- NetNewsWire: As mentioned above, it’s taken a back seat to Reeder.
- Arc: I’ve moved back to the default choice of Safari.
- MarsEdit: I continue to use it, but I could live without it if it went away. Still a great app.
- Launchbar: This year I trialled RayCast, but I’m back on Launchbar. As much as I like it, given there are other alternatives, it didn’t make the cut this year.
- Agenda: As discussed, Obsidian has trumped Agenda for 2023.
- Day One
- Mail Client: Apple Mail & Fastmail Web App (plus MailMate)
- Mail Server: Fastmail & Apple Mail
- Notes: Obsidian (plus Agenda & Apple Notes)
- To-Do: OmniFocus
- iPhone Photo Shooting: Camera.app
- Photo Management: Photos.app
- Calendar: BusyCal (plus Calendar.app)
- Cloud file storage: iCloud (plus OneDrive)
- RSS: Reeder with FreshRSS
- Contacts: Contacts.app
- Browser: Safari (plus Arc)
- Chat: Signal
- Bookmarks: GoodLinks
- Read It Later: Readwise Reader (will be moving back to Omnivore)
- Word Processing: Pages
- Spreadsheets: Numbers (plus Excel)
- Presentations: Keynote
- Shopping Lists: AnyList
- Meal Planning: AnyList
- Budgeting & Personal Finance: YNAB
- News: Apple News (plus ABC RSS feed)
- Music: Apple Music
- Podcasts: Overcast
- Password Management: 1Password
- PC Speed. The 166 MHz Pentium I was probably using, that would also have had limited RAM, didn’t love running multiple applications at one time. Having to run an instance of one program inside another one; well that made everything that much worse.
- Hard Drives. Have you forgotten how slow spinning hard drives are? Try to think how slow a 5400RPM drive, running in an old PC with limited throughput, might handle swap files, which once OLE was enabled, was an automatic outcome.
- File Servers & Sharing. This was an era of local files and a bit of network sharing via Novell Netware, or maybe the first instance of Microsoft’s network stack. I recall for a long time we had to use a terrible Document Management System called Hummingbird, which added version control and check-in/check-out features. Now imagine how well a system like that worked when one file was calling the contents of another file embedded within it. More often than not, if it was somebody else opening the file, they wouldn’t have access to the embedded data.
- Printing. We used to print a lot. It was surprisingly difficult to get the window into the data displayed on screen in such a way that it would also print that way. And heaven help you if somebody clicked inside the OLE to activate it. There went your careful print-aligned view.
- 🇮🇹 Italy
- 🇻🇦 Vatican City
- 🇫🇷 France
- 🇨🇭 Switzerland
- 🇮🇩 Indonesia
- 🇭🇰 Hong Kong
- 🇨🇳 China
- 🇻🇳 Vietnam
- 🇸🇬 Singapore
- 🇯🇵 Japan
- 🇭🇷 Croatia
- 🇺🇸 United States of America
- New York
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
- 🇦🇺 Australia
- Tasmania (born)
- Perth (reside)
- Establishment of a business, which together we ran for 5 years, then sold.
- Multiple overseas trips. Vietnam, Hong Kong, Italy, USA, Croatia, Singapore, Bali. Each of these trips with their own massive collection of memories and experiences.
- Hannah’s chronic medical challenges, which resulted in near death, as then virtually unknown hypereosinsophilia ravaged her body.
- Two children, when for the longest time we figured that number would be zero because of the aforementioned medical issues.
- Home ownership.
- Political campaigns, culminating in her becoming the Member for Victoria Park.
I can draw a fairly straight line from my personality as a young fella to who I am today.
I mean, look at this nerd. He’s got a Commodore computer running Workbench 2.04. Dot matrix printer. Stephen Lawhead books on the shelf. A thermometer that read the outside temperature. Basketball trophies. This would be a great submission for one of Hemispheric Views Desk Reviews.
But it doesn’t end there. As listeners of my podcast will know, I maintain a depreciation spreadsheet tracking my major asset purchases. Turns out, this isn’t a new concept for me. Here is the prototype, from 2001:
People may also know me as a prodigious booster of YNAB as a means to manage your personal finances. Before YNAB, there was Quicken. Before Quicken, there was my ledger book.
And before my ledger book, there were my transaction registers!
To give a sense of the timeline, the registers, as the first documents, are dated from 1994. That would put me at 16/17 years old. My memory has me doing these a little younger, but this is the first documented evidence.
I also found a neat record of my automative service history from 2000. This car needed a lot of work!
I’m not sure I’ve changed much in the 30 years since.
Here I am, jumping on the train.
I have a subscriptions grouping in YNAB so I’m referencing that to assist here. In writing this, I’m discovering that there are a few subscriptions without a YNAB category. I will have to fix that!
Even with YNAB, some of the cost estimates are fuzzy because of currency exchange fluctuations.
