Rudimentary Lathe

A blog about everything by Jack Baty

From my walk on September 20, 2023

Took the camera on my walk today. I decided to process each of the photos differently. Some using presets, some as custom black-and-white conversions, and some using “auto” in Capture One.

RSS feeds as emails using Notmuch and rss2email

I’m all-in with Emacs after once again failing to get along with Obsidian.

I’d stopped using Notmuch in Emacs for email, but I brought it back after re-reading Paul Ford’s article in Wired: I Finally Reached Computing Nirvana.

Could I too start storing things as email and find them later using Notmuch?

So far, I’ve solved RSS feeds. Rather than reading feeds in NetNewsWire or Elfeed, I’m using rss2email to convert RSS feeds to emails and reading them in Notmuch.

A good reference for getting started with rss2email is LinuxBabe’s How to Install and Use rss2email on Ubuntu

The tricky part of rss2email is actually sending the emails. I eventually got things working using msmtp, which would have been fine, but it’s a lot of extra hoohah. If only I could save the RSS items directly into Notmuch. Guess what, I can!

rss2email supports writing to Maildir files. It was as easy as adding the following to my rss2email config:

email-protocol = maildir
maildir-path = ~/Mail/
maildir-mailbox = Feeds

rss2email supports importing OPML files, but I decided to clean things up and add feeds one at a time, like this:

r2e add BatyBlog

Then, when I want to read my feeds I run r2e run and everything ends up right in Notmuch. I don’t want them tagged with “inbox” along with my real email, so I added a filter to the post-new hook in Notmuch.

notmuch tag +feed -inbox -- '('

I have the rss2email sender configured as so it’s easy to filter just those messages. With that hook, new RSS feed items do not appear in the inbox, but I can easily read them in Notmuch by searching for tag:feed AND tag:unread.

So there, I’ve moved my RSS feeds into emails and manage them via Notmuch.

Fixing a photo by pretending it’s shot on film

At Scooper’s ice cream with Gail

Whenever I botch a digital photo with unwanted motion blur or missed focus, I “fix” it by converting it to black and white and applying one of the dozens of film effects presets I’ve collected. This is an attempt to trick myself into thinking an image is better than it is.

When I blow an actual film photo, I’m often okay with it, so I figure the same thing should work for digital, right? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Barbie (2023)

What a marvelous Technicolor good time at the movies.

People should stop arguing about what it “means” or whether it’s too woke or not woke enough or if it makes the proper feminist statement strongly enough and maybe just enjoy the movie.

Margot Robbie is perfect and Ryan Gosling was amazing and hilarious.

Roll-119 (Leica MP / HP5)

Most of the roll was shot in Grand Haven on the pier and beach.

Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb

‎Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb (2022) directed by Lizzie Gottlieb
The Remarkable Fifty Year Relationship Between Two Literary Legends
Delight in the fascinating, intersecting stories of the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro and his editor of 50 years, the literary giant Robert Gottlieb, as they race to complete their life’s work.

This was wonderful. I love learning about people who are really good at what they do.

Watching these two 90-year-old literary behemoths arguing over the use of a semicolon made for more exciting entertainment than any Marvel movie I’ve seen in years.

Caro writes in longhand, then types the result using an electric typewriter. This itself is unusual today, but the best part is that he puts two sheets of paper into the typewriter, separated by a sheet of carbon paper so he can take the second copy home each night. Carbon paper! Awesome. Now that’s how you do backups 🙂

I have never been interested in reading “The Power Broker” but I’ve just ordered a copy because now I’m terribly interested in reading it.

Hiding scheduled TODO items in Org-mode

Many of my TODO items in Org-mode include a SCHEDULED property, which lets me ignore them until a specified date in the future. This keeps my Org agenda nice and tidy.

Something that always bugged me is that this worked fine in the Agenda, but not the global TODO list. It finally bothered me enough that I went looking for a solution, which I found in like twenty seconds:

(setq org-agenda-tags-todo-honor-ignore-options t)

Now, my global TODO lists don’t include future items. This is great.

One other thing I learned is that some of the ignore options take a numeric value. This means that I can set org-agenda-todo-ignore-deadlines to something like 7 and those items with a deadline more than a week out, don’t show up in global TODO lists.

org-agenda-skip-scheduled-if-done t
org-agenda-skip-deadline-if-done t
org-agenda-todo-ignore-scheduled 'future
org-agenda-todo-ignore-deadlines 7

Org-mode is cool.

SetApp Apps I use

The apps I currently have installed via SetApp

During frequent bouts of Subscription Fatigue, I always glance sideways at SetApp, thinking that I could cancel my subscription. Then I look at the apps I have installed via SetApp (see above) and once again realize that it might be the most useful $10/month subscription I have. So it stays.

We’re on SiteGround

Whenever I’ve felt like using WordPress, I would spin up a new pre-built DigitalOcean instance and that has always worked fine. I’m mostly capable of managing servers and dealing with issues and patches and such, so running my own WordPress instance isn’t a big deal.

This morning, though, was different. I was figuring out why image metadata wasn’t being included in resized images. I assumed it had to do with the GD library I thought WordPress used by default, so I went in to check on ImageMagick’s status. Sure enough, the WordPress “Site Health” area of the control panel claimed that PHP’s Imagick module wasn’t installed.

First off, why? I could’ve sworn it always had been before, but perhaps not. Should be easy enough, especially with DigitalOcean’s usually thorough documentation.

Long story short, installing ImageMagick and installing/enabling the PHP module was easy enough after some Googling. Except it didn’t work. The control panel still claimed that the module was missing. It wasn’t long before I got into the “start throwing things at the wall and see what sticks” mode of server management, so I decided it might be better to pay someone to manage things for me.

There are a few highly-regarded outfits offering managed WordPress hosting. I basically flipped a coin and signed up for SiteGround.

Migrating the site using their migration plugin took about 15 minutes. A quick DNS change and I was running on the new platform with nary a glitch1. Speed seems acceptable. I enabled Imagick in PHP via their control panel and I’m off and running.

A year of hosting cost me $36. That’s less than three months of Digital Ocean’s instance, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Sometimes it’s nice taking the easy route.

  1. I did have to manually request an SSL cert (from Let’s Encrypt) via the SG control panel, though. ↩︎

On Tools and the Aesthetics of Work – Cal Newport

On Tools and the Aesthetics of Work – Cal Newport:

The modern computer, with its generic styling and overloaded activity, creates a cognitive environment defined by urgent, bland, Sisyphean widget cranking

He’s got that right. Also, check out the Mythic I that he links to in the article. Beautiful!

Another quote that Newport highlights is the following from Keegan McNamara:

That combination of craftsmanship and utility, objects that are both thoroughly practical and needlessly outrageously beautiful, doesn’t really exist anymore. ‘And it especially doesn’t exist for computers.

It would be cool if it did.

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