Saturday, July 14, 2018

Staring at the Ceiling

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night. - William Blake
As I raise the little chaos machines, it really does amaze me the things that are apparently learned skills as opposed to instinctual. Like, here’s a good one, if you want to go to sleep, you should close your eyes. Seems like you would just inherently know that that on. Mini-Chaos and Ms.Chaos are great sleepers. Put them to bed, and they will go sleep. If they aren’t tired, no problem, they will play or sing until they are tired and go to sleep. Micro-Chaos? Not so much.
I’ve come to realize, it seems likely that I could be one of the 3% of the population that manage with the 6-hours of sleep a night mark instead of the 8.5 hours that people average. Likely too that I inherited that trait from my dad. Likely too the Micro-Chaos inherited the same thing (sigh). It kind of makes me understand why, when I was trying to sleep for 8-9 hours a night, I always felt like a insomniac unable to fall asleep for a couple of hours. Moving in my current world of chronic sleep deprivation, sleeping 7 hours in a night feels glorious.
Now Micro-Chaos, even when he is extremely tired (fussy, yawning, etc) will not close his eyes. When I tell him he needs to close his eyes to fall asleep, he blinks a couple times and states, “it’s not working!” When I leave his room and look on the monitor I see those little raccoon eyes staring up at the ceiling. Go to sleep kiddo. it’s great.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Beta Season

“It’s not possible.” “No, it’s necessary.” - Cooper (Interstellar)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I have been an aggressive beta tester for a long time - my first bigboy beta was in the late 90s when I was using Microsoft Outlook Express aggressively for email and newsgroups and an active participant in Microsoft’s forums on it. MS invited me into their beta program which lead me into betas for Office, Win98, WinNT, and other MS things. At the time those were small private betas and the MS developer teams loved to hate my computer which I had quad-booting between Win98, WinNT, Linux, and OS/2 with a shared HPFS data drive. It was awesome.

These days I’m on the Windows 10 public beta track, but I’m all Apple for the most part so after WWDC each year it’s time to jump onto the beta tracks! I usually put either my iPhone or iPad into the developer beta as soon as it comes out. BAM! Those are non-essential devices, right? Yeah. Totally. If I can’t get any phone calls for a few months, all the better for me. And uh, I was unable to pay the babysitters through Venmo, cause that was crashing, but then started working again on public beta 2.

When the macOS public beta comes out, it’s time to upgrade my work computer and then deal with whatever fallout happens. I’m definitely not going to upgrade my personal computer - that thing is essential! My personal also serves as my temporary backup if my work computer is truly hosed. With basically my entire job being cloud-based, I can use nearly any computer to get work done.
Both this year and last year video conferencing tools had challenges. With High Sierra last year my computer would crash if I launched video conferencing with an external monitor plugged in. Which is rough because I screen share with clients about 50% of my job - so I had to get a good setup with my iPad so I could screen share the computer while, at the same time, Slacking to coworkers.
The problem with the Mojave beta this year is that the audio/video degrade extremely quickly to unusable and the fan starts ramping up. My best guess is that the video conference programs are not using hardware accelerations and the CPU is trying to grind the video and failing. That did not get resolved on public beta 2 - I look forward to when it is. Struggling through the betas keeps me young.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Getting the Pictures Up Here

Move the thing, or the me. They are equivalent - Mathematician (SMBC)
I’ve been mostly exclusively writing on my iPad to get stuff up here these days, which isn’t as easy as it should be.  I am truly contemplating that this might be the end of me needing a “personal laptop” around the house and that I can do everything exclusively by either working on my iPad or using Screens/Prompt to connect to the home server when a I need to do more complex stuff in my person life.
Posting pictures up here though, so much harder than it should be.  All of the main iOS apps I’ve used over the years have gone away for this business - Google no longer has a Blogger app. I used to use and love Blogsy, but retired after some API changes made it not worth upkeep by the developer. Blogo stopped working for silly reasons, it does it’s Google OAuth in a UIWebView and Google now requires OAuth to occur in OSes main browser (or SFVC).
Without a native app, I should just be able to upload directly to Google, right? Wrong. Their web interface allows me to pull in pictures from Google Photos, but not to upload. Oh, should be easy then, right?  Just go into Google Photos an add an image? Wrong.  Google Photos does not allow you to upload a single image, you to “sync/backup.” Anyway, I’ve got the workflow down since I take all these photos on my phone, I just go into iOS Photo’s Photo Stream on the iPad, snatch the ones I want, swap to Google Photos App on the iPad, and it uploads them - without uploading everything. Sounds great - and that’s how I can upload my chalk art pony photos:


Friday, June 8, 2018

You're Not a Mac App Yet

Being bad at everything you try is kind of the definition of being a kid. - David Kestenbaum
Far an away, one of my favorite Podcasts is the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP).  When it pops up on my Overcast feed (of course), I make sure it jumps above all the other shows I might be listening to. Three hosts, with three different personalities. I often think about which of those hosts is the most like me. The cool indie developer? The hypercritical logical observer? The friends-with-everyone consultant? Yeah, probably that last one. Which is okay, they are all cool.
ATP did a live show at WWDC this year, so I made the pilgrimage down. As we were standing in front, Casey went running by and I asked for a selfie and... well.  I held up my phone and hit the power button (instead of volume to take the picture). I swiped and opened and hit the volume button! But it was on video mode. You know what, here, just accept a picture of me attempting to take a selfie with Casey.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Missing Pods

