Evernote keeps sucking me back in

I have a built-in aversion to using Evernote. I’m not a fan of how it looks and I dislike how difficult it is to get things out in the same format I added them. I can’t fathom why the currently-selected notebook is not indicated in the sidebar. And so on.

But, Evernote makes keeping and finding stuff really easy. It’s everywhere, all the time. Most other software I use integrates with it in some way. And it’s always improving, which is important.

Each time I quit using Evernote I import everything into DEVONthink and swear to never go back. Then I get frustrated with DEVONthink (weak mobile, flakey and complicated sync) and Evernote sucks me back in. The latest update makes Evernote faster and it feels smoother overall.

Now if I could just get over the “lock-in” issue I could stick with Evernote and be reasonably happy.

Zim’s Favorite Things

Zim's bowl of food (2014)

It’s been a week since Zim died and I still miss him terribly. It’s hit me harder than I expected. I find myself briefly forgetting he’s gone, then being struck by the realization that he’s really not here. This is happening less frequently every day but still thows me.

I thought I’d gather up a few of his favorite things and photograph them, as a way of remembering.

Food Bowl

Zim's bowl of food (2014)

Zim’s bowl of food (2014)

Pretty much every dog’s favorite thing — a bowl of food. Zim preferred Royal Canin for German Shepherds. He always ate quickly but not greedily. I think he would rush through it simply because he knew that when he finished we’d go outside and play.

Chasing Sticks

Stick retrieval area (2014)

Stick retrieval area (2014)

I threw Zim his stick here, thousands of times. We did this every day. He never once refused to fetch it. On the contrary, it was his favorite thing to do in the world.

Favorite Stick

Favorite stick (2014)

Favorite stick (2014)

This was his favorite stick. Most sticks didn’t last but a few days, as he’d end up shredding them. For some reason, this one lasted much longer. He would carry it around and beg me to throw it or just play tug-of-war with it. When we finished he’d take one quick lap around the inside of the garage and reluctantly drop the stick at my feet. I’d put it on the shelf for next time. It’s still there.

Drinking Fountain

Drinking fountain

Drinking fountain

Each morning, Zim would follow me into the bathroom. I’d turn on the faucet for my shower and he’d drink from it. I could tell when the water was getting warm because he’d pause, look at the water for a second, then turn and walk away.

 Watching out the Window

Observation deck (2014)

Observation deck (2014)

This is where Zim would lie and watch for things to bark at. My home office desk was immediately to the left. I’d sit there at the computer and Zim would annoy me by barking at anything that moved outside of that window. If a small dog walked by it was bedlam. You can tell by the scratches how excited he’d get. That window molding must’ve been repainted a dozen times.

Chasing Squirrels

Tree that Zim always chased squirrels up into

Squirrel Dispenser

The only thing Zim wanted to fetch more than sticks was squirrels. He never caught one, but it didn’t stop him from trying. He’d chase them up this tree and then pace, circle, and stare up at them. I’m sure this was one of his favorite views.

Going for Walks

Zim's Leash

Zim’s Leash

Somehow Zim knew when we were about to go for a walk. I think he knew even before I did. He would start barking and yelling and running in circles. I’d grab the leash and off we’d go. He was always good on the leash. He’d pull at me for the first couple of minutes, but then settle in and just walk slightly ahead of me. That way he could find things to pee on before I got there. He’d pee on everything if I let him. I usually let him. After a long walk he’d take a long drink of water and plop down on his favorite doggy bed and relax.

His Doggie Bed

Zim's bed

Zim’s bed

When not looking out the windows for squirrels or other dogs, Zim’s favorite place to relax was on his doggie bed by my chair. This was the first place he’d go in the morning while I was getting ready for work and the last place he’d be at night before we went to bed.