What might be most noticeable is the paucity of streaming services. I’ve gotten rid of them all recently, as my budget has changed, and their value quotient declined. I now only have Apple TV+ and Fetch (for ESPN) during the Australian NBL basketball season.
|Monthly Cost AUD
|I use enough Apple Services that the full deal is worth it. I share this cost, so only pay 50%.
|I rarely watch YouTube, but my kids love it, and I don’t want constant ads being driven into their brain.
|I subscribed on a sweet deal to play the Crosswords. Now I’m only playing Wordle and Connections, so this will go when the cheap option expires.
|Xbox Game Pass
|This one comes as goes based on the interest of my kids and I. I tend to subscribe for a month, then turn off automatic renewal. When we want it, I turn it back on again.
|The price fluctuates because of the currency conversion. Micro.blog is my digital home. It hosts my blog, it hosted my first podcast, and I love it.
|My second home on Internet, which hosts my profile landing page, but is also my Mastodon instance. Adam is also a friend.
|Another indie service hosted by a friend, Vincent. It helps me profile things I like on canion.blog.
|Also by Vincent, this service is a nice simple way to get a sense of which pages on my website are interesting to people.
|You can’t be on the internet and not have a few domains. Key ones for me include canion.blog, canion.me and andrewcanion.com
|I have been journalling in Day One for about a decade, and I enjoy having a private, safe place to put my thoughts. I’ve even used their book printing service. It’s excellent.
|AnyList helps me with my shopping, but also with my recipe management. I use it all the time.
|I went away from TE for a while, but a friend works there, and I still enjoy the affordances it provides. They really took a lot of heat moving to subscription before most other providers did the same.
|I would be willing to move away from this, but I’m part of a family group and I don’t love the idea of having to deal with transferring other people.
|I have been this close to leaving Fastmail in favour of iCloud, but I don’t think I have the motivation. My subscription still has about 4 months left, so we will see how I feel then.
|It’s pricing is stupid, a bunch of their features don’t work in the Australian banking sector, and I’ve outgrown all their training. Yet it’s still the only show in town for keeping me on the financial straight and narrow, so it’s not going anywhere.
|I went through the cancellation flow last year, which netted me a big annual discount and kept me onboard. It’s basically a photo backup and not much else.
|I got a cheap subscription to the Family plan through my previous employer. I honestly don’t know if I even need it now, but am worried that I will cancel, discover I do need it, and then not have access to the discounted rate anymore.
|I’ve gone back and forth on Setapp, but have always kept it around. I have been onboard since launch and am grandfathered into a slightly cheaper plan.
|An Australian TV service that gives me access to enough ESPN to watch Australian NBL basketball.
So there we have it, my subscriptions as they stand in late 2023.
Once again, I’m here to blog about my favourite Mac Apps for the year.
The Standard Criteria
For my purposes, to be considered an App of the Year, the software needs to be something I used extensively, value and enjoy. I also must feel I would miss them if they suddenly went away. Of course, it also needs to be a Mac App.
It’s almost to the point where this app needs to be put into the Hall of Fame, and removed from future consideration. OmniFocus continues to provide structure to my life both at a professional and personal level.
Most of this year has been spent using the beta of OmniFocus 4 in tandem with OmniFocus 3. The new version has come a long way and is closing in on release.
While there are elements that continue to frustrate me (please, can we have natural language entry?) there is still no other task manager that can filter, slice and dice tasks like OmniFocus. And of course, defer dates. No task manager can be serious if it doesn’t have the ability to set a start date for a task into the future.
Notes apps are my playground. I bounce between them continuously. Heck, I’m writing this post in iA Writer! This year, however, has seen me give Obsidian another try - after I stuck with Logseq for some time before it.
There are parts of it that I still don’t like, but it’s now rock solid, and the price cannot be beat. I am even putting aside the fact that it is running in Electron! 😱
I wanted to continue to use Agenda, but it’s simply too fiddly. Plain text entry is so straightforward, it is hard to beat.
2023 was the downfall of Twitter. In its place stormed Mastodon and I have enjoyed using Mona. While most of the cool kids seemed to gravitate to Ivory, for me Mona ticks all the boxes I need from a Mastodon client.
Last year, NetNewsWire took over from Reeder as my RSS app of choice. This year, I’ve flipped back to Reeder across macOS and i(Pad)OS. It’s smooth and gorgeous, and rock solid.
What’s even better is that this year has seen somewhat of a renaissance in blogging, and with the help of the App Defaults craze, launched by our own Hemispheric Views 097, I’ve found a bunch of new voices to add to my feed reader.
Last year I used Arc. For whatever reason, this year I’ve retreated to the comfort, energy efficiency, and cross-platform syncing offered by Safari. It also makes me feel good that I’m not supporting the Chromium hegemony.
Apps That Fell Off My List From Last Year
A career is an interesting thing.
I’ve never been a “career at all costs” kind of person. Probably why I’ve never made millions of dollars or been a CEO.
At uni, I worked at a pizza shop and a liquor shop. The mop was my friend. Things always needed to be cleaned.
I spent the first part of my “proper” career working to get ahead, to succeed in using my brain and to find new challenges to overcome.
The middle part of my career was spent leveraging my specialist skills to deliver consulting services and support others. There was value in status with this role; being seen to be successful and knowledgable.
Now, in the current (but hopefully not last) part of my career, I’ve got no interest in any of that. I don’t really care what others think of me, or what status is assigned to my job. I’m enjoying the effort of being a good manager. As a manager I have an ethos of never asking somebody to do something that I wouldn’t do myself (if I have the requisite skill and capability).
Mopping. I know this. 30 years later, the mop is still as friendly as ever. I feel no embarrassment about being a manager that mops.
