{ "version": "https://jsonfeed.org/version/1", "user_comment": "This feed allows you to read the posts from this site in any feed reader that supports the JSON Feed format. To add this feed to your reader, copy the following URL -- http://grey280.net/feed/json -- and add it your reader.", "home_page_url": "http://grey280.net", "feed_url": "http://grey280.net/feed/json", "title": "Grey Patterson", "description": "iOS developer with a penchant for music and rambling", "items": [ { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/08/playlist-of-the-month-july-2018/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/08/playlist-of-the-month-july-2018/", "title": "Playlist of the Month: July 2018", "content_html": "

This one feels a bit more eclectic than I usually am; I think it\u2019s because I pulled some old stuff back in, too.
\nPunching in a Dream (Stripped) – The Naked and Famous
\nHow It Is – Majik
\nThe Weight – Amber Run
\nBeretta Lake (Listen2Liri Remix) [feat. SAINt JHN] – Teflon Sega
\nHome – Blue October
\nHail To the Victor – Thirty Seconds to Mars
\nAnother Mouth to Feed – Rebecca McDade
\nTechnicolour Beat – Oh Wonder
\nPompeii (Acoustic) – Bastille
\nDesert Rose – Jay Brannan
\nXO – EDEN
\nThin – Aquilo
\ndrugs – EDEN
\nHeaven/Hell – CHVRCHES
\nSilhouette – Aquilo1
\nAll I Want – Kodaline
\nLove Like This – Kodaline
\nCrystals – Of Monsters And Men2
\nWolves Without Teeth – Of Monsters And Men
\nBlack Water – Of Monsters And Men
\nThousand Eyes – Of Monsters And Men
\nI Of The Storm – Of Monsters And Men
\nWe Sink [explicit] – Of Monsters And Men
\nBackyard – Of Monsters And Men
\nWe Don’t Talk Anymore (feat. Selena Gomez) [Attom Remix] – Charlie Puth
\nAge Of – Oneohtrix Point Never3
\nFollow Your Fire – Kodaline
\nCloser – Majik
\nLost My Mind – Lily Allen
\nHigher – Lily Allen
\nSilent Movies – Aquilo
\nGod’s Plan – CHVRCHES
\nI Could Fight On a Wall – Aquilo
\nBody – SYML4
\nSix Feet Over Ground – Aquilo5
\nAnimal – Majik
\nBrother – Kodaline
\nNo Choir – Florence + The Machine
\nArrows – Haux
\nBlack Snow – Oneohtrix Point Never
\nLou Lou – Albin Lee Meldau
\nBabylon – Oneohtrix Point Never
\nTime – Kidswaste
\nYou Want It Darker – Leonard Cohen6
\nWonderland – CHVRCHES
\nOceans Away – A R I Z O N A
\nWe\u2019ll Take It – Oneohtrix Point Never
\nSummertime (feat. San Holo) – Yellow Claw
\nThe Journey – Sol Rising
\nFollow – SKALE – E – TRON
\nCome On Then – Lily Allen
\nX – Majik
\nWild (feat. Khai) – Kidswaste
\nNow & Here – Aquilo
\nWho Are You – Aquilo
\nThunder – Imagine Dragons
\nThe Fault In Our Stars (MMXIV) – Troye Sivan
\nstutter – EDEN
\nConfidence – Majik7

\n
\n
\n
    \n
  1. \nText message I sent to somebody earlier this month: \u201cI think I want to marry Aquilo\u2019s voice\u201d \n
  2. \n
  3. \nIs this exactly three years since this album came out? I think it\u2019s right about there, I guess I now associate it with summer in the new neighborhood we live in. \n
  4. \n
  5. \nThis is just so delightfully weird, I love it. \n
  6. \n
  7. \nI\u2019m not sure if the lyrics entirely support it, but from the portion of them that I actually paid attention to, this totally sounds like it\u2019s from the perspective of a trans person. \n
  8. \n
  9. \nI love stuff like this, it sounds sad but it\u2019s actually happy! \n
  10. \n
  11. \nGo listen to this, it\u2019s amazing and spooky \n
  12. \n
  13. \nThis might be a dead link, actually; they were just posting it as a temporary sample kind of thing. \n
  14. \n
\n
\n", "date_published": "2018-08-01T16:00:00+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-08-05T04:07:48+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" } }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/productivity-and-organization/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/productivity-and-organization/", "title": "Productivity and Organization", "content_html": "

Over time I\u2019ve acquired a reputation for being an organized (and, presumably, productive) person; occasionally, people ask me for tips.

\n

Be as efficient as you can.

\n

In the interest of following my own tips, I\u2019m writing this up as a blog post so I have something I can quickly send to folks when they ask. Automate things where you can; if you\u2019ve got the time to learn it, Workflow is a wonderful tool.1 I\u2019ve got a good chunk of my morning routine compressed into pressing a single button on my phone and, depending on how complex my calendar is for the day, answering a question or two.

