences. Totally see us using it more because of this.

  1. Current streak is 1944 days of daily journaling.↩︎

September 21, 2023

Kagi Now Has Unlimited Searches for $10 per Month

Vladimir Prelovac, on

Today, the tides are changing. With new search sources proving more cost-efficient, the improved efficiency of our infrastructure, and the broader market embracing Kagi, we can again offer an unlimited experience to a broader group of users. We’re excited that this change will let many more people enjoy a fun, ad-free, and user-centric web search.

Been very impressed with Kagi. Not sure if $10 a month yet, but subscribed to the smaller $5 one for now.

Also see a future where the Kagi Kids search offering justifies the family plan.

September 18, 2023

Apple TV Can Now Do Tailscale

Andrea GottardoAlessandro MingioneSam Linville and Parker Higgins, on Tailscale:

Today we’re expanding the list of devices that can run Tailscale, bringing secure remote networking to the Apple TV. The newly released tvOS 17 offers support for VPNs, and we’re proud to say Tailscale is among the first to use this new feature. You can now add your Apple TV directly to your tailnet, unlocking three powerful new use cases that we’re excited to share.

This is really cool. I need to get my house (devices) in order, and using Tailscale to set up a personal/private VPN is top of the list. The news has multiple angles: I can set up an Apple TV in the US, to connect to my old MacBook Pro server at home to use Costa Rica streaming apps (Stars+). But also, you can do it the other way around, only having to leave an Apple TV at my parent’s place1 to use as an exit node.

  1. Never mind that my Dad has more Raspberry Pis than I do, even one driving him 3D printer. But you get the example. ↩︎

September 12, 2023

Pre-Apple September Event Notes

I always tell my non-geek that Apple events are my sporting events. To stretch the analogy further, iPhone events are — Super Bowl, but my team isn’t playing. I love watching it, but I don’t paint my face — like when the Mac plays. /end of bad analogy.

This year I’m likely to get one of the iPhones announced. Both Ana and I are still on the iPhone 12 mini1 — which we love, but it’s starting to show its age on the battery side. If the iPhone 15 mini still existed, it would be an absolute purchase for me. But that dream is dead.

I think we’ll probably upgrade to the regular iPhone 15, mostly because I cannot deal with the weight of the Pro versions. Even with the expected lighter titanium, the regular iPhone 6.1 weight is my limit.2

I’m also keeping an eye on the Apple Watch. I lost my large Series 7 a month ago in a lake, and been using my previous small Series 4. I really miss the size and speed of the Series 7 I got last year. Still unsure if I’m going to be getting the Series 9 or, just like I did last year, the year ago version at some of the Black Friday events.

I’m all-in with the USB-C change. It’s going to be comfortable to just carry that one cable.

Still hoping for some surprises, but it does seem like an S sort of year.

  1. Above link reminded me to update my iPhone history: Original → 3GS4S5S → 6 → 6S → 7 → XS → 12 mini↩︎

  2. I do have an iPhone 12 Pro from work, and I hate carrying it.↩︎

September 9, 2023

Japanese Coffee in a Can

The One from Nippon team, on One from Nippon:

This is the story of Japan’s canned coffee. One finds at least one vending machine in almost every street in Japan. In every vending machine one row is dedicated to just one product: canned coffee.

As if I needed another reason to want to visit Japan — now I need to add vending machine coffee to my eventual trip there.

September 8, 2023

What We Say When You Are Not Here

A young friend passed away last week. He was the sort of person that I call friend, even if we really didn’t share that much time. His intensity and great heart made everyone feel welcomed — regardless if you were a free spirit artist like him, or a square like me.

The outpouring of love has been huge. I fear he didn’t imagine his effect on so many people… actually, I fear more that he actually did.

September 6, 2023

37signals Introduces ONCE Product Line

Jason Fried, on ONCE:

Introducing ONCE, a new line of software products from 37signals. Pay one time, own forever. We write the code, you get to see it. We give you the software, you get to host it. Simple and straightforward, not enterprisey and bloated. For one fixed price. Once. We’ll be launching the first product late 2023, with more coming in 2024.

Very interesting. 37signals apps are extremely opinionated, but I’ve also thought they’d be a good straightjacket to force better processes. Sadly, other than for personal use, I’ve never been able to use it for work.

Will keep an eye out for this one.

September 6, 2023

Molly Holzschlag Passed Away at 60, on

Molly Holzschlag, whose pioneering work in online design standards led to her being dubbed the fairy godmother of the web,” has died at age 60.

Worked with Molly for a while in Opera. She was fun and irreverent. The Open Web was not a buzzword with her, it was the way to live.

September 4, 2023

Tidbits for 2023 Week 35

  • Control Panel for Twitter: browser extension which brings some sanity to the clusterfudge. Can’t use Twitter without it.

