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

A Few Notes...

10:44 Monday, 31 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 76.69°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 86% Wind: 4.61mph

I've been watching a number of American Experience documentaries recently. They made some new ones available on the Apple Movies store (or whatever that's called these days). That's important because the whole library of American Experience episodes isn't, to my knowledge, available all at once.

One I had seen before, but wanted to see again, was The Race Underground about the construction of the Boston subway, the first in America. Another was The Rise and Fall of Penn Station. And a third was The Gilded Age.

I was drawn to The Gilded Age because of our recent visit to Cumberland Island and the role of the Carnegie family in that island's history.

What was interesting to me, watching each of them in fairly rapid succession over a few nights, was how inter-related they were. I started with The Gilded Age and what struck me was something I hadn't really appreciated before, about how much the railroads had influenced the American economy, industrialization, the growth of cities and the expansion of wealth.

That dovetailed well with the story of Penn Station, and the vision of Alexander Cassatt, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad. I hadn't appreciated the extent to which Manhattan was largely isolated, especially from the railroads. Bridging was apparently unaffordable, Cassatt couldn't bring together enough partners to fund the $100M (I don't know what year those dollars represent) to build a railroad bridge connecting the Pennsylvania Railroad (and presumably its financial partners) to Manhattan.

Tunneling was more affordable, at roughly $50M, and Cassatt undertook that effort alone. The key to making tunneling feasible for trains, however, was the electric motor!

The engineering challenges of tunneling under the Hudson River, and even greater challenges for the East River, were also fascinating.

Because I wasn't taking notes while I was watching them, I need to do some follow up study. I have the impression that the Boston Subway was completed before the tunnels beneath the Hudson and the East River, but it's not clear to me when Boston made the decision to move the transit system underground, and when Cassatt decided to tunnel to Manhattan. They may have been roughly contemporaneous, or Cassatt may have been slightly ahead of Boston. Of course, they were separate problems, tunneling beneath a river being a different challenge than just tunneling below the surface.

A fourth American Experience piece I bought was Tesla, and of course that was related to the railroad story by Westinghouse, who made his fortune on the air brake. I don't know if either the Boston subway cars or the Pennsylvania Railroad engines used AC or DC motors, so I need to kind of look at that chronology.

Of course, Tesla was a remarkable genius with a sad end to his life. His last benefactor was J.P. Morgan, who made a lot of his money consolidating the railroads.

So there's the whole technology piece, about how electricity made changes to the transportation system possible. There's the enormous wealth of individuals and corporations in the Gilded Age and how that made a magnificent edifice like Penn Station possible, but also made it disposable.

A couple of pieces I need to pull together now are the oil fortunes, the rise of the automobile, the decline of passenger rail and the ascent (heh) of commercial aviation.

But that period in history from about 1885 to 1910 is just remarkable in terms of the transformations that took place.

History was boring when I was young. Now it's fascinating to me.

I also bought The Forgotten Plague about tuberculosis and that was captivating as well. More about that later. And also Death and the Civil War, which was also quite fascinating and revealing.

I love the work that Ken Burns does, but American Experience does a great job as well, making history interesting and accessible.

It's also quite intriguing, and welcome, that electricity from renewable sources is ascendant now, coal is in decline, followed soon we hope by oil and natural gas; and the development of lithium batteries are making electric vehicles more practical.

And the TB experience has some lessons, I think, for our experience with COVID; and, not for nothing, but TB isn't finished with us yet either.

BlogNote: Programming Portals

06:08 Sunday, 30 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 66.78°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 10.36mph

🌎 Programming Portals.

Author: Maggie Appleton

Date Retrieved: 10/30/22, 06:07

The Context In the mid 1980's the world of computer interfaces cracked in two, leaving a gaping divide between two opposing paradigms.

Number of Words: 2551


Happened upon this post, linked from another in my RSS feed reader this morning.

It caught my attention because it related to something we talked about in yesterday's informal Tinderbox Zoom meet-up.

Just Goofing...

08:38 Saturday, 29 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 68.05°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 19.57mph

Playing with some ideas for the other blog...

Pulp Science Fiction cover rendering of Notes From the Underground

(You can play around and make your own here. It's a lot of clicking, but it's easy to figure out and fun to play with.)

Word On the Mk3

06:26 Saturday, 29 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 68.92°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 10.36mph

This was interesting, and it gave me a moment of pause. I'd been tracking the progress of my E-M1 Mk3, on its way to New Jersey for an LCD repair. It arrived, as promised, on Thursday. So then I began looking for an email from OMDS or some domain related to camera repair.

Instead, I received an email from PayPal. I'm instantly suspicious.

So I click around, check the email address, looks legit. Click on the invoice, looked legit.

So, I paid the invoice. They don't begin the repair before receiving payment.

The good news was it was less than half the online service request estimate.

So hopefully the Mk3 gets fixed and shipped back to me this week.

Exodus Not

05:25 Saturday, 29 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 69.73°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 19.57mph

Yesterday was the first full day of Twitter ruled by Elon. I didn't detect a stampede toward the exits. My follower count didn't go down any more than it normally fluctuates. Of the few tweets I read that suggested the person was leaving, they didn't say they were deleting their accounts. In fact, they said they'd be checking their DMs.

I suspect Twitter will do about as well under Musk as it has under any of the previous regimes. For people who are no longer young, it offers a place for social interaction, much like Facebook, without all the horrible things that Zuckerberg has done.

Those interactions can be addictive. Especially for people who are retired, or working at or from home. The only problem is that it becomes too insulated. We end up breathing each other's exhaust. People who don't share our opinions become caricatures, two-dimensional "others." Musk wants "dialog." (He says he does. Who knows what Musk wants, other than attention and money.) Well, that's never going to happen on Twitter.

When I worked as a contractor, I worked in a cube farm. A semi-open floor plan that offered no privacy. Many of the people I worked with were right of center, some far right of center. Had I not retired in 2013, I don't know how I would have reacted to the Trump campaign in the office.

As it was, although many of the people I shared working space with opposed, even "hated" Obama, denied climate change, listened to and talked about Limbaugh and other right wing talk radio shows, they were still people. I also heard about their kids, their wives, their health struggles. They had birthdays. They were people, not caricatures.

For the most part, I didn't engage them in "dialog." There were a couple of them who were always looking for a debate. I think they enjoyed the stimulation. There were two times when I spoke up, when one of the particularly opinionated men was badgering a young woman about Obamacare, hardly allowing her to get a word in, and I was trying to write a report.

His argument was the usual, "Do you think it's fair that other people get health care and we have to pay for it?" She was trying to make an argument about fairness and he wasn't having it.

So I stood up and spoke loudly over my divider, "Hey, I'm trying to get something done here! And, not for nothing, but that's exactly the system we have now! When people without health insurance get so unhealthy and so ill that the only place they have to go is the emergency room when they're very sick, and they get health care in the most expensive way possible, and we all pay for it in higher fees!"

You could hear a pin drop, and no one spoke for the remainder of the afternoon. I don't think it was because of the power of my argument. I was a retired O-5, and that still kind of meant something. Not much, but a little.

