How I’m Using Aperture and PowerMates

So I’ve had the two PowerMates for a while, and I’m now putting them to good use. I won’t let the focus of this entry be how I’m using the PMs system-wide [another day, if you’re interested], but suffice it to say that I’m using the PMs for awesome in Aperture.

Now, I’m biased by Fraser Speirs’s photo workflow; before I was ever serious about the concept, I had read what he was doing. I don’t do stack sorting—in fact, I just closed the tab so I won’t spend thirty minutes delving into same and stop writing this entry—but I do use the PowerMates to power through the weaning process. My ratings are much like Fraser’s—if it’s okay, going to get rated up to one start; if it’s crap, I reject it. Here’s where the PowerMates come in:

Left PowerMate: clockwise rates up, counterclockwise rates down.
Right PowerMate: clockwise advances in the set, counterclockwise goes back.

A wee twist of the wrist is all I need to rate something up or down, or to move back and forth. I think that adding in stacks will make this even more powerful for me, especially when I’m off of my current kick of sports photography and back into concert stuff, when taking eight or twelve exposures at a swath is about catching an expression or some light, not a pass or a shot or a hit. But it’s really quite quick for me: fire up Full Screen mode, position my hands, and make the snap decision.

I do my editing in passes, typically. I do the reject/promote run the first time through, culling the crap. The second pass, I’m looking for stuff that is two-star level: something about the frame catches my eye, and it’s either good as is or needs some cropping, tweaking, or other. And so-on until I get to at least three stars, sometimes four. Depends on the shoot and how much I’m looking to push out to Flickr—sometimes three stars is my bar, and sometimes it’s four. But with just a bare minimum of movement, I can fly through the editing.

What do I use other than the PowerMates? Well, besides Full Screen, I use the C shortcut to fire up the cropping tool and the ` to bring up the loupe. Between those two, plus using all of my 24″ of iMac real estate, I can power through stuff faster than I ever have—and I’m just getting started at doing this.

The beauty of the PowerMates is that you can program them to do lots of things—volume controls, keyboard shortcuts, scrolling. You’ve got global settings and program-specific ones. I’m just scratching the surface.

WordPress 2.5 – The Best WP Yet

For my money, WordPress 2.5 is the best WP version yet. [Yes, one hopes that software would get better as it matures; this is not, of course, always the case.] A lot of the things that can be automated have been, and the UI has been thoughtfully re-designed. As always, there are some small things that bug me, but I’m gonna see if those complaints hold up over time.

I’m hoping that having a new toy to play with is going to cause me to write more. I’m about ready to write about some of the things I haven’t been writing about lately, but I guess I need to hold off a bit more. Anyway… thanks to the WP guys. [And yes, I waited to post this until all the WP installs that I control on the box were upgraded. I think the count’s now about 85. Yeesh.]

How Geof Deals With Feeds, June 2007

Lately, I find myself having two windows of Firefox open:

  1. My working instance, with tabs for my Tasks install—soon to be a TasksPro instance, but anyway—along with a tab open to Facebook and so I have access to all the stuff in my sidebar. If I’m directly working something else, I’ll have that work open in other tabs in that instance. [As I write, I have a tab open to my WP install here on]
  2. My feed-based instance, with tabs for whatever I’ve found interesting in NetNewsWire. This instance sometimes has no tabs open at all, and has an empty tab window, waiting for directions. Other times, it’s got 10-30 tabs open, depending on how aggressively I’ve clicked tabs that day.

This hasn’t made a ton of sense to me lately, mainly because I’ve gotten addicted to hiding programs that I’m not actively working in but want to keep running. Now, if I’m posting about something I just read, it’s got value: I happy Cmd-` between the browser instances. [Oh Cmd-`, how I love thee. I love thee more than I love Jeremy Casella‘s new album, and I love it very much.] But I could just as easily Cmd-Tab.

[Yes, yes, I’ve made a dreadfully long conclusion with a number of rabbit trails—but this is how I am, people. If this feels unfamiliar to you, clearly you and I have never had a conversation in person.]

Anyhow, with that advent of Camino 1.5 and Camino’s wicked awesome how-to on Firefox-to-Camino migration, I’m thinking about going to a work instance of Firefox and a feeds instance of Camino—and that way, when I don’t have feeds open, I can quit Camino and keep working. Call me weird, but I like having a Firefox instance that’s virtually the same across my Windows machine at work and my home machine—I want the same workspace for browser stuff. But in Camino, I’m just browsing, y’know? And feed-reading seems perfect for that, because I’m … just browsing.

