Geek

Wonder Woman 1984!

I really didn’t enjoy “Wonder Woman 1984” back when it came out a few years ago. I thought it was all over the place. The best part was the Lynda Carter cameo in the post credits scene.

However, I stumbled upon this fan made intro based on the ’70s series but for the movie and it is awesome! Enjoy!

Content.

For some reason that I absolutely can not figure out, Reeder 5 on my iPad Pro stopped showing the content of articles coming to me via RSS. Everything works fine on my iPhone and my Mac, but the iPad version just shows me the title of an entry and no content at all.

This is not the way I want to consume data.

So, I moved away from Reeder 5 on my iPad Pro and introduced NetNewsWire to the mix.

The only reason I liked Reeder 5 was the Bionic Reading, the special font that is suppose to keep the distracted mind from wandering, but other than that I wasn’t particularly attached to the application.

I like NetNewsWire thus far, especially since it’s an Open Source application. I’ll be swapping out the app on my iPhone and Mac this weekend.

My RSS feeds are aggregated by a self-hosted instance of FreshRSS. Installation, administration, and maintenance is pretty straightforward, and my control freak side really enjoys not relying on a 3rd party service that usually costs money.

Redundancy?

With the new year I’m giving using my iPad Pro as a primary computing device another go. I’m not using my iPad Pro exclusively, but I am using it as a “sidecar” during my workday. While work has me trying to do things on a Windows 10 all day long, I can swivel to my iPad Pro to take care of personal tasks that pop up during the day, play music, etc.

So far the experience has been acceptable.

One of the frustrating things about my iPad Pro is that it’s still running a glorified version of iOS, which was originally designed for the iPhone, and it seems stuck in that paradigm. I’m really hopeful that Apple will change direction on this soon, as the iPad Pro line feels very overpowered for what’s generally asked of it to do.

Another thing that slightly bothers me about my iPad Pro is not Apple’s fault at all. The YouTube app on iPadOS doesn’t allow me to use plugins to hide comments and their idiotic “shorts”, something I always do in all web browsers on all platforms when I’m in YouTube land. I detest shorts and with the rapid degradation of society, comments in general are really not worth my time. It takes a little more brain power to ignore these things when using the YouTube app. My solution is to just not watch videos from YouTube on my iPad Pro.

That’s probably better for my mental health all the way around.

Plain.

Jack Baty at baty.net recently referenced an old post around Productivity. In his original post, Jack talked about his cycle of trying different ways of maintaining his productivity workflow, or his to do list.

99% of that post could have been written by me.

I have been an on-and-off again OmniFocus user since late 2009. I like the application very much, and if I was still completely in on Apple’s ecosystem I’d probably use it full time. But I don’t have an interest in being any corporation’s ecosystem completely and full-time, and work has deemed that I must use a Windows 10 laptop, so that all falls apart in my mind. Now, the fine folks at The Omni Group do offer a web portal for their software, but it costs an extra $50/year and while I have paid for it in the past, I’m reducing subscriptions and I’m no longer interested in paying $50/year to do something at work. Work should be paying me (and they do, let’s keep it that way).

Plain text has always been my jam. If for some reason I want to use a VIC-20 to get to a plain text file, I can. So these days I am using todo.txt, a plain text productivity system originally written as a bash script by Gina Trapani. With this specific plain text format, I am able to get to my todo list from any computer, remotely, locally, and with confidence. And further more, I am able to write my own automations to generate tasks on a schedule or as needed.

Now, with OmniFocus and Apple’s Shortcuts platform, there are automation opportunities there as well. In that regard, OmniFocus is a strong player in making sure you have access to your data. I have always found Apple’s Shortcuts to be maddening and illogical to a certain degree. Perhaps it’s because I’m old school, but dragging and dropping blocks in a GUI is not automation, it’s doing app things.

With todo.txt, I am able to write my own little snippets and scripts to work my automation magic. For example, as a private pilot, I’m all about checklists in all parts of my life. I like being able to check things off as I complete them. Not only does it give me a sense of satisfaction around the actual completion, I’m also able to put something on a list and forget about it until it has to be done, build reminders, and make sure I do all the things I need to do by looking for a mark of completion or not. The paradigm keeps me safe in the cockpit and keeps me organized throughout my entire life.

When I’ve scheduled a flight, I create a bunch of tasks in my todo.txt file, the one bucket that manages all parts of my life, and have them waiting for me at prescribed times to prepare for that flight. I can log into my personal server from any computer in the world, get to a command prompt and type “flight”, answer a couple of prompts, and off we go. And even though I’m not a fan, I’ve built a little shortcut in Apple Shortcuts so I can say “Hey Siri, next flight…” and give the relative details. From the command line, it ends up looking like this:

A few lines of code, a few data points, and some logic, and voila, I have a project called Flight03TUS in my todo list for a flight I have scheduled for the 3rd to Tucson. I don’t even need to know the exact date, I can tell the script I have a flight on Wednesday and it figures it out for me. Magic? No, just simple code.

