This is not really a standard structured blog post or even a review, more of a stream of thoughts over the course of 14 days actually using the Hey email service/app/method/ideology/thing.
14 Days & 14 Observations!
(you know me, it’ll be more than 14..)
The Mac app is another terrible web wrapper “app” in a long line of terrible excuses for Mac apps. You might as well just use the web on your Mac, this “app” isn’t helping anyone. There should be a real Mac app that is at least on par with the iOS version. Perhaps they are waiting for Apple Silicon so you can run the iOS version? It would have gone a long way to make the iOS version into a Catalyst app in the meantime. The worst Catalyst app is infinitely better than web wrapper fake apps. No badge notifications either.
The iOS / iPadOS apps feel good. They might be a fancier web wrapper as well, not sure, but they feel way more native than the Mac “app” for sure. I can’t seem to get either of them to show badges either, maybe that is on purpose, or I am missing something.
The web app is a web app. No issues here, I just prefer to have a dedicated app rather than opening a browser when I want to check email.
In terms of quality of apps and experience using them I would currently rank them: #1) iPadOS #2) iOS #3) Web #8,968) Mac
I am not sure yet if “The Feed” and “Paper Trail” are anything different than a mail rule / folder in that they hide mail away rather than dealing with it. I had to get into a rhythm for how often I should be checking “The Feed”. It really shouldn’t matter given that whatever I put there should theoretically not be time sensitive or crucially important. It is nice knowing that I won’t be jumping to check a mail notification only to find out it’s a newsletter that can wait.
The screening process is like Sane Blackhole that is part of the Sanebox platform. That was always one of my favorite features of Sandbox and I really like the way it’s done with Hey.
Not quite sure what I need “labels” for? I have been trying them out to organize a few things that I would normally use folders for and it’s working out for me so far. I do like how it ties things together visually as they come into my inbox with auto-filing. Maybe it’s mostly just to make Gmail people feel comfortable in switching?
There is no traditional “Archive” of your mail, but there is Trash. Trash is emptied automatically after 30 days so don’t use it as an Archive!
Rather than an archive that is out of sight out of mind, when you are done looking at all new items, they live at the bottom of the interface under a “Previously Seen” header. This took me the longest to get over since it has always been a personal preference that when I am done looking at email I like the screen to be empty of stuff. It’s basically your standard “archive” folder but always in your face. I am over it now though.
Clips is really interesting. You highlight text in an email and then you get a separate section of all your clips. This could be either really useful, or a slippery slope of adding another collection location to your system of organizing and finding information; it will really depend on you. I use it pretty sparingly, but it’s neat and handy for me.
The ability to add notes to individual emails is a nice feature that I am finding quite useful. Adding a quick note to an email about when you cancelled an account for example.
You can change the subject lines of emails to anything you like and only you see the changes. This is really nice for searching or just organizing. If you need to reply, it’s not problem because it keeps the original subject line for communication thread purposes.
General / Other
The upcoming custom domain feature is what I am really excited about. We currently use 2 separate emails with our domain on FastMail. I will never use a @hey address as my actual email. I will most likely move us to Hey for Work and that will give us all the same functionality we use today as far as addresses go.
Initially I wanted an option to change “Imbox” to “Inbox”. It felt super weird the first 18 times I saw it but now I don’t really notice so I guess it isn’t that big of a deal.
Submitting support requests is a very nice flow. Works just like a standard email all through the system you already know. On 2020-10-30 I had an issue with getting trapped in a menu / navigation. (This turned out to be an odd interaction with one of my Safari Extensions called “CleanLinks”). The support staff was very friendly and helped me get everything sorted very quickly and efficiently.
I would like to see it get better at auto-populating contact photos, especially for websites and companies. Example: It gives LinkedIn their logo, but eBay is just a generic text “e”. I have been updating all mine that don’t have then manually because I like how it looks with all the little logos. Maybe this could be somehow crowdsourced?
This has been a good experience and it really took the full 14 days for me to get what Hey was trying to do. Earlier in the year I said I didn’t get it and it wasn’t for me, but of course I hadn’t actually tried it for a full 2 weeks. The Hey system has already broken me of some bad email habits that I have had for many years and at the same time made me relax quite a bit in my manic ways when it comes to my email. I used to archive EVERYSINGLEEMAIL regardless of how useless it was. I am now trashing things left and right. Let it go! Somewhat of a 2 week email detox.
