Week 4: Eating a lot

↗ Lo-fi version

I celebrated my birthday this week! I first celebrated with my family in New Jersey. I ordered some Japanese and Thai food for us to share at home. My dad also made smoked pork belly which was absolutely delicious.

I then took the train back home to Philly and then I went to a steakhouse with Andrea. I’ve been eating a lot this week.

Other than that, it’s been a pretty slow week. We started watching Ozark again and continued to do some unpacking around the apartment. I’ve been reading How to Do Nothing as well. The title is a bit misleading because it’s really not a how-to book. So far it’s been about how capitalism appropriates our time (it definitely has some overlap with CAPS LOCK), trees with weird shapes, the design of physical space, smart birds, and the gig economy glorifying overwork. I love it.

💬 hi@jagtalon.com

Week 3: Visiting Family, Plan 9 Bootcamp

↗ Lo-fi version

I visited my family this week in New Jersey. It’s my grandpa’s birthday so we had a little reunion over here. My siblings are on summer vacation as well, so it’s really nice to see everyone in one place.

My parent’s house is surrounded by trees so I’ve been taking advantage of all the greenery outside. I wish I had this in Philly. I love looking away from my laptop and seeing a bunch of birds flying around. (And the occasional spider.)

Work setup on a bench outside.

I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled into this, but by some stroke of luck I ran into SDF’s Plan 9 bootcamp this week as well, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. It’s surprising how much fun I’m having playing around with a weird operating system. I think it’s partly because it’s fun exploring a completely new system, and I think it’s partly because I’m learning with a bunch of other people at the same time. It also ties in with my interest in permacomputing because Plan 9 is much simpler compared to other operating systems so I want to see what you can do with it.

Cluttered Plan 9 desktop.

I’m struggling with the three-button mouse usage, slow browsers, and weird shell, but I’m starting to get the hang of it I think! Right now I’m watching Tea Note #2 and also writing a YNAB-like budgeting app in rc (hugely based on the excellent Plan 9 desktop guide). We’ll see how it goes.

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Week 2: We Moved!

↗ Lo-fi version

We moved to a new spot in West Philly! The new place is slightly bigger indoors, but I love that we now have a porch to hang out in and a backyard to do some gardening. I’m excited, but also super tired. Moving isn’t pleasant to begin with and we ended up moving during a heat wave! We’re also not done yet. We have a lot of unpacking to do over the next few weeks. Look at all this mess!

Our new place.

I signed up for an account on smol.pub a few days ago. You’ll notice that I have a link at the very top of this post that says “Lo-fi version.” That’s my smol.pub blog! I signed up because I’m fascinated with small, lightweight websites, and I wanted to dip my toes into the text-based world of Gemini. I’m hoping to crosspost all my future blog posts on there. It has a 100MB limit for images, so I’m making sure they’re all super lo-res.

I love the idea of having a tiny version of my website. It’s really fast, and it reminds me of text.npr.org and lite.cnn.com.

I haven’t been reading or playing games recently because of all the moving chaos, but we have been watching Ozark and The Boys when we have dinner so that’s been our entertainment recently. I did stop by the bookstore the other day to pick up the book How to Do Nothing. I look forward to reading this soon.

How to Do Nothing book by Jenny

A recipe that I enjoyed recently is called Adzuki Bean Coconut Curry. We had some adzuki beans that we wanted to get rid of and we found this recipe online. It was really good!

Adzuki Bean Coconut Curry in a bowl of rice.

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Week 1: All over the place

↗ Lo-fi version

I’ve been learning a lot of random things recently. The other week, I signed up for an electronics course on Ohmify and bought a bunch of components and tools so that I could follow along. I’m having a lot of fun trying out the different activities on that website. I just started so I’ve only made simple circuits, so I have a lot of learning to do! I also need to get a drawer for all these components that I got online because it’s a bit of a mess right now.

Touch sensor with a transistor.

Not quite clear on what my end goal is with learning electronics, but I’d like to learn how to tinker more with computer hardware so I’m starting with the basics. Semi-related: I got an open source hardware trackball called Ploopy! I didn’t get the DIY kit so I didn’t build it myself, but I’ve been learning how to customize the firmware. Just last night I got to map one mouse button to CTRL+TAB and then another one to CTRL+SHIFT+TAB. It feels like AutoHotkey, but built-in to the device!

I’ve also been playing some DOOM II! I initially installed it on the Raspberry Pi 400 for fun (I wanted to see how well it ran), but I ended up getting hooked. I definitely didn’t expect DOOM II from 1994 to hold a candle to the latest iterations like DOOM Eternal.

I bought the game on GOG, extracted it using innoextract, then I ran the WAD file on LZDOOM. It worked like a charm.

A screenshot of DOOM II running on a Raspberry Pi 400.

I’ve been going back to kettlebell class at my gym as well. It’s been a while since I last went, so my stamina isn’t as good as it used to. I’m still struggling in class, but I feel like I’m slowly improving at least. The summer heat isn’t helping either.

Finally, I’ve been continuing to read CAPS LOCK which is a book about how design is tightly intertwined with capitalism (so far I’ve learned: building trust in the government [design of documents and money], nudging people to spend more [design of credit cards and apps], and standards for increasing efficiency [bar codes])

💬 hi@jagtalon.com

Hello again, Linux

I’ve been running Linux on my laptop for a little over a week now, and so far I’m really impressed with it! It’s probably almost a decade since I last used Linux (outside of Windows Subsystem for Linux and accessing remote machines) so I wanted to see how well it works as my main OS.

