May 10, 2022

Discussions With Your Boss

Three important types of discussions you can have:

  1. Idea Improvement: they have an idea, but need some sparring to improve it before setting it loose.
  2. Implementation: they already decided and now need you to sweat the details to get it going.
  3. Venting: something is blocking above options, they just need someone to share the frustration.

The difficulty is that these 3 conversations can sound very similar, or start with one and jump to the other. You have to listen closely to identify which is the prevailing one — and you can’t ask directly, because it’s likely they don’t even know themselves.

Recent tidbits

  • Runestone: Plain text editor for iPhone and iPad.
  • Motorist: vehicle maintenance app for iOS. A bit expensive.
April 29, 2022

Bike App Outliner Preview from Hog Bay Software

Jesse Grosjean on hogbaysoftware.com:

Bike is the new app I’ve been working on.

Bike is a tool for thought. It’s a fast and fluid outliner. Use Bike to record and organize your ideas.

HogBaySoftware created famous apps like TaskPaper and WriteRoom — both extremely influential to me. Sadly, since it’s a one-man-shop, he never created iOS version of either. But my current love affair with Obsidian is extremely influence by my use of both apps.

Bike looks very interesting, but again a Mac only app makes it a bit difficult to adopt on my current workflow.

snippets
April 29, 2022

Dropbox Backup Updated

From blog.dropbox.com:

Building on our popular backup functionality, Backup has been upgraded with new features our users have been asking for, including a new restoration flow, settings to manage your backups on your computer, and more. […] An easy-to-use alternative to other backup tools available in the market, Backup gives you the option of choosing a robust, standalone cloud backup solution from Dropbox, even if you don’t have a Dropbox account.

Interesting feature/product. The product page could use more details — backup limitations and such — having to go to the help pages for this info seems amateurish.

While I don’t have a paid Dropbox account anymore, my wife does. I’ll likely migrate Ana’s MacBook backup flow from Backblaze to this.

snippets
April 29, 2022

Unread Feed Reader Will Include Standalone Accounts

John Brayton, on goldenhillsoftware.com:

Feed Wrangler recently announced that it is shutting down on March 1, 2023. Standalone accounts will be available before Feed Wrangler shuts down. If you are using Feed Wrangler and are using it only as a backend for Unread, Unread’s standalone accounts will provide a suitable replacement. If you also sync to other RSS readers or if you also need a web interface, Unread supports Feedbin, Feedly, Inoreader, and NewsBlur.

Don’t see myself moving away from Reeder, but Unread is a great app with beautiful reading modes. Good alternative.

snippets
April 20, 2022

Feed Wrangler is Shutting Down

David Smith, on twitter.com:

After 9 years, I’ve decided it’s time to shut down Feed Wrangler. I’m stretched too thin with my other apps, it’s time to let it go.

I’ll turn off the servers next year on March 1, 2023.

My thanks for everyone who was a member. It was quite a ride and I learned a ton from it.

Remember signing up as soon as it came out, so I’ve been a daily user for 9 years. Sad that a reliable tool has to go away. I’d pay more $10 a year more for the same service managed by a cool dev like David. But maybe it isn’t sustainable.

Feedbin has some cool features, but luckily I have a year. I’ll probably switch to Reeder iCloud Feeds to try it out before looking at other options.

snippets
April 18, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 16

  • Folder Peek: put folders in the menu bar. With hotkeys and drag-drop support. My new favorite app.
  • Zas Editor: A new, capable, and fast code editor for macOS, focused on both reading and writing code.
  • one sec: forces an intermediate strep before launching Social Media app in iOS. Works great.

  • Github Pew pew: delete Github repos from CLI.

  • Fitstatics: better iOS insights on health workouts.
  • Friction: connect iPad to Mac to draw on and annotate the screen.
  • ‎Cosmic Pic: iOS App with daily astronomy image or video and explanations.
tidbits
April 15, 2022

Mastonaut Mastodon Mac Client is Now Open-Source / Free

Bruno Philipe, on mastodon.technology:

Mastonaut news: I’ve recently decided to make Mastonaut open-source. I no longer have the time and energy needed to maintain the app, and it has started to lag in features and functionality when compared to the Mastodon web client and other apps.