Unrelated, it was a nice reminder that we should shut up when it comes to our opinions until we actually try something.
Over the last 6+ months, we have all been learning and adjusting to a new way of interacting with our day-to-day lives. It seems that a default has emerged throughout all this and that default is doing everything over Zoom. It wasn’t because of superior software, better features, or perfect fidelity, it was a tool that fits a need at a specific time when this kind of tool suddenly became crucial for every person at the same time. Many of us have used Zoom or similar video conferencing type apps in past generally for work-based reasons. This last year has changed what it means to be on a video conference call, however; with every interaction, we have been within the same viewport, and we start to lose context. This year I have been on Zoom calls for various reasons, including, client meetings for work, having a beer and hang out with friends, as well as attending a funeral. Before this year all of those events would have been very distinct and different, but not this year. Each event has me in a little rectangle in a sea of other rectangles.
Previously, the emotional range of these events was:
This means of social participation has had an effect of Emotional Compression where all emotions are squeezed from the outer extremes down to the middle, which has given the perception of recalibrating what emotions are being felt during any given event. A 90-minute quarterly all-hands event at work and a funeral eulogy are viewed from the same window and it can be difficult to remember where you are physically, virtually, and mentally.
It wouldn’t be wrong to imagine this only affects very social and outgoing people, but I’m here to tell you that I am introverted AF and today I realized physical interaction is still important when it comes to this compression of emotion. Things are tough, and they will likely continue to be tough for some time to come. I have decided it’s a worthwhile endeavor to change up how these virtual meetings go. You cannot change the medium, but you can change the physical location/equipment used to participate. Try a different device for friend hangouts vs. work meetings. Change up the background or dress differently. A few little changes can go a long way!
Stay Strong. Vote. Wear a Mask.
Do all of the things that are right when much of the world is making you not want to and is pushing you toward wrong.
All IKEATRÅDFRI lights are gone. I found them to be too unreliable.
Rather than swapping bulbs to smart bulbs, we are doing smart switches instead this time. More reliable and gives you a “real” switch on the wall for anyone to use without special (annoying) instructions.
Not strictly related to the game, but I have found that setting aside a very reasonable amount of time helps get more done in the long run. It’s so easy to tell yourself
“if you can’t give 100% of your time, it’s not worth working on”.
Nothing could be further from the truth! My new approach is to set aside 1-5 hours per week that will be strictly used for working on the game. This has been a massive win for me in getting stuff done!
Now, for game news.
At a finished state barring any last min tweaks. 🤞
Box Lid Artwork Still have not decided if the box bottom will have any printing. It’s a matter of cost vs. benefit. I am currently feeling that if the lid is super awesome, the box bottom doesn’t need elaborate artwork as well.. I have been flipping back and forth on this one. For a first run it’s probably best to go with no printing on bottom.
Game boards are roughly 40% complete. The template has been completely redone to allow for creation of new board layouts more quickly. The plan is to have the game ship with a couple different board options, however in order to get this over the finish line AND try and keep the cost down, I think it’s probably a better idea to start with one.
Lots of progress on the rule book. The Affinity Publisher layout is very close to final. There is a now a home printed version, cut out and held together with tape sitting on my desk! [I really prefer having physical versions of game components whenever possible (no matter the fidelity). It’s the only way I can 100% be sure that it is right.]
That’s all for now. It’s feeling very close to a 1.0 that is at a level that I am happy to get a complete set printed to see what a final “retail” version will look like.
You wanted your country to be “run like a business,” but didn’t specify which one.
You got it.
You wanted to “make America great again,” but didn’t identify what ‘great’ means.
You got it.
You wanted someone who would “take charge,” but didn’t say of what.
You got it.
You got a liar. You got a cheat. You got an ego. You got a monster. You got a dictator. You got a murderer. You got a clown. You got a racist. You got a jackass. You got a bigot. You got an asshole. You got a bully. You got a Xenophobe. You got an opportunist. You got a fascist.
You did not get a human being.
You did not get a patriot.
You did not get a President.
If this makes you upset because you feel personally attacked, I am deeply saddened that you voted for and still support this person.🤷♂️
If this makes you fired up and shaking your head yes, vote this piece of shit out of office so fast his head spins like a pumpkin on a pike.🔥🗳
I have been working in the medical device space for a while, including both Class II and Class III devices, and although I very much support the “right to repair” movement in general, when it comes to medical devices, I have a different opinion.
