Now, December 2021

🆕 What’s New?

Hey there, I’m back at it with a Now update after taking November off. I didn’t intend to take the month off, but things were busy evolving, and I never found a good moment to catalog what I was up to. So what happened the last couple of months? Well…I…

  • Travelled to Michigan to celebrate my nephew’s birthday (dressed as his favorite Blippi ) and meet my new niece for the first time.
  • Went back to Michigan for a whirlwind trip to celebrate a close friend’s birthday.
  • Took care of our sick dog, who contracted kennel cough after an interview day at the local dog boarders (he was okay after a week of antibiotics).
  • Had friends over for a Halloween party. It was wonderful to see so many of them again after so long.
  • Signed up for an expedition to summit Mount Rainier, which you might remember from my July Now update. It’ll be the biggest thing I’ve ever climbed, by far, but I’ll be doing it with experts and with good friends. I’m so excited!
  • Travelled back to the Adirondacks to support my wife as she interviewed for a position at a rural hospital. Which led to…
  • Celebrating with my wife when she secured the position. It looks like we’re moving to the Adirondack Mountains!
  • Then anxiously scouring the housing market for a place to live in a month. Which led, thankfully, to finding a cute house to rent. It will be our first time living in a standalone home together, to which we are very much looking forward.
  • This means we are currently working on booking moving logistics, ending our current lease, downsizing (as much as we can before the holidays) our possessions, and wrapping up our obligations here in Ohio.
  • Oh, and we hosted our first Thanksgiving with my wife’s immediate family. It, too, was a great time with tasty food and good company.

As I said, it’s been a busy couple of months. 😅

📱 Apps I’m Trying

It’s been a slow month for trying new apps on my phone. The only one of note is Upnext, which is the latest app I’m testing on my quest for the perfect read-it-later app. Upnext is limited to a Testflight beta right now, so I don’t want to say too much. I also haven’t given it a complete shake (Reeder’s simple swipe-to-save is so ingrained at this point). But, I like its solid YouTube integration, also that it shows reading, listening, and watching times in the main list view, and its clean interface. It doesn’t hurt that their team added HeyDingus as a content source within hours of a support request. I don’t typically use the built-in sources for any of these apps, preferring to rely on RSS, but it was cool nonetheless!

On the iPad, I’ve been trying a ton of Safari Extensions. I’m pretty impressed that having a bunch of them installed doesn’t noticeably slow down my browsing. Here are some of my favorites so far:

Vidimote. Restores all the native video controls that you’d expect in iPadOS to all kinds of web videos. (Universal)

Noir. Adds beautiful dark modes to websites that don’t have them. A keyboard shortcut quickly toggles it on and off if it doesn’t look right. (Mac) (iPhone/iPad)

AMP Shockwave. Google AMP pages seem to be on their way out, but this extension redirects to the canonical page for any that are left. (iPhone/iPad)

Grammarly for Safari. Helps to make sure my writing on the web is as good as it can be. (Mac) (iPhone/iPad)

Honey. Gotta snag those coupon codes in the holiday season, and Honey does it automatically. (Mac) (iPhone/iPad)

Keyword Search. I have so many ways to trigger specific kinds of web searches now, but I love that Keyword Search syncs between my macOS and iOS devices and works straight from Spotlight on iPadOS, too. (Universal)

Super Agent for Safari. I pretty much installed this and have left it alone, so it’s hard to say for sure if it’s working, but supposedly it fills out those cookie prompts automatically. I think I’ve seen way fewer of them, so 👍. (Universal)

Vinegar. My newest addition; it automatically converts YouTube videos and embeds to native HTML vides sans all the tracking. It’s not perfect but is intriguing. (Universal)

On macOS, I’ve installed many of the same extensions, but also a few Shortcut utilities as I explore the app’s new frontier on Mac:

Shortery. I’m astounded that Shortcuts for macOS didn’t ship with even a hint of automation. With an always-on machine, Shortcuts on Mac could be the perfect hub to run scheduled shortcuts without all the badgering notifications getting in the way like on mobile. Luckily, Shortery steps in to fill that gap. (Mac)

ShareBot for Shortcuts. Again, third-party developers fill in gaps left by Apple. ShareBot adds a macOS Share Sheet extension to (with some tweaking) allow input to be passed to shortcuts like is done with the iOS Share Sheet. (Mac)

Actions. Like Toolbox Pro, Actions adds addition, well, actions to integrate into Shortcuts. It adds additional capability to work with lists, colors, time, a few Mac-specific actions, and more. And it’s free! (Universal)

📚 Stuff I’m Reading

After a couple of busy months, I again fell behind on my reading queue. I finally caught up while recovering from my booster shot, save for the excellent articles from The Verges decade anniversary feature.

I also reserved Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Kinkenborg, which I’m eager to dig into.

And I found audiobooks of the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan, which have been my bedtime listens lately. I loved that series back in middle school, and it’s fun to return to it. I’m two books in so far and still marvel at the imagination of the story.

🎵 On Heavy Rotation

All of Julia Wolf’s and Jake Scott’s discographies. Weird, wonderful, and oddly comforting.

Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift. Early songs re-recorded with the wisdom and talent of a global phenomenon? Yes, please!

30 by Adele. Why do I always think that she’s older than she is? We’re only three years apart in age, but her voice imbues years.

= by Ed Sheeran. Another banger.

📺 Things I’m Watching

I’ve been mainly off TV lately. But my wife and I have started bingeing The Good Place, which I’m still enjoying three seasons in.

tick, tick…BOOM! had phenomenal acting and exciting music. I’ve always loved Andrew Garfield, but he killed it with this performance. It’s always so impressive when a talented actor is also a great singer. Oh, and I had no idea it was about the real-life playwright Jonathan Larson until the credits rolled.

🤷‍♂️ Hobbies I’m Hobbying

Uh… Reading? Writing here? Exploring what moving to a new hosting platform could unlock and how much effort it would take? Procrastinating on my next Challenge! installment? Playing with Shortcuts? Learning as much as I can about our future home?

I’ve been a bit light on hobbies. Luckily once we move to the Adirondacks, I’ll be surrounded by beautiful places to explore. I can’t wait!

Now Journal

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7 Things This Week [#38] December 5, 2021