• I started experimenting more with IndieWeb Post Kinds. I tried a bookmark and a reply to James’ post about RSS, but I’m not sure if it sent webmentions like it should’ve. One thing’s for certain my blog needs some style adjustments – replies don’t have enough space between them and the next post. Finding a good mapping between WordPress “Kind” and the IndieWeb “Post Kind” is difficult, as well.
  • I’ve rearranged the footer of my site. Site meta was deleted, Categories was moved to the right, and I’ve added post kinds to encourage me to use them more. While I backfeed all of my Swarm checkins to my blog, I filter them from my homepage and main rss feed as it creates too much noise. But I still wanted a place to list them on my site, so my most recent 5 checkins are listed as well.
  • I’ve been ignoring my Bedtime and watching Long Way Up/Down/Round. While it’s been good to have some time to travel with my mind it’s been bad for daily energy levels. This week I’m going to try and get to bed on time so I can wake easier.

  • The project at work has morphed from a monolith to a service based architecture with multiple services, background tasks, and databases (of different vendors and versions). I finally had a couple of days to Dockerize it all and use docker-compose to start it in the right order and clean up environmental variables. Feels nice after the fact but it was a slog.
  • Leo’s still at the age where he’s a bit picky about carbs. It’s usually bread or rice and he’ll turn his nose at any kind of pasta, soba, udon or any other noodle. I made a lasagna and this time I involved him a bit more. Once the sauce was started he asked what I was cooking and I showed him and he said it look delicious (“looks like curry”). Then I had him help assemble the lasagna by sprinkling the cheese between the layers. The boy gobbled it up and we have expanded our range of acceptable foods 🙌🏻
  • I’ve been using Sony MDR-7605 for 9 years now. The original pads on them lost the outer layer years ago but recently the pad itself has been slipping off the headphone itself. I finally broke down and spent the Â¥1,000 ($9.50?) to get some new paddings and they’re good as new.
  • The car went in for it’s 6 month inspection over the weekend. I got some information about getting a drive-recorder installed in it before our trip next month. The advancements in cameras lately has made it so you can get complete 360 coverage with a single camera for not too much money. Hopefully I’ll never be in the case where I’d need the footage from it.
  • I started listening to some podcasts again. Usually I only listen to Build your SaaS, but this week I discovered My Climate Journey and really enjoyed it. It made me a bit more optimistic about us actually making the transition away form fossil fuels.
  • Jacob linked me to a great episode of Reconcilable Differences. I’ve always been a fan of Merlin Mann and the money quote this time is “At this point social media is more trash than website”. Couldn’t agree more.

  • It rained all week from Typhoon #14. Thankfully it did a U-turn as it got close to Japan and the winds never picked up.
  • We’ve started planning a small trip to Moomin Valley Park next month. It’s only an hour and a bit by car from our house. It’s the only Moomin park outside of Finland. It will be my first time to Saitama prefecture and first time leaving the Yokohama/Shonan area since February. Looking forward to it.
  • Nils gave a thought provoking talk that tries to answer the question:

    Is it ethical to invest time into learning and using technologies from companies that pay little or no taxes?

    Though I tend to naturally prefer community based tech (python, django, vue.js) compared to corporate open-source tech (swift, react etc..) I hadn’t much considered the ethics. The gist is that taxes benefit society as a whole, so we can have collective goods like roads and schools. Also as these huge companies don’t pay their taxes, it allows them to amass vast fortunes for an unfair advantage over smaller companies that do pay their taxes. This advantage puts these smaller companies out of business, reducing choice and the total number of good well paying jobs.

    In terms of software when these large companies make these open source projects – what actually happens? People (non-employees) spend their time/free time learning and using their tech, improving their tech, and further entrenching the large corporation’s advantage.

    Rather than learning an evergreen skill, like JavaScript, and improving JavaScript for everyone people spend their free-time working for corporations like Facebook on projects like React by filing issues, fixing bugs, making components for, writing blog posts about and improving the image of the company – for free.

    It seems so backwards, doesn’t it?

