"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."


06:07 Wednesday, 30 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 63.68°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 5.75mph

Got home yesterday morning about 1030. Got on the road a couple minutes before 0400. Wasn't sleeping and I wanted to get on I-95 while traffic was likely at a minimum. I had stopped in Dunn, NC just before construction began, less than halfway between DC and home.

I was crossing a low bridge somewhere in South Carolina when off to my left there was a red line marking the horizon, and a violet to black gradient rising above it. Could only glance at it a couple of times, but it was beautiful.

Listened to a few podcasts on the drive. One was Accidental Tech Podcast, episode 510. Had some interesting comments about Mastodon and the challenges of running a social media site. Gave me a lot to think about. More on that later.

Another was this episode of The Automators. Bought or installed all of Simon Støvring's iOS apps based on it. I also listened to episode 108, Small Automation Tools, which was very interesting. I had purchased Better Touch Tool for my 13" MBP with the touchbar, but hadn't realized how much else it could do, so I'll be playing with that today.

Long drives are an ideal setting for listening to podcasts. I haven't managed to find a way to do it otherwise. May have to work on that.

Anyway, back now. Enjoyed my acceleration couch yesterday afternoon. Still felt like my ass was on 95 though. I appreciate the warmer weather and the higher humidity. Mitzi's still up there until Sunday, looking after her grandson.

Pumpkin Hall

15:25 Friday, 25 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 63.68°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 5.75mph

A row of pumpkins line one side of a set of stairs leading to a pair of orange doors.

Rained this morning. Warmer though. Olympus XZ-1. Cropped, added some definition in Photos.

Eastern Market

09:15 Thursday, 24 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 65.28°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 11.5mph

Photo of a produce stand in the Eastern Market building in Washington DC

Olympus XZ-1, JPEG straight out of the camera. Probably could have bumped the exposure up a third of a stop or so.

Mostly just a test post. I'm still configuring the MBP to be like the iMac. I'd been running the Photos to Tinderbox script from Script Debugger, and now I've saved it into the Scripts folder in the Library so it's available from Photos in the menu bar.

Everything works, including running the Automator action to export the photo, move it to the appropriate folder and then delete the empty folder from Pictures.

Now I need to configure Forklift so the menu bar app has the appropriate sync action configured and saved.

It's chilly up here in DC, but it's beautiful out.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Acceleration Couches

06:49 Tuesday, 22 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 58.64°F Pressure: 1023hPa Humidity: 89% Wind: 8.05mph

One thing I have observed in my declining years is that young people have little appreciation for one of the finest furniture innovations in the history of indoor furnishings.

Of course, I am referring to the recliner.

Or, as I prefer to think of them, the "acceleration couch," from the golden age of science fiction. Although I'm only ever pulling 1G of acceleration, it's nice to have that evenly distributed on a vector that isn't in a vertical line with my spine.

Adjustable for a range of activities, from napping to reading or watching TV, to playing video games, to productivity work on a laptop or tablet, the recliner is the workhorse of seats.

While I really enjoy visiting my wife's children, I am looking forward to returning to my little office with my genuine imitation leather acceleration couch.

(Editor's Note: I'm in DC, so pay no attention to the weather report. It's actually 30°F outside.)

Ginkgo Fall

15:42 Monday, 21 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 64.76°F Pressure: 1025hPa Humidity: 81% Wind: 17.27mph

Photo of a street filled with Ginkgo tree leaves. Ginkgo trees all lose their leaves on the same day.

Arrived here in Washington DC yesterday evening around 1930. Trip was relatively benign, a lot more traffic on I-95 than we had anticipated. At least the weather cooperated, no rain.

It seems we arrived the night before all the Ginkgo trees decided to drop their leaves. It almost looked as though it was snowing out this morning as leaves kept falling and falling. The morning temperature being below freezing may have contributed to that impression.

I hadn't done a thorough job preparing the MacBook Pro for the trip. In any event, all is well now and it was a worthwhile exercise in using AppleScript and Automator.

Photo is a jpg straight out the Olympus XZ-1, which I took along with me on a little walk this morning, after the temps got up into the 40s.


11:22 Saturday, 19 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 56.17°F Pressure: 1021hPa Humidity: 72% Wind: 4.61mph

This could be dangergous...

