• I turned 35. πŸŽ‚πŸ₯³ 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.

The title says it all, doesn’t it? Patagonia has been putting these great tags on some of their shorts that read “Vote the Assholes Out”, to encourage people to vote out the climate change deniers that are in office. They’re not saying vote liberal or conservative. Just to vote the assholes out.

I love seeing simple and clear advocacy like this from Patagonia. I wish more companies could find the courage to do it too.

I’ve sent in my ballot to do my part to end the madness, have you?

New running shoes came in today for my early birthday present. Also my first low-carbon footprint shoe at 9kg, about 3.5kg less than average and is offset by Allbirds themselves.

Hinomaru is a Japan exclusive color combo, so had to go for it.

  • 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 watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix. Much of the information presented I already knew – big tech mines all of our personal data and manipulates us to increase screen time in whichever way they can.

The movie itself has a story in-between the interview clips that help demonstrate the effects that social media (and cellphones) enable within a family. In one scene the son’s cellphone’s screen’s cracks and the mom says that she’ll replace it if he can not use his phone for a week, since, as he says “it’s no big deal”.

The algorithms notice his usage has changed, i.e. stopped, analyze that similar people in his area haven’t changed their usage and start a “reactivation” sequence, to suck him back in. To tempt him to open the app they find a recent event that will entice him back in and, like a drug addict, he’s back.

It reminds me of the seemingly random push notifications I get from instagram when I haven’t used the app in a few days. Nothing is random with social media, but it didn’t occur to me that they were trying to “reactivate” me and just how slimy that is. There’s no regard for the “user” – only their advertisers, which is their real user.

Most of all, watching The Social Dilemma makes me grateful for the indie web, communities like micro.blog, and apps like Sunlit that allow social media without algorithms without manipulation for advertisers, powered (more or less) by RSS and other open standards.

Excited to read my new books from Stripe Press. Hard cover feels so nice. Typesetting an entire book in a sans-serifs less so. But either way πŸ‘πŸ“š