Jack Baty Daily

Daily notes from Jack about everything

Friday, March 17, 2023

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👉 Let's try journaling at Baty.net/journal for a while, shall we? See you there.

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Some days I wonder if I'm reaching that age where the world is moving faster than I am willing to travel. How long before I don't have the energy to keep up?

Thursday, March 16, 2023

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It seems as if everyone is either wildly desperate for AI to succeed or absolutely convinced it will fail. I don't understand why more people aren't simply curious and following along.

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Baty.net: Back to Org-roam

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If a company decides that it prefers to have people come into the office to do some or most of their work, that is a reasonable decision to make. If, as a result, quality people don't want to work there, that is also a reasonable decision. We keep pretending that one or the other is correct for all cases and that's simply not true. We act as if every person can handle remote work. Or that they can't. It depends, right?

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While many wring their hands and whine about the failures of AI, millions are using it every day to do all sorts of useful, real-world tasks. They're just doing it instead of over-thinking it. I find myself in both camps.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Venn
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I know, I'll run about a dozen queries in ChatGPT and then write about my wide-ranging, conclusive proof of whatever I wanted to be true about it in the first place.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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I came this close to moving this blog back to Eleventy. I'm deep into Emacs this week, which means I want to write everything there. I started copying recent posts from Tinderbox and after about 10 minutes realized that I've got a pretty good thing going with Tinderbox and I should leave well enough alone. So, for now, 👋!

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I have anxiety around watching people who might suddenly embarrass themselves in front of a crowd, so I am unable to watch awards shows. I'm pretty happy with the set of Oscar winners, but can understand how some might not be. I've avoided social media since Sunday because I don't need to hear all the bitching about why the Oscars are terrible, stupid, biased, and wrong. I'm spending my mental energy celebrating the winners.

Monday, March 13, 2023

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I’m just sitting here staring at my big, beautiful computer screen and wondering whether computers still make me happy.

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And remember, you can’t fail if you don’t try!

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This is what happens when you choose to use an SSG for your blog and then decide to make it “easy” to publish. 😆

Sunday, March 12, 2023

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I went to bed late, so when I woke up and looked at my Apple Watch I was pretty excited that Alice had slept until nearly 5:00 am before begging to go for a walk. Then I glanced at my (analog) wall clock and realized the time had changed.

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I’m realizing that I never think about my single-user Mastodon instance at Masto.host. This is great, but I also notice that I don’t ever want to think about it. Considering a low crawl back to Fosstodon.

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If your only moderation rule is: “1. Must Possess a Sense of Humor” it tells me that there’s a good chance that the you’re a jerk that doesn’t like it when people react poorly to the stupid/offensive things you say. Just me?

Saturday, March 11, 2023

The Spark File

Ten years ago, Steven Johnson wrote The Spark File, in which he describes his process for keeping track of hunches, ideas, etc. in a single text file.

I, of course, thought this was a great idea and immediately started keeping my own spark file. It began in 2012 and I was reasonably consistent with it until 2016. After that, there was a lull, but it picked up a again for a short time in 2021, after which I sort of forgot about it.

I ran into the file today and reviewing it has been quite a trip. The short version is that I’ve only done a few of the things I’d written down. This is fine, since many of them are things I’m either no longer interested in or were too ambitious anyway. I have, since I last checked, completed a few of them. Crossing them off the list was fun. There are others that are still good ideas and that I may pursue.

Since the file is an org-mode file, I’ve added a capture template to my Emacs config that lets me quickly capture new entries. Now I just need some hunches or ideas to capture.

Markdown in Tinderbox

Markdown in Tinderbox

I’m experimenting with using Markdown as markup for my Tinderbox posts. Tinderbox has some support for Markdown, even though the note editor is always using rich text “in the background”. The trick is to create a prototype based on the built-in Markdown prototype and make a few tweaks specific to the way I work. For example, my prototype uses a monospaced font and pandoc for rendering. This post is the first to attempt it. Just for fun, let’s add an image using Markdown formatting1

Alice. (Leica MP/HP5)

A nice side effect of using Pandoc is that images like the above are automatically rendered as figure elements, with a figcaption generated from the Alt text. It’s handy.


  1. And maybe even a footnote!↩︎

Starting over every day

Starting over every day

Each new day I reset everything and begin again, from scratch. At least that’s what it feels like. I throw away the things I learned yesterday and try something else. Can you imagine how far along I’d be today if I hadn’t been doing that all this time?

