Quotidian Quest

Solving the wrong problem with simplicity

Category: tech
#macos #creation challenge

I'm lucky enough to have an imac. Unfortantely, I've been having some trouble keeping space free on the machine. So, I took some time to check it how much disk space that I had left when I saw this!

Disk Utility in macOS Sierra showing only disk usage, purgable data and free space.

Yes, it does show me that I have some free space, but it doesn't give me anything related to how much of that data I could get rid of or revaluate. One my laptop, I'm still running El Capitan and it gives me a really nice overview1.

Disk Utility in macOS El Capitan showing disk usage of apps, photos, audio, movies and more as well as free space.

I guess this is connected to Apple's new push to have people store their information in the crowd; maybe illustrated how much purgable spaces was in each individual category would have been too complicated.

Still, I miss the old view...

  1. Earlier versions of the OS had better control of what you could do with the disks and partitions. 

Why create something everday?

Category: misc
#misc #creation challenge

So this post is more of a follow up to explain my logic for what I'm doing. Sometimes, it's just good to write out your thoughts.

I find myself putting more and more of my thoughts into mindmaps. I will have to come up with a way to put them into better drafts.


What would making something every day do for me? That was the question that I asked myself. I've been missing something for months if not years and it was the satisfaction that I was creating something meaningful outside of being a parent. I was feeling helpless and I was slowly seeing things not getting done.

I was losing control.

I feel that this will allow me a jump start into taking some control.

As opposed to learning to control my body via exercise and meditation1.

What Counts

The last two are things that I've never made before and I'd like to make it part of my challenge to get something in front of other people. Honestly, I don't know how many people read my blog anyway.

What doesn’t count

These are things that I was doing anyway and I don't want to make it part of the challenge.

  1. I'm also doing those things as well, but I'm not going to focus on those changes. 

Creation Challenge: Enable linked-list post

Category: misc
#misc #creation challenge

The first thing that I'd like to work on is getting the article header that I'm using to be more capable of handing meta data for individual entries. Currently, it points to the specific url for the article but I'd like it to take my current header.

title: Where to put the maybe-someday  
date: 2016-09-05 22:10:08  
category: personal  
tags: tech, notes, evernote  
status: published    

and add the link attribute

title: Where to put the maybe-someday  
date: 2016-09-05 22:10:08  
category: personal  
tags: tech, notes, evernote  
status: published    
link: some_other_place.com

I started off with the following jinja heading.

<a rel="bookmark"
   href="{{ article.url }}"
   title="{{ article.title|striptags }} «{{ SITENAME }}»">
   {{ article.title}}

To be honest, I don't do development on the blog that often so I used my own code to look up how to do an if statement in jinja and wrote a little test line to see if it worked.

{{ article.title}} {% if article.link %} {{ article.link}} {% endif %}

After editing the page a number of times and doing more research that I should have into which kind of rel tag I should use for book marks versus external links, I finished up with this.

{% if article.link %}
<a rel="external"
   title="{{ article.title|striptags }} «{{ SITENAME }}»"
   href="{{ article.link }}">
   {{ article.title}}
{% else %}
<a rel="bookmark"
   title="{{ article.title|striptags }} «{{ SITENAME }}»"
   href="{{ article.url }}">
   {{ article.title}}
{% endif %}

Creating something everyday

Category: misc
#making #creation challenge

So, I'm making a commitment to myself to create something every day until Christmas without the limitation/structure of saying what I'm going to be making during this period of time. I suspect that it will mostly be blog posts and tutorials but I think I'll make a push to clean up the code for this blog and add a number of things that I've been putting on the back burner.

Where to put the maybe-someday

Category: personal
#tech #notes #evernote

I felt I needed to unplug so I printed out what is in Omnifocus

Today, I did a review of my projects in OmniFocus. And thought about if I really, really wanted to keep certain things in there. The key to any good productivity system is having trust in that it is working correctly. If I have things in the system that I'm not going to do, then a part of me is going to subconsciencely fight against it.

So, why are things in omnifocus in the first place?

Well, these were things that I wanted to do at some point in time and it has become very easy to add things to the inbox. Anything that I put into reminders1 or send directly from Safari or the mail drop.

When I attempt to get organized, I typically try to use omnifocus because a lot of people in my circle of influence use it when they are feeling overwhelmed. I like it because I'm somewhat familiar with it. Also, when I feel like going back to pencil and paper, I can print out everything to act as a starting point.

So, where am I going to put all this stuff than?

I've been thinking about it a lot recently. For a while, I was keeping a couple text files that would have information about different projects that I would like to do. I'd access them via nvAlt.

A small sample of some of the notes that I keep

This allowed them to be saved in dropbox so that I could access them on different computers. The only problem is that a majority of the things that I was interested in starting would something that I found on the web (an article or how to).

I've thought about moving everything to evernote. It's a service that allows me to connect to my mac and also allows me to use windows as well. In fact, I've been using it more and more this year in order to help me track all the job applications that I submitted to the state government.

With Evernote, I am able to keep track of all the applications I put in so that I can review and follow up.

The reason that I'm not a fan of this is because I don't know what is going to happen with the future of the business. Although I have a premium membership, I don't think the new price is worth it for what I use it for. Nor do I think I can afford it the next time that renewal is up.