\n

Don\u2019t trust your brain to remember things

\n

The human brain is a wonderful machine! Unfortunately, it\u2019s terrible at remembering things, but also convinced that isn\u2019t the case. The good news is, we invented writing, and then computers, both of which make it much easier to remember things. So don\u2019t just put stuff in your head and assume it\u2019ll stay there; it doesn\u2019t matter what you use, but have somewhere permanent that you can put stuff. Depending on what you prefer, you can use a planner or notebook, or go all digital like I have. Personally, I use a combination of the system-default Calendar app, syncing through Google Calendar, with Drafts 42 as my \u201cwriting thoughts down in the middle of the night\u201d app, Day One as a journal, and Ulysses for any longer-form writing or note-taking.3

\n

Have a to-do list

\n

Technically speaking, this is an extension of the above, but don\u2019t trust yourself to remember things you have to do in a day. If they\u2019re at a specific time or meeting with someone, they go in your calendar; otherwise, they go on the to-do list. Again, this can be on paper if that\u2019s your style, but if you\u2019re a big ol\u2019 tech nerd, you\u2019ve got a bounty of options. The built-in Reminders app is\u2026 there, and it\u2019s not great, but it\u2019s free and meets the bare minimum of functionality. Personally, I\u2019m a big fan of Things 3,4 but Omnifocus is also a big name in the field, if (in my opinion) over-complicated. That said, task management apps like that are a huge market on the iOS and macOS app stores, as well as just online, so you should be able to find something you like.
\nOnce you\u2019ve started using it, I recommend the \u201cvaguely Getting Things Done\u201d style, which consists of \u201cwrite stuff down as soon as you think of it, and file it away in the proper place when you\u2019ve got time.\u201d The important thing is to not go \u201coh, I\u2019ll remember that later,\u201d because there\u2019s a really good chance you won\u2019t.

\n

Figure out what you\u2019re spending your time on

\n

You know that feeling like you\u2019ve wasted a whole day? That\u2019s stupid, but it\u2019s also hard to convince your brain you\u2019ve been productive if you don\u2019t actually know what you\u2019ve been spending your time on. Having a to-do list helps with this; you can look at your list for the day and see all the things you\u2019ve checked off.5 Beyond that, you may want to try time tracking; I\u2019m a fan of toggl and use it all the time. I keep the website pinned in a tab on my laptop, and rather than use their app, I\u2019ve got some Workflows built that interact with their web API.6 It works pretty well for me; I know what I\u2019m spending time on, and I can also use it for some very accurate billing, should I need to.

\n

Clean up

\n

Finally, staying organized is not only helpful for quickly finding things, it also just tends to make you feel better about everything. Take time when you can to organize your work and living spaces. If you\u2019re currently in college, you\u2019ve probably got ten thousand pages of various papers drifting around; next time it\u2019s time to buy textbooks, I recommend going digital (it\u2019s slightly cheaper, and then you only have to carry around your laptop/tablet, which you were probably gonna be carrying anyways, and you can search in your books, which is quite helpful). For the zillions of pages of handouts you get, invest in a scanner that can do duplex scanning and a recycle bin; it\u2019s amazing how much space you can save by getting rid of all the papers.7 Once you\u2019ve got things digitized (or, preferably, as you get them digitized), come up with a neat organizational system and stick to it. For school stuff, semester/term lines are a nice dividing line; if you\u2019re doing the whole \u2018adult life\u2019 thing, the tax year is a good one.8

\n

I\u2019m going to call it done there. If you skipped to the end, the single most important thing I\u2019d like you to get from this is brains are bad at remembering things; write stuff down. That\u2019s my number one tip, so if you only take one thing from this, that\u2019d be it.
\nIf you\u2019ve got any questions, I\u2019ve recently brought back the ability for people to leave comments, so go ahead and do that.9 And hey, maybe I\u2019ll do more posts like this, I enjoy doing the writing, and it\u2019s fun to be able to support the various apps I use.10

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    \n
  1. \nIn September 2018, or thereabouts, it\u2019s going to disappear and be replaced by Shortcuts, but from what we\u2019ve seen in public betas, Shortcuts has the same functionality, some new features, and a new coat of paint, so if that link doesn\u2019t work, just search the App Store for \u2018Shortcuts.\u2019 \n
  2. \n
  3. \nDrafts 5 has been out and received very good reviews for its automation capabilities, but all I really want from the app is a dark color scheme and the ability to open directly into a new document, so the old version works for me. \n
  4. \n
  5. \nThat link is to Ulysses\u2019 iOS app, but thanks to their subscription system, you pay for it on one platform and get it on iPad and Mac as well; mostly I use it on the Mac, but it\u2019s nice to have it available wherever. \n
  6. \n
  7. \nThat\u2019s their macOS app; they\u2019ve also got separate iPhone and iPad apps. \n
  8. \n
  9. \nThis is why I\u2019ve got Things set up not to sweep things away as soon as I check them off, but to leave them there until the end of the day. If I look at my list and it\u2019s empty, nothing to do and looking like I\u2019ve done nothing, the \u201coh god I wasted the whole day\u201d feeling gets so much worse\n
  10. \n
  11. \nIf you\u2019d like to know more about those, leave something in the comments that I\u2019ve just remembered I opened back up. \n
  12. \n
  13. \nYou don\u2019t necessarily need to do what I did, which was a roughly five-year-long process of clearing out every paper I own, but then, you\u2019re hopefully less of a pack-rat than I was, too. \n
  14. \n
  15. \nOh, and don\u2019t leave those files in a single place; the nice thing about being digital is that it\u2019s easy to make copies, and when you\u2019ve got copies, you don\u2019t have to worry that you\u2019ll lose the original. These days, I throw all the current stuff into iCloud Drive, but I used to use Dropbox; older things get moved from whichever cloud to an external hard drive that\u2019s backed up with Backblaze\n
  16. \n
  17. \nIt\u2019s one of the only ways to get in touch with me. Bonus productivity tip, for those of you reading the footnotes: social media sucks, stop using it. \n
  18. \n
  19. \nShameless self promotion: as an app developer, I know how danged hard it can be to actually make a living from the App Store. Support the people making the stuff you use. \n
  20. \n
\n
\n", "date_published": "2018-07-30T19:22:33+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-07-30T19:22:33+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" } }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/the-control-of-nature/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/the-control-of-nature/", "title": "\u201cThe Control of Nature,\u201d or, \u201cthere\u2019s nothing like finding out 100,000 tons of concrete has no foundation left whatsoever\u201d", "content_html": "

