JACK BATY'S BLOG
I already spent the money

🗓 Friday, November 19, 2021

I was all over rebuilding this blog yesterday. This morning I planned to gut the HTML/CSS and try to clean things up a bit myself rather than stealing borrowing Dave's legacy markup. It wasn't long before I ran into the road block called "Modern Web Development" and lost my mojo. Maybe it's that I feel like crap from the Moderna booster vaccine yesterday, but I think I'll let this idle for a bit.

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I went to a bookstore yesterday

Have you ever been to a bookstore? I have, and they are wonderful.

I needed to run some errands yesterday and happened to drive by Schuler Books, an independent store based in Michigan and one I've been going to for decades.

It's been a couple of years since I've been inside a bookstore and oh my goodness what a feeling. Am I the only one that feels a certain calming wonder upon entering any bookstore? Maybe not the giant chain stores because they feel a little yucky to me and it takes the fun out of it, but the local(ish) stores that have been in the neighborhood forever. Mmmm.

Shopping for books by walking around amongst the shelves is an immeasurably better experience than endlessly clicking on the computer. The only reviews to be had are a few hand-written notes in front of some books. One per book. No aggregated score. No algorithm. No ads.

I bought the new Neal Stephenson book (which is honestly why I was there in the first place). But I also bought The Ten Thousand Doors of January and a book of poetry by Rilke. During checkout, they said that they loved the Rilke book and how it included the original German-language versions. They then inserted a bookmark in each book, and packed them all into a crisp paper bag and said, "Enjoy!"

Bookstores are the best.

🗓 Thursday, November 18, 2021

I have been avoiding news sites, mostly successfully, for a while now. Life is better without knowing about things I neither care nor can do anything about. The Economist once a week is enough. When I do accidentally dip into NYT or similar, I am reminded that the Bad Guys really are winning and it depresses me to no end.

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About that M10 Monochrom

I've been thinking a lot lately about getting a Leica M10 Monochrom. I know, I know, it's a bad idea. I had the Leica Q2 Monochrom and sold it. But but but! The idea is that if I consider myself a primarily black and white photographer, and I do, there's nothing better than the M10M. Except it's way too expensive for something so limited. Then I had a genius idea. What about an M10-P again? But, and here's the genius part, set up Lightroom to convert raw images to black and white on import! That way I never have to actually see each image in color and decide if I should convert it to black and white. It's darn close to shooting B&W right in the camera. Later, if I do happen to get curious, I can peek at the original color version, just in case. Ha? Ya?

Adding social or collaborative features to an app invariably makes that app worse. (Unless of course that's what the app is for)

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I've been writing in my wiki at rudimentarylathe.wiki for over three years. It now contains 2766 "tiddlers". That's the longest I've stuck with any platform in as long as I can remember. I often think about moving to something newer or prettier or whatever, but in short order I'm back in TiddlyWiki. It's comfortable.

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🗓 Wednesday, November 17, 2021

What if I built Drummer out of Tinderbox?

I've been mentally hedging my bets around Drummer and wondering how difficult it would be to morph this Tinderbox-generated blog into something much more Drummer like. They're both based on outlines, after all. I'd just need to change the export templates to group by day and deal with individual vs titled notes. There's probably a lot more to it, but let's noodle on it, shall we?

:2 hours later:

I did it. You're soaking in it. I wrote up some notes in the wiki.

🗓 Sunday, November 14, 2021

I don't worry too much about "Lock-In"

I don't worry too much about

Phil asks:

In short, are the short-term gains from using whatever fancy, proprietary features in a tool worth the cost of spending time worrying about lock-in, and the lost time or lost search results when you can't query all of your notes at once?


Again, I think this comes down to how and when the notes are most useful. For things like my Daybook, I'm convinced that simple text files (Org mode, in my case) are best. They're mostly for searching later. Sometimes much later. No other features are necessary to get value from my notes.

But for, say, notes about an active project, features such as transclusion and backlinking and spatial presentation can be very useful and totally worth the trade-off of (maybe) being "broken" some day in the future. I have notes from many defunct apps that can still search in a pinch. Voodoopad, Circus Ponies, etc. I just made sure to export them as best I could when it became obvious the software was going away. Spotlight almost always finds what I was looking for. It's not ideal, but it's not a big problem, either. Sure, I lost the fancy bits in translation, but I no longer need those features for those notes. As long as the fancy stuff is just layered over extractable plain text, it's probably never going to be an issue. Stop wasting time hand-wringing and get on with it, I say 😁.

What about my "Second Brain" or "Digital Garden" or "Zettelkastan" or whatever the Productivity Bloggers are labeling their random pile of notes these days? This falls somewhere between needing to be useful now and remaining useful forever, so it muddies things a little. I'm convinced that if one is trying to (lord help me) "synthesize knowledge" from their notes, the extra organization or presentation features are in every way superior today to a wall of plain text notes. Why not take advantage of it all?

(Of course, I use plain text Org files for nearly all my personal notes, but that's not because I fear lock-in. It's because I love Org mode so much.)

🗓 Saturday, November 6, 2021

It's about where I like to type

For years, I'd tell you that typing in a native Mac app is by far the best way to write anything. That was when web apps were still pretty basic and terrible. Today, though, browsers are pretty good at, well, everything. I still mostly prefer native apps, but the gap has closed considerably.

It also depends on where the text is to end up. If it's for, say, a blog post, why not just write in a browser, since one could argue that for web publishing, editing in a browser is using a native app.

Image Test

If I want a "Featured Image" on a post here, I just paste the URL in the "Image" attribute of the post and the template puts it where it belongs. I'd almost forgotten I did that. Can you imagine how great things would be if I focused my time and attention on just one or two things for months or years rather than just dipping my toes in?

🗓 Friday, November 5, 2021

🗓 Thursday, November 4, 2021

Cloudflare web analytics

One thing that attracted me to Cloudflare Pages for static site hosting is they offer built-in traffic analytics. I just enabled Web Analytics for this domain, and their message says "Changes will take effect on the next deployment." So, I'm writing this note as an excuse to deploy 😁


For more, see the archives