2018-11-20 21:49

2018-11-18 Sitrep

This was a pretty action-packed weekend. We got a ton of organizing done which involved assembling a lot of Ikea storage. A little trick I used was to wrap the end of those cheap Allen Keys with painters tape. This means the “turn, turn, turn” motion where you are drilling in those long bolts are much easier on the fingers.

This also freed up a bunch of old storage that had been toy room storage built using a bunch of blue recycling bins. Since these are freed up I can use them in the garage for a much more organized recylcing set up (currently a pile of loosely tied bags I untie and haul into the kitchen every couple of nights and separate an overflowing bin into).

Health-wise, not a great weekend. Definitely wrenched my back coming down the stairs, didn’t get enough sleep, and no stretching or real walking to speak of. However, I did manage to get a lot of movement in with all the cleaning and assembling. Plus some shovelling. All good.

2018-11-20 21:44

On Podcasting (revision)

I recently wrote a defense of Google Podcasts: (Google Podcast App)[https://macdonaldster.ca/post/google-podcasts-2018-11-03/].

However, I have found I really do value the ability to do two things: 1) continuous play of a playlist that is not just all one podcast feed, and 2) having a little more control over my downloads and general feed processing.

I still like the RSS nature of the app, though, so what I did is set up Podcast Addict to not auto-download. This means I can use it to browse my podcasts but also listen to them in a way that makes sense to me. I can also control playback from my Pebble which is useful but not critical.

2018-11-08 14:46

SITREP 2018-11-08

Been really loving my work lately. I’ve been doing actual programming quite a bit. Annoying, reload the front end a thousand times a day, finicky legacy code programming. Just like I like.

I’ve been using my standing desk a lot more lately and leaving it in “Standing” mode by default instead of it being the exception. I have way more energy during the day and feel more physically tired at night which is great for sleeping.

2018-11-06 22:31

2018 mid-terms

Now that I have this new Hugo/Org-mode blogging system set up I guess I should blog something. I have to go to bed very soon but right now the Dems look like they will take the House. Meanwhile, the GOP (Gaslight, Obstruct, Project) seem like they will keep the Senate. It is important to remember that some R senators may pack it in and retire after this election, leaving their seats at least possibly available to Dems.

Disappointments: Kemp winning, Beto and Gillum losing. Not sure if I spelled any of those names right.

However, there is some hope. Who knows, maybe 45 will just resign rather than be dragged through all those boring hearings and trials?

2018-11-07 05:15

Hugo is pretty awesome with ox-hugo and org-mode

Just making sure I can edit a post on my phone easily.

Hmm, why is this not showing up as latest?

Fixed it, here is what you need to do:

(setq org-enable-hugo-support t)
(setq org-log-done 'time)

When you do this you get a nice “closed” timestamp in your blog post once you have changed the state to “Done”. This is the timestamp Hugo uses to set the date on the post.

** DONE Hugo is pretty awesome with ox-hugo and org-mode
   CLOSED: [2018-11-07 Wed 05:01]

2018-11-07 05:00

sitrep 2018-11-05

Test this blogging engine out.

Test synchthing…

Seems to be working. I think the next step is to schedule ox-hugo and Hugo sure rebuild to run as cron jobs. That means I just need to edit blog.org to generate a new entry.

Now, does it work on this side?

2018-11-03 11:05

Google Podcast App

There’s is a lot of scorn directed towards the Google podcast app in places like /r/androidapps. I’m a little late to the party here because I was one of those people who didn’t like it. The lack of automatic downloading and auto-playing the next item in a playlist (oh, playlists other than the default podcast feed are also not supported) make people dismiss immediately.

Then I saw a few positive reviews and decided to give it another shot. The first thing I realized was that it is kind of freeing to not auto-download. I subscribe to a lot of Podcasts and feel obligated to listen to the once downloaded (yes, I have issues). I find choosing a podcast more like viewing an RSS feed now, and prefer it.