John McPhee

\n

I\u2019ve actually had this book for quite a while; one of the essays in it was required reading for a class I took, oh, two years ago or so? Something like that. I quite enjoyed the read at the time, but somehow never thought to read the other essays in the book. I found it again in the whole mess of moving out of campus housing after graduation and decided to toss it into the to-read pile, and I finally got around to it.1

\n

And I\u2019m glad I did; while \u201cLos Angeles Against the Mountains\u201d wasn\u2019t quite as fun to reread as it was to read the first time around, the other two essays were both just as enjoyable on first read as I\u2019d hoped. McPhee\u2019s writing style is beautiful; very visually descriptive, deeply informative, and with well-timed flashes of humor throughout.

\n

I\u2019m going to split this review up a bit and include some excerpts from each of the essays, to try to give you a sense of not only McPhee\u2019s voice, but also the content of the essays.

\n

\u201cAtchafalaya\u201d

\n

The first essay, \u201cAtchafalaya,\u201d follows the US Army Corps of Engineers and their work on the Mississippi River; it\u2019s far more involved than I\u2019d ever thought, and the project is fascinating.

\n

On the outflow side\u2014where the water fell to the level of the Atchafalaya\u2014a hole had developed that was larger and deeper than a football stadium, and with much the same shape. it was hidden, of course, far beneath the chop of wild water. The Corps had long since been compelled to leave all eleven gates wide open, in order to reduce to the greatest extent possible the force that was shaking the structure, and so there was no alternative to aggravating the effects on the bed of the channel. In addition to the structure\u2019s weight, what was holding it in place was a millipede of stilts\u2014steel H-beams that reached down at various angles, as pilings, ninety feet through sands and silts, through clayey peats and organic mucks. There never was a question of anchoring such a fortress in rock. The shallowest rock was seven thousand feet straight down. In three places below the structure, sheet steel went into the substrate like fins; but the integrity of the structure depended essentially on the H-beams, and vehicular traffic continued to cross it en route to San Luis Rey.

\n

Then, as now, LeRoy Dugas was the person whose hand controlled Old River Control\u2014a thought that makes him smile. \u201cWe couldn\u2019t afford to close any of the gates,\u201d he remarked to me one day at Old River. \u201cToo much water was passing through the structure. Water picked up riprap off the bottom in front, and rammed it through to the tail bed.\u201d The riprap included derrick stones, and each stone weighed seven tons. On the level of the road deck, the vibrations increased. The operator of a moving crane let the crane move without him and waited for it at the end of the structure. Dugie continued, \u201cYou could get on the structure with your automobile and open the door and it would close the door.\u201d The crisis recalled the magnitude of \u201cthe \u201927 high water,\u201d when Dugie was a baby. Up the alley somewhere, during the \u201927 high water, was a railroad bridge with a train sitting on it loaded with coal. The train had been put there because its weight might help keep the bridge in place, but the bridge, vibrating in the floodwater, produced so much friction that the coal in the gondolas caught fire. Soon the bridge, the train, and the glowing coal fell into the water.

\n

One April evening in 1973\u2014at the height of the flood\u2014a fisherman walked onto the structure. There is, after all, order in the universe, and some things take precedence over impending disasters. On the inflow side, facing the Mississippi, the structure was bracketed by a pair of guide walls that reached out like curving arms to bring in the water. Close by the guide wall at the south end was the swirling eddy, which by now had become a whirlpool. There was other motion as well\u2014or so it seemed. The fisherman went to find Dugas, in his command post at the north end of the structure, and told him the guide wall had moved. Dugie told the fisherman he was seeing things. The fisherman nodded affirmatively.

\n

When Dugie himself went to look at the guide wall, he looked at it for the last time. \u201cIt was slipping into the river, into the inflow channel.\u201d Slowly it dipped, sank, broke. Its foundations were gone. There was nothing below it but water. Professor Kazmann likes to say that this was when the Corps became \u201cscared green.\u201d Whatever the engineers may have felt, as soon as the water began to recede they set about learning the dimensions of the damage. The structure was obviously undermined, but how much so, and where? What was solid, what was not? What was directly below the gates and the roadway? With a diamond drill, in a central position, they bored the first of many holes in the structure. When they penetrated to basal levels, they lowered a television camera into the hole. They saw fish. (28-30)

\n

\u201cCooling the Lava\u201d

\n

The next essay is set in a very different clime: a volcanic eruption in Iceland, with occasional detours to a similar eruption in Hawaii. The way he describes these immense forces is amazing; it feels as if he\u2019s trying to make sure you feel the same sense of awe that he does.