The other time was with the same guy about climate change. I think he was lonely. He'd always be talking, loudly, to no one in particular, expressing his opinion, hoping to engage someone. I just wanted him to shut up, but it felt rude to say that.

So again I stood up, raised my voice and talked about a warming planet having more energy in the climate system, more energy available to alter familiar weather patterns, more energy available to evaporate and hold more moisture, more energy available to make extreme weather events more extreme. And I asked how it was that someone as educated as he was, working in a technical field, seemed to have no appreciation for thermodynamics? (He was complaining about how cold it was one spring day.)

Again, silence followed.

A couple of people dropped by my cubicle and whispered, "Thanks."

I seem to recall that much of the political chatter after that took place in lower tones.

I didn't change any minds, but I did lower the volume.

Anyway, my plans remain unchanged for now. Plans can always change, but I don't think mine will.


17:41 Friday, 28 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 68.88°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 88% Wind: 9.22mph

Fixing this and that. Need a post so the homepage isn't empty. Back soon. Soon-ish...


12:09 Thursday, 27 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 75.69°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 72% Wind: 8.05mph

I have to check out a change I made in the export template, so I wanted to post something. A lot of things came to mind and I had to quickly settle on one. The new OM Digital Solutions OM-5 camera was probably on the top of the stack, so here goes.

I used to look forward to new camera announcements from Olympus with a mixture of both excitement and disquietude. Excitement because Olympus often did things that were innovative, disquietude because I was bound to encounter the negative energy of the camera commentariat.

It's not that I don't think products or companies deserve criticism, they certainly do.

It's just that the legitimate criticisms are often larded with over-broad assertions and predictions regarding either the company or the camera's future in the marketplace. These add nothing to my understanding of the product, and unless you already either dislike the company or its products and just like having your feelings validated, I don't know who enjoys reading those negative opinions.

Anyway, the OM-5 is out and it's essentially a re-badged E-M5 Mk3 with the E-M1 Mk3 image processor (TruPic 9). The body gets improved weather sealing, and there's a new feature that supports shooting video in portrait mode like all the cool kids are doing these days.

Criticisms include the use of the old 20MP image sensor, versus the new stacked 80MP quad-bayer array sensor in the OM-1, the old menu system and the design of the product badging.

None of those I regard as especially fatal.

The E-M1 Mk3 is no longer offered for sale in the OMDS product line. You can buy certified reconditioned bodies, but not new from the web site. There is undoubtedly new stock still in the retail channel, sold as new with the relevant warranty. But it's no longer an official part of the OMDS product line-up.

In that context, the OM-5 makes a great deal of sense as a small, mid-range camera. You get features you couldn't get on the E-M5 Mk3, like handheld high resolution shooting, Live ND, which is a processor-generated neutral density filter effect, and Starry AF, which allows pinpoint star focus for astrophotography.

At the entry level is the E-M10 Mk4, which isn't weather sealed and has a simplified menu system, reduced feature set and limited customization. I carry that camera nearly every day with the 75-300mm zoom mounted because it's lightweight and easily carried on a sling for my morning walks, though I haven't seen a bird in days.

At the mid-range, you have the OM-5 with an advanced feature set, gobs of customization options, outstanding weather sealing in a compact package that can accept a battery grip for better handling with larger zooms or extended battery life.

Criticisms about keeping micro-USB and slow charging and the lack of an audio monitor port are perhaps the most legitimate.

In any event, I think the OM-5 is a solid camera for a serious photographer, even for professionals, looking to get into micro four thirds, or anyone looking to upgrade from an E-M10 body. If you have an E-M1 Mk1 or Mk2, it's perhaps a good way to get the more advanced computational features of Handheld High Res and Live ND without having to move up to an OM-1 or the E-M1X, which remains, for now, in the product line.

I've got the E-M10 Mk4 for my lightweight, casual needs, along with a array of PEN bodies; and my E-M1 Mk2, Mk3, E-M1X and OM-1 for my more "serious" efforts. So I'm not a prospective OM-5 buyer at the moment.

Whether or not OMDS remains a going concern doesn't absolutely depend on the OM-5. People had been predicting the "death of Olympus" for many years, and I suppose that selling the imaging division "proves" them right. Eventually, we're all dead.

BlogNote Oct 26, 2022 at 05:33

05:34 Wednesday, 26 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 63.25°F Pressure: 1007hPa Humidity: 89% Wind: 3.44mph

BlogNote Oct 26, 2022 at 05:33

🌎 Michael Tsai - Blog - macOS 13.0 Ventura.

Author: Michael J. Tsai

Date Retrieved: 10/26/22, 05:33

Apple (release notes, full installer, IPSW, Hacker News, MacRumors): macOS Ventura takes the Mac experience to a whole new level with groundbreaking capabilities that help users achieve more than ever.

Number of Words: 1739


Michael Tsai with a survey of reactions to MacOS Ventura.

BlogNote Oct 25, 2022 at 09:49

10:17 Tuesday, 25 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 69.37°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 78% Wind: 4.61mph

BlogNote Oct 25, 2022 at 09:49

🌎 My next Mac might be the last.

Author: Riccardo Mori

Date Retrieved: 10/25/22, 09:49

I’m aware that the title of this article could be viewed as clickbait. Sorry about that. It is, however, a very sincere snapshot of how I’m currently feeling about the Mac and Mac OS platform.

Number of Words: 1562


Another test of a the BlogLink shortcut, this time with some additional refinements. Previously, I was copying the URL from NetNewsWire, and then invoking the shortcut in the Shortcuts app.

I've set it up now as a Quick Action, so it appears in Services, pinned in the menu bar and on the Share Sheet. That last is important because I'll often be invoking this shortcut from iOS, so I need a way to access it easily. And I don't have to copy the link to the clipboard, it can be retrieved just from Shortcut input.

Riccardo has some feelings about the direction of MacOS that kind of resemble my feelings about just coping with change in general.

And I recall the days of Macintouch, and Ric Ford and his reactions to the UI changes the Mac was going through in the transition to OS X.

I don't know if these changes are good or bad. I can figure out the System Settings app. I didn't experience any pangs of longing for the old "control panels". There is friction in adapting to the new environment, especially when you just want to get something done.

But I think it's just the reality we're confronted with today. So I think you just have to kind of go with the flow and adapt.

Buy yeah, it's not as exciting as it might have been once, when we were younger and less "set in our ways."

BlogNote Oct 25, 2022 at 07:28

07:30 Tuesday, 25 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 57.63°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 0mph

🌎 My iPhone translates from Dutch into English now….

Author: Peter Rukavina

Date Retrieved: 10/25/22, 07:28

When the built-in translation features for iOS were first launched the list of language pairs was limited, to the point where I stopped even trying to use the feature, as Dutch, Swedish, Danish, German weren’t on the list.

Number of Words: 72

Another interesting post that popped into my feed and made itself useful for another test. I've added a date-time variable to the Text action in the shortcut.

