the bear at the ferry building

If it’s not one thing, it’s 12, huh? Been a bit of a rough start to the year, but here I am, finally getting into a rhythm, maybe. Been thinking about this blog a lot, what it could be, what I use it for, all that.

Over on his blog, Ventakesh Rao has been taking on the topic at some length. That is, what are blogs now that the game of blogging has been thoroughly explored? His idea of ‘elderblog’ is interesting, but I’m not sure what to make of it. I’m a practical person; I don’t know if meta-games are really what is in it for me.

Warren Ellis is blogging again, too. In his newsletter, he talked about how on twitter, there was no room to be wrong, to experiment; as a not very public figure, I can say for sure I’m wrong on twitter all the time, but I see what he means about the playfulness of it being gone. There’s a freedom that I need in the practice of writing things down and sharing them that all the socials don’t have. I turned off auto-tweeting of posts for a while, and I’m unsure if I turned it back on or not. I’m not going to go look, either.

But/and, I do have some ideas for what to do with this to keep it fresh beyond more content (so much content waiting in my queue, I haven’t even finished the Japan photos yet). I liked the slideshow idea that I did, it just needs some more work; also, I need to really invest some time in making the pictures scale with whatever screen is looking at them. They’re currently sized to be a little big on my smallest screen, the 12” macbook, but that makes them tiny and anemic on big screens. We have the technology. We can rebuild them. Or, at least, make the photos look good for everyone.

What I would really like is something that was as easy to post from as instagram, but I could either post short things from my phone or longer things from the computer when I wanted. The little photo essays I’ve been doing on insta have been doing well; it’s just that it’s still somebody else’s playground. What it needs to be is a self-hosted instance of something compatible with masto, so people can federate your stuff into their timeline easily, maybe? So when you come to my page, you get the blog format, but you sub to the feed and you get your preferred client interpretation? that might work… like a one-click install and you’re up on heroku or something.

Dunno. Just some ideas.

(I accidentally used one of the pictures meant for this; just imagine it here instead of there)

Posted by Matt on 2019-02-21 00:19:59 -0800


I’ve decided part of working through this backlog, since it’s gotten so big, will be cutting images a lot more than I have been. That’s not to say that things aren’t still going to be super random here for a bit, but there will be less of it.

I’ve figured out a direction for PROJECT SAN PABLO. The thing that’s missing is the thing that animates any long term reportage: people. I mean, there are lots of traces and things, but the people that make San Pablo actually interesting are who I need to get after. I was thinking something like a survey of all the independent businesses on the street, from the piano dealer to the Dead Fish. That could be really interesting, and it would give it a focus that it didn’t have before. Even inside that, I may have to be somewhat selective; it’s 22 miles of road, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is.

I should probably start with a list of businesses, huh? Or maybe I drive up and down and write down names of places. There’s no database where I can type in street and ‘not a chain’ and get a decent answer, is there? Hmm.

I’m also thinking about picking up another electronics project, maybe a laptop or another watch. I feel like I might be able to scratch the laptop-specific itch by just buying a GPD pocket or iPad pro. Not sure. Watches are hard, though too; a lot more constraint on power and space. So I dunno. So far I’ve downloaded datasheets for a system on module for the laptop, decided that 8gb of ram might just be enough, and drawn a little diagram in my notebook. The idea being something that is really portable, but with a good mechanical keyboard, in the vein of the Tandy 100, or more recently the MNT Reform. They’re using the i.MX6 processor, the same one in the Novena. It’s well supported on mainline kernels, but I want something newer and faster, so I’m looking at the i.MX8.

Anyway, enough babbling. More tomorrow, if time permits.

Posted by Matt on 2019-01-25 01:06:06 -0800

I have a job and other news

I got a job! As of the 28th, I’ll be back at Weedmaps, doing backend Elixir again. I’m really stoked to be working there again, and also working from home (not commuting!) again. The BART really is a drag.

Another item: I’ve finished the bag I’ve been working on for friend Grant, and that’ll go to him. I think I need a different fabric for the liner, the sailcloth I’m using is a little too stiff. I think I want to do one in Dyneema, although it’s eye-wateringly expensive.

The bag is a sort of collage of features I’ve liked from many bags, along with a few things of my own invention. I have a lot of bags, and they’re all good for one reason or another, but they all also fall short for reasons, too. I’ve done some modifications to some of them, and use those bags the most; the only unmodified bag I use regularly is the Think Tank Retrospective 7, which is great, but not perfect.

The outer pockets are similar to a couple different designs; they were originally patterned after the ones on ReLoad bags, but now they’ve morphed into something way closer to what’s on my Domke J-803. Inside, there are organizer pockets for pens, flashlights, a multi-tool slot, and camera batteries, or similar sized items, and also room for smaller items frequently used (I keep my spare phone battery and sunglasses in these, for example).

Inside the bag, there’s about 1000 cubic inches, or about 17 liters of space. There’s a strip of velcro positioned to take Domke inserts for camera stuff, or anything else backed with velcro hooks. There’s also a built-in laptop sleeve which I think still needs refinement. It’s possible I’ll do my own without any padding, and use an external sleeve. It’s more about having a place to keep the machine than needing extra padding there all the time, as I don’t always carry my laptop.

Finally, on the back, there’s a big flat document pocket, for things like airline tickets and magazines and whatnot. I only seem to use that pocket in airports.

The closure of the bag is lifted from the EDC series of bags by Adam Savage, although now that I know about it I’m seeing it all over, including in bags I already own (a craftsman toolbag from college-era; many backpacks seem to have them too). It’s a sort of doctor’s bag opening, where the edges of the bag are held in place by two pieces of steel wire. The top opens very wide, and gives easy access to the interior. The zipper I’m using is a waterproof YKK #10 in black.

Handles and straps are all tubular webbing, 1” for the top handles, and 2” for the shoulder. I find with a wide enough strap that doesn’t bunch up, I don’t ever need a shoulder pad. The shoulder strap also uses a cam-buckle for adjustment, like all the good messenger bags (except chrome, who have their seatbelt thing). This quick adjustment means it can go from being a casual over the shoulder bag to a secure cross body bag super easily. If you bike a lot, it’s really nice.

And that’s it. That’s most of the bag. I could talk a lot more about it, but I’m already over my limit for how late I’m up and how many words are here. Going to push the publish button and go to sleep.

Posted by Matt on 2019-01-18 01:13:37 -0800

crowds in the city

Every day, just a lot of people. I don’t know, it didn’t seem this bad today, but it’s possible the cold weather is keeping people indoors. This week is filled up with things, and so is the weekend. Can’t stop won’t stop forgot how to stop

Posted by Matt on 2019-01-10 00:16:36 -0800