\n

The university installed [the seismometer] on Einar’s farm about a year before the Heimaey eruption, its primary purpose being to sense the threats of Katla, an unusually dangerous volcano only fifteen miles away. Hekla is in the area as well\u2014the stratovolcano that appears in early literature as one of the two mouths of Hell. Groans from dead sinners have been heard in the crater. But Hekla is out in the open, observable under the sky. The baleful Katla is covered with ice It lies under Myrdalsjokull\u2014a glacier field of two hundred and seventy square miles. When Katla erupts, as it has about twice a century, it creates a vast chamber of water under the ice. When the water reaches a critical volume, it lifts the ice cap, and one or two cubic miles bursts out as a violent flood\u2014a blurt of water twenty times the discharge of the Amazon River. The outwash plains these floods have left behind are as desolate as the maria of the moon. A town, villages, and farms lie between Katla and the sea. (113-114)

\n

While I\u2019d probably call \u201cthey saw fish\u201d my favorite line of the whole book, probably the best example of his sense of humor comes from this description of a golf course:

\n

In 1801, it came down off Hualalai, a lesser volcano eight thousand feet high, and poured into the sea. There on the leeward side of the island, where rainfall is ten inches a year, the lava has remained essentially unchanged. Resorts have sculpted it like movie sets, landscaped wit imported soils. The bunkers of designer golf courses are not concave and full of sand but\u2014lovely in the green surrounding turf\u2014solid black islands of undisturbed basalt. Use your wedge on that. Your hands sting for a year. If a long approach shot lands on one of those, it bounces to Tahiti. (152)

\n

Finally, from a portion of the book where I could feel myself mentally adding a few things to my bucket list:

\n

The rock, being essentially glass, was very sharp. It was also hot, particularly where a tube lay below and molten lava was running there. We came to a skylight and inched toward it. Steam swirled above it but did not close off the view\u2014of the racing orange currents of an incandescent river. By an order of magnitude, this was the most arresting sight I had ever seen in nature. The time spent gazing into it could not be measured.

\n

Gradually, I began to think. Out of curiosity, I asked Christina if we were looking down into the near side of the tube or were standing over the middle and looking at the far side of the tube.

\n

\u201cThe far side,\u201d she said.

\n

If my legs still had knees in them, I was unaware of it. (155)

\n

\u201cLos Angeles Against the Mountains\u201d

\n

The last essay of the book is the first one I read. It was interesting; at the time, I found it fascinating, and since that first reading I\u2019ve come back to it again and again in my mind.

\n

Los Angeles is overmatched on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by very high mountains. With respect to these principal boundaries, Los Angeles is done sprawling. The San Gabriels, in their state of tectonic youth, are rising as rapidly as any range on earth. Their loose inimical slopes flout the tolerance of the angle of repose. Rising straight up out of the megalopolis, they stand ten thousand feet above the nearby sea, and they are not kidding with this city. Shedding, spalling, self-destructing, they are disintegrating at a rate that is also among the fastest in the world. The phalanxed communities of Los Angeles have pushed themselves hard against these mountains, an act of aggression that requires a deep defense budget to contend with the results. (184)

\n

It follows the Los Angeles Flood Control District, or, as the locals call it, Flood. Now, controlling floods seems like it\u2019d be easy in Los Angeles, the city of perpetual doubt, but that\u2019s far from the truth; not only is there the occasional bit of torrential rainfall, but also something much more difficult: rockfall.

\n

Many people regard the debris basins less as defenses than as assaults on nature. They are aesthetic disasters. To impose them on residential neighborhoods has been tantamount to creating a Greenwich full of gravel pits, rock quarries at either end of Sutton Place. The residents below Hook East were bitter when the basin was put in. Months later, the bulldozer tracks were still visible, they said, meaning that nothing had happened\u2014no debris had come, and not even enough rain to obliterate the tracks. So why had the county used taxpayers\u2019 money to build something so obviously unnecessary? A form of answer came when the basin overfilled in one night. Afterward, people criticized the county for not building basins of adequate size. (246)

\n

What was most interesting to me, though, wasn\u2019t just the concept of trying to fight against these rockfalls; it was the interrelationships between everything.

\n

When fire comes, it puts the nutrients back in the ground. It clears the terrain for fresh growth. When chaparral has not been burned for thirty years, about half the thicket will be dry dead stuff\u2014twenty-five thousand tons of it in one square mile. The living plants are no less flammable. The chamise, the manzanita\u2014in fact, most chaparral plants\u2014are full of solvent extractives that burn intensely and ignite easily. Their leaves are glossy with oils and resins that seal in moisture during hot dry periods and serve the dual purpose of responding explosively to flame. (209)

\n

It burns as if it were soaked with gasoline. Chaparral plants typically have multiple stems emerging from a single root crown, and this contributes not only to the density of the thickets but, ultimately, to the surface area of combustible material that stands prepared for flame. Hundreds of acres can be burned clean in minutes. In thick black smoke there is wild orange flame, rising through the canyons like explosion crowns. The canyons serve as chimneys, and in minutes whole mountains are aflame, resembling volcanoes, emitting high columns of fire and smoke. The smoke can rise twenty thousand feet. (210)

