Tot • Your tiny text companion

(tot.rocks)

Just found out about Tot via John Gruber's post. Tot is an "elegant, simple way to collect & edit text on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad." Craig Hockenberry and the Icon Factory have really outdone themselves because this is exactly the tool I've needed for a long time. I use plaintext in a lot of different scenarios, but I've never had a great place to work on and store short term text on the Mac.1 The mac version is free, but requires Mojave or higher (and uses iCloud for syncing), the iOS version is a $20 one time fee.


  1. Although it just occurred to me that Drafts for Mac (which I have yet to try) could serve a similar role with even more power.

John Blanchette: Just like his No. 3 jersey, Adam Morrison plans to hang around Gonzaga

(www.spokesman.com)

Surely you know the vitals: college hoops’ leading scorer in 2006, when he was also a consensus All-American and co-Player of the Year by the measure of coaches and writers with Duke’s JJ Redick. Their long-distance rivalry for the scoring title gave the season its buzz, but it was Morrison’s style that provided the bite.

And nowadays, no one remembers how improbable it all was.

He was a local kid out of Mead High School – an ex-GU ballboy – with no other Division I offers, despite outsized scoring numbers.

Truly a deserved honor, but I kind of wish they'd recognized Courtney Vandersloot first because of her huge impact on the women's program.1 Her WNBA career is still going strong though2 and she did come along a year after Morrison left Gonzaga so chronologically I guess it makes sense.


  1. First person to score 2000 points and handout 1000 assists during their college career, as well as leading her team to the Elite 8 her senior year.

  2. Just signed a new 3 year deal with the Chicago Sky I believe.

Back to the Grind

My weight has been on a steady upward trajectory since last fall when I cut back on my bike commuting and took a month off from running while I focused on completing a big garden shed project in our backyard. I got back to running, but at a fairly typical reduced rate during the winter and my eating habits weren't particularly good either. Between those two factors it wasn't enough to change the trend so as of right now my weight is higher than it's been in a long time, possibly even a decade. I've started working on my weight during Lent before, but it's been a few years. It was clear to me that this year I'm going to have get back to monitoring my food intake and increasing my exercise output.
I also started phasing out my beer consumption at the beginning of February with the idea that I would completely abstain during Lent and for perhaps longer.

To monitor my food consumption this time around I decided to try a new iOS app called Calory. It has a very clean interface and offers excellent HealthKit integration and no gross ads in the the free version (unlike MyFitnessPal). I think I'm going to spring for the $16 year long subscription price because it's a good deal and a solid product. It took me a little while to figure out how to incorporate calories burned into the days calorie tracking, but it was a simple toggle in settings and automatically pulls the Healthkit record that my workout app iSmoothRun uses.

I've been using iSmoothRun to track my runs and bike rides for a long time and am generally a fan, although since moving to my iPhone 11 I haven't been able to get it to work properly with my Pebble 2HR smartwatch. This was a bummer, but not unreasonable, I got the watch for a deep discount ~$40 and over three years worth of good use after the company was sold to Fitbit. The HealthKit support in iSmoothRun just works, but indoor runs or bike rides have always been a problem since you can't put the GPS to work. On my first attempt at an indoor ride last night I made the mistake of thinking it would do some basic calorie estimation for me, but I think that it needs heart rate data that my watch can no longer provide. I had to go back and do some futzing to get the correct data into Healthkit and accessible to Calory, but I was satisfied with the outcome once I figured things out.

Overall I'm excited to get back to doing more bike riding again. My running has felt pretty uninspired for a few months1, but my fitness is okay and I'm hoping to get my weight down to the low 180s again in time for Bloomsday. I don't have any expectations of running a very good time by my standards2, but I think a time in the 54 minute range is doable if the next ten weeks of training go well and I'm able to reverse my weight trends.


  1. I think it will improve as I shed some extra baggage and the weather starts to come around.

  2. My best is a 47:26 in 2012 at age 38.

New cable company enters Spokane market, will invest $100 million in fiber network

(www.spokesman.com)

The Spokane City Council unanimously approved a 10-year franchise agreement Monday with TDS Telecommunications, a Wisconsin-based company that plans to bring high-speed internet and more than 100 channels of cable television to Spokane customers.

TDS plans to invest more than $100 million to lay hundreds of miles of fiberoptic cable to form a brand-new network throughout the city. The company hopes to begin construction later this spring, although that is subject to negotiation with the city.