  • A few months ago when we took Sophie to the vet, one of her numbers was really high – usual is 200 – 230 and she was scoring 1700. Since then she’s been taking medicine twice a day and eating a new food. We took her to the vet for another checkup and she was down to just slightly elevated levels!
  • I voted in the 2020 election. Or at least sent my ballot. I really hope they don’t find some reason to invalidate it.
  • The St. Marc Cafe near our house lost to covid at the end of last month and went out of business. It’s a chain, so I can always get their chocolate croissants at another location, but our St. Marc Cafe was in a newly remodeled in a family restaurant building, so it was more spacious than a regular cafe.
  • We had our a neighborhood association meeting for the first time in 3 months. I had to attend as I’m head of the block this year. They take proper precautions so it can be safe (check temperatures at the door, open windows, masks required, staggered meetings to reduce people in the building). I always forget how mentally taxing concentrating on listening to Japanese for an hour.
  • I’ve been trying to build my RSS habit again using NetNewsWire. I’ve been using it on iOS for months, but not so much on my Mac. The main stumbling block in syncing and habit building. Syncing only works (as of this writing) via Feedly and Feedbin, both paid services with a bunch of extras. Looking closer, Feedly does seem to have a free account for up to 100 sources, which is more than enough for me. The next hurdle will be remembering to open the app, instead of Firefox.

  • I turned 35. 🎂🥳 We celebrated at Bill’s for breakfast while looking over the ocean. Leo picked out a singing Thomas (the train) birthday card for me.
  • We went to my favorite Starbucks for lunch on Saturday and Leo has progressed to eating an entire tuna-cheese melt. I didn’t think he’d eat it all as he’s only 2.5 and a bit years old, but he did.
  • More people getting interested in sustainable web design. James recently started working to make his site more sustainable and I totally dig it.
  • Someone should make a site scanner to help you improve the sustainability of your site – analyze images, css, and then give you tips for how to improve it. Doing it all and doing it right would be a large undertaking.
  • I’ve started thinking about getting solar panels again. It won’t happen this year, but maybe next year or the year after that. In doing research I found this cool site that will, given a postal code, give you estimated solar generation based on the weather from the past 10 years. Using that you can plunk in your usage actual numbers into a spreadsheet and better estimate when they’ll pay for themselves.

  • I saw a great editorial about the Treatment of Foreigners in Japan. As a foreigner in Japan I am sympathetic to my fellow peers that have to deal with short max duration of the technical intern training program. At the best it’s just long enough to get people acclimated to call Japan home before sending them home and at worst it’s rife with long hours, bullying, and illegal dealings.

Foreigners must be treated as fellow members of society, not just as workers. The need for such a policy is greater than ever, now that further gaps in income and education are expected amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • It’s been a year since we moved in to our new house in Yokohama. It was a big leap, committing to buying a house and moving to a neighborhood that we’d never lived in or even gotten off at the station (there’s no reason, unless you live there). And not a day goes by that I don’t think it wasn’t the right decision.
  • I’ve enabled Downtime and Bedtime on iOS this past week to curb my usage my iPhone – and it seems to be working is getting me to use my phone less. I really like that I can check the time in the middle of the night and not see any notification banners. WatchOS 7 keeping my watch’s display off while I’m asleep is also a small feature, but a huge improvement in sleeping with a watch on.
  • In addition I’ve also moved the majority of the apps on my phone into the “App Library” since upgrading to iOS 14. In the process I discovered when I’m bored I unlock my phone and swipe through my apps. That doesn’t work so well when there’s only a single (half) full page.
  • Shout out to Jamie who linked to The Week #10. It’s always nice to know that someone read and responded to something I’ve written and I learned a bit about the UK license system. Jamie is also a member of the Indieweb ring
  • I’ve seen a few people mention Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ around micro.blog and decided to give it a watch. I’m totally hooked. Ted Lasso’s optimism is exactly what the doctor ordered.

  • It’s week #10 – I’ve managed to make it to double digit weekly updates!
  • I renewed my driver’s license for first time. There’s 3 different levels of license in Japan, green, blue, and gold. You get a gold license by renewing twice without (any?) infractions or accidents. Having a gold license will also entail you to a 10% discount on your auto-insurance. But if you get tickets with a gold license, they’ll move you down to blue on your next renewal. Even though I’ve been driving for over 15 years, my driving history in Japan is only 3 years, so I was on a green and am now blue.
  • The actual renewal process is quite simple – you put in your license at a machine to register that you’re there for the day at “Station 1”. Then you progress through each station from paying your fees, eye checks, taking your photo, and finally a 2 hour lecture to remind you to follow the rules and overview of recent changes.
  • With Covid19 you still need to take the class, but the number of people permitted is half than before. So even though you came in the morning, you may need to take the afternoon class, or if you came in in the afternoon, you may need to come back the next day to take the lecture. I was rushing through all the steps as fast as possible as I didn’t want to hang out at the DMV from 45 minutes before they opened until mid-afternoon because of class size limits. Thankfully I made the cut-off and was finished by noon.
  • The lecture itself was mostly a video to remind people to drive safely and show some consequences of not driving safely. The video did cure all urges of me ever riding or owning a scooter, however.
  • After watching The Social Dilemma, I’m thinking of closing my Instagram account. I don’t use it much, but trying to figure out how to keep the data, as it is like a mini-photoblog. It looks like I can export my data (thanks to GDPR!) and maybe import it here to my website.
  • Leo had his first full-day of pre school, including taking and eating his lunch at school with just his peers and teachers. He had onigiri (rice balls), karaage (Japanese style-fried chicken), pumpkin, and tamago-yaki (Japanese-style omelette). We were a bit worried if he’d actually eat at school, but he ate almost everything!