\n

If you walk in a rainstorm on a freshly burned chaparral slope, you notice as you step on the wet ground that the tracks you are making are prints of dry dust. In the course of a conflagration, chaparral soil, which is not much for soaking up water in the first place, experiences a chemical change and, a little below its surface, becomes waterproof. In a Forest Service building at the foot of the mountains Wade Wells keeps some petri dishes and soil samples in order to demonstrate this phenomenon to passing unbelievers. In one dish he puts unburned chaparral soil. It is golden brown. He drips water on it from an eyedropper. The water beads up, stands there for a while, then collapses and spreads into the soil. Why the water hesitates is not well understood but is a great deal more credible than what happens next. Wells fills a dish with a dark soil from burned chaparral. He fills the eyedropper and empties it onto the soil. The water stands up in one large dome. Five minutes later, the dome is still there. Ten minutes later, the dome is still there. Sparkling, tumescent, mycophane, the big bead of water just stands there indefinitely, on top of the impermeable soil. Further demonstrating how waterproof this burned soil really is, Wells pours half a pound of it, like loose brown sugar, into a beaker of water. The soil instantly forms a homunculus blob\u2014integral, immiscible\u2014suspended in the water.

\n

In the slow progression of normal decay, chaparral litter seems to give up to the soil what have been vaguely described as \u201cwaxlike complexes of long-chain aliphatic hydrocarbons.\u201d These waxy substances are what make unburned chaparral soil somewhat resistant to water, or \u201cslightly nonwettable,\u201d as Wells and his colleagues are won\u2019t to describe it. The the wildfires burn, and temperatures at the surface of the ground are six or seven hundred centigrade degrees, the soil is so effective as an insulator that the temperature one centimetre below the surface may not be hot enough to boil water. The heavy waxlike substances vaporize at the surface and reconvenes in the cooler temperatures below. Acting like oil, they coat soil particles and establish the hydrophobic layer\u2014one to six centimetres down. Above that layer, where the waxlike substances are gone ,the veneer of burned soil is \u201cwettable.\u201d When Wells drips water on a dishful of that, the water soaks in as if the dish were full of Kleenex. When rain falls on burned and denuded ground, it soaks the very thing upper layer but can penetrate no further. Hiking boots strike hard enough to break through into the dust, but the rain is repelled and goes down the slope. Of all the assembling factors that eventually send debris flows rumbling down the canyons, none is more detonative than the waterproof soil.

\n

In the first rains after a fire, water quickly saturates the thin permeable layer, and liquefied soil drips downhill like runs of excess paint. These miniature debris flows stripe the mountainsides with miniature streambeds\u2014countless scarlike rills that are soon the predominant characteristic of the burned terrain. As more rain comes, each rill is going to deliver a little more debris to the accumulating load in the canyon below. But, more to the point, each rill\u2014its naturally levees framing its impermeable bed\u2014will increase the speed of the surface water. As rain sheds off a mountainside like water off a tin roof, the rill network, as it is called, may actually triple the peed, and therefore greatly enhance the power of the runoff. The transport capacity of the watershed\u2014how much bulk it can move\u2014may increase a thousandfold. The rill network is prepared to deliver water with enough force and volume to mobilize the deposits lying in the canyons below. With the appearance of the rills, almost all prerequisites have no sequential occurred. The muzzle-loader is charged. For a full-scale flat-out debris flow to burst forth from the mountains, the final requirement is a special-intensity storm. (212-214)

\n

And, again, there\u2019s always that sense of awe, for nature and all the forces involved. But he tempers it well with human stories:

\n

The Harkness house projected from the hillside and had a carport beneath the master bedroom. The debris tore off the master bedroom with Sara and the baby inside. The bedroom fell on the family station wagon. With the bedroom on top of it, the station wagon went down the driveway and on down the street. In what remained of the house, the twins and their sister Claudine were unhurt. Sara and the baby came to the end of their ride unhurt. The station wagon suffered considerably. When the bedroom was taken off it, the car was twenty-six inches high. (263)

\n

At this point, if you\u2019re still reading, I think it\u2019s safe to say you\u2019re as interested by these clips of the essays as I was by the whole things. I can absolutely recommend that you give it a read.

\n
    \n
  1. Technically it was the second item on the pile, behind Baldwin\u2019s \u201cCollected Essays\u201d, but that\u2019s a rather dense book that I\u2019ve been working on for a while, and I needed a bit of a break. \u21a9
  2. \n
\n", "date_published": "2018-07-26T16:00:00+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-07-30T18:02:52+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" } }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/meditime/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/meditime/", "title": "Meditime", "content_html": "

I\u2019m quite happy to announce that I now have another app available on the App Store!1 Before you click, I\u2019ll warn you, this one isn\u2019t free, but the App Store has always encouraged trying a variety of business models, and \u201cpaid up front\u201d was next on my list;2 $0.99 seemed a fair asking price for a lightweight utility.

\n

The core concept of Meditime came from a podcast I was listening to.3 The idea is this: why do all the meditation apps have to be guided meditation, or come with ten million different settings, or decide what you should be listening to while you meditate? The point of the whole thing is to clear your mind, after all, and personally I\u2019ve never had any luck with doing that while somebody is talking at me, and the lovely sound of water in a creek mostly just makes me feel like I need to use the restroom.

\n

So, as with my previous app, having found nothing that I actually liked, I muttered \u201cfine, I\u2019ll do it myself\u201d and opened Xcode.