In this instance, I paid attention as I dragged the note up from the Watched Notes container. It does seem to create a copy, as the original is still in the container. I could not edit the copy, as the original was Read Only. I turned off Read Only in the original, still in the Watched Notes container, and it turned off in the copy in the October archive container.

So that's interesting. It's a copy, not an alias, yet they're somehow linked.

I'm going to post this, and then delete the original and see if the copy is deleted as well. In which case, this post will disappear.


05:18 Tuesday, 25 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 55.85°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph


🌎 Ventura volume layout.

Author: hoakley October 25, 2022 Macs, Technology

Date Retrieved: 10/25/22, 05:18

At first sight, it might appear that boot volume groups and overall disk layout in Ventura are exactly the same as those in Big Sur and Monterey. This article shows their similarity, and how they differ significantly.

Number of Words: 838


This is another test of the BlogNote shortcut. This time I've reformatted the text the shortcut creates in the Apple note.

Before I go any further, let me say that Howard Oakley's The Eclectic Light Company is a tremendous resource for Mac users of a more technical bent. He's also a Tinderbox user, and there's some good stuff there about that as well. So, yes, this is a good example to link to.

Learning as I go, I discovered you can't copy and paste text containing variables in a shortcut Text action. The variables are lost on paste. It's easy enough to delete the plain text names of the variables that remain in the text, and then right-click and Insert Variable again. But it did make me scratch my head for a few minutes.

Apple Notes will make the first line of the Text action in the shortcut the note's title. That didn't seem to work very well as a note's title in Tinderbox. So I just inserted "BlogNote" for the time being. I may find a better term and add a date and time variable to make it somewhat unique.

Dragging the note from the Tinderbox container that watches Apple Notes seems odd. It doesn't create an alias, it seems like it creates a copy. But they seem linked somehow. I couldn't edit the copy because the original was still Read Only. If I turned off Read Only in the original, it turned off in the copy, which I didn't expect.

I turned off Read Only in the original, because when I dropped the copy into the October Archives container, its Displayed Attributes became those of a p_Post wx prototype, as intended, and Read Only isn't a Displayed Attribute in that prototype. It'd be easy enough to find it and change it in the copy, but I just turned it off in the original and it seemed to affect the copy as here I am!

I'll have to play with that some more and pay closer attention to what's going on. Perhaps I've just misunderstood what I've been seeing.

Let's see what happens when I delete the original in Apple Notes.

Update: The first link was bad. I should have inspected it more closely. I got the blue link text and figured all was well. It was not. Those little quotation marks in the Text action box are tiny! And if your cursor isn't in the right place, well...

E-M1 Mk3

04:55 Tuesday, 25 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 56.34°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph


UPS arrived yesterday about 1630. Nice driver. Tried to put a camera emoji in the title as I'm thinking about using emojis more. It doesn't render in the title on export, so I'll have to look into that. Seems to work fine in the text.

If I develop a consistent practice, it may be more of a visual cue as to what the post may be about than my typically non sequitur titles.

There should be an insomnia emoji.

Signs of Encouragement

08:36 Monday, 24 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 61.21°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 85% Wind: 4.61mph

In 2020, Mitzi and I put in 7KW of rooftop solar and two Tesla Powerwalls. At the time, I thought I was going to be the first kid on my block with solar and storage (or just solar, for that matter), but my neighbor George down the street beat me to it by a couple of weeks. He put up a larger array and three Powerwalls because he has a Tesla EV as well.

Our installer, A1A Solar, offered us a $500 referral fee for anyone who bought a system based on a referral from us. From time to time, people would ask us about it and I always enjoyed talking about it, but nobody went on to buy a system.

Well, in the last few months, three large arrays have gone up, just on our street! None of them from A1A Solar, alas. Still, I was impressed. Then I noticed two other houses with arrays, one near the clubhouse and one in a neighborhood near ours, where it was visible from the road.

Another encouraging sign was an email from the HOA to all the members that, yes, they can't deny approval of putting up rooftop solar, but you must still get approval before you do it. So apparently one or more have gone up without the requisite Architectural Review Committee approval.

I was intrigued, so I looked at Apple Maps satellite view and inspected the entire development. Those images are probably a year or more out of date, but there were quite a few rooftop installations!

We spoke to one of folks with a new install on our street. They did not get storage, they're just using net metering to offset their electric bill. It's a massive array, but they have a much bigger house. I'd be guessing, but I'd say it's likely that over the course of a year, they're likely making more power than their consuming, so their electric bill is probably just the $25.00/month connection fee FPL imposes on you.

I may go to the tax assessor's web site and look at the overhead images there. Those are updated far more frequently.

Encouraging news.


08:17 Monday, 24 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 60.24°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 4.61mph

My Olympus E-M1 Mk3 has a loose LCD screen. It's one of those tilty-swivelly "articulated" things. I'm usually pretty careful when I handle it, so I was surprised to find it was loose one day. Happened after a visit by the grandkids. I suspect some little hands were interested in it.

Anyway, seems to be getting worse, and since it's a damn good camera I figured I'd better send it in for repair.

Mitzi has an online UPS account and I figured I'd just box it up, have her print a shipping label and run it over to the UPS Store and get on with my day.

Alas, no. Since I've insured it for a lot of money, you either have to take it to a UPS logistics center (not a UPS Store), or have it picked up at home and signed for.

Since UPS trucks are in the neighborhood every day, I figured it wasn't worth the trip to drive to some other location and drop it off. (I often ask myself "Is this trip necessary?" Climate anxiety will do that to you.)

You can't make an appointment, about the most you can do is offer them a window, which UPS says they may or may not honor. Basically, you stay home all day and wait for the truck, and hope that "all day" isn't really all day.

As a retiree, staying home all day isn't really a deal-breaker. It's like most days. I'd like to get out and take a walk this morning, but Murphy's Law suggests that's when the truck would appear. So I'll stay home and blog and wait.

Continuing Computer Education

07:33 Monday, 24 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 59.9°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 3.44mph

There's a glitch in the Matrix.

The two previous posts to this one are gone. I could recreate them, but they weren't deathless prose.

I had started a lengthy discussion of how this unfortunate turn of events came to pass, but I'm sure it wouldn't be very interesting. Suffice to say, be careful opening the same file on two different machines, and don't count on Versions to save your bacon, or your text.

This was going to be a topic anyway: continuing computer education.

I don't recall exactly when it happened, but at some point "new" features in operating systems and programs became less of a source of excitement and more a cause for lament. Part of getting older, I guess. Or lazy. Perhaps they're related.

We have new neighbors who are older than us, and Mitzi volunteered that I was "good with computers" and suggested I go over and help them get their email set up and their phone working.

Personally, I've abandoned the idea that I'm "good with computers," anymore. I struggle with them probably as much as anyone else these days. But as I was offered to help, I went over and tried to do so.

To make a long story short, I couldn't get their email working. Phone was easy. Plugged into the wrong jack. Shame on Comcast/Xfinity, whatever the corporate branding is today. They should never have left the install appointment unless everything was up and running. But perhaps their computer was still in a box or something.

A few days later, I spotted the Xfinity truck at their house and it was there for a couple of hours, so I didn't feel so bad.