Talking with a friend today. The topic of interest rates came up, as they do in any recent conversation within the Australian context.
My friend asked a poignant and sensible question, “why doesn’t the Government adjust the rate of the Goods & Services Tax (GST)?” It is a broad-based consumption tax. If consumption is getting out of hand and creating an inflationary spike, then why not add a disincentive to consumers by raising the price of consumption?
With interest rates variations it’s the mortgage belt who carry all the pain. They represent about 25% of households. Yet rising interest rates enrich those with existing savings, enabling greater consumption. Wouldn’t it be better to share the load equitably across any and all of those who spend?
The downside to this strategy is that the GST is regressive. It hits everybody with the same cost. For those with lesser incomes, the proportion of income the tax takes is greater. It’s not an equitable solution, because now low income earners are bearing a greater proportion of the pain.
From a political point of view, it’s easier to blame the independent Reserve Bank for pain and suffering. Why place the crosshairs on your own government by changing fiscal policy? “Monetary policy delivered by the independent Reserve Bank, that’s who to blame!”, is the relieving Government cry!
Whether it’s the GST, or a more equitable adjustment to the broader taxation platform, the Australian Government needs to do something. Since its election, the Albanese Labor Government seems content to sit on the sidelines, apart from some modest targeted tinkering. It withdrew funding for some capital works projects, that at least in WA have now been funded by the State Government, so that attempt at withdrawing money and inflationary pressure from the system didn’t work. Some modest efforts to encourage growth in housing supply have been delivered.
Small target strategy, however, seems to remain the prevailing preference in Canberra.
I would like to see the Government take some real, tangible action. Let’s look at negative gearing. Let’s look at tax breaks that make no sense. Let’s recalibrate towards equality and away from the neo-liberalist agenda.
I elect a government to do things: not to watch the RBA use its only blunt instrument.
Get to work, Labor.
In December of 2017, I put together a list of my Mac Apps of the Year.
For this issue of Hemispheric News, I thought it would be interesting to revisit this article to see what, if anything, has changed. Given our collective consternation about Electron, the average capabilities of Swift-based apps, and the sad state in general that Mac development seems to be in against the influx of web apps, has the Mac App of the Year category shown improvement?
In 2017 I defined the apps on the list as those I used extensively, value and enjoy. I also noted them as those I would most miss if they suddenly went away.
Given that criteria, my nominations for Mac Apps of 2022 are:
NetNewsWire has taken the job of feed reading away from Reeder. NNW doesn’t do a lot, but it does what is needed. The app works fast, never crashes, and plays nicely on macOS.
Still in beta, this browser is efficient in our modern web world. I don’t use a number of its more esoteric features such as Boosts (site based code injection) or Easels (weird pinterest-like pages), but its ability to manage multiple independent spaces/containers that let me stay logged in to multiple Microsoft accounts - while keeping me spatially aware of which is which, is better than any other implementation I’ve found.
The only downside I feel is that it isn’t as battery-efficient as Safari, and I feel a bit guilty about that. It’s built on Chrome though, so at least every single website out there renders correctly.
I continue to rely on OmniFocus to steer my work and my life. Having said that, after being on the v4 beta train on macOS for some time, I don’t love it. OmniFocus have taken a gamble and built the new app in Swift, and it seems they are really an excellent edge-case for the language. They are asking a lot of it.
I stick with OmniFocus at this point because I know it inside-out, I have workflows built around it, and it keeps me on track. I don’t love it nearly as much as I used to. This is unfortunate.
A rekindling of my enjoyment for blogging has coincided with the enjoyment of using MarsEdit and the new version 5 has made it even better. There are still some weird things about the way it uses Markdown (I wish it had more affordances and keyboard shortcuts), and it intermingles HTML with Markdown too much in my view, but it is solid. Lots of other apps can push to my micro.blog host, but only MarsEdit offers a seamless editing experience.
I also love its browser extension, but I wish it was available for Arc.
MarsEdit remains an honest-to-goodness Mac app.
Without Launchbar I’m inefficient, and I don’t even remember to use half of its available features. I’ve tried to replace it with Alfred, and Raycast, but I always come back to Launchbar. It works how my mind thinks - or at least it has trained my mind to think like Launchbar. I wish development was faster and that third-party support was greater. But it works and I can’t be rid of it.
Thanks to the additional shortcuts from friend of Hemispheric Views, Scotty Jackson, Agenda has become an important cog in my macOS arsenal. I use it to take day notes and meeting notes.
I don’t love its in-built text editor, so sometimes notes might start elsewhere (Drafts, iA Writer, Tot…) but then I can dump them into Agenda. It’s helpful to be able to find notes either by project/client or by meeting/date.
Agenda has seen a lot of development over the past year and it continues to scratch an itch.
Apps that are no longer on my list from 2017:
I use this app, but I do feel that if push came to shove, iCloud Keychain is probably good enough that I could move into that. 1Password has a few niceties that keep me using it, plus inertia. Also my mother-in-law is part of my Family account and
I dare not disrupt that workflow.
It is interesting to note that 1Password 8 uses an Electron front-end and a Rust backend. Not very macOS-like at all.
I have fun using this app, but I could just as easily move its content into any number of other apps and go on just fine.