The app is now free at the App Store.

Sad it’s not being developed anymore, but for now we have a great free Mastodon client on Mac. Hopefully someone will continue work on it.

snippets
April 15, 2022

Twitter, Sorry for Your Troubles

I’m not personally invested into Twitter as I used to. I still need to restrict my impulse to open Tweetbot when procrastinating, and enjoy reading my chronological feed at the end of the day. But Twitter as-a-company has lost my love. It’s an utility company, as long as it’s up and running — I’m good. I don’t expect anything innovative from them, or even get excited about rumors of an announcement.

They could have ruled messaging, photo sharing, microblogs, micropayments — but hey, they’re still here after 15 years and that’s good.

While I’ve played with Mastodon for a while, over the past year the official app has really made it an enjoyable experience. Which leads to the realization that if most of the community I follow on Twitter migrates to Mastodon, I’ll be perfectly happy.

So I watch the recent Twitter novela as I do my Twitter feed: with amusement and a little anxiety — but aware that it’s entertainment.

April 14, 2022

DuckDuckGo Browser for Mac in Private Beta

Beah Burger-Lenehan, on spreadprivacy.com:

DuckDuckGo for Mac isn’t simply a replacement for Incognito mode” (which isn’t actually private!) — instead DuckDuckGo for Mac is designed to be used as an everyday browser that truly protects your privacy. We have the features you expect from a browser like password management, tab management, bookmarks, and more, plus privacy features you’ll love.

It’s good to have a simple option to use and recommend when an alternative to Safari is preferred. Personally, I’m using Brave with additional plugins, but what I really want is to Vivaldi to become faster, or Orion to be ready.

Is it me or browsers have becomes extremely boring over the past few years? I don’t have an invite from cloud-based Mighty yet, but I hope the category goes through some disruption soon.

snippets
April 14, 2022

1Password 8 for iOS in TestFlight

Michael Fey, on blog.1password.com:

We are lifting the Early Access curtain on our brand new iOS app — and it is gorgeous.

I’ve written a whole post about why you’ll love this update and why you should check it out, but maybe you don’t need that. Maybe all you need is the TestFlight link.

I don’t know who’s crazy enough to run a beta password manager (hola Christian), but I’m excited about 1Password 8 for Mac and iOS. Even with the controversy, I enjoy when desktop and mobile app versions are updated together, and it seems this early access means both are closer to release.

snippets
March 29, 2022

Compose with Markdown in Google Docs

From workspaceupdates.googleblog.com:

In Google Docs, you can now select Automatically detect Markdown” from Tools > Preferences to enable auto correcting for Markdown syntax, a lightweight markup language for applying formatting using plain text.

A few more days and I will have thought this was an April fools joke. I absolutely see myself using it, but it also seems to defeat the purpose.

snippets
March 28, 2022

SpaceX Ends Production Crew Dragon Capsules

Joey Roulette, on reuters.com

SpaceX has ended production of new Crew Dragon astronaut capsules, a company executive told Reuters, as Elon Musk’s space transportation company heaps resources on its next-generation spaceship program.

Wow, talk about killing your darlings. This is a very aggressive push towards the Starship program. SpaceX could have ridden the current Falcon 9 + Crew Dragon combo for a few more years without any competition — specially with Soyuz launches looking less likely in the near future.

A great decade to be a space fan.

snippets
March 28, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 13

  • Dock App: basically icons that can show time, task, crypto or stock price on the Dock.
  • Timeow: open-source macOS menu bar app that displays how long you’ve been actively using your computer. I use Aware, but will take a look.
  • eesel Folders: New tab Chrome plugin (previusly) with new folder functionality.
tidbits
March 28, 2022

FT Edit iOS App

From the App Store:

The FT Edit is a new app from the Financial Times that brings you a thoughtful selection of eight important stories every weekday.

