Working with the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

My Notebook intentions for 2018 didn’t take into account my work projects, so I’ve been reviewing my options for note taking and project planning at work. I’ve been using the big Boorum & Pease at work, but it’s pretty bulky, so I have been considering using a daily planner instead.

Enter the Hobonichi Techo Cousin and Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

Roterfaden 1
Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter

I’ve had the Roterfaden for a few years but haven’t used it lately. I guess I thought it was too bulky.  However, after using the Boorum & Pease record book for a while, my tolerance for larger notebooks has increased.

I adore the little Hobonichi Techo, so I’ll be trying its larger “Cousin” in the Roterfaden for planning my work. The idea is to replace the current combination of Boorum & Pease notebook, Dave Seah’s Emergent Task Planner, and whatever random scratchpad I have at hand with a single notebook.

The Roterfaden is a high-quality notebook cover with a clever and flexible binding system, into which I can put just about any A5 or smaller notebook.

I may try to add a soft-cover Leuchtturm2017, thus combining my work planner and personal Bullet Journal. That could end up being too bulky or cumbersome, so we’ll see.

Roterfaden 2
Roterfaden with Hobonichi Techo Cousin
Roterfaden with Field Notes “Dime Novel Edition” tucked in back

Microblogging status

I didn’t think I needed a microblog but I think I need a microblog. I like writing short posts and sharing random images and links. These don’t need titles or tags or other meta data. They’re just throw away thoughts, but I wouldn’t mind if they were preserved just the same.

Here are my options:

  1. Post everything, including short (microblog) posts at
  2. Continue using
  3. Use
  4. Use Mastodon
  5. Just use Twitter and be done with it

I don’t like the chatter or the hassle of dealing with title-less posts on my main blog, so that’s out.

I like the control and flexibility of WordPress but it’s too heavy for just a microblog. Also, it lends itself to non-stop tweaking. Plus, I don’t feel like babysitting another WordPress install. So then is out.

Mastodon is almost the right thing but the iOS apps never seem to work well enough. For example, I like Amaroq but I can’t post photos with it for some reason. My RSS feed from Mastodon includes any replies, which makes for a lot of unwanted noise when syndicating elsewhere. I may revisit this later.

Using Twitter would be great except that it’s, well, Twitter.

Although each has its pros and cons and I change my mind a lot, for now I’m going to run with and cross post to Twitter.

  • The iOS app is nice and getting better.
  • It’s basically a static site rendered for me and I love the idea of static sites
  • I can easily get things out of it
  • I don’t have to maintain anything
  • It’s all very IndieWeb friendly so that’s a bonus.

I’m starting it back up again at

Shelving 35mm film for a while

20171229 35mm film camera shelf

I’m taking a hiatus from shooting 35mm film, so I thought I’d share some notes about why.

My use of 35mm film has been driven more by my love of the cameras than by the results I’m getting.

I’m indoors most of the time and even though many film photographers seem to make wonderful photos with the slower speed of film, mine just end up badly-exposed or motion-blurred. I can pretend they’re “art” but if I’m honest they’re just crappy images.

I’ve been carrying the Fuji X-Pro2 or X–100T instead of the Leicas and the results are simply better. This doesn’t mean I won’t allow myself to put a roll through the Leica now and then, but I’m not going to be carrying one regularly.

Shooting, processing, and scanning 36 exposures on the off chance there’s a usable image or two in there has become less interesting. I enjoy the process, but the results have been meh. I tend to give film images the benefit of the doubt simply because they’re film images and that’s not the proper way to judge them.

With medium format, I still love the cameras and, more importantly, the results are better. I often like every image on a roll of 12 6×6 photos from the Hasselblad. This is probably because with medium format I’m deliberately trying to create an image rather than just snapping stuff at random and hoping for the best.

The larger negatives are easier to scan, easier to enlarge in the darkroom, easier to handle, and easier to view. I love that a contact sheet of 6×6 negatives works standalone as something that can be hung and appreciated as-is. I also like making contact prints from 4×5 negatives on 5×7 paper.

And of course the resolution is much greater, if you’re into that sort of thing.

So, this coming year I’ll shoot digital for every day snapshots and reserve medium and large format film for when I want to “make photographs”. I’d like to take lots of portraits using the larger formats. Maybe I’ll get ambitious and actually ask people to sit for me.

It’s an experiment.

Private Git hosting using Gogs on Amazon Lightsail

There are many options for “private” Git hosting. I put “private” in quotes because private repos on Gitlab, Github, Bitbucket, etc. are still sitting on a server to which people I don’t know have access, so I considered other options.

I’ve been watching Gogs for a while and thought it would be fun to set up a server running Gogs for my private Git repos.

Gogs is “A painless self-hosted Git service” and is basically a Github clone. It’s written in Go, which means that it’s drop-dead simple to install just about anywhere. It’s just a single binary. This is way simpler than running something like Gitlab CE.

