Almost Switched to Wordpress Again

You may have noticed that for the past 24 hours this site reverted to the old Wordpress installation. That’s because it did revert to the old Wordpress installation. Looking at all of the necessary supporting infrastructure needed for Wordpress reminded me why I prefer a static site. I came to my senses and switched it back to Hugo and Netlify.

That may have been the fastest waffling I’ve done yet.

Redesigning Waxy, 2016 edition - Waxy.org

Andy Baio

Here, I control my words. Nobody can shut this site down, run annoying ads on it, or sell it to a phone company. Nobody can tell me what I can or can’t say, and I have complete control over the way it’s displayed. Nobody except me can change the URL structure, breaking 14 years of links to content on the web.o

I love seeing this. I wish it were, and hope it becomes, part of a larger trend. I miss blogs, so the more of them that stick around the better.

baty.net is 16 years old and I have no intention of ever leaving.

Chandler Senior Portrait

A friend of mine asked me to do a last-minute photo shoot for her son’s senior portrait. The only digital portrait-making camera I have is the 14-year-old Canon 1Ds. I still like the images it makes. Below is my favorite shot of the day. I doubt mom will choose it.

Chandler (2016). Canon 1Ds. Canon 24-105L.

My System Keeps Failing

I found a web export of my old Delicious Library and it reminded me how fun it had been to see all my books in a beautiful and playful format. Delicious Library is a great app, but I’d stopped using it at some point for reasons I don’t remember. I put the old exported web site out in a Google Cloud bucket for safe-keeping here: http://dellibrary.baty.net/

I thought it would be fun to see what had changed with Delicious Library since I last used it, so I downloaded the latest version. Of course when I launched the app my old library wasn’t there. “No problem,” I thought, and went looking for a backup or export of the original library. It turns out that I don’t have one.

How is it that after spending days and days entering books over several years, I don’t have a backup copy of my library? This represents a complete failure of my “system”. Now I feel like I have to spend time, again, making sure that I have a way to archive and recover everything that means something to me, or might mean something to me in the future.

Keep backup copies of everything, and know where they are and how to find them.

Touchy

I don’t think the new Touch Bar is going to help me.

Publishing to Google Photos Using Lightroom

I’ve really come to like Google Photos1. I’ve been syncing my entire photos folder and it’s seamless.

The problem I’m finding with publishing my entire ~/Photos folder is that photos are copied to Google before I’ve finished editing them. Even then, the Lightroom edits aren’t included. This means the published photos don’t include my carefully-applied cropping, color corrections, etc. I’m also finding that I don’t need every photo published to Google Photos. I already have a solid backup process. Google Photos is meant for finding and sharing my favorite photos.

I solved the problem of selective publishing using Jeffrey Friedl’s excellent Folder Publisher Lightroom Plugin. I have the plugin configured to publish to the appropriately-named “Publish to Google Photos” folder. Friedl’s plugin uses collections to determine which photos to publish. I have a Smart Collection that collects all starred photos from my entire library. When I Publish, all of the images in the Smart Collection are exported using configured settings to a directory tree that mimics the original files’ locations. The Google Photos uploader is watching the “_Publish to Google Photos” folder.

Plugin config

Exported photos

The result is that Google Photos only contains specific, edited photos that I’ve determined worthy of publishing. If my criteria for which photos to include changes later, I only need adjust the Smart Collection and republish.

One shortcoming of this approach is that if I modify a photo after publishing, the plugin will re-export the file, but Google Photos does not update the published image. I just need to make sure to wait until I’m certain that edits are complete before publishing the first time.


  1. Privacy concerns aside [return]

Selfie

Selfie (2016). Olympus Stylus Epic. Tri-X.

Using up the last of the roll in the little Epic.

Vinyl or Stream

I’m reconsidering my attachment to “owning” digital copies of music. Thinking now that music is only necessary in Vinyl form. Anything not worth the price or not available on vinyl can just be streamed.