There is more at stake here than what is on the surface. If you try and repair your printer and fuck it up, no big deal, you can’t print. If you try and repair a medical device without having a full and complete understanding of the device, people can be severely injured or die.
There is no answer that solves the problem given the current setup of medical device regulation, but as a start, approval can be given based on device classes perhaps.
We are all in our homes looking for things to do from time to time and this week was no different! A friend of mine and I were on a video call talking about past photo challenges we have done with each other over the last couple months and we were heading down the conversational path toward doing another photo project when I got a crazy idea.. What if we did something completely outside the realm of a photo challenge!? We both like and enjoy the art of knife blade creation so the first thing I thought of for a challenge was
“make a cool knife with only the raw materials and tools that exist in your garage right now!”
At the time I said this, I had no real idea what I personally even had to work with in terms of materials since I am not at my own house with my own tools currently, but who cares, it was going to be fun no matter how it went! I gave an arbitrary deadline of two weeks, which would have the challenge ending on June 1, 2020. Spoiler, we were both very impatient and finished far earlier than this🤣
Let the games begin!
So, what was I able to make? Glad you are still reading and thought to ask! Thanks! Below are some progress photos of the project and then the final result photos.
I really enjoyed this project! It was so great to get away from the computer, put down my camera, and work with my hands for a while to create something from nothing. I highly suggest a challenge like this, pandemic or not, as it has been a great mental cleanser!
We have been talking about it for a while and thinking about it even longer, and as of May 28, we have done it! We sold our house in Silicon Valley, and after much searching, and a couple offers not working out, we have closed on a new house in Oregon! 🎉
On to the next chapter of our story!
Buying a house in a different state during a global pandemic was an interesting journey to say the least!
Even with the unknowns arising from the pandemic, the whole process went far smoother than I was imagining from the start. It was a longer escrow than usual, but given everything that needed to happen within the constraints of social distancing, shelter in place orders, etc, it ended up being the proper amount of time.
Some Random Stats Regarding What It Took:
52 days from start to finish
90+ iMessages & text messages
200+ emails sent & received
400+ pieces of paper created (that we know about)
11 DocuSign documents
1 physical trip prior to purchase
11.5 hours driving a U-Haul
We couldn’t be happier with the home we found and are so excited to get settled in!
I served in the United States Air Force from June 2001 - June 2005. This was not an easy time in my life. Especially given how drastically the military and world changed on September 11, 2001, after being in for only three months. On September 11th I felt a lot of different emotions, but one of them was a sense of, “this is why I am here.” Joining the military is never an easy decision, but it was the right thing for me at that time in my life. Being enlisted in the military means following rules; a lot of rules. The benefit of this however is that everyone from the top to the bottom should adhere to the same rules, and for the most part, this is the case. Every service member should be held to the same ultra-high standard, and when they do not meet that standard, there should be swift and harsh consequences. This goes for the lowest ranking enlisted person, all the way to the President of the United States.
My entire enlistment was under a single President: George W. Bush. He was a polarizing President, but at the same time he was the command-in-chief. There is an implied and deserved respect for the President of the United States. I took that very seriously during my military enlistment, and I take it seriously now. There must be a chain of trust throughout the ranks in the military or it does not work. Many people make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and that sacrifice should not be wasted.
When I look at the current commander-in-chief (2016-2020), I feel nothing but disdain, disgust, and a sense of dread. He stands for nothing decent; just himself. He is downright dangerous to democracy, the United States, its citizens, and service members who must put their life on the line in the name of a petty, selfish, childish, and unstable individual. This is not ok, and should not be looked at as a passing phase. If his path of destruction continues to be left unchecked, it will continue to get worse. Boil the frog and all that.
As I said above, there is an implied and deserved respect in place for the President of the United States that should be adhered to as a service member. I am no longer an active duty service member, but rather, an honorably discharged veteran.
So with that, Fuck You Mr. President, may your actions forever be remembered in history as a lesson to the future, reminding them that anything resembling the likes of you shall never happen again. The death and destruction you have left in your tragic path will not be fixed in my lifetime, but with some hope, the next few generations can clean up your filthy mess. Your goal in life was to be remembered, and you have accomplished that.