(And a happy event, nonetheless.)

Into the West

08:06 Saturday, 19 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 51.51°F Pressure: 1025hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 3mph

The elves are leaving Middle Earth.

We finished a re-watch of Jackson's The Lord of the Rings this week. We watched the extended editions, so half a movie a night. It's not as bad as it first appears, as there are usually over 20 minutes of credits in each film, but too much for a couple of oldsters to sit through in a single night.

I haven't read the books in decades, and I think I need to revisit them. Watching the movie, the palantirs reminded me of the internet in general, and Twitter in particular. Now I'm thinking of Elon Musk as Sauron spreading darkness over Twitter. It's not something I'm obsessing over, it just occurred to me as my brain associates all the stimuli it takes in throughout the days. It probably doesn't hold up as a metaphor, but I'm not going to spend much time examining it.

I am making plans to leave Twitter. It was December of 2020 when I left Facebook and Instagram, more out of revulsion than anything else. I so badly wanted to get out of there, more than I worried about the things I was leaving behind.

For a few weeks after I left, it felt different. I was grateful to have the time back, and to be away from the sludge, but it left a void. And Twitter soon filled it.

In the main, I'd say that my experience on Twitter was better than my experience of Facebook. But in some ways it was almost too good. It tends to consume hours of my life with little consciousness of the passage of time. So many hyper-linked rabbit holes.

But I also have trouble with the constant stream of outrage. I get it, I'm outraged too. But after awhile, it just sort of induces a feeling of despair. I've only unfollowed a few people, but I've muted some more, because I just didn't want to see every last horrible thing they found in my timeline. Still, it's always kind of an endless stream of outrage. And I know I'm guilty of contributing to it too. The snark I can deal with, often it's funny and at worst it's just tedious.

I was often grateful for the "timeline cleanse" of funny animal videos.

One of the nice things about Twitter that I know I'll miss is the search function. I'd sometimes enter a term, like a camera model, an old calculator, an old computer language or something, and find people still using them, still passionate about them, or just discovering them. That was fun. I'll miss that. When you get old, you find yourself looking back more than looking forward. It'll happen to you too.

Search engines today are SEO crap, so good luck finding anyone blogging about your favorite old thing. Which is why you need a network of blogs that you follow in an RSS reader.

That's the neat thing about "social" media, the flow and the many voices in the flow. You can have bookmarks and jump from page to page, but it's a disjointed, discontinuous experience. The "feed," what Dave Winer called the "river of news" is what makes it feel social, continuous, dynamic. Like walking through a public square.

So I've been gathering more feeds to my RSS reader. Soon I'll begin curating them, putting them in folders for particular contexts. Dave Winer's FeedLand (that link may land on my account, I'm not sure how or if that's visible to anyone else) looks like it might be a great tool for discovery. I confess, I don't quite grok it yet, but I'll be spending more time there after I depart Twitter (or Twitter departs).

I'm on Mastodon, the link to my profile is over in the sidebar. I'm not sure what the future of that effort will be. I'll be spending some time in Flickr to try to feature that more in my online efforts. I like Flickr. You can go there and find old cameras, but the discussion groups are largely inert these days.

Anyway, speaking of leaving, we're leaving tomorrow to head up to DC for Thanksgiving. I spent some time making sure the MacBook Pro was up to speed, so I should be able to do some work on the marmot from up there. I'll wrap this up and go work on packing. Thanks for dropping by.

BlogNote Nov 15, 2022 at 07:40

07:41 Tuesday, 15 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 64.44°F Pressure: 1019hPa Humidity: 96% Wind: 5.75mph

BlogNote Nov 15, 2022 at 07:40

🌎 inessential: After Twitter.

Author: Brent Simmons

Date Retrieved: 11/15/22, 07:40

Excerpt: For writers, artists, podcasters, journalists, and people who make things in public, Twitter was the one social networking site we all had to use. It’s as if Twitter has been stretched out across the map of the internet, and whatever parts of the map it didn’t cover, it could still reach.

Number of Words: 475


I have some tinkering to do with how I choose and set the title, as this is pretty ugly.

I've been exploring Mastodon more. There's a link to my profile in the sidebar there over there to the right (for now).