Logseq is another Electron-powered application and its current sync system makes me nervous.
I haven’t used Bear for years. Also for years, they were promising a new text engine. Agenda has taken over the role Bear once played.
I sometimes use Ulysses for work-related writing, but that’s about it. Any Markdown writing is done somewhere else, such as Drafts or iA Writer.
It’s like infrastructure in my system. I keep things in there. But I don’t enjoy using it. It has the capability to do almost everything that I use a whole bunch of other apps for. But it can be confusing, even after I’ve been using it for more than a decade.
I continue using the old version 4, despite version 5 being out for a few years. I like v4 more, plus its not a subscription. I don’t need much, and SME4 does enough.
Update: As of a couple of weeks ago, StockMarketEye has closed down.
NetNewsWire took the crown.
Wow, I haven’t used this for ages.
I’ve been on a Fantastical subscription for a couple of years, but don’t worry BusyCal because I’m coming back. The Fantastical price increases were too much, and I get BusyCal through Setapp, so come March I will be back as a full-time user.
Apps that came close in 2022:
On Episode 097 of my podcast Hemispheric Views we held a Duel of the Defaults! competition. Jason and Martin fought head-to-head to see who used the most default apps on macOS. As I was the compere and judge of the competition, it wasn’t for me to speak of my choices during the show.
I encourage you to join in the fun, both by blogging your defaults and listening to our show.
2023-11-05 Update with Score
On Mastodon, Jarrod Blundy asked about my score.
I’ve calculated it to be 38!
Martin has set me a challenge as to what to write about this month. He told me I have to write something about old office technology; maybe an office app feature that I used to use, or something similar.
Because I’m so old, I have many topics to potentially write about; but also because I’m old I have forgotten so many of them.
Today, however, I wish to write about Object Linking and Embedding.
In our current era we take embedding items as a given, notably in web pages, where elements are easily embedded, be they Flickr images, Twitter tweets, or podcast episodes. Adding multiple content forms in a single page is not innovative in 2022.
There was a time, however, where embedding items from one place into another was indeed innovative. It was Microsoft leading the innovation as they pushed the concept of OLE - Object Linking and Embedding. How amazing would it be to embed a live spreadsheet chart into your Word document. Make a change in the spreadsheet, and suddenly the chart data in your report is updated! Incredible! Excel not cool enough for you? No problem, create a view in Access and include that in your Word file. This was a time when the combined power of the MS Office Suite with its stylised puzzle art design on the box, actually made sense. You weren’t using a single application one at a time; you were working within a connected ecosystem.
At least… that was the dream.
Now it’s time to hit you with a dose of the reality from those times I tried to use OLE in a meaningful way within a work context. There were a number of drawbacks that I can recall — and I’m sure there were others that I do not. Let’s work through the shortlist of those I do:
To be fair to Microsoft, they weren’t the only company going down this path. Apple tried something similar with the OpenDoc standard. It too, didn’t deliver.
In hindsight, all these years on, it is evident that this technology didn’t work. The ideas, however, of embedded content and live data, made sense. With web applications backed by database systems we’ve now arrived at a similar destination, albeit via a different route. However, I’m still not sure we have hit upon a complete standard, that OLE tried to deliver.
Maybe one day. For now, though, I do not miss OLE.
A couple of weeks ago I inserted a thread into the Mac Power Users Forum. Part honest question, part hopeful Trojan Horse that might lead people to discover Hemispheric Views.
The topic of the thread was around how people discover new, independent podcasts. This is a problem that I don’t believe has been solved. In fact, I’m not sure the problem has even been considered in any meaningful way. The economics of podcast exploration don’t stack up. Closed ecosystems want to put their money behind their own properties. Independent podcast apps are so often not that independent, because they are “friends” with existing networks.
Overcast is the great example here. Developer Marco Arment has his own successful podcast, and they are tight with Relay.fm. It is a clique and despite their power in the market, they don’t seem to be using it to lift others up.
So how do people discover podcasts? While machine learning might be helpful (other people who subscribe to your shows also subscribe to ‘x’), this could prove to be an amplifier of already successful shows, as well as being a potential negative privacy vector.
I want to find new shows, new voices, but that have high production values. Basically, I want to find other versions of Hemispheric Views. At the same time, I want people to discover Hemispheric Views for themselves. The challenge is the old rule of Dunbar - 90% of everything is crap. How do you get people to wade through the crap to find the good stuff. It’s not exactly an enticing task. How do you convince people that the show you want to promote is not part of the 90%? How do you know it’s not part of the 90%?
It’s a dilemma and I don’t know how to solve it, and I don’t see much appetite from others to do so.
Do our readers know of any great independent podcasts that deserve more listeners?
And can our readers share the good news of Hemispheric Views? I want more people to enjoy our show.
Beck Tench is a person whom I follow online. Beck has produced a range of content pertinent to her areas of interest as an academic. One of the topics Beck has written about includes the power of rest and what makes a restorative environment. I’ve always found this interesting. I’m not an academic but I do have a brain that grabs onto new and interesting thoughts, philosophies and approaches.
Rest by definition is restorative. If the body and soul are not being restored in a period of rest - then what is the point? But in this modern world, what is rest?
