OH: “A lot of my reading is audiobooks.”

By definition, you’re not reading. It’s called “listening”, as in “I listen to a lot of audiobooks”.

I’m not sure why this annoys me so much but it does.


Happy New Year! Spring-Clean Your Home Network To Keep Your Sanity

If you want to start 2022 right re your mental well-being, you can do worse than setting up NextDNS for your network. It’s is a system-wide set-and-forget tracking/ad blocker, either for your home network and/or just a laptop and/or your phone. The net becomes so much saner with it. They have a generous free plan which should be more than enough for most people. Go here to check it out: NextDNS.

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TIL that iOS Shortcuts is a bit particular when it comes to photos

A few months ago I’ve built a simple iOS shortcut for quickly snapping a photo and sending it to a fixed email address. Its first action/block was “Take Photo”, it had always worked fine, right from the start. Fast forward to today when I had just finished setting up my new iPhone. I triggered the shortcut, a picture was taken and then โ€ฆ an error message: The file “Camera 2021-07-10 09-10-11.

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TIL how to scan, search, filter and rejigger CSV & JSON data using `sqlite-utils` ๐Ÿ’ป

sqlite-utils is a handy little CLI tool to work with CSV and JSON data. Its v3.10 update introduced a new memory command that makes it trivially easy to pass raw data into the tool without extra steps: The new sqlite-utils memory command can import CSV and JSON data directly into an in-memory SQLite database, combine and query it using SQL and output the results as CSV, JSON or various other formats of plain text tables.

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TIL how to store git credentials for different HTTPS hosts ๐Ÿ’ป

When accessing different git repo hosts (GitHub, GitLab etc.) via HTTPS it’s necessary to enter your credentials. Fortunately, git offers a convenient way to automate this process by securely storing your credentials. First, I needed to enable the credential helper: > git config credential.helper store Next up, I cloned a remote repository via HTTPS. git asked for the personal GitHub access token I previously generated (on GitHub under Settings โ†’ Developer settings โ†’ Personal access tokens):

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German climate law is partly unconstitutional, top court rules:

Germany will have to improve its emissions targets from 2031 following a complaint by a coalition of climate activists, including Fridays for Future.

I can’t overstate how important this ruling is. Young climate activists sued against the law, basically saying “Stop offloading this shit on us”, and our supreme court agreed. So great.


"Pure", UK 2019 ๐Ÿ“บ

Over the last two days I’ve watched the 6-part 2019 British TV mini-series “Pure” about a young woman struggling with ever-present disturbing sexual thoughts. Hard to watch at times but really good nonetheless. It feels like an honest look at humans dealing with their mental health and their sense of self โ€” and the stupid stigmata that come with the territory. Hard subjects, and still has some light-hearted moment and feels hopeful.

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I’m a fan of delta.chat which is a messenger like Signal, WhatsApp, Messages โ€” but its backend is email. Great idea, well executed, iOS/Android/others, yet nobody I know is using it. Every few months I play around with it and then it goes back in the drawer.

A shame, really.


That “well done, you” jingle in the NYT crossword app (you know the one) never fails to make me smile.


Those Presh Mems

My wife and I have a lovely1 tradition: our Jar of Precious Memories. During the year, every time we do something nice together we keep the ticket, receipt, place card etc., and put it in the jar. Then, on New Year’s Eve we’ll crack it open and think back. Sometimes it’s a postcard picked up during a weekend trip, sometimes it’s a movie ticket, and sometimes it’s just a receipt from our fave restaurant where we had a particularily great lunch.

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Started reading Provenance by Ann Leckie ๐Ÿ“š.

Leckie’s wonderful Imperial Raadch books really took me by surprise last year, so โ€ฆ high hopes.


2020

You know what? All in all, 2020 wasn’t that terrible. Yes, there was a lot of pain and suffering (isn’t there always?) but I wouldn’t be surprised if 2020 were to go down in history as a year where at least some communities/ cities/ countries/ polities did start to get their shit together to make some overdue changes. (Always with the optimism, yes. Humankind can’t afford to be pessimistic.)


Yes, these are useless kitsch but I find them hilarious nonetheless. (Wouldn’t buy them, tho.)


