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  • Doug Belshaw 6:56 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Notational Velocity, notes, nvALT, nvpy, Simplenote   

    I haven’t used a Mac since leaving Mozilla in 2015. Since then, I’ve been using Linux and, for a brief period, Chrome OS. One thing I miss from my Mac, for which which I’m yet to find a replacement, is Notational Velocity. I actually used nvALT which was a continuation of the former, which halted development in 2011.

    The reason nvALT is so great is that it just gets out of your way. I don’t think I can do a better job than the website to explain the functionality on offer:

    Notational Velocity is a way to take notes quickly and effortlessly using just your keyboard. You press a shortcut to bring up the window and just start typing. It will begin searching existing notes, filtering them as you type. You can use ⌘-J and ⌘-K to move through the list. Enter selects and begins editing. If you’re creating a new note, you just type a unique title and press enter to move the cursor into a blank edit area. Check out the descriptions at notational.net for a more eloquent synopsis.

    The only thing I can find for Linux which in any way resembles this functionality is nvpy which, not to put too fine a point on it, is fugly. In addition, you have to do some annoying configuration to get it to install in a way whereby you can run it as a regular app, and I’ve experienced random crashes due to incompatibility with Unicode characters.

    So, for now, I’m using Simplenote, which is Open Source and now developed by Automattic, the same people who make WordPress. it’s not quite Notational Velocity, but the search is fast and full-text (i.e. not just the titles of notes).

    • Mayel 7:39 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I recommend Joplin. Not sure if it matches the functionality you want, but I appreciate its end to end encrypted note storage and sync.

      • Doug Belshaw 8:13 am on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Mayel, I did try Joplin a while ago, perhaps it’s time to give it another whirl! 🙂

    • Adam Procter 11:27 am on January 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I got a feeling nodenogg.in could even help in this regard 😀

  • Doug Belshaw 8:23 am on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , music, simon-reynolds   

    The reason that it feels like nothing happened in the 2010s is that too much happened. Each cultural landmark got instantly effaced by the onrush of the next, and the next. This memory-erosion effect is one reason why it feels like something’s gone awry with our sense of time. While the clock and the calendar continue to plod forward in their steadfast and remorseless way, what you could call “culture-time” feels like it’s become unmoored and meandering.

    Simon Reynolds, ‘Streaming has killed the mainstream’: the decade that broke popular culture
  • Doug Belshaw 7:54 am on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    This week I’ve installed Pop!_OS on the four Linux-powered devices in our home — namely, my laptop, desktop, my son’s laptop, and the family PC. Pop!_OS is a derivative of Ubuntu made by System76 and, so far, I’ve found it to be excellent. Previously I was using elementaryOS which seems to have lost its way a little bit recently.

    • Jorge 2:25 pm on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, Doug. Just curious: What made you switch away from elementaryOS? I’ve been keeping it on my radar but not really using it lately.

      • Doug Belshaw 2:29 pm on December 31, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Three reasons I guess:

        1. I try out new Linux distros on a reasonably regular basis.

        2. I’d heard good things about Pop!_OS from people I respect.

        3. There are some annoying things about elementaryOS related to stuff like fractional scaling on HiDPI screens and connecting USB devices in the standard file manager.

  • Doug Belshaw 7:32 am on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: income, Jeff Kaufman, , ,   

    Specifically, I’d recommend living on a small portion of your income and saving a multiple of your living expenses. It’s far more painful to cut expenses back than it is to keep them from growing, and the more years of expenses you have saved the better a position you’ll be in. If you take this approach and there’s no bust, you’re still in a good place: you can retire early or support things you believe in.

    Jeff Kaufman, Programmers should plan for lower pay
  • Doug Belshaw 7:28 am on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    This is obviously the US, and migraineurs in the UK may have to wait a while, but it’s nevertheless promising that the FDA have approved a new drug for the treatment of migraine:

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Ubrelvy (ubrogepant) tablets for the acute (immediate) treatment of migraine with or without aura (a sensory phenomenon or visual disturbance) in adults. Ubrelvy is not indicated for the preventive treatment of migraine. It is the first drug in the class of oral calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists approved for the acute treatment of migraine.

    I’m currently using Rizatriptan to relieve migraines, which produces the desired result (i.e. gets rid of aura), but comes with side effects.

