New Masking Tools in Adobe Lightroom

November 14, 2021

Maybe I’ve been living in the stone ages, but up until yesterday I’ve used the brush tool in Adobe Lightroom to make selective edits to photos. Take this photo for example:

Two people on a pedestrian bridge

These are some really cool people, by the way.

It was taken during golden hour – lovely! But the sky feels a little gray. Normally I would whip out my brush tool and, like a caveman, begin a vain effort to select the sky by hand.

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Jony Ive’s Letter

October 6, 2021

Ive, writing on the 10th anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death:

As thoughts grew into ideas, how­ever ten­ta­tive, how­ever frag­ile, he rec­og­nized that this was hal­lowed ground. He had such a deep un­der­stand­ing and rev­er­ence for the cre­ative process. He un­der­stood cre­at­ing should be af­forded rare re­spect—not only when the ideas were good or the cir­cum-stances con­ve­nient.

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Hiking Hidden Lake Trail, Glacier National Park

May 16, 2021

I wanted to share photos from one more hike at Glacier National Park (taken during a trip last September). Like the Highline Trail hike, we got an early start from Logan Pass (about an hour’s drive from the park entrance).

Early morning hiking in the dark

It's dark.

When we stopped to turn around, we were greeted with a brilliant orange that cascaded through the landscape.

A group of hikers watching a sunrise

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Hiking Highline Trail, Glacier National Park

May 12, 2021

Last September, some friends and I made the long-haul drive from Wisconsin to the far side of Glacier National Park. (The East side was closed due to COVID restrictions.) While there’s an album full of images, I wanted to share a few of my favorites from our hike on Highline Trail.

Highline Trail spans 15.2 miles round-trip, with a steep side trail that cost us an additional 2.4 miles (more on that later).

We started the journey around 6am at Logan Pass, where we were greeted with violent winds that nearly knocked us over.

Side note: The pit toilets at Logan Pass had a shared reservoir. Pressure changes in the reservoir (due to the wind) caused strong gusts of air to blast upwards from the toilet. It was a rather unpleasant experience for the user.

We started early on the trail, as common wisdom had it that the Logan Pass parking lot fills by 7am. (If you plan on hiking the full 17.6, you’ll need to start this early anyway.)

The trail greets you with a ledge, as well as a thick cord to hang on (to make sure you’re awake, of course). Luckily, after this, the majority of the trail is smooth-sailing.

Highline trail early in the morning

This is not a photo of the ledge, you can find that in the full album. I’m just posting the pretty photos.

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Prediction for the iMac at Tuesday’s Apple Event

April 18, 2021

Prediction: Apple’s product event on Tuesday will feature the new, re-designed Apple Silicon iMac. It will be a 24”-ish model to replace the 21.5”, and will be powered by the M1. No new chips will be announced.

Here are my reasons!

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Snowy Landscape

February 6, 2021

Another photo of the snowy landscape outside our home.

Wisconsin snowfall at sunset

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Asahi Linux

January 6, 2021

Hector Martin “marcan“ is building Linux for Apple Silicon Macs. To me, the most impressive part is reverse-engineering Apple's hardware with zero documentation or help from Apple.

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January 3, 2021

Yup, just a photo of the driveway at golden hour. Living back home in Wisconsin has been a silver lining of the remote-work-pandemic world.

Wisconsin snowfall at golden hour

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Shoveling Snow and Testing iPhone’s Night Mode

January 2, 2021

I’m always surprised by how much I’m able to suppress. The mind needs space to breath, let things rise to the surface, and be creative. Sometimes it needs freedom from podcasts, work, and endlessly scrolling feeds.

A few hours of shoveling a Wisconsin driveway does the trick! This was also an opportunity to test my iPhone mini’s “Night Mode” photography. This is the road just outside our home:

Road covered in snow at night

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AWS Announces Mac Instances

December 1, 2020

I’ve long been a fan of MacStadium — a company that provides a cloud service based on macOS.

They’re about to get a run for their money — AWS just announced EC2 Mac Instances. Is there any other cloud provider doing this? Or is AWS the first aside from MacStadium? Either way, it’s neat. It’s also kind of funny to think about a rack of Mac Minis hanging out in us-east-1.

Here’s another article with more info.

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One More Thing

November 7, 2020

Recently, Apple announced their final event for the year, titled “One more thing”.

“One more thing”, the famous line, hearkens to a generational (as opposed to incremental) moment in a product’s life. And if you’re a fan of the Mac, you know exactly how exciting this moment is.