Hey Siri

Hey Siri

I’d love for Siri to become more than just a gimmick. For years I’ve anticipated that things would improve real soon now. I’m beginning to think it’s never going to happen.

I still love my Echo, though.

Tesla Parking Only

I wonder how often this is a problem for them?

Tesla Parking Only (2016). Nikon F3. Tri-X in HC-110 dilution B 6min.

Tinderbox to Day One

I use both Day One and Tinderbox for journaling.

Day One is nice when I’m out and about and want to include photos and location information. The Day One mobile app is great.

Creating a Day One entry would go something like…

Snap a photo, then type…

“Had dinner at Amore and ordered this delicious lasagna”

This would create an entry with the photo, put a pin on the map, and record the weather. For logging travel, events, food, and people, Day One is great.

I use Tinderbox for all other entries. It’s my “Daybook”. Tinderbox lends itself to data analysis and text processing, so I put as much in there as possible.

An example Tinderbox entry might be…

Ordered replacement filter for CPAP

Boring, but useful. There’s no need for location information or a photo. I just want to record it so I can find it later.

I used to import all of my Day One entries into my Daybook but found the process a bit clumsy and error-prone.

What I’m finding more useful is copying specific entries from the Tinderbox Daybook into Day One, rather than the other way around. This is easily done using a Stamp in Tinderbox and the dayone CLI. Tinderbox “Stamps” are simply a convenient way of setting attributes or running scripts on a note or collection of Tinderbox notes.

Here’s the Stamp I’m using…

1
runCommand("/usr/local/bin/dayone -d="+$StartDate.format("y-M0-D")+" new", $Name+"\r\r"+$Text)

This Stamp calls runCommand, which allows Tinderbox to pass things to the shell. In this case, it’s calling the dayone command-line utility using the selected note’s date, title, and text as input. I just select a note, apply the Stamp, and Poof! a new entry appears in Day One.

Self-absorbed Release Notes

Kirk McElhern:

This is wrong, and dangerous. Users look to release notes to find out what is new, and what has been fixed. If you cannot quickly see these changes in the release notes, you miss out on something important.

I don’t know about “dangerous”, but overly-clever release notes are an annoying trend. The sooner the trend is over, the better.

About that Learning Javascript article

Many of you may have read Jose Aguinaga’s post,How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016. You may have laughed, or you may have cried. Maybe you did both.

I thought it was a fine way to poke a little fun at the runaway situation facing the JavaScript community. Most of the reaction I’ve seen has been combination of amused nods and quiet sighs. Some felt the need to rebut it. And some, of course, felt attacked. None of this is surprising.

For me, there are a couple of ways to respond to an article like Aguinaga’s. The first is as an apologist. I feel Tom MacWright did this with Everything is Fine with JavaScript

If someone is holier-than-thou about technology choices, they’re wrong and you should ignore them

The second, is to determine where the sentiment comes from and try to understand it, as Tim Kadlec does, in Chasing Tools

The thing is, it’s not the ecosystem that’s the problem. It’s great that we have a plethora of options available to us. It beats the alternative. No, the problem is the way we’ve chased after each new tool that comes along and even more concerning to me, the way we teach.

I prefer the second option.

Desktop Speakers

I have a pretty decent sound system in my home office, but I rarely listen to it. Instead, I find myself just playing music through the iMac. It occurred to me that it could be because the stereo’s speakers are situated behind me. Maybe that’s what causes my “listener fatigue”.

To test this theory, I ordered a pair of Audioengine A2+ powered desktop speakers and it’s made all the difference.

AudioengineA2+

I can now listen to music all day while sitting at my desk and never tire of it.

Audioengine A2+ on my home office desk

Dropbox issues

Dropbox has always been one of those services that did exactly what it was supposed to, and did so without fuss or bother.

Lately, not so much. More often than not when my CPU is pegged it’s because of Dropbox. The hacky way Dropbox enables permissions for itself is discomforting.

And now this thing with an unwanted Finder toolbar. It showed up yesterday for me and it immediately irritated me and I couldn’t disable it. Gross.

