January 23, 2023

Everything is Mac-Wonderful Now

Last week’s Apple’s newish style of press-release and pomodoro keynote combo introduced updated MacBook Pro 16in, 14in and Mac mini. All three available with new generation M2 chips.

A late 2022 release — video URL path seem to indicate so — pushed to 2023. On paper, just a yearly release.

But for someone who watched in horror as every release after the 2015 MacBook Pro’s one, make the Pro laptop’s aspiration vanish, and just hold tight to my current model. This, just an update, is the most wonderful news.

As a Mac buyer, the current, previous, and used lineup is all good news:

  • The M2 Macs, including the MacBook Air are amazing.
  • The previous generation M1 versions of the same devices1, available with discounts, are also plenty fast. Even the current M1 versions of iMacs are really good2.
  • Any of the above, in a good used configuration, will likely have good savings and be a useful device for a long time.

After the darkest timeline detour of 2016-2020, the last 3 years bring a smile to my face.


  1. Let’s ignore the 13in MBP with Touch-Bar. Not a bad device, just the only M1 version that I would question buying today.↩︎

  2. True that I would likely wait for a M3(?), but not-the-latest-and-greatest is my sickness, and I don’t suggest anyone else embrace it.↩︎

January 16, 2023

Tidbits for 2023 Week 2

  • Omnivore: free, open source, read-it-later app. I’m sticking with Reader, but excellent option to have around.
  • HabitKit: iOS/Android habit tracking with github commit-like tile-based grid charts. Giving
  • El Pintador: StableDiffusion app for iOS to generate images from text. Build by Miguel de Icaza, using server processing. $2.99 a week.
  • Amazing AI: Generate images from text using Stable Diffusion 1.5 on macOS. Optimized for M1/M2.
tidbits
January 13, 2023

Tweet This🖕

Juvenile, I know. But feels as an appropriate response to Twitter blocking access to Twitterrific (inventor of the tweet), Tweetbot and many other 3rd party clients.

From Tweetie to Tweetbot, I’ve spent hundreds of hours wasting time and interacting with my tribe. Learning and linking. Hanging virtually around cool people. I know that’s not everyone’s experience on Twitter, but it was mine.

If Twitter was the pulse of the planet, then these apps were the custom headphones to listen to it. Sure, most people just used the free ones. But for some of us, the way to consume the feed was as important as the feed itself.

This may sound like hyperbole, but the next few days are going to be a natural experiment — at least in my geeky bubble.

For weeks my Twitter use has slowly declined, and now it will reach almost zero. Why? The default Twitter app experience is terrible. So terrible in fact, that when in the past I’ve taken a Twitter break, it’s the only app I leave installed. Also, Mastodon will soon have it’s own Tapbots app: Ivory. Which is now the first app I reach for when I wake up.

Twitter will still be there for Shakira gossip, just like Facebook was there for keeping up with others. But the geeky place to engage with is mastodon, through whichever of the dozen apps you choose to use.

January 2, 2023

Nicholas Bate On Writing

blog.strategicedge.co.uk:

But most of all you need ritual. Write every day. Rain or shine. Good mood or bad. It’ll appear, that novel of yours.

I apologize in advance. Not necessarily a novel, but a lot more writing.

snippets
January 1, 2023

New Year’s Street Corner

After an improvised countdown on the porch, the fireworks start. I run to the street corner with 7-year-old Robie to get a better view. Not an improvement at all. Downtown Austin’s skyline blocks most of the display. My heart drops as I expect a justified rant from Robie, but he seems content to be in a city with fireworks show.

A group leaves the corner bar. Loud, excited, decided. They’re headed for more of the night. I’m closing out ours. At the back of the group, a girl.

She looks tired, or disappointed, or even resigned. Her steps are a bit unstable on her high-heels. Could be drinks or that she’s being hurried along by her group.

Our eyes meet. We both press a smile. Two decades of difference, crystallized by each’s circumstances: she’s heading out, I’m heading in. She has all the excitement of the unknown, I have the comfortable certainty of those expecting me.

Two directions and magnitudes, sharing a street corner on the first few minutes of the new year.

December 31, 2022

Books of 2022

My reading picked up a bit by the end of the year, but overall it felt like a below-average reading year. At the same time, my reviewing was pathetic. In fact, as I went through the list of books, it became clear that most of the 2021 books still have no review.

Still, wanted to do a rapid check of books. If anything, to remind myself of which books need more detailed notes.