Here's the thing about Mastodon, unless you're running your own instance on your own server, you're still at the mercy of whoever your host is. The reason I'm paying for my own domain name and hosting service is because of my early experience in blogging.

I went from editthispage.com to using Apple's homepage.mac.com, which was part of its iLife suite. They offered hosting and made it very simple by having your server share mounted in the OS like any other disk in Finder. Just export your Tinderbox to html right to your iCloud homepage, no "sync'ing" or anything!

Until Apple stopped offering it.

So now I pay a hosting service and have to screw around with stuff like my "hosting key," which is in a hidden folder. This happens infrequently when they change my physical server, infrequently enough that I forget what I have to do to be able to log into my share again. (I've made a note, so when it happens next time I should be able to figure it out.)

These "free" services have to rely on advertising, and they're incentivized to make it as simple as possible to use them to attract as many users as possible.

Which leads to all the unsavory aspects of "social media" that Brent mentions.

I agree, "the public square" should be the internet. And perhaps the barrier to entry shouldn't be as low as signing up for Twitter or Insta or FB or whatever; but it's got to be easier than what I'm doing if we want some "federation" of independent voices.

And there will always be those who crave rank in the hierarchy. In the early blogosphere, there was Technorati, which exploited people's desire to know how "popular" they were. And it helped generate network effects, boosting blogs by the "them that has, gets" aspect of network effects, leading to things like the "Instapundit". (I checked. He's still a thing. Not as much of an "influencer" as he was back in the day, but just as odious.)

I haven't looked at things like SquareSpace lately. (Is that spelled right? I'm not even going to check.) That may be something like an appropriate model. Where you, the customer, pay for your site, and they make it easy to get your domain name, design your site and upload your content to it. Easier than what I'm doing anyway. But I'm sure there are downsides to that as well, expense being the first.

Doc Searls, perpetual internet triumphalist, used to proclaim about the internet something like "nobody owns it, everybody can use it, and anybody can improve it." None of those things are true, but it sure sounds nice.

Somebody owns every stinking piece of internet infrastructure, and we use it at their indulgence. Not everybody can use it, because not everybody has internet access. Most people do, more than ever before, but not "everybody." And then, "using it" covers a pretty broad territory. Most of them are "used by it," more than use it themselves. And it should go without saying that not anybody can improve it. Because after about a generation of anybodies using the internet, I'd say the improvements are pretty marginal. (See also: "Nobody owns it.")

So we have a very long way to go before there's anything as simple as a "public square" on the internet.

Upside Down

07:30 Tuesday, 15 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 64.17°F Pressure: 1019hPa Humidity: 96% Wind: 5.75mph

Photo of a street lamp reflected in a puddle on the sidewalk

New T-Shirt!

12:13 Friday, 11 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 78.1°F Pressure: 1005hPa Humidity: 76% Wind: 19.57mph

New t-shirt with a robot on it

This is just an experimental post.

I've been trying to combine the AppleScript script that creates a photo note in Tinderbox, with the photo export Automator quick action.

At first I tried running the script in Automator as the first action. Didn't work, couldn't enter text into the dialog commands.

So I looked into running the Automator quick action from the AppleScript. I ended up converting the quick action into an application, and then I could just end the script with a tell command to the app Export Photos to "activate," and it "just worked."

Right now it all seems to work flawlessly with a JPG image. If I select an iPhone photo, it's in HEIC format, and that appears as the extension in the filename. When Photos exports the image, it does so as a JPG (with file extension "jpeg," which Automator faithfully converts to "JPG"). So the last little bit of friction is that the filename Tinderbox has in its attribute is the correct filename in Photos with the .HEIC extension.

Not a huge deal, I just have to replace it with .JPG; but I'd like to figure out how to do that automatically eventually.

Camera's Back

10:41 Friday, 11 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 75.69°F Pressure: 1005hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 17.27mph

Figured I need to post something here today.

Nicole was interesting. Much windier here than Ian was, and a bit more rain too.

A lot of beach erosion, which will necessitate shoveling vast amounts of tax dollars into the ocean to protect rich people's houses. Dumb decision building that close to the ocean. Dumber to give those people a permanent subsidy to live there.