  • I started working on a new, lighter design for my site. Which you’re probably looking at right now. It’s heavily inspired by solar.lowtechmagazine at the moment, but I’m planning to tweak it more as time goes on.
  • I made the short drive to Kamakura with the family to visit Patagonia. I used to visit Kamakura regularly, but with the surge of tourists and overtourism it’s become so full of people that I try to time my visits to “off-season”. With tourists not being allowed into the country it was so much quieter. It feels a lot like when I first visited Japan in 2006.
  • While in Kamakura I took the opportunity to ride one of my favorite trains, the Enoden. Leo’s getting old enough where we can ask questions of each other. My favorite exchange of the trip was when I asked him if he likes riding the train. His (translated) response: “I like riding the train. Mom, do you like riding the train, too?”. It was cute to see him wanting to make sure that mom was also having a good time.
  • I found this guy that collects photos from flea markets in Japan. Whenever I See pictures like these, I always wonder about the people in the photos.Who are they? What they did? How’d life treat them? Worth a visit.

  • I migrated this blog from NYC to Frankfurt, Germany so it’s now powered by 100% renewable energy. It’s a small step towards making my blog more sustainable and I documented the process so you can migrate your Digital Ocean droplets to sustainable regions powered by renewable energy.
  • While writing that post, I wondered if it would actually help anyone or make a difference. Chris used my guide to migrate his blog to renewable energy sources. Progress!
  • On the topic of waste – Gerry McGovern wrote a great article you should read called Cloudwaste. We never think about the cost of a search (after all, it’s “free”) – not quite.

Google estimates that carrying out a single search takes about 0.0003 kWh (1080 joules) of energy. That’s the equivalent of leaving a 60-watt bulb on for 17 seconds. In 1999, it was estimated that there were one billion searches on Google. In 2019, there were 5.2 billion searches a day, and 1.9 trillion searches a year. That’s the equivalent of leaving a 60-watt bulb on for one million years.

  • I set a goal to run 40km this month and I managed to smash that goal running a total of 60.9km (37.8 miles) in August. I’d like to match the same distance in September. Hopefully it will be a bit easier as summer winds down.
  • I finally bit the bullet and am trying out Apple TV+. I haven’t had a chance to watch what I actually want to watch (Greyhound, and the Beastie Boys documentary, but I have been enjoying watching Snoopy in Space with my son. In the first few episodes Snoopy goes to Johnson Space Center and they go to Space Center Houston. I used to live across the street from JSC and in the area for a number of years, and it was fun to see that they took the time to accurately depict the buildings.
  • Leo got his first proper haircut. The hairstylist used to specialize in kids cuts when she was first starting, so she’s a pro. She’s even got a barber chair that is shaped like a sports car. Leo didn’t flinch or cry or anything until she got out the hairdryer. He didn’t like that.

  • Saw this tweet about how the size of a highway interchange in in Houston is the same size as the city center of Siena, Italy (population 30k). Everything’s bigger in Texas, but some things are jut ridiculous.
  • I tried Yakisoba bread for the first time in all my years in Japan. I remembering seeing it for the first time in Nagoya in 2006 at the 7-11 near the language school I was studying at, but never thought to try it. It’s pretty good – but since it’s carbs on carbs, you still want some protein to fill you up.
  • I wrote an article about how to build environmentally sustainable digital products. There’s a lot more about this topic that I want to talk about and explore. It’s also something that most software engineers probably don’t think much about in their daily work, as energy efficiency is seen as a hardware issue.
  • Thinking about sustainability, I love the efforts like these off-grid solar powered websites. That might be offline part of the time goes against our fast-food-fast-fashion-always-on culture is so refreshing (albeit disappointing if it’s down when you want to access it). It’s like the Slow movement for micro-computers.
  • I saw this article about the results of Finland’s experiment with Universal Basic Income and it’s good to see that UBI doesn’t effect the willingness to work, as many detractors say.
  • Although it’s due to extenuating circumstances, Covid-cash is not dissimilar to an UBI experiment. While we are fortunate enough to have not been effected by the economic blowback (yet, who knows what the future brings 🤞🏻), it did bring a sense of security much like UBI.