Fiction

  • Pachinko
    by Min Jin Lee: Great book. There was so much of the Japan/Korean culture which I just had a simplified caricature. Everyday historical fiction at its best.
  • Salvation
    by Peter F. Hamilton: First of a series. Not my favorite book from the author, but will return to the next one. Sci-fi without the pew-pew sounds.
  • Termination Shock
    by Neal Stephenson: I hadn’t clicked with his books in a while, and this reminded me of staying late reading Cryptonomicon, instead of studying in college. Recommended.
  • Locklands
    by Robert Jackson Bennett: Good close to the series. It took the universe in a different direction, but it still was entertaining.
  • The Dragon Waiting
    by John M. Ford: Had never heard of it, and it’s about as old as myself. Very recommended. A cross of genres I don’t think anyone would attempt nowadays. Amazing writing.

Non-fiction

  • The Wright Brothers
    by David McCullough: Mostly skimmed after their famous flight. But eye-opening account of how innovation is lots of iterations — and not a perfect toolset or infinite resources.
  • Building a Second Brain
    by Tiago Forte: Lots of skimming on this one, but mostly because I’ve consumed this content in every medium other than book — because it didn’t exist yet. Good book if you need to put order in your digital chaos. But I wouldn’t push it on anyone.
  • Several Short Sentences About Writing
    by Verlyn Klinkenborg: While the book has great content, it’s about writing. A master of it, showing you how it’s done.
  • Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making
    by Tony Fadell: This is the best business book I’ve read. Mostly because it puts together many concise examples of how to run and grow an organization. Recommended.
  • Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
    by Alfie Kohn: Painful book if you find yourself on the wrong side of many examples. Important book for me this year.
  • The Warrior Diet
    by Ori Hofmekler: 15 years before interment fasting was a new” concept of which I went all-in, this book discussed and explained many concepts that took me 5 more years to get to.
  • How to Live: 27 conflicting answers and one weird conclusion
    by Derek Sivers: An uncomfortable little book which makes you think it’s on your side before turning on you, just to make the point that there’s no answer, but you should still work on one. I’ve bought multiple copies of this book and have given it to younger family members.
December 22, 2022

Myke Hurley Daily Singular Word Prompts

Myke Hurley, on Cortex #136

The thing system journal there’s a section where you can write a bunch of prompts down and mark off each day if you succeed in them. […] they are singular words, I’d like to interpret it however I like, and decide if I made effort in them. They are:

  • Create
  • Advanced
  • Revenue
  • Teamwork
  • Marriage
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Freetime
  • Structure
  • Homes

[…] I look at each of these every day and think did I make some movement in each of these categories

Really like these. Revisiting some of my comcom habits (which didn’t work as well as expected), and converting them to something like this. At first pass, these are the ones I started with:

Decide, Friends, Body, Maintenance, Marriage, Present, Quiet, Read, Start, Walk, Write.

Lets give it a few days.

snippets
December 20, 2022

Seth Godin Thoughts on Mastodon

Seth Godin, on seths.blog:

It’s a network in the real internet sense of the word. It’s not just a network of users, it’s a network of servers as well_. No one owns it. _Like email, it’s a set of principles and rules, not a place. A federation is different than a corporation. It might not be as shiny, but it’s far more resilient.

Forgot to post this last month, but getting more relevant each day. The Twitter circus has made many of the Mastodon inconveniences bareable because it provides boring stability.

snippets
December 20, 2022

Belkin iPhone Mount for Mac Desktops

apple.com:

The Belkin iPhone Mount (Magsafe Compatible) for Mac Desktops utilizes the new Continuity Camera features in the latest version of macOS Ventura. You can easily mount your MagSafe-compatible iPhone securely to your Mac desktop or display with this durable mount for FaceTime, capturing content, video conferencing and more. 

This took a while longer announce, and seems will be out sometime in January. I’ll be getting either this or the equivalent Amazon knockoff version for my work monitor. Even the disappointing Apple Studio Display camera at home, makes my cheap Logi webcam too bad to stand at the office.

snippets
December 20, 2022

Nebo 4.0 Released

From nebo.app:

Handwriting can now be converted to typeset text instantly and in place — simply select it with the lasso and tap Convert. Text sizes and positions are preserved in order to maintain the structure and layout of your content.

Basically what makes Nebo great in note-taking mode is now available in their freeform (Notes) mode.

By far my favorite handwriting app for iPadOS. Only missing Shortcuts support to completely take over all handwriting workflows.

snippets
December 15, 2022

City of Thieves
by David Benioff

City of ThievesCity of Thieves

A fun odd-couple adventure set in the nightmarish reality of World War II. As strange as it sounds, this great book is all this and more.

