Month: January 2018

New Car Smell

Over the weekend, I decided to replace the Beast. I’ve had the 2012 Escape since early 2013, and it’s been one of the best cars I’ve driven, but it was starting to show signs that it was going to cost money. I typically start thinking of replacing a car around 100K miles, and the Beast was at 97,000. Two services ago a minor fluid drip turned into ten days in the shop and a complete rebuild of the transmission (fortunately covered by extended warranty), the most recent visit included the inevitable brake work on the front, and they warned me that it looked like the shocks were next. And now that I’m working again, it seemed a good time to think about the replacement. I’d been trying to sort out exactly what I wanted and needed. While I liked the Escape, it was at times a bit small to haul what I wanted to haul; that was one reason I added the roof box to get some of that out of the trunk area. So my first goal was to get something a bit larger and with more and better storage. I feel like I was really well taken care of by the Ford dealership where I bought the Escape, so my preference was to stick with Ford. The problem is that their Escape is too small, and the...

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A regretful review of Bay Photo Labs

I’ve been using Bay Photo Labs for most of my lab printing for years and I’ve always been happy with them and their work. The one time they had a mistake in an order (I got someone else’s images and I hope they enjoyed mine) they reprinted and resent both orders right away based on my report. And so it’s with a lot of regret that I have to report that I’ve used them for the last time, because they messed up badly over the holidays in a way I just can’t ignore, and while I hate having to write this kind of review, I feel it’s needed so that others are aware of it in case it changes their mind on using them in the future. I did a few special projects over the holidays. One of them was a custom print I created of some artwork my mother had done over the years — about 15 years of hand-painted Christmas cards she sent out to good friends (think about that for a minute: that’s 15 years by 50 cards, each individually printed). When I went through her things I saved copies of every one I could find, and this fall I scanned them in, cleaned them up and collected them into a collage that I sent out to Bay Photo to print, frame and send to my...

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My GoTo IOS Applications (2017 edition)

Here’s a list of the IOS Apps I use regularly and depend on. Over the last couple of years, I’ve shifted some of my tools because I now require that apps that do things that I might want to also do on IOS (or access their data on IOS) both have an IOS App and sync the data. If you can’t do that, you can’t fit into my workflows any more. The more seamless this inter-device and inter-platform experience is, the happier I am (and data reliability is a given, not a feature). You’ll see some crossover between this list and my MacOS list, since being able to access my content on both platforms is a priority to me. On my Application dock Safari Mail.app Messages Tweetbot: My favorite Twitter client Ulysses: My goto writing and note taking app. All my blogging is done here. Todoist: My Todo list. This keeps my brain organized Braintoss: This one’s fairly new to me devices but solves a need I’d been struggling with. When you start it, it starts recording audio, and you can speak into it and then click a button, and it captures the audio and emails it to you. For capturing quick thoughts at inconvenient moments like when you’re driving, I’ve long wanted a reliable and pain free tool — and this is it. My first screen apps Home...

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The Organizations I supported in 2017

Almost done with my 2017 wrap up. To be honest, all of these are blog posts that have been in my “do soon” pile anyway, and I realized bringing them all together at the end of the year together a lot of sense. This is the list of organizations I’ve donated to in 2017, either via monetary donation or volunteering. When trying to decide if I want to send them money, I check a few things: first and most important: is it a cause I care about and are they trying to solve it in a way I approve?...

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My GoTo Macintosh Apps (2017 edition)

Here’s a list of the MacOS Apps I use regularly and depend on. Over the last couple of years, I’ve shifted some of my tools because I now require that apps that do things that I might want to also do on IOS (or access their data on IOS) both have an IOS App and sync the data. If you can’t do that, you can’t fit into my workflows any more. The more seamless this inter-device and inter-platform experience is, the happier I am (and data reliability is a given, not a feature). Notable here is how few Apple apps I’m using: I’m back on Mail.app (at least for now) because of compatibility issues with my work email server, but I’d prefer to be using Airmail again. I also had to go back to Apple’s Calendar from Fantastical (although it works fine on IOS for some reason). I use FullContact instead of Contacts. I use Microsoft Office and not Apple’s tools, and Google’s back-end for gmail, calendar, etc instead of iCloud. I’m kind of seeing a trend here. On the other hand, their audio and video editing tools are wonderful. Hope this list helps and you find one or two you decide to try out and adopt. Core Apps Adobe Lightroom Classic: I do about 99% of my photo processing and management in Lightroom, now called Classic; I use...

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