Why I switched to…

I could write a post every day titled “Why I switched to [INSERT TOOL HERE].”

I don’t do that, because 90% of the time the reasons I switch from one tool to another have little to do with how I’d characterize them in a blog post. In other words, most of my “reasons” for switching, while based on facts, are still bullshit1.

See, most of the time I’m just bored and want to try something new.

I rarely try new things when I’m actually busy or productive. I can be productive with any text editor at all. Or any todo manager, or any git client, or any browser, or any shell, or any terminal, or any operating system, or any blogging system, or any image editor, or any keyboard, or any camera, or any film developer, or… you see what I mean.

I do like to try new things, and if I’m being honest, there are only 3 reasons I switch tools:

  1. Boredom
  2. Procrastination
  3. Curiosity

Everything else is rationalization2.


  1. This doesn’t mean I’ll never write about it! [return]
  2. I’m of course speaking for myself here. [return]

Why Clojure? - (Uncle) Bob Martin

Bob Martin:

Over the last 5 decades, I’ve used a LOT of different languages.

And I’ve come to a conclusion.

My favorite language of all, the language that I think will outlast all the others, the language that I believe will eventually become the standard language that all programmers use…

…is Lisp.

I haven’t learned a new programming language in a decade, but I’m fascinated by Clojure.

Tumblr

Yep, I’m posting to Tumblr again. It could just be nostalgia, but I’ve been thinking about Tumblr ever since Matt announced the purchase.

I posted to Tumblr for the first time on Febuary 24th, 2007 and continued pretty regularly through 2015, right about the time Yahoo was determined to ruin it.

I really liked Tumblr. I liked the content, the easy posting UI, the “community”, the weirdness, all of it.

Like SmugMug taking over Flickr, Automattic owning Tumblr is the best turn of events I can think of, so I’m optimistically starting to post there again. No idea yet what effect it will have on my current posting venues, but what counts is that I’m having fun.

Update on using Elfeed

It turns out that most of the problems I wrote about in I Failed at Using Elfeed as My RSS Reader were due to the “improvements” introduced by the elfeed-goodies package. Removing that package made Elfeed behave as I’d expect, and now I’m reading feeds in Emacs again :)

This isn’t likely to replace NetNewsWire for the majority of my read-for-pleasure feeds, but it’s quite nice for cranking through more “transactional” feeds.

Fewer of more

I’d like to have fewer of more things. Does that make sense? Right now I have five of everything and it’s driving me nuts.

I know, I know, I’m the type of person who likes to try different things; to have options, but that may be changing. At least it feels like it’s changing. It could very well be just another short-lived mood, but I’m tired of making decisions.

Here are some of the things I’m working on having fewer of.

Software. I use way too many apps. They overlap in various ways that make it impossible to decide which to use for what. I switch between them and then need to “refactor my workflow” on a monthly basis. As fun as it is to play with software, my state of mind is telling me to cut back.

How do I do that? By using Emacs. When I’m in the mood for easy/pointy/clicky software, I try quitting Emacs. Doing so requires that I find apps to replace all the things that Emacs had been doing, and I’m back in the 3-apps-for-each-task conundrum. So now I’m using Emacs and Org-mode for everything that makes sense.

Using Emacs eliminates the need to decide between the following:

  • Things or OmniFocus for tasks
  • Tinderbox or Apple Notes or TheBrain or DEVONthink or Bear or Ulysses for notes
  • Timings or Timular for time tracking
  • BBEdit or VSCode or Vim for text editing
  • Mail.app or MailMate for email
  • TiddlyWiki or TheBrain or Tinderbox or DEVONthink for project/client notes

And so on.

Notebooks. I love paper notebooks, but deciding which to carry or use is debilitating. I’m down to three: A Field Notes pocket notebook for away-from-computer capture, A Leuchtturm for my version of Bullet Journal, and a Hobonich Techo for calendar and date-based stuff. Yes, that’s still three notebooks but it’s down from five or six. I’ll miss the Midori and the Rotterfaden but I have to stop trying to use them all at once.

Cameras. Admit it, there’s no way I’m going to stop using a bunch of different cameras. I don’t know how to addres this yet, but I spend way too much time organizing cameras and bags to get my “kit” just right.

The smartest move would be Leica M6 for everyday film, Fuji X-T3 for digital, and the Hasselblad for “serious” work. But then the beautiful Leica M4 shows up and what about the big Speed Graphic? And that Leica Q is amazing. Still thinking about this one.

Clothing. My least favorite thing is picking out an “outfit” to wear. I don’t think I could pull of a Jobsian uniform, but I’d like to not spend 15 minutes wondering what goes with what today. I’m working on getting my wardrobe down to a few types of things, all in simple colors that work together. Not there yet.

Devices. There’s no way I need all of the computers/tablets/phones I have. Two iPads? Two laptops? Two iMacs?. C’mon. This should be easy, but I love the iPad mini for most things, but the big iPad Pro is great for watching shows and doodling with a Pencil. And I’m sure I can find a good use for that “extra” iMac. I don’t need it, but there it sits, taking up my bandwidth.

Blogs. I’ve been getting better at this, but still have too much/many blogs. I want only one or two so I don’t have to think about where to post what.

Photo Sharing. I post photos to Flickr, SmugMug, Instagram, Coping Mechanism, Micro.blog, and Baty.net. That’s nuts. I would like to pick one for my photo gallery “home” and one for social sharing. Can’t decide, and it’s crazy-making.

I could probably call all of this an attempt at “Minimalism” but I stopped using that word once it had been usurped by so-called “Productivity Gurus” and “Life Coaches”. Blech, time for a new word.

Anyway, the gist is that I want to significantly reduce the number and types of decisions I have to make every day.

A little more ridiculousness - Paul Ford

Paul Ford, Vergecast:

So it’s getting cheaper to do more, but it is not an environment that rewards the vast and ridiculous creativity that we saw in the early days. I think it would. I think that just a little more ridiculousness would be welcomed because it’s very inexpensive to be ridiculous at scale.

I, for one, would welcome a little more ridiculousness.

Leica M4 is out of storage

Finally, I’ve gotten my beloved Leica M4 out of storage. It’s been in a case in my basement since last year’s move and that’s a shame.

Figure 1: Leica M4 with Voightlander 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar

Figure 1: Leica M4 with Voightlander 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar

The camera was made in 1966 and I bought it in 2009. It’s seen regular, if sporadic, use since then. I think it’s beautiful, and I especially like that it has the M3-style levers.

I have the tiny and terrific Voightlander 35mm Color Skopar on it. That lens is almost too small, but it makes fine images and was inexpensive.

It feels good to be using this setup again. I’ll run a few rolls through it and see if I still become fatigued shooting with no meter at all.

I still like using ox-hugo

I’m still using ox-hugo for publishing with Hugo. I like writing in org-mode. I also like that my entire site can be in a single text file. It’s clever enough to be helpful, but not so clever that it feels like magic.

Here’s a current screenshot.