It feels like Apple is catapulting the Mac into a new era with Apple Silicon. While I’m sure power and performance gains will steal the show, this is also about executing Apple’s belief in building fully integrated machines: hardware and software tightly bound, from squircles to silicon.

Who knows what possibilities this will open?

It’s also about harmonizing Apple’s platforms. As announced at WWDC, these Macs will be capable of running all iOS apps by default. The Mac essentially becomes a superset of iOS!

How freaking exciting.

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Nova by Panic

September 24, 2020

From the homepage of Nova, a new code editor for macOS created by Panic:

If we're being honest, Mac apps are a bit of a lost art. There are great reasons to make cross-platform apps — to start, they're cross-platform — but it's just not who we are. Founded as a Mac software company in 1997, our joy at Panic comes from building things that feel truly, well, Mac-like. Long ago, we created Coda, an all-in-one Mac web editor that broke new ground. But when we started work on Nova, we looked at where the web was today, and where we needed to be. It was time for a fresh start.

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Playing With Pixel Sorting

September 21, 2020

A few years back I wrote a small program to “pixel sort”, or rearrange the pixels of an image to create surreal distortions. This is a photo of a dancer, taken when I was in college:

Dancer distorted with pixel sorting

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ARM Mac Predictions

June 15, 2020

We are weeks from WWDC, where we will presumably see a long-awaited tectonic-shift for the Mac.

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State Street, Madison

June 15, 2020

Dozens of murals grace the lengths of State Street today in Madison Wisconsin (a place very close to my heart). Here are two photos from my walk – my only regret is not taking more:

Mural on State Street in Madison

(Artist: @blckslimshady)

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April 5, 2020

I’m up late, and I’m making scrambled eggs because that’s what I have left in the fridge.

Here’s a foggy sunset in my neighborhood; this was on my way to the grocery store a few days back. I’ll need to go back in the morning.

Sidewalk in Chicago with fog

It’s not as apocalyptic as it looks of course – just apt timing for the photo. The following afternoon was sunny, with plenty of folk playing/walking/running in the park (with a safe distance between them).

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Lake Michigan This Evening

March 4, 2020

Lake Michigan at sunset

Just a nice photo of Lake Michigan this evening. Nothing special – hope you enjoy.

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Lyft Conversations: John McAfee

February 1, 2020

My Lyft driver, a few weeks ago, paraphrased:

“In order for society to work, people have to act a certain way. There’s a norm, there’s behavior we consider normal, you know? There are expectations.

“You are young, so I expect something different from you than someone who is older. But you are educated, yes? Then I expect you to speak as an educated person in society.

“Someone who is older, well, we expect wisdom from them.


“But.. John McAfee? That crazy man, you know what he said? He said if Bitcoin doesn’t reach $1 million by 2020, he will cut off his dick and eat it on television. Nobody was asking for that! Everybody said, ‘you’re crazy man’. Then he says, ‘if Bitcoin doesn’t reach $2 million by 2020, I will cut off my dick and eat it on television!’

“He’s out on the edge, and you just can’t do that man. I mean, he does security for Microsoft – you just can’t be doing that.”

(Later on, we are driving by construction workers in the bitter cold.)

“That’s what I love about this place, people work hard, and they do their work. That’s the spirit of these people [here in Chicago].

“I’m an accountant, and I drive on the weekends, that’s what we do, we don’t sit around.

“I also own 1.5 bitcoin. It’s going to be huge.”

Five stars.

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A Small Handful of Mac Apps

July 5, 2019

I freaking love macOS. I joined the club when cat names were cool. My first Mac was a Mac mini rocking Mountain Lion.

Apple’s WWDC19 revealed a glimpse into the future of building software for macOS. No longer will it be siloed with its own UI framework. Instead, apps can be composed with UIKit and SwiftUI, neither of which is Mac-only.

As someone that loves a good native Mac app, the future of the platform looks bright.

Before Apple opens the floodgates with the release of Catalina, I wanted to share my list of beloved Mac apps that are here and now.

macOS app icons

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Push Your Shoes Down the Stairs

November 10, 2015

Abstract cave artwork

I was sitting in a large open stairwell, with gaps beneath each stair that led to the lobby area below. I work as a leader at a children’s summer camp, and right now we’re in what we call “small group time”. I’m sitting in this stairwell with several other kids (think 8 to 11 years old) discussing what we learned today.

Clearly bored with the discussion, one kid decides to push objects through the opening in the stairs, sending them plummeting into the lobby below.

The first object he chooses is his own shoe.

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