Slowly getting back into iOS after years on Android (plus iPad). There’s a lot to like in iOS 14!

Spent two hours over the weekend to migrate 2 years of Google Fit data to Apple Health. Most of it made it, the important stuff. I’m pretty happy I could get it to work!


Finished reading Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom by Ted Chiang. ๐Ÿ“š

A neat scifi short story about probability, free will and parallel universes. I liked it quite a bit.


Paolo Bacigalupi’s A Full Life ๐Ÿ“š is a poignant science-fiction story about America the Western World in the age of climate change.

That one kinda hit home.


Just created an account on The Storygraph, a new “keep track of your reading” alternative to the dumpster fire that is Goodreads. ๐Ÿ“š (I came across an article about it in NewStatesman.)

Look me up if you’ve set up an account there! Maybe we can figure this thing out together. ๐Ÿ˜


The other day I read Blood Grains Speak Through Memories, a scifi short story by Jason Sanford. ๐Ÿ“š

This 2016 Nebula Award finalist presented an interesting, far-future, pro-eco biotech setting with just enough world-building to make it work. In the end it was a tale of loss, betrayal and humanity. I liked it because I could almost feel the numbness and pain of the main protagonist, even though the world itself felt a bit weird.


Goodreads is not good anymore ๐Ÿ“š

I just want to keep track of my reading, and I want good recommendations and maybe get into discussions over books I’ve read. By now, GR feels just like a data mining machine to me which it probably is (thanks, Amazon). Do you have any recommendations for me? I’ll try to use this here M.b account for that โ€ฆ It’s a bit unstructured (in comparison to Goodreads et al) but it also feels like a throwback to the good ol’ blogging times (G-blog represent!

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Finished The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. ๐Ÿ“š

I didn’t like it; I don’t get the hype about it at all. It’s got a few interesting ideas, sure, but the storytelling was clinical, the characters were 1.5-dimensional at best, and the dialogs were wooden. What am I missing hereโ€ฝ


Started reading “The Three-Body Problem” ๐Ÿ“š today โ€” in English. I’m curious to finally see what all that fuss is about. ๐Ÿ˜

A few months back I gave its German edition a go but that felt terribly wooden, somehow. The English edition is more to my liking so far.


I’m going to miss the astrophotography feature of the Pixel 3a. (Switching to an iPhone SE 2020 in a few days to see whether iOS14 does something for me.)

These photos are nothing special per se but the fact that my affordable phone took them, that is something.


How small satellites are radically remaking space exploration is a nice quick overview about the ongoing small-sat and small-rocket space industry revolution. ๐Ÿš€

Now, two emerging technologies may propel NASA and the rest of the world into an era of faster, low-cost exploration. Instead of spending a decade or longer planning and developing a mission, then spending hundreds of millions (to billions!) of dollars bringing it off, perhaps we can fly a mission within a couple of years for a few tens of millions of dollars. This would lead to more exploration and also democratize access to the Solar System.

In recent years, a new generation of companies is developing new rockets for small satellites that cost roughly $10 million for a launch. [โ€ฆ] The concept of interplanetary small satellite missions also spurred interest in the emerging new space industry.


Cancel Culture and the Problem of Woke Capitalism - The Atlantic:

If you care about progressive causes, then woke capitalism is not your friend. It is actively impeding the cause, siphoning off energy, and deluding us into thinking that change is happening faster and deeper than it really is. When people talk about the โ€œexcesses of the leftโ€โ€”a phenomenon that blights the electoral prospects of progressive parties by alienating swing votersโ€”in many cases theyโ€™re talking about the jumpy overreactions of corporations that arenโ€™t left-wing at all.

Good article, not a condemnation of activism but a call for actual change, and a better direction for all our energy.


Indi Samarajiva: American Passports Are Worthless Now (Map) due to the US being governed by COVID-19:

At the same time, you canโ€™t trust Americans. Americans have poor hygiene (low masking rate) and at least 40% of the population canโ€™t be trusted to even believe that COVID-19 exists, let alone to take it seriously. Theyโ€™re likely to refuse testing, not report symptoms, break quarantine, and generally NOT follow rules. Americans have a toxic combination of ignorance and arrogance that makes them unwelcome travelers.

Yikes. Rings true, tho.