My E-M1 Mk3 arrived yesterday, good as new. Price was about half what they quoted, which was a pleasant surprise. Can't be certain, but it almost appears as though they replaced the entire articulated LCD monitor. It's perfect, and I'm very pleased.

It's still cloudy and windy today. A good day to stay inside and try to get something accomplished.

Same Blood Moon, Different Pic

09:45 Wednesday, 9 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 63.45°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 84% Wind: 21mph

Orange moon lunar eclipse in a field of stars

So this is the script running from the MacBook Pro, and it's working this time. I added Script Debugger to the Privacy and Security settings, and I suspect that's what did the trick, but I'm not certain.

Anyway, glad that's sorted out.

What I think I need to do is combine the Automator service with the script, such that everything takes place in one process. The glitch with the different image exported isn't likely to occur in a normal workflow. I don't usually take a walk mid-post.

But it would eliminate at least one potential source of error.

Maybe I'll work on that today.

Blood Moon

06:46 Wednesday, 9 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 64.76°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 81% Wind: 31.07mph

Lunar Eclipse

I think this is working... Standby.

Radio check.

UPDATE: For those tuning in late, radio check was unsat. It's working now.

The problem was, as I was trying to sort out what was amiss, I managed to unwittingly select a different image in Photos when I executed the Export Photo Automator service.

It was hard to detect because the image I "posted" to a new note in Tinderbox had a filename of BP081309.JPG. When that was working, I took a walk and came back to finish checking out the remainder of the workflow, the Automator service. Somehow, I selected the last photo in the library, which coincidentally had a filename of BP081319.JPG.

For the life of me, I couldn't see that "1" where there should have been a "0." In the Tinderbox preview, it showed a broken link for the image, where it will normally show the image itself if it's been uploaded to the server.

The first time it failed, I had forgotten to sync the folder to the server, so that was easy. But it failed after that, and I could see the image (with the wrong filename) was on the server. So I imagined it was something like a cache that hadn't been refreshed, because there's the file!

So I went ahead and exported the TBX, sync'ed the folders to upload this post and voila! broken link on the page!


At this point I knew it had to be a filename issue, because it always is. So I lined the two apps up side by side, Tinderbox and Forklift, and looked at that filename letter by letter.


As to why the AppleScript is working now, I don't know for certain, but I believe it has something to do with Ventura's security permissions. Since the Photo Details shortcut was working on both the iMac and the MBP, I figured the library was clean (kinda), and nothing had likely changed in Photos itself. So I figured I'd take a look in Privacy and Security.

I can't say exactly what I did that fixed it. I toggled a number of switches that had anything to do with FastScripts, Script Debugger, Photos and so on. Whatever I did, did the trick.

I thought I could look at the Privacy and Security settings in the MBP and see which ones were different, but that's fruitless at this point. They're very different as I apparently haven't used as many apps on the MBP, so there are far fewer switches to toggle.

Next step is to now try again on the MBP and see if that works.

It's always something.


05:42 Wednesday, 9 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 65.44°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 31.07mph

Wind's picking up due to Nicole.

I figured I'd try to run the Photos to Tinderbox script from my MBP, on the off chance that perhaps there's something wrong with my Photos library on the iMac.

The result was negative, same problem, same error.

Nothing has changed in the script, which used to work, so maybe something changed in Photos? I ran a shortcut called Photo Details I'd downloaded from somewhere that can do what its name suggests and assemble a nice html file with the image and most of the exif data.

That worked as It had before.

What may or may not be a clue is that an old Photos extension called External Editors now seems broken. I was able to use that to send images to Topaz Sharpen AI and DeNoise AI from within Photos, and get the processed image back in the library. That no longer works either. Which raises a whole other question about how I'm going to edit images. But that's another issue for later on.

Now I suppose I have to start from scratch and see if I can get AppleScript to talk to a photo a photo at all.

Anyway, I'm in the recliner and this is likely to take some time, so I'll be better off at my desk on the iMac. Just figured I'd pop in here on the MBP and write a post to see if anything else is out of whack.

Camera Repair

08:50 Tuesday, 8 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 73.54°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 81% Wind: 18.41mph

In happier news, the E-M1 Mk3 has been repaired and is on its way back to me. Supposed to be here by Thursday.