  • Doug Belshaw 7:24 am on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: George Santayana   

    Sophisticated people can hardly understand how vague experience is at bottom, and how truly that vagueness supports whatever clearness is afterward attained.

    George Santayana
  • Doug Belshaw 7:09 am on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    Enough of this miserable way of life, enough of grumbling and aping! Why are you troubled? What is new in this? What is it that drives you mad? The cause? Then face it. Or rather the material? Then face that. Apart from cause and material there is nothing. But you should even now, late though it is, see to your relation to the gods also: make yourself simpler, and better. Three years is as good as a hundred in this quest.

    Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  • Doug Belshaw 6:03 pm on December 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: design, , Linux, operating system, smartphones   

    It’s always the little things… 

    As I noted in my 2019 retrospective, I flip-flop regularly between just wanting things to be shiny and seamless, so I can get on with my work, and trying to ensure that my use of tech reflects my values.

    What I’ve come to realise is that it’s very rarely the ‘big’ things these days that become dealbreakers for me. Fifteen to twenty years ago, I’d be prevented from using Linux on a daily basis on my laptop because of showstoppers such as like not being able to get wifi to work, or having an issue with a graphics card.

    These days, those issues are largely fixed. The ‘problems’ are more like irritations that grow and grow until you can’t bear it any more.

    Some examples:

    • You buy a lovely 4k monitor that ChromeOS recognises and works with out-of-the-box. Meanwhile, with Linux you have to learn about ‘fractional scaling’ and which versions of which desktop managers support it.
    • Your daughter’s tablet needs resetting, requiring a tool that’s only available for Windows machines (and won’t work via a VM).
    • The organisation you work for uses a particular video conferencing app that never seems to work as well on Linux as on other platforms.

    Cumulatively, these suck hours of your time until you start questioning what it is that you’re actually achieving. Despite that, I’m running Linux on my laptop and desktop.

    However, these issues pale into insignificance compared to trying to use Free Software on mobile devices. I’ve tried LineageOS, Ubuntu Touch, Sailfish OS… pretty much everything that’s compatible with the range of devices we own.

    Again, the problem is always the constant irritation. But on mobile it’s a bigger deal that on laptop/desktop.

    For example:

    • You use LineageOS, which is otherwise excellent, but doesn’t recognise the second camera on the back of your phone.
    • Use of many apps requires Google Play Services, which reports data back to Google on a constant basis.
    • Discoverability of apps via OSS marketplaces such as F-Droid is pretty abysmal.

    All of this is without even mentioning the terrible UX that plagues many Free Software apps. It’s a sorry state of affairs, and one that needs looking at on a systemic level.

    For example:

    • We use our smartphones to take photographs and expect those photos to be backed-up securely and to be available to us across our devices.
    • We want to be able to quickly send something we’ve found on our phones to our laptop.
    • We’d like to be able to stream music and video from our phone to nearby speakers.

    This is all possible using Free Software with a combination of Nextcloud, Firefox, and Bluetooth, respectively. It’s just that it’s so much easier and, crucially, takes almost zero setup on Google and Apple devices.

    I’d love to see a lot more money poured into Free Software to solve some of the problems I’ve outlined above. A lot of it is due to a combination of:

    1. The massive mismatch between the number of developers working on Free Software projects, compared to the number of designers.
    2. The increasing amount of vendor lock-in, and decreasing interest in standards of interoperability .
    3. Duplication of effort and fragmentation across the Free Software landscape. Some of this is political, some social, and some (to be quite honest) because of ignorance.

    We can do a lot better than this. I’d like to help, but right now I have more problems and questions than I do answers.

  • Doug Belshaw 8:48 am on December 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    I’m going to do something about this, starting today 

  • Doug Belshaw 9:44 pm on December 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Kay Redfield Jamison, Notabilia   

    We all build internal sea walls to keep at bay the sadnesses of life and the often overwhelming forces within our minds. In whatever way we do this—through love, work, family, faith, friends, denial, alcohol, drugs, or medication—we build these walls, stone by stone, over a lifetime. One of the most difficult problems is to construct these barriers of such a height and strength that one has a true harbor, a sanctuary away from crippling turmoil and pain, but yet low enough, and permeable enough, to let in fresh seawater that will fend off the inevitable inclination toward brackishness.

    Kay Redfield Jamison (via Notabilia)
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