Mitzi, being a good neighbor, told them about the informal organization that holds get-togethers on our street, and publishes a neighborhood directory. She asked our neighbor if they had Excel? (Because directories come on spreadsheets these days.) She replied, "Well, we have a Mac."

When Mitzi related this to me, I told her it'd be fine, it'd open up in Numbers. Mitzi uses Excel, years of corporate indoctrination into Microsoft Office.

Later that day Mitzi said, "She texted me and asked if I could send it as a PDF."


I'm making preparations to leave Twitter. Social media is toxic, and it's difficult to self-regulate, at least for me. I'm sticking around until after the election and then I think I'm done. There are local elections in Duval County, adjacent to us in St Johns, that I'm very interested in, and those don't take place until March. Off-cycle elections being better to depress voter turnout and maintain the party in power.

I digress.

Blogging has always offered a way to interact with people online, and I still have online friends who I've known for more than twenty years that I've never met. Those interactions are far fewer these days, mostly on Twitter, alas. But blogging does offer a similar opportunity.

And it does so in moderation. Blogging is like the "slow food movement" of social media. You can have an RSS app that monitors all the blogs you follow, and there's some friction in composing a reply, so you're less likely to engage in the kind of problematic exchanges that sometimes (often) occur on Twitter or Facebook.

It's more like a garden hose than a firehose. Something you can handle. A "hot take" intrinsically has a chance to cool.

So, I'm going to go back to blogging exclusively.

While I appreciate its more deliberate nature, there are points of friction that I'm trying to smooth. And that's where I'm having to learn about "computer stuff" again. Shortcuts and automation being chief among them lately.

Strangely, and happily I suppose, some of the old excitement seems to be returning as well. Often accompanied by acute frustration too, as things often don't seem to work as advertised.

Baby steps. Pause. Take a walk. Try again.

There's probably a market opportunity for someone offering oldsters "continuing computer education." I think that's what Gary Rosvenzweig has at his macmostvideo channel.

I enjoy his videos a great deal. They're relatively short, cover something useful and do so clearly in ways that I can pause the video and rewind to see something again. His productivity is astonishing. I've become a Patreon supporter, because he produces a really good product.

His pacing is just about perfect. Some people talk too fast, others fill their narrative with a lot of personal asides. Gary just goes over the topic. Damn near perfect, in my opinion.

Anyway. Old dogs, new tricks.

Life goes on.

Whelp, blogged too soon...

17:54 Friday, 21 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 68.86°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 45% Wind: 12.66mph

The previously posted shortcut works on my 13" M1 MBP running Ventura. It does not work on my 27" iMac running Monterey.

It complains that Safari Reader is unavailable!

I guess I'll find out when I install Ventura on the iMac.

There really are not shortcuts to success.

Update: Compared Safari versions. Running 16.0 on the iMac, 16.1 on the MBP. Shortcuts v5 on the iMac, v6 on the MBP. Clearly there are some differences.

There Are No Shortcuts to Success

17:39 Friday, 21 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 68.77°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 45% Wind: 12.66mph

You just have to keep trying!

I sat in the recliner with the 13" M1 MBP and just built the damn thing one small step at a time. It was often one step forward, two or three steps back. I deleted every damn action and started over a couple of times.

I should have been recording my screen, because it seemed kind of flakey, often misbehaving for reasons I can't begin to fathom; but this seems to be working.

Now, it's not the finished product because I'm going from the clipboard here. I ran into a problem where it wouldn't retrieve the article URL from the Article Details. I started with the clipboard, just because I could look at that and see what it was getting. When it wouldn't retrieve the URL from the Article Details, I inserted the clipboard variable and that works for now.

Taking a break for the moment, but when I return to it, I hope to make it a Quick Action so I an assign a keyboard shortcut to it. I have to figure out the URL piece.

One big "Aha!" moment was figuring out how to insert variables in the Text action, though that was also where much of the flakiness occurred as well. I was "duplicating" actions just to avoid sliding over to the right column and then changing the detail variable in the new action. That seemed to confuse Shortcuts, I had more success inserting each action (although they're the same) separately, and then selecting the detail I wanted.

At least this works on the Mac.

Here's what it looks like right now:

Screenshot of a MacOS Shortcuts workflow

New iPad

11:06 Friday, 21 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 66.33°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 43% Wind: 5.99mph

I received the iPad 9 I mentioned here.

It's up and running and I thought I'd offer my impressions, especially comparing it to my 2017 iPad Pro 10.5" (64GB).

The single biggest, most noticeable difference is audio. I much prefer the audio on the 2017 iPad Pro. The iPad 9 only has two stereo speakers at the bottom, and when you're watching something in landscape orientation, it's a huge difference. Even in portrait, it's noticeable. I guess AirPods or headphones solve that issue.

As far as the displays go, I can't really tell a difference. I'm sure there is one, but I think it's subtle.

The iPad 9 has a little more horsepower than the 2017 iPad Pro. In Photos, you don't get the little ID icon when you have Info displayed in iPad OS 16. I didn't even know it was there until I got the iPad 9! It took me by surprise when I first saw it. The Pro has more RAM I think, 4GB vs 3GB

I was able to use my Smart Keyboard with no problems, which was important to me; and the Apple Pencil works just fine with the iPad 9.

The front-facing camera is better, but that's not something I'll notice. The back camera is 8MP vs 12MP on the Pro, but I don't take many pictures (any?) with the iPad.

I enjoy using the iPad to work on my Photos library, and that's what was eating up so much of the storage on the Pro. I've had the Pro for more than three years, I bought it as a refurb in June of '19, and it was $501.83 delivered. The iPad 9 I bought new, and it was $463.33 delivered.

I've got a few Lightning dongles for USB devices and SD cards and such, and the Pencil uses the port as well, so I won't miss USB-C on this iPad.

I expect I'll get about five years of utility out of this tablet, assuming I don't drop it or my Photos library doesn't double.

Seek, and Ye Shall Find

05:53 Thursday, 20 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 47.73°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 75% Wind: 8.05mph

Well duh. As I was casting about for insights into successfully creating Apple Notes shortcuts (creating successful Notes shortcuts?), I started watching yet another YouTube video.

This one began with a recommendation to look in the Shortcuts Gallery, for something that may be close to what you're hoping to achieve. I spotted one called Clip Article to Notes. This looked promising, because an RSS item is often referred to as an article in Automator.

So I added that one and took a look at it. Sure enough, it does almost exactly what I want to do!

Except it doesn't work on the Mac. It works fine on iOS, which is handy since NetNewsWire is on iOS.

That is, it doesn't work on my iMac, which is still running Monterey. It might work on the M1 MBP running Ventura, I haven't checked yet.

Here's an example of what I get in Tinderbox from Notes:

Screenshot of a BlogLink note in Tinderbox

The remaining part of the project is to create a Tinderbox stamp to turn that into a BlogLink. I may work on that today.

Progress Report

09:05 Tuesday, 18 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 65.93°F Pressure: 1006hPa Humidity: 74% Wind: 14.97mph

Where by "progress," we mean stasis. I suppose I should have called this a Stasis Report.

