Month: April 2022


Shut up and take my money!

Obsidian OUCH:

A third brain,
for you, for now.

Obsidian Ultra Cloud Host (OUCH) is a brand new PKM platform by Obsidian. It’s like Obsidian and Obsidian had a baby, in the Cloud™.

(Note the publication date…)

I’d really like to be a web client so. I could view and edit my Obsidian vault’s content from my (thoroughly locked down) work laptop, so this had me going. This was the bit that tipped me off:

We all need some downtime to unplug from work, but we can never find the right time for it.

Don’t worry, our server randomly goes down for a couple of hours from time to time, so you can stay away from knowledge management and recharge your sanity.

Mean?

It would be a crime for me to post a mere excerpt from Damon Young’s A letter to that man who emailed to correct my grammar.

Just go and read the whole thing, either at the Washington Post or via Archive.ph.

Very nicely done.

(Not mean. Just accurate.)

[Via MetaFilter]

, 27 April 2022. Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: , .

Alarmed

Watching the video at Google’s Little Signals site, I was struck by the thought that all these oh-so polite, unobtrusive attempts to replace notifications look fine in a demonstration video but they really don’t scale well.

Take the use of a device – shown 1 minute, 15 seconds in – that taps on a solitary bottle of pills to hint that it’s time for you to take your morning (or evening, or whatever) medication…

Looks cute, doesn’t it.

Outside of demo-world, at present I take six different pills after breakfast, then one of the same pills again after tea, then one other pill after supper. A gentle tap threatens to turn into a drum solo accompanying my morning repast.1 In practice, the fact that I currently keep my pill dispenser out of sight in a cabinet in my kitchen might also be a bit of a problem.

Don’t we want alerts to take your medication to be difficult to ignore?

What I really want is…

  • A medication timer app for iPadOS (or simply daily recurring entries on any halfway-decent ToDo app) that sends me notifications that I can’t easily ignore, not a polite tapping sound from the kitchen cabinet that I might miss completely.
  • Or a high-tech version of my cheap plastic pill organiser that can light up the appropriate compartment containing the pills I need to take at the appropriate time.2
  • Or just the self-discipline to keep on top of and check off the uncleared medication-related tasks from my Markdown-formatted Daily Note.3

[Via Dan Hon


  1. Also, all my pills come in cardboard boxes and once a week I file them away in the right compartment in a weekly pill organiser according to when I’m due to take them. A dull tap on a plastic pillbox just won’t deliver the same distinct audible signal as a tap on a glass pill bottle, I fear. 
  2. With a companion app to program the times, set default colour schemes and sound effects, naturally. 
  3. Yes, I’ve turned into an Obsidian zombie. 

, 27 April 2022. Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: , .

Getting [On | Old]

Dan Hon ponders an increasingly important question:

I gave in and upped the font size on Mail.app on my Mac because I’m now not too precious to admit that I need to be able to read things. Which got me thinking: if we’ve got Dark Mode, then what does Old Mode for Internet Olds look like?

Potential Old Modes:

  • text-only sports websites because Old Internet People remember when stuff loaded quickly and was just text and then evergreen example text.npr.org
  • Make This Like A Chronological Feed For Me Mode for Old Internets who keep going on about some “Google Reader” and “RSS” and can’t handle intrinsically algorithmic/recommendation-powered feeds like TikTok
  • So, you know, not just skins that make things look old, but skins that are interfaces on top of modern services that behave in certain kinds of old. Or interface aesthetics that work for Old People.

I realise this is really just a subset of the last item, but it’s an important one. Letting users control your software using keyboard shortcuts1 is a big one, for me.


  1. If your software has drop-down menus, have it display those shortcuts on-screen, right next to the menu items. 
, 21 April 2022. Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: , .

Being Evil

Compare and contrast: Contra Chrome and Scott McCloud’s original.Fair use, to be sure.

Can’t imagine why Apple are so disinclined to allow sideloading of apps under iOS/iPadOS, given the number of ways Google/Alphabet Inc. have backed away from the picture they drew1 back in 2008.

