Recent Articles

Outlining with Tinderbox 6

Apr 26, 2015   #software  #Tinderbox 

Steve Zeoli on outlining in Tinderbox:

I was going to end this overview by saying that Tinderbox is not the world’s best Mac outliner. But I’ve changed my mind. I think it is the best, when you consider all it has to offer

Tinderbox is great at many things, and outlining is one of them.


Hypertext: Kindle issues, years on

Apr 25, 2015   #gadget  #Kindle  #reading 

Justin Blanton

With the physical devices, the thing that still really irks me is that it insists on showing the percentage of the book completed

I had the same complaint about the Kindle — now fixed.


Blogging Tools

Apr 23, 2015   #Blogging  #workflow 

Chris Bowler:

As mentioned above, I use a collection of tools to get content published to my flat file Kirby install on my Media Temple server. The full list


Chris describes what looks to be a cool and technically fascinating workflow for publishing to his blog (which I enjoy reading). The problem I see is that the number of moving parts seems to be getting out of hand.

I understand how it got this way. It’s fun to set up stuff like this. To tinker. I’ve done it many times. What I’ve learned is that some time later I end up with a fragile mashup of pieces and I’ve forgotten how many of them work.

This is why I went back to MarsEdit and WordPress a while ago. Type, click, done. It’s not sexy and there’s not much to play with, but if I’m being honest about just wanting to “get to the writing” it enables that surprisingly well. I could even remove the MarsEdit component but I won’t because I love it too much.

See also Jeff Taekman’s Writing Workflow 2015. There are at least 11 software components involved there. Sounds like it works for him and that’s great. I’m trying really hard not to fall into that same trap.

A Random Dream

Apr 18, 2015   #dream 

Last night was full of dreams. The one I remember went like this.

Gail and I were sitting in small chairs against the wall of a plainly-decorated hotel room. We were talking with another woman seated to our right. We were waiting for something.

A large, olive-skinned man stepped into the room. He said nothing, but began to burp. His burps were loud, deep, and disgusting. Gail struggled to avoid vomiting from the sounds.

After several minutes the man stopped, cleared his throat, and turned to me. He looked at me solemnly and said, “On the 3rd birthday of my second daughter I will pay you handsomely for that” and walked away.

Dreams are cool.

Vinyl isn’t the future of music. This chart proves it

Apr 13, 2015   #Analog  #music  #vinyl 


But one thing’s for certain: even if the market stabilizes completely, vinyl is never going to be the dominant way consumers listen to music

Why would anyone write something like that? Really, vinyl isn’t going to be dominant? First off, no shit. No sane person would suggest the contrary. Second, that’s not the point of vinyl.

How I might be able to use Apple’s new Photos app

Apr 9, 2015   #photography  #workflow 

Apple released the new Photos app today along with OS X 10.10.3. I never gave iPhoto a serious try, but I did use Aperture for a while. Photos seems to aim for somewhere between those two.

I love the idea of Photos handling everything for me. That seems nice, so I’m reviewing my current workflow to see how that might work out.

I have 3 different photo sources: iPhone, a Digital Camera, and my Film Cameras. Today I process them all the same way.

  1. Import images from card or scanner using Photo Mechanic
  2. Write captions for every image in Photo Mechanic
  3. For film scans, write camera info into exif data using exiftool
  4. Move files into dated folders (e.g. 201504-April/)
  5. Import (in place) into Lightroom
  6. Edit and share as needed

Photo Mechanic is the best way I’ve found for captioning, keywording, renaming, uploading, etc. It’s fast and great at what it does. I don’t want to lose that. Lightroom is a decent file manager and has no problem working with files organized in the Finder. I like being able to see the files. I’ve got a lot invested in Lightroom, plugins, and edits.

I rarely edit my iPhone photos, which means there might be a use for Photos after all. I’m considering handling each type of photo differently. That sounds like a terrible idea, but here’s what I’m thinking.

Film Scans

Film scans stay in their usual tidy folder-per-roll structure. Film scans are usually either ignored or edited in Photoshop. I upload my favorites to Flickr so they don’t need to be in the Photos library.