I enjoy this sort of Apps. Espresso from The Economist being a similar one. Not only does the price appeal to me, but the limited offer of content makes it a more realistic read. Will be trying it out, specially given thelaunch offer:

The FT Edit is free for a trial period of 30 days. Following this, it will cost 99p a month for the first 6 months then £4.99 a month thereafter.

snippets
March 23, 2022

Chronological Instagram Feed is Back

Adam Mosseri, on about.instagram.com:

Following shows you posts from the people you follow. Both Favorites and Following will show you posts in chronological order, so you can quickly catch up on recent posts.

Doesn’t appear to be available on the web version — or at least not yet. Sadly Instagram is my new Facebook, were I go when my procrastination reaches epic proportions, but good news for dozens still using the feed instead the stories.

snippets
March 22, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 12

  • Manila: Finder extension for changing folder colors. Love it.
  • Smort: convert articles to markdown to edit, annotate and share.
  • RunCat: cat animation to the menu bar that changes the speed depending on the CPU usage of Mac. They also have a store with dogs thankfully.
  • LibreWolf: Firefox fork, focused on privacy and security.
  • dotepub: bookmarklet to download page as epub/mobi.
  • Muse for Mac: beta available. Very powerful iPad boards app.
tidbits
March 19, 2022

Tickets as Placeholder for a Conversation

John Obelenus, on blog.jobelenus.dev:

What do I care about for tickets? A ticket represents a conversation. I don’t care where the conversation gets recorded, or at all (provided the people are capable of remembering it). My problem is when a ticket exists absent any conversation at all.

More rant than essay, but ticket as a conversation placeholder is a very useful insight to have on team tasks — Github issues in my workplace.

The other interesting concept is shared context:

That conversation is what matters. Jira (or Trello, Pivotal, sticky notes on a wall, pick any other etc) is only a good tool when it facilitates those conversations and makes sure that the team has them. If people use the tool to have the conversation thats what really matters. That is the best way your team is going to build shared context.

Both ideas together are going into my sparks list, to revisit soon when we have to create a sort of project management handbook

snippets
March 19, 2022

An Obsidian Weekly Review Template

Michelle Mccausland, on mishacreatrix.com:

My weekly review process has evolved considerably since I wrote about it last. I recently finished the latest revision of my weekly note template so I thought it would be a great time to share it with others who might find it helpful.

Very interesting, a bit different of how I do it myself. But full of small nuggets that I would likely copy.

snippets
March 14, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 11

  • Omnibookmarks: Chrome extension to quickly open/add bookmarks via keywords like a CLI.
  • Logger: developer console for Shortcuts in iOS, iPadOS & macOS.
  • Things Link: Obsidian plugin to create Things tasks and projects.
  • Pure Paste: paste as plain text by default on macOS.
  • Billboard: add a text to your Mac menu bar. Could be fun for video/screenshots eastern eggs.
  • Windows Switcher: Switch windows of same app with `alt + `` on Windows. Don’t want to even think about when I would need this.
tidbits
March 12, 2022

5 Word Apple Peek Performance Event Review

  • Mac Studio: Pro mini without crazy price.
  • Studio Display: sometimes you get your wish.
  • iPhone SE: mother’s in law next phone.
  • iPad Air: great next-year-used purchase.
  • Apple TV+: movies, shows and now sports.
March 10, 2022

MaskerAid Emoji Face Cover App

Casey Liss on caseyliss.com:

MaskerAid allows you to quickly and easily add emoji to images. Plus, thanks to the magic of ✨ machine learning ✨, MaskerAid will automatically place emoji over any faces it detects.

