In a café in Berkeley

Is the internet a good place to start typing random thoughts? It feels like it’s probably not, because of all the “taken out of context”, “recalled in future years and laughed at”, and “what’s the point no one will see it” responses. But it also feels like random beginnings and unplanned words are the only things that will ever lead to more coherent and useful words, and that putting them out in the great wash of the online world is slightly better than hiding them away in a notebook in my own bottom drawer. I do write lots and lots of words that only I will ever see, and they’re usually pretty unpolished. I don’t think that what I put on this blog or Twitter or anywhere else is particularly good, but I do at least attempt to finish sentences and thoughts, and fix typos. Maybe that’s all I mean: that uploading ideas makes the brain follow through and express them, and in doing that there’s a surprising amount of satisfaction.

Market Bar

I had a drink at the new Market Bar yesterday afternoon (note the singular ‘Market’, this isn’t the “markets’ bar”). It’s really nice. Very neat and tidy and they’ve kept lots of things from the old location (or at least built them to look that way). Good live music, a step above the pub-song buskers of before.

Markdown, Alphasmart

Over the past few years I have come to love an experience closer to what Ernie Smith calls “bare metal writing”. I use a program called Ulysses, which offers a simple, clean and logical design, and whose output is nothing but text.
Once you have mastered its version of the simple MarkDown format, you can produce documents that incorporate some light formatting. But my aim with Ulysses is to produce text. How it looks when it gets to you is way above my pay grade.
The program alienated some of its adherents by going to a subscription model last year. For me, the monthly fee for an app that gets out of the way seems a bargain.
Lately I’ve gone further in seeking an uncorrupted writing experience.
Right now I am typing on something called the AlphaSmart Neo2, which is as close to a pure writing machine as I have seen.

We’re winning the war on Word, fellow writers. Enjoy the freedom

Personal Relationship Manager

Monica allows people to keep track of everything that’s important about their friends and family. Like the activities done with them. When you last called someone. What you talked about. It will help you remember the name and the age of the kids. It can also remind you to call someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

It’s nice to see a new PHP app that (maybe?) still targets shared hosting as a realistic thing.

Will be interested to check it out.

Flattening going wrong

Flattening stones is very satisfying, as the sounds changes towards the whole surface being true. I’ve got an annoying one though, that seems to be bowing out ever so slowly. I think it’s that I’m using two different grades of stone (two 1200 and one 800), and so they’re wearing at different rates. I suppose the real answer is that one should have three stones of each grade, and to only flatten like on like. Ah well. Maybe next wood show.