Here are my notes from setting up Gogs on Amazon Lightsail, proxied by nginx. This isn’t meant to be a tutorial or anything, it’s just a few quick notes about the process I went through to get things running.

Amazon Lightsail

I’m easily flumoxed by Amazon’s web services so I decided to give their Lightsail service a try. Lightsail is basically Amazon’s answer to the ease of running server instances on services like DigitalOcean. My first impressions are that it succeeds. A few clicks and I had a small Ubuntu 16.04 instance running.


To install gogs I did the following from a shell in the new Lightsail instance…

Installed git.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install git

Downloaded Gogs.

To keep things simple, I installed the gogs binary from the gogs install page. I simply copied the link to the amd64 version, downloaded and extracted it.

$ wget
$ tar xvf linux_amd64
$ cd gogs

Ran Gogs

$ ./gogs web

Then in a browser I went to http://[my-ip]:3000/ and couldn’t connect. I discovered that Lightsail’s default firewall only allows access on ports 80 and 443 so I added a rule for port 3000 and there was the installation page. Easy as that. I chose to run Gogs using SQLite as a database since it’s zero-config and plenty for my single-user needs. After finishing the initial configuration I set up Gogs as a service and started it after editing gogs.service with my settings (user/group/etc.)

$ sudo cp scripts/systemd/gogs.service /etc/systemd/system/
$ sudo vi /etc/systemd/system/gogs.service
$ sudo systemctl enable gogs.service

I then edited the Gogs config file in ~/gogs/custom/conf/app.ini with a few tweaked app settings such as disabling registrations, etc.

Then I started the service.

$ sudo systemctl start gogs.service


I wanted to run Gogs at port 80 rather than the default 3000 so I installed nginx as a proxy.

$ sudo apt-get -y install nginx
$ sudo vi /etc/nginx/sites-available/gogs
$ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/gogs /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/gogs
$ sudo service nginx restart

The nginx gogs config looks like this

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name [my-host-name];

    proxy_set_header X-Real-IP  $remote_addr; # pass on real client IP

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:3000;

That’s it. I now have a true all-to-myself private Gogs instance. In order to clone or push via SSH I added my public SSH key to my account in Gogs.

I’ll still need to configure an SSL cert from Let’s Encrypt but this got me going.

Books I read in 2017

I read 27 books in 2017. A book every couple of weeks is about my usual pace. The list contains a pretty good mix of fiction and non-fiction.

  • Pricing Design by Dan Mall (2017-01-08)
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (2017-01-09)
  • The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman (2017-01-15)
  • The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (2017-01-19)
  • The Stench of Honolulu by Jack Handey (2017-02-08)
  • Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space by Janna Levin (2017-02-08)
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Grag McKeown (2017-02-26)
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport (2017-03-02)
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford (2017-03-14)
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason (2017-03-18)
  • Profit First by Mike Michalowicz (2017-03-20)
  • Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley (2017-03-20)
  • Change Agent by Daniel Suarez (2017-07-04)
  • The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life by Steve Leveen (2017-07-26)
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (2017-08-05)
  • Shoe Dog. A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight (2017-07-31)
  • 1776 by David McCullough (2017-08-17)
  • The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (2017-10-14)
  • Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker (2017-10-14)
  • Words for Letters: Writing Personal Letters for Deeper Friendships by Keith Winnard (2017-10-14)
  • John Adams by David McCullough (2017-11-04)
  • Lincoln In the Bardo by George Saunders (2017-11-15)
  • Linchpin: Are You Indispensable by Seth Godin (2017-12-02)
  • Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone (2017-12-10)
  • A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros, John Howe (2017-12-10)
  • Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss (2017-12-10)
  • Sourdough by Robin Sloan (2017-12-20)

Shot some old Impossible Film

Impossible Film for SX 70

I found a box of color film for the SX-70 from the early days of The Impossible Project so I thought I’d shoot a few and see what happened. Not much happened. The coating must have gotten wonky and the shots came out either blank or mostly blank. Oh well, unpredictable results are part of the fun of shooting old film in old cameras.

Streaming Services and the End of Music Collection – Variety

2015 LF002

Janko Roettgers in Variety:

And there’s simply no room for your 10,000 meticulously tagged MP3s in a world of an always-available 40 million songs.

This is probably true, and it makes me a bit sad, but as Rian van Der Merwe points out on Twitter:

And it continues with another probably true statement…


What has also changed is how we consume music, which devices we use to listen to it, how we find and rediscover songs, and how we share them with the world.

