The last year has completely flown by — with no greater reminder than I'm only a few months away from the one year anniversary of my photos.charlie.town project!
What started as a project born from anger at photo-centric social media has turned into easily my most entertaining project; it's both fun to post to, and fun to hack on — side note, I've since returned to instagram, though I'm using it in a much more healthy manner.
Most of my older projects have been a bit of a slog to keep up with, in terms of both development and updating their content. This one has miraculously lasted almost a whole year, and I'm looking forward to keeping it updated for years to come.
There are a few things I'd like to add when time permits, better image handling on the backend for one, and a possible new section showcasing camera/lens info — Snap (the current name of the CMS, subject to change) dumps all the original EXIF data in a DB before stripping it when processing, so that should be easy to implement retroactively too, but at the moment the only photos on the site are shot on my iPhone 12 mini... maybe when I start shooting on my Canon again I can revisit it!
Still, I'm very pleased with the system so far. It's managed to keep it's sole user very happy, and history has shown that I'm quite the software critic when it comes to personal projects 😶
Hello! It's been a minute... 👋🏻
I've tried and failed a few times to fully get invested in Mastodon, but given the recent Musk-tivities that have taken place at Twitter HQ, I thought I'd give it another shot. In short, it's useful, user-respecting, and most of all fun.
Annoyingly though, the feature that I love the most — any lack of algorithm or aggressive discoverability — is probably it's Achilles' heel. While I don't think it'll replace The Hellsite, I think in the coming years it'll definitely cement itself as a large (if niche) name in the decentralised world I believe (and hope!) we're moving towards.
Like many people, I've always hopped between all kinds of various apps to plan my days, and organise things that I learn or find interesting. I've tried Notion, Obsidian, Wunderlist (RIP) and it's direct replacement Microsoft ToDo, Trello, etc. etc.
So I gave up.
I've spent the last 2 months or so carrying around a physical notepad and pen, instead of relying on anything digital, and surprisingly it's worked the best out of any solution I've tried so far!
There's something to be said for having to slow your brain down to commit an idea or note to real paper, and it seems to work for me. It also turns out, the blocks that I believed would stop me from fully committing to an 'analogue' solution weren't actually blocks at all — for example, only having one physical place that notes and ToDos live and no option of syncing between devices (which was overcome by... simply carrying the notebook with me everywhere!). I'm about 80% happy with the current system I've got in place for recording notes, which I'm sure will improve over time — but for the most part, it's been great.
If you're also struggling to deal with the infinite landscape of productivity apps, maybe give the humble notepad a go? It definitely surprised me how well it's worked, and now I can't imagine life without it.
The music lives on, Apple:
iPod touch will be available while supplies last.
“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products [...] there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.”
Interesting that Joswiak paints Apple's move to streaming as a natural progression of the "spirit" of the iPod, and claims there's no superior method to enjoying music. I personally believe it's anything but.
In my experience, there's an IKEA Effect-esque way in which manually curating a physical (albeit still digital) music collection makes me connect with the music more. Though I'm not hoping for a return to manually adding artwork to hundreds of albums, a happy medium between that era and the current Paradox of Choice landscape seems like the ideal scenario.
Even just taking time to be truly offline and listen to music feels like I'm fighting against the tide in recent years. I know Spotify et al. have offline modes that let you sync music for times when you're without phone signal, but the fact this is only possible on devices that have wireless capabilities anyway makes the whole real point of "offline" — not being bombarded with notifications, social feeds, and the like — moot, in my opinion. It feels like more of a crutch for people who have their entire music library in a streaming service, and want to be able to have their music uninterrupted when disconnected from a server. Shame that wasn't a solved problem decades ago... 😉
Maybe this is just a "golden age" old man rant. Regardless of how you feel about Apple and Co. leaning into streaming and its impact on both the production and consumption of music, Joswiak is right that the iPod brought music to the masses — and I'm sad to see it go.
Been putting in the time to finally get to grips with some (light) cryptography, specifically GnuPG/PGP. I was aware it was used for encrypted email communication, but not that it could be used independently to encrypt/verify all types of text, and even binary files.
While I agree with the common criticism that it's learning curve is somewhat difficult, it's been very intriguing - I can see an immediate use case for encrypting SQL backups, and the possibilities from there are seemingly endless!
Another update two weeks apart? Don't get used to it...
Anyway, I (finally) caught Covid this week, and while it unfortunately wiped out a few very important events from my social calendar, I haven't been bed-bound - so it's put me in a great position to get working on some cool side projects 👀
The latest of which is photos.charlie.town, which is going to be the place for any photos I post from here on out. I mentioned in my last post that I've been trying to move away from corporation-controlled solutions for pushing out any content I make - I tended to use them more for archival purposes than actually posting anything I wanted to show off, running the obvious risk of the content being removed down the line for an arbitrary reason.
I knocked up a photo-oriented CMS based on the one that runs words, and put together an Instagram-inspired design. I'm not 100% sold on the lightbox solution I'm currently using so that may change, but for now, it'll do. It's both a place to show off nice photographs I've taken, and store the large original JPGs for posterity.
And who knows? Maybe one day I'll clean it up and stick it on GitHub... 😆
It's been a while!
Apologies for the radio silence. These last couple months I've been;
I guess there's a common theme here... I'm definitely leaning more into self-hosted, or in some cases self-made alternatives to big corporate services. I've been feeling pretty disillusioned with big tech and it's role in shaping modern society as of late, especially given the current European climate.
This feeling may pass, but in the meantime, I'm going to finally make good on my promise of giving these people as minimal amount (or ideally no) data as possible.
Some of these might get full posts eventually, especially if I end up implementing some of these 'self' solutions, but we shall see.
I, like most of the internet, have been completely gripped by Wordle for the last few weeks.
I'm currently working on a nice site to track your results, show graphs, export to CSV etc. One day I'll finish a side project 🙄
Why does a busy man build a shed?:
This is the time of year for pondering and learning. I am pondering why during 10 years of helping grow/maintain a busy Saas infrastructure I spent a great deal of my free time building two sheds in my garden. They have been a place to deal with stress, an office, and now a place to hangout. So why does someone create work for themself when they are already busy and is this wise?
sho, Hacker News:
“Of course I don’t have to do this,” one middle aged man said, carefully cleaning the table with a damp cloth. He put the cloth in a little pouch, sat down beside him. “But look, this table’s clean.” He agreed that the table was clean.
“Usually,” the man said, “I work on alien religions… I catalogue, evaluate, compare. I come up with theories and argue with colleagues here and elsewhere. But the job’s never finished. Always new examples and even the old ones get reevaluated and new people come along and come up with new ideas about what you thought was settled. But,” he slapped the table, “when you clean a table, you clean a table. You feel you’ve done something. It’s an achievement.”
— Use Of Weapons, Iain M. Banks
Netflix's Castlevania has been occupying quite a bit of my time over the last month. I watched the initial 4-part season when it first released, but it's been great to dive back in now that there's plenty more to chew on.
Also slightly odd to see an "anime" where the lips are actually synced to the English audio... does the cardinal sin of anime apply when the English version isn't technically a dub? 😉