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24 Hours on Facebook

The main lesson learned after 24 hours on Facebook is that the people most likely to ask What Would Jesus Do are the least likely to follow his lead.

I was raised in a Southern Baptist church and respected the adults who taught us right from wrong. They taught us about the wrath of the Old Testament God and the compassion of New Testament Jesus. Our teachers were strong, yet gentle.


Several years ago, I had a bout with the flu that evolved into pneumonia. I was out of work for at least two weeks and didn't fully recover for 4 to 6 months. After that experience I am hesitant to venture out into the COVID-19 world because, despite arguments to the contrary, it is still a problem in America. I fear that if I get it, it won't be one of the easy cases you hear about, it will be one of the bad ones, and I am just not willing to risk it.

This makes me sad because I want to be on the streets protesting to support the #blacklivesmatter movement. Because I am afraid of getting sick, I have donated what little I can to support the movement and decided I could log into my dusty Facebook account to let people know my thoughts and maybe help them see the world as I would like to see it.

It did not go as planned.


I have aged with those people I grew up with in church. Naturally, I was friends with many of them on Facebook. I took a breath and dove in to engage them. I wasn't there to berate anyone for their views, but to have conversations with people backed with sources to support my beliefs.

It didn't take long before I was lumped in with "you Democrats" who just want to elect politicians who kill unborn babies. This was from one of those adults I looked up to in church. My head is still spinning from the exchange because we were talking about the T-shirt they posted that said "All Lives Splatter" with an image of a car plowing through a crowd of people. You've probably seen it too. It offended me and I asked if they really thought encouraging injury and murder was the right thing to do. That's when I was essentially labeled a baby killer.


In another thread, I was discussing the battery on 75-year-old Martin Gugino. He stepped up to speak to an officer among a squadron of police in riot gear. The officer responded by violently shoving him to the ground. In the video of this incident, you can see Gugino immediately begin bleeding from his ear. You see his phone fall from his limp hand, which then begins to twitch involuntarily. The police looked at him and just marched past him. Follow-up reporting says he sustained brain damage from this needless aggression.

Someone once counted among my best lifelong friends—also a fellow church member, now with a long career in law enforcement—accused me of being a writer who can make things sound the way I want. I say accused because in context I could sense his contempt for the skill. He pointed out the old man's "ASSAULT" (his caps, not mine) led to the officer's need to defuse the situation. That response could have been talking to the man or some other act that wouldn't have impaired his abilities for the rest of his probably short life.

My friend's comment broke my heart and curtailed my fruitless mission to have intelligent conversation with others. Facebook just isn't the right forum. The people I grew up with, people I held in high regard for decades, lost my respect in one day with a single exception.


One friend in law enforcement met me in the middle. He understands where I'm coming from and agrees to disagree. He listened to what I had to say and I returned the favor. That was all I was asking for from anyone. I'm taking him to lunch on Friday to show my appreciation and to continue a good conversation with a friend.

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“Prejudice, Racism, and Assumptions”

I have a friend, more of a brother, who posted his thoughts about the current #blacklivesmatter state of things. It’s damn near perfect.

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Site Update!

You’re still here? This place is old news. Visit my new website at CarryingStones.com to see my latest updates. This place is closed, a vestigial blog that only remains as an archive.
Update your bookmarks and RSS feeds. It’s a new day.

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Finding Your Power Apps

Michael Schechter recently asked Are Power Apps Like Omnifocus and Scrivener For You?. Watching tutorial videos for “power apps” has helped him decide when it is worth investing his time, attention, and money to learning a new application. He proposes that:

If you aren’t willing to take the time [to watch a video], you probably aren’t really all that ready for whatever app you are considering. And once you do jump in, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for and probably have a few power user tricks that you are anxious to try out.

He closed with a question that got me thinking about how I choose the software that helps me do the work I do.

What’s your process? How do you go about gauging if an app is worth your time and effort?

My process is probably among the worst out there. I can admit to being a perpetually lazy serial procrastinator. It’s easy for something shiny to lead me on a chase for a while, largely because there is nothing to fail at there. Nothing, that is, except the obvious failure to accomplish anything worthwhile.
I’ve spent more money than I care to think about over the years on apps that rarely saw any action. I should probably let you know I’m a recovering app bundle junkie. I still get cravings when I see $5,937 worth of apps for a few bucks, but I’ve gotten better at shaking off the shakes. I’ve wasted a lot of time, a lot, trying to find a use for many of those bundled apps. Even if it was a bargain bin purchase, I paid for it, right? I should learn to use them.
Nah, not really. Usually, my main reason for making a bundle purchase was to get at one of them. This is how I first saw the light with 1Password (and haven’t looked back). Get it. Get it now. Even you Windows users out there. All of you need it. Thank me later.

