Category Archives: Life

Download Your Google Reader Feeds

For those of you that use Google Reader, you are (hopefully) aware that the service will stop working on July 1st. Yes, that’s Monday. If you haven’t already, download your list of feeds by clicking on this link.

I have transitioned my reading to the Feedly service until a better solution arrives.

LinkedIn drops Xobni support

Like many others that work in IT professionally, I live in Outlook during the day. One of the plugins that has lightened the email burden is Xobni because it connects my contacts to their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and also to Evernote. My favorite feature is how Xobni shows me all of the latest attachments from each contact for quick access. It is an amazing time-saver. Imagine my frustration when the LinkedIn integration stopped working a week ago. Now imagine my frustration when I searched for the reason and found that LinkedIn no longer allows Xobni access to my data.

This is so frustrating to me. Here is my short message to the Tent community:

Dear LinkedIn: Why did you drop support for Xobni? I realize you looked on with jealousy as >50% of my LinkedIn activity was through Xobni but I brought professional *to* you using them. Now you are just another data silo that I used to respect.

My social graph is in the hands of for-profit companies: LinkedIn for my professional life, Facebook for my personal life, and Twitter for the vast gray area in the middle. My social graph is not under my control. I’m ready to change that but haven’t found a mature-enough solution. Hopefully Tent will grow up in the next year or so and projects will begin to use this amazingly useful protocol.

How to Enable Two-Step Verification for Your Apple ID

Cody Fink at MacStories:

Using two-step verification is completely optional — you’re not required to use the extra security measure if you don’t want to. For those who opt-in, Apple gives fair warning that you’ll need your trusted device with you to access your account information. Apple does provide a printable Recovery Key in case you lose your iOS device or forget your password, but they won’t be able to help you if you lose it. I recommend storing the Recovery Key in 1Password for safe keeping. If you do lose the Recovery Key, you can generate and print a new key if you can log into your account.

This is an important step in making Apple IDs more secure. I just finished enabling two-step verification on mine and putting my recovery key into 1Password.

Eliminate the bi-annual time change caused by Daylight Savings Time | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government

If, like me, you find the twice-a-year time change less than helpful, sign this petition for the White House to eliminate it.

Daylight Savings Time is an archaic practice in our modern society.

The original reasons for the policies are no longer applicable, and the most cited reason for keeping DST (energy savings) has never been shown to be true.

Some industries still like DST (like sporting equipment retailers), but there are many more who dislike the changed hours (like television).

The real issue, however is not the later hours or extra sunlight. Studies have shown that changing the clocks is responsible for health problems (including increased heart attack and vehicular accident risks) and leads to hundreds of thousands of hours of lost productivity in workplaces across the country. Also: It’s really annoying.

We should either eliminate DST or make it the year-round standard time for the whole country.


2012 in Review

This is the time of year when we reflect on where we are and what we’ve done. I am no exception.

Professionally: I am making significant contributions at my current client.

Personally: My maternal grandfather passed away. As my wife says, many people experience the death of a loved one but it is a very personal, private, and lonely experience.

Spiritually: My mentor is the greatest teacher in all of history.  Our congregation has a new Student Pastor who is caring for and challenging our youth in wonderful ways.

Parentally: This truth is constantly reinforced: raising children is difficult and yet surprisingly rewarding.

2013 is only a couple of days away. Instead of making resolutions for the new year, I typically bring my existing goals and plans into focus and evaluate them.

There is one goal that does not have a plan. I’d like to write more. Patrick Rhone has committed to posting daily in 2013. I am not prepared to make that commitment but am looking for more outlets. Tent is helping.

Underflow 1.2

Underflow, the best-kept secret in Visual LANSA productivity has been updated to version 1.2.

Visual LANSA is a good IDE but it still has some wrinkles. Welcome to the iron. Underflow is the tool I created for myself to improve my VL workflow, to lower the friction of taking notes, and to make typing less of a hassle. Others have mentioned that they find it useful so maybe you will too.

For instance, when you open VL, what steps do you take? Launch VL, enter password, System Init, check the right boxes and fill in the partition text area, hit enter, wait for system init to finish, log into the IDE, wait for window to fully load, open your host monitor, and go grab a cup of coffee while it connects and propagates. Let Underflow remove tedious parts by hitting [Win][Shift]V to launch VL, enter your password, hit [Win][Shift]I for assisted system init, and go grab your cup of coffee.

