Father’s Day Sentiment

Juan Thompson, on his father Hunter S. Thompson:

I am proud of this man. I respect and admire his vitality, his courage, his insight, his perverse resistance to security and predictability, his deliberate disregard for propriety, his ability to make me see and think differently. Ultimately, I love and respect him because he really lives. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, he lives his life.

That’s the stuff right there. I pray my children can say anything so complimentary.

Old Claim Chowder

After I decided to change from Movable Type to WordPress I stopped following development to focus on my current content management system. I’m a year behind on MT news from Six Apart, but check out this claim chowder.

First, there’s this:

“As of today, and forever forward, Movable Type is open source.”
Anil Dash, December 12, 2007

Cue six years forward to find this:

“…the ideal thing for us to do is to put our best foot forward and put all of our resources and marketing behind our full, paid versions of Movable Type.”
Robert Minton, July 11, 2013

Movable Type went from open source and free to proprietary (and starting at $595), and the announcements were six [years] apart. Schadenfreude!

I’m glad I made the switch to WordPress.

Without a hiccup

Astounding anecdote via TiDbits, and definitely out of my budget.

I visited an Apple Store in San Francisco, and made pals with one of the sales guys. He gave me a demo of the Mac Pro. He opened the Applications folder and had me hold my hand over the vent. He then hit Command-A to select everything, then Command-O to open every app, including the pre-installed Adobe Creative Suite. Within 15 seconds, everything was open, without a hiccup, and all I felt was a waft of warm air. Pretty incredible.

Matt Damon as Ranting 13-Year-Old

I would love to see this scene reenacted in costume by Matt Damon (yes, including the Mario backpack). No smile. No breaking the fourth wall with a knowing smirk at the camera. Just a word-for-word reenactment in this exact set.

That, my friends, would be a thing of beauty.

Floors, Pain, and Home Improvement

Smoking the turkey. It's getting there. Looks great. Smells better!Our home improvement has evolved beyond the expensive necessity of maintaining structural integrity to making our house a home that is a joy to live in.

Three years ago on Thanksgiving eve, while checking the progress on a 17-pound turkey smoking in our Big Green Egg, the deck outside our French doors on the second story dropped 6 inches as it separated from the house. We soon pulled it down before it fell down on its own. It sat where it fell until about a week ago when we cut it into manageable chunks with a DeWalt circular saw and a Milwaukee Sawzall so a friend could haul that dreadful memory away for us.

Deck

By the way, the turkey and I survived. It was delicious.

We could not immediately replace the deck because our aging house was afflicted with more serious problems starting with the most pressing, replacing the siding. Next on the list was replacing a leaky roof. In the interim, I had to replace (not repair) my transmission. All expensive, all blocking our way to the improvements we wanted to do rather than those we had to do.

Finally, we are able to replace the deck with one about twice the size that will be properly supported and attached correctly to the house. If the weather cooperates, we should have it by tomorrow night. We are all anxious to return the BGE to it’s rightful throne just a few steps from the kitchen.

New siding

And those few steps will be a lot prettier soon as we finish installing our new flooring. We cleared a path by knocking out a couple of walls that bear no weight and did nothing but break up the room. We lost three electrical outlets that had nowhere to run to as the wall came down. An electrician safely relocated a couple of light switches for us.

Agony

After tearing out the carpet from the living room and hallway, old laminate from the dining room, and linoleum from the kitchen, we spent last weekend on our hands and knees prepping the subflooring to install our new laminate floors.

New floors

My wife and I know is going to be worth it in the end, but it was agonizing work for this sedentary middle-aged couple. I’m not going to speak for Julie, but it took me six days for my bruised knees and aching muscles to recover. That doesn’t count the scabs that are still healing. I’m not sure what curse of the work afflicted my hands, but they felt like they belonged to someone else for days. It still feels weird to make a tight fist.

Mental Note: I’ve never been particularly athletic, but come on. Ironic that athletic nearly rhymes with pathetic. I really need to get back in shape.

Today, we are eager to lounge on the new deck coming our way. If I close my eyes, I can already smell the charcoal and hear the sizzle of filet mignon hitting the grate at 550 degrees. It’s going to be delicious.

Troubleshooting Apple Networks

My home network has been plagued with incredibly frustrating problems with dropped connections and other weirdness that are hard to diagnose. I still haven’t solved it, but found two articles in Apple’s Knowledge Base that are finally pointing me in a better direction.

There is a lot of information there that isn’t obvious at at a glance, so be sure to expand all of the disclosure triangles.

Sorting Out How I Work With Plain Text

My cup runneth over with superb apps for writing, manipulating, and writing text on any Apple device; so much so that it’s hard to pick the one I want to work in right now. A nice problem to have, but still a problem. A post by @macdrifter published on New Year’s Day, Quick Notes with Sublime Text, prodded me think about this.

As a nerd plunked firmly in the “fiddly” class, at least I know one thing. After years of agonizing over which font I want to use and how big the margins should be, I committed a long time ago to working in plain text using Fletcher Penney’s MultiMarkdown (based on John Gruber’s Markdown). All of my files are synced using iCloud or Dropbox for ubiquitous access from my Mac, iPhone, and iPad mini.

On my Mac, most ideas start in Sublime Text 3. It is always open and one of the best text editors on the market (along with BBEdit, of course).1 A bonus to both text editors is the hot exit; all open files are saved and reopened the next time you launch the app. This alleviates my File Naming Anxiety Disorder (FNAD), an affliction that submitted for inclusion in DSM-6.

So from my Mac I may start quickly in Sublime Text, but at some point I freeze and wonder, “Is this really where I want to be working on this?” These are my top three options, all of which recognize variants of Markdown while curating their own unique strengths:

  • MultiMarkdown Composer — This application for writing in MultiMarkdown is designed by Fletcher Penney, the man who designed the markup language. What could be better?
  • Ulysses III — In my memory, Ulysses kicked off the plain text editing revolution on the Mac. The developers completely overhauled the design and it is beautiful (and dovetails perfectly into their iOS app Daedalus Touch).
  • Byword — Another popular app with many writers on the web, Byword’s designers built in capabilities to publish directly to WordPress and Tumblr.

All three are terrific. Though it’s a Mac application, Ulysses III works the most like an iOS app; open a new file, start typing, and it’s just saved somewhere in the app without irritating my FNAD. Byword and MultiMarkdown Composer (MMC) work with standard files that are saved in iCloud or Dropbox, respectively. MMC handles MultiMarkdown metadata better than the other two (as it should coming from the man who wrote the spec).

Another Can of Worms

This has so far focused on the Mac while ignoring two other platforms, the iPhone and iPad. I’m getting bored with this topic for now, so I’m just going to rip out a few points here.

  • Byword is available on all three platforms
  • Ulysses III, coupled with Daedulus Touch, is sort of available on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
  • MultiMarkdown Composer is Mac-only, but being plain text is available for easy editing on any device when synced with Dropbox.

Findings?

The whole purpose for writing this article is to sort through my options and determine a system that works best for me. I don’t think I am quite there yet. If you’re still reading and curious, I chose to write this article in MultiMarkdown Composer. When I nail down something that works for me, I’ll let you know.


  1. BBEdit is still my go to app for cleaning up and reformatting documents using Text Factories. My most common use case is copying the text of meeting agendas sent to me in MS Word, pasting into BBEdit, running a Text Factory that strips weird spaces and characters, converts to Markdown, which is exported into HTML to publish online.