Podcasts you haven’t listened to are either in New or In Progress If you’ve listened to them but not too the end. At first, it was annoying because I was looking at the Download list to pick a podcast because it is hard to tell what has been played since the “mark as played” action doesn’t show the podcast as completed in the same way as listening to it all the way through does. Then I realized any podcast was either in New or In Progress and download was basically not needed except for file clean up, which happens on its own, anyway.

I did try the beta but found it was not great. You get into it by joining the Google App beta (I think) but I don’t think Podcasts is compatible with this beta. Podcasts is basically a front end for the Google App as far as I can tell.

As I said, my favorite feature is the need to download deliberately. I subscribe to a lot of Podcasts so they are always filling up storage. It feels more like any RSS reader. I know you could do this with any app but I find the layout and interface to be simple and clean, much more friendly than the other apps (I’ve tried all of them).

The one thing I miss is the ability to make a playlist for long drives. One thing most people don’t realize is if you have multiple episodes to listen to in a single feed it will keep playing. So I am planning on building a feed generator to make my own meta feed so I can queue up a few episodes of a few different Podcasts. Seems silly to have to do this, though. :)

2018-08-12 11:23

Wake Up Early

I see lot of people talking about waking up early. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. I love the peacefulness of an early morning and now I am working in a different time zone (there’s more to it as well) so I have to do it for my job.

For me, the key to waking up early is the bedtime routine. Much has been written about sleep hygiene so I will focus on the things I do the night before to make the morning go smoothly. Reducing the reasons to stay asleep just makes it easier to get up when you need to. If you pay attention you will notice that stumbling around first thing is way less efficient than setting things up the night before.


  • layout your clothes for the morning, take a shower, and put on clean sleeping clothes (pjs or whatever).
  • grind coffee when making dinner if you grind your own. You are going to be getting your coffee set up before bed so grind it now to avoid making lots of noise right before bed and you’ll be more likely to get the coffee set up.
  • right before bed:

    • let the dog out
    • set the coffee up so you can just turn on a kettle or automatic drip when you wake up. If your schedule allows it, you can even program your automatic drip maker to have hot coffee when you wake up.
    • set out everything for the coffee to make it as efficient as possible (cup on counter next to coffee maker, etc)
    • finally, fill a glass with water and cover it with saran wrap, put it in the fridge

Now when you wake up:

  • take your clothes into the kitchen and turn on the kettle or coffee machine
  • then take the clothes to the washroom, do what you need to do, and get dressed
  • go back to the kitchen and drink the fridge water while you complete the coffee process
  • get started on the thing you woke up to do

Modify this routine to suit yourself but the water is a key part of it and so is laying out your clothes. You need to rehydrate after you sleep and getting dressed puts you into a “carpe diem” mindset.

2018-07-14 08:50

Outrage Porn 2018-07-14

I just went down a rabbit hole on YouTube following a chain of videos where Jordan Peterson was apparently “owning libs” and “destroying feminism”. What was actually going on was reasoned debate and discussion between him and people slightly to the Left.

The videos, though, were edited to have childish reaction graphics like a visual laugh track telling the viewer how outraged to feel. These were really extreme reactions that had very little to do with the actual context. In the video where he is “destroying feminists” the two women are largely agreeing with him, the interviewer is doing her job by pushing him a little, and everyone is being respectful. If you were incapable of following what was being said and just relied on predudice and the reaction graphics you’d think it was a completely different, and fictional, conversation.

The Bill Maher clip was actually worse as the video makers were editing in violent footage of the Charlottesville riot including the car plowing through the crowd. I think the viewer is supposed to be on the side of the alt right at the rally or you are supposed to be afraid of what the Trump people will do once he’s impeached or convicted. It isn’t really clear (I am definitely not the target audience).

This experience really has reinforced my belief that critical thinking is declining and people want to be spoon fed thier echo chamber media even when it makes no sense. From my pespective this is a much, much bigger problem on the right but the left has these people, too. something and something else stopping them. There needs to be a cost to be paid, something risked.

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