Everyone’s friend, Casey Liss’s new app. Bought it to place with the kids and support him. We’re too far gone the rabbit hole of posting images of kids in online for the main use case of the app.

snippets
March 10, 2022

Chrome 99 Is Now Faster Than Safari

Max Christoff, on blog.chromium.org:

An additional across-the-board speed bump that makes Chrome 7% faster than current builds of Safari. Combined with recent graphics optimizations (namely, pass-through decoder and out-of-process rasterization), our tests have also shown Chrome’s graphics performance to be 15% faster than Safari. Overall, since launching Chrome on M1-based Macs in late 2020, Chrome is now 43% faster than it was just 17 months ago!

Hopefully this will arrive on Brave soon. Also, kinda of an explicit acceptance of how slow(ish) Chrome got two years ago.

snippets
March 9, 2022

elementary OS Linux Distro Is Imploding

Bryan Lunduke, on lunduke.substack.com:

elementary OS, a Linux distribution that is currently ranked as one of the top 10 distros (according to DistroWatch.com), appears to be in the process of completely imploding on itself.

Sad to hear. They do have an unique distro, [[2021/2021-08-10 elementary OS 6 Odin Available |with nice attention to details]].

snippets
March 2, 2022

Cardboard Scrollable Tiling Window Manager

Daniel Aleksandersen, on ctrl.blog:

I’ve been having a lot of fun with Cardboard, the scrollable tiling window manager (WM) (STWM) for Linux. It’s quite an unusual WM, and it’s really only at the prototype stage. After the initial learning curve, I found that it helped me stay focused on one task, and it greatly reduced how much time I spent rearranging my windows.

This reminded me a bit of 10/GUI:, a 10 Finger Multitouch User Interface concept that boasted a linear window manager”.

snippets
March 2, 2022

OneDrive Sync for Apple Silicon

Ankita Kirti, on techcommunity.microsoft.com:

We’re excited to announce that OneDrive sync for macOS will now run natively on Apple silicon. This means that OneDrive will take full advantage of the performance improvements of Apple silicon.

We know this has been a long-awaited and highly requested feature, and we’re delighted to make it generally available starting with build 22.022.

Version 22.022.0130 from the App Store still appears Intel only, but this is good news.

snippets
March 2, 2022

Derek Sivers on Plain Text Files

Derek Sivers, on sive.rs:

My written words are my most precious asset. They are also a history of my life. That’s why I only use plain text files. They are the most reliable, flexible, and long-lasting option. Here’s why.

Right now I’m on the good side of this — with Obsidian being my work hub. Same with this blog, it’s basically a bunch of .md on Dropbox.

However, there are times when a managed libraries work — 1Password, Apple Notes and Photos come to mind. Still, I agree with the premise, only text files future-proofs access to your data.

snippets
March 1, 2022

Microsoft Flight Simulator Available on Xbox Game Pass

Megan Spurr on news.xbox.com:

Experience the joy of flying with Microsoft Flight Simulator, available today with Xbox Cloud Gaming on the devices you already own, including Xbox One, phone, tablet, and PC.

Now that it’s available I’m going to chicken out for now of buying an Xbox — but will give Game Pass a try for sure.

snippets
March 1, 2022

Russia Pulls Out of European Spaceport

Eric Berger arstechnica.com:

Russia has decided to suspend cooperation with European launch officials, and says it will withdraw its personnel from Europe’s main spaceport.

In context with the human suffering happening in Ukraine, this is almost comical. But for science satellites it’s a reminder of the few tickets that exist out of planet earth.

snippets
February 25, 2022

Get Chrome OS Flex for PC or Mac

From chromeenterprise.google:

Install Chrome OS Flex on your PCs and Macs so they are secure, boot fast, don’t slow down over time, update automatically in the background, and can be managed from the cloud.

Seriously considered Neverware CloudReady a few years ago for our computer clients in the operations area. It worked really well, but you had to be sure your whole stack was web-based.

Although our applications were, we had some scanner hardware that didn’t seem to work perfectly.

