September 22, 2020

Arq 7 with Native UI is Coming

Stefan Reitshamer on

So, we decided to implement the entire UI as a native” UI. It’s got better keyboard navigation, it’s more intuitive, has a smaller disk footprint, and supports drag-and-drop to easily restore files to your desktop or a Finder window. It just feels better.

Happy with the news. Arq 5 with BlackBlaze B2 Is my cloud backup solution — I use Backblaze Unlimited for Ana’s MacBook because it’s simpler. I didn’t initially upgrade to Arq 6 because of the noise around the UI, not that it affected me much, but with backups boring is mostly good.

When Arq 7 is out I’ll do some napkin calculations and consider the move to Arq Premium and streamline my workflow a bit.

September 22, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 38

  • Roam-highlighter: Chrome extension to highlight text on page to copy to Roam/Obsidian. Best one I’ve found, hope it comes to Safari 14.
  • Nudget: budgeting iOS app with quick entry and multi-currency support.
  • Vill Q: macOs software to draw on screen and making screen annotation. Useful for screen-sharing calls.
  • Tageslicht: share your iOS camera view on an external display.
September 17, 2020

Lectures on Digital Photography by Marc Levoy

Amazing Digital Photography course by Marc Levoy:

An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, and computational photography. We will also survey the history of photography, look at the work of famous photographers, and talk about composing strong photographs.

Just getting started on the YouTube videos, but this is amazing.

These 18 videos represent a sequence of lectures on digital photography, from a version of my Stanford course CS 178 that was recorded at Google in Spring 2016.

Marc Levoy is a Standford Professor, the person behind the Google Pixel camera, and is now at Adobe building a camera app. So, he knows photography.

September 14, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 37

  • Shareful: Provides any app with a Share button with a Copy, Save, and Open action.
  • Watercooler: Lightweight, High-Res Video Calls for Mac
  • Lunar: macOS utility to set brightness and volume on external monitors.
September 9, 2020

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch and Landing Video with Sound

Sped up footage from an onboard camera during Falcon 9’s launch of the SAOCOM 1B mission — SpaceX’s first launch to a polar orbit from the East Coast.

The angle and sound of this video makes it amazing.

September 7, 2020

SuperDuper on Big Sur

Dave Nania, on

In the meantime, my advice for macOS Betas remains as valid as ever: do not install a macOS Beta unless you have a critical business need to do so. These Betas, even when public, are not for general use, and certainly not for anyone who wants a reliable system for day-to-day work.

They don’t even have an alpha yet. I’m excitedly waiting by the fence on macOS 11.0 while things settle down. Catalina has enough personality kinks as it is.

September 1, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 35

  • Nessie: extremely simple web browser for Windows, based on the Trident engine.
  • Screenotate: screenshot manager for Mac and Windows with OCR.
  • BlackHole: virtual audio driver for macOS that allows applications to pass audio to other applications.
  • Longplay: iOS music player for those who enjoy listening to entire albums start-to-finish.
  • Keysmith: create shortcuts for any string of actions you can do with your mouse and keyboard on macOS.
August 25, 2020

Kindle Collects Large Amount of Data

Charlie Belmer on

The Kindle is far from the most invasive privacy app I have seen, but it records a lot of behavioral reading information I don’t like. I’ve been trying to get away from the the Kindle ecosystem for the past year or so, and now use Marvin for reading on my iPhone. I no longer use the Kindle device, though I dearly miss e-Ink.

Good reminder. I don’t think this data is used for nefarious reasons, but it does exist.

It makes me a bit uncomfortable also because I like to remove DRM from my books and convert them to ePUB — which I convert back to AWZ. Since sync works across devices on these files, it’s a safe bet that all the data is also stored.

I’ve been eyeing the Kobo e-Ink devices, but until there’s a good ePUB sync solution with iOS.

