In Defence Of Pretentiousness

Dan Fox,

Being pretentious is rarely harmful to anyone. Accusing others of it is. You can use the word “pretentious” as a weapon with which to bludgeon other people’s creative efforts, but in shutting them down the accusation will shatter in your hand and out will bleed your own insecurities, prejudices and unquestioned assumptions. And that is why pretentiousness matters. It is a false note of objective judgment, and when it rings we can hear what society values in culture, hear how we perceive our individual selves.

Dan Fox defends pretentiousness at length and it’s about time someone did.

When I hear one person label another as “pretentious”, it’s the former that I lose respect for. This is much like calling someone’s work “self-indulgent”. If your work isn’t self-indulgent, then you are not an artist, you’re an entertainer.

Does Sharpness Matter?

The Online Photographer:

The essential ambivalence or contradiction (duality? dichotomy?) is that technically, sharpness is a goal, and considered a virtue; but aesthetically, it’s just a property—no better or worse, inherently, than any other property.

I spend a lot of time on various photography forums and the focus on sharpness, if you’ll pardon the pun, drives me nuts. It’s as if being “tack-sharp” is the only meaningful quality. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and should be avoided.

Watch and Wait

Brent Simmons:

Here’s the thing, though: the Apple Watch contains a hundred miracles of engineering and design, surely, but serious problems with software and services can turn even the most incredible hardware into something you just sit on your desk and ignore.

This sort of thing is becoming a trend. Happened to me a while ago. See also.

iCloud Hates Me

Never ever change your Apple ID. I learned this yesterday when I did just that. It was a frustrating, horrible experience all the way around. I should’ve known better.

The problem is of course that I didn’t log out of iCloud on all of my devices first. This meant that I couldn’t authenticate on any of them because the Apple ID was different. And I couldn’t log out of iCloud because Find My iPhone was enabled and you’re not allowed to disable it without the password.

In other words, I was screwed.

I’m sure there’s some reasonable way to fix the problem, but the internet is basically a scammy cottage industry around such things, so I found nothing. I ended up remotely wiping the iPhone and iPad via the iCloud web app. Harsh.

The worst problem was that my iMac was configured to use my iCloud password to log in. You see where this is going. I couldn’t log out if iCloud as long as the Mac’s login was using iCloud’s password. I couldn’t change it so that the iMac used a separate password without the original password. Stuck, I was.

The "You're Screwed! dialog"

After an hour or so of begging the internet to help me, I ended up guessing that the old password had to be cached locally. Sure enough, shutting off the network let me use the original password and subsequently log out of iCloud and log back in with the new credentials.

It should be way more difficult to paint oneself into a corner like that.

Deploying My Blog Using make

I can now deploy this site (currently built using Hugo) by typing make in a terminal.

Here’s the Makefile…


all: build deploy

        hugo server


deploy: commit push
        @echo "\033[0;32mDeploying updates to $(TARGET)...\033[0m"
ifeq "$(TARGET)" "github"
    git subtree push --prefix=public gh-pages
    rsync -v -rz -e "ssh -l jbaty" --checksum --delete --no-perms $(PUBLIC_DIR) $(SERVER_HOST):$(SERVER_DIR)

        git add -A
        git commit -m "Build site `date`"

        git push origin master

        rm -rf $(PUBLIC_DIR)


I don’t know the first thing about writing makefiles but this seems to work. I sometimes host using Github Pages and sometimes on my own VPS. I can just change the TARGET macro to change where the site goes. This might be overkill but I learned a few things so it was worth it.

Auto Import From iPhone

I don’t use Photos app and still don’t trust iCloud, so I manually import photos from my iPhone to my Mac.

I’ve been using Image Capture for this, but today I read This Engadget post and learned about using instead. I didn’t know that was an option.

Now, when I plug in my iPhone, AutoImporter opens and automatically copies all the photos to ~/Photos/AutoImport and closes. The only issue was that the photos were not automatically deleted after import, even though I had the “Delete after import” option checked in Image Capture.

Image Capture setting that doesn't do what I expected

I had to set a preference in the AutoImporter app itself. The app doesn’t live in an obvious location, so this will open it.

open "/System/Library/Image Capture/Support/Application/"

Then, in AutoImporter’s preferences, check the “Delete items from camera after successful import” option.

AutoImporter preferences

Book: Enough

A quick, enjoyable, and inspirational read. Bogle says there is not enough “Eighteenth Century Values” in business and finance. I am inclined to agree.

This book is number 303 in my Booklog

Marco On The Apple TV Remote

Marco Arment:

Picking up the remote in any orientation and brushing against any part of it during handling, without physically pushing a button, should never result in accidental input. Picking it up should feel safe.

I hate the new Apple TV remote even more than I hated the old one. I’m the sort of person who likes to hold the remote while watching shows. Not possible with Apple’s too-thin, too-sensitive remote. Marco’s right, it should feel safe. It doesn’t.

The Resolution Of The Bitcoin Experiment

Mike Hearn:

But despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.

I’ve never trusted Bitcoin and sold all of mine a while ago. I didn’t understand it, if we’re being honest, but I never planned on using Bitcoin in “real life” and brushed it off as a nerdy experiment that would eventually go away.

“Bitcoin logo” by Bitboy - Bitcoin forums. Licensed under CC0 via Commons -

Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman was terrific. Memorable roles in Die Hard and the Harry Potter films cemented him as a favorite.

However, my favorite Alan Rickman role was that of Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest. It should have been a terrible movie but it’s a terrific movie, largely due to Mr. Rickman.