If you’re interested in the format of each of those entries in the screen shot, the todo.txt website has all the details.

Ah, but what about the iPhone and iPad? Simple! A very smart developer named Michael Descy created the Swiftodo app, which works great on iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS. A lot of what I do with plaintext productivity was inspired by his website Plaintext Productivity.

And in case you’re wondering, yes I do use Dropbox to keep my plaintext productivity work all in sync between all my devices. Because Dropbox works with just about everything and the files are very small.

So, while there are plenty of pretty, robust, wonderful proprietary, for pay applications out there, as an old-school developer that is trying to keep it simple in 2024, I feel like I’ve settled on this approach to keep track of everything I have going on in my life.

Testing 1-2-3.

So, this is typewriter mode on IA Writer on my iPad Pro. The editor is clean and simple and best enjoyed with some breezy, easy music in noise cancelling headphones while one is composing their latest missive.

Is that the correct word, missive?

I like idea of a digital typewriter, especially when paired with a mechanical keyboard reminiscent of the 1980s IBM Model M keyboard or something equally poundy.

The only issue with my Velocifire mechanical keyboard is the spacebar has a certain rattle that I don’t enjoy. I need to figure that out. Or, I need to buy a new keyboard, something that would not please my husband. He doesn’t understand these things.

I’m typing away and acting like this is going to be a blog entry. It’s more exciting than “Hello, World”. And it’s much more exciting than typing out the script for an American test of the Emergency Alert System. I can do that by memory, you know, because 30 years ago it was my voice that recorded that for the group of radio stations I worked at. My claim to fame.

Print Slower.

I really miss dot matrix printers, especially in the retail world. When we purchased our new vehicle last weekend, the finance manager processed all the paper work using pre-printed forms fed through a dot matrix printer designed for that sort of thing. It was earlier technology magic that has no need for replacement; it does what it needs to do it and it does it well.

Restaurants still use dot matrix printers as well because the thermal printed tickets would be rendered useless by the heat of your typical kitchen. When you place your order at the counter of a fast food restaurant, to hear it print out on a printer in the kitchen is music to my ears.

Can you imagine if retail establishments still had to use dot matrix printers today? No longer would CVS receipts be measured in feet with useless marketing messages. Kohl’s cashiers couldn’t write on the receipts with their fingernails. We wouldn’t be bombarded with surveys and coupons and the like.

It’s worth the screech of the dot matrix printhead and the challenge of threading a roll of receipt paper between the ribbon cartridge and the platen.

Shazam!

It’s a rainy Saturday morning so of course I am settled in on the couch to watch an episode of “Shazam!”, the first half of the “The Shazam/Isis Hour” from 1975. I never missed an episode when I was a youngster.

Today’s episode was from season two, episode two, and probably the first episode featuring John Davey as Captain Marvel. Jackson Bostwick played Captain Marvel in season one and in the first episode of season two, but was released from the production when he didn’t come in for filming. It was later revealed he was dealing with an injury from a stunt the day before, as he did all his own stunts as Captain Marvel.

I always preferred John Davey in role, probably because of his strong jaw and handsome good looks. Plus, he had a fairly heavy beard (even though he was clean shaven) and even at age 7 I found that quite handsome.

The episode “Debbie” included a moral review tag at the end of the show, like all episodes of “Shazam” and “The Secrets Of Isis”. In “Debbie” we learn that sometimes our parents exert their authority as an expression of their love. The moral tags were definitely a strong contributor to my moral foundation.

Powerlines.

I’ve mentioned before that as part of my focused interest in “all things connected”, I find power lines to be absolutely fascinating. Like many things modern, the steel “unipole” designs we see being erected in the 21st century don’t interest me as much as the high voltage installations from the early 20th century.

I believe these 115kv pylons date to the early 20th century, probably before 1925. Larger than newer counterparts, this particular design can only be found in the former Niagara-Mohawk Power Corporation region of New York State, specifically in the area around the eastern shore of Lake Ontario and the northern suburbs of Syracuse.

Nostalgia.

While making my way through the workday today I decided to throw on a Youtube video or two. I’ve been in a nostalgic mood lately. I ended up dialing up a 1947 film which was basically a 30 minute infomercial for an electric range by Westinghouse.

In this film, a couple has invited their rich uncle over to convince him to help pay for their daughter’s tuition at the community college. They’re dependent on cooking the perfect meal for him, and when their old oven door blows off, their neighbor comes to the rescue with her new electric range by Westinghouse.

A special nod to the uncle’s nurse play by Margaret Hamilton, also known as the Wicked Witch of the West.

I really enjoy these old presentations. People dressed nicer, folks seemed friendlier, and the appliances they’re showing off are built to last a generation. And the knobs on the stove are real knobs with a color indicator as to the heat setting for the burner! What will they think of next!

You can be sure … if it’s a Westinghouse.