April 20, 2019

Happy 8Th Birthday, TRST_Blog

How the time flies! I've had a website in one form or another since the early 2000's but this one, for whatever reason has stuck the longest, since 2011 to be exact.

I love that this site exists independently of the general pull of the web's centralising forces. I also love that for better or worse, this site reflects who I am, my interests and my style stretched through time.

There has been considerably less activity here over the past few months than I would have liked. I could blame the inter-continental move, trying work circumstances, or anything for that matter, but the truth is I've found it difficult to get at who or what I am just looking in the mirror. Harder still write at all with any sense of direction.

Yet, I have higher hopes for myself in this season of unlocking. Struggle is the start of something new. And given the relative amount of existential angst I've felt, I'm expecting a decent bounce back. (Can you tell economics was never a subject I paid enough attention too?).

Happy birthday, you big, beautiful, independent blog; here's to another year, another spring and another season of growth ahead.


Dynalist is a great cross-platform outliner in the spirit of Org Mode for Emacs users, or Omni Outliner for Apple folk. You can make lists, indent them as much as you need (to make a sub-project perhaps?), zoom in and out when you need to focus in on a few points and check off or strike out tasks as necessary. I have tried my best to keep all of my reference information and notes in one application best suited for note taking and my tasks in a task manager but for my taste, mashing everything into one tool has been a boon for my clarity. Dynalist is simple compared to the software I used previously, but it turns out I havenʼt needed those missing features.

You may have heard of Workflowy which is great software, donʼt get me wrong, but Dynalist is open about their development, is generous with their free-tier and pro plan trial and is receptive to their community of customers. I have paid for both, but Dynalist won me over through their continual efforts to improve and grow... and their extensive keyboard shortcuts. Who could forget those!

[Note: The links to Dynalist are referral links, if you sign up using one you get a free month of their pro plan and I get a little off my monthly bill. Itʼs a service I have happily been a paying customer of for months, but this being the Internet, who knows what your feelings towards referrals may be. Consider yourself warned.]

The Religion of Workism

I'm not sure I buy the altogether too tidy link between people work too hard/much to people worship work but this line landed for me:

The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production.

Again, I'm not sure whether I worship my work, or the sense of what I do as good in itself. But my relationship with work has been messing me up lately, something I just attributed to a general bout of existential confusion. Now, I wonder if I haven't been caught up trying to find the fit between work as a means and work as an identity.

My parents didn't see their jobs as defining pillars of who they were, beyond a modest sense of being hardworking, and they're content. Attempting to find a deeper message in my daily toil isn't doing me any favours—beyond giving me anxiety. Add both premises and our anecdotal conclusion: ease up a bit from work and find other ways of bringing meaning into my life.


A snowboarding magazine, turned into an art-house coffee table book? What's not to love? I don't think I have the willpower to keep my credit card at bay.

Alessandro Castellani of Akira on Advance Tech Media Podcast

This conversation points out a number of great reasons why high quality, open source design tools are needed. I need to remember that although I have access to high powered devices and proprietary (read expensive) professional software, I'm not the only voice in this digital conversation.

February 11, 2019


I want to be working on a... something, an anything really. But, I'm stuck. I don't know where to begin or how to start.

Maybe it should be a web project, I've always wanted to sell a few themes or write/create an instructional series for Grav. What about all of that "Open Web" business, perhaps having a go at integrating ActivityPub or MicroPub endpoints to your site might fit the bill.

No, maybe you should do more open-source and Linux community projects. You've been having a good time participating in that community, so now might be the time to give back. Should you start creating more issues, helping provide support/documentation to a project, or maybe pick up a light programming task. You've got the time to get that started, right?

Wait, what if you just went outside and practised taking more photos, or went to the library and took out a stimulating read? Oh, you could catch up on that novel everyone's always on about. What about the classincs? How will you ever show your face on the Internet again without understading Aristotle, or Nietzche? (To be fair, you have had read a few works by both, not that you remember or understood well enough to be telling people about.)

You know what, why don't you do what everyone would have guessed in the first place? Why don't you just do none of the things you wanted to, write an angsty blog post and feel bad.

There, that's better, isn't it?

Designing Front End Apps for Performance

Great high-level considerations for wringing more performance out of your front end code. This was by far my favourite line:

To speed things up, you either have to reduce the number of operations by making your code more efficient, or by removing some work completely.

It's funny how reading/seeing/hearing a fact stated clearly can trigger all kinds of revelations.

Jon Hicks Interviewed on iPad Pros

What a lovely surprise! A podcast about my favourite computing device and my design hero! I've looked up to Jon since I was a teenager. He introduced me to my first CMS love (Textpattern by the late Dean Allen). I remember being star struck with his work even before he was commissioned to create identities for Firefox(!!!), Silverback, Mailchimp and Opera. He's even recently worked with DuckDuckGo!

Also, how slick is it to be able to design without being able to fully trust your use of colour? So bad ass.

[Edited 2019-02-09: I forgot to add a link to Jon's portfolio. Oops!]