[Via MetaFilter]


  1. Well, Scott McCloud drew, but as a work-for-hire for Google. 

Levelling-up

Spotted in the Guardian‘s letters, a reader gives the government credit where it’s due:

I am pleased to say I have spotted the first concrete evidence of the government putting its levelling-up agenda into action. While viewing information on my NHS app, I found the guide to foreign travel under Covid regulations, with the following very useful guidance: “Find out what you need to do … to take your pet dog, cat or ferret.”

The inclusion of ferrets in this list really does show that the government takes the interests of northerners into account in its policies, don’t you think? Unfortunately, there is no mention of what to do if you want to travel with your ferret down your trousers or up your jumper – but it’s early days, so no doubt they will learn the finer points of ferret-keeping as we go along.
Philip Robins
Addingham, West Yorkshire

Boris Johnson will probably delegate the travel-with-a-ferret-down-your-trousers demonstration to Michael Gove.

, 17 April 2022. Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: , , .

Dave Winer, Revolutionary

Dave Winer wants publishing platforms to stop locking writers into using the platforms’ own writing tools to compose content:1

I’d like to see someone like Substack or Medium, for example, who says “Write your stuff in your favorite writing tool, export it in Markdown, and give us the link. We’ll take it from there.”

That way you could:

  1. Use a tool that fits your writing style perfectly.
  2. Developers would be incentivized to create such tools.
  3. You could use more than one service, say use Substack to manage your mail list, and Medium to manage your web presence, and Facebook for discussion among your friends, Slack to discuss among your work colleagues. […]
  4. Great archival services could come about because they could be one of the services you cc on your writing.
  5. Service providers could make custom toolkits to make it easy for tools to adapt to this interface. […]
  6. Who knows what else will come about.

[…]

It’s amazing that we have this incredibly powerful network, but the business models of service providers protect their services by not allowing writers a choice in writing tools.

Everyone wants to make money and try to build an empire on the basis of their suddenly being an essential middle-man. Even if that entails complicating the task of providing access to (mostly text) files over a network, a process that the World Wide Web made a pretty decent start on resolving a couple of decades ago.


  1. Apologies to Dave Winer for the length of the quote from his original post, but I thought the points he was making about the implications of the basic concept he’s putting forward deserved to be spread far and wide. 

BallDont

I’m not entirely convinced that the Balldo™ is going to take the world by storm in the way the makers are hoping for.

(NB: some content on their web site is Not Safe For Work. That being said, you really do need to visit their web site to get a proper sense of just how uncomfortable that thing looks. You may feel the need to scrub your web browser history afterwards, is all.)

For what it’s worth, the Wired review describing the Balldo as "less of an erotic toy, more of a dadaist interrogation of the very concept of pleasure" is well worth a read.

[Via MetaFilter]

, 12 April 2022. Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: , .

Time capsules

I trust the UK’s Office for National Statistics will shamelessly borrow the idea of a Time capsule from their counterparts in Central Statistics Office Ireland:

Your Census 2022 household form has a new feature – the Time Capsule. The Time Capsule is a dedicated space at the end of the census form for you to leave a message – if you wish – for your descendants / future generations / historians. Your message can be about anything you want, to anyone you want. Like the rest of your form, it will remain confidential until all of the Census 2022 forms are released to the public in 2122. The Time Capsule is completely voluntary, and it is entirely up to you whether you wish to write anything here or not.

[Via MetaFilter]

A professional

Towards the end of the discussion at MetaFilter of the announcement about Bruce Willis, a delightful reminder of just how much fun Moonlighting was, back at its’ peak.

As Mchelly put it: the "least-Bruce Willis-ever Moonlighting clip"

Bruce Willis may not have been a dancer by trade, but he was a professional who got the job done. That dance sequence was directed by Stanley Donen, goddammit! (It helped that Willis wasn’t the one viewers were paying attention to in that scene, at least not for the bulk of it. Or perhaps that was just me…)

It may have come years before the current "golden age" of TV built up a head of steam, but in the good years Moonlighting was appointment TV.

[Via Mchelly, posting to MetaFilter]

, 2 April 2022. Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: .