Using a Windows 10 machine at work – Alfred App devs listen up!

At our new Creatus site we’re using Windows 10 machines.

I’m happy to say that some software works a little better on Windows than on Mac OS Sierra (the last one I was using before I turned in my MacBook Pro). 

Here’s the thing: I want to use a Mac at work.  Not because it is better or prettier or just works.  In honesty.  My Macbook Pro was (2015, 128 GB, 16 GB RAM) was a lemon.  It found every reason to crash or freeze after sleeping.  Yes Apple Care, blah, blah.  I needed a production computer to keep my workflow going.  My personal machine, a Macbook Air (2013, 11″), a cheaper, less premium computer was stellar and a pleasure to use. 

Yes …

Alfred app.  Alfred app is a launcher, searcher, short-cutter, clip-board remembering, Swiss army knife of everything we do at our computers everyday.  It also has dozens of plugins or workflows that expand its utility. Let’s say I order primers.  I can highlight and copy the order number then with a shortcut of my choosing I can generate an email to a colleague referencing the order, order number and date on which said order is placed.  Sounds trivial but do that over and over and you appreciate automation of things that are important but not critical.

Andrew, Vero (the devs) please consider bringing your software incredibly useful piece of software to Windows.  I know it won’t be easy but there is a demand.  Consider me your first order, I would gladly buy the power pack again for Windows and I know others that would do the same. 

Kettlebell II

Welcome heavy Russian friend. 

I graduated to this kettlebell size up from 14 kg / 31 lbs

53 lbs of hurt.

I started kb swinging on April 5th 2017.  On September 17th 2017 I moved up to the 53 pounder.  Oddly to me:  I can do single handed swings with the 31 lbs bell; two handed 53 lbs kettle bell swings are markedly harder than the former.  I suppose this has to do with the change in size (in addition to mass).  I am putting the smaller of the kettle bells to good use doing ‘get-ups.’

 
Note:  She is doing get ups with about 1/2 of her body mass! Incredible.  

Kenny Rogers sing along

Megan and I have been without the twins for sometime.  They are in Ontario on the first of what we hope is their annual extended family getaway.

We were talking about some of the odd happenings over the past eight weeks.  It seems like planning gets you only so far and stochasticity makes up the rest of a situation.

She quoted Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler.  “You’ve got know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.  We enjoyed a three minute sing along in the car on the way to work, singing badly at the top of our lungs, while I stomped the floor boards of the car for bass.  I’m starting to see where my pillars are and I know they can bear considerable weight.

I ran 1 km yesterday

I tried to run again.  The last time I attempted this was 48 lbs ago and with terrible orthotics.  I am not the guy that used to run when I was a high schooler.

I felt like my knees were going to buckle.  Thankfully, carrying less weight made this very short run around my neighbourhood more pleasant for my knees and back.

I’m not sure as to whether I’ll try and extend the running.  I am waiting for new orthotics which may or may not change the feeling running has on my knees.

Bentley died today

 Bentley, Megan’s cat, died today.  He turned 14 years old last month.

Bentley: 2003-2017

Ben had pancreatitis.  He beat Feline panleukopenia at a few weeks old.  His odds were terrible and yet he lived on to old age.  5 years ago, around the time my twins were born, he developed kidney stones and diabetes.  The stones were removed surgically.  The diabetes went into remission after we switched his kibble/cereal-like dry food (branded) for wet ‘meat’ food (Fancy Feast).  It was an expensive intervention but worthwhile.

He hated my kids.  In fact, he would hide from them until he detected silence after they fell asleep.

They loved him.  To them he was the non-human life form that behaved in an odd manner.  Ben was the little brown-tabby blur that raced to eat from his bowl and hide from them again, usually in our closet.  Just last weekend he was playing with a pipe-cleaner doodad one of the twins made.  He played as he played when he was a kitten.

They wondered about his death.  They cried.  It is scary learning that your carefree kids are sentient beings with feelings and attachments.  It makes them appear more fragile.  Perhaps this hones that protective instinct of parents?  I’m proud they appreciate life.

I didn’t always like Ben.  He ruined many of my shoes by filling them with urine (as well as sandals and the occasional sweater).  I surprised myself when I cried at his death.  It’s hard to know any being for so long and not make a connection.  Megan is crushed.  She’s using her phone to medicate by idol internet surfing.  I can’t blame her for not wanting to feel low and sad.

Bentley trying to get pizza.

Give this dev your money: Contexts !

Finally.  Someone developed a command-tab replacement that works perfectly with internal and external keyboards and with multiple displays.  I love Contexts.app.

I don’t even use my dock anymore.  I can command-tab and select a program by number or letter search (Sa for Safari).  I haven’t figured out the double digits on the left half of the window but I’m sure it will come to me.