I’d quit Dropbox and use Resilio (formerly Bittorrent) Sync for everything but so many other services integrate nicely with Dropbox that I’m not quite ready for that yet.

Getting there, though.

Sage and Portra

I put a roll of Portra through the Canon 1v. I haven’t shot much color film lately, so this was fun. The roll was processed at Meijer and scanned using the Pakon.

Sage (2016). Canon EOS-1v. Portra. Pakon scan.

Sage (2016). Canon EOS-1v. Portra. Pakon scan.

Sage (2016). Canon EOS-1v. Portra. Pakon scan.

Dictation using Apple Watch vs Sony Microcassette

I carry a microcassette recorder in my car so that I can dictate quick notes while driving, with minimal fuss. I’ve tried replacing it with using Siri or other methods on my phone, but nothing is as quick and easy as the little cassette recorder. See this earlier post for details.

Today I discovered an iOS app that attempts to make voice recording as easy as possible. It’s called Just Press Record and I’m finding it very promising. It comes with an Apple Watch app and can be used as a complication. This means that with a single tap on my watch, I can begin recording and then have the audio and transcription automatically synced to my phone (via iCloud).

One thing I’d like to see added to Just Press Record is an option to automatically save each recording. I’d rather not need to tap the Save button each time and just deal with deleting unwanted recordings later, while not driving. The fewer taps the better for my use case.

Still, the Sony allows for dictation using one hand and without needing to take my eyes off the road, so it remains to be seen whether using the watch can replace it in the long run.

Canon EOS-1DS

Canon EOS-1DS from 2002

At nearly 15 years old, one might think it would be time to retire the 2002 Canon EOS-1DS in my closet. Not quite yet!

I’ve always really liked the files from the camera, so I pulled it out today, charged the giant, clumsy battery, and shot a few snaps around the yard.

I think it holds up quite well.

Flowers (2016). Canon EOS-1DS

Leeloo 2005-2016

Leeloo. 2005-2016

Shortly after Christmas, 2005, my daughter surprised me by taking me to the local Humane Society and handing me an envelope with enough money for an adoption. She wanted me to pick out a new puppy. We already had 2 dogs at the time so I wasn’t exactly keen on getting a third, but I said I’d take a look.

I immediately fell in love with an adorable pit bull mix and we took her home. She was strong and beautiful so I decided to name her “Leeloo”, after Milla Jovovich’s strong, odd, and beautiful character in “The Fifth Element”.

Leeloo had funny ears and the sweetest disposition. I loved her.

A few weeks ago she stopped eating. After about a week we learned that her kidneys were failing, and quickly. We tried a number of treatments but her condition continued to worsen, and the decision was made to put her down.

I am heartbroken, but thankful that she was kind enough to spend her 10 years with me.

I’ve selected some of my favorite photos of Leeloo and created a collection on Flickr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbaty/albums/72157672738415752

Or if Flickr ever goes away, there’s a copy of them here: https://www.baty.net/galleries/leeloo2016/

I’ll miss my sweet Leeloo.

Forestry.io

In 2003 I was using Blosxom to publish this blog. Even though Blosxom rendered via Perl, it was essentially a static blogging engine. All content was maintaned as simple text files. I tired of always editing text files and so I built a very simple static blogging CMS for Blosxom. I called it PHPetal. It worked well for what I needed, which was a web UI for editing content in a static CMS.

More than a dozen years later, I’m again using a static blogging engine for my blog (Hugo). And once again, I sometimes miss having a simple UI for editing content, but there’s no way I’m going to write another editor for it.

Enter forestry.io.

Forestry is “A simple CMS for Jekyll and Hugo sites.” The fact that it works with both Jekyll and Hugo is great (since I use Hugo but Jekyll seems to get all the love).

I imported my blog (via Gitlab repo) and am writing this post directly in the Forestry CMS. When a post is saved, it commits the file to the Gitlab repo, which then automatically publishes and deploys via Netlify. It may be another moving part, but it’s optional and doesn’t actually take away any control.

And in the end, it’s still just HTML files on a server.