\n

The result is what I honestly believe I can call the simplest meditation app out there; swipe up or down to adjust the timer, double-tap to start. Adjust the time while it\u2019s running if you like, or double-tap to stop; and if you don\u2019t want a timer at all, drag it all the way down to zero, and it\u2019ll run as a stopwatch, instead. At the end, the app will automatically log the session to the Health app, so you can keep track of it all nicely.4

\n

As I said, the app is $0.99, but there\u2019s no ads, no in-app purchases to \u2018upgrade\u2019 anything, and that one purchase will work on iPhone, iPad, and the iPod Touch, assuming Apple still makes those.5 And I\u2019m already planning to update it to work well on iOS 12, including a little bit of support for the fancy new Siri Automation things. So, hopefully you can see the value, and if you\u2019ve got a buck to spare, I\u2019d quite appreciate it if you\u2019d give it a try.

\n
    \n
  1. In case you missed why that says \u201canother,\u201d have a look here.
  2. \n
  3. Still to go: free with in-app-purchases and subscription-based; I\u2019ll be skipping the \u2018free with consumable in-app purchases\u2019 because apps made that way are generally terrible and at least a little bit immoral.
  4. \n
  5. And no, that isn\u2019t a direct link to the episode, because I\u2019m not certain which episode it was, although a reasonable guess would be this one, although there\u2019s also a chance it was this one; either way, Do By Friday is a great podcast and I recommend it. Although not, I should add, to children, everyone involved does enjoy swearing.
  6. \n
  7. It\u2019ll work without doing that, though, too; if you don\u2019t want it saving to the Health app, just don\u2019t give it permission to do so, and it won\u2019t bug you about it.
  8. \n
  9. It requires iOS 11.4 to run, so hopefully you\u2019re all up-to-date, as you should be.\n

    And saving to the Health app will only work on devices that have it, so the iPad won\u2019t do that, but if Apple does decide to add the Health app to iPads, it\u2019ll start working there, too. (I can\u2019t comment on whether or not the iPod Touch can do that, because I genuinely have no idea if they support Health or not. Seriously, does Apple even make those anymore?) \n

  10. \n
\n", "date_published": "2018-07-24T13:32:00+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-07-24T01:15:16+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" } }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/fluidics-1-1-0/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/fluidics-1-1-0/", "title": "Fluidics 1.1: The Animation Update", "content_html": "

The first major update to Fluidics is now available on the App Store!1 In all honesty, it was largely a \u2018bug fixes and performance improvements\u2019 update, but I\u2019ve always hated when app updates list that, so I made sure to include a couple user-facing features so there\u2019d be something fun to talk about, at least.
\nIn this case, those features were animations. The most notable is the background – rather than being drawn once, the \u2018water\u2019 in the background is now animated, which I think makes the visual effect much nicer overall. Swiping between the three main pages of the app is also much smoother now; instead of a single \u2018swipe\u2019 animation being triggered by any swipe, it directly responds to your swipe, so you can change your mind about which direction to swipe halfway through, and it feels more like you\u2019re moving things around, rather than switching pages.2
\nThe big changes, though, are largely invisible; a whole lot of work on the internals to allow for future features I\u2019m planning.3 The gist of it is that a lot of the internals of the app are now a separate library, which means I can share code between the widget and the main app without needing to copy-and-paste all the changes I make in one place to the other.
\nPast that, there were a couple little tweaks \u2014 the algorithm that calculates the water goal is a bit less aggressive with the way it handles workout time, and there\u2019s now a little \u201cthis isn\u2019t a doctor\u201d disclaimer in the Settings page that I put there because the lawyer I don\u2019t have advised that I do that.
\nAnd, the bit that turned into more of a project than I thought: VoiceOver support. VoiceOver, for those that don\u2019t know, is one of the core accessibility features of iOS; when enabled, it basically reads the contents of the screen to the user, making it possible for visually-impaired people to use iOS. By default, any app built on UIKit has some support for VoiceOver, but the further you go from the default controls, the more broken that\u2019ll get. The way Fluidics works, it was super broken; technically useable, but downright painful to do. After a day or two of vigorous swearing and arguing with the Accessibility framework, I\u2019m proud to say that Fluidics is now VoiceOver-compatible.
\nIf you\u2019ve already got Fluidics on your phone, it\u2019s a free update from the App Store.4 If not, the whole app is a free download from the App Store, and I\u2019m hoping that you\u2019ll enjoy using it. Leave a review or whatever; I\u2019m trying not to be pushy about that.
\nOh, and I\u2019m in the process of updating the app\u2019s website; I got such a good URL for it that I want it to look good to match.

\n
\n
\n
    \n
  1. \nThere was a bugfix update earlier, version 1.0.1, but that\u2019s not at all exciting, so I didn\u2019t bother writing anything about it. \n
  2. \n
  3. \nIf you\u2019re curious, this involved rebuilding the entire interface, from three separate pages that\u2019re transitioned between to a single page that\u2019s embedded in a scroll view. \n
  4. \n
  5. \nAnd no, I won\u2019t be telling anybody what those are just yet; I don\u2019t want to promise anything before I know for sure it\u2019ll be possible. \n
  6. \n
  7. \nIn fact, it may have already been automatically updated \u2014 the easiest way to tell is to open the app and see if the water is moving or not. \n
  8. \n
\n
\n", "date_published": "2018-07-05T16:03:48+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-07-22T03:33:14+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" } }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/playlist-of-the-month-june-2018/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/07/playlist-of-the-month-june-2018/", "title": "Playlist of the Month: June 2018", "content_html": "