This is huge for Spokane. I doubt I'll be able to take advantage of this for a long time since we live a few miles outside the city limits, but allowing Comcast to have a monopoly for decades has resulted in almost no consumer fiberoptic availability in Spokane when we should have had it for at least a decade now.

Keyboard Rage

Spent a couple hours frustrating hours trying to repair a broken Enter key1 on a third party iPad keyboard tonight. The iPad in question is predominantly used by my older kids and for whatever reason they didn't let me know when the key came off the scissor mechanism. Instead they continued to use it with the key floating freely on top of the switch, until at some point it fell out and became lost. Needless to say I was irate to discover this by accident at the end of the day while looking over my son's shoulder while he played a game. My kids are hard on computers and have broken laptop keys before2 so it wasn't a surprise that they had broken the keyboard, but the fact that they hadn't let me know and compounded the situation by losing the key in question before I could attempt to fix it really set me off.

Nobody wanted to take the blame3 and so loss of computer privileges for all three until the key was found was my immediate reaction. Everybody went to bed angry, and I stayed up and started looking for the key. Luckily, I had a pretty good idea of where to find it and after about a half hour's worth of disgusting work dredging the crumbs, garbage, and debris from the crevices of the kids' favorite brown chair in our TV area4 I found the key.

I then spent the next hour and half trying to get the key clicked back in place. Even though I haven't had the usual age related issues with fine print and detail vision afflict me yet5 seeing what was going on with the key and scissor mechanism was challenging in the low light of my office. There was a lot of flashlight and phone juggling happening as I fruitlessly tried to get the key to snap into place. Eventually I started taking off a few other keys to make sure that everything was correctly in place with the the scissor mechanism I was working on, to confirm that nothing was broken, but I was still kind of stumped.

It was only after I realized that the Caps Lock key on the keyboard was identical to the Enter key that I was finally able to partially fix things. It turns out that the scissor mechanism under the Enter key was missing two tiny tabs that were supposed to click into the key and hold it in place. Bizarrely there was no evidence that they had ever been there and broken off- the scissor mechanism was smooth on both sides (and it seems highly unlikely that they would both break). The obvious solution was to cannibalize the Caps Lock key mechanism and use it for the Enter key going forward so that's what I did.


  1. It should really be labelled Return in my opinion, but whatever!

  2. No way they're ever getting a Mac with a butterfly key mechanism!

  3. Also not unusual, but an ongoing source of frustration with my kids.

  4. With a brief equally gross intermission between sides of the chair that I spent searching under the cushions of the sofa in that area.

  5. Knock on wood!

When Will Moderates Learn Their Lesson?

(www.theatlantic.com)

Moderate Democrats also lost presidential elections in 1980, 2000, 2004, and 2016. Since McGovern, moderate Democrats have a losing record in presidential elections: six losses to the five wins by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama (who ran a more progressive primary campaign than Hillary Clinton in 2008). But this history is lost in discussions of electability. It is as if moderate nominees are undefeated. It is as if the last time a Democrat lost was when the party nominated McGovern in 1972.

Good counter argument to baffling calls to rally around moderate candidates like Buttigieg and Klobuchar instead of the progressive candidates like Sanders (and Warren to a lesser extant) that actually inspire Democratic voters.

Recap: Canes, Emergency Back-Up Goaltender Ayres Top Maple Leafs

(www.nhl.com)

Meet Ayres, the emergency back-up in Toronto for this sort of nuclear event. Ayres, 42, is the building operations manager at Mattamy Athletic Centre. Many describe him as a Zamboni driver, but these days?

"Not very often," he smiled. "That was accurate five or six years ago."

I had no idea that emergency back-up goaltenders were a thing in pro hockey and basically the home rink provides one that either team could use if all their goalies succumb to injury. It's kind of wild that he got to play against his home team, did well for the visitors (and helped keep their playoff chances alive), and the home fans were completely thrilled for him. This seems like a totally Canadian and awesome thing!

Blocked

It's been like a week and half, so kind of hilarious that it took me this long to realize, but apparently Dave Winer blocked me on Twitter because I voiced my opposition to one of his Democratic Presidential Candidate faves Amy Klobuchar. Here's what I tweeted after he tweeted an article calling her the thinking moderate's electability candidate:

Treats her staff like crap. Highest turnover in the senate during her time in office. Hard no.

And apparently that's what got me blocked. Amazing. I've been following one of those former staffers on Twitter for a few years now, had friendly exchanges about random life things outside politics, and trust their expressed experiences and assessment completely. The high staffing turnover is public information.