  • JuxtaCode: good looking beta Git merge tool for macOS.

  • Trypa: trigger shortcuts based on environmental, hardware and system factors on macOS.

  • Dissolv for macOS : Hide inactive apps after an specified period. Replaces defunct Spirited Away app.

  • Applite: UI for Homebrew package manager. Good way to manage all those pesky apps that insist on having an AutoUpdate checking in login, or use .pkg installers.

  • S3 Files for iPhone, iPad & Mac: s3 buckets in the Files app, Finder, Shortcuts app & share sheet. Keeping around for rainy day.

  • Chantlings : musical app that let you explore tone and harmony. Let’s say it’s for the kids.

  • ‎Fuoco : change focus of Portrait Mode photos in iOS.

September 4, 2023

3D Reconstruction of the Capital of the Aztec Empire

Thomas Kole, on

The year is 1518. Mexico-Tenochtitlan, once an unassuming settlement in the middle of Lake Texcoco, now a bustling metropolis. It is the capital of an empire ruling over, and receiving tribute from, more than 5 million people. Tenochtitlan is home to 200.000 farmers, artisans, merchants, soldiers, priests and aristocrats. At this time, it is one of the largest cities in the world.

Today, we call this city Ciudad de Mexico - Mexico City.

Not much is left of the old Aztec - or Mexica - capital Tenochtitlan. What did this city, raised from the lake bed by hand, look like? Using historical and archeological sources, and the expertise of many, I have tried to faithfully bring this iconic city to life.

This is amazing. I love Mexico city, and also have enjoyed some historical novels on the Aztecs. This project blows my mind for technical, historical and coolness reasons.

September 1, 2023

Toolbox Pro, Logger for Shortcuts, and Nautomate Find New Home

Snailed It Development Ltd:

We’re truly honoured to be able to announce that we have taken over development of Toolbox Pro, Logger for Shortcuts, and Nautomate.

All three apps were originally developed by indie developer Alex Hay before he tragically passed away back in March after a battle with cancer.

Happy news amid everything.

September 1, 2023

Browser Actions macOS Shortcuts Support

Carlo Zottmann, on ActionsDotWork.:

Well-rounded macOS Shortcuts support for Brave Browser, Chromium, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi. And for Safari.


Creating, accessing, manipulating and closing tabs and windows. Getting page information, like title, URL, current selection, the up-to-date DOM document, all of the text. Filling out and submitting forms. Running arbitrary Javascript in tabs. etc.

While Arc is not in the launch list of supported browsers, Carlo had it on his radar for post-release. Would love to replace some bookmarklets with more elegant Shortcuts.

August 30, 2023

Vivaldi browser 6.2 Speed Update

Jon von Tetzchner, on Vivaldi Browser:

Over the years, some of you have reported that the opening of new windows was not fast enough. But not anymore!

Our new version on desktop — Vivaldi 6.2 — is now faster, especially when you open a new window. By rendering browser windows through React portals, we’ve unlocked new possibilities, reduced memory usage, and significantly

If Arc Browser ever goes away, Vivaldi will likely be my default work browser. Just took 6.2 for a spin, and windows do load significantly faster. Kudos to the team.

August 28, 2023

ChatGPT Enterprise


We’re launching ChatGPT Enterprise, which offers enterprise-grade security and privacy, unlimited higher-speed GPT-4 access, longer context windows for processing longer inputs, advanced data analysis capabilities, customization options, and much more.

This is very cool. As an IT person, I’m still not sure how to justify this. Is ChatGPT just an advanced Grammarly? But the enterprise story checks out really well:

You own and control your business data in ChatGPT Enterprise. We do not train on your business data or conversations, and our models don’t learn from your usage. ChatGPT Enterprise is also SOC 2 compliant and all conversations are encrypted in transit and at rest.

Unlike many enterprise plans, it even makes sense compared with the regular prosumer plan:

ChatGPT Enterprise removes all usage caps, and performs up to two times faster. We include 32k context in Enterprise, allowing users to process four times longer inputs or files.

Will this bringing this up internally at work for sure.

August 22, 2023

A Home Office Organization

Christopher Butler, on

My wife and I work here, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. Our children play and create in here just as often. It’s where we maintain several workspaces, store supplies, house a portion of our library, and keep a guest bed. To make things even more complicated, I also exercise in here nearly every day. All in this 10’ x 12’ space with two windows. Since we began working from home, I estimate that we’ve spent around 8,000 hours in here.

I love colophon posts, but this one is not only cool, but also admirable in what it manages to pull off. The website design is also minimally amazing.

August 16, 2023

GitHub Now Supports Obsidian Callout Blockquote Syntax

Kepano, on

Great news for plain text interoperability: @github has added support for callouts to the GitHub-flavored Markdown using the same syntax @obsdmd

Daniel Adams, on Github:

Alerts are an extension of Markdown used to emphasize critical information. On GitHub, they are displayed with distinctive colors and icons to indicate the importance of the content.

