Daily notes for 2023-06-29

ยท 1807 words ยท 9 minute read

More Himalayan ๐Ÿ”—

Evidently RE Himalayans have a widespread problem with parasitic drains owing to a few things, including weird wiring of the gear sensor. The net effect is batteries that get chewed through in a week of sitting. People do a bunch of things to address it, from finding third-party components to replace the factory stuff from RE, to rewiring the gear sensor, to even putting mechanical bypasses on the negative pole of their batteries. A battery tender is enough to help, too, though I sort of hate having one sitting out in the driveway.

There’s also a cheap dongle you can order from Hitchcocks to do the rewiring for you. I ordered one hoping it’ll address my Himalayan’s particular issues. If I’m to sell it, I’d like to say “no need for a constant tender!”

I also ordered an Antigravity battery. Those things are cool: They keep some reserve power back. When they sense drain on the battery taking it below its ability to start the bike, the battery shuts down. Press a button and it recharges the main cells enough for a couple of starts.

There’s a newer RE dealer up in St. John now, and I want to go up and talk to them. The service I got at the dealership I bought the bike from was pretty bad and sort of grudging. They had a real “if you wanted it to all work perfectly, why didn’t you spend more” attitude, which helped me realize that what they want to do is sell you a Harley, but it’s useful to them to have some RE’s sitting on the floor for when people come in and can’t countenance sixteen grand. There’s the RE for less than $7000 out the door, and the way motorcycle fever works is that you’ve rolled into that dealership ready buy something no matter what. (Well, not me – I got it all out of my system with my first 170cc scooter, and am probably on a local dealership blacklist for filling out quote forms then never returning calls.)

The “H” is for “Hideous.” Or “Horny.” Take your pick on what the “D” is for. ๐Ÿ”—

Trying to look up the price for a Harley Street Bob I ended up on the product page. Jesus Christ.

Raising a kid I was sensitized to the aspirational nature of children’s television/marketing. Like, was iCarly about teenage kids? Yes. But Nickelodeon didn’t think fifteen-year-olds were watching. It knew eleven-year-olds were watching. The ads told you what the real viewer demographic was.

Harley is doing this in reverse: The male model is “good-looking guy, a little salt and pepper in the beard.” The female model is younger. Plausibly-deniably younger. Not enough to be lurid. Not enough, in a marriage where decisions about things like motorcycles are made jointly, to trigger too much anxiety, and possibly even aspirational for the spouse who’s okay with a t-shirt that reads “If you can read this, my old lady fell off.”

It’s not marketing for 30-year-olds who aspire to be 45-year-olds. It’s marketing for 60-year-old men who aspire to much younger women. Wow it’s a fine line between “plausible deniability” and “feels icky.” The local Harley dealership where I got the Himalayan picks up the slack with a “Summer Solstice Bike Night” that includes a bikini bike wash. I guess that’s for the very rare instances where merely riding around atop your new Hog didn’t magnetically lasso an old lady onto the pillion. And if all they’re doing is rolling up to the bikini car wash a few times between June and August, it’s probably keeping the mortality rate down.

Obsidian Actions and Shortcuts ๐Ÿ”—

You can do a lot with the Obsidian URL scheme and Apple’s Shortcuts, but it’s a little less fiddly with Actions for Obsidian, which offers a bunch of Shortcuts actions that handle things like appending text to notes, making new notes, etc. I dusted off an old Shortcut I had that used the URL scheme and refactored it to work with Actions for Obsidian and it is much cleaner.

The workflow:

  • Pops up a dialog with all my appointments for the day
  • I check the appointments I want an entry for in my daily page
  • If there’s no daily page, the workflow creates it
  • Appends my appointments for the day to the Notes section of my daily page

I currently just have a simple template for those meetings:

# Meeting Name 

## What's the most important thing about this meeting?

## How do you want to show up? 

It’s at slight cross purposes with my static “Today” page, which I developed thinking I wasn’t going to do daily pages. During my layoff, daily pages and journal entries were sort of the same thing, and I was doing all my journaling in encrypted org-journal files. I decided to keep my journal in org-journal, where I have a safe space for writing whatever I want. Daily pages are a little more “look ahead and log things I don’t care about other people reading (much).” So, I think I’ll move some of my Today page templating into my daily pages so they become a record of activity: Notes and tasks created on that day and that loose “looking ahead” calendar forecast I automated.

