The Engadget Escape Room

I confess that my RSS subscriptions include the likes of crappy tech blogs like Engadget. It’s a throwback to the days when I loved Fever Reader and its ability to filter out repetitive web articles. I occasionally find something new but more often I find articles like this Engadget gem. I call these articles “Escape Rooms” because they challenge the visitor to find a link to the main subject.

COVID Links in Raindrop.io

I switched my bookmarking to Raindrop.io awhile back and I’m still pretty happy with it. Sadly, I’ve also been using it to collect bookmarks about COVID. That collection is now publicly available without needing to sign-up for Raindrop.

Obsidian Onboarding

Obsidian is a nice application with an uncomfortable on-boarding for new users. It was a struggle for me to remain committed to using the application because the settings are poorly documented and the defaults limit its usefulness. Many of the features I would normally consider “standard” for a Markdown writing tool are actually plugins. The following setup process gave me a reasonably good editing environment that works on all of my devices.

Critic Markup for Note Tags

Readers of this blog may have guessed it, but I don’t do a whole lot of copy editing these days. That means I don’t have a lot of need for CriticMarkup (CM) in my daily life. But, I do still use one feature of the syntax almost everyday: comments. My meeting notes often have annotations like this: 1{>>Q<<} Does this guarantee FIFO ordering 2{>>A<<} No. The order is maintained by the time stamp The {>>Q<<} comment is a reminder that I had a question while meeting or working.

Acquisitions

PDFPen and Gaia GPS have both been acquired. I can’t think of many products that were better after they were acquired. I’m disappointed because I genuinely like Gaia GPS for iPhone. I’ve also been close to purchasing a PDFPen upgrade for a few weeks because it’s one of the most powerful Mac-native PDF editors. It’s not that I worry about lower software quality from new owners. I worry about the dark market of data skimming which seems to be so lucrative.

Notes on Obsidian

I’ve enjoyed using Craft app for the past few months but I’m not thrilled with the incomplete markdown support and the lack of end to end encryption. Like every other nerd, I’ve watched Obsidian rise to the top of new age text editors. This article is my reflection on using Obsidian as a note manager. Let me start with the baseline. I am using version 0.12.5 of Obsidian on macOS. I prefer the subtlegold theme in dark mode.

Stones Turned This Week

Matt Stoller wrote about the same old new efforts to regulate tech To understand why it’s so hard to get these laws right, it helps to start with the two basic problems with antitrust law. The first is that regulators and enforcers make key policy decisions, and have done a very bad job at it. A good example is they just decided to stop enforcing the anti-chain store Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibits certain forms of kickbacks, as well as prohibiting giving better prices to bigger customers.

Mise-en-Place for Knowledge Workers

I keep re-reading this article by Tiago Forte. It starts with a line that I fundamentally disagree with and gets better and worse from there: Knowledge work is unique among skilled professions in that we lack a culture of systematic improvement. I like the overall concept of the article which is why I keep re-reading it. I’m torn. From one angle I feel like the concepts are a complete mismatch.

Eagle Cool

A couple of months back I was looking for an application to manage art assets. I’ve been creating logos and websites for my business and didn’t love the experience of browsing these in the Finder. I eventually just stuck with the Finder because it was too much effort to test alternatives. This week I discovered Eagle which is a macOS and Windows app for managing all kinds of art assets. I’m still in the demo phase but it seems nice.

Forced Social Engagement

Am I the only one that’s noticed a rise in app developers pushing customers into mandated relationships through Discord and Slack as “support” channels? It feels like a trend and I am not onboard with this investment in other people’s business. Sure, I love a good user forum, but Slack and Discord are garbage user forums. Not to mention that Discord is a privacy disaster. It feels lazy and opportunistic and I don’t like being cattle for developers.