W00t. I see myself using callouts even more now in my notes.

July 28, 2023

Vivaldi Social Mastodon Social Downtime Incident

Thomas Pike, on his blog:

A bug in the code combined with an ill-advised database configuration caused 198 user accounts to be merged to a single remote account. An entire weekend was spent finding the cause and fixing the damage caused.

Great rundown of a ruined weekend because of a service incident. Appreciate the sections where the Mastodon team helped — even when it became clear it wasn’t a Mastodon bug.

July 27, 2023

When Good Correlation is Not Enough

Haki Benita, on his blog:

How outliers can trick the optimizer into the wrong plan

This blog post is nothing about what I expected it to be:

In this article I describe how using a BRIN index in presumably ideal circumstances” can result in degraded performance and suggest a recent new feature of PostgreSQL as a remedy.

Blank stare.

However, the subtitle sent me down a thought rabbit hole about outliner events making you optimize for the wrong thing. Something I hope to write about in the future.

July 26, 2023

Better Contexts, Better Life

Some emails generate an increased pulse rate. Not out of excitement — but out of a primal urge to shout out like an enraged monkey.

As I breathe-in for the third time, I realize the request itself is not the source of my anger. The lack of context usually is. Emailing me something which reads like a SQL query, will generally lead to an answer that is business-speak for syntax error.

Am I too precious to be to told what to do without explanation? Well, yes. But, that’s not it. For better or worse, I try to keep my ego outside most of my work interactions. Many years have taught me that — given my personality — it always comes back to haunt me.

The main problem is that asks” without context will lead to multiple interactions if the query doesn’t have an exact match:

  • Do you have file X?
  • Can you send invoice Y?
  • Do you have the FY23 number for Z?
  • Are you available?

I’m sure you can replace the above generics with something that makes sense in your world. Again, the problem arises when the answer requires some sort additional detail (which is almost always the case):

  • I have last week’s version of file X.

  • I don’t have the invoice Y yet.

  • The FY23 number for Z depends on how…

  • I have 15 min, why do you require my availability?

    Just by adding some minimal context to the request, not only can you better find the answer, but you can generate one if an exact match doesn’t exist. A few sentences can make a lot of difference. My blood pressure will thank you.

July 22, 2023

Descript Eye Contact AI Video Effect

Stop worrying about memorizing scripts or tedious retakes. With AI Eye Contact, maintain perfect on-screen presence while nailing your script every time.

This feature was in Facetime in one of the iOS 13 betas, but later removed. While weird, I think it’s very cool. As we head more into the Vision Pro era, this sort of trickery will become more common.

I’m itching to start a podcast and use Descript. But it still doesn’t seem to have a Spanish as a content language support.

July 19, 2023

Kevin Mitnick Passed Away

Dignity Memorial:

Kevin David Mitnick, 59, died peacefully on Sunday, July 16, 2023, after valiantly battling pancreatic cancer for more than a year.

Ghost in the Wires audiobook is one my favorites. But even before that, his name evoked a cool and dangerous side to being a geek.

He broke the law and was sent to jail for real. This gave some reality to the computer and internet stuff I was passionate about. Even though social engineering was his biggest trick, at the time I thought he was a master hacker.

Also, he just seemed like a cool guy. Effing cancer. He will be missed.

July 9, 2023

GORUCK GR1 21L v 26L Differences

Ben Brooks, on

What’s important here is that those GR1s (despite what GORUCK might say in marketing) are a different size than all currently available GR1s. But not by a lot. They are slightly smaller than the current 26L GR1s, and most consider them to be 25L in capacity. I’d say they are somewhere between 24-25L.

I sent my 11 year old GR1 for repairs last week and GORUCK offered to replace it:

Battle parenthood scarred GR1 OGBattle parenthood scarred GR1 OG

We have received your gear from your Scars Repair request and have inspected it fully. Besides the reason it came in, there are other issues of normal wear and/or age. We would like to send you a new ruck!

However, I was a bit confused when they asked me to pick a size, since I didn’t remember they had two. Ben Brooks article helped me understand the difference. I’m leaning towards the 21L though.

Update 2023-07-25: Well, that was easy. I didn’t read the fine print, where for $25 in shipping, I could get back my original GR1. A fews later, I have both my old faithful and new 21L GR1.

July 6, 2023

Instagram Threads and ActivityPub

Adam Mosseri, on Threads:

We’re committed to building support for ActivityPub, the protocol behind Mastodon, into this app. We weren’t able to finish it for launch given a number of complications that come along with a decentralized network, but it’s coming.

I checked out Threads, but it’s clearly not for me. However, glad it exist. If in fact it will provide a way to follow people from my Mastodon/Ivory setup, I’m a happy camper.