If you have many windows on multiple desktops you owe yourself this time and energy saver.
They also have a 21 day free trial (as of May 26 2017).

https://contexts.co

Alien Covenant is the worst of the Alien movies

Alien Covenant is a movie I wanted to see very badly.  Since the appearance of the terra-bioforming “engineer” race I was excited for the possibilities of the story.  I went this week with Meg.  What a putrid piece of work.  I am admittedly physics ignorant so I will not touch on the physics.  I will make some comments about logic and biology.  Spoilers ahead.  If you can’t figure out the plot of Alien covenant in 30 minutes please contact me in order to buy some magic beans.

Logic.

Logic or lack there of.  You have 2000 colonists, scores of human embryos (assumed acquired by donation), a 15 person crew, and the hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure required for an intergalactic colonization mission.  You have a seven year long trip to the destination planet Origae-6.  After a single near cataclysmic solar storm causing structural damage to your spaceship, death of the original captain and disruption of the intergalactic journey a new captain chosen.  The captain is an idiot.  But it would seem that in the year 2104 astronauts are all stupid (more on that later).  The captain chooses to bypass the mission to Origae-6 by visiting a seemingly perfect planet that was never detected in a survey of the galaxy.  This perfect planet is beaming a transmission of John Denver’s Take me home, country roads.  Protocols are established for good reason.  Space travel has narrow tolerances with respect to decision making:  Energy, food, crew safety, route etc.  Many things can go wrong in a well planned mission designed by many scientists and engineers.  Yet, the captain decides to check this transmission out.  Just decides to stop as though he were on a road trip and craved coffee.  More puzzling, the atmosphere of the planet is stormy and the astronauts are so told by their on board computer “Mother.”  The captain goes against this information as well.  He has ‘faith’ he tells Daniels.  Daniels is the only crew member with enough sense to call out the captain’s idiocy.  Kudos to Ridley Scott for letting her survive the captain’s epic idiocy. 

They arrive at this planet (John Denver planet) and take a smaller crew carrying shuttle to launch an expedition to trace the origin of Take me home, country roads.  The sentient android, Walter, informs the captain that they have a 7-8 kilometer hike through hilly terrain (they land their shuttle in a valley surrounded by mountains).  Preparations?  No, no, no.  The captain then decides there is no time to wait.  No survey of the best route.  Just go.  I hiked through some mountain passes in Hawaii.  I can tell you 7-8 kilometer hikes through mountains are not easy.  Nor would they be easy on an alien planet with unknown life forms and carrying planet exploring gear.  While this suicide hike is taking place, the wife of the captain decides to ‘do an ecology workup,’ of a given area, splitting away from the rest of the group  She takes an assistant.  The assistant contracts alien spores and becomes gravely ill.

Liquid Hydrogen

During this expedition to find the source of the John Denver song the pilot of the ship, a fearless woman remains with the ship.  The captain’s wife and assistant return to the ship in panic.  The assistant is near death.  A quarantine procedure is initiated.  Apparently quarantine means get into your tank top, have blood vomited on your face, and enter then exit the quarantine environment without wearing protective gear.  Ugh.  It gets worse. 

The assistant is infected with alien spores, bores an alien from his torso and dies.  The alien chases the pilot and they end up at the rear hatch of the shuttle.  This large exit is lined with barrel sized cylinders of liquid hydrogen.  Liquid hydrogen is flammable.  Yet cylinders of it are stored near the only obvious exit.  To make matters worse the pilot shoots wildly at the alien jumping about the rear hatch and breaches the hydrogen cylinders incinerating the ship. 

The Engineers.

I thought we were to learn something about the Engineers.  We do not.  We only learn that they die.  It is ridiculous that we learn nothing about the alleged creators of humanity.  There would have been so much potential for a great story.  But no.  We learn that android David becomes unhinged after his trip to this planet with Dr. Elizabeth Shaw of the Prometheus movie. 

Alien covenant is a groaner of a movie.  It is going to have artificially inflated reviews because of the diehard Alien franchise fans out there.  I am one of those diehard fans.  I can tell you if Ripley had her way,  she would have hunted down the crew members in Alien covenant and killed them off herself to save us from this putrid mess of a movie. 

Thank you for 15 years

Top:  Guelph, ON; May 2003.  Bottom: Vancouver, BC; May 2017.

Megan,
Thank you for looking at me that precise moment at Earth Sciences library U of T, 15 years ago.
Thank you for meeting my gaze.
Thank you for confirming that you’d be the mother of my children in that moment.
Thank you for years of love and learning.

Here’s to becoming my wife.  I love you!

The 15 years start today.

A milestone in aging

Meg and I bought an Xbox One in March.  Our purpose was to move the kids out to the living room so they can 1.  Netflix their Paw Patrol and 2.  We no longer have crumbs and food debris in our bed.

The landscape of video games has changed immensely since blowing on NES cartridges.  This video game console is an entertainment console being able to stream from almost all content providers. The joke is on me though.  I only learned about the ability to access local TV content from the built in browser.   For this reason I feel similar to how my dad must feel when we troubleshoot wifi connectivity problems over the phone.

The upside of being a technological dinosaur is that I’m pleasantly surprised I can stream the NBA playoffs.