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
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 jack.baty.net
  2. Continue using snippets.baty.net
  3. Use Micro.blog
  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 snippets.baty.net 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 Micro.blog 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 micro.baty.net.

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.

Gogs

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 https://dl.gogs.io/0.11.34/linux_amd64.tar.gz
$ 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

nginx

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.