January 20, 2021
The other day, Andrew mentioned NextDNS and it sounded pretty cool. I liked the idea of pi-hole, but didn’t want another service to manage on my home server. NextDNS is pretty easy to setup and get going, but there is one hang up for people who do not have a static IP from their ISP. Below is a pretty simple way to automate updating your ISP IP with NextDNS to keep the service running smoothly.
High level overview of getting it all going the way I did.
- Change the DNS entries in your router, generally in your router settings 192.168.0.1
- Check your devices to ensure they are not setup to use other custom DNS entries from other services you may have tried in the past.
- If you have a static IP from your ISP, you are done. Mine is not technically static, but has yet to change since starting the service. Just in case it ever does I am using the following to update NextDNS with my current ISP IP address.
Create a new simple .sh script to simply run the url provided by NextDNS to update them with my current ISP IP.
Shell Script (nextdns_ip_update.sh)
XXXXXX = Endpoint ID from NextDNS Dashboard
YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY = Random String from NextDNS Dashboard
Launch Agent (update_nextdns_ip.plist)
A simple .plist that is placed in
/Library/LaunchAgents set to run the .sh every 3 hours. (3 hours might be a bit aggressive?) There is also a .log file in case anything goes wrong.
<string>nextdns ip updater</string>
December 31, 2020
2020 Results! On To 2021!
Looking back at the post from January 2020, you can see the extended explanation of each item that I wanted to accomplish in 2020.
I think we all know how 2020 ended up 🔥🗑🔥, but all that aside, I am quite happy to see where I ended up considering I never referenced this list once after I posted it. 😬🤣
Here Is How 2020 Went
Release a board game.
This project has been a long road but it is now a completed project! Be on the look out to a link to check it out even purchase it in January! 🎉
Edit and publish a short story on my blog.
This was from a NaNoWriMo a number of years back. I have decided to scrap this and call it cancelled. Kind of a bummer, but it feels good to finally just let it go. I would rather work on something else with the energy used to guilt myself about not completing this. 🏳️
Complete the remaining classes needed to complete a degree.
Another item that has been on and off throughout the years. Like item two on this list, it was either time to finish it or let it go forever. After some planning, I determined it could be done within 2020 so I went for it. It turned out to be almost a year to the day to complete the degree! Jan 13 - Dec 14. The degree is completed and I can officially remove the ‘School’ Area from my task manager! 🎓
Change career path.
I left my big fancy job in April of 2020. It has been immensely good for my mental health. I haven’t started a new path yet because I wanted to finish the item above on this list first. 2021 will be a year of discovery for me in this area. 💼
Move from Silicon Valley.
We moved and we are loving it! 📦
Start a new unrelated project.
This was very open ended and I wasn’t sure what form this would take, but it ended up revealing itself after we moved! Woodworking has always been something I was interested in, but physical space made this difficult. Now that we have the space I have started the process of teaching myself various woodworking techniques and really enjoy it! I have completed a few small projects this year already! 🪵
BONUS. Do a podcast.
This wasn’t on the list, but why the hell not! It looks like I am now a “podcaster”. Check it out! Hemispheric Views
I am very happy with how things turned out overall in terms of my list. With 2020 in the rear view mirror, I want to do a new list for 2021, but this is proving to be a bit more difficult.. Generally these lists build off of progress in the current year. As stated above, this year wasn’t much in the way of personal progress. This is going to make 2021 a bit of a “building from the ground up” kind of year. Next year’s list may be more about broad focused areas rather than specific defined goals. More to come in a future post.
Happy New Year everyone! 🥂
November 10, 2020
Hey. HEY. HEY!
Don’t miss the update to this post at the bottom⬇.
I think I am starting to “get” HEY. Maybe? 🤷♂️ 📧
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:
- 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.
- The Hand Turkey (that’s what I see anyway) logo is fun.
- 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 EVERY SINGLE EMAIL 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.
My final review after 14 days of use…
…I gave them $99 out of five stars.
I have been using it for over a month now, and I have a bit more to say now.
- I am not sure how I didn’t think of this before, but it’s obvious that since Basecamp is a web first company, there is never going to be a really good native app for Mac or iOS/iPadOS.
- Given the strong opinions of some of the leadership, I think that overall we are not in alignment for the long term evolution of the product.
- As of 2020-12-20 I requested to close my account and received a pro-rated refund.
October 19, 2020
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!
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.
September 11, 2020
Hemispheric Views Podcast
“Everyone has a podcast now!”
It’s true, and they even let me be on one!? 😱
Join Martin, Andrew, and Me as we make our way through topics such as technology, coffee, books, culture, and more from different hemispheric views.
Plus, cool Australian accents! 😉
Jason Burk | 1999-2021