I think mental rest is almost more important than physical rest for many of us. That is not to diminish physical rest - especially hours of sleep - but many of us as modern knowledge workers are not destroying our bides daily in the way the majority of the workforce once did.
We are, however, pressing our minds so much more, whether that be through higher-level thinking or information absorption. How many RSS feeds, podcasts, news articles, and social networks do you imbibe daily?
The point is, we need to give our brains a break. We need a chance to restore.
Recently I enjoyed a week away in Exmouth - a remote town of Western Australia. Exmouth has bad internet. You may have surmised this when I called into Episode 064: Nested Jackets. On this holiday I was able to step away from the daily hosepipe of information. I allowed my mind a rest from the the thoughts of others and gave it a chance to focus on the here and now, and my own thoughts.
In addition, I gave my body more activity and motion than it usually gets - but an amount that is more healthy than what I typically achieve. This may seem opposed to my thoughts about rest. But what it meant was that I went to bed hours earlier than usual and got more sleep each night.
This additional rest was restorative.
Another element of Beck Tench’s thesis (as best I can tell) is that water is restorative. I experienced this to be true on my holiday. Between pool swims, ocean splashing and reef snorkelling seeing coral fish and turtles, being in and around water was restorative.
What am I trying to say through this essay? Apart from corroborating what I’ve noticed Tench write about, it is an exhortation to myself to not lose touch of the value of stepping away; and to you, to encourage you to take a rest yourself.
Today I completed my first week at my new job. It’s been a whirlwind, but every day has been better than the previous one.
It’s been so many years since I started a new job that I wasn’t match fit in the process. I’d forgotten how to ‘start over’, so that in itself has been an experience.
Learning what is expected of me, and figuring out how to implement that without getting lost in the minutiae becomes the next challenge. I need to keep my head elevated and focus on the strategic objectives, without getting too deep into the weeds of daily tasks. An interesting juggling act to think about over the coming weeks.
Today, however, as part of NAIDOC Week, a bunch of the team got together to work on an indigenous-style artwork. We were provided with the starting template and then as a team we “completed the dots”. It was a great way to get to know everybody and bond while doing an activity that was quite meditative.
The team is a wonderful group. I haven’t done a team activity for such a long time, and this was a perfect way to end a first week at a new job.
I am also proud of the painting. I think it looks fantastic!
When a site tells you they don’t want you using it, except by their captured clients, you should stop using it. All they want is to control you and put ads in your eyeballs, until you explode.
Reddit came out of Digg being fed into a woodchipper just because Kevin Rose wanted a little bit of money…
Don’t use closed networks owned by someone else.
The enshittification of Reddit is now complete.
Christian Selig, developer of the best Reddit client, Apollo, is shutting it down after he failed to comply with Reddit’s mafia-style multi-million dollar shakedown effort. Instead of paying the protection money, he is closing Apollo down.
Remember all those cool tips about adding
This is a cycle that any venture capital-backed firm seems unable to fight against. The interest of community and users is sacrificed at the altar of money; those high priests seemingly unable to see that it is the community being sacrificed that generates the potential to make money in the first place.
I’ve enjoyed Reddit. Maybe we need to reboot Usenet?
I’m happy to see pressure mounting on the RBA. Not so much even for the decision to lift rates, but on it’s myopic approach to analysis. The economy has changed; it has become more integrated, and duopolies and oligopolies rule the Australian markets. A fundamental lack of competition is allowing the growth of profits, and the RBA currently seems unwilling to accept this as a line of thinking.
Bernard Keane, writing for Crikey, knocks it out of the park on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s approach to inflation.
It’s hard to choose a few highlights from Keane’s article; the entire piece is worthy of reading.
The RBA wants to wish the entire profit-inflation debate away, seemingly enraged at the suggestion that gouging by firms with high levels of market power is a greater spur to inflation than the traditional villain: greedy workers demanding pay rises driving a wage-price spiral.
the OECD weighed into the debate, devoting a section of its latest global economic forecasts to the issue. Its data specifically on Australia shows unit profits massively outweighing unit labour costs as a source of inflation.
this bout of profit-driven inflation comes at the end of a near-decade of wage suppression, and a historic shift — especially since 2017 — from wages to profit share of income nationally. Merely preserving, let alone strengthening, profit margins in a period of high inflation perpetuates that shift from workers to business.
Neoliberals have a blind spot when it comes to market concentration: the core idea that unfettered markets work more efficiently than highly regulated markets means a relative antipathy to effective competition laws designed to protect the very mechanism by which markets work efficiently.
Most people have a set of skills that aren’t monetised. These skills are often linked with hobbies or interests. Why don’t people make money from them?
Perhaps there is no discernible market for the particular skill. Maybe the joy is removed when a transactional element is added. For whatever the reason, humans are adept at many things, and we often only get paid for a small aspect of the overall talent inherent within us.
A large part of the economy is built around free labour in the form of volunteering (probably much to the disgust of neoliberals - unless they are receiving the fruits of the labour). Many volunteer in some capacity; whether it’s coaching their kid’s sports team, or sitting on the board of a not-for-profit organisation, or singing in their church choir. I’ve done volunteer work such as this, except singing in the choir. Nobody wants that.