When José recommended the book, he said something along the lines of great writing and amazing character’s relationship. It sounded a bit vague, but his enthusiasm made me add it to the queue. I now understand how it’s a difficult book to describe if you don’t want to spoil it. Coming into the story without know much, made it even more enjoyable.

Be ready to hold-on for a bit — it’s not all laughs, not all darkness. But highly recommended.

December 15, 2022

Keychron New S1 QMK Custom Mechanical Keyboard

From keychron.com

Keychron S1 is the first 75% layout all-metal low profile custom mechanical keyboard. With its all-metal ultra-slim CNC machined body, QMK/VIA support, and low profile double-shot PBT keycaps, the S1 gives you a high-end typing experience, a unique design setup, and endless possibilities. One of a kind.

On the heels of the new Keychron K3 Pro, comes a similar yet different premium low-profile keyboard from Keychron. If you’re confused, here’s some details on the differences between K series, K Pro series, and S series.

Short version: versus the K3 Pro, the S1 is wired only and the aluminum body has a steel plate — heavier and less likely to flex.

Not many reviews, but overall the few seem positive:

Jon Porter, on theverge.com:

That means the Keychron S1 is more focused on being high-quality than feature-rich. It’s not wireless, and it’s not hot-swappable as standard, meaning you can’t change the switches on its entry-level model without a soldering iron. But what you _do _get is an aluminum construction, double-shot PBT keycaps, a 1,000Hz polling rate, and full remapping support with the excellent VIA keyboard software.

ReversedEvolution, on reddit.com:

The new PBT Keychron keycaps are a great upgrade. The won’t get as oily and they feel a decent amount better. Their concavity I enjoy more than the K3v2, those felt like they had no top and bottom”, it was easy for me to not know how vertical I was on the board.
[…]
The K3v2 is exactly the same height as the S1. I had heard otherwise, they’re the same. Mech Mini is definitely taller, I find it only mildly noticable.
[…]
I really like how the S1 feels. It’s solid. I’m keeping it.

A few weeks back, I was sure the K3 Pro was going to be my next keyboard. Now I’m heavily leaning towards the S1.

snippets
December 7, 2022

Apple New Data Protections

apple.com:

Apple today introduced three advanced security features focused on protecting against threats to user data in the cloud, representing the next step in its ongoing effort to provide users with even stronger ways to protect their data.
[…]
For users who enable Advanced Data Protection, the total number of data categories protected using end-to-end encryption rises to 23, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos.

Amazing news for iCloud Backup. That was a big omission on Apple’s security narrative. I will be waiting some time before enabling though — encryption is serious business and with upcoming holiday travels, I don’t want to mess with it until back on my regular routine.

snippets
December 7, 2022

Tesla Test Week

Had a work trip which justified flying direct to LAX, and then driving down/up to San Diego — where our HQs are located. When looking at rental options, I was surprised that Hertz offered Tesla’s for about the same price of a premium sedan.

Here are a few notes after using a white 2022 Model Y for about 4 days:

  • Initially, the accelerator pedal was messing with my head. It doesn’t flow like a gas engine when you lift your foot — it actually breaks the car. There’s a mode to simulate how a regular gear box works, but after a few miles I got the hang of it.

  • The fact you don’t turn off the car was also weird for most of the trip. On my 2008 Nissan Xtrail, I have a ritual to allow the diesel turbo to cool off a bit, and turn off the AC, lights, etc., to minimize any funny business. On the Tesla, you just push the Park button and get off.

  • I left the car unlocked the first day, assuming it would lock itself after I walked away. This wasn’t the case, but I think this has more to do with the simplified access key card” you get with the rental.

  • Same with the dashboard screen. I missed CarPlay a bit, but I guess it’s because I didn’t have any mobile app to send addresses or integrate Spotify. That said, the navigation app was still better than Waze or Apple Maps for me.

  • It felt extremely stable on the highway. My racing days are behind me, but even when going at the highway limit, the Model Y felt maneuverable and predictable.

  • I did hit the back tires on the curb a few times. Not sure if it’s because the car is wider than it appears.

  • There’s a billion videos of this, but it needs to be said: the acceleration is life-changing.

  • I had the long-range option, which translated into me leaving LAX with 80% and arriving at San Diego with around 30% after ~125 miles.

  • Charging was far from the drama I had imagined. It helped a lot that Christian told me the following a few days earlier:

    Forget about the gasoline car paradigm — in which you always top up.

  • I spent ~$60 on two Tesla supercharging stops. Hertz charges this to your credit card as it would for tolls. Easy.