Camera bags ๐Ÿ”—

Looks like Moment is coming for Peak Design. The product names are pointedly similar. I was briefly confused by the promo mail.

Because you can ๐Ÿ”—

I had an item for today’s post I decided wasn’t quite ready. Using org-mode to blog, I would have done a quick org-refile to move the heading into a drafts section where I can work on it later. But I’m writing in Markdown so that was off the table. I just made a file called drafts.md and committed it, then added the heading to it for later with good ol’ fashioned kill/yank.

But I did briefly think “oh, see … good reason to go back to org-mode for blogging.”

Except it’s not. It’s a terrible reason. I just counted how many keystrokes it took me to collapse a heading, kill it, switch buffers, and yank it. It was … not a lot? 10? How about an org-refile operation? Yes. Fewer for sure. About half as many. The not-org-refile approach incurs some cognitive load, I suppose. When I was blogging in an org-file monolith my refile target was the only choice for that file. The Markdown version requires me to remember that I bookmarked my drafts.md file.

Probably seems like a weird thing to care about, but when I think about how ADHD shows up for me, it often takes the form of trying to do everything quickly to get on to the next thing. But I’ve also got the hyperfocus thing going on, which finds a lot of expression in automation challenges I get lost in, trying to shave a few more seconds or keystrokes off a process. When everything is wired up to drive down friction, I don’t give myself time to think. I’m just moving. I end up living in either a closed off, hyperfocused space where I’m grinding out incremental improvements, or I’m flying along the treetops.

It’s about the thing I’m doing with the Obsidian/Things division of labor. I wrote about this a few days ago when I mentioned the way I’m blending todos into my note text, but only long enough to leave a reminder to myself to go back and turn something into a real action in my system of record for todos. I think it’s bad for me to have everything in the same system, because the less friction there is to record and remember, the more stuff just gets shoved into what eventually becomes an old shoebox full of receipts with purple crayon scribbles and grease stains.

Today, for instance, I had five meetings. Three of them produced things that I needed to remember to do later. I dropped todos into the text as I was taking notes. At the end of the day, I went to my Today page and looked at the Todo section, dynamically created from todos in any notes dated today. A few were “just do it now” sorts of things that I knocked out before they could even hit Things. A few, it was helpful to jump back to the note to see things like “why did he tell me to ping Felix?” A few, it was helpful to write a more thoughtful plan in Things (and drop the Obsidian URL in to link back to the more complete notes).

There is some friction in that workflow. It does require a “clear the decks” item on my daily calendar at the end of the day so I can make sure to go back and consolidate. I feel a lot more composed and certain of the quality of the things I’m actually putting into my todo system, though, when I have those liminal tasks to go back to, reconsider, and rewrite after revisiting their context.

This is not, I guess I should add, something unique to Obsidian. You could do this in any of the org-mode using tools, or any plaintext system where there’s an easy way to create TODOs and find them later. Obsidian’s dataviews and Tasks plugin makes it easy. org-mode similarly can do it with agenda views, Denote dynamic blocks, etc. The value is in slowing down, stopping the high-speed accumulation of stuff that’s stripped of context and crammed into a digital shoebox, and providing pointers back to useful context for when the time comes to turn a quickly jotted todo into a meaningful action.

You don’t even, I suppose, have to spread it out over multiple apps. But I do find that the act of putting Obsidian and Things side-by side and having to transpose prose to lists is a useful exercise. It’s a bit of deliberation and rethinking that’s clarifying.

Comments ๐Ÿ”—

… I’d love to add ’em, and I was looking at some recipes for doing it using Mastodon, but half the examples led to 404s, one of them swore to god it was working then said it wasn’t and then said it was, and was also leading to 404s. Not enough time in the day. The ones that did work had a very awkward, high-friction energy to them.

Given that I push posts out over one channel, and that almost all my inbound traffic is coming in from Mastodon people, I’d be happy for just the part where you can visit an announcement post. But that part seems to be harder than it needs to be given the federation stuff.

Not enough time in the day to worry about this stuff. Definitely do not want to pay anyone. Definitely not interested in sticking Disqus in there. Think I’ll table it.