A new home for Wings Open Wide

· geekery · ·

Spring must be on the way, because I seem to be in the mood for spring cleaning. Not the actual ‘get the dusters out and wash the curtains’ kind, but the digital home spring cleaning version. In my continuing quest to simplify and spruce up things around here, I have made a fresh start with my former photo blog, ‘Wings Open Wide’. It is reborn as wings open wide, hosted on Micro.blog.

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Blog housekeeping round 2

· geekery · ·

So, my last attempt fix a few things around here did not go entirely to plan. There were issues with the footnote rendering (particularly on small screens, and especially when Javascript was not enabled). This weekend, I have gone back to the drawing board, and also gone a lot further (I hope!) with my Webmentions experiments.

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Some blog housekeeping

· geekery · blogging · ·

I’ve been doing a bit of housekeeping around here to fix a couple of minor issues, and hopefully add some new features.

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Productivity rethink

· geekery · ·

I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do sometimes use the break from work over Christmas to rethink how I work, and try out new tools. I have used Things as my todo app for quite a few years now, and really enjoy its quiet simplicity. The design is beautiful and well thought out for getting things done without fuss or over-complication, but it is true that it does not have as many bells and whistles as some other todo apps. I have also in the past used OmniFocus, and appreciated the power and flexibility it enables, while finding it somewhat overwhelming at times. Essentially, I have felt that they two apps are both very good, but at opposite ends of the Goldilocks Continuum: this app is too simple, this app is too much. But where was the app that was Just Right? I felt as if I needed something that helped me with planning, and with keeping track of the progress of longer term objectives, while (somehow) presenting all that stuff in a quiet, tranquil and non-panic inducing way.

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Christmas crafting

· knitting · sewing · ·

Happy New Year to you all: Yes, I do know I’m two weeks late with that! The Christmas break was a bit of an odd one chez Bsag this year, as I ended up getting some kind of bug and feeling unwell for some of the time. I had planned to travel to see my parents after Christmas, but because of being ill, I didn’t go. However, before the bug struck, I did a fair bit of sewing (and finished some knitting). My body has changed proportions a bit recently, so I was in need of some new clothes. Before I started sewing, this would have been a cause for despair, and much procrastination in the face of the inevitably traumatic shopping trip. Now, it’s a fun opportunity to make something new, and I can repurpose the fabric, fastenings and so on on the old clothes. Hooray!

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TOTEM keyboard number two or three

· keyboards · geekery · ·
Wired version of TOTEM split keyboard with black case, sitting on grey felt desk mat with Apple Trackpad between the two halves.

Wired TOTEM keyboard

My TOTEM keyboards seem to be multiplying! My first was a wireless version that I’m using to type this. Then I made (or tried to make) another wireless version, with a white resin case. While soldering the pads on the back for the battery connection went fine on the first version, I just could not get it connected properly with the second. That put me in a bit of a fix, because I couldn’t switch to using QMK firmware (which works with wired split keyboards connected by TRRS cables) because QMK doesn’t yet support the XIAO BLE controller that I had used. I also could not use it with ZMK, because while the XIAO BLE is supported, connecting the two halves with TRRS cables is not.

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Review of Super Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne

· review · ·

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction outside of work, so it has be a pretty special non-fiction book to occupy a precious reading slot. Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell, is such a book. I finished reading it nearly a month ago, but it has been in my mind a lot.

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Reading with kobo

· life · geekery · ·

I love reading. I’ve been a voracious reader since I first learned to read, and while I sometimes lack the time to indulge my reading habit as much as I would like, I read at least a few pages of a book almost every day. I don’t really mind how I read. I love the experience of reading a paper book, but we don’t live in a large house, and as Mr. Bsag is as voracious a reader as I am (and also loathe to sell or give away books once he has read them), our shelves are seriously overflowing. For that reason, I have had a Kindle for many years, and use that for reading ‘standard’ books, in other words, ones without interesting illustrations or layout.

My Kindle was starting to struggle to hold a charge, and despite the fact that I have bought plenty of books in Amazon’s ecosystem, I really wanted to escape the grip of Amazon, and also start borrowing books from the library using Libby. After reading a lot of reviews, I bought a Kobo Libra 2. In short, I love it, and it has seriously boosted the amount of books I am reading.

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Friendly streets

· life · ·

In the way of holidays, it seems a lifetime ago now, but I have been thinking recently about the holiday we had in late August this year in the Sussex town of Lewes. We have visited Lewes many times now, but this year we stayed in an AirBnB place in an area that was relatively unfamiliar to us. I have been thinking about the place a lot since we got back home, and about what influences the atmosphere of a place.

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Spinning and balance

· craft · life · ·

It had to happen eventually, I suppose. Since the start of the Covid period, I had somehow escaped catching Covid. I may have been asymptomatic, but I was testing regularly and had nothing but negative tests. Then, about three weeks ago, Mr. Bsag came back from a trip to Brighton feeling unwell. He did a Covid test and was positive, and when I started to feel ill too, I also tested positive. I’m lucky that I had escaped it for so long, and luckier still that when I finally got it, I was protected from the worst by vaccination. However, I still cannot recommend catching Covid. I felt very unwell for a long time, and even now that I am over the worst, the fatigue and loss of my sense of smell is still bothering me. My friend has suffered from Long Covid for three years now, and so I have been very wary of trying to do too much too early in my recovery. Just as when I was trying to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome back in my mid-twenties, I have tried to balance rest and exercise, and listened carefully to what my body and mind needed.

I mention this because a rabbit hole I have been exploring while recovering has reminded me that everything interesting and difficult involves this same tightrope walk between effort and relaxation, control and letting things run free.

It started with a video that Bernadette Banner made about learning to spin flax on an antique spinning wheel. I have only recently discovered Bernadette Banner’s channel, but find her videos about hand sewing historically-accurate pirate shirts or tailoring a 19th Century lady Mob Boss suit completely absorbing. Anyway, in the spinning video, she consulted with another Youtuber JillianEve, who is a spinning expert, and before you could say ‘distaff’, I was off on a rabbit hole and learning about spinning yarn with a hand spindle.

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