It's not all bad news. I think I'm learning something. I'm playing around with Automator and Shortcuts. Trying out different things, trying to figure out how they work. It's a little frustrating, but it hasn't been infuriating. Yet.

In the mean time, I'm kind of playing around more with a Watched Folder in Notes, a feature of Tinderbox. I don't know if I should try to leverage more of that functionality, or try to build something from scratch.

At the risk of repeating myself, I can use the Share sheet to send the URL and some text, either that I write or that I've copied from the post, to a new note in Apple Notes, in a Blog Replies folder.

I think I've got much of what I need if I copy the title of the post before I invoke the share sheet. Then paste the title of the post in the new note.

The fiddly bit is navigating to the Blog Replies folder in Notes, which is a bit of friction I'd like to eliminate and perhaps Shortcuts would be the best way to do that. Basically, it'd be a sharing service that replicates the built-in share to Notes functionality, only with the BlogReplies folder already selected.

From there, I learned last weekend how to parse the text of the note in a Tinderbox function, using a stamp, to populate the BlogPermalink and BlogPostTitle attributes. Which, I hasten to add, I haven't done yet. That's today's little project, after we get some errands accomplished.

Anyway, it has me engaged for the moment. Something better to do than scroll Twitter!

What a BlogLink Post Looks Like (Maybe)

12:03 Sunday, 16 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 80.55°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 62% Wind: 1.99mph

And this is what that might look like in the Tinderbox file that is the marmot.

Screenshot of a BlogLink note in Tinderbox

Here's What a Photo Post Looks Like

10:38 Sunday, 16 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 78.13°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 67% Wind: 4.61mph

This is about as much html as you'd see in a link-post, though it would obviously be different. The PhotoTitle attribute you see in the screenshot is left over from when I was trying to figure out what attributes I needed to capture from Photos metadata, and I hadn't realized that the title I'd create in Photos could be the name of the note, which already has an attribute! So that's why it's blank.

Screenshot of a photo note in Tinderbox

Things To Do...

10:07 Sunday, 16 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 76.86°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 72% Wind: 4.61mph

There are a couple of bits of polish I want to add to the photo-posting, but I've been thinking about some other automations I want to build to make link-posting as simple as posting pics.

I've been playing with the web actions in Automator and trying to get a handle on how they work. There are some RSS-related actions that may be useful. I also need to look at what Shortcuts might offer in that regard.

Ideally, I'd like to work from a feed reader like NetNewsWire, where I encounter a post I'd like to share or comment on. With the post selected, I'd run a service or a script to copy the permalink as an attribute in a new note created in Tinderbox, with the title of the post as the note's title. Some folks are embracing RSS items without titles, so I'd fall back to the title of the blog. In the same process, I'd create a child note with a complete copy of the text of the post in the body of the note.

The new note would be created in a container in the Marmot that would be a temporary holding location, because it's possible I may not be able to post the response right away. But it'll be safely stored to come back to when I have a moment.

Putting the text of the post into a child note would allow me, I think, to have that particular note open in a separate window, so I could refer to it as I was composing my comment or reply, copying excerpts if or as necessary. I haven't done that before, but I think it's possible.

After publishing the post, I would delete the note and its child with the text as they're no longer necessary.

This type of inter-blog posting would have its own prototype, where the first few lines of the post would always be some boilerplate and include the link to the post. There'd be some html visible in the body of the note, as there is in the photo posts; but it would relieve me of having to go through the rather fiddly process of "Make web link" in rich text.

And no, I have no intention of learning or using markdown. I don't mind looking at a bit of html now and then.

Anyway, that's what had me going down the Automator rabbit-hole the past few days. I'm not certain it's achievable yet, but it seems promising.

Early Bird

09:59 Sunday, 16 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 75.47°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 75% Wind: 1.99mph

Closeup of a Reddish Heron staring into the water.

This is a Reddish Heron (pretty sure) by the back pond this morning. I don't think it's had its coffee yet, because it didn't move the entire time I walked past it to the back gate, turned around and walked past it again. I think it may have been waiting for the sun to get a little higher.

Posting this mostly to help me internalize the process. I still have to stop and think about it a bit, but I'm pretty happy with how it's working.

(And yes, the water is blown out. It was still pretty dark down there and I've got +1.3ev of exposure compensation dialed in. But the heron looked good! Sue me.)

Hi There!

11:19 Friday, 14 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 74.73°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 61% Wind: 13.8mph

Photo of a dolphin's head above the water.

This is one of the dolphins we saw playing when we visited Cumberland Island. I'm posting it as another exercise in learning and refining this workflow.

I'm a sloppy coder, so I have versions of the script scattered here and there, which gets confusing. I'm making sure I know which one works. (There are two in the Scripts Library!)

I'd also been running the Automator workflow from within Automator. Now I've converted it to a Service, so Automator doesn't have to be running and I can do the initial steps all from Photos.

So the workflow is something like:

1. Edit photo for the marmot

2. Switch to thumbnail view

3. Run Photos to Tinderbox script from the Scripts menu

4. Select Export Photo for Weblog from the Services menu

5. Switch to Forklift and upload the photo to the server (need to work on this part)

6. Switch to Tinderbox and write whatever should appear in the post (like this).

7. I can Preview the post with the image, since it's now already on the server.

8. Export as HTML.

9. Sync the the folders with the server, which I can do from the Forklift item in the menu bar.

I need to look at Forklift and add another sync process for the images. I could do the whole thing all at once, but then the photo doesn't get to the server until the whole post is uploaded, so Preview in Tinderbox would show a broken image placeholder.

With another sync for images in the menu bar, I'm basically just working in Photos and Tinderbox with trips to the menubar and Services menu.

It may seem like a lot, but it's far, far less than I used to have to do, and I'm pretty please with how this is working out.


10:20 Friday, 14 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 71.71°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 10.36mph

Closeup photo of a hawk perched on a metal fence, looking to its right with the morning sunlight reflected in its left eye.

Yesterday I was startled by a hawk on my walk. It flew to a dead tree on the other side of the property fence. I tried to get a few shots, but it was pretty far away, even for the 75-300mm zoom.

So this morning I tried to remember to pay attention as I was approaching the back pond, and I was rewarded. I spotted this hawk on the fence, and it remained there and allowed me to approach pretty closely.

And creating this post, I discovered that the script seems to require that photos be in the thumbnail view, as opposed to viewing the image separately on the screen. No worries, good to know.

Briefly: Cumberland Island

06:34 Monday, 10 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 67.19°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 96% Wind: 4.61mph

For our fifth wedding anniversary, my lovely wife Mitzi planned a little weekend getaway for us. We drove up to Amelia Island on Friday night and attended a couple of performances of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival that were taking place in our hotel. Great stuff, really enjoyed it.

The main event was a day trip to Cumberland Island, Georgia. We got up early Saturday and drove up to the ferry in St Mary's, Georgia. Cumberland Island is a National Seashore, managed by the National Park Service. I learned a lot on the trip, but I can't say I've assimilated it all just yet, so these are mostly impressions.