  • On the drive down, the autopilot disabled itself because I let go of the wheel, which I consider fair. The drive up was made a lot less bothersome thanks to the autopilot. It did brake very hard once when it though a car was going to change lanes in front of me, but other than that, it was a great driver. I wasn’t brave enough to allow the autopilot to change lanes and exit the highway. But for LA traffic and highway driving, it was amazing.

In the end, I loved driving the Tesla. In my mind, this was like using a SSD laptop in 2009. It’s still expensive, but not crazy. It’s not as convenient as regular” cars/laptops. But you don’t have to imagine it’s the future, it’s already a better present.

November 21, 2022

Tidbits for 2022 Week 47

  • Playground AI: Free Stable Diffusion image generation. Paid options for Dall-E. Simplest tool I’ve foud if you want to play with AI images.

  • Tweek Calendar: web-based minimal weekly planner & to-do list app. Nice printable PDF also. Keeping around.

  • Grila: macOS keyboard-driven calendar. Trying it out, not sure it will stick, but interesting.

  • Split CSV: Filter and split a CSV file into multiple files. Don’t need it nowadays, but I would have gladly paid $40 for this a few years back.

  • Haikei: Wave and others image generators. Useful for slide backgrounds.

  • Maparoni: macOS/iOS organise, explore and share map data using tables on a map. Not sure how, but will try it soon.

  • Add to Obsidian Note: Configurable Draft action adds the content of the current draft to a selectable note in your Obsidian vault.
  • Plain Text Editor: Simple free macOS text editor with Brain Dump Mode” (no backspace). Good to have around.
  • Flowist: Focus Mode for Todoist. Display one task at a time. Could be useful.
tidbits
November 19, 2022

Vimcal for iOS

Ivan Mehta, on techcrunch.com:

Vimcal for iOS is a free app, but if you want to use the product on the desktop you will have to pay $15 per month or $150 per year. For teams with more than five members, the product costs $120 per year. The company is already working on making Vimcal adaptable to enterprise usage with customizable features.

Been testing iOS and macOS with Microsoft 365 for work, and it’s really good. $150 a year good? Not sure. Unlike email, where perceived speed of the UX is important to me — and worth twice as much — on calendar I don’t suffer was much.

But if calendaring is your beat, Vimcal is worth a serious try.

snippets
November 18, 2022

Dave Winer on Mastodon and RSS

From scripting.com:

The more I learn about Mastodon, the more impressed I am. It’s a very nicely done piece of software. And unlike Twitter, they have RSS feeds for every user. Just add a .rss to the end of the URL and you get a nice feed, like this. When I look at the feed I see something someone put some love into. Or if it was a team, they worked well as a team.

I subscribe to Marco Arment’s theorem:

On a long enough timescale, Dave Winer is usually proven right.

So, when I read that Dave Winer is excited about Mastodon it makes me feel a bit more optimist about its future.

snippets
November 17, 2022

Kicking Projects Kickoffs

Large companies love project kickoffs. They seem to represent an efficient way to jumpstart a project and achieve quicker results.

Yet, many kickoffs are (at best) none of these things. Most are a waste of time. And, I’d argue, they actually delay results because they force superficial planning at the start. Not to say project kickoffs are a doomed practice.

They can be very useful. But it requires stepping far away of most companies daily-norm. Why? Because successful kickoffs, in essence, need to be a waste of productive time. A large part of the team needs to go be thrown together and dragged through many of the topics at hand. Without much time to dig into any specific area.

Here’s the thing, kickoffs are not about kick-starting a project, they’re about resetting previous beliefs and notions of those involved. To allow them to come up with a new type of solution. 

The kickoff itself needs to strike a balance between discussing issues, without starting to work on them, and still have the group interact with each other enough that a team bond comes out of it. All of this usually without significant budget and/or with business as usual sending a message/email to derail attention.

Obviously, I just finished one of these. It feels like it was successful, but won’t be clear until we start working on it.

November 17, 2022

Arc Browser

Arc Browser seems to getting closer to release. It’s a beautiful opinionated browser, and my default for last month. It even managed to replace Safari for my personal browsing.

Funnily, on paper, many of the features we’re done first by Vivaldi. In practice, Arc’s beautiful design really sets in apart. It does require you to let go of 20 years of browser conventions.

David Pierce on theverge.com

Arc is more like ChromeOS than Chrome. It tries to expand the browser to become the only app you need because, in a world where all your apps are web apps and all your files are URLs, who really needs more than a browser? For the moment, I do, if only because Arc’s bad window management makes it too hard to quickly move amongst all my stuff. 

Chris Hannah:

There are certainly good parts to the browser, I like the design, split-view, separate spaces, chrome plugins, the concept of a command bar, and a few other things. But for how I want to use the web, and a web browser specifically, I started to get the feeling like it was working against me. And I don’t have the energy to use a web browser that makes me feel like that when there are much better options available for me.