But harrumph and balderdash and who’s this “we” he’s referring to? I listen to music almost exclusively on vinyl, so my music collection and collecting isn’t going anywhere. Get off my lawn, Roettgers! 🙂

Blade Runner 2049, 2017 – ★★★★½

I very much enjoyed Blade Runner 2049. Seeing Harrison Ford emerge as older versions of characters he originally played 30+ years ago is my new favorite thing. I can’t wait to see him step out, wearing a cowboy hat, as Bob Falfa in “American Graffiti, the Next Generation” or whatever.

Roger Deakins has outdone himself here. I’m tempted to rewatch the film with the sound off, so I can just look at it. Every scene is gorgeous. I learned a new word while reading about it: “Chiaroscuro”.

I was concerned about Gosling as K but it turns out he’s very well-suited for the role.

On the other hand, Jared Leto remains a distraction. Thankfully his role here was, although important, limited.

Sylvia Hoeks was terrific as Luv and Ana De Armas reminded me that I have yet to watch “Her”.

Anyway, my concerns about the sequel to one of my favorite films were unfounded. “Blade Runner 2049” is a worthy continuation and a terrific movie on its own.

Paper Notebook Intentions for 2018

Hobonichi, Field Notes, Leuchtturm1917, Epica

The final week of December is a good time for planning. I spend the week organizing things, tidying up my desk and files, and laying out plans for the year.

One thing I evaluate each year is how I intend to use my paper notebooks. This doesn’t mean I don’t allow myself to change things up, but I at least go through the exercise of thinking through my intentions.

2018 looks much the same as 2017. Here’s the plan.

Leuchtturm1917 (Medium, Dotted)

The Leuchtturm1917 is my Bullet Journal. I’ve been using a Bullet Journal for several years and have found no better system for managing my personal life. Tasks, lists, quotes, and ideas all go in mine. I don’t use a BuJo for work projects, but for personal stuff it’s a terrific system. I use a Quiver to hold whatever pens I’m favoring at the moment.

Epica Classic Leather Journal

The Bullet Journal is messy and random, so I use a fancy Epica leather journal for my personal journal (aka Diary). I try to write at least a page or two every day, but typically only use it once or twice a week. I am hoping to get closer my goal of writing in it daily this year. A personal journal is priceless and will be kept forever so I forgive myself the luxury. The paper in these books isn’t my favorite for fountain pens so I typically use a pencil.

Hobonichi Techo

Paper calendars remain my favorite way to plan my life, and the Hobonichi Techo is full of them. Monthly, yearly, weekly, daily, you name it. The Techo uses Tomoe River paper, which is tissue thin yet handles anything thrown at it. As with my journal, I try to add something to the Techo every day. Usually this is a small drawing or a note about the weather or a fun quote or just splash of watercolor. It also contains vertical calendar pages that work well for habit tracking, so I don’t need to create them by hand in my Bullet Journal. I’ve been using these cute little notebooks since 2013. They’re fun and useful and I intend to use mine often in 2018.

Field Notes (with Bellroy cover)

I don’t carry my larger notebooks everywhere, so I always keep a Field Notes notebook in my back pocket. I find that capturing a quick note in a paper notebook to be much faster than using my phone. It takes a while for me to go through one, and the covers tend to degrade and come off over time. To prevent this I keep mine in a Bellroy Notebook Cover. The Bellroy feels and works great. I review my notes every few days and copy anything important to somewhere more permanent.

Other miscellaneous notebooks

I use a few other notebooks for various tasks.

There are times I want to consolidate everything into just one or two notebooks but this feels like a pretty good setup for next year.

Blog Consolidation

(I originally posted this as the last post on but thought I'd copy it here.)

The end of each year always has me thinking about simplifying things. To that end, I’m going to try consolidating my online presence. I’ll no longer be posting at

For blogging, I’m going to try posting everything here at

Anything longer or more “important” than a tweet goes on the One True Blog™.

For shorter things, I’ll probably use Mastodon and cross-post to Twitter and via RSS to “But what about owning your content!?” you ask. Lately, the way I figure it if it’s not important enough for a title I don’t care if I “own” it or not. If that changes I'll probably just keep a hosted blog for short posts.

Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography

Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography | MasterClass 2017 12 23 09 34 15

A Masterclass featuring Annie Leibovitz looked like a great idea, so I paid the $90 and signed up.

I enjoyed listening to her perspective and insights on shooting portraits. She works hard on concepts, plans meticulously, and has a “vision” for what and who she’s shooting. The class, however, felt more like a 2-hour documentary than a class. I can’t recommend it at the $90 price. On the other hand, if you’ve already paid the $180 annual subscription fee for the “All Access Pass”, the class is included and is well worth your time.



No screens, no devices. Just ordinary physical materials —
paper and clay, tokens and toy cars — brought to life by
technology in the ceiling.

Every scrap of paper has the capabilities of a full computer,
while remaining a fully-functional scrap of paper.

I’m not even sure what this is but it looks fascinating.