Still think it’s a great option for old PCs.

snippets
February 19, 2022

Google Workspace for Businesses Without Google

From workspace.google.com:

Create a Google Workspace account with your current work email address and start using the tools you know and love today. Stay connected with secure video meetings and chat, and collaborate on Docs, Sheets, and Slides using 15 GB of Drive storage for hundreds of file formats including Microsoft Office files.

Not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I really miss Google Docs and Sheets. On the other, not sure the file organization mess of having stuff in Office 365 and Google Drive is worth the trouble.

And if you are going to tell me that Excel isn’t that bad — get off my feed.

snippets
February 19, 2022

Akamai to Acquire Linode

Kyle Alspach on venturebeat.com:

Akamai Technologies announced today it has reached an agreement to acquire infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform provider Linode for approximately $900 million, in a move to help enable Akamai to become the world’s most distributed compute platform.”

Always concerning when a big corporation takes over a cool relatable company. Usually it doesn’t get worse, it just stops getting better. But sometimes, planets plus culture aligns and the addition resources makes something really cool.

I just hope my mini shared-host price stays at $5 a month.

snippets
February 14, 2022

AI Narration on Audiobooks

Shannon Maughan, on publishersweekly.com:

Proponents of AI audiobook narration tout its much lower production costs (compared to a traditional recording of a human narrator) as a way to improve profitability of audiobooks as well as allowing publishers to publish more audiobooks that have limited audiences. But according to actor and narrator Emily Lawrence, cofounder of PANA and president of its board of directors, It’s very easy to reduce this issue to dollars and cents, but it’s very complicated and nuanced.”

I recognize the concerns of technology decimating your sector, but this reminds me of The Candlemakers’ Petition. Mind you, my favorite audiobooks are those read by the author, so I buy into the complicated and nuanced argument. But with the narration improvements in apps like Matter, I see the use-case where you switch to AI audio in the middle of reading.

It seems like an uphill batter to fight AI narration as-a-feature. However, they have succeeded in the past.

snippets
February 14, 2022

The Tool Trap

Lorenzo Gravina, on trms.me:

That said, tools won’t change you. We buy shinier tools thinking they’ll help us change who we are. And this is the tool trap. They don’t. Better tools make your craft better, but they won’t make you better.

Really connected with this post, and now I remember why:

Don’t change tools to fix a problem. Change tools because you need to reset your workflow, or you want to optimize some process — but never bet that changing the tool will fix what’s wrong. In most cases, problems have nothing to do with the tool.

Yours truly, about a year ago.

Same itch, but scratched differently. And I enjoyed how Lorenzo draws a line in the sand between the tools and the craft. Worth a read.

snippets
February 14, 2022

DuckDuckGo Browser

Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo CEO on spreadprivacy.com:

Instead of forking Chromium or anything else, we’re building our desktop app around the OS-provided rendering engines (like on mobile), allowing us to strip away a lot of the unnecessary cruft and clutter that’s accumulated over the years in major browsers.

Old news, but on the subject of Browsers, I’m excited about this approach. Haven’t heard anything else about it, but will be sure to try it.

snippets
February 14, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 7

  • DevToys: An offline Windows app that helps developers in daily tasks
  • Little Faker: free Latin text and other fake data generator for macOS.
  • Nautomate: Notion actions in Shortcuts, makes it easy to add & read values in a Notion database. In beta.
  • FluTooth: utility that turns off Bluetooth when you close your MacBook, and turns it back on when you open it again.
  • CloudpilotEmu: web-based emulator for PalmOS. Works great on iOS and my flashbacks are too many.
  • Ochi: block apps & websites on on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. I’m using Freedom, but this seems like an alternative.
  • Play: bookmark YouTube videos to watch later on iPhone, iPad and Mac. Testing out this week.
tidbits
February 13, 2022

A Review of the Orion macOS Browser

Riccardo Mori, on morrick.me:

Orion’s approach is utilitarian. It doesn’t want to win users with a fancy UI or quirky æsthetics to appear different’. Its user interface is not that different from Safari. Its design philosophy has to do with how the browser works, not how it looks. And today a browser should be fast (in a Web that’s getting progressively bloated and dragged down by intrusive, resource-consuming scripts), privacy conscious, and adhering to the web’s standards. And that’s what Orion is and does.