What latent skills do I have that could be put to use for some small financial gain? And what are the associated downsides or limiting factors?
|Podcast editing & production
|Personal finance training
|Liability risk; licensed industry
|Apple product know-how
|Apple Store and search engines
|I’m not a coach
|Personal productivity & efficiency
It’s a shame I’m not a handyperson. Physical labour continues to be one area that is clearly linked to a necessity—and a willingness—to pay.
However, if you see a skill of mine listed that you think could help you, let me know. I may be willing and able to help.
The “party” that is neoliberalism has been giving our society gift after gift.
We’ve had corruption and self-interest at the highest levels, as PwC executives had their snouts in the trough on both sides of the consulting equation, giving legislative design advice to government then flipping that information and advising their corporate customers on ways around said legislation.
We’ve had executive wages grow exponentially over recent years, irrespective of their performance, or that of the company they lead. (Hi, Alan Joyce of Qantas!) We see executives engaging more consultants and labour-hire at the expense of full-time wage earners.
We’ve had companies making extraordinary profits, helped by government supports such as JobKeeper (Harvey Norman excelled at this one.)
Yet workers have not benefited from the neoliberalism party. They’ve just had to buy the drinks then clean up the mess the next morning.
Workers have seen their share of the economic pie decrease over time. From ABC News in March 2019:
In the two years preceding 2019, Australian workers received the lowest share of total economic output since the 1950s - less than 47% of GDP. This is a decline of 11% since the 1970s. Corporate profits have increased 10% in that same time.
Wage stagnation—which is one of the design outcomes of the neoliberalist agenda—is another problem. The economy might have a high level of headline employment, but due to low levels of worker organisation (unionisation has been demonised for years) combined with individualised contracts and wages that are set for multiple years in advance, workers can’t leverage the high rates of employment to broker a better deal for themselves. The cards are stacked against them.
Today, we received another gift courtesy of the neoliberalism inherent in our economy. The Reserve Bank of Australia has determined that what our economy needs is yet another interest rate rise. Never mind that this generation of Australians are facing the highest home prices of all time, and that as a share of household income, mortgages are eating more than has historically been the case.
Canceling Netflix and not getting Uber Eats once a week is not going to make a dent in the additional mortgage repayments required of a household. Where is the extra money to be found? Surely we are nearing the point where the RBA is expecting people to find blood from a proverbial stone.
I predict a major economic calamity for Australia, and it’s not going to be pretty. My only hope is that it destroys whatever credibility neoliberalisms might have. At least then, something will have been gained from the misery.
I’ve written about my favourite apps before, namely OmniFocus and DEVONthink. I starting to learn and enjoy anther app — Logseq — but I don’t feel I’m in a position to yet write about it with too much authority.
I use a whole toolkit of apps on a regular basis to get my work done and enjoy my computing time. All these apps (and others) are great to use but I don’t feel compelled to write about them here now.
Upon consideration, I am going to write about another app that I use every day. It’s an app that you can install on macOS, iOS and iPadOS and experience a consistent and enjoyable experience. It’s an app that will cost you nothing - it’s free, as in beer. It can work alone or sync with services and share content to other apps.
A Universal app, that is free, that is a perfect citizen on the OS. Universal, free, perfect… Are you getting it?
That’s right, it’s NetNewsWire. One the most Mac-assed Mac apps you can find, that is also an iOS and iPadOS-assed app as well. NetNewsWire has had more lives than your local cat. I remember using it eons ago when it looked like a more exciting version of Mail.app. Then it had its dark days when it was owned by Black Pixel and left to wither. Then once again under the stewardship of its original author, Brent Simmons, it was brought back, this time into the open-source community.
NetNewsWire is a wonderful app. It doesn’t do everything. If you want everything, get Reeder 5. If you’re content with everything you need, get NNW.
But what is it? C’mon, this is a Hemispheric Views newsletter. You know its an RSS reader. Reading web pages via RSS is a feature that I have used almost every day for probably about 20 years. I used Bloglines. I used Google Reader. I used FeedWrangler. I used Feedly. Now I use Inoreader. Others use Feedbin. With NNW, you can continue to use RSS syncing services, or you can rely on its internal sync engine that leverages iCloud. I will probably do that once my Inoreader subscription expires.
NNW has a few themes you can switch between, it can share to Read It Later services, and it can subscribe to Twitter and Reddit feeds in addition to regular RSS ones. Does it do much else? Not really. Is it absolutely rock-solid in what it does do? Yessiree. I’ve never once had NNW crash. It hardly uses any system resources. It’s blazing fast. It has one job and it does it.
I love NNW and I think you will too. It costs nothing to give it a try. Why not do so?
I was a young teenager in the early 1990s. My brother, 11 years my senior, had children early in his life. He would often come back to the family home and bring his young son and daughter with him.
As the older Uncle Andy, I had responsibility for entertaining the boy. What a pain he was! Entirely obsessed with playing F/A 18 Interceptor on my Amiga 500, but so young that he could rarely get the bird off the carrier without crashing. Over and over he would try - driving me crazy in the process.
“Alex!”, I would bellow, “go away and leave me alone!”
Today, at 4:15am Perth time, little Alex hit the big time with Voyager, the band for whom plays he bass guitar and provides supporting vocals.
After a near-miss in 2022 in the Australian Eurovision qualifiers with their song, Dreamer, this year they made it through to the Eurovision big show in Liverpool, UK.
