David Dykstal

Tech Resources

I like having tech books around as reference and for ideas (Ruby, Python, Linux, security, style, …). I tried various books apps to use them: bad idea – no way to leaf through them easily on ereaders, although desktop isn’t too bad. I tried hardcopy which is better but bulky. The real problem is obsolescence. Both of the forms are subject to that.

I was a big user of Lynda, but video is just too damn slow to pick up on essentials, and it is also horrible for browsing, and it’s gone into the trashcan since LinkedIn bought it.

I’m now trying oreilly.com. They might have gotten this right. One subscription, no purchases, a boatload of resources. It still has the browsing problem, but I can use the desktop for that, and they add newer titles regularly. It’s not cheap though.

πŸ“š I’m reading Popova’s “Figuring”. I do not understand Emily Dickinson. Perhaps with time?

Just finished the audiobook β€œThe Wave in the Mind” by Ursula K. LeGuin, an excellent set of essays on the crafts of writing and reading. The narration by Christina Moore was flawless. I’m keeping a print copy around to mark up. πŸ“š

Ann bought a new step-through bike today so, of course, that means I had to buy a new bike rack for the truck. 😜

I just bought two Homepod mini’s and set them up in stereo in our condo. These things are great! I’ve got a Sonos setup at home and these are more convenient if you are into the Apple ecosystem.

I keep way too many fountain pens inked up (9). But I can cut back anytime I want. πŸ˜‚

One thing that is NOT getting a lot of use is the reMarkable 2. I’m a little surprised at that. I’m finding it too single-purpose and find that I’m much more keyboard oriented. I think it has a place for some folks, perhaps just not me.

I’ve been using a new iPad Air while traveling. I’m a little surprised by how much I like using the new keyboard/trackpad. I almost never touch the Apple Pencil.

Just finished the audiobook of β€œA Dance with Dragons.” Looks like I’ll have to wait quite a while (like years) for books 6 and 7 of β€œA Song of Ice and Fire”. Hope I make it. πŸ˜ŽπŸ“š

I’m getting tired of having to learn a whole new set of keyboard shortcuts for every notetaking app I’ve tried; looking at you Roam, Workflowy, Craft, Tinderbox, … I’m swearing you all off and sticking with plaintext. Off in the darkness someone whispers “nvUltra”. SQUIRREL!

I’m off to Florida tomorrow to visit my Dad. I’ll see how he’s doing and do the inevitable tech support. My daughter has been visiting him for the past two weeks and she leaves as I arrive. It wasn’t planned, but we’ll actually meet each other in the airport.

Back at the gym for a solid week now. Slow going and a bit sore at first. To be expected.

I don’t post political content here to keep things civil. However, if you are interested, I do post my left-of-center and somewhat snarky comments to news clippings on my clippings blog. I’m pretty far behind though; there is lots of stuff still in Drafts.

I have this love/hate relationship with desktop linux.

🎢 β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The only books I’ve read more times than Dune are LOTR and Stranger in a Strange Land.

Also waddling my way through this. Love the narration. πŸ“š


New furnace installed today. The old one (going on 20 years) would stop with a clogged condensate tube every 3 hours. It was time for an upgrade anyway.

I’m beginning to shed apps that take too much mental energy: Roam and Workflowy among them. Give me plain text, a rock-solid RDB, and a modern scripting language instead.

I noticed this artifact on my Big Sur desktop background. Brings new meaning to the phrase “If you believe that I’ve got a bridge to sell you.”

Our new well parts are in and working: controls, new pressure tank, new pump. It feels great to have reliable water again after 2 weeks. It’s easy to take for granted. I can’t help but think now how lucky we are to have this, hundreds of millions of people do not.

The Milky Way is probably full of dead civilizations | Live Science - Very interesting.

I’m thinking of using a Raspberry Pi Zero to take pics of the backyard from a window at specific times of the day for over a year. These would be in my time zone and not adjusted for daylight saving time / summer time. Anyone with experience in setting something like this up?

reMarkable 2: first impressions

So far I like it.

  1. the OCR experience is OK. It is reasonably accurate for my cursive handwriting, but you can only export by email coming from a remarkable.com address. The iPad’s scribble support is better from that perspective. OCR was not an interesting use case for me though.

  2. The weight and thickness are huge pluses. It’s easy to carry around; much easier than an iPad and even most paper notebooks. The magnetic attachment for the marker (stylus) is quite secure.

  3. The writing/drawing experience is very good. The e-ink is responsive and the amount of friction between the marker and the surface is just right.

  4. The writing/drawing tools are quite good. I don’t think there is anything superfluous. I like that it remembers the last tool you used for each notebook. I’ve set up a pencil for a sketchbook and a fineliner for various project notebooks. I could see using the calligraphy pen for fancy notes to be forwarded. I got the more expensive of the two markers that has the “eraser”. I find I use that quite a bit more than the eraser tools.

  5. The document management takes a little getting used to. Moving pages between notebooks was not intuitive, but makes sense once you RTFM.

  6. I love the battery life on this thing.

  7. It’s probably too expensive, but they seem to be selling well, so maybe not?

Conclusions (so far):

This is an indulgence on my part. No question.

This has gotten rid of my sketch anxiety. I’ve always liked doodle/sketch with pencil, but I erase a lot. This makes erasing painless.

There is no way this is going to replace my two paper journals. It’s really for ephemera, doodling, and project thoughts that will end up somewhere else. It will replace my several project notebooks that served the same purpose.