Darin Fisher, Chrome and ChromeOS Lead Joins Arc Browser:

I co-created the world’s most popular browser. Now, I’m joining The Browser Co to fulfill an old dream. […] I imagine a browser that is more than just a browser — that makes it easier for me to create on the web, and easier for me to discover what others have created. I dream of the browser fueling a virtuous cycle between creator and consumer, and ultimately growing the web ecosystem.

Matt Birchler, on youtube.com:

I’m still loving Arc by @browsercompany and this video touches on some of the little things that I just don’t get from the other browsers out there today.

snippets
November 14, 2022

Dates Are Content

I found an old notebook with notes and writings. If it weren’t for a small date scribbled on the top right, it would have been really hard to pinpoint when I wrote it.

In fact, I have many similar notebooks with stuff on them that I can’t bother to deduce when they were written. Just 10 characters — if you use ISO dates — are the difference between curiosity and archeology.

This isn’t limited to the analog world. Text files in a computer are great at keeping metadata on creation and modification dates … until you do a restore, and it all gets flattened to today.

A date is part of the content. It can provide context, a sorting parameter, or an organizing convention.

Just like habit makes any writing without a title feel unfinished, a lack of date should make it incomplete.

November 12, 2022

The Way I Heard It
by Mike Rowe

The Way I Heard ItThe Way I Heard It

Some audiobooks truly benefit from the author’s narration, and this is one of them. On the surface, The Way I Heard It is a selection of episodes of the podcast with the same name. Rowe’s commentary glues the episodes together, and it is done in such a way that it justifies calling this collection a book.

Both in each of stories and in between, I learned, was entertained, and made me think. What else can you ask of a good book?

I think this book will make me revisit my top 10 audiobooks post from a few years back. An easy recommendation.

Audiobook
November 11, 2022

State Your Processes

Starting a major project soon, in which we need to map all our processes. We have a lot of practices that are not always formalized. And while we’re staying clear of codifying ourselves into a corner, we can’t hide behind the agile banner anymore.

Thinking about how to do an initial inventory, the playbook first step is to ask: what are your current processes?. To which, I can imagine half the team blankly staring back and repeating the question out loud: what do you mean by pro-cé-sees?

Therefore, the new script asks: what are your responsibilities and common tasks? And in a few initial meetings, it has worked extremely well.

It is fascinating how we already have many systems but are not aware of them. The next challenge is going to be translate and document them.

November 9, 2022

Affinity V2 of Photo, Designer and Publisher Launched

Jess Weatherbed on theverge.com

Affinity Designer 2, Affinity Photo 2, and Affinity Publisher 2 have all been visually redesigned and introduce some new features for designers and creative professionals.

Denny Henke on denny.micro.blog

Exciting day for users of the Affinity suite of creative apps, especially #iPad users. Serif have released the new 2.0 suite which includes Publisher for iPad. Publisher was previously only available for Mac/Windows. So, now all 3 desktop apps have been updated and all three are also updated and available on the iPad. I’ve already imported a project from my Mac into Affinity Publisher on the iPad and it’s fantastic.

Matt Gemmell on mastodon.scot

Wow. Affinity Photo, Publisher, and Designer v2 are all out. You can buy a one-time license that covers all three, on all three platforms they support (macOS, Windows, and iPadOS) all for £90 right now. No subscription. That’s ridiculously good value.

Robert McGovern on social.tarasis.net

[…] even better is that other people in your household are allowed to use those apps, and only required to get there own license if used for commercial use.

That’s fab for families where say kids use windows/iPads and adults use a Mac/iPad

Still deciding if I’m only getting Affinity Designer 2 for the intro price of $40.99, or the three apps for $99.99. I really only need a vector drawing app — since Sketch went subscription years ago — but every so often a more powerful photo and publishing app is needed. Specially since it includes the iPad version.

snippets
November 9, 2022

Calendar App Walkabout

Taking a break from the beloved Fantastical as my main calendar app. A couple of circumstances helped me make the change:

  1. Access to Vimcal’s Microsoft 365 Beta test.
  2. Fantastical’s yearly renewal was up last week.

I knew that as long as Fantastical was an option, it would be my comfortable place to go when I didn’t know how to do something in Vimcal. So cancelling (likely just postponing) the subscription helped the experiment.

