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A personal micro blog by mac56k

From Wikipedia:

A Nantucket sleighride is the dragging of a whaleboat by a harpooned whale while whaling.

Nantucket sleighride

I’ve been in the whaleboat for two years. That’s a long time to be dragged by a whale.

I took this job at a bank two years ago. I’m a bank teller. It’s pretty cool, because I wanted to work in personal finance for a number of years before I got the job. But let’s face it – it’s not really a personal finance job. It’s customer service; which is a good way to get a foot in the door for someone with no background in personal finance other than reading The Wealthy Barber Returns and Stop Over-Thinking Your Money.

I stuck my harpoon in this whale of a job, and it took me for a ride. I’ve been stressed out for most of it. You know, imposter syndrome and everything else that comes with it. Customer service in a bank has to be efficient, and this is my first customer service job. Whenever I see people in line, I get stressed out. I start doing my job way too fast to try and please everyone, and I inevitably end up making a mistake, which takes even longer to fix. I have trouble getting a good rhythm going, but I think knowing that is helpful in itself and will help me find a good balance going forward.

And you know what? I like this job. I love my co-workers, I love the city, I love the benefits, I love a lot of my clients. The only barrier to loving the job is me. I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect at what I do, and that’s exactly how to set yourself up for disappointment every time. I need to learn how to tame the whale, if you will.

And this is where I realize that the whale was me all along... I harpooned myself!

There was a great post yesterday on A blog of yet another quirky guy out there titled Why do I write pseudo-anonymously?

They write:

I have decided to avoid doing things to get more eyeballs. Write down thoughts and feelings help me to understand them better, to clarify my ideas. I'm aware that what I write is not relevant for most people. Still, I made this blog public in case someone out there find it useful; that's it.

Yep, that is it. This is going to sound cliché, but I made this blog for myself first and foremost. In fact, one of the major ways I was turned off social media was the familiarity of faces and ideas. Every time I opened Instagram, I knew I was going to see some variation of the same ideas, the same feelings, the same faces, and the same streets. I think it made me feel claustrophobic, like a Google algorithm that tailors everything based on what you already know, rather than what you would love to learn. This platform allows me to peek from inside my online prison and out into the world.

That’s it. Thanks to anotherquirkyone for the inspiration.

The ever excellent @nathanwpyle with a great Opening Day comic from his Strange Planet series.

Tomorrow begins a new Major League Baseball season. I like baseball a lot. I love to watch it, and I love to play it (but I’m not very good at it). However, I think what makes me most enthralled by baseball are the colors. Green fields, blue skies, and sick unis.

I love when the colors pop on a baseball jersey. Like the Oakland A’s: they’ve always had a strong uni game. But in my mind, the Montreal Expos are the historical baseball uniform champions.

If you’re interested in baseball accoutrements, check out Uni Watch and their annual MLB season preview, as well as the Baseball Hall of Fame’s uniform database.

Low-tech Magazine is not only a great read, but also an interesting website in that it is solar-powered and goes “off-line during longer periods of cloudy weather”. There is good reason for making a site this way, as you will see on the about page.

If you want to sample it, I suggest reading How and why I stopped buying new laptops.

Ever since I deleted all my social media accounts about two years ago, I haven’t felt compelled to take pictures. It’s a bummer because my iPhone 11 has an amazing camera. It’s even more of a bummer because the past two years of my life have not been documented as much as they should have been.

I recently realized that photos are important. I have spent so much of my life in my bedroom being sad, and I wish I had more pictures of the happy times. That’s going to change from now on, as I have rediscovered my favorite photo-sharing app: Photos.

It’s not a social media app, sure, but it allows me to share my pictures with people I care about – my girlfriend and my mom. I went ahead and created two shared photo albums in Photos: Family Album, and Cat. I had to separate the cat out of the family album, otherwise it would be 90% cat. Shared albums are nothing new, but it’s an easy way to replicate the traditional photo album families would have in their home. I simply pick the photos that are of interest to my family, and add them to the album so we all have access to them at all times. They can do the same – which is neat because we don’t have to ask to see each others’ phones anymore.

I think this is a good alternative to sharing photos on social media, because those apps warp the way I think about shooting photos – it’s a race to go viral, even if just among my circle of friends. Instead of looking at my pictures for the people that are on them and the moment that they represent in my life, I would look at them for the likes. When a picture didn’t get a lot of likes, I would wonder if something was wrong with the editing or the way I shot it. Maybe it wasn’t interesting or funny. It used to stress me out, to a certain extent.

I enjoy looking at photos now. It’s a lot of fun searching by month, place, or person, and looking through a series of photos with my family. People on the internet truly do not need to see most of the pictures I used to post there. When a picture is relevant to a certain person now, I will simply share it with them privately through Messages. I stopped worrying about the editing or the way it looks – what's important to me now is to simply have the photo. Most of the time, the iPhone takes an amazing picture anyway, and it doesn't stop me from editing some of them when I feel like it. My pictures are not a source of distraction and notifications anymore – my pictures have become pictures again.

I love nerds – and not just computer nerds. Not nerds as in “I'm good at math”. Nerds as in “I know a lot about this topic and I will passionately talk about it at great length.” I could listen to nerds talk for hours. I just love the enthusiasm.

As we just reached the 20th anniversary of Mac OS X, I thought I would talk about two of my favorite Mac nerds, John Siracusa and Stephen Hackett.

John Siracusa was the authority on Mac OS X reviews for 15 years over on Ars Technica. He didn't write anything to commemorate the anniversary this time, but here is a link to all his reviews and retrospectives from back in the day.

Stephen Hackett is a vintage Mac, iPod, and Apple gadget collector. He posted a bunch of links to Mac OS X material on the date of the anniversary, including the most recent episode of the excellent Mac Power Users podcast, where they revisit Mac OS X's origins and entire history.

I will post about more nerds in the future!

It seems asinine to me that email has not evolved beyond what it is right now. It's trapped in the past, like a language refusing to adapt to modern jargon.

Have a look through any modern email service's settings. It's a mess. Nothing is fun about email. It looks way too serious, like an office. Instant messaging has gone from AIM to Discord, while email evolution has stopped at Gmail. More modern services like hey.com try to reinvent email, but all they do is cram it with more features that make you spend more time in email. I do not want to spend more time there, it's terrible. Most email I get, I do not want to read anyway.

The usability of email is horrible. Archive, or delete? Reply, or reply all? Compose new, or forward? To, or cc? Most people still do not know how to use or differentiate the basic functions, let alone the thousand other settings. Trust me, I work for a 1000+ employee company. People do not know how to use that stuff.

It made sense 40 years ago to mould email around regular ol' mail (it stands for electronic mail after all), but (almost) nobody born in the last three decades regularly sends letters through the post. The fact that email newsletters are having resurgence is a tragedy, because an email client is not the place to read stuff for fun. It was supposed to be a convenient replacement for social media, I suppose, but this is not it.

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