Recent Articles


Jul 17, 2015   | 8 words

“…and try to knock some science into people.”

Truck Factors

Jul 15, 2015   #software  | 107 words

Seeing mtov‘s post, Truck-Factor reminded me that many of the apps I’ve used regularly for years are susceptible to a small number of buses (I prefer “Bus Factor” to “Truck Factor). My most-used apps, typically, are these… Tinderbox DEVONthink Curio TheBrain BBEdit Each of these is developed by a very small team, sometimes by only one person. I don’t really worry about this. They’ve all been around a long time and the developers are active and reliable. | Read On →

With Flash goes a lot of content

Jul 15, 2015   | 73 words

There are many good reasons for getting rid of Flash, and I wouldn’t dream of arguing against it. What concerns me is that if browser makers decide to set a “killbit” which prevents any use of Flash, what happens to all the Flash-only content created over the years? Many projects aren’t worth rewriting in HTML5 or whatever just to avoid their delivery mechanism. That doesn’t make them worthless. Is anyone thinking about this?

Fixing pdflatex after El Capitan update

Jul 14, 2015   #LaTeX  #sysadmin  | 128 words

I upgraded both my Macs to the El Capitan beta and could no longer convert Org Mode or Markdown files to PDFs. My scripts were returning an error: “command not found: pdflatex”. Where could it be? I soon noticed that I had lost the symlink to the TeX distribution, which is usually /usr/texbin. Easy enough to recreate it, I thought, but was wrong. Apparently, in El Capitan you’re not allowed to write to /usr, even using sudo. | Read On →

Repairing Emacs after installing El Capitan

Jul 14, 2015   #emacs  #sysadmin  | 79 words

Another issue after installing the El Capitan beta yesterday: Emacs became slow and had font issues. Recording my fix here for future reference. Upgraded to Xcode 7 beta and installed the latest command line tools The beta application is named “Xcode beta” so I deleted the original and told the system to use the new one. Updated the app using homebrew and emacs was back in action. sudo xcode-select --switch | Read On →

Screen addiction (or why Grandma’s sad) – Kottke

Jul 13, 2015   #social  | 97 words

Kottke People on smartphones are not anti-social. They’re super-social. Phones allow people to be with the people they love the most all the time, which is the way humans probably used to be, until technology allowed for greater freedom of movement around the globe. People spending time on their phones in the presence of others aren’t necessarily rude because rudeness is a social contract about appropriate behavior and, as Hermann points out, social norms can vary widely between age groups Like Kottke, I am trying to believe this. | Read On →

Gail at Blue Lake

Jul 12, 2015   #film  #Leica  #tri-x  | 16 words

Gail. (2015). Leica M4, Tri-X My favorite from yesterday’s trip to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp

Reddit’s Terrorists Have Won – The Daily Beast

Jul 12, 2015   #social  | 58 words

Reddit’s Terrorists Have Won: Ellen Pao and the Failure to Rebrand Web 2.0 – The Daily Beast This is the face of Web 2.0, folks. This is the boondoggle they’ve been selling to all the Web 2.0 investors—that the “social web” is an untapped oil well when in reality it’s a seething underground pool of excrement and bile.

.@Twitter. Who Do You Think You Are? –

Jul 10, 2015   #social  #twitter  | 74 words

@Twitter Who Do You Think You Are? – It’s utterly insane that you still need to put a period before a person’s Twitter handle, such as “.@twitter,” if you want everyone to see it. Could you imagine Facebook doing that? Twitter still uses “favorite” instead of the more universal “like.” And Twitter still expects people to use Boolean search commands. Bilton describes all of the best things about Twitter as if they’re flaws.

Everything You Laugh At Is Built On Sadness – The Awl

Jul 10, 2015   | 48 words

The Awl If you strip the Internet of its ability to mock things that might be based in bereavement and despair all that will remain is intersectionality, optical illusions and idiot teens tweeting “SLAAAAAY” every ten minutes. Oh, and also transient manufactured outrage. Always the transient manufactured outrage.

