Think Before Ranting

The first draft of my earlier rant about images on blog posts used the following screenshot as an example:

Andy sparks header image

The screenshot is of a Medium post by Andy Sparks about his new service, Holloway, (which looks awesome, by the way).

Poking around the Holloway site, I found the About page, on which was the photograph from the Medium post, with the following caption:

A holloway is an old English term for a sunken lane arising from centuries of use.

Whoops. While I still don’t think the image was necessary, it’s certainly not irrelevant. So I guess I’m saying that it’s wise to do at least a modicum of research before complaining about something. I’m glad I changed the post before publishing, but it was a reminder to be careful what I bitch about and how I bitch about it. Also, maybe I should take my own advice about just not ranting at all.

Fixing two-finger scrolling with the ThinkPad and Ubuntu 17.10

Let me start by saying that I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to desktop Linux. I’ve been running Ubuntu on this new ThinkPad for less than a week, and Ubuntu 17.10 for maybe two days.

One of the first unpleasant discoveries after upgrading from 16.04 to 17.10 was that two-finger scrolling on the trackpad stopped working. This took a bad situation and made it completely unbearable. I found the following workaround somewhere (I’ve misplaced the reference):

$ sudo modprobe -r psmouse
$ sudo modprobe psmouse

This works, but must repeated with each reboot. Looking forward to a more permanent fix.

I watch a lot of YouTube videos and I am completely happy having paid for Red. The lack of ads makes me happy and is worth the money. Canceling HBO covered the cost and is a totally fair trade.

Productivity is dangerous | The Outline

Vincent Bevins, The Outline:

If you’re waking up at 4 a.m. to write 1,000 words about how you write 1,000 words every day, what are you actually getting done? Just stay in bed.

I often fall into the Productivity trap, and I always hate myself for it. One of my goals this year (ha!) is to stop “working on my productivity” and just do things. (Yes, I realize that I’m writing about doing things instead of doing them right now.)

Bevins’ article rings true despite being silly and irreverent. I feel dirty every time I read a Medium post about “8 Things you can do…” Come to think of it, I feel dirty after reading most Medium posts lately.

That’s right. Everyone is thinking it. LinkedIn is a death cult. Becoming a guy that posts on Linkedin is essentially like joining a religious extremist group, but for first-world people that went to Stanford.

I love that. One of my life goals is to never need LinkedIn. So far, so good.

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

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)

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.

A Microsoft Excel Artist – swissmiss


For over 15 years, Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi has rendered the subtle details of mountains, cherry blossoms, and dense forests with the most unlikely tool: Microsoft Excel.

I’ve always thought that people use Microsoft Excel for more things than necessary and they should maybe use something else, but Tatsuo Horiuchi should keep doing exactly what he’s doing.