The story is that which occurs, after all. - Corinna Nicolaou
I’m among the AirPod fan boys for sure. I order them on day 1, got them nearly on day 1 and they are either charging or in my pocket, just those two places. The pods themselves? Always in my ear or in the case. No other places. I’m constantly out with kids who go off to play and I can just pop them in and listen to a podcast, book, etc. they are fabulous.
I’ve misplaced them a couple times and that usually means the whole case with the pods falls out of my pocket. I would think that the “Find My AirPods” feature would be amazing at resolving this but seems to me like this feature is only useful to locate a single lost bud. Every time the case is missing? Nope, can never locate it and the app never seems able to tell me the location.
So it caused my great anxiety when my AirPods went missing one day, and I could not find them. "I had them last night for sure, so they definitely came home with me." I kept looking, kept wondering, and a day past and another day past and another day past.  I checked all my laundry.  I was worried they went through the wash, but no, not in any of my clothes.
Finally sometime around day five or six, Mini-Chaos is sitting on the drive way flipping the case of my AirPods open and closed. "WAIT!?!  Where did you find those?" "Ohh, they were on the desk in the office, so I put them in my stuffy bin so I could check them out."
So, new plan!  I got a Tile, got a case, and attached them. Now I will win at Hide and Seek forever.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Want to be a dreamer? Be one.

When looking for new stories, don’t forget the one you are in the middle of. It may be the most important one you could find. - Jon Swanson
At bedtime I switched from reading books to telling stories and that way, I never run out of Transformer stories or any other type of story. They started easy enough to do, but after a few weeks Mini-Chaos started help tell me how the story went - adding plots twists new characters, etc. Now, I try so hard to get the stories to be reasonable timelines as he just keeps adding into them.
“IceStream is super powerful.” “Ok, Bumblebees defeats him.” “No, he is too powerful if anyone touches him, they get frozen by his ice.” “Okay, and then Optimus Prime comes, and he has his Prime Sword and he is able to defeat him.” “No, because IceStream has an ice sword and he can stop Optimus’ sword!” “Uhhh, and then Cody comes out with a flamethrower and the fire melts IceStream.” “Yeah, he melts!” (*whew* wipe brow) “But underneath the ice is a SuperFire and he is all fire and he says, ‘buhahahaha! you can never defeat me!’”
And so on, for far longer than you would expect. Every night is like a re-enactment of Dream vs. Choronzon.... I am hope!


Mrs.Chaos comforts me that these stories, told each night, are inspiring the imagination. I see it too, today in sidewalk art:


“This is Margagon. He was a good guy, but his heart has gone bad and now he is a bad guy. He built an evil robot and he uses it for doing bad stuff. It has noodles on it that he uses to default the good guys (*pew* *pew* *pew*) - he climbs in and drives the evil robot around. Buahahaha.”

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Quantified Self 2017 Guide

It's not polite to remind your partner that you are a gross decaying piece of meat. - John Hodgman
So let's talk about the quantified self and tracking all of your health data forever for reasons! I'm quite excited about this - because I love the future where I have all this data for a long time back in my life. The quantified self is going combine along with genetic sequencing to do amazing things for all of our health.
I'm in the Apple HealthKit ecosystem, so if you're in the Android world, there is probably a different place for you.  The starting point for this is an iPhone and an Apple Watch which is going to serve as the secure enclave and get your the basic move data - let's move on from there!

Smart Scale - you definitely need to be keeping logs of your weight and BMI over time, right? The Withings Scale (now Nokia) is the classic - it's been tweeting peoples weight for a long time and when you launch the Nokia Health Mate app, it syncs your weight and BMI data into HealthKit.

Sleep Tracking - You'll definitely just want to get the AutoSleep.  In its simplest mode, if the last thing you do at night is look at your phone and the first thing you do in the morning is look at your phone, it's going to track your sleep duration. If you're up for wearing your Apple Watch while you sleep, then it will also track your sleep quality during that time.

Water Tracking - I feel like this should be easier than it is.  My favorite on this is the Hidrate Spark smart water bottle it's reasonable priced, works, and the battery lasts months. The main complaint is that you have to open the app to sync.  The other options I've tried is the Vessyl Prime and it never seemed to track accurately and the batter would only last 6-8 hours on a charge which made it hardly useful. I still hold out hope for the original Vessyl which can track, ya know, every thing.

Pulse Oximeter - I know it's silly, but I had this chronic cough and my SpO2 was always tracking super low at the doctor, so I thought, "I wonder if I could track this into HealthKit" and I could! The iHealth Pulse Oximeter works like a charm, syncs over Bluetooth LE and sticks data into HealthKit.  It's easy to just run it at night as I'm on the scale.

Smart Temperature - the Nokia Thermo is a neato smart thermometer that scans across the forehead to track temperature and store it HealthKit.

Smart Toothbrush - On the ridiculous, but amazing, side is the Oral B Pro smart toothbrush which tracks all of my brushing to make sure I'm brushing the right amount every night.  In theory, if your dentist is bought in, they can set focus areas and do other things inside your app.  I don't have that, so basically, I'm just tracking that I am, in fact, brushing my teeth every night.  I also asks you if you floss, mouthwash and tracks that, which could be a little more enlightening.

I have tried some other apps to manually track eating or caffeine intake, but manual never lasts too long before I give up and forgot to be tracking, ya know? It's gotta be automatic.