Work Clean

· life · mumblings ·

In the daily battle to get your work done, it can sometimes be useful to review the way you do things and to take a fresh perspective. For the past 15 years or so, I have — very broadly — followed David Allen’s Getting Things Done method. It has served me reasonably well, but I have often found that it is better at helping you to organise the work you do than to actually do those things. By chance, I noticed a few people talking about a book called Work Clean by Dan Charnas (also called ‘Everything in Its Place’ in the paperback edition). I was more than a bit sceptical that processes and systems designed for people working in professional kitchens would translate well into knowledge work, but I decided to buy a copy and find out for myself.

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Sprucing up the design again

· geekery ·

I realised a couple of weeks ago that this blog will turn 20 years old this October, so I thought it might be time for a belated Spring clean of the styling.

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Setting up a development environment with Nix and Home Manager

· geekery · nix ·

Remember when I played about with installing NixOS on an old MacBook Air? Recently, I decided that I would have a go at using Nix as a package manager on an ordinary macOS machine, in much the same way as using homebrew to install software, but more declarative and (hopefully) more reproducible. You may also recall that I tried this before with — shall we say — mixed results. Here’s how things went this time.

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Gravitas Pocket Pen

· geekery · pens ·

I find it hard to resist an interesting fountain pen. I can’t remember where I saw them reviewed, but my interest was piqued by Gravitas Pens, and specifically by their range of pocket pens. As I got some generous gifts of money for my birthday a few months ago, I decided to buy one, and — spoiler alert! — I love it.

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Larks to nightingales in one day

· nature · life ·

Today is International Dawn Chorus Day, so in my own typically awkward style, I will talk about a recent experience of an evening and night chorus. Over Easter Mr Bsag and I went on holiday for a few days to Lewes in Sussex, which is on the beautiful South Downs. It’s an area that’s reasonably familiar to me as I grew up not far away on the North Downs, but I always forget how open and spacious it feels. We spent every day walking on the Downs, and on the Saturday of Easter weekend, I heard the songs of skylarks and nightingales in one day. It was the most wonderful day I’ve had in a while.

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Rest

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I don’t think I had realized until recently how much the past two years have taken out of me. It was my birthday this week, and since it was the first birthday I’ve had since 2019 not in strict lockdown, I took the opportunity to take the day off and go out for the day. It was wonderful.

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Back to BEAKL

· keyboards · geekery ·

Since I last wrote, I have been busy tinkering with the layout for my Ferris Sweep in spare moments.

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Ferris Sweep keyboard and layout

· keyboards · geekery ·

As Jane Austen might have written (had she been a geek with a keyboard obsession), it is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of keyboard they have built will soon want to build another. Having built three Corne keyboards (two from conventional PCB kits, and one handwired), I was keen to try a different style. I definitely wanted a split, ortholinear keyboard, and one that supported Kailh Choc key switches.

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Weekend sounds on BBC Radio 3

· life ·

At some point during the pandemic, Mr. Bsag and I switched from waking to BBC Radio 4 on the radio alarm to Radio 3. If you’re not based in the UK (or not a radio listener), that’s a switch from news/current affairs programmes at breakfast to (mostly) classical music. We still listen to Radio 4 at other times of day, and to news and current affairs, but first thing in the morning it just got too… much. Apart from the odd decidedly unnerving piece of programming, it has been a lovely way to start the day, particularly at the weekends when we get to hear the breakfast programmes presented by Elizabeth Alker (Saturday) and Martin Handley (Sunday). Both feature segments of what you might call ‘field recordings’. There’s Found Sounds on Saturday, then Sounds of the Earth (Slow Radio) on Sunday, and we have come to look forward to hearing both.

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Hi Ho Hi Ho it's back to Doom I go

· geekery · emacs ·

It will surprise no-one (least of all me) that I am back in the arms of Doom Emacs again (not for the first time), after playing around for a while with a configuration built from scratch. It was a really fun experiment again, and I had a chance to play around with some of the packages that weren’t (at the time) included in Doom Emacs. Once again, I learned a bit more about configuring packages, and also thought about what features I really need. It is tempting with Doom to just enable all the things. That isn’t a bad approach exactly, but it does make it more difficult to figure out where there are conflicts and inevitably it can make things a bit slower.

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