James Koole

Working From Deck

Now that the "good" weather is here in Toronto, I'm looking forward to working from the deck again for a few months. I got into the habit of working outside on our back deck a couple of summers ago and it was a game changer for my mood and also for productivity.

If the temperature is anywhere between about 18ºC and 32ºC, our backyard deck is a great place to be. The sun shines down on it most of the day and a big umbrella keeps me in the shade when needed.

Last year I added a 15" portable LCD monitor to the setup which worked really well. I have a 13" M2 MacBook Pro from work so some additional screen real estate for an Excel sheet or a Confluence doc is great. I might watch for a 4k one and upgrade this year since the one I have was cheap and just 1080P.

The other change for this year is a new bistro table and a pair of folding chairs. I've been sitting on our outdoor sectional which is comfortable, but not all that ergonomic. The bistro table and chair is going to be another option that I hope makes things a bit better. We'll see!

Total Eclipse Viewed ✅

We were near Niagara Falls, ON today and when it became clear the clouds wouldn't clear where we were, we hopped in the car and drove towards the brightest area of the sky. We found a small patch of blue skies and then literally drove in that until a minute before totality.

Mission accomplished! We saw the eclipse through the smallest little opening in the clouds which lasted just long enough to see the totality. Amazing.

The sun during totality with grey clouds in front.

Fedi-Threads

Threads took another step towards full support for the fediverse recently. Threads users in some countries (including Canada) can now enable Fediverse sharing of their posts.

What does this mean? A Threads user can now opt in to allow users of Mastodon to follow them from Mastodon. I can follow a Threads user from my Mastodon account and see their posts in my Mastodon feed.

This is big. As of today, there are some big Threads accounts that have enabled federation. That includes The Whitehouse and the President of the United States. Notion and Arc Browser have Threads accounts that can now be followed from Mastodon.

What's next? Well, hopefully more accounts will enable federation. If you are on Mastodon and have a Threads account as well, encourage your Threads friends and big accounts on Threads to enable the feature.

Right now the connection is very much one-way. Mastodon users can follow Threads users, but it doesn't yet work the other way around. Mastodon "likes" on Threads posts do make it back to Threads, but just as an aggregated count. There's not yet a way to reply and have the Threads user see those replies.

I'm excited for this both from a Mastodon and Fediverse perspective, but also from a Threads perspective. Being able to follow users on Threads using Mastodon is great. They can use the platform of their choice and I can use the one I like. It's win-win.

2024 Tech CRUD

The start of a new year is always a good time to evaluate some of the tech and services I use. In APIs, there's an acronym CRUD - create, read, update, delete - and for me, that means I added something new (create), thought about something I am using and stuck with it (read), changed from one thing to another (update), or stopped using something (delete). Here's some of the CRUD done over the last few weeks:

Social:

Services:

Other:

App Defaults

I made an "app defaults" list as well which lists some of the apps and services I use. That's on my omg.lol-powered homepage if you want to check it out.

Becoming a Weird Coffee Person

I received a very nice coffee grinder for Christmas this year. Specifically, Santa brought me a Fellow Ode Gen 2 which does a really good job grinding beans for filter coffee brewing like AeroPress, moka pot, V60, and French press. It doesn't grind fine enough for espresso, but I also don't own an espresso machine so a grinder that is aimed at the type of brewing I'm doing is a better choice.

The first few cups with the Ode revealed that your grinder has a lot to do with how your cup of coffee tastes. I ground the same coffee beans I've been enjoying for the last few months (Detour Decaf Gaurapo) and made a cup of coffee with the same ratio of 12gms coffee to 240gms water in the AeroPress. I ground at 3.1 on the Ode Gen 2.

The result? There was a distinct sweetness in the cup with the Ode grinder compared to the grinder I was using before (a cheap and annoying piece of junk from Amazon). The tasting notes on the bag suggested red grape, salted caramel and almond. With the old grinder, there was no taste of the grape and a faint suggestion of caramel in the cup.

With the Ode, the sweet and tangy grape was very evident and there was a big difference in what I'll call the "brightness" of the cup. It was such a different cup of coffee and far more interesting and delicious.

It will be fun to play with grind fineness, time, dose and all the other things that add up to create a good cup of coffee. Still on my "wish list" is a better scale, a precision kettle and perhaps a Hario V60 Switch.