The Secret About Rangefinder Cameras

The Secret About Rangefinder Cameras:

So here’s the deep dark secret about rangefinders (Leica fanboys might not want to click past the break):

…Most people don’t like ‘em.

(Via The Online Photographer)

That may be true, but I don’t understand why. Michael goes on to list some of the advantages of rangefinders. What’s not to like?

For me, rangefinders are superior. The most significant reasons:

  1. I can see the scene outside of the framelines. I like being able to reframe based on what I know is outside the frame rather than by guessing.
  2. Ease of focusing. It has always seemed obvious to me that manually focusing using a rangefinder is much easier. Apparently, some don’t agree. Who knew?

A fortunate side effect of preferring rangefinders is that I can use Leicas. That is almost reason enough.

Book: Wool

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

I enjoy books that create a world in which I can “live”. Recommended.


I take a lot of notes. Having always loved Vim I’m not sure why I’ve never tried Vimwiki. Vimwiki is “a personal wiki for Vim”. I’ve used it for a couple of weeks now and I like it. I love that I get to write in Vim, and I love that it basically just manages a folder full of plaintext Markdown files1.

Vimwiki supports multiple wikis. I’ve created two wikis, “work” and “personal”. Each becomes its own folder. To switch between them it’s just ,ws and then enter the number of the blog;

Everything is in Dropbox so notes are synced automatically between machines.

To make links and documents, put the cursor over a word and hit Return twice. You’ll be editing a new document. Save the new document and hit Delete to return to the original. The original word will be surrounded by 2 sets of square brackets ([[ ]]), which indicates a link. The tab key jumps between links.

There’s also a nifty Diary feature. Pressing ,w,w opens or creates a new diary page for the current day. ,wi brings up an index of Diary pages:

I didn’t think I’d use the Diary but it’s so handy that I use it regularly.

Anyway, there’s a lot more to Vimwiki. Just do :help vimwiki and lose yourself.

  1. By default, vimwiki uses its own simple formatting but can be configured to use Markdown instead. 

Extreme Journaling

Keeping a journal is a great idea, but I struggle to do it consistently. I’ve been writing in a journal for years, on and off. Mostly off, if I’m being honest. I wish I’d do it more.

And then there’s John Gadd. Mr. Gadd’s journal spans 151 volumes, covering 21,000 pages and totaling four million words. (read the Daily Mail story).

That’s some serious damn journaling.  Inspiring, is what it is. Can you imagine having something like that to look back upon and to pass on to whatever many generations? I think it’s awesome, and it’s made me want to journal much more. Not that much more, but more. So far it’s working. In the several days since reading about Mr. Gadd, I’ve written a dozen or so pages in my latest journal. That’s about a dozen more than my average. I’ve also printed and included a couple of photos. The next trick is to follow Gadd’s lead and create an index of everything. He claims he can find anything at all in less than three minutes. I’ve set a reminder for the week between Christmas and the new year to index everything I’ve written so far.

Even if this turns out to be just another short-term burst, it’ll be fun.


Desk is a nice new desktop blogging app, and I love desktop blogging apps so I bought it. I’ve been a MarsEdit user for years and I love it, but that doesn’t mean I’m never going to try something new. I’ve recently tested Blogo, another newcomer, but it never stuck for some reason. Blogo feels like not much more than a pretty version of MarsEdit and that hasn’t been reason enough to switch.

Desk is more like Byword or Writer but specifically suited to blogging. I like it.


I’m not a sports fan, but I apparently don’t mind drinking beer in a giant parking lot with thousands of people who are sports fans. With that in mind we braved the 25-degree weather in South Bend for a Notre Dame tailgating party. This was a first for me.

Sports fans are obnoxious, but they sure love it. It’s almost an infectious feeling. Almost.

Snippets, Tweets, Links, Posts, etc.

I’m still figuring out the differences between the types of content that I post and where I should post them.

Here’s what I’m thinking today:

  • Snippet. A quick and dirty thought. One paragraph or less, but longer than a Tweet. No images.
  • Tweet. A short (obviously) throwaway comment.
  • Link. A link to something interesting, with a few (optional) words describing the link.
  • Post. A longer item, story, or article.
  • Photo. A, uh, photo.

I now have separate places for each of these: Snippets, Tweets, Links, Posts, Photos, but I’m also watching what Dave Winer is doing with He’s got everything consolidated, dividing different types of content using a tabbed UI on a single page. I like the idea, but for now there’s no single place to read all my stuff. I’m already using Dave’s Fargo and Radio3 tools (for Snippets and Links, respectively) and I suspect he’s working on other tools to bring all this together. I’m looking forward to seeing where that leads.

Speaking of tools. As much as I think WordPress is the right tool for longer-form blogging, it doesn’t feel right for shorter bits, which is why I’m using Fargo for the snippets site. It works great for that sort of thing. Recommended.

And then there’s syndication. I link to posts on Twitter and sometimes the Snippets page. There’s no consistency behind it and I’m not sure there needs to be. Basically, I’m just winging it. Some day I may sort this all out but for now it works.