Their song for this year_Promise_, is even better.
The band absolutely slayed their semi-final. The song was great, the performance was impeccable, the lighting and staging first-class.
When my little nephew Alex let out his gutteral, “riiiigghhttt”, I knew this performance was on the money. My annoying little nephew transformed into a rock superstar, and I’m here for it.
My 2023 has been a challenge. I’ve suffered the end of a marriage. I’m soon to lose my current job.
Yet for this 3 minutes of Eurovision all those personal challenges was washed away, as I jumped around a Perth lounge room at 4:15am with my two sons, all three of us belting out the lyrics, “everything is gonna be alright!”.
For Alex—for Voyager—who now push onto the Eurovision 2023 Grand Final, no matter what happens in that performance, everything is going to be alright. They’ve made it.
For me, dealing with one of the hardest times of my life, it was reassurance that everything is going to be alright for me also.
The annoying little nephew has taught his old uncle a good life lesson.
I bet he still can’t land an F/A-18, though.
It’s happening again. I’m feeling a degree of dissatisfaction with my note-taking app of choice.
I thought Craft was going to be the one. It was as close to a macOS native application as I was going to find (albeit with Catalyst sensibilities) and features the ability to take topic notes, daily notes and collaborate with other people.
Craft has been working well and my use-case was aligned with the vision the developers seemed to have for their own app.
Until… venture capital. The company developing Craft wasn’t willing or able to build a business the old-fashioned way—by making a product and selling it for money. Well, they did do that (I paid!) but obviously the revenue wasn’t enough to pay the bills or deliver the desired return on investment. So venture capital provided at least $8m, and now Craft needs to find a way to not only cover costs, but deliver a return on a much larger amount of invested capital. They’ve chosen to do this by… you guessed it… pivoting to the business market.
Their newly revamped website no longer promotes the idea of attractive note creation for a motivated individual. Now, they are all about creating impactful documents, showing how Craft makes business documents more attractive than Word or Docs. Good luck to them, I say, if they think businesses care that much about how documents work - so much that they’re going add on a Craft subscription on top of their existing Microsoft 365 account. I can’t see companies going for that. Appearance doesn’t matter that much.
For me, now, I’m left using an app that is adjusting its focus towards a market that is not me. I can either roll with it - which I will at least until my current subscription (that just renewed for 12 months) runs out, or until there is another option that is immediately compelling.
I’ve tried Obsidian before (have you heard the good word?) but it’s not for me. Just the other day I took advantage of a discount price to renew my Agenda subscription for another 12 months. I’m also now exploring Logseq, which is intriguing, despite being entirely non-native to macOS. Who knows, maybe I simply fall back to DEVONthink—the old workhorse.
What I do know is that it’s disappointing that businesses don’t seem willing or able to build a product that is targeted at the home or individual user. Everything is about making it big and trying to attract that sweet corporate cash. Which leads to product design decisions that offer no benefit to home users.
Oh Craft, why have you put me in this position?
Today I restructured my computing setup. For about 2 years I’ve been running a MacBook Air M1 as a satellite device, keeping my 2019 Intel iMac as my centralised ‘home base’. The iMac had a nice screen, 40GB RAM and apart from at boot, never felt slow.
To the iMac were connected a bunch of devices, including a Stream Deck, JBL speakers, an EVO-4 audio interface, and a Time Machine drive.
Today, I got sick of the whole setup. The slow load time and the flakiness it was showing with regard to iCloud Drive sync pushed me over the edge.
I’ve promoted my MacBook Air to ‘home base’ status. I’ve retired the JBL speakers, Stream Deck and Time Machine drive.
For the time being, I have access to a Studio Display, which I’m using as a great monitor. If I lose access to this, I can see myself buying another (perhaps even with nanotexture glass). The MacBook Air feels faster with a bigger screen!
The iMac isn’t entirely retired, although I’ve moved it into a retirement home, setting up a new computer desk in my front ‘library’. Now I can choose my computing location - study or library. It might be nice.
In all the changes, I considered promoting my mac mini to ‘home base’ but the fact that I bought it with only 8 GB RAM, and the noise that its attached 4-bay Thunderbay drive array made meant that idea was short-lived. That machine is back in the closet running as the headless media server once again.
Another WWDC has come and gone, and Apple have released the M2 and a new MacBook Air to go with it. Apple’s hardware continues to be refined and it’s hard to argue that they are not knocking all their new machines out of the park.
The thin and colourful iMac, the Studio with ports on the front, MacBook Pros and now the Air. Add on beautiful iOS devices and every piece of Apple hardware looks (and works) brilliantly.
Apple software, on the other hand, is not going well. I don’t know whether to blame the new design guy that took over from Jony Ive, the business managers who are trying to create consistency across platforms in the name of efficiency, or that SwiftUI seems to be entirely incapable of acting as the supporting infrastructure for feature rich applications (or even utilities).
The latest kerfuffle arrives in the form of the proposed “Setting” application in macOS Ventura. It’s ugly, it’s not optimised for the platform it’s operating on, and it feels like a regression from the “Preferences” panel that came before. Given that the Preferences panel was universally seen as “not great”, it is a sad indictment on Apple’s current ability to build good user-facing software that the rewrite is turning out to be worse.
