Rosemary Orchard Is a Genius: the Genesis of All My Next Raspberry Pi(S)

I’m pretty pumped about my latest purchase of a Raspberry Pi 3B+ (https://trst.co/introducing-mcflurry) and have been dorking around trying to figure out what I’m going to do with it. I’ve gotten over my brief “ricing” affair. (Have I mentioned I find the term somewhat problematic? I mean… whatever) When I really boil it down, I’m just going to be hopping around in ssh, tmux and nvim, so why bother going too deep on a desktop environment?

What’s brilliant about Rosemary’s article isn’t its clarity or the sheer sensibility of the carrying around a development server itself (although, can you imagine typing that sentence a few years ago? What a time to be alive), rather the creativity to combine it with a portable USB charger and an iPad.

I have browsed right past the hardware kits for the Raspberry Pi which let you wire up a battery. I just couldn’t bring myself to think beyond the fuss. But with a battery pack that even normies tend to carry, I can finally see the light.

Thank you Rosemary for the idea. And to my darling wife: I’m terribly sorry about all of the tiny robots stacking up in our home and the cargo shorts I will eventually be required to wear. Faux pas you say? However else is a modern person-thing meant to carry all of their development branches?

July 01, 2018

(Not) Playing Catch-Up

The dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge.

I haven’t written lately, you may even have noticed. The truth is it’s been a busy week and England is on fire, meteorologically speaking. I can’t remember the weather being this consistently nice since we moved here five years ago. And now that we’re leaving, it feels like a gift from Mother Nature... or the Queen, she’s always been good like that.

Alongside the weather, the news cycle has begun to crawl and I’m less inspired to post my supply of daily links. Honestly, I’d rather be outside, or doing nothing than commenting on how life on the Internet is passing by. The dearth of news has provided me with time to reflect. I think my mini break is probably a good thing.

If there’s nothing to say, why force it? I’ll laze away idly, enjoying my last opportunities to partake in European heliotherapy (a term I’ve lovingly stolen from the warning signs staked into Sardinia’s beaches), until I have something ready to post.

There’s only a few weeks left until Amber and I move back to Canada. I am terribly excited to make the jump but hamstrung by my jobby-job. The flat is barren and empty, it is like living in a bad Airbnb; although, everything is familiar, the sights are mundane and the lack of AC, as always, is punishing. I haven’t given up on my digital home, but I will probably be posting less frequently, and perhaps, more personally than before.

Oat the Goat

A screen capture of Oat the Goat at the mouth of a cave

Oh my days.

Launched as an interactive story to teach New Zealand kids about acting with kindness towards others, this is a gorgeous digital picture book that I couldn’t help but read and re-read. I can’t choose my favourite elements: the art style, the animation, the playful couplets and rhyme, I love it all.


Finding this has honestly clarified what I want to do when I grow up. I wrote myself a list of goals at the beginning of the year and one of them was to draft a children’s story. It’s an honest-to-goodness goal of mine to write and illustrate my own children’s story. There’s just so much soul to a good picture book.

For someone who grew up in a house that didn’t prioritise reading and was a reluctant reader myself, the draw of illustrated children’s books has always been rather mysterious. Why the draw is so strong, I’ll never know. No matter the reason, no bookshop visit would be complete without Amber and I darting towards the children’s section and staking out a space along the floor. (I’m a pretty big cat, so I do get my fair share of side-eye from parents.)

The fact that this story looks the part and is built with web technology makes my heart flutter. I know I’m not in the right spot to take on a project like this—talk to me after I move countries again—though it won’t be long before I am, I’m certain of that.

June 20, 2018

Posting Drought

So many tabs. So many.

I’ve had trouble posting lately. Not that I don’t have things to say, more like it’s too god damned hot. Well, that and I have this horrible weight stacked up in my "read later" queue (aka my Safari tabs).

Excuses.

Om On Blogging

This piece recently made the rounds and I was a bit unsure about posting it. Yet here I am, mainly because this line has been ringing around my head:

The whole idea is to think to deliberate, and to come back again and again, to finish what was started a long time ago. But there is no end, just a pause, for a voice to start, talking again.

