Downtown Portland

Haircut day for the boy


Woodstock Walk And Lunch

iPhone Pro Max super early impressions

I’ve had this iPhone 11 Pro Max for an evening and early morning, and it’s good! At least, it has subverted a few expectations and the one disappointment I can name is me wanting something it’s unfair to expect.


  • It doesn’t feel huge. I had a hard time one-handing my iPhone X, anyhow, so this is just me saying “now my thumb can quit hyperextending coz this is a two-hander.” It doesn’t make my pocket feel stuffed. Was the big version of the 6 thicker or something?

  • The camera’s night mode is initially impressive. Looking forward to playing with it. Given a steady grip and a static scene, it turns out images you can work with. I do want to see how they look on a big screen.

  • The ultra wide lens is interesting and opens up a lot of possibilities. Having that sort of oddball focal length could help a lot of people approach their phone camera like a legitimate creative tool, and that’s cool.

  • The big screen + an SD reader + Lightroom mobile = a decent mobile image processing lab.

Not so good

  • That ultra-wide is an f2.2 lens. On such a small sensor it gets noisy fast and you don’t get night mode or RAW shooting with it. For now it’s best as a daytime lens. Hard to be too annoyed. It can only get better as Apple iterates.


I ordered a Moment lens case. This thing will probably destroy my appetite for a compact point and shoot. The battery + a case that can take Peak Design anchors = a great tourist camera when I’m not feeling my big camera.

The ultra wide lens is just going to be a playground.

A pantry is born

We’ve been in this house for ten years, and the under-the-stairs closet in the kitchen has been an ongoing nightmare dumping ground that has never been right. We had free-standing shelves in there, but the irregular sloping ceiling meant that a lot of the space far into the closet was hard to use, and you ended up on hands and knees trying to find things.

So I fixed it today. It took well under two hours to put in the brackets and shelves and mount a motion-sensitive light, including time to move things in and out. I moved the free-standing shelves as far back into the sloping space as I could to hold the heavy cooking appliances.

Net, we get back an entire cabinet that had been stuffed with canned goods. Now it’s possible to put daily staples at eye level in the main kitchen, while less often used stuff is out of the way but easily found. We can take the Instant Pot off the counter when we’re not using it and the large pans and skillets are easier to store.

As you step into the space, the light comes on and makes everything easy to find, and it’s possible to stand fully inside and see everything you need to see.

If I had to do it over again, I can think of a few things I could have done differently. There are some fit and finish gaps. But it was one of those projects where I suddenly felt galvanized: I took a few measurements, made a few guesses about what would fit and what wouldn’t, and kinda improvised at Home Depot. Some day I may decide to take out the smaller shelves and do a little better, but today I’m just happy to have solved a really annoying situation.

Ben came downstairs, quietly sat on the floor of the new pantry for a few minutes looking around, and finally said, “I feel like this is the right thing. This is what this space has always wanted to be, and now it is.”

So the prophecy was true.

Is Amazon randomly gendering searches or are there just lots of people who, like, need gendered coffee tumblers?

Paprika Recipe Manager (iOS)

I found Paprika today. It’s a recipe app that knows how to read recipes from a lot of websites and import their ingredients/instructions into its database, then ease the process of making shopping lists.

Things I like:

  • It has an iOS share sheet that worked pretty well to import most recipes I threw at it from my Pinboard account and just browsing around. It has a built-in browser with a start page that points to bunches of recipe sites.
  • It can export recipe ingredients into a shopping list, and that can be exported to iOS Reminders. Awesome for getting shopping lists into the same place for everyone in the family (but that’s papering over a shortcoming, below)
  • It has a “pantry” list where you can tell it what you have on hand, which it automatically excludes from the shopping list export for a given recipe. I’ve already been through my spice rack and cooking cupboard, entering the stuff I’ve found.
  • In the recipe view, the times for things are tappable. Tap a time in the recipe, get an in-app timer. You can rename timers, and you can have more than one timer going at a time. It’s a nice feature but Siri or Alexa can replicate the functionality, so mainly useful only for households that will survive the robot apocalypse.

Things I don’t like or don’t understand yet:

  • Instead of using iOS sync, it has its own sync backend. Don’t know why that’s a benefit.
  • It would be great if you could have “friends” you could find by the email address it harvests anyhow so that recipe databases and pantries, and shopping lists could be auto-synced for a family. Seems like a set of social and practical features waiting to happen.

Walk for coffee

Every time I read a reminder of that scene I feel angry and sad at the sheer, callous dismissiveness.…

Made the buttermilk for Saturday Pancakes, rested the batter as I learned to do last week, and we’ve pretty much got this dialed in on the recipe side. I even managed to find the baking box of baking soda, so they don’t taste like a refrigerator. 👌🏻

Zen Center


Why Leica’s M10 Monochrom is more than just a gimmick

Brief, simple explainer of the benefits of shedding color information in digital imaging. Think I’m a few years out from meriting any Leica, let alone a dedicated monochrome one.

Here’s another okay guide to becoming a morning person.

It wasn’t exactly a New Year resolution but I did decide to start waking up at 5:30 every morning because I like having a morning routine, and I had started drifting toward “whatever will let me rush out the door to get to my first meeting of the day.”

So now I get up at 5:30 every morning on weekdays, and get out of bed when I wake up on weekends. The two times are converging the more I get up early on the weekdays. It’s nice. I put on a kettle, toast a bagel, read the news, make sure I’m at the top of a few inboxes, take my time walking the dog, and get to the Max stop in plenty of time. I’ve thought about backsliding a few times but I love having my morning reading time too much to want to go back.

I do have to watch screen time at night. It helps to get off the iPad or laptop an hour before sleep time and pick up on the Kobo (which has a pretty nice amber backlight that gets more orangeish as your configured bedtime approaches).

I’ve also been watching sugar a lot more lately. I put honey in my morning tea, have a dessert on weekends, but otherwise keep it out as much as is practical.

I think that’s helped me do okay with less sleep as I get used to earlier rising. Sugar has a really bad effect on my mood, and combining it with less than seven hours of sleep risks a pretty bad day. I’ve been getting as few as six hours of sleep the past few weeks as I’ve followed the advice of letting my body tell me when to go to bed, and I haven’t felt wrecked. My smart alarm app tells me that I’m getting pretty high quality sleep.