August 21, 2020

Tidbits for 2020 Week 33

  • Isoflow: easy isometric diagrams on the web.
  • yFi: get notified, automatically reconnect, or ignore a drop in WiFi TX rate.
  • Bluesnooze: Turn BT off when your Mac sleeps, and switched on when your Mac wakes.
  • MonitorControl: Control external monitor brightness, contrast or volume on macOS.
  • macintosh.js: virtual Apple Macintosh with System 8, running in Electron.
August 21, 2020

Hotel in Tokyo Installs Flight Simulator in Room

Seher Asaf, on

They can choose to book the room for the night for an additional 25,300 Yen ($233); however, guests staying for a night in the twin bed room can’t sit in the pilot’s seat or touch the instruments”, according to the hotel. A transparent acrylic board” will separate the cockpit from the room.

No kinky sim stuff then.

August 1, 2020
Underground Airlines

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

This was a powerful read. Racism is both a straight forward and complex subject. A lot of it involves a reality I cannot comprehend because it’s alien to my everyday life. This novel uses the magic of alternate history to peer into that reality.

Story wise it’s a slow burner that eases you into an alternate United States where slavery was never abolished in the south. By the time you’re painted the full picture, shock gives way to sad acceptance how this could have been:

Under the Fugitive Persons Act, those who escape from service are to be captured and returned, anywhere they are found in the United States, slave state or free.

This is an excellent book on its own. But I’ve gone back to that alternate reality a few times over the past month to be a better listener to the recent protests.

July 30, 2020

On Easy Implementations

After a few weeks of pandemic eating, I’m back in intermittent fasting mode. While there are medical benefits for it, the reason IF works for me is the ease of implementation:

  • At 6 PM I stop eating until 12 PM the next day. (Minus a coffee with a shot of milk foam for breakfast).

Side benefits are that it curbs my sugar and late night carbs anxiety eating. But when I try to do it the other way around — no chocolate after a healthy dinner — I fail.

The simple implementation can generate other desirable behaviors that would require more complex rules — if you wanted to define the same outcome in the requirements.

Something similar happens with working with a standing desks. It is not that standing is better than seating. For me, it is harder to stand incorrectly for long periods of time, than to slouch in my chair for much longer.

I get tired standing up, which makes me move, then I sit, then I get bored and stand up again. This is a better behavior based on designing my workplace around standing.

These has been a couple of successful cases, I have a lot more failures (doing push-ups before brushing teeth comes to mind). There’s no right one-size-fits-all with lifehacks, because our life’s are different. We are left to experiment, observe results, and try again.

July 27, 2020

On Lack of Control

Mornings are my most difficult time to be a parent. I’ve always been a late sleeper, which makes the 5-6am Daddy, Daddy call challenging. On top of that, I fall into a bad mood as a result for the rest of the ante meridiem activities.

My cheap psychology theory is that even when the kids wake me up at the time I was expected to - the lack of control over it sets me off.

This might me a similar feeling my own team experiences when I call them with a fire at any point throughout the day. It says a lot of their attitude that they haven’t replied with a expletive yet, because there been days I’m ready to throw one of my little treasures out the window at 6am.

July 26, 2020
Dust (Silo #3)

Dust (Silo #3) by Hugh Howey

The lack of expectations of the second book and how much I ended up liking it, did a disservice to the final one. A fun but less surprising book. It was a fulfilling end to the trilogy, without all the pieces falling into place — in a way that added realism to the story.

I did miss someone lamenting over the grand plan falling apart in the end. One of the things I enjoyed from the series was the fact there were no evil people, only misguided powerful ones. On this final chapter, the winners and the losers aligned neatly to the good and bad ones.

I’ll look for more books from Hugh Howey, and revisit the world created in my head — because like all good sci-fi, it created an useful parallel universe to be reminded of every so often.

July 24, 2020

Respect and Distrust Your Future Self

Talk to yourself with kindness when writing tasks. Remember you’re passing notes to an older and forgetful person. Be sure to not only define the task clearly, but remind yourself why it exists. Your next week self might be wiser, but it is more distracted about this particular task than your present self.

Next Monday you’ll need the freedom to decide if the task is as important as it sounds on Friday. Mistakes might have been made, but jot down the keywords that’ll help you remember why.

An useful note is the least you can do to someone you’re making do your work.