As the clumsy child of a CEO, you must climb the corporate ladder one office-themed puzzle at a time! Complete puzzles in multiple ways as you experiment with the interactive environments—a projector can be wheeled gently through an electric door…or catapulted through the wall. So toil (or tumble) your way to the top and make your father proud!
We have finished Good Job! and it was a blast! I say “we” because this was a co-op venture with Valerie. On the surface this game looks very silly, and that’s exactly what it is! Although this game can be played solo or with a friend, I think the real charm of the game comes from playing with a friend. On that note, this game can really be played with anyone, regardless of how much they play games. The mechanics are easy to learn and there isn’t a need for high precision. No elaborate button incantations needed. You can break a bunch of stuff (I have to admit, this is really one of my favorite parts), or play very carefully to complete each job perfectly. It doesn’t really make a lot of difference in the end; it’s just fun.
Your job duties can vary from fixing the office’s internet connection to cleaning up experimental goo. You may bump into your coworkers or knock over a priceless item or two in the process, but as long as you get the job done you’re one step closer to the executive suite! True star employees can also replay stages to try to earn a higher score by maximizing speed while minimizing damages.
Each of the job levels build on one another as you learn new skills, so even though the game is mostly the same throughout, the gameplay doesn’t get stale. I actually was hoping for more levels after we completed the last one. Maybe some DLC!? Pleeeease!
The game is fairly priced and worth checking out! Enjoy!
I needed some specific bank statements from my bank to send to someone else for a transactional record. 🏦
How The Process Went
Called my bank to request the specific statements as pdfs. (yep. called.) ☎️
My bank said they would send me the encrypted pdfs via email and send me the password separately via the online banking communication system. Ok cool, that’s easy enough. Also, thanks for not sending my personal banking info as clear text through email! 📧🔐
Received the emails in my email, and they opened right up.. No password needed. Hmm. Ok, well, I guess they forgot to actually encrypt them..? Nice. 🤷♂️
I forwarded the pdfs along to the party that needed them and assumed I was done. I then got a reply from them asking for “the password to unlock the pdfs.” WTF?! 🔓
No idea what they used to “encrypt the pdf” but apparently that security only goes as far as the Windows operating system and does absolutely nothing when it comes to viewing the pdfs on a Mac via Preview, Quick Look, PDF Expert, or any other pdf viewer you can think of. 🤦♂️
As usual, security is given the least emphasis and lowest budget when it comes to securing our personal data. 😡
One thing I absolutely love about the web is the fact that if you are viewing a webpage you can see all the code that makes up that page with a few simple clicks. This is great if you are trying to debug something, are curious how a feature was implemented, or even if you want to change the appearance of something. Clean, simple, and useful!
I use a social blogging service called Micro.blog every single day, throughout the day. When using an iPhone or iPad, I generally use the third party app, Gluon. When I am on a Mac I tend to use the web version of Micro.blog. I like the functionality of the web version, but find the stark white appearance to be a little much on my eyes toward the night hours. As I said above, because it’s the web, it’s pretty trivial to make changes to the appearance of the page that is displaying on my screen, so I did just that. A couple days ago I started playing around with different color schemes that were a darker palette, to see if I could land on something that still looked clean and nice, but achieved the goal of being less bright.
I started off by hacking different parts of the css all within the browser inspector, and then moved to creating something a little bit more permanent after I started getting to something that felt good. Because I wanted this custom palette to automatically load every time I visited Micro.blog, I created a userscript that can be used with various browser plugins. This means I can use the style on all my computers, and when I make an update to the userscript, it will update on each machine when it checks for updates to the styles.
For simple userscript management I am using the browser add-on Tampermonkey.
UPDATE I started the updates to account for Micro.blog 2.0. There is an initial version out that fixes most of the majorly broken stuff. If you check for updates in Tampermonkey it should pull it automatically.
If you want to use my userscript for Micro.blog to try it out or tweak yourself, you can find it here!
Keep in mind it’s not done yet, so there are some rough edges to be worked out in further revisions!
Things are progressing, albeit slowly, but they are! We have done some more play testing with beta components, and I think the game is coming along nicely. I obviously am biased, but that’s the only perspective I have on it. 😉
Given the global pandemic, the work being done on the game can only be digital, as I am unable to get any samples printed from the supplier. This, for the most part, is ok, since the samples I have so far are enough to do play-through testing and then update the digital assets as we go. The most important part is trying to catch any weirdness with the game mechanics anyway.