This leaves, me with Apple's Notes.app. It has really been making the rounds as far as praise from a lot of the people that I respect and has been fairly easy to use. The only problems that I'm worried about going forward with this the ability to add something to a pre-existing note when the list of notes starts to get longer. I like the fact that everything I put in it gets pushed to the server and is then on my device. I also like the idea of being able to have an easy way of sharing notes with my wife and look forward to more features in the future.

In conclusion, where am I going to put my notes.

Evernote allows me a place to sort things that I do not want to see in my review
Evernote allows me a place to sort things that I do not want to see in my review
I think I'll be giving evernote another chance for being the place that I keep my maybe-someday list for projects. Although there is some uncertainty in the future of the service, it still works at this point and I don't imagine that it will be difficult to leave it in the future. I even went back and tried linking some notes together and I think I can come up with some really nice uses for that going forward.

  1. This actually works too well because sometimes, I put geo location and times with the reminders and this doesn't get translated when it makes the move to omnifocus. I think this is just a training issue of me applying that information later on. 

Diagrams in the post

Category: blogging
#pelican #diagrams #plantuml

I thought I would switch gears for a second and see if I could get pelican to make certain diagrams for my blog posts.

Sample sequence diagram

I hope that works.

Opening up on the internet

Category: personal
#blog #slack

I recently spent some time chatting on the internet about some of the problems that I've been having with getting things done since my "fun-employment" the last couple of months. It is very hard for me, because I've been told that I'm smart and have potential all of my life and here I am in my mid 30's and there aren't a line of people knocking on my door to give me money.

When I did this, I felt good.

I felt like I wasn't just someone lost in the wind.

I'm going to stay involved with the community and make it my touch stone as I work towards finding more work.

Why not me?

Category: personal
#starting over #change

We don't get a chance to start our lives over again. Even if we could, there is no garuntee that what we do will be better.

What we can do is move on and change ourselves even by a little to make our lives better. I'm going to do that publicly and you are more than welcome to keep reading along.

Where have I been?

Category: personal

Ok, it is time to get back into writing on my blog. I think I'm going to track my progress with learning swift 3 and my other tutorials that I come across.

Further thoughts on text expander

Category: tech
#text expander #response

Recently, I posted about my thoughts on Text Expander after they announced that they were going to be moving to a subscription. And I got some feedback regarding what I wrote. I've pasted it below because I honestly don't get any feed back regarding any of my writingMost likely because I do not have comments on the site.

  1. I completely agree that they have kind of boxed themselves out of the "casual user" market and are now more focused on "power users" or those that are using this tool on multiple devices (like me)
  2. I think your point is very well written, but would love to see more information about the alternative (AutoHotKey) that you have selected.
  3. Perhaps it would be helpful to mention a couple of things (If any) that could make textexpander that tool for you again.

Great job though. You can definitely tell that you care about the company.

It's just they don't fit in your system anymore (which happens)

I like feedback. At this point, good or bad I'm happy with the fact that someone else is reading and it gives me some motivation to make the writing better. In this case, I'd like to further expand on the last two points in the reverse order.

3. How to make the tool more helpful for me

This is actually a something that needs to happen on my endTo be fair, the application tries its best to help me be as productive as possible.. The people at smile give you a number of examples that you can use right away to save you time.

When I was making this post, I added one more. If anything knowing that I might have to give the application up has sparked new interest in using it. Plus all the the writing that I've been doing.

The application does help in one major way everyday (when I do use it). Most mornings, I do use it to create my grateful journal template1. Here is a brief example of the template that I use:

# Things I'm Grateful for #

# Things I'm Excited about #

# One Thing I'd like to focus on #

By default, the application will monitor what you type and suggest even more snippets that you can add to your collection.

I was kind of shocked by some of the things that I write multiple times and it has the possibility of helping me change some habits.

Maybe, I shouldn't have freaked out when I saw this feature pop up and you can always change the way it works in the preference because it could have been helpful. But it seemed creepy and annoying.

Part of me was getting annoyed with all the notifications on what I could use as a snippet.

If you're feeling adventurous you can even go to the website of one of my heroes Brett Terpstra and check out his page of text expander tools.

Despite all this, I still find that I wasn't using it to the fullestThis was my last usage stat. Take it with a *HUGE* grain of salt because I only have it on my laptop and I do frequent re-installs
This was my last usage stat. Take it with a HUGE grain of salt because I only have it on my laptop and I do frequent re-installs
. Ultimately, we all have to balance what we want versus what we need the money to go to.

2. AutoHotKey

On this topic, I don't have much to say because I no longer have a windows machine to use on a day to day basis. The great thing about this tool was that I was using it to now only fire off extensions but to launch applications and replicate user interactions for testing.

I would often use a keyboard short cut to launch the vnc client because the laptop that was given to employees to use might not be that powerful or we wanted to run a test on another machine that had a faster connection.

For user interactions, I created a script that would type in the keyboard shortcut that would make windows rotate the screen or do a series of mouse clicks to reproduce... something...

1. Updated...

While I was writing this, Smile reduced the price to $20 a year for the software. Which changes the deal significantly. Now I have to think about what the software is going to do for me going forward. Is this going to save me time in the future? Will I save more time than the time that I used writing about it here?

I don't know.

  1. It's an exercise that I do in the morning when I feel a little overwhelmed with life. I'm making it a habit and automating the prompt helps. Although, I do use Keyboard Meastro to do something similar.