Anyone who makes an esoteric point usually has their finger on something, a nerve or a bustling heart beat, but not the words to fully express that experience to others. But don’t fret, I feel his point. I “get” blogs in a way that I don’t get the social stream. I don’t want to drink from the firehouse.

I am the product of a web filled with ideas, formed well before I became a target of the web of commerce or the atomic content in the web of data. I crave the tiny human whispers hidden between blog posts: those faint messages that can only be discerned through the entirety of a creative’s body of work. Voice matters, definitely, but no more than the context from which it arises. And neither of those is available after being algorithmically sorted and served.

So, I’m with you Mr. Malik. Long live the weblog.

Installing Linux on a Dead Badger

I won’t spoil it, but I love any article with rigorous author notes and stipulations:

The following test installation was conducted on the concrete floor of the garage of a detached single-story house, on unconsecrated ground, using a 400MHz clamshell iBook, and began shortly after local sunset.

Marc Maron Talking with Anthony Bourdain

What a whirlwind conversation. I’m slowly beginning to chip away at why exactly Bourdain has struck a chord with me and this podcast episode managed to capture so much of that feeling. There’s no pretence whatsoever. He is who he claims to be and not much else. Maron serves as a great sounding board, keeping the conversation fun, honest and moving at a fresh pace.

How to Kill a Fish

In honour of my week dedicated to Anthony Bourdain, I widened my net (oh god) looking for interesting stories and have been pouring more sources about food. I can’t hold the same reverence for gastronomy and it’s ingredients as Bourdain could, but I can respect that same effort and attention to detail.

With my eyes opened a little wider, I am looking at the food I consume. Where does it come from? How was it raised/sourced? (A dichotomy that is explored in the article: the warmer an animals blood the more effort we take in raising it, for everything else, how little of the environment do we destroy when sourcing it.) And most importantly, how much did I enjoy eating it?

After learning about how we slaughter fish commercially, I have re-evaluated my stance on it. I don’t often eat fish. When I do, I try my best to buy ethically and environmentally friendly sourced fish. Turns out, none of that matters from a moral and taste perspective. This article turned my stomach the more I read, not because of any grotesque details, although those are there, it was the moral weight of it.

There’s not one massive buyer who can set a blanket rule [for humanely killing wild caught fish]. Plus, the amount of money it would cost to humanely kill them all would raise the price to ten times what we currently pay, according to Culum Brown, associate professor of vertebrate evolution and director of Higher Degree Research at Macquarie University. “I can envision a future, maybe 10 or 20 years down the track, where wild fish are so rare maybe it will become a premium product, and people will be willing to pay for a fish that’s wild and killed humanely,” he told me. “My feeling is that most of the wild stocks will collapse long before we get to that position. It just won’t be economically viable.”

What a quote. No need worrying about a solution for this small issue, when the whole class of problem will go extinct. If the conclusions this article raises are true, then perhaps fish should cost considerably more.

Anthony Bourdain’s Muse: Japan

Having watched Parts Unknown to completion (and now starting over again) it’s clear to see Bourdain’s fascination with Japan. The fact that Tokyo would be his number one choice for being exiled to makes a lot more sense in retrospect.

Place has a real effect on who we are. As I wrap up my time in Europe (while this tiny little island still counts as Europe that is), I’m struck by how I’ve responded to the rhythms of my current locale. I wouldn’t say London in particular has had the lasting effect that Tokyo has on Bourdain, but there has, undoubtably, been a shift. I am forever tied to this place. It’s mannerisms carved into my bones.

Anthony Bourdain Taught us how to Live

Rosie Spinks wrote, as clear as any I’ve read so far, a brilliant encapsulation of what I secretly knew but never realised about Bourdain: his gift wasn’t writing about food, travel or culture, no, his body of work describes eudaimonia.

His travel writing wasn’t just tips on how to scope out good street food or how to seamlessly navigate an airport. It laid out an attitude for living. Whether he was looking chic in Milan or dusty in Mozambique, he possessed a no-bullshit vitality, a humble awareness of his privilege as a white, male American, and an appreciation for the things—cold beer, hot noodles, the fact that seafood always tastes better when you’re barefoot in the sand—that are true no matter where you find yourself on this big, generous earth.

I wish I had written that.