A quick walk with the Leica IIIf

I wanted to burn through a roll today so I grabbed the little Leica IIIf and shot a few around the house then took a walk to finish it up. I nearly lost the roll while processing, but salvaged enough to get a few usable images.

Door on wall
Door on wall. Leica IIIf. Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM


Barn. Leica IIIf. Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM


House with crosses painted on doors
Crosses on garage. Leica IIIf. Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM


Analog desk
Analog desk. Leica IIIf. Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM


On blogs – Matt Gemmell

On blogs – Matt Gemmell:

Blogs have self-esteem issues.

Instead of a blog, let your site be a site. Or a journal. An online anthology. Your collected works. Your essays, to date. Your body of writing. A blog is a non-thing; it’s the refusal to categorise what you produce, and an implicit opt-in to the disappointing default.

Nah. I think instead that many bloggers have developed an inflated sense of self. If I ever refer to something I post here as a “piece” someone should be sure and slap me. I’m fine the way things are. “My collected works” – gross.



I prefer the imperfect

20090216 38 edit
Woman’s legs near snow. (2009)

The above image is poorly-focused, improperly processed, and full of dust spots. I love it anyway and wish I could make more like it. It also reminds me to stop worrying about technical perfection and to focus on images that I simply enjoy looking at. That’s what counts.

Recording the weather in Tinderbox

Each day I create a note called “Doing” in my Tinderbox daybook. This note is a dumping ground for little things I want to record during the day. I wanted to include the day’s weather, just for fun. Here’s how I did it.

First I had to find a way to grab the weather via command line. Turns out that Weather Underground has a nice API and Stephen Ramsay has created a little command-line application (written in Go) called wu https://github.com/sramsay/wu

Once wu was installed I needed a way to call it and get the results into my Tinderbox “Doing” note. I used a Stamp for this. The Stamp uses Tinderbox’s “runCommand()” command to shell out to the terminal and run wu. It looks something like this…

Document Inspector Daybook

The simplest Stamp would have been this…


…but I fancied it up a little. The actual action text I ended up with was this…

$Text=$Text+"rr---- Weather: ------------------------------------------------rr" +

So to get the weather, I select “Doing” and choose “Get Weather” from the Stamps menu. The weather is then magically appended to whatever text is in the selected Note. Like this…


That was easy.

Good Omens

Good Omens Cover

Sir Terry Pratchett was one of those authors I meant to have read more than I actually read. I enjoyed several of the Discworld books but didn’t love all of them. I did, on the other hand, love Good Omens. This seems like a fine time to read it once more. RIP Sir Terry.


Switching to Smaller iPhones

Michael Tsai’s collection of people Switching to Smaller iPhones:

Count me in as someone who prefers the shape, size, and feel of an iPhone 5 over the iPhone 6. The 6 is the first phone that I felt had to have a case or I’d drop it. It’s too big and too slippery. I haven’t gone back to a 5S only because the camera on the 6 is really nice. I’m actually hoping they release an iPhone Nano at some point1

  1. No, I don’t mean a Watch 

Early notes about ConnectedText

As a Mac user I’ve never seriously considered ConnectedText despite so many smart people1 who rave about it.

I recently installed Parallels and Windows 8.1 for a work project, so I thought it a good opportunity to give ConnectedText a go. Here are a few things I like about it so far.

It’s a wiki. Someone once told me that the word “wiki” is Hawaiian for “can’t find shit”. When it comes to large, shared wikis I might agree. However, for personal use, there’s nothing like a wiki for creating a nice, hyperlinked collection of notes. I just surround a word or phrase with double brackets ([[like this]]) as I’m typing and it becomes a link to a new or existing topic. If the topic doesn’t already exist I can click the link and fill out the details later.

Date Topics. This might be my favorite feature. Every day I create a new topic with the day’s date (e.g. 20150228). This topic is then automatically considered a “date topic”. Date topics render a calendar on the topic, making it easy to bounce around based on dates. They also automatically include a list of “Events” which are links to any other topics on that day starting with the date. So if I have a meeting, I create a topic titled “20150228 Meeting with So and So”. This topic will be automatically included in the Events list of the 20150228 topic. Date topics can also include the time (“20150228 1030 My scheduled event”) which is then included in the event listing.

Ct events
A date topic in ConnectedText


Cross-project linking. ConnectedText uses the concept of “Projects” which are basically independent wikis. The cool thing is that it’s easy to link between projects. For example, I have a “People” project. If I’m in my Personal project and want to link to my “Mom” entry in People, I just do [[people:Mom]] and clicking that link opens my People project and takes me to the Mom topic. With most apps I tend to use a single monolithic file/database but since ConnectedText makes it easy to cross-link I may reconsider this.

Categories. Entering the following in a Topic puts the Topic in a category: [[$CATEGORY:Software]]. All categories automatically have the own Topics which list all other Topics in that category. This is a quick way of adding some basic structure.

Ct category index
Category list in ConnectedText


After less than a month with ConnectedText, I’ve grown very fond of it. If it were a native Mac application the switch to ConnectedText would be a no-brainer. However, having to run it via Parallels adds a bit of friction. Before committing to it I have to determine if it causes too much friction, so I’ve been looking for ways to smooth out the experience a bit.

Here are some tools I’m trying (thanks to Dr. Kuehn for the recommendations)…

  • Breevy. Breevy is basically TextExpander for Windows. What makes it perfect for me is that it syncs snippets (both ways!) with TextExpander. That’s huge, since I use TextExpander in nearly every paragraph I type.
  • SyncBackSE. I’m using SyncBackSE to sync the project folders on the Windows VM with a mounted Dropbox folder so things can be synced between Macs. This feels awkward so I’m looking for alternative ways of syncing.

I’m going to continue my trial of ConnectedText with the assumption that I’ll work out the kinks. So far so good!

The Apple Watch Edition’s Upgrade Dilemma

Gruber commenting on The Apple Watch Edition’s Upgrade Dilemma:

The single most frequent question I’ve received this week is how can Apple justify $10,000+ prices for a watch that will be technically outdated in a few years. The simplest answer is that it’s for people who don’t care.

I suppose there are a small but significant number of people who can afford a $10,000 watch. What I find harder to imagine is that many of those people actually “don’t care” that their $10,000 watch will rapidly become obsolete. If there’s no upgrade path then Apple is selling to a tiny segment of an already small market.

(Via Daring Fireball)

Permalinks – Matt Gemmell

Matt Gemmell on date-based permalinks:

We’re all familiar with those URLs. The date of the post is explicit, so you need never wonder when it was written, or how recent it is.

Here’s the thing, though: they’re horrible.

On the other hand, I don’t think date-encrusted URLs are horrible at all. In fact, I often wish they were mandatory on anything even remotely time-sensitive.

They’re visually ugly.

Not really. They contain information and information is beautiful.

The page itself has the date of the post on it anyway. In the few cases where it doesn’t, that’s a deliberate design choice, and you’re not meant to be focusing on it.

I can’t think of a single form of writing anywhere for which the publish date is unimportant. Deliberately hiding the date may be a design decision, but it’s a terrible one.

I’d like to invite you to shorten your URLs, and get rid of the date cruft. By all means show the date of each article on the page, but get it out of your permalinks.

Ok then, I’ll accept your invitation. Perhaps I’ve been wrong. One way to find out: my links just went from /2015/02/my-title to /my-title.

UPDATE 2015-02-25: That lasted about 10 minutes. I hate having no idea when something was written before clicking and having to scan around the page looking for the date. I agree that shorter is better so I’m now only including the year, so /2015/my-title. I think we can afford 4 (technically 5 with the “/”) extra characters.