It\u2019s been a busy month; if I haven\u2019t mentioned Toggl before, let me mention it now, as a convenient way to make charts demonstrating that you\u2019re overworking yourself.
\nSilence (feat. Khalid) – Marshmello
\nPunching in a Dream (Stripped) – The Naked and Famous
\nFree – Kidswaste
\nHomegrown – Haux
\nHow It Is – Majik
\nThe Weight – Amber Run
\nBeretta Lake (Listen2Liri Remix) [feat. SAINt JHN] – Teflon Sega
\nBloodsport – Raleigh Ritchie
\nFast Car – Tracy Chapman
\nHome – Blue October
\n22 (OVER S\u221e\u221eN) – Bon Iver
\nOne Track Mind (feat. A$AP Rocky) – Thirty Seconds to Mars
\nL’a\u00e9rogramme de Los Angeles – Woodkid & Louis Garrel1
\nHeadlights (feat. Ilsey) – Robin Schulz
\nHail To the Victor – Thirty Seconds to Mars2
\nAnother Mouth to Feed – Rebecca McDade
\nAmen (LCV Choir) – Amber Run
\nHeaven is a Place – Amber Run
\nTechnicolour Beat – Oh Wonder
\nFaux – Ed Tullett & Novo Amor
\nRunning Up That Hill – Track & Field3
\nBetter – SYML
\nBig Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
\nPompeii (Acoustic) – Bastille
\nTouch – Haux
\nAtlas: Four – Sleeping At Last
\nAlone – Haux
\nDesert Rose – Jay Brannan
\nXO – EDEN4
\nZombie – Jay Brannan
\nCallow – Novo Amor
\nReally Gone – CHVRCHES
\nMy Enemy (feat. Matt Berninger) – CHVRCHES
\nSorry – Aquilo
\nMiracle – CHVRCHES
\nNever Say Die – CHVRCHES
\nThin – Aquilo
\ndrugs – EDEN5
\nHeaven/Hell – CHVRCHES
\nGet Out – CHVRCHES
\nRicochet – Haux
\nHurt for Me – SYML
\nLucid Dream – Owl City
\nMore Colors (feat. Chelsea Cutler) – Kidswaste
\nSilhouette – Aquilo6
\nThe 5th of July – Owl City
\nWhere’s My Love – SYML

\n
\n
\n
    \n
  1. \nI was hoping \u201cL\u2019a\u00e9rogramme\u201d translated at something neat, but no, it means exactly what it looks like, \u201caerogram\u201d \n
  2. \n
  3. \nI keep saying \u201chail to the victim\u201d when I\u2019m singing along to this one, which kinda makes me hope Weird Al does that version someday \n
  4. \n
  5. \nI\u2019m probably due to rewatch some Warehouse 13 sometime soon, aren\u2019t I? \n
  6. \n
  7. \nHonestly, this song is just kinda hilarious to me. Listen to the lyrics, it\u2019s brutal. \n
  8. \n
  9. \n\u201c\u2018cause I\u2019m a f*ckin’ mess inside\u201d and my Millenial Humor makes me mutter \u201cthat’s some hashtag relatable content\u201d \n
  10. \n
  11. \nI\u2019m gonna go ahead and call this one my favorite from this month, I just really like it. \n
  12. \n
\n
\n", "date_published": "2018-07-01T16:00:00+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-06-30T15:31:49+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" } }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/06/open-sourcing-variations/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/06/open-sourcing-variations/", "title": "Open-sourcing Variations", "content_html": "

Now that the whole concert is over, and I\u2019ve finished going through approximately all of the WWDC sessions, I\u2019ve decided that Variations won\u2019t be receiving any further development \u2014 it wasn\u2019t going to be enough of a priority for me to do it any justice, and I\u2019d hate to half-ass it.1 The app will remain on the App Store, for now, though if it breaks in future iOS versions, I\u2019ll probably pull it entirely. Instead, I\u2019m releasing the source code, as-is; if you\u2019d like to look through it, it\u2019s right here.
\nI had fun building it, and I like to think that it does some interesting things with the implementations under the hood, so hopefully somebody can find some use from it.

\n
\n
\n
    \n
  1. \nThis is, hopefully, a hint about some of my other projects that are a higher priority; announcements of those will, of course, show up on this here blog. \n
  2. \n
\n
\n", "date_published": "2018-06-23T02:44:58+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-07-04T22:04:55+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" } }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/06/playlist-of-the-month-may-2018/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/06/playlist-of-the-month-may-2018/", "title": "Playlist of the Month: May 2018", "content_html": "