I moved to Windows from macOS in 2020 because it gave me more hardware options (I wanted a laptop that was more repairable), gaming options (a lot of games that I want to play run on Windows), and it still let me do my design work. Windows meets all my needs to be honest, but it makes me uncomfortable to use an OS made by a surveillance capitalist so I’m curious about an alternative and I wanted to see if Linux would work for me.

I downloaded Fedora and installed it on my Dell XPS 17.

Hardware Support

Thunderbolt works as expected. It looks gorgeous on my 5k LG Ultrafine monitor, and I’m able to run both the built-in 4k display and the 5k external display at the same time. That’s a lot of pixels! My Wacom tablet just worked out of the box. I didn’t have to download anything for it to work which was really impressive. Bluetooth and WiFi work flawlessly. I can use my Bluetooth mouse with no issue.

It unfortunately wouldn’t let me install the Nvidia driver from the app store, but I believe all I had to do was run sudo dnf install akmod-nvidia in the terminal to fix it. I can now right click on an app and run it on the Nvidia GPU.

Fingerprint reader doesn’t work, so I still need to figure that out.

Wacom support is built-in.

Gaming

I downloaded Steam, enabled the Windows-compatibility option, and installed DOOM Eternal. It wasn’t working at first—it said that I didn’t have enough memory in my video card. So I lowered the quality a bit and it ran perfectly. I played 4 hours of it in Nightmare mode, so I’m pretty impressed with the speed as well! I have yet to try other games, but I’m hopeful based on the reports that I’m seeing about the Steam Deck. I’m really amazed to see what Valve has done to make Windows games work.

DOOM Eternal main menu.

Software

I expected to have some issues with the available software, but it wasn’t actually that much of a hassle for me. Maybe I just don’t use that many apps to begin with. For 1Password, Zoom, Spotify, digiKam, Mini vMac, Telegram, Thunderbird, Sublime Text, and Signal, they work the same way as their Windows and macOS counterparts. Figma doesn’t have a desktop app, but there is an unofficial Linux version that works just fine. For Dropbox, I’m using an app called Maestral.

There’s a built-in app in GNOME for recording the screen, but it doesn’t record it in GIF format. A little app called Kooha is able to do that though. I’m also pleasantly surprised that Fedora also comes with a simple backup tool that I’m using to backup to my Rsync.net account.

I do wish there was AutoHotKey. And Excel. And Krisp. And Em Client.

What I’m most impressed with is that Fedora comes with virtualization software and it’s super easy to use! So I’ve been running Windows on there when I need it.

Programs installed on my laptop.

I’m not sure if I want to go Linux full time yet, but I’m excited that I’m actually using it! I think it pretty much meets my needs, but it does take a bit of work to get things working. I’m hopeful, so we’ll see what happens!

Visiting Iceland

Last week the design team went to Iceland! It’s my first time going there, and I’m absolutely in love with the beauty of the country. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

At first we toured around Reykjavik.

We then went to Geysir, Gullfoss, then hiked up Reykjadalur Valley to go to a hot spring.

We then went south to Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Raufarhólshellir, and Vik.

The last place we went to was Blue Lagoon, although I didn’t bring my camera there. Before I left, I also got a last-minute tattoo from Íris at Valkyrie Tattoo as well!

High-quality photos can be found on Flickr.

I made a zine in HyperCard

I wanted to create an interactive thing where the player can play as a villain — in this case a surveillance capitalist. I thought HyperCard would be a perfect medium because it has built-in programming and art tools. Plus, it’s fun running old software!

Drawings are all my own except for the little Macintosh illustration. That came with HyperCard.

I followed the instructions on https://cancel.fm/hyperjam/ when I set it up on my computer, but if you want to run it yourself, https://system7.app/ should be the easiest way to do it!

This work was inspired by:

Budgie Released

I might be the last person on Earth to realize this, but I recently learned how useful spreadsheets can be in my personal life. This whole time I’ve been avoiding spreadsheets because I thought they were for serious business people who need to do serious things like projections and reports.

So I’ve been pushing myself to learn Excel recently, and I’m amazed how quickly I can make “apps” for myself through Excel vs doing it in a proper programming language. I’ve been proud of a minimalist budgeting system that I made that’s inspired by YNAB called Budgie, so it’s up online if you’d like to use it!

Holiday Cooking

We did a lot of cooking during the holidays, and I think these were my favorites.

Ginataang Mackerel

I love making ginataang mackerel (mackerel cooked in coconut milk), but this is the first time I actually chopped and cleaned a whole fish! I used to be grossed out watching people gut fish, but it turned out to be pretty ok and surprisingly easy. It was bloody though, so we had to soak it in water for a bit before cooking.

Lumpiang Shanghai

I’ve eaten lumpiang shanghai (fried spring rolls) all throughout my life, but I’ve never actually made it myself. There were a couple of steps, but it turned out to be pretty easy, too. The hard part was probably finding the lumpia wrapper at the store.

Budae Jjigae

We’ve run into budae jjigae (army stew) online before, but we’ve never had it. It looked like such a fun dish, that we decided to try it over the holidays. It was delicious, but we think there are things that we could do to make it even better like frying the spam and squeezing the tofu beforehand.