For example, I’m writing this post in Tinderbox because this morning that’s where I feel like writing blog posts. Yesterday, I felt like using Drummer for a while, then I was back to Emacs for the afternoon.

I also spent hours yesterday learning some new Tinderbox tricks. I’ve been using Tinderbox on and off for like 15 years now. What if there were no “off” periods? Can you imagine how good at it I would be? I’d be holding classes.

It’s the same with Emacs. I’m going on, what, 10 years in Emacs? You’d think I’d be good at it. I’m not, because I keep trying to quit using it for some reason. Why? Because maybe Obsidian would work better for me?

Last week, I would have hand-written this post first in my notebook. The week before that, on a typewriter. Or maybe the iPad.

Every time I reset and say, “THIS is how I’m doing it from now on!” I lose hours or days of progress. I don’t know how to stop.

Friday, March 10, 2023

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Our walk this morning was through 4-6" of fresh snow. It was lovely. Wet, but lovely. Alice likes to scoop snow into her mouth as she walks along.

I don't like staples #

I like rubber bands, push pins, paper clips, and pencils and paper. They all work on their own with no help from other tools (maybe the need for a sharpener disqualifies the pencil, but I'll still allow it). I dislike staples because they require a stapler, need a second tool to remove them, and cause ugly, irreversible damage to paper.

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Sometimes I'm reading the Tinderbox forums and just have to stop and marvel at how ridiculously clever it can be. A simple example of how to automatically link based on tags. Oh and I'm also always impressed by how ridiculously clever Tinderbox users can be.

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A boring photograph shot on film is less boring. This makes no sense, but it's true.

A man said to the universe
I'm often reminded of this.
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Looks like Gowalla is back. Huh.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

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I have Tinderbox configured so that each individual entry here is a new node, where the text becomes the post. This means that each node needs a name/title. With short-form posts, like this one, naming them becomes tedious. It's friction I don't enjoy. On the plus side, each node then also stands on its own in, say, the Archives.

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I've written 3 daily notes today, on three different blogs. You'd think that I only had two blogs, baty.net and daily.baty.net, but NO!, I have baty.net and three different versions of daily.baty.net that I constantly waffle about.

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I used to find Kevin Kelly's relentless optimism to be refreshing. Now, I just think he's delusional.

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What if I just automatically add a default title to each post using the current time? Nice to not come up with titles for everything. Then, on the Archives page, I could add an excerpt of the first, say 10 words to the listing. (UPDATE: Done).

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A roll of 35mm film is in the scanner. So far, the images from the roll are boring, mediocre snapshots. But, the fact that they are boring, mediocre film snapshots makes them worth the effort.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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I am working toward spending more time offline than on. It hasn't been easy. Worth the effort, if I can pull it off.

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I came close today, once again, to moving this blog back to either Drummer or Eleventy. I didn't have a good enough reason, so we're still here. For now.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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I don't know how to limit the things I pay attention to. My days are filled with seeing a link on Reddit or whatever and thinking "Oooh! I want to try that!" and then losing a day or three tinkering and then never looking at it again.

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I'm enjoying one of those days during which I try to decide, once and for all, whether I will be using Denote or Org-roam for my notes. And by "enjoying" I mean "suffering through". I like aspects of both of them enough that it's preventing me from committing to either of them "forever".

Monday, March 6, 2023

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Hard rain mixed with snow during my 3:45 am walk with Alice this morning. We cut things short because it was rather unpleasant. She's now curled up on a blanket on the sofa while I wander the internet looking for something to distract me from doing my taxes.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

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I just want to do the things I'm interested in the way I want to do them. Why is that so much to ask?

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I continue to struggle with deciding what to post here and what to post over on the main blog. At this point I'm basically just choosing one at random. That's probably fine.

Social media is corrosive #

Increasingly, I find that spending time online has a diminishing, corrosive effect on my psyche. It's not good for me.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

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Thank god everyone has an uninformed opinion about AI that they just can't wait to publish.

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I stand by my claim that "Permanent Waves" is better a better record than "Moving Pictures"

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I'm still undecided between Tinderbox and Eleventy for this blog. Tinderbox is currently the front-runner, but I can't seem to convince myself that it makes sense long term. I've had a good day in Tinderbox, so right now I feel like it's exactly what I need. But I've also had fun in Emacs today and want to standardize on it as my authoring tool. So, stay tuned, I guess.

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