First, if you live in the southeast U.S. and you have the means, you should definitely go. Well worth it.

The ferry ride was pleasant, about 45 minutes to go six miles. We had remarkably nice weather, the water was essentially flat. Saw a lot of dolphins.

We took the Lands and Legacies tour, and I think it's one of the best things to do on the island. It'll take you all the way to the north end of the island, and you'll get a good introduction to its remarkable history.

In many ways, Cumberland Island is a concentrated microcosm of the entire history of North America's encounter with European colonization, and the subsequent capitalist society established there.

You can get the condensed version at Wikipedia. Worth a click.

There are about 150 feral horses on the island, in three herds. They've been a continuous presence there for over 400 years. Naturally, they're not native to the island, and they impair the natural ecosystem. Many people love the wild horses. I'm inclined to believe they should be removed. Their presence there is a sad and tragic legacy. The first were "left" by the Spanish (The Spanish didn't really leave, they were all killed.) Then, rich people (mainly the Carnegie family) brought horses over for polo and horse racing, and when they got bored they left the island and just left the horses behind.

So their presence is a legacy of European colonization, and careless and irresponsible wealth.

But people love horses.

There's a remarkable history at the Stafford Plantation. It would appear that Robert Stafford was one of the more "enlightened" slaveholders, which was happily related, and that part of the tour made me a little uncomfortable. The freedmen from Stafford's plantation established a community at the north end of the island and later worked as staff for two resort hotels that were built there.

They built a small Baptist church, and it's now famous because it was the site of John F. Kennedy's Jr.'s wedding. The church is part of the tour and the guide offered to take pictures of tourists in the pulpit. Mitzi and I demurred. Mitzi partly because of her faith, but both of us because this was a place of faith and worship for a people who had been unjustly mistreated, and it felt wrong place ourselves in the frame of that history, just because JFK Jr. had been married there.

There's a whole fascinating story around that event as well.

There's a current resident of the island, Carol Ruckdeschel, and you can read her story in this book. We encountered her at the church and we were advised not to engage with her. Apparently, she's not a fan of tourists. She knew our guide and asked if any of use happened to be an entomologist. Alas, no. She was exactly as described. She's a smart, wealthy woman who once killed her husband in what was determined to be a case of justifiable homicide.

The Lands and Legacies tour normally doesn't include the Dungeness Ruins because of time. But our guide moved us along, with our agreement, to ensure we'd have enough time to visit the ruins; and I'd say it was very well worth it. It really capped off the history of Lucy Carnegie and her relationship with the island and her children.

Ms. Ruckdeschel is opposed to tours of the island, preferring that the island be returned to its wilderness state. But I think the tour is incredibly important, because it does encapsulate nearly every part of our complicated and often tragic history on this continent. It is right there in front of you the entire time, though I'm not at all confident that many people appreciate it.

I've just bought a few books to learn more about Cumberland Island. One thing Lucy Carnegie did fairly right was leave her land to her grandchildren, and not to her rotten, "idle rich" children. Cumberland Island is a unique place that has been spared at least some of the development that has utterly transformed the great seashore barrier islands. We are very lucky to have it.

It was a great visit, and a wonderful weekend.

Tonight's Moon

19:28 Wednesday, 5 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 71.29°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 62% Wind: 4.61mph

Handheld high resolution shot of a waxing gibbous moon with the OMDS OM-1 and 100-400mm zoom

Just went out and shot the moon with the OMDS OM-1, handheld high-res shot and then used the new automation to create the post.

More Progress!

18:42 Wednesday, 5 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 75.36°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 53% Wind: 9.22mph

Well, progress is often not in a straight line, but it's still getting closer to what I'm shooting for.

I'd intended to add an export function to the Photos to Tinderbox script, such that the script would also export the image from Photos, resize it to something more suitable for the marmot and change the file extension to .JPG to match the filename from the camera, which is what appears in Photos as the filename. On export, however, Photos gives it a .jpeg extension, which I then have to change manually.

I struggled with figuring out how to even get an image out of Photos with just a few lines of AppleScript. I'm sure it can be done, it's in the dictionary, but as I've mentioned before, I'm easily frustrated.

So I looked at using Shortcuts or Automator. I ended up using Automator, because I couldn't find an export action for Photos in Shortcuts, but there was one in Automator.

While Automator offered the functionality I was looking for, it insisted on doing it just one way. When you use the export Automator action, it always exports the file to a new folder in the Pictures folder of your home directory. Ugh! I couldn't just export to the Images folder I use for Nice Marmot Exports.

But there's a complete suite of Finder actions, so I spent a little time getting familiar with those.

Here's a screenshot of what the workflow looks like: (I'll be right back. I have to see how this looks...)

Screenshot of a MacOS Automator workflow

Okay, I'm back. That doesn't look horrible.

So I invoke the workflow after I invoke the Photos to Tinderbox script, creating the photo note in the marmot. This exports the image to Automator's desired Pictures folder, changes the file extension to .JPG, then resizes the image and moves it to the Images folder in the Nice Marmot Exports directory.

Then it has to go back and clean up after itself and I struggled a bit with that. I had to disconnect the connection between actions to get it to work right. The 2-second pause in there is likely unnecessary now, I'll check later. It was in there when I was futzing around trying to figure out why it wouldn't work moving the folder to the Trash.

I tried putting the Photos to Tinderbox script at the beginning of the workflow with a run AppleScript action, but that didn't work. I'm sure I was doing something wrong.

So, for now, I've significantly reduced the amount of manual intervention (fiddly stuff), I have to do to post an image from Photos. I'll work on combining the script and the workflow into one process, either within the enclosing script or the workflow. But I have to wait for my reserves of patience to replenish.

And posting this screenshot has given me another idea about how to automate that process!

Anyway, progress!


11:18 Wednesday, 5 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 73.17°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 53% Wind: 8.05mph

With regard to my Mad AppleScript Skilz yesterday, I blogged too soon.

I combined the title and description Photos script with my make a new Tinderbox photo note script, and it didn't work.

Well, it didn't work right.

It did make a new note, but it was doing so at the top level of the outline, not within the October 2022 container. So it wasn't in fact parsing the way I'd constructed path correctly. I don't know why it seemed to work yesterday. I must have been hallucinating.

Anyway, dug into AppleScript 1-2-3 again and learned about strings and concatenation. Turns out you do need (straight) quotes and ampersands (&) to construct a string. I've been writing my scripts in Script Debugger, the super wham-o-dyne AppleScript editor/debugger that I'm utterly unqualified to operate!

So I cranked up the MacOS Script Editor and just played with creating a string variable from strings and variables. Basically just assembled the whole thing one little piece at a time, and I'd get errors as I went along. It was easy to see what the error was doing it in little chunks. Once I got the correct result, I copied that bit of script over into Script Debugger and voila! The whole thing works! Again.

I think. Fingers crossed.

Now I'm going to work on adding export to the script.

Wish me luck!