Keep pushing things forward!
Couple Things Knocked Out
✅ The Coffee Pot Games site is up! coffeepot.games
✅ One of the fonts in the game’s title was proving to be a big problem, but I am happy to say that problem is now resolved!
✅ All assets for the game are now in GitHub so we can have better version control of each piece.
Over the next few weeks I plan to work on the following items and get them to a “1.0” status. The main focus will be the following updates to digital assets:
At the beginning of the year I was planning to have the game ready to sell by July 1. A lot has happened since then (personally, and in the world) so I don’t have high confidence that will still be the case, but am going to work toward that goal anyway!
I am so incredibly anxious and excited to have the opportunity to put this game into the hands of others and hope they get even a fraction of the joy that I have had putting it together.
It looks like the latest version (v2020.11.12) is working with playlists again. Who knows if this will become a cat and mouse game, but for now it seems like we are good to go.
As you may or may not know, there is an issue with YouTube-dl regarding DMCA. The script still works but there are some issues that need to be resolved around downloading playlists and how the update process works. You can also look at a forked project called youtube-dlc. Until the playlist issues get sorted, I have just been using my Alfred script down below to grab YouTube videos and it’s working great.
The YouTube apps on the various platforms (iOS, Apple TV, web, and so on) are ok. I was looking for a better way to watch videos that I saved to view later (especially with pip on the iPad). There is a utility called youtube-dl that you may or may not have seen mentioned online. Here is a rundown of how I am now using it to manage all my YouTube videos I want to watch.
Here is what I am using for my current configuration file.
Located here: /private/etc/youtube-dl.conf
Plus ~/archive.txt to keep an archive and only download videos that have not already been downloaded.
# Save all videos to download folder
# Mark video as watched
# download playlist
# Dowload new videos only
# Download best quality
# ffmpeg location
Automating The Setup
Shell Script (ytdl_playlist_download.sh) pointing to the YouTube playlist that I am using ytdl
Launch Agent (download_videos.plist)
A simple .plist that is placed in /Library/LaunchAgents set to run the .sh every 90 seconds. There is also a .log file in this example that I was using while testing everything.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?><!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd"><plistversion="1.0"><dict><key>Label</key><string>ytdl</string><key>StartInterval</key><integer>90</integer><key>StandardErrorPath</key><string>/Users/jason/Desktop/ytdl_error_logfile2.log</string><key>EnableGlobbing</key><true/><key>RunAtLoad</key><true/><key>KeepAlive</key><dict><key>SuccessfulExit</key><false/></dict><key>Program</key><string>/Users/jason/Scripts/ytdl_playlist_download.sh</string></dict></plist>
This is all running on a 2018 Mac mini that is always on.
Now that the videos are being saved to a YouTube folder on the LaCie 6Big, this is where Plex comes in. This folder is monitored by Plex and updated with new videos so I can watch them right in the Plex app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, AppleTV, really anywhere you can get Plex running.
Managing the videos that are on the 6Big Storage.
Once I am done watching a video, Plex has an option to delete the video, which will delete the actual file on the server, so this keeps the folder from getting too out of control.
That’s it! Simply add a video to the “ytdl” playlist on YouTube and this handles the rest!
Side Note - Alfred Workflow
Because youtube-dl is so useful and supports many different video platforms, I also have an Alfred workflow that I use for one-off downloads. Since this workflow is different from what I want the above system to accomplish with a YouTube playlist, I have set this up slightly different.
I don’t want the videos downloaded via this workflow to go to the same YouTube folder on the LacIe, so I decided to go with a one off config just for this workflow, it looks like this:
This ignores my standard config file and sets the download location to ‘Downloads’.
Copy the video URL to clipboard
Use the keyword yt followed by pasting the video URL
Hit enter and your video begins downloading!
I realized I didn’t have a way to complete the workflow if I got a link on my iPhone / iPad, so here is a shortcut to fix that.
If your automated downloads stop and you are getting an error in the console related to keyerror: u'content_html' the issue may be that your YouTube playlist has gotten too large. This happened to me and my list was over 400 items! 😱 Probably a good idea to clean that list up from time to time. 👍