AlphaSmart Neo File Transfer

To transfer a file from the AlphaSmart Neo2 to my Mac, I connect it via USB and hit send. The AlphaSmart sends one character at a time to whatever app is frontmost. Terribly slow, but I get a kick out of watching it happen.

Here’s a quick capture of the Neo sending some text to Emacs on my Mac.

Design's Lost Generation - Mike Monteiro

Mike Monteiro:

…those of us currently drawing paychecks for professional design services — are design’s lost generation. We are the Family Ties era Michael J. Fox of the design lineage. Raised by hippies. Consumed by greed. Ruled by the hand of the market. And nourished by the last drops of sour milk from the withered old teat of capitalism gone rabid. Living where America ends — Silicon Valley.

Mike sometimes rubs me the wrong way, but that may be because he’s usually on to something that I’ve missed.

The Best Bon Scott AC/DC Song(s)

Chris Lynch (A Large Regular):

It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) may be the most perfect hard rock song ever recorded. There is no way to improve on that song

His list of the greatest AC/DC songs by Bon Scott is just about right. I’d argue that “Let There Be Rock” could be a tie right at the top.

Deleting files Using Ranger on My Mac

I recently learned about Ranger and have been loving it on Linux. Ranger “is a console file manager with VI key bindings”. Turns out that it also works on macOS so I’ve been using it there too.

One thing that I wanted to change was the way ranger deleted files. I’m new here, but I think ranger deletes using rm which I find a little scary when using a new tool. What I wanted was for deleted files to be moved to the Trash instead.

I found a small command-line program called trash which does just that. All I needed to do is install it using brew install trash and add the following to ranger’s rc.conf file.

map DD shell trash %s

Now I can select one or more files and press “DD” to have them moved to the macOS Trash. The original method is still available via “dD”.

ThinkPad as iPad


My experiment with Linux has been fun and sometimes frustrating so far. Using only a Tiling window manager to run things on a brand new (to me) OS is wild and wonderful. When I’m not swearing at it, I’m loving it.

The most surprising thing so far is how much I enjoy using the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. I didn’t expect that. It’s nowhere near my 2016 MacBook Pro in terms of pure asthetic or overall fit and finish, but it’s just so much fun to use. In fact, I’ve been grabbing the ThinkPad much more often than my iPad when I’m not at my desk. It feels solid and durable and I don’t worry about tossing it around.

The ThinkPad as a “satellite” device works for me because it’s small enough and light enough and I can actually do everything I need to with it. I don’t feel hamstrung by it the way I do with iOS devices. I know, I know, the iPad can do everything but it doesn’t do Emacs without jumping through hoops so nope.

I wonder how long I’ll feel this way. The novelty of Linux and the ThinkPad will surely wear off, but it feels like more than just that.

Sacrificing Convenience

Publishing a blog with WordPress is something I do, not because it’s the best option, but because it’s the most convenient. What I’d prefer is a fast, secure static site published using Hugo. I have often moved away from Hugo because it’s not convenient enough and I become fatigued.

The ease with which we sacrifice security or quality or privacy for convenience is troubling to me. The Internet of Things, Cloud storage, and using Facebook are all convenient but less secure or durable or private yet we use them anyway. A little extra effort would go a long way.

All this to say that I’m posting here at again using Hugo. It may not be the most convenient way to blog, but it’s what feels right. I’m working on making it more convenient so that there’s less reason to leave this time.

Posting From Emacs to Hugo With Easy-Hugo

When blogging with a static site renderer such as Hugo, creating new posts can be a point of friction. The default way is to call hugo new, type the name of the file, then find and open the file for editing. Not that difficult, but not simple either.

Since I use Emacs, the ideal solution would be to simply call something that would do the hard work for me right within Emacs. For a while I used a collection of lisp functions that prompted for a file, created the file with the correct frontmatter, and then opened the new file in a buffer. That worked, but for some reason I had deleted it in my config and rather than digging throught the git history I just did a quick search and found easy-hugo by Мasashí Мíyaura.

Easy-hugo is an “Emacs major mode for writing blogs made with hugo by markdown or org-mode or AsciiDoc or reStructuredText or mmark or html.”

Easy Hugo Screen

I added the package and configuration variables to my .spacemacs file and started writing this post.

Blog consolidation

The end of each year always has me thinking about simplifying things. To that end, I’m going to try consolidating my online presence. I’ll no longer be posting here at

For blogging, I’m going to try posting everything at

Anything longer or more “important” than a tweet goes on the One True Blog™.

For shorter things, I’ll probably use Mastodon and cross-post to Twitter and via RSS to “But what about owning your content!?” you ask. Lately, the way I figure it if it’s not important enough for a title I don’t care if I “own** it or not.

UPDATE Feb 17, 2018 You’ll be shocked to learn that I may have changed my mind about all this. If you see new posts after this one then I probably have. Onward!

Keeping things updated is wearing me out

It seems like everything I do requires additional, mostly unnecessary work after I do it.

For example:

When I finish a book I update Goodreads, record it in my media log, and sometimes write a quick blog post about it.

After watching a movie I add it to letterboxd, also record it in my media log, and make sure it’s properly cross-posted everywhere via IFTT.

Once I’ve finished a roll of film or imported an SD card I scan, edit, caption, export, and upload to one or more of SmugMug, Flickr, my photoblog, or Instagram, and in the case of film, I make a contact print in the darkroom and carefully file away the negatives.

Sometimes I wonder if the only reason I do things is so that I can share them. That’s a depressing thought.

It’s exhausting. Can’t I just enjoy doing (and having done) the thing without spending so much time making sure there’s a public record of it?