Oh, the finished bit of script looks like this, probably minus all the colorful text:

use AppleScript version "2.4" -- Yosemite (10.10) or later

use scripting additions

set this_moment to (the current date)

set nmMonth to (month of this_moment) as string

set nmYear to (year of this_moment) as string

set thePath to "Archives/" & nmYear & "/" & nmMonth & " " & nmYear

That correctly results in "Archives/2022/October 2022".

So when I create a new monthly archive (which exports as a page) for November, the script will work without any manual intervention. Previously, I'd hard-coded the path because I was reluctant to mess around with strings when I was trying to figure everything else out.

iPad Storage

04:55 Wednesday, 5 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 56.14°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 88% Wind: 0mph

It's become clear that 64GB of storage isn't sufficient to make the most use of an iPad as a near-peer to a laptop. I have a 10.5" iPad Pro (2017, so five years old now) with 64GB of storage. It's been a useful, albeit slightly less capable, alternative to my 13" MBP for things like weekend trips.

To be a near-peer device, I should have access to most of my usual apps and especially my Photos library. Well, even though I have iCloud Photos enabled, where only reduced sized jpegs reside in storage, my library is taking up almost 19GB on the iPad Pro. It's only taking up 13GB on my 64GB iPad mini, perhaps because they use smaller jpegs for the smaller screen.

What's worse is that iOS is using 7.53GB and "System Data" is using 10.7GB on the iPad Pro, so most of my apps are in iCloud and have to be downloaded when I want to use them. That's an inconvenience at best, and an insurmountable obstacle without internet access.

My iPhone 13 has 128GB of storage and still has 32GB free. iOS is using 9GB, System Data is using 14.5GB and Photos is using a whopping 19.8GB! So much for the idea that smaller screens need less storage. Even so, I have over 30GB free, which is plenty.

I tried freeing up some storage by deleting Messages conversations, some of which were taking up gigabytes. I feel conflicted about that, it was nice sometimes to go back and see old messages. But probably better to let some things go. (I just checked, and they're still available in my iPhone. I thought they'd be deleted everywhere. But I didn't scroll back very far, so perhaps they're only still present in that System Data on the iPhone? Beats me.)

Both devices remain very capable, but it's clear that I should stop using Photos with them and focus on other uses for those devices. Of late, I've mostly been using them as eBook readers with the Kindle and Books apps and using Safari.

So yesterday I ordered a regular 10.5" iPad, which should work with my existing keyboard cover and Pencil, and it has 256GB of storage, same as my 13" M1 MBP.

It hasn't escaped me that this is an example of needless consumption, which is part of what's made our present civilization unsustainable. I haven't figured out how I feel about that, except to say that I'm not happy about it. I should give the 10.5" iPad Pro to someone, it'll be redundant now. One of my kids or grandkids. I'm no Wendell Berry, that's for sure.

Life goes on. Until it doesn't anymore.

Fall Weather

04:52 Wednesday, 5 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 56.14°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 88% Wind: 0mph

Zoinks! Check out that temperature! 56°F! Sweatshirt weather. Haven't felt that in a while.

Glad to see it though.

Mad AppleScript Skilz

11:25 Tuesday, 4 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 70.84°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 63% Wind: 24.16mph

Some new shit has come to light, man! See an update up above. Must have been one of those occasional acid flashbacks.

All the excitement attendant to the success of my previous effort with scripting Photos kind of wore me out, so I took a nap.

Refreshed, I figured I'd take a stab at fixing the hard-coded path for the new note. I wasn't expecting much, because everything "simple" seems to turn out to be "hard" for me.

Now, I did have enough insight or sense to know that a date was going to be a particular data type, and the path to the new note was a string. So I needed to find out how to extract the month and the year from the current date and turn them into a string data type.

Fortunately, I have the book AppleScript 1-2-3, by Sal Soghoian and Bill Cheeseman (Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.), and Lesson 24 had the relevant information.

So you just create a variable to contain today's date, this_moment(var) and then set this_moment to (the current date).

Now, this_moment contains all the properties of a date that happens to be today, including the month and the year, which are the two I need to make this thing automatic. So, two more variables! nmMonth and nmYear ("nm" for "Nice Marmot". You could use anything you like, blogMonth, blogYear, archiveMonth, archiveYear. You get the idea.)

Those variables have to be strings, because they're going to be part of a string. So you tell AppleScript to

set nmMonth to (month of this_moment) as string


set nmYear to (year of this_moment) as string

Then I went to this line in the script:

set theContainer to find note in it with path "Archives/(nmYear)/(nmMonth) (nmYear)"

Then we create the new note there:

set newNote to make new note at theContainer

And voila! It worked! A new post in the current archive! (I tested it with another photo, then deleted the post.)

The structure of the main portion of the Tinderbox file that is Nice Marmot is Archives/Year/Month/posts and the format is always the same with the month heading being the string "month space year." Don't go crazy with the quotes, AppleScript didn't seem to mind inserting the variables in the quoted path, I didn't need to quote the forward-slashes or space.

Wow. That was probably the easiest non-trivial AppleScript thing I've ever done!

I think I need another nap.

Turkey Vulture

09:06 Tuesday, 4 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 67.33°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 18.41mph

Large black Turkey Vulture with red head perched atop a dead tree

This is a nothing photo, just used as a test case for another AppleScript I wrote.

And it worked!

I am a lazy man, prone to distraction and procrastination and easily frustrated. So this is a project that is proceeding at what can charitably be described at a snail's pace. Nevertheless, progress!

What I have now are two scripts that will be combined into one. The one I just completed was a method of applying what Photos calls in its user interface a "Title" and a "Caption." Internally, these are properties of a media item (an image is a media item), and they are called "name" and "description." Just another way that Apple makes it unnecessarily confusing.

The Photos UI offers a means of setting those values, but it's in the tiny "Info" window, with equally tiny text fields you have to navigate up to with your mouse or trackpad. There may be a way to do it with the keyboard, but it's not blindingly obvious. In any event, I didn't like it, so I wanted a way to get a little dialog box with the input cursor already blinking away at me, ready to type. And now I do. First it asks me for the title, which I enter and click "OK," which dismisses that dialog and opens a second one for "Photo caption?".

It then assigns those two inputs to the "name" and "description," and returns to Photos with the Info window open and the appropriate values displayed.

The most difficult part of this exercise was figuring out how to address a "media item" going from a "selection." You "select" a photo (Or photos, but this script only handles one at a time. You could make it do a series of them.) but a "selection" isn't a "media item" in AppleScript, it's a "list." That kept tripping me up, and I should have gone to this answer in the Late Night Software forum, to a question I asked about getting properties from a media item. It's the exact same issue.

Duh. I can be so dense sometimes.

Several things remain to be accomplished. I have a script that will take that Title and Caption and create a new note in Tinderbox, in my current month archive (which is hard-coded at the moment, I need to fix that too), with attributes for the file name (usually something like PA020497.JPG), and the PhotoCaption, and the note's Name, which is the PhotoTitle. It also sets the prototype of the note as pPhoto, which includes the boilerplate html and export code to create the image post with the ALT tag populated from PhotoCaption.

So I'll combine those two scripts together as a script I'll call "Post Photo" or something.