There are other examples, such as the vertical orientation of notification panels in macOS, the notifications system on all platforms, and even larger software efforts such as GarageBand never embracing podcast editing, Podcasts app continuing to be average, etc.
The strange thing is, Apple is insanely great at developing low-level core frameworks. That they transitioned the entire macOS fleet to APFS without anybody realising is amazing. They built Metal - which goes chronically underused by game developers - but still they did it. Rosetta emulation is a masterpiece to aid the transition from Intel to Apple Silicon.
I suppose no company can ever be perfect. Apple is doing great on the engineering side: highly technical work and manufacturing process management. They are not doing great on the softer design side. I think they need to take a new approach to software design, and that probably starts by changing their vision of what good software looks like. To me, it doesn’t mean everything looks like an iOS element. To me, it means embracing complexity where that complexity is beneficial to the user. There is no point making something look simple, if in using that simple design things get harder.
“So it goes”
— Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
I met Hannah Beazley in 1999.
We married on 19 March 2005.
Innumerable highlights (and lowlights), some of which include:
18 years of marriage.
Now, that chapter comes to a close.
Life is long. People grow and change. Wants and needs change and morph.
I will never have another marriage, or even relationship, like the one I’ve had with Hannah. My heart sings with happiness about the time we’ve had together. I look forward to continuing to work with Hannah on our shared lifelong project of parenting our two beautiful boys. The time for romantic love, however, has come to an end. In its place is admiration, respect and appreciation for a friend who has been there through the highs and lows, and will continue to be there for our children as they experience the highs and lows of their own lives.
Stoicism has been a helpful support over the past few months. Concerning myself with the controllables, and letting everything else be, has been a great help. I thank my friends and family for their support. Emotions are hard and having shoulders has been a blessing.
Despite the massive change this change of relationship status entails, I feel sanguine. A life is long. I have been rewarded with a successful relationship that lasted 24 years. This is a thing deserving of marvellous celebration. An end is not a failure. Our relationship brought two new incredible people into a world that needs more incredible people in it. Now that relationship closes, and I feel appreciation and kindness towards the one I shared it with. I am so grateful there is no domestic violence, hatred, drug abuse, or other negative elements. The relationship ran its course and ended well. That is a good thing.
Now, Hannah and I both enter new phases of our lives, and we work to ensure our children understand that this can be a good thing for us and them.
For me, it’s an opportunity to once more spread my wings. To try new things, meet new people and explore the world on my own terms. There will be hard, lonely and depressing times. I know this to be true. But there is a chance for a recreation, a rebirth.
I look forward to what comes next as I strive to live my best life.
There are some household jobs that I procrastinate over. Oiling the deck is a new one I can add to the list. Our deck was installed a couple of years ago as part of a backyard renovation. I knew at the time this would be a necessary maintenance job that I would despise. I dutifully entered it into OmniFocus as a task for the future.
That OmniFocus task has been deferred for about 9 months. I did the prepartory work of buying the expensive Cutek Extreme CD50 oil and the fancy Deck Boss applicator. The task of actually oiling the deck, though? That sat for a long time. Most of the time because of my own laziness. Sometimes because of the weather. I contemplated outsourcing the job but knew deep down within myself I wouldn’t trust anybody else to care enough to do it right.
Finally, the time came and I went for it. The first step was to clean the deck a couple of days before the oiling. That went well. I used Cutek Quickclean.
A few days after the clean, it was time to oil. The weather was hot - over 32ºC. I had to do the work in two shifts: one in the morning and one in the evening. The morning shift came to an end when I almost vomited from exertion in the heat. I’m too white, too old, and too unfit for manual labour in the burning sun.
This is how I looked after the first shift — just a touch pink:
I completed the second shift, and the job, with a minimal amount of oil left in the can. Maybe there’s enough to do a second coat on areas that look to need a little more. There is definitely not enough remaining to do a complete second coat. I think I’m okay with that.
Now I have to schedule the next maintenance coat into OmniFocus…
How good is the Mac indie developer community?
Last night I attempted to use SearchLink while typing in the all new MarsEdit 5. Instead of it working as it always has, I received a confounding error:
The action “Run Shell Script” encountered an error: “-e:1778:in `scan': invalid byte sequence in UTF-8 (ArgumentError)
from -e:1778:in `ddg'
from -e:987:in `parse'
from -e:2147:in `<main>'”
This was beyond me. I knew that MarsEdit 5 had a new foundational text editing platform, so I assumed whatever had changed was probably a bug related to that. I also tried SearchLink in BBEdit (another great Mac app made by legendary Mac developers, Bare Bones Software) and the problem appeared there too - which shot somewhat of a hole in my MarsEdit theory.
Nevertheless, I emailed Daniel Jalkut, developer of MarsEdit, with a support request. He quickly responded saying that he doesn’t use SearchLink, but would look into it.
I also sent a support request to Brett. Very quickly Brett asked a further diagonostic question, then while I was asleep (welcome to Australia-USA relations), he emailed me through an updated version of the SearchLink script. Brett had determined that DuckDuckGo, the engine powering SearchLink, was suddenly providing results in a zipped format. The new version 2.2.27 fixes the issue.
The Mac indie developer community is amazing. I thank them, and encourage you to support them by buying and using their products. Let’s keep this thing alive.