Slightly delayed, as I wanted to let my capstone posts finish up before I posted this.
\nSilence (feat. Khalid) – Marshmello
\nPunching in a Dream (Stripped) – The Naked and Famous
\nFree – Kidswaste
\nI Like Me Better – Lauv
\nHomegrown – Haux
\nLove Lies – Khalid & Normani
\nSave Me – Majik
\nHow It Is – Majik
\nKings and Queens and Vagabonds – Ellem
\nThe Weight – Amber Run
\nBeretta Lake (Listen2Liri Remix) [feat. SAINt JHN] – Teflon Sega
\nBloodsport – Raleigh Ritchie
\nFast Car – Tracy Chapman
\nHome – Blue October
\n22 (OVER S\u221e\u221eN) – Bon Iver
\nLive Like a Dream – Thirty Seconds to Mars
\nOne Track Mind (feat. A$AP Rocky) – Thirty Seconds to Mars
\nRider – Thirty Seconds to Mars
\nStay – Pentatonix
\nL’a\u00e9rogramme de Los Angeles – Woodkid & Louis Garrel
\nDawn Will Rise – Thirty Seconds to Mars
\nNew Rules x Are You That Somebody? – Pentatonix
\nDespacito x Shape Of You – Pentatonix
\nHeadlights (feat. Ilsey) – Robin Schulz1
\nPerfect – Pentatonix
\nSay Love – James TW
\nHail To the Victor – Thirty Seconds to Mars2
\nAnother Mouth to Feed – Rebecca McDade3
\nLove Is Madness (feat. Halsey) – Thirty Seconds to Mars
\nAmen (LCV Choir) – Amber Run
\nIssues – Pentatonix
\nHavana – Pentatonix
\nGreat Wide Open – Thirty Seconds to Mars
\nHeaven is a Place – Amber Run4
\nSomeone To You – BANNERS
\nAll We Do – Oh Wonder
\nTechnicolour Beat – Oh Wonder5
\nFaux – Ed Tullett & Novo Amor
\nRunning Up That Hill – Track & Field

\n
\n
\n
    \n
  1. \nThe album art on this one is hilariously bad \n
  2. \n
  3. \nCatchiest one off the new album, if I do say so myself \n
  4. \n
  5. \nThe guitar line in this is beautiful, I love it so much. \n
  6. \n
  7. \nI was gonna say \u2018probably my favorite off this EP\u2019 and then I thought about it and realized that all three of the songs I\u2019ve got on this list are my favorite of the EP. I\u2019m indecisive, okay? \n
  8. \n
  9. \nThere\u2019s a good amount of throwback music in this playlist, I\u2019m aware. \n
  10. \n
\n
\n", "date_published": "2018-06-02T16:16:45+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-05-31T18:17:07+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" } }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/06/variations-on-the-theme-of-life-2/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/06/variations-on-the-theme-of-life-2/", "title": "Variations on the Theme of Life", "content_html": "

Grey Patterson
\n\n
\nDownload on the iOS App Store
\nI have always been fascinated by the emergent properties of mathematics: simple rules create complex structures. When you get down to it, this is how all of our modern technology works. Variations is based on that concept and was composed for performance through an application written for the iOS\u00ae operating system.
\nAt the core of the application are cellular automata based on Conway’s Game of Life (1970), which is a grid where each square is either ‘on’ or ‘off’ and follows a strict set of rules. A square that is off (‘dead’) can become alive (be ‘born’) if it has the right number of living neighbors. A square that is alive can die if it has too few (loneliness) or too many (starvation) living neighbors. The rules are simple, yet they can create astonishingly complex patterns; there is an entire field of mathematics devoted to studying these patterns, Automata Theory.
\nVariations allows these patterns to play out both visually and aurally. Tap the screen to allow the grid to move through another cycle of living and dying, or just listen to the music created by a single frozen moment. No two people will ever hear the same set of sounds: the starting point for the patterns, as well as their evolution, are uniquely generated every time the Variations application is run.

\n

(The recording above is from the premiere, in which the audience was asked to open the application simultaneously.)

\n", "date_published": "2018-06-01T16:00:00+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-07-04T22:05:12+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" }, "attachments": [ { "url": "http://cdn.twoeighty.net/static/grey/capstone/Variations.mp3", "mime_type": "audio/mpeg", "size_in_bytes": 183 } ] }, { "id": "http://grey280.net/2018/05/five-after-six/", "url": "http://grey280.net/2018/05/five-after-six/", "title": "Five After Six", "content_html": "

Sophia Reinhardt
\n
\n\u00a0Five after Six for Two-Channel Fixed Media (2017) was realized in the Composers\u2019 Studio at Linfield College using Logic Pro X and recorded audio. In her poem, my sister shakes off sleep and drags herself to the coffeemaker to brew a mug, while she groggily waits for her sweetheart to stop by and say good morning. I set this musically with soft pads/synthesizers in the background behind the recording of the poem, while pre-recorded \u201cearly morning sounds,\u201d like a brewing pot of coffee or chirping birds, play quietly throughout the piece.
\nFive After Six
\nAnastasia Reinhardt

\n

\n Still dark. The coffeemaker
\n in front of me sleeps unawares
\n as I fill its craw with tap water.
\n The foggy glow of the streetlights
\n creeps into the kitchen through
\n the window behind the sink, thinking
\n that I won\u2019t notice if it tiptoes soft
\n enough. I plunge my hand into the
\n solemn, self-important sack of coffee
\n grounds and measure out my life
\n for today. My other hand is holding
\n your voice close to my ear, while my eyes
\n flicker from the grounds to the window,
\n watching for your headlights. As a little
\n bird lights on the tree just outside
\n the window, I hear the heaviness of the
\n sliding door behind me, and your soft
\n voice hangs itself in the room like the fog,
\n smothering my slowly bubbling troubles
\n as your arms surround me.\n

\n", "date_published": "2018-05-31T16:00:00+00:00", "date_modified": "2018-05-23T03:05:04+00:00", "author": { "name": "Grey" }, "attachments": [ { "url": "http://cdn.twoeighty.net/static/grey/capstone/fiveaftersix.mp3", "mime_type": "audio/mpeg", "size_in_bytes": 183 } ] } ] }