There is a configuration section of the primary Underflow script (underflow.ahk) to make it your own. If you’ve updated the config (and hopefully you have), be sure to take a snapshot before replacing the script so you can reapply it.

Go grab it now and then let me know what you love and what you hate.

Here are a few more changes:

Natural scrolling is now supported and enabled by default. Natural scrolling changes the direction of the scroll wheel on your mouse. This is a natural extension of our ever-increasing mobile world. You are moving the page instead of the scroll bar.

New words that are fixed as you type: LongRange, LANSAWEB, API, and SQL.

Assisted System Init is still invoked using [Win][Shift]I. It still performs a system init and automatically turns on your host monitor but it now remembers your currently selected partition, language, and task.

Underflow now integrates with the Prowl service for sending text to your mobile device and, for those that use it, makes it super easy to create OmniFocus tasks. This requires a free Prowl account.

  • [Win]T creates an OmniFocus task using the Prowl service.
  • [Win]P sends any text to Prowl.

For those that use markdown formatting for your notes, underlined headings can be created with one keystroke.

  • .mdl creates a Markdown link from the URL on the clipboard.
  • [Win][Shift]1 (or .md= or .md1)  creates a level 1 Markdown heading based on the length of the current line.
  • [Win][Shift]2 (or .md- or .md2) creates a level 2 Markdown heading based on the length of the current line.

[Win][Shift]C launches Lansa Composer.

Reduced the time it takes to restart the host monitor using [Win][Shift]H. Unfortunately, wait states are a necessary evil when scripting an application like Visual LANSA.

Turned off forced capitalization of “lansa” to “LANSA”. It is used in too many places where we do NOT want that behavior. You can now use “llansa” and “lansaa” to produce “LANSA”.

Replacing Twitter

Brent Simmons recently wrote about Twitter’s decision to greatly reduce third-party access to Twitter over time.

Were I a Twitter client developer, I would get in touch with other client developers and start talking about a way to do what Twitter does but that doesn’t require Twitter itself (or any specific company or service).

He even gives an example of how this can work.

I always thought Twitter would become an underpinning of the web; a communication system that people and apps would use whether they knew it or not. What I hadn’t considered is that this is like asking cable providers to provide me with internet access but no content. They don’t want to become a dumb pipe. There is very little money in that.

Developers of Twitter clients are in direct competition with one another. Which leads to the key question in my mind: can these competing developers find a way to combine forces against their common enemy to solve this problem?

If a system like Brent describes is created and if Twitter continues down this road, I will use it.


The Garden of Your Mind

As a child, Fred Rogers cheerfully invited me into his neighborhood. He helped me to think, to imagine, and to grow.

His methods are easy targets for jokes but they were effective in teaching things that matter. Much respect to Symphony of Science’s John D. Boswell for this remix of Fred for PBS.

(via Pinterest)


Project Folders

Every major project I work on has documents in a folder.

Using mobile devices has been a productivity booster but storing the documents is a pain. For instance, OmniGraffle for iPad is amazingly useful but it stores documents inside its sandbox and not in my project folder.

My Markdown-formatted notes for the project live in a Dropbox folder. To get to those notes, I use a Dropbox-FOLDER-enabled, markdown-enhanced text editor. That editor is Nebulous Notes. I’d rather use Byword but it is a royal pain in the behind to manually type a different Dropbox folder name into its preferences. So Byword gets used for a current project and Nebulous gets used for everything else. Which is a lot.

I look forward to a project folder solution supported natively is iOS.

TV Is Broken

Patrick Rhone at Minimal Mac:

“Why did you turn the movie off, Daddy?”, Beatrix worriedly asks, as if she has done something wrong and is being punished by having her entertainment interrupted. She thinks that’s what I was doing by rushing for the remote.

“I didn’t turn it off, honey. This is just a commercial. I was turning the volume down because it was so loud. Shrek will come back on in a few minutes” I say.

“Did it break?”, she asks.

What we as an older generation know as TV makes no sense to the newest generation. So what DOES make sense to them? Beatrix shows us at the end of the article.