My Process

Back to Schechter’s questions. My process is to avoid new apps. Like I said, my tendency to chase the shiny has waned, but I do respect the opinion of people I follow online. See also, Twitter. Watch smart people in your field of interest. They have probably had more apps thrown at them than you have time to study on your own, and they have decided what works and what doesn’t.
There is room for personality though, especially in the writing space and most especially on iOS. There has been an avalanche of high quality writing tools for iPhone and iPad. I’ve weeded the garden and found what works for me (Writing Kit if you’re interested).
As a writer, the best advice I’ve found in the past 20 years is to axe word processors and stick to plain text. I only drop into a word processor to open files other people send me or to print a heavily formatted document. Plain text and Markdown are all I need (MultiMarkdown if I need tables). The only hypocrasy in my stable of writing apps is Scrivener, but it’s so amazing every writer should use it. Yes, even writers who use Windows (in fact, you can pick Scrivener for Windows at a discount through Nov. 7).

Hidden Wisdom

I hope you found the hidden wisdom in my failures. No? Let me spell it out for you.

  • Find good tools, learn to use them, and stick with them.
  • Take notice if someone you respect says an app changed their world.
  • Don’t look for new apps to do the work you already do. Great apps will find you.
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Surreal Sword Dancing

This video is so strange and so intriguing in so many ways. There is so much to see here.

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False advertising. Also, awesome!

I’m not going to argue that this music video by Kinna Grannis isn’t awesome, because that would be stupid. It is an incredible labor-intensive piece of work. Catchy tune, too.
However, I will argue that Michael Zang writing for PetaPixel should watch the videos he posts before writing about them. To wit, I enter the following photo into evidence. Emphasis mine.

No Green Screen? Really?
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RIP RSS?

OK, I know RSS isn’t going away, but John Gruber (@gruber) threw me down the rabbit hole tonight when he linked to NetNewsWire creator Brent Simmons piece about Google Reader. The whole shebang got started with this article:
Official Google Reader Blog: Upcoming changes to Reader: a new look, new Google+ features, and some clean-up.
The article states Google’s intention to “bring Reader and Google+ closer together.” This upsets me, but they say they have a plan for people like me.

That’s why we will also be extending Reader’s subscription export feature to include the following items. Your data belongs to you, after all, and we want to make sure you can take it with you.

  • Your subscriptions
  • Your shared items
  • Your friends
  • Your likes
  • Your starred items

Shocking.
Simmons doesn’t seem to believe Reader is going to buckle under Google+, but he’s not confident that the slew of apps that use Reader as a syncing hub may be in jeopardy. Simmons writes:

“When I say that the system is fragile, I don’t mean that Google Reader itself is fragile. I mean that using it as a syncing system for other apps is fragile.”

The sentence Simmons closed his article with was the most chilling (and most quoted so far):

I’m not an RSS reader developer any more. But if I were, I’d start looking for an alternative syncing system right now.

New item in my OmniFocus inbox? Learn how to export my RSS data from Reeder.
(Via Daring Fireball)

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MacSparky – Blog – MPU 60 – The Case forĀ Evernote

MacSparky – Blog – MPU 60 – The Case for Evernote:

I hear that people who who subscribe to the Mac Power Users lead more productive and fulfilling lives.

David Sparks, that’s MacSparky, is right. 5by5 listeners are suave and good-looking, too.
I haven’t listened to the Evernote episode yet, but I’m looking forward to it. There is always the commute tomorrow.

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A Grand Unifying Theory of Everything

James Shelley shares the three things that must occur to move forward in A Grand Unifying Theory of Everything. It’s only 31 words. Go read them.

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Nest Thermostat

I’m late to the game on this (thanks to my day job) and you’ve probably already seen this. The Nest Thermostat looks stunning. Not too shabby at $249 as far as high-end thermostats go. We already have one of those fancy pants programmable thermostats, but it’s nothing like this one. Nothing!
Check this sucker out.

Update, from the Nest blog:

What’s it like for a guy who worked at Apple to start making thermostats? A lot like this:
“So what are you working on lately?” a friend asks over lunch.
“I started a new company. We make thermostats.”
They chuckle, take a bite of their salad, “No, seriously. What are you doing?”
“I’m serious. Thermostats.”

N.B.: I’m thankful to have a day job to keep you people waiting on hot news stories like this one.