My (more like “our”) Bed

Zim's sleeping quarters

Zim’s sleeping quarters

For a long time I didn’t allow the dogs on my bed. Seemed proper that way. Then at some point I realized that was a rule just for the sake of having rules and invited them to join me. Zim would always jump up and immediately sit beside me, waiting for me to rub his legs. I did this every night, first his left leg, then his right. He would sort of bow his head, roll his eyes back and look just slightly away from me as if embarrassed by how good it felt. His nose would run just a little while I did this. Eventually, it would drip just once. I used this as a signal to stop rubbing. He’d pause, look at me, then turn around and plop down with a thump and let out a long sigh. Not long after that he’d be asleep, his butt right in my face. I didn’t mind.

These are just a few of Zim’s favorite things. I’m lucky to have been able to share them with him for 11 years. The memories will last forever.


My own tilde.club at rudimentarylathe.org

In case I never get an account on the actual tilde.club server, I thought I’d make my own “tilde” server. It’s running at an unused domain, rudimentarylathe.org, which seems totally appropriate. Remember tildes? I love Paul Ford (~ford) for starting tilde.club and inspiring a bunch of people to open a shell and edit primordial HTML files directly.  Just write, hit :w and it’s live!

My account is rudimentarylathe.org/~jack.

The server also has mutt, pine, irc, nntp, etc. All local only. It’s a beautiful little island. I hope to add more user accounts once I’ve gotten things settled. If you want one, let me know. No promises.

Zim vom Schafer see (2003-2014) – A good boy

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A few days ago my 11-year-old German Shepherd, Zim1, died suddenly and unexpectedly. Up until that moment he was happy and healthy with no signs of slowing down.

Earlier that day I arrived home from work and fed the dogs and we then went outside to play with a stick. Zim’s favorite thing in the world was chasing stuff. I’d throw a stick and he’d chase after it and and proudly bring it back to me. We’d then play tug of war with it and I’d throw it again. And again. He was happy to do that all day long. He loved it.

Once I’d had enough I called him into the house but he stood there defiantly with the stick in his mouth, staring at me with those pleading eyes of his. “Fine, one more throw,” I said. I threw the stick one more time, as far as I could, and he tore after it excitedly and brought it to me in the garage, like he always does. I gave him a treat, like I always do.

He went into the house but seemed to have trouble walking. I thought maybe he’d hurt his foot while running to fetch that stick. He then sort of hobbled back into the garage and lay down. He looked confused. He wasn’t even trying to get up.

I knew something was seriously wrong and immediately carried him to the car. I drove with one hand on the wheel and the other gently petting him. “Good boy,” I said, over and over. “You’re a good boy.” He lifted his head once and looked at me. He no longer looked confused. He looked, I don’t know, resigned. He laid his head back down and by the time we arrived at the vet he was gone.

I have always prepared for Zim not being around, as German Shepherds aren’t known for living long lives. But being prepared isn’t the same as being ready. I wasn’t ready. I’m not ready. I miss him terribly. He was a good dog and I loved him very much. I’m glad I threw him the stick one more time. One last time.

Goodbye Zim, my good boy.

  1. His full name, given to him by the breeder, was Zim vom Schafer see. We kept it. 

Skilcraft U.S. Government pens


20140921 DSCF0343

There are so many glowing reviews of the Skilcraft pens that I had to try them. They’ve been around forever and have a great story. A box of 12 costs $15, so the risk was pretty low.

My experience is that they’re pretty lousy pens. For a buck apiece I shouldn’t expect much, but they feel terrible in hand and the few that I’ve actually tried using have skipped regularly. They’re not supposed to do that. I’ll never know if they write in the rain or not because I’m not willing to go that far. Outside of nostalgia I can’t think of any reason to recommend them.

Yet another Kindle

Kindle Voyage (photo: Amazon)


I preordered the very first Kindle back in 2007 and have done the same with every update (except the Kindle 2) since.

In keeping with that tradition, I’ve also preordered the new Kindle Voyage. This one looks like a winner.

Kindle Voyage (photo: Amazon)

Kindle Voyage (photo: Amazon)

I read a lot on my Kindle, so I upgrade each time the device gets better. The screen on the Voyage looks to be pretty special, and that’s worth the price of the upgrade to me.

See also: Do I Have Too Many Kindles?