After a few days of testing Fantastical’s free version, Outlook, Apple Calendar and other’s the current setup is as follows:

  • Mac:
    • Vimcal in browser (their electron app still doesn’t have support for M365)
    • Apple Calendar
    • Raycast Calendar for Menubar up-next view of events.
  • iPhone/iPad:
    • Apple Calendar
    • Eventually Vimcal iOS app, but still doesn’t support M365 either.

You might say this is crazy… and you’re right. What can I say? Some people enjoy hours of pain going uphill on bikes, I like to break my perfectly tuned workflows to play with new apps.

Will it hold? Not sure. Vimcal is really good, but not sure if $15 a month good. When the iOS version gets M365 support, I’m will be able to more clearly test it.

At the same time, Superhuman calendar continues to improve (albeit slowly), and on Google it already supports team availability. That’s currently my main blocker for not using its calendar to create events.

Still, I don’t expect Superhuman to come up with iOS Widgets or Apple Watch complications. Knowing that Apple Calendar is can do those tasks is great news.

Going to give Vimcal a few more days before sharing some impressions.

November 8, 2022

Fix OneDrive for Mac Not Opening Files From Spotlight

support.microsoft.com:

Resetting Microsoft OneDrive can sometimes resolve sync issues and resets all OneDrive settings. OneDrive will perform a full sync after the reset.

Not sure if it was Ventura’s update, but my files and folders in OneDrive wouldn’t open from Spotlight. This was very frustrating.

Luckily, following the steps in the above Microsoft Support page, fixes the issue.

snippets
November 8, 2022

Write If Else End If

Yesterday was the conclusion of the month long daily writing experiment. I dare to say that maybe a habit has started to form. It was a good experiment.

I think the most successful part was understanding the goal: creating a system to write every day.

If I had to pick the three biggest learnings:

  1. Make it very easy to succeed. During this month, my metric was to write something at least longer than a tweet (280 characters). Anything above that, was good enough.
  2. Deadlines make you deliver. I didn’t question if” I wanted to write, I had to. This made it easier to just grab the less bad idea and go exploring in writing.
  3. Chew on ideas. Write down your sparks during the day, but let them marinate a little before sitting down to write. This helped a few lines ready to come up when the writing started.

That’s it. I’m going to continue posting everyday, but it won’t be part of this Daily Post tag anymore.

dailyposts
November 7, 2022

A Roundup of Mastodon Mentions

Interesting week for Mastodon given Twitter’s latest circus show. Here’s some interesting points I came across throughout the last few days:

Exploring Mastodon:

Indeed I’d expect that most people won’t use Mastodon. The essence of this federated social future isn’t the software the instances run on, but the protocol they use to communicate (ActivityPub). Hosting services will run different kinds of software, designed more with the needs of a hosting service in mind.

Taking a look at Mastodon:

Twitter can’t really be replaced with anything else, because everyone’s Twitter experience is unique to them and their community. […] With email, it doesn’t matter which provider you go with. Thanks to universal SMTP standards that every server uses, you can exchange messages with everyone else. This is the same with Mastodon. You’re not siloed into a single instance, and you can follow people from any other instance.

Mastodon is the new Google Reader:

Mastodon is to ActivityPub what Google Reader is to RSS. Google Reader wasn’t the only RSS reader, but at its height it was the biggest. Mastodon isn’t the only ActivityPub application, but it is the biggest.

I agree with the narrative in which the ActivityPub protocol is a” next big something™ being brewed here. Mastodon is just the biggest (small) application at the moment.

Mastodon is not ready for me:

I have managed my own email server since the 90s, but I do not feel that the system administration effort required to maintain a private Mastodon instance would be justified at this point: there is not even a Debian package! Mastodon either needs to become much simpler to maintain or become much more socially important, and so far it is neither.

The Elon Gambit:

So the exodus will continue until morale improves, but mostly as far as the exiles are concerned. Many will come back, or post on multiple networks, or just do what normal people do and use different forums for different things.

Colin Devroe:

I have to admit, I’m surprised that just a few tens of thousands of new users can make Mastodon underperform.

Elon and Twitter:

A few of my friends — maybe 10, which actually isn’t a small number for this situation — have declared the future is Mastodon and that I should come and join. I looked at Mastodon years ago, and I took a fresh look this week, and no, it’s not a place I’m interested in moving. It is, and always will be, the linux on the desktop, this time for sure” of social networks.

Still, if you grade Mastodon on a curve with Twitter, it clearly is far from ready to be a replacement. But that’s the rub, it isn’t a replacement. The Linux on the desktop burn is on point, but not for the reasons most people say.

True, Linux and ChromeOS together have an inmaterial share of the desktop market. But Linux as the underpinning of Android, is the most popular OS in mobile. Maybe that’s ActivityPub reason-to-be, the next something.

