Tim Cook chasing more of that sweet services revenue. A 16% increase! Even though I don’t use Arcade & Fitness they still have me over a barrel.

I can hardly believe I’ve installed Obsidian again. It didn’t gel with me last time; let’s give it another go.

Totally Killer, 2023 - ★★★

A fun movie that doesn’t take itself seriously and works as a result.

Champions, 2023 - ★★★½

A fun, heartwarming movie that is a good reminder that sport should be fun.

Fair Play, 2023 - ★

Molasses moves faster than the plot of this movie. Bad in so, so many ways.

Jarrod Blundy on Really Specific Stories

My friend Martin is a great interviewer on his podcast, Really Specific Stories.

And thanks to Jarrod for mentioning Hemispheric Views!

My Appearance on ‘Really Specific Stories’ - HeyDingus:

That, along with this being my very first time on the speaking side of a podcast rather than the listening side, made me quite nervous, but it paradoxically felt both exhilarating and completely comfortable to just chat with an internet friend. All those hours listening to RSS and another of Martin’s shows, the also great Hemispheric Views made it easy to jump into our conversation.

I enjoyed hearing from Jarrod just as much as I did other Internet luminaries such as John Siracusa, John Gruber and Jason Burk.

Like and subscribe today!

Object Linking & Embedding

This article was originally written for the November 2022 edition of Hemispheric News, delivered as part of the Hemispheric Views podcast member bonus program, One Prime Plus.

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.

Ideas that I considered and discarded: fax machines, binding machines, shredders, Lotus Notes, Windows NT Workstation… All great things that I had to deal with that Martin did not.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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.

Not sure if this is a compliment or a brickbat, but I think I prefer micro.blog as a Sonoma Safari app ahead of the native Mac app. Sorry @manton and @vincent

End of month YNAB life. 😅

Cannonball, 1976 - ★★

I really wanted to watch Cannonball Run! but I got this instead. The 1970s were a simpler time.

Reading Ross Gittins on Economics

I enjoy reading Ross Gittins' articles on economics. He is doing a great job of highlighting the many failures of the neoliberal dogma in Australia.

ROSS GITTINS: What's kept us from full employment is a bad idea that won't die:

Wages have risen in response to the higher cost of living, but have failed to rise by anything like the rise in prices. Why? Because, seemingly unnoticed by the econocrats, workers’ bargaining power against employers has declined hugely since the 1970s.

This is so key. When I was in university, the Phillips Curve was being boosted as the saviour solution. I’ve changed, and economic thinking needs to change as well.

Unions have been neutered. Individualised long-term contracts have nobbled any opportunity for people to achieve meaningful wage growth; unless you’re a CEO in which case your performance bonuses alone will see your income skyrocket year-on-year.

Our major economic problems are that trickle-down economics didn’t trickle—rather it locked in wage growth benefits to the elite—and that the value of capital has been overvalued at the expense of labour. Which benefits the elite, who are the continued proponents of neoliberalism. Wow, who would have thought?

NextDNS or Pi-Hole?

I’ve been using NextDNS for a few years to block ads. Previous to it I used Pi-Hole on a Raspberry Pi. With the terrible AUD-USD exchange rate, I’m contemplating a return to Pi-Hole, but this time via Docker running on a Mac mini. Does anybody have any experience with this setup? I don’t want to have to do a lot of fiddling around and regular maintenance.

Climate Change Stripes for Perth, Western Australia

Depressing; alarming.

This is an emergency.

Today’s Advice: Don’t Get Old

I know, the advice is meaningless because age is undefeated. The world turns, time moves ever forward, and we get old. If you can manage to avoid the process, though, I recommend you do.

My latest ageing problem is a pulled back muscle that has entirely incapacitated me for one day, and three days later continues to prevent me from walking properly, putting on pants, or picking up things I have dropped. The worst part about said back complaint is how I did it… by walking. Nothing crazy; nothing energetic. I was at work walking between locations. If that doesn’t say “ageing man”, then I don’t know what does.

When I was young this sort of thing didn’t happen to me. But I’m succumbing to ageing. Stupid progress of time. Not happy.

Case Study: The Weekly Cost of an iPhone

Hemispheric Views - Blog - Case Study: The Weekly Cost of an iPhone:

During the episode recording I referenced the spreadsheet as I was describing my decision to buy an iPhone 15 Pro. I rattled off some statistics, but Martin (appropriately) suggested I write a blog post that provides the necessary detail. Fun fact: the description of number series are not great content for an audio show.

A blog post written by yours truly in support of a conversation had on Hemispheric Views Episode 094.

I’m going to give Stage Manager another honest try on iPadOS 17, with “More Space” set as the display resolution.

Currently reading: Transforming the Difficult Child by Howard Glasser 📚

Really Specific Stories: John Gruber

My friend and Hemispheric Views co-host Martin Feld was able to interview John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame for his podcast project, Really Specific Stories.

It’s incredible the line-up of guests Martin has been able to assemble for this podcast series.

Let’s fireball the feed!

Dr Drang's Shell Script for Blank Calendars

A shell script for blank calendars - All this:

I wanted a script to help me print out blank monthly calendars.

Oh Dr. Drang, where have you and this script been my whole life?

October23calendarThe steps I have gone to to get blank calendars in the past. Now I can simply run your script.

Thank you!

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, 2004 - ★★

Some nice moments but this film felt like it ran for 4 hours.

Love this end frame quote from Young Sheldon. If this doesn’t describe Trump I’m not sure what does.

My Dad joke for today:

Q: What do you call an extra vegetable?

A: A-spare-agus.


I’m here all week, folks!

I preordered an IPhone! This will be the first time I’ve had a Pro designation. My history as best I can remember it is: 3G, 5, 5S, 8, XR, SE, SE2, 13 mini. Soon to be 15 Pro.

Today at work I casually sketched out a swimlane diagram as I listened to a colleague describe a process. Can’t decide if I was a good management consultant for so many years, or I’m just a nerd now.

The Apple event was most underwhelming, even with low expectations. Evidence perhaps the iPhone in current form has reached its zenith. While I’m tired of having a too small for me 13 mini, it’s hard to justify the expense (and the environmental impact) of an upgrade.