⌘ February 3, 2022

Now, February 2022

🆕 What’s New?

Wow, it’s been a big month. As planned, my wife and I moved from Ohio, our home of five years, to the middle of the Adirondack Park. It was difficult to say goodbye to the places that had become so familiar and even harder to say goodbye to the friends we made there. But, our new home is cozy after some much-needed nesting, the area is gorgeous, and the neighborhood is friendly and welcoming.

We were also lucky enough to get ahead of the worst of Omicron when we celebrated Christmas with our families earlier in December. With vaccinations all around, it was wonderful to not worry so much about the pandemic and enjoy our time together sans masks. Same with our goodbye party with friends around the New Year. Boosters made us all more comfortable, and it felt like old times hanging out and playing games together.

Packing, traveling and then unpacking meant that my computing setup was simplified down to just my iPhone and iPad for a week or so. Honestly, it wasn’t so bad. The Magic Keyboard makes the iPad into a worthwhile laptop, and I’ve spent enough time optimizing my workflows to be mostly platform-agnostic. That’s not to say I wasn’t glad to get the office set up with my Mac — it’s a happy place. 🥰

Exploring our new town has been a ton of fun, and I’m getting to know the area quite well through driving for DoorDash. We’ve hiked, ice skated, and weathered the freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall. Starting this weekend will be an annual Ice Festival in town, which is sure to be a hoot. ❄️

📱 Apps I’m Trying

Endel - My subscription to Brain.fm expired, and I was never super happy with its lack of shortcuts or overall design. Endel is expensive, but so far, I’ve been enjoying their free, algorithmically generated music to help me focus and wind down. Matthew Cassinelli also put out a bunch of shortcuts for controlling Endel in his newsletter.

Last.fm - The Apple Music vs. Spotify debate often comes down to music discovery. I’m not switching to Spotify, so I’m trying out Last.fm, which tracks my music playback (with Marvis on iOS, Sleeve on macOS) and offers both recommendations and exciting insight based on my listening history.

Caset - This one just appeared on my radar, so I haven’t gotten to use it yet. But supposedly, it will let you make collaborative playlists. They have to be edited in the apps, and playback has to start there, too, but the shared playlists are another feature I wish Apple would copy from Spotify.

Soor - My last music-related pick. I’ve used Soor on my phone for years, but they finally released an iPad app. I don’t know if it’ll pull me away from Marvis, but Soor does make better use of the iPad screen real estate.

Matter - I’m experimenting with Matter again for Read Later items to see if the text parser has improved. I’ll have more to say about it soon, but I’m not yet convinced. Reeder is still on top for me across my devices.

Locket - This is my favorite new app so far. You might have heard about it. Locket lets you send photos to a partner or friends that appear in a widget on their home screen. It’s the kind of focused and well-executed app that is a joy to use.

Nanoleaf - For Christmas, I received a Nanoleaf bulb and light strip. Although I control them from the Home app most of the time, Nanoleaf’s app lets you do some pretty cool lighting effects. I’ve got to play around with it more.

Nextdoor - Being new to town, I wanted a way to ask questions and be connected with the folks around our community. I’m not going back to Facebook, so Nextdoor seemed the obvious choice. I was wary since I’ve heard that it could get pretty bad(read: racist) in the posts, but everything I’ve seen in the app so far has been very positive. And I was able to get a recommendation for a local thrift shop that didn’t show up in Apple Maps!

One Thing - Made for macOS, this app lets you type a short text string right in your menu bar. You can also automate it using Shortcuts or scripts, but I haven’t yet gone down that rabbit hole. Mostly I put little reminders up there.

📚 Stuff I’m Reading

I’m still re-working my way through Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak series. I’m on book #5 of 12, and this is where I remember that things get really interesting.

A tweet of my book thread. Follow the link to read Twitter.
Read on Twitter.

And here are a couple of great articles I read over the last couple of months:

Are You Gonna Finish That? — Matthew Birschoff

1942 Letter to My Grandfather from His Father — inessential by Brent Simmons

🎵 On Heavy Rotation

Dawn FM by The Weeknd - So listenable! I don’t have a favorite track yet, but I’ve listened through the whole album multiple times. It’s excellent in the background.

Ashlyn by Ashe - High energy, can’t get enough. The track with Finneas is my jam.

tick, tick… BOOM! (Soundtrack from the Netflix Film) by Jonathan Larson, Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens, Joshua Henry - I liked the movie, but love the soundtrack!

And the back catalogs of Lauv and Maisie Peters, which I recently discovered.

📺 Things I’m Watching

I’ve found a little more time for watching TV and movies lately. I’ve been trying something new this year. I’m reviewing shows and movies as I finish them and posting them to Twitter in a couple of threads:

A tweet showing my TV show thread. Follow the link to read on Twitter.
Read on Twitter.
A tweet of my movie thread.
Read on Twitter.

👨‍💻 Hobbies I’m Hobbying

When we moved, this house needed a little work in, so I’ve been mainly getting it up to snuff. There’s still a list of chores to do, things to clean out, and areas to set up (gotta get that workout area cleared), but it’s very homey now.

My other big hobby horse lately has been building shortcuts. I’ve had a massive backlog of ideas and no time to put them together. It’s my favorite kind of programming,” and I can get lost for hours getting them just right. And then several more hours writing about them to post here for others to learn from.

Plus hiking 🚶‍♂️ and dog training 🦮.

Until next time! 🍻

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