But, but, but, I keep seeing positive posts regarding Mastodon:

It looks like I’m moving to Mastodon:

I’ve been using Twitter since November 2006—wow, that’s 16 years! I’ve accumulated 42,804 followers there. It’s been really good to me, and I’ve invested a lot of work generating content there to feed the machine. It’s also attracting very much the kind of people I want to hang out with. Mastodon is, unsurprisingly, entirely populated by nerds. But the variety of nerds is highly pleasing to me. I’ve been checking in on the #introduction hashtag and I’m seeing artists, academics, writers, historians. It’s not just programmers. The variety of interest areas on Twitter is the thing I’ll miss most about it, so seeing that start to become true on Mastodon too is a huge relief.

All said, there’s still a significan uptick in Mastodon activity, and it feels like a new baseline has been reached. One that isn’t a Twitter replacement, but does feel like a geeky water-cooler with some rough edge… just like Twitter 15 years ago.

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November 7, 2022

A Quick Review of the Logi MX Mechanical Mini for Mac

Thord Hedengren, on switchtoipad.com:

It’s a bit too plasticky for my taste, the travel doesn’t feel nice to me, and I’m just not making friends with it.

For $150, you should love a keyboard.

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November 7, 2022

Do Make Me Repeat Myself

Among all the voices in the back of my mind when I’m writing the post: you already said that before always has a front seat.

Here’s Tony Fadell on Steve Job’s iPhone introduction from his book Build:

Steve didn’t just read a script for the presentation. He’d been telling a version of that same story every single day for months and months during development—to us, to his friends, his family. He was constantly working on it, refining it. Every time he’d get a puzzled look or a request for clarification from his unwitting early audience, he’d sand it down, tweak it slightly, until it was perfectly polished.

Of course, if I replied to the voice in my head with the above quote, the laughter would likely be heard outside my head. Still, there’s an important thread here.

Iteration can happen in many ways. And if consciously — or unconsciously — I’m revisiting the same idea in a different post, it should be something to double-down on. Not shy away from.

dailyposts
November 6, 2022

Liftoff
by Eric Berger

LiftoffLiftoff

Robie grabbed this book from the shelves of B&N and asked me what it was about. I told him I’d start reading it that night and tell him what I learned. So I loved this booked even before reading the first page.

It’s a great book about the SpaceX early days. Enjoyed that it’s not a how they made it, but rather: in now many ways they almost didn’t. My admiration and appreciation of SpaceX and the new space age we’re now only increased after many of the stories.

November 6, 2022

iPhone 14 Pro Models COVID Update from Apple

apple.com:

COVID-19 restrictions have temporarily impacted the primary iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max assembly facility located in Zhengzhou, China. The facility is currently operating at significantly reduced capacity.

Whoa, don’t recall a similar consumer-facing note from Apple. Hold on to your hats for iPhone Pro resell value as we head into the holidays.

Sadly/luckily(?), doesn’t affect me. Holding on to my iPhone 12 mini. Only thing I’m considering is replacing the battery — since I still have AppleCare+ for it.

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November 6, 2022

Blog am I?

This experiment has made me think a bit about this blog. I imagine 5typos.net was born like most blogs: with dreams of grandeur and me copying other bloggers.

My first three posts 14 years ago have styles which basically set the tone for all the rest: a link/quote post, a personal note, a longer commentary on a tech feature.

The last 28 daily posts have slowly become easier to write. Not to start writing. But once the kids are in bed, I know any of the half-baked ideas in my head must do.

That’s a change for me. Only Seth Godin writes this way — and he’s really smart. And while I’ve copied his style in the past, it feels uncomfortable to do everyday. Dave Winer’s blog is likely the one I’d stand behind if I had to justify a new style.

But why justify the style? It must be time to face the music and realize my geeky commentary on news is not going to earn me a micro-celebrity status. Nor was that something I wanted.

I blog to write and post. Writing makes me feel good, sharing it on the internet is even better. Would I mess this now if I find an audience?

As I start to go down this rabbit hole, changing the domain name is the first sign I’m procrastinating with planning instead of writing. For now the plan is to finish the monthly experiment with tomorrow’s post — and then decide what the system really is: daily writing or daily postings.

dailyposts
November 5, 2022

The World Keeps Happening

On routine filled, boring days, it’s good to ponder how many people would appreciate a few days like this. No bombs or dramas. No fights or anxiety. Just a simple meh day you can roll your eyes at, and try to avoid repeating by reading some self-help articles.