Additionally, I need to export the photo from Photos to my 2022 Images folder, with the file extension of .JPG vice the .jpeg that Photos appends to exports.

At that point, I should be able to be looking at an image in Photos, making whatever edits I wish and then if I decide it's "blogworthy", executing the script to essentially create the post for me and export the image to my images folder.

Then I need to do something to automagically have Forklift sync the local archive with the server. Right now I have a sync command in the Forklift menubar dingus, but it just syncs the text. I need to play around with it and add the Images folder.

Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with myself this morning. There's another piece I want to add, but I'll write about that after I've got all the previous pieces wired together. At the current rate of progress, that may be in early 2023!

I hope not, but such is life.

In Other News

10:07 Monday, 3 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 68.27°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 79% Wind: 10.36mph

I've been exercising early in the morning, because that's the most productive time of the day for me to do it. Get it done first thing, and then forget about it. And I've been doing about 70 minutes every morning (hurricane days excluded), which means I'm not getting started at whatever this is I do in front of the computer until about 0830-0900. A few mornings each week, Mitzi and I walk to the gym and ride a stationary bike for 20 minutes. It's 1.5 miles to the gym, so we get a three mile walk in and 20 minutes of higher intensity cardio. The gym doesn't open until 0700, so those mornings are even later. The other mornings, I ride my bike about six miles, then walk for two and a half. I can start earlier on the bike, and I need to because of traffic, so I'm done earlier than gym days.

Those early morning hours are also my most productive for writing. Not that what I do here is anything as dignified as "writing." I should say, "blogging." They're my most productive for blogging. But I get sucked into Twitter as I'm making or having breakfast. Twitter is unproductive for blogging because it's all stimulus-response, with some amount of attendant frustration.

Anyway, I've put Twitter aside for the moment, and I'm making an attempt to do something here.

I've been binge-watching The Good Place, a series I would see mentioned on Twitter from time to time back when it was "on the air." (Is that an anachronism now? I suppose not, since broadcast TV is still a thing. Soon though.) I don't recall specifically what prompted me to start watching it on Netflix, but I do seem to recall some praise for the series' finale. I'm on the last season now, so I hope I'm not disappointed.

I've enjoyed it very much, so far. It's clever and explores some interesting ideas that you don't often encounter in a network sitcom. (Perhaps you do, I haven't been paying much attention to network television for many years.) I like all the characters, and I especially enjoy the references to Jacksonville, the Jaguars and Florida.

I hope to have more to say after I finish the series, but I do wish to mention that it has been resonant with some of the things that have been on my mind of late. Like wondering when the day may come when we'll believe that it's perhaps too irresponsible to fly to a destination for an event that isn't related to close family.

Our choices don't exist in a vacuum. They exist in a universe of privilege, where the consequences of our choices aren't equally borne. What do we tell ourselves if we're trying to live consciously? What do we tell ourselves if we have a conscience?

Trying to figure that out.


05:54 Saturday, 1 October 2022
Current Wx: Temp: 62.22°F Pressure: 1006hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 0mph

Ian was largely a non-event for Mitzi and I. Total rainfall and rainfall intensity weren't anywhere near forecasted, which is fine. We had near constant light rain, stinging when I went out into it on Thursday, but total amount was about 3" for the week at my location.

There was some flooding in St Augustine to the south of us, and some beach erosion. A friend of ours who lives in St Augustine Beach stayed with us as they ordered an evacuation of St Augustine.

There's a problem with human behavior and the way we try to communicate the risk of these storms. Apparently Lee County dithered on ordering an evacuation. How many people decided to stay because they thought it was too late to leave is probably impossible to know. I would guess that the number is fewer than the number who believed "it won't be that bad."

While I've lived here for over 30 years and mostly, reluctantly, consider myself a Floridian now, I'm not from here. Our friend's landlord assured her water wouldn't reach their building, but I asked her why she would want to take the risk? He was out of town, attending to a girlfriend who had an injured foot.

It was a minor inconvenience to spend a couple of days with us, binge watching Ted Lasso.

But nothing happened, and will she be willing to drive 40 minutes to us the next time they order an evacuation? I don't know, but I hope so.

I've met people who insist a hurricane will never hit this part of Florida, despite the fact that one did in 1964, Dora. Right before the Beatles concert, which almost didn't happen because of racism.

Now, maybe there is some oceanographic or meteorological or geographical feature that makes northeast Florida less likely to get hit historically, I don't know. But today's climate doesn't look like the historical climate. We have changes to the jet stream resulting in this blocking phenomenon. The sea surface temperatures are much higher.

I take these storms pretty seriously, though none have been catastrophic for me personally.

The first one I evacuated for was Floyd back in 1999, the one that Pat Robertson "prayed away." My then wife and I were both officers with duty stations nearby, so evacuation consisted of staying at a local evacuation shelter with our kids so we could return to our duty stations quickly after the storm had passed. That was an illuminating experience. I've had a large plastic box full of stuff I'd take to a shelter if I had to evacuate again ever since. Much of that has changed, since I no longer have kids to look after.

Didn't evacuate again until Matthew, and then Irma. We were living in my condo for Irma, and the models were all over the place. Our plan was to leave early and drive to Atlanta and stay with Mitzi's family. If you're planning to drive any distance for a hurricane evacuation, the sooner you leave, the better. Otherwise you may be stuck in a traffic jam. Like, three days early. But it looked like it was going to stay away, until it didn't anymore, and I told Mitzi we should plan to stay at a shelter. She wasn't having any of that and booked us a room at a Holiday Inn Express across the Intracoastal Waterway, outside the evacuation zone. Our hurricane houseguest joined us then too.

We're west of the Intracoastal Waterway now, but still technically in evacuation zone A. Across the street is zone D. I guess it's higher, but you can't tell by looking at it. We live on a swamp adjacent to the Tolomato River, part of the ICW. It's extremely tidal, and so we could see flooding at some point with a Category 3 storm coming ashore from the Atlantic, maybe a Cat 2 with bad timing on the tides. Ian didn't look like that, but I worried that we might get water up to the retaining wall behind the house. The house itself is another four or five feet higher than that. But thinking about this some more, I should probably have been worried about water coming up the road.

Anyway, there are people who aren't alive today because they didn't think Ian would be that bad.

Of course, you can't blame them, or at least not just them. We should also blame all the people in positions of responsibility who permitted all that development. We should blame all the people in positions of responsibility who have done nothing about climate change and carbon emissions. Not that blaming anyone will change anything.

Ron DeSantis is talking about what it's going to take to rebuild Sanibel Island. Of course he is, because what else is a politician going to say to people who've lost nearly everything? But maybe we shouldn't rebuild Sanibel Island. What frequency of periodic destruction is required to make it a bad idea? How do we assign the risk of living there to the people who choose to do so? The developers don't face any risk. They're happy to take the money and build and then leave. And then come back and do it all over again, the proverbial "self-licking ice cream cone."

Maybe the insurance crisis will help sort this out. Maybe we're all about to get an expensive lesson in the true "cost of living" in "the free state of Florida."