David Dykstal

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.

Some time ago I posted how I was abandoning wordpress and blot for micro.blog. Well, that didn’t happen. I’ll probably move my two wordpress sites to hugo when I’ve sussed enough of it, and I finally have plans for blot.

Techo entries for Jan 2 & 3. Phenology entries are for sunrise, sunset, weather, unusual weather events, and any animals observed. Other entries record sleep hours. That’s St. Clare on the right. She’s in charge of marking the current day.

Our 33 year old 5-party well began acting up on December 23rd. We’ve had to manually start the pump every 4-5 hours to bring it back up to pressure. Yesterday the pressure tank started leaking. Tomorrow all the bits get replaced.

My New Years gift to myself is a reMarkable 2. I’ve always found e-ink interesting. I think I’m going to be using this for a sketchbook, commonplace book, and quick capture.

Finally getting around to getting rid of old, obsolete, technical books. I mean, who really needs iWork ‘09: The Missing Manual?

Science is dynamic. It changes based on evidence. If it did not, it would be religion.

normal. command. insert. These are vim modes. I tried, I really did, to see the utility folks claim for vim over so-called modeless “graphical” editors like atom and bbedit. It’s just not there. Giving up on vim.

Ann and I walked in Frontenac State Park. This is on the northern side of Lake Pepin – a widening in the Mississippi River below Red Wing, Minnesota. It was over 70˚F today, almost unheard of in this area for November 8. It will likely be the last warm day until March and we made the most of it.

Another view of Maiden Rock.

A view of Maiden Rock from Frontenac State Park on Lake Pepin.

🎵 > Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.

Paul Simon


Ann and I took a short road trip yesterday to Brownsville and Weaver Bottoms on the Mississippi River to see migrating tundra swans. There were thousands of them in Brownsville on the river along with various ducks and a lot of Canada geese. Weaver Bottoms had several hundred. The swans will stay in these feeding areas for about 2-3 week and then all leave at once, heading to Chesapeake Bay and points south along the Atlantic seaboard.

It was a good break from the news.

I’m finding the Daily Notes section in Roam incredibly useful for collecting references to news articles. I tag them but I probably should be going back and directly linking them where they have a tight connection. It’s the kind of stuff I would do in Pinboard, but better.

#adayinthelife I’m going to squeak in under the wire with this pic of my office. I spend a good chunk of my time here each day. This is the neat section. 😎 In my defense, I did get outside yesterday to rake leaves. It was very likely the last nice day of the year.

Peak color today.

Nice. The Guthrie is doing a “Dicken’s Holiday Classic” streaming in December. Should be fun.

Lady Ta-Da stretching in the sun.

Saint Francis contemplating the hosta.