All this discussion of hey.com got me thinking about email filtering again. So I have reinstalled
imapfilter. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a command line program that uses a lua script for a config, and lets you run complex rules against your mail. I’ve run it previously, and had a pretty complex filter set which you can see in my github dot files repository. Right now all I’m doing is filtering VIPs and newsletters. I may share more about my approach later. If you find you mail clients rules to be a bit limiting, and you’re not averse to some scripting, imapfilter is a great tool. It is in all package managers.
Kitchen gadget recommendation: Lavazza Milk Easy. We got one when the frothing wand on our ancient, handed down Nespresso machine stopped working. It’s fantastic. Does hot and cold frothing, or heats milk up. Toss some instant espresso in there with your milk, and run it cold for a nice summer drink. Stick some turmeric and sugar in to do a dirty golden latte. Oatly Barista oat milk works perfectly in it.
(Sorry, I wrote this yesterday, but just published today. Does it still count for posting every day?)
I’ve been listening to Deep Questions with Cal Newport. While I think I prefer his written works, he addresses some really great questions. One was on finding a purpose in life. Newport mentioned something that I really agree with: that the whole idea of “passion” being your way to meaning is recent, unhelpful, and pretty wrong-headed in all but a very few circumstances. Instead he puts forward the myth of Odysseus as a better model. In short: overcome the adversity you are facing, then get your house in order, then get down to the hard work in front of you. This combines nicely with another point he makes in the same episode about a craftsman mindset. This mindset is about doing the work in front of you well, whatever it is. Both of these discussions occured in the very first episode; go have a listen.
(Apologies for the links to the iTunes listing. I can’t find any other page for the podcast.)
Went into town for the first time since things really started to reopen. While the sense of normalcy was pleasant, it also felt unfounded. We’re not out of the woods yet. And the lack of masks or interest in following one direction rules does not fill me with confidence.
Project Gemini has been around–and I’ve been aware of it–for most of a year. It’s really picked up momentum lately, as evidenced by the number of servers and regularly updated content out there. If you’re not familiar with
gemini, it’s a lot like
gopher. Textual information, organised primarily hierarchically. The big differences between
gopher is that
gemini mixes indexes and text, and offers more fluid text. Overall the feel is very early–web, right down to how the few gui clients out there sort of reminding me of Cello. It’s also very much of a type with the tildeverse.
If you have the time, and a fond memory of the early “web surfing” days, I recommend getting into
gemini. There’s some great writing, and neat toys on there. It’s also a chance to see a new protocol being fleshed out in the open, and the implementation is simple enough that most people even slightly techie can get what’s going on.
If you’re on a Mac, and have
bombadillo is a great tui client. I’m sure it’s in other package managers as well. There are also two great proxies for viewing
gemini content in the browser:
I haven’t been writing enough. We’re coming out the other end of a historic event (the novel coronavirus, and COVID-19, if someone is reading from the future), and I haven’t written a blog post anywhere. I’ve managed maybe two journal entries a day. So: I’m pledging to write something–_anything_–on here every day until the 14th of October. 100 days. Today I’m just getting this out here, and spending a bit of time getting familiarized with micro.blog and tools as they stand now. I make absolutely no promises as to what you’re going to get; only that you’re getting 100 days of it.
See you tomorrow!
I’ve been reading all kinds of “why can’t cyberpunk move on” articles lately, most famous of which is likely this Slate article. The general complaint is that cyberpunk foretold our present to some extent: dramatic wealth inequality, rule by corporations, and the pervasiveness of technology and connectivity to the detriment of community and personal interactions. What cyberpunk isn’t offering is some kind of solution to this problem. Most cyberpunk fiction is classic noir fiction; big heists and hardboiled detective work. At the end of the piece of fiction the crook gets away with it, or the crime is solved. Even in works that deal with potentially world-changing events like Metrophage, the narrative focuses on the impact on the main character.
This is true, but I don’t beleive that it’s a valid complaint. Or at least, it’s not a real indictment of the genre. We have psychological thrillers, police procedurals, romcoms, space operas. Are they required to fix sociopaths, end crime, ensure we all have fulfilling relationships, or are headed for post-scarcity tech utopias? Genre fiction doesn’t need to focus on fixing things. It is perfectly fine for it to be fun to read.
I will say one thing in cyberpunk’s defence: A long time ago I read a book that took place in a future where no one owned anything, and had to essentially rent everything they owned from the company store. It meant that anyone middle class or below was unable to change jobs, quit, retire, or vacation. They worked themselves to death, or they became destitute. Even as a kid, that future seemed plausible to me. It changed the way I think about material goods, and what we can give up for a life of luxury. Cyberpunk has the potential to wake us up to some of the worst excesses of our current society.
Moving to England, and keeping our house in Toronto, we knew things were going to be a bit challenging. We researched the cost of living in Cambridge hard. I’m pleased with how close we came to what our actual ended up being. A few things we were low on (travel), and one pretty significant expense we missed entirely: activities for our daughter during school breaks. But those aren’t the things I’m worried about. What bugs me is the steady drip-drip of money from our accounts.
I have a health issue that requires some ongoing attention. There are also lots of things I can do personally to improve my situation. Thing is, my health problem doesn’t really have an impact on my day to day, so it’s easy to ignore. While I broadly follow healthy practices, I could absolutely do better. Mostly I need to lose weight and exercise more. My health focus is really about accepting that I’m middle-aged, now, and should be thinking about ways to get older better.
I’m actually already doing these things, and I’m seeing a benefit. I’m on track to be under 190lbs by the time we go visit family in Canada for Christmas, which will represent a 15lbs loss over the year.
Issues with focus seems to be a dominating part of the “modern condition”. We (I) feel it on two levels. There is the micro level, which is also situational, where we find it easy to get pulled out of what we’re doing. There is a fear we’re training our brains to be more distractible. And there is the macro level, at which there is so much to do, and we have an historically unprecedented range of things we can do, that it becomes difficult to pick just one thing. In my case I have bookshelves with unread how-to books, a
Projects folder littered with partly completed apps or websites, bursting drafts folders, and aspirational purchases like Arduinos, a used MIDI controller, and shelves of barely-touched board and roleplaying games.
I have recently become frustrated with a lot of things: the internet, how I spend my downtime, clutter, finances, a lackadaisical approach to my health, a lack of focus. I’ve decided that I need to do a bit of a reset. In part, this will amount to a depth year (or depth academic year, in my case, as I’ve started it along with my daughter’s school year). I’m also looking to start some new, positive habits. I thought I’d break things down here; you can see my professional intentions over on my other site.
Basically I fritter it away. I spend too much time on skimming tech news, political hate clicks, vapid and repetitive self-help articles (hello, Medium!), puttering around the house, and other things that feel like doing something of value. They are of little-to-no value. I truly believe that time might be better spent reading light fiction, playing a game, or watching movies. These things are not stressful, as the web so often is, and can be restorative.
hostsfile or proxy like
pi-hole, but these are too fiddly, and not great for phones. So I got a year of Freedom
We made a big transit-Atlantic move at the beginning of the year. We sold or got rid of a tonne of stuff, and left quite a few things behind (because we totally did not understand how much we actually could have fit in our shipping container). We had to do a bit of rebuying to fill in some blanks. Once you get into the acquisitive headspace, it becomes self-perpetuating, and the solution to any problem becomes “find a thing on Amazon that does it. Digital clutter is also an issue. I have more books, games, apps, comics, albums, subscriptions, domain names, than I can make use of in the next decade.
I’ll address more stuff in a forthcoming post.