How to cross the road

On Thursday, I arrived back from another work trip to Indonesia, this time to the island of Sumatra. The trip itself was amazing (as ever — this is my third trip to Indonesia, and my first to Sumatra), but the travel involved was exhausting. We had multi-leg flights with stops, punctuated by all the getting out of bags of liquids and x-raying of laptops that modern air travel involves. After a while, it was hard to know where we were and what day it was.

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Roon music player

One thing I love about blogging and friendly social networks is that they can be a great source for finding out about cool things that you might not otherwise have come across. However, this can also open up dangerously enticing rabbit holes in which to fall, often involving spending money when you get to the bottom of them! So when Jack Baty posted about Roon, I was intrigued. At the time, I had a quick look and liked what I saw, but thought, “I don’t really need that as I’m quite happy with iTunes and Apple Music”.

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Backward looking fashion

Finding myself in that rare position of having an unspent book token recently, I was browsing around in a bookshop and picked up 19th-Century Fashion in Detail by Lucy Johnston. Now, the idea that I would look twice at any book with the word ‘fashion’ in the title would have made me roar with laughter a few years ago, but since I started sewing, I have become fascinated by construction techniques, and with borrowing ideas from previous periods in which different body shapes were celebrated.

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Text editor spring clean

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neovim in a terminal window

I’m not someone who sets about the house with a duster and mop when spring arrives, but I am a fan of having a spring clean of my text editing setup. Let’s face it, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know full well that I need no excuse whatsoever to tinker with my setup. I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that I will probably never settle for good on the One True Text Editor. For one thing, I think there probably isn’t such a thing: I use a text editor for many different tasks, and in each of those I have different priorities for my working environment. It is also the case that editors are being improved all the time, so it is worth occasionally trying out (or re-visiting) and editor to see if it fits your needs better than your current system. With that in mind, I got the editor-tinkering itch recently, so I thought I’d write about about the changes I’ve made.

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Hugo photoblog

I’ve had an itch for a while to create my own photoblog site. Flickr is convenient, but it doesn’t feel like your own site, and you can’t style it the way you would like. I’ve tried other photo hosting options, but they have the same kinds of issues. Lately I’ve wanted to host my own stuff in my own way, using — as far as possible — simple frameworks that I understand and can maintain. I have been working on it for a while, but I’ve finally got my Hugo-based static photoblog setup to a presentable state, and made it public. Here’s how it works.

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Jeans and freedom

Morgan jeans - closeup of front

“Can girls wear trousers too?”

I remember it with great clarity. I was about four years old, my Dad holding me up at the window, as we looked out at the street. I had seen a girl, wearing jeans, walking down the street, and the though suddenly struck me for the first time. When my Dad answered that of course girls could wear trousers, it was like the sun coming out. I really wanted to wear trousers, and had no idea that I could. That was the beginning of my love affair with jeans.

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Phase One Capture One Pro

I’ve recently been rethinking my photography workflow. Since I got my Fujifilm X100T camera, I have been mostly using the JPEG output, rather than shooting RAW. As I mentioned at the time, this was because the Fuji film simulations are so lovely, and because I felt that shooting images (rather than processing and tweaking them) was my favourite part of the process. I originally used Adobe Lightroom, but Lightroom and I never really clicked together. I never felt like I truly knew what I was doing with it, and captioning and processing photos always felt like a chore. As Adobe moved towards a subscription process, with photos managed in the database itself, and a shift towards a ‘filters and presets’ kind of workflow, I decided to look around for an alternative. I have also (for various reasons)1 gone back to shooting RAW.

(If you don’t feel like reading to the end of this admittedly long review, you can see some of the fruits of this tinkering here.)

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Pandocomatic and Scrivomatic

Regular readers among you will know that if there’s an easy way to do it, or a difficult but deliciously geeky way to do it which involves substantial amounts of tinkering, I invariably prefer the latter. So you’ll appreciate that when a search for some tidbit of information about Pandoc turned up an article by Andrew Goldstone titled Easy Lecture Slides Made Difficult with Pandoc and Beamer (and its follow up, Programmatic Lecture Slides Made Even More Difficult with R Markdown), I smiled with recognition. It seems that Andrew and I are both connoisseurs of a geekily baroque workflow.

I’m a long-time user of Pandoc to produce most kinds of document, but this week I have been trying out a couple of linked systems — Pandocomatic and Scrivomatic — which aim to tidy up your Pandoc workflow, and make it quicker to produce the kinds of output you need.

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Crossing the line in the knitting marathon

Fantoosh shawl - full view

I’ve recently finished several knitting projects that were all at various stages of progress. I’ve enjoyed taking up knitting again, but since I’m quite a slow knitter I get a bit impatient. Compared to sewing, knitting even quite a small garment seems to take forever. Anyway, I was determined to finish off these projects before I started another sewing project.

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Forklift 3

A couple of years ago, I was a devotee of Path Finder, a Finder replacement. However, as Finder got more capable, Path Finder started to feel a bit too heavy on resources and too complex, so I stopped using it. Nevertheless, I would often miss some of its handy features. Recently, I came across Forklift 3 while browsing through Setapp’s applications, and decided to try it out.

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