Judicious Use of Shitty Code – Jared Sinclair

Jul 6, 2015   #programming  | 103 words

Jared Sinclair If your goal is only to learn, then write clean code. But if your goal is to build a successful business, then stop trying to impress your heroes. Learn as you go. Be messy. Don’t use new technologies. Don’t use new languages for their own sake. Don’t waste time trying to think of the most elegant way to break an egg. Just smash it on the counter and leave a FIXME: comment and move on. | Read On →

Another Org Mode Blogging Option – org-page

Jul 4, 2015   #Blogging  #org-mode  | 318 words

Even though I’ve been posting to via Org2Blog I’m still interested in other blogging options available from within Org Mode. There’s a long list of options here. I started with Org-page for no particular reason other than it looked fairly simple. I’m new to the whole Emacs and Org Mode world so starting simple is better. Here are some quick notes on what I’ve learned so far. In my .spacemacs config… (setq op/repository-directory "~/Sites/notes") ;; the repository location (setq op/site-domain "") (setq op/site-main-title "Notes by Jack Baty") (Setq op/site-sub-title "Notes on work and play") (setq op/personal-disqus-shortname "jackbaty") I created a new repo using… M-x op/new-repository This creates and configures a new Git repository. | Read On →

Posting to WordPress via Org2Blog

Jul 3, 2015   #Blogging  #org-mode  | 95 words

Today I discovered Org2Blog, which is “a tool to publish directly from Emacs’ org-mode to WordPress blogs”. I’ve been learning Org Mode for the past few weeks so this seemed useful. If all goes well, this will be my first post using Org2Blog. My plan is to use a single file and write each post as a subtree. It happens something like this… M-x org2blog/wp-login M-x org2blog/wp-post-subtree That’s it! I’ll eventually need to figure out how to put my password in .authinfo rather than typing it each time, but so far this is pretty simple.

Meet Apple Music +

Jul 1, 2015   #apple  #music  | 121 words

Meet Apple Music + The playlists include a whole bunch of stuff I can’t stand, along with a smattering of albums from acts that I’m okay with but not particularly passionate about That’s odd, because I’ve found the “For You” section to be almost eerily accurate. I can pretty much close my eyes, click anywhere, and hear a song I like. I too am curious how much Apple Music uses my thousands of iTunes Match songs and purchase history to guide the recommendations. | Read On →

Don’t Touch That Dial — Medium

Jun 30, 2015   #apple  #music  | 103 words

Dave Pell Apple’s Beats 1 radio station will be the most popular part of its music service. And it will spawn additional stations. And we’ll realize that while it sometimes pays to follow the technology, it can be just as fulfilling to follow the beaten path. And along that path, if you happen to see a few other heads moving to the same beat, all the better. Rock on. I think this is exactly right. | Read On →

I hate iTunes. And I think Apple does, too – Quartz

Jun 30, 2015   | 60 words

How many times have you heard someone say that they need a new phone or laptop because their current one was full? Source: I hate iTunes. And I think Apple does, too – Quartz Zero, is how many times. I’m not a fan of iTunes, but I tire of hearing that “planned obsolescence” is the primary factor driving every manufacturer.

Retired the Extended Keyboard II for now

Jun 26, 2015   #apple  #hardware  | 70 words

I’m a little sad that I had to stop using the wonderful Extended Keyboard II due to my recent foray into Emacs and Org Mode. The Caps Lock key on Apple’s keyboard physically locks when pressed so it’s not possible to remap the Caps Lock to Control key. Well, it’s possible, but useless. S’okay, I pulled the Das Keyboard out of the closet and that’s a pretty great keyboard also.


Jun 26, 2015   #Legal  #politics  | 51 words

It’s been a wild week of significant Supreme Court rulings. As a heterosexual white male with company-provided healthcare I don’t have much skin in the game, as it were, but it feels like we’ve moved things in the right direction for the many who do. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

The Amazon Echo

Jun 26, 2015   #Amazon  #hardware  | 324 words

I’ve had my Amazon Echo for a couple of months now and it’s pretty great. Alexa (her name, because the Echo responds to calling it (her?) “Alexa”) sits in my kitchen and waits for me to ask her things. I ask her things constantly. She tells me the weather, plays whatever music I want to hear, looks things up on Wikipedia, plays the news, reads me my Audible books, and sets cooking timers. | Read On →

Oh yeah, there’s still a!

Jun 25, 2015   #Blogging  #Linux  | 117 words

Back in October, 2014 Paul Ford did something amazing and wrote about it: I had a couple drinks and woke up with 1,000 nerds It was the story of I love the idea of sites everywhere. I even ran one for a spell. Mr. Ford was kind enough to provide me with an account on the original server. You can find it at I still update it occasionally. | Read On →