I've got a 1000 appointment to give blood, so I'm not digging into why my script stopped working just yet. And we're also signed up to be poll greeters this afternoon, so it's probably going to be tomorrow morning before I really get head-down in to it.


06:04 Tuesday, 8 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 70.2°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 14.97mph

Something seems to have changed recently. Neither my AppleScript nor my Shortcut for posting photos to Tinderbox work just now.

Going to have to lift the hood and see what's going on.

Anyway, got a few nice shots of the lunar eclipse. You'll have to take my word for it.

Nice, not "perfect."

You always have to be careful with the disclaimers when sharing photos on the internet. There are so many helpful photographers who live for nothing more than to offer you feedback on how miserable your attempt at making a photograph really is.

E-M1 Mk3 Update

09:28 Tuesday, 1 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 69.75°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 89% Wind: 9.22mph

I received an email yesterday from "Olympus Repair by USI," thanking me for my payment and telling me the camera is "in repair."

That was encouraging.

The Price of History

07:47 Tuesday, 1 November 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 67.57°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 0mph

Being grandiose title for a trivial note.

I popped into the online bookstore that everyone loves to hate to pick out some books about Penn Station and the Boston subway.

We have a small home and a lot of books. It's not an episode of Hoarders by any means, but nearly every shelf intended to hold a book is filled with books. (Some have an oscilloscope or some such thing.) So I've been buying ebooks recently for a number of reasons, chiefly space.

But they also don't incur shipping costs, even though I could buy most of them with "free" shipping. There is no such thing as free shipping. There is some small expense related to the energy costs of getting a book from a warehouse to my house, and that generally means there's a carbon cost.

Now, one could make the argument that most of that "shipping" activity is going to happen anyway, regardless of whether I get a book or not. Others will get books from that warehouse. The mailman or Amazon delivery truck will be in my neighborhood anyway, whether I buy a book or not.

And you can also conclude that there's a carbon footprint involved in keeping all those ebook devices charged and the servers online that do all the digital rights management handshaking every time I go to read one. (I've been buying ebooks long enough, or devices anyway, that I occasionally run into an objection from Kindle that I have a book on too many devices.)

I suspect the publishing houses and the middlemen who serve them will welcome a day when all our books are electronic and they could control the "rights" to their content in perpetuity.

So, which is better for the climate? Hard to say. I don't know. At least I think about it.

But the fact remains that for most physical books, when one comes in, I have to pick one to go out. And some books, like Technical and Military Imperatives: A Radar History of WW II, aren't available as ebooks. And we're beginning to get the point where I've winnowed away many, if not most, of the easy ones.

A related fact, at least to the title of this post, is that used physical books (except for somewhat specialized ones, like the radar history) usually cost a lot less money than new or digital versions.

Of course this whole lament, I wouldn't call it an analysis, omits any reference to using a public library. I don't used the library chiefly out of convenience and a desire "instant" gratification. But not using the library also endangers the future existence of libraries as well. So there's that cost to consider in the "price of history."

This whole thing would be moot if I'd just look up all the relevant events on Wikipedia or something, but where's the fun in that?

As these things often go, I ended up buying four ebooks, not just two. I bought The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway by Doug Most.

Then I got carried away by Jill Jonnes and I'll save myself a few keystrokes and refer to the titles by omitting everything after the colon. I bought Conquering Gotham, about Penn Station; Empires of Light, about Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla; and Urban Forests, about the history of trees in cities. And just now I noticed that I have a used copy of her Eiffel's Tower in my shopping cart, perhaps because it was only $1.95 and I was feeling the pinch from my earlier extravagance. I should probably pull the trigger on that.

Anyway, I'm an eighth of the way through Gotham, and I already know the Boston subway was completed well before Cassatt and Rea settled on a tunnel beneath the Hudson.

Jonnes is a good writer, but I feel as though she's just gliding over the surface. Makes for quick reading though. There are notes attributing quotations, but the Kindle edition doesn't link to them, which is maddening. And every ebook about history should include a timeline of every significant event mentioned in the book with a link to its first mention in the narrative text. Sigh.

Anyway, a lot of reading ahead.