The current private beta is very impressive. It’s crazy fast, and the extensions support mean almost no compromise. The only reason I’m still on Brave is that the BI tool/data lake we use at work seems very optimized for Chrome. It’s also useful to experience the tool the same way 90% of my users do.

I also suspect the other reason for not switching is the boring UI — I agree this is a feature for most people and makes sense for the product. But some coolness would probably drive me to reach for it more often.

snippets
February 12, 2022

Discord Is a Black Hole for Information

From knockout.chat:

The problem with this is that 99% of the conversations that take place in Discord are missed. So many solutions to so many problems are just swept away in a never ending cascade of chat messages which remain undocumented elsewhere.

I don’t enjoy discord communities. I understand the appeal to have a similar hive-mind more in things different than work, but I don’t have time for them. I much prefer to participate in forums like Obsidian’s, the asynchronous nature of it works for me.

Maybe I’m just getting internet-old. I experienced compuserve boards, loved Newton mailing lists, spent hours on PalmOS forums, joined IRC chats for Apple Events, and I’m not into whatever’s next.

snippets
February 11, 2022

There’s no KPI in Habit

Careful with adding benchmarks when defining new habits. At the beginning of any habit, its compliance is the most important measurement. It’s binary: either you do it or not.

Once the new habit starts to become more natural, then optimization has a place.

I just feel into this trap recently, and only by reminding myself of non-zero days, was I able get started again on working the habits.

February 7, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 6

  • Voiceliner: free voice transcript outliners for iOS and Android.
  • Zavala: Extremely clean free outliner for macOS/iOS.
  • Centro 365: browser extension to quickly get to Microsoft 365 administration pages.
  • Minimal 5.0: my preferred theme for Obsidian got a great update with new colors schemes.
  • Docflipper: macOS Cmd + Tab utility that ads a bottom row of bookmarks (Folders, URLs, URLs Schemes). Subscribed and added to my login apps.

  • Start11: Didn’t know Stardock was still around. People seem to be enjoying this Start menu enhancement on Windows 11.

  • QSpace: A very powerful look macOS Finder enhancement.
  • Replacicon: Great utililty to easily replace icons on macOS. Is it worth $5 for something I’ve done manually over years. Yes
  • PanWriter: Free markdown two pane app for Mac/Windows/Linux. Good to have around.
tidbits
February 5, 2022

Mermaid Diagrams Coming to Github Markdown

From github.com:

Support for displaying Mermaid diagrams has appeared on GitHub’s top list of feature requests since 2015. In its absence, many developers simply added screenshots to their Markdown. Today, we’re excited to add native support for Mermaid wherever Markdown is supported (e.g., issues, repositories, discussions, gists).

Great news. Currently that way I deal with mermaid diagrams in GitHub issues is either: a screenshot — which is static and a pair — or an external image to the mermaid live — a potential security issue.

This change will make me push mermaid diagrams a lot more with the team.

snippets
February 4, 2022

The Long Way Back to the Same Place

The possibility of connecting Shortcuts to Obsidian sent me down a rabbit hole of moving this blog’s content creation from Drafts to Obsidian. Of course, I redid all bookmarklets and Shortcuts which grab links and quotes for them to open in Obsidian now.

All worked great, until… mobile. While Obsidian on the Desktop is a joy to use, on iOS it’s workable. Since I use iCloud as the sync engine — not sure if the same thing happens on their own sync — any time I could start on the app, you can be sure that it will take a few seconds to sync existing files. This is a pain for appends, because it usually means the new content can be lost.

And now I’m at the point in which the grass was greener on my original side of the fence. Will give it another week before I break everything again. Setting up separate configs for Desktop and Mobile in Obsidian seem like a good next step. I’m going to break that next.