Raw files

Digital (Raw) photos from the Fuji look best when converted from Raw using Capture One. I could use Capture one to crop, edit, tweak and export JPEGs for import into Photos. The Raw files would remain in dated folders, acting as a sort of “negative”.

iPhone photos

iPhone images automatically end up in the Photos library so there’s nothing to do here, file-management wise.

The drawbacks I can think of are:

  • I have to caption all iPhone photos using Photos, which blows.
  • I lose my Lightroom plugin workflow. This is probably ok since most of them also work in Photoshop if I need them. I’m hoping we’ll see some decent plugins for Photos before long.
  • I can’t see the iPhone files. I hate that.

The benefits:

  • All my snapshots are everywhere all the time; easy to  view and share
  • I get to use Capture One for Raw conversions from the Fuji
  • Raw files and film scans remain neatly organized, and those are usually the important files.

I’m certainly over-thinking this, but I feel it’s worth a try.

Ron and the “hot rod”

Apr 5, 2015   #family 
[Ron in "hot rod" 1958][1]
Ron in “hot rod” 1958

I was scanning my grandfather’s photos and found this one of my dad from 1958. His 74th birthday is coming up and he still has that same smile. Probably wishes he still had the car, too.

A briefcase containing the chronicles of an affair between a man and his secretary

Mar 28, 2015   #Analog 

Álvaro Serrano on A briefcase containing the chronicles of an affair between a man and his secretary:

Next time somebody complains to you about how social networks and the Internet are destroying privacy and marriages, just point them towards this article.

(Via Analog Senses)

I’m not sure I’d compare an affair exposed by material found after 30 years of being stored in a briefcase to broken security or privacy issues on social media, but I am fascinated by the degree to which Günter documented the thing.

I write in one (paper) journal or another nearly every day, and while I’m not having an affair or doing anything illegal, I know it’s likely someone will read them someday. I’m a little careful because of it. Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much. I’ll just toss them in a briefcase and let the archivists have their fun at my expense later.

Why Standing Doesn’t Work

Mar 28, 2015   #health  #productivity 

Rishabh R. Dassani:

The first and the most important reason standing doesn’t work is because it isn’t productive. Standing and working at the same time affects overall performance because you’re focusing on two things. Having to distribute your cognitive capacities between standing and working nullifies the benefits you might get from standing alone because only part of your mental resources are going toward your work, thus making you less productive in the end.

An interesting counter argument about standup desks. I disagree with it.

I’ve used a standup desk since 2008. For the first few years it was a standing-only desk. I now use a sit-stand desk. I usually stand between 20% and 40% of the day, although I’ve not timed it, so that’s just a reasonable guess. I don’t buy his conclusion that when standing I’m “focusing on two things.” Not sure how other people feel, but I don’t need to focus on standing. At all. I just stand, in much the same way as I just breath. There’s no need to “distribute cognitive capacities” because standing isn’t that kind of activity. The amount of cognitive load approaches zero anyway.

I choose to stand when I need to sort of “snap out of it” and get some work done. Arguments about how fast I move my mouse or the number of typos I make while standing don’t apply. I work better while standing, and I feel better while standing. Any health benefits are secondary, but I’ll take them!

Our forefathers didn’t use standing/walking desks and they did just fine.

If by “fine” you mean living to the ripe old age of 40 then sure.

I view standing desks and treadmill desks as fads, appearing frequently in the media. I don’t condone their use. Although I’ve never used either of these types of desks, I remain skeptical about them

I read that as, “I don’t like the idea of standup desks so they’re probably bad”. A complaint mentioned in the linked-to Cornell Study was that people didn’t use their sit-stand desks to stand. It’s true, if you don’t use it, you won’t see any benefits. Also, I’m not too concerned about varicose veins.

I’m being harsh. I didn’t intend to, but my gut reaction to what looked to be a weakly-presented dismissal of my beloved standup desk put me off. Normally I enjoy reading his site.

Complaints aside, the overall gist of the article seems perfectly sound:

 If you take nothing else from this three-part series, I want you to sit less than you sleep (<7 hours), and use that as the sole metric for sitting less and living a healthier/less-sedentary lifestyle.

Basically, don’t sit too much and don’t stand too much. That seems right to me. Also read his earlier posts about the problems with sitting.

An Open Letter to Tesla, From Your Friendly Local Car Dealers

Mar 27, 2015   #tesla