In the last week or so Dave's assessment of the debates and presidential race has diverged pretty sharply from my take. Bernie Sanders has taken the lead and he's in a full on Bernie panic. I didn't like Bernie 4 years ago. I thought he was too old then and too much of an outsider to get anything accomplished if elected. Personally I prefer Elizabeth Warren and I loved the way she went right after Bloomberg in the most recent debates. But I think it's pretty clear that a lot of people like Bernie, he has a lot momentum right now, and I absolutely think he's as viable a candidate to defeat Trump as there is.

But Dave is all in on Amy Klobuchar and electability narratives, and this tweet of his from today is a real gem:

Smartest move is this imho.

  1. Sanders, Warren, Biden, Bloomberg, withdraw.

  2. In favor of this ticket: Klobuchar + Buttigieg.

Before South Carolina. Make a sacrifice, compromise, do it for our country.

No brokered convention. We start the campaign against Trump now.

There were a lot of likes, and a lot of dissenting replies, but SlickMagnum's tweet made me laugh the most.

Survive and Advance

I started taking advantage of our ESPN+ subscription before our Richland game last Saturday and downloaded some 30 for 30 basketball documentaries to watch during the trip down to the Tri-Cities. Last Saturday I watched Survive and Advance, the documentary about Jimmy Valvano and the North Carolina State Wolfpack's improbable national championship in 1983. That's probably the single best one, but I felt like I needed to change it up for the next trip so yesterday I watched The Guru of Go, the documentary about Paul Westhead, Loyola Marymount, and Hank Gathers. I stopped watching after the part where Gathers died on the court which is sort of weird because it gets really inspirational shortly after that point1, but I had started the drive with a couple NBA Rookie documentaries, and was ready for a break.

The game itself ended up being straight out of Survive and Advance,a close, back and forth showdown the whole game. We trailed 18-20 after the first quarter, but used some 3/4 court pressure to take control in the second and went into the half up 7. Walla Walla came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and immediately closed the gap to within a basket with some steals and clutching shooting. The fourth quarter was tight the whole way and the Blue Devils had a two point lead with just over a minute to go. Then Zach Fleming hit a super clutch 3 to put us up 1, and we were able to get a stop followed by a McCoy Spink layup at the basket. Then we fouled, they missed the front end of the resulting 1-1, we rebounded, ran the clock down and missed the layup that could have iced the game. With 14 seconds left they came down and tried to get up a three, but were unable to get an open look as time expired.

Now we get a rematch with Chiawana in Kennewick's Toyota Center on Friday at 5:45 pm after they dispatched Mead 84-69 in yesterday's other game.


  1. But then again, I've seen this before so I know how it goes. I did find it kind of horrifying that nobody started immediately giving him chest compressions- they literally circled around and attended to him without really doing anything. Based on some additional articles, I think he did have a pulse initially, but they just didn't react with the urgency we do now. I think his case directly informs modern practices- today all athletic personnel would immediately assume a heart issue, start chest compressions, and have a portable AED available on the floor in seconds.

Garage Door Opener Project

I spent a lot more of today working on installing the new garage door opener1 than I intended, but it's installed and works. Installation was perfectly straight forward, but some details ended up being fiddly. I discovered that I needed to move the existing ceiling bracket forward and take a hack saw to the vertical struts so that probably added an hour to the process. Once I got the rail, belt, and motor fully installed I had to wire up the sensors. Again straightforward, but slow going and fiddly to pound in the supplied wire clips and work in the crowded corners of the garage.

Once I got everything wired up it was time to calibrate the door and set the close and open limits. That went pretty smoothly once I learned the correct button sequence, but it took me a little while to get dialed in. I think I may have damaged the door slightly when the initial closing limit was high and I accidentally torqued down on the mounting point pretty strongly. I'm not completely sure though, the damage may been have present before and I just didn't notice.

After I started fully testing the door I was impressed with how quiet the motor and belt drive were. The speed didn't seem that different from our previous opener even though it was probably a little slower. I also forgot that it came with a battery that provides full operation up to 50 times in the event of a power outage. That's a pretty handy feature that hadn't occurred to me before I started looking at openers- apparently it's required of all openers sold in California.

Tomorrow I'll get all the remotes squared away, set up the external keypad, and start investigating the phone app. I'm looking forward to that feature because I don't want to keep a remote in my car when I'm parking it outside regularly, but I want to be able to open and close the door remotely. The app is also supposed to be able to monitor whether or not the door is open or closed at any given moment. No more wondering if you accidentally forgot to close the garage door when you left for work!


  1. A Genie model that Costco carries, but doesn't seem to be available elsewhere.