Miklb's Mindless Ramblings

chronicling life in a digital world

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New but Not New Laptop

My late 2010 Macbook Air had run out of hard drive space. It was a never ending battle to find space, constantly cleaning caches and removing large, mostly unused apps. Something had to give. Then on Twitter, an internet friend @jptoto mentioned he was adding an SSD drive to his MacMini. When I looked at OWC, where he linked to, I discovered there was an option to upgrading the SSD in my Air. I have no complaints about the 4 year old Air, other than the regret I didn’t get a larger SSD drive to begin with. Buying a new laptop was not in my budget, and save for more RAM and faster processor, which I don’t really need, didn’t make sense. If Retina display was an option for an 11” Air, I might have rethought the option.

Once I decided that I was going to upgrade the SSD hard drive in my Macbook Air, I had to decide how I was going to go about setting it back up after the upgrade. The instructions on OWC walks through migrating your old content back via the enclosure as part of the kit I purchased . However, after 4 years, I was ready for a clean start.

I had to decide how I was going to back everything up. Well, I already have all important files/data backed up, but I needed to run through what I was doing to make sure my bases were covered. First, I use iCloud for all of my contacts, calendars, Safari day-to-day bookmarks (I use Pinboard for most of my bookmarks) and surprisingly more and more app data. Second, I use Dropbox religiously, so all of my text notes are synced inside Dropbox (as well as with SimpleNote). Additionally, all of my work files are saved into Dropbox, as well as other misc files. I may revisit my organization of Dropbox once I have the extra 180 GB of data on my laptop to work with.

From there, I use 1Password for all of my, well, passwords, but also software licenses that are not bought through the App Store. Which is another is another method of backing up software these days. It really is a convenient way of having your apps just there. I followed that up with a full backup using SuperDuper. And not to be outdone, I did a Time Machine backup to an external hard drive.

The result? Complete success. I did a clean install of Lion, loaded up the App Store and upgraded to Mavericks. Easily added my iCloud credentials, downloaded Dropbox (I did have to reference that password via my iPhone which also has 1Password installed. I needed Dropbox to load my 1Password keychain.) After Mavericks, again using the App Store downloaded said 1Password and selectively installing apps I know I’ve been using. It is easy enough to go back and add one already purchased when needed, but the goal was to start clean. There were a few things I didn’t think about directly such as ssh keys for Github/Bitbucket and my VPS, but since I had redundant backups of my entire system, I simply copied those over to my home directory. Certainly I could have generated new keys, but this was obviously easier. I also had to copy over my Hazel license, as I do not use the email address it was registered under, but I had already looked into that prior to the upgrade.

So far it has been liberating starting clean, as I was carrying over more than 4 years of cruft from this Air; I migrated the user account over from the Powerbook I upgraded from. I am looking to use this momentum to carry over to other areas of my technology world, most specifically in my task management. I tried to be an Omnifocus convert (from being a half-assed Things user), but the delays in a desktop update slowed my enthusiasm for the suite of apps to the point I wasn’t using it any longer anyway. Perhaps the beta will drop soon and I can revisit it, but I’m now looking at some of the Task Paper options on the table.

The one area I am still on the fence on is for development. I thought I’d use Vagrant and Virtualbox, but the closer I looked into it, the more I wasn’t sure I really needed to get that deep. I hack for fun now (mostly, I do have a company website I’m building), and MAMP really does cover my local development needs. I can always play with Vagrant at a later date, if for instance I really wanted a local dev environment to match my VPS. But for general hacking, and to get down to it, I’m thinking I’m sticking with MAMP for now.

If you can’t do a clean install of your computer, I highly recommend a strong spring cleaning. It just might get you focused on other aspects of your life.

Grand Ole Opry

I didn’t grow up listening to the show, but I did listen to enough AM country growing up traveling around the country and out and about with my father to have a deep appreciation for what it meant to those who did. Visiting the Opry is still on my bucket list.

It appears the Opry house in its current incarnation turns 40 this month, and Garden & Gun’s article Lordy, Lordy, the Opry’s 40! has a few quotes from artists who’ve performed there over the years. My favorite is from Ricky Skaggs.

“I used to go to sleep on my grandfather’s lap, listening to the Grand Ole Opry in his Ford pickup truck out by the barn. The sound would come and go up in those Kentucky mountains, but when it would come back in, it was the greatest sound in the world.”

Perhaps the reference to sleeping on his grandfather’s lap as the music came and went is what struck me, as I my earliest memories of music were with my head asleep on dad’s lap as we drove across country.

I Choose to…

I’ve long been a fan of David Seah, but something he wrote today really resonated with me in relation to getting things done.

I was armed with a new insight from The Now Habit: say “I choose” instead of “I have to”. When I say “I choose”, I am putting myself in charge of MY OWN MISSION and rising above whatever primordial slug-like fears lurk in the darkest recesses of my psyche.

I often recall a similar exercise a wise man shared with me. He handed me a tennis ball and asked me to “try” and throw it. I easily tossed it across the room. He retrieved the ball and handed it back to me. He said, “no, try and throw it.”

At this point I was confused. I just had. So I threw the ball with a bit more force. His response was the same. Finally, he told me, “you either throw it or you don’t. There is no in between. The next time you say ‘I am trying’, remember the ball.”

This was all in response to a conversation about me saying I was trying to be a better boss/boyfriend/person.

Tomorrow I will choose to be a better partner/boyfriend/person.

Use Pythonista to Get Weather of Current Location into Drafts App

My quest began when I began using Drafts app (among many other ways) to keep a fishing log. I created a TextExpander fill-in snippet to quickly enter what (if anything) was caught, the date, the type of lure(s) used, etc. I really wanted to automate adding the weather conditions as well, but alas, my search for that solution turned up nothing…until yesterday.

It started when @drdrang shared a Pythonista script to leverage the location inside iOS. Later he shared another version, from @hiilppp.

Armed with that knowledge and a rudimentary knowledge of the forecast.io API, I set off to steal crib some Python usage of their API. Enter @jayhickey and his PySky script. While written for the v1 Dark Skies API, it gave me enough Python to convert to the new v2 of Forecast.io.

The result?

original gist

This version simply grabs the current weather summary and temperature from your current location, meant to be used with @draftsapp as a URL action pythonista://py_forecast?action=run&argv=[[draft]]. Dr. Drang suggests using New From Gist, however I had better success using iOctocat. There is an “open in…” dialog when viewing your gists or starred gists, and pick Pythonista.

Certainly for my fishing log I am expanding on this to include wind, sunrise and set times as well as the recently added moon phase. I figured a more generic version would be best shared, but please do not hesitate to leave a comment or ask me a question on Twitter @miklb. I’ll do my best to help, as I’m indebted to the aforementioned gents for sharing their code and helping in the first place.

How NOT to make Risotto

First, let me say, I love reading NOLA.com’s food section. I subscribe to their very popular feed, and enjoy even the articles about regional events that I know I have no chance of participating in. That said, they posted an article yesterday on cooking risotto in a pressure cooker to provide “hands free time”, and a quicker cook time. That is all well and good, but please, do not call it risotto. The whole purpose of slowing cooking risotto by slowing adding in warm stock and stirring is to coax the starches out of the rice to create the creaminess. If you want short grain rice full of butter and cheese to imitate true risotto (probably what most people are familiar with in restaurants), then call it mock risotto or creamy rice. But do not bastardize a dish and try and pass it off as the real McCoy.