Of course, you can have a totally not-boring life, and not imply any of the negatives above. That’s an even better quadrant — I think. But a note to self to appreciate the goodness of this spot in the comfort/excitement matrix is not wasted space.

dailyposts
November 4, 2022

A Morning Page Practice

The morning page is becoming a habit at the start of the day, but unlike the evening journal, it lacks structure. On most days, is ends being a forward-looking journal. On others, it’s a reflection to whatever problem or projects I went to bed with. Sometimes it’s personal contemplation, while others a productive plan for the day.

Not sure if my struggle to force it into a productive tool is the right way forward. If its the intent is to give my awaking mind an audience to make some sense, of the morning fight between my monkey and lizard brain.

Regardless, the recipe is simple: blank page and pen (analog or digital), and a free flow of thoughts. It won’t make sense individually, but in aggregate, you’ll see something come out of it.

dailyposts
November 3, 2022

Good Tired and Bad Tired

Some days you finish exhausted, but with a sense of accomplishment that let’s with a nice mellow felling. Other days, you barely survive.

On those bad days, I still consider myself lucky that I’m able to say eff it and close the laptop. It’s giving up, knowing that tomorrow you get another round.

dailyposts
November 2, 2022

Changelog to Checklist

New month, yet another monthly report. I’m really getting dividends out of a detailed checklist created over the past few months.

It’s actually a log/checklist I’ve been updating for the past year. But it has help bring down what used to be two full days of report generation to a couple of hours.

As usual, the blank page scares the shite out of me. What helped this checklist get created is that started as a changelog. Over a few months the repeating parts got codified, and what could be automated was scripted.

Next step is documenting the checklist so it can be handed off.

dailyposts
November 1, 2022

Sugar Rush

Halloween as a celebration of scariness doesn’t hold any particular attraction to me. But with kids, I now enjoy the community aspect it brings.

Granted, you could recreate the community experience in a much healthier way. But as immigrants, it’s also comfortable to have a 3rd party custom we can all vaguely relate to.

Very sure I’ll change my tune in 10 years when Bettina tries to leave the house with some horrifically short costume — but I hope we still have a few more years of geeking out with Robie on how to put the decorations, and arguing with Bettina on how to give out candies.

dailyposts
October 31, 2022

Who’s the Boss?

A combination of old age and capitalism bias is making me care about today’s twitter circus news. Never a good sign.

But here’s the thing: Musk is now Twitter’s boss and owner. Does that excuse him for being a tyrannical maniac? Well, no. But it’s his show. He bought for $44 billion something that appears to be worth around $15 billion.

He will cut costs and generate revenue. Setting crazy expectations from one of the few revenue streams Twitter has, seems like a simple way to achieve both.

It’s now make or break time for a lot of teams inside Twitter. I don’t envy them one bit. An almost 20 year old company thrown back into startup mode. The surgery will hurt. The patient might not survive.

There are many reasons why I might leave Twitter. Even more reason for me not wanting to work there. But the current news cycle drama isn’t on them.

dailyposts
October 30, 2022

Micro or Not

When I started this daily experiment, I was certain that these dailies would end up on my microblog. Au contraire.

Now I’m leaning to consolidate everything back to one blog. The segmentation between this main blog, the microblog and twitter/mastodon is not worth the trouble.

The question then is going to be: is 5typos.net the url for the next 14 years of this blog?

dailyposts
October 29, 2022

Lucky Me

Sometimes you’re not where you want to be in your life/career/tennis forehand. But a better introspection is to travel back to the past and see how your current situation would look from the past.

Would past Roberto be happy with where present Roberto is now?

You can of course skip talking to yourself in third person — that’s a great first step to not making your past self hate your present self.

dailyposts
October 28, 2022

Back to Square 5

The strangest thing happened today. For the first time since February 2020, the office was full. So full, in fact, that even the meeting rooms weren’t available. When 3 of us in the office had a meeting with a fourth that was remote, we had to take it each on our seat.

Here’s the strange part: it felt perfectly natural. Actually, it felt less uncomfortable than trying to involve the remote person when 3 others are in the same room.

Not sure what it means, but some sort of threshold has been crossed. The office is forever changed. And… noise cancellation headphones should be part of desktop equipment soon.

dailyposts
October 28, 2022

DuckDuckGo for Mac Public Beta Out

From spreadprivacy.com:

Since announcing the waitlist beta in April, we’ve been listening to beta testers’ feedback and making even more improvements to meet your needs. We added a bookmarks bar, pinned tabs, and a way to view your locally stored browsing history.

Forgot to post this. Not a bad v1. As mentioned before, it uses the Safari engine, so it’s fast with very little resource use. The UX seems slightly off, not in a bad way, just different.

Good option to keep around.

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