One thing that some folks—namely Rae and Chris—have given me crap about is using a client-side reader again. It seems so 2004, no? But I find that feed-reading has nothing to do with what I do for work, so I don’t need to do it during work hours. [And if you’ve tried to catch me on IM during business hours, like Alex and Mark have, you’ve figured out that I’m terribly busy at work. :)] So I leave it for at-home use, and that’s it. Admittedly, I should have NNW instances on both my mini and my iBook so I can sync up through Newsgator Online—I hear that groaning from the Front Range! ;)—because there are times when I’m on the road and would like to have my feeds, and I would also like to not have to have NNW up 100% of the time [which I have to do to keep up with my ETree and DIME feeds]. Most days, I come home to 400+ feeds, but I’m hoping that NNW3 will help me pare the feeds that I really don’t do anything with.

Okay, that was terribly disjointed. But it’s, and you’re used to that. :post:

Tasks 2.7

Alex has released Tasks 2.7 [and TasksPro 1.7, but I haven’t done that upgrade yet], and the big feature is tags, which I’m using to provide context for things I’m working on mainly by indicating where I’d work on them and/or what tools I’d use. I’m already campaigning for filtering the Upcoming screen per tag, the way Tasks Pro filters Upcoming per groups. [I may still convert my personal installation to a TPro install just to get this, even though Alex has promised me a bookmarklet next week for this over IM. Why? Well, I don’t expect to be single forever, either. ;)]

Suffice it to say that I’m still a very happy Tasks user. If I have a browser open, I have a tab open to Tasks. [Yes, Alex, you can use that as a testimonial pull-quote.]

Clearly, I Can Now Begin a New Week

Being largely out-of-town for more than a week does leave a feed addict like me with, well, quite a backlog. I must say, I wielded a pretty strong scythe to get down to zero this time, but I’m there now. Sadly, NNW still doesn’t do this as swiftly as FeedLounge did. I miss FeedLounge’s Ui but not its craptacular performance.

The best thing about resolving not to Really Try and Read all this stuff? I missed almost all the early bitching about the iPhone. [Yes, based on what I saw in the Keynote, I’ll buy one; I’m already a Cingular customer, so I’m used to their rates and it’s not going to be a huge cost increase over my Treo 650. Plus, it’ll be something other than my Treo 650, which is a good thing. I keep waiting for Unit #3 to die on me.]

Fully Cleared

I have finished wielding my scythe. I have no unread items. Now, to explain why no more FL and why NNW for now. I’ll do that later; for now, it’s time for more medication for my ear! [It seems to finally be improving, which is nice, because … it’s been painful.] I think I’m going to miss home hockey, though, for the first time in forever. [Shut up, Mike. I don’t want to hear it.]


I still feel like a big sack of crap—to the point that I came home from work early today because I was dizzy and didn’t want to drive home in traffic—but I got everything done that I needed to get done. I did get the nice ego boost of someone saying, “I felt like my left arm was gone without you here yesterday,” combined with a co-worker all-but-happily-tackling me when I walked past his door this morning. It’s nice to be wanted and to feel like you’re an integral part of an organization, to be sure.

[And yes, I say it organIzation, like I’m from Mississauga or something.]

That said, I have felt like doing not much of anything since getting home; after some sleep to knock down the pain/dizziness, I woke up sweaty—why the hell are we pushing 80F in the last week of November? Please explain—just in time for my next medication run. Woooo. The wick still annoys the hell out of me, but it’s getting better. Part of the issue right now is swelling [from irritation] in the area behind and under my ear, which I’m treating with heat. [I just looked it up on WebMD, and maybe I should be doing that with cold. Dammit. But it feels better.] I’ll stay awake until as close to midnight as I can, take the next round of drops, and crash. [I’m so in polyphasic sleep right now, heh.]

In other news, I’ve whittled my new-item backlog in NNW down to 3003. The reason that my migration is taking a long time is because I’m having to switch from FeedLounge’s superior tag-cloud-style filing system for feeds back to a tree-like structure. I will be very, very, very honest: not wanting to leave a tag-cloud system kept me on FL for the last … six-to-eight weeks. When I first found out that Alex was leaving FeedLounge—okay, actually before it was public, back when I was spending time talking to both Alex and Scott on the phone about it, agreeing with how both of them felt about the situation [probably much to their consternation, heh]—I made some preliminary looks to moving, and everything told me that I wanted to stay with what I’d been using.

But … well, at some point, the features of actually, oh, getting your feeds to actually aggregate trump everything else. Tonight, I found that one of my RMFO-Bloggers had 15 spammy comments that were just sitting there, all because FL hadn’t been aggregating his comment feed for me.

So anyway … the transition to a tag-style architecture to a tree is a slow one. Essentially, what I’ve done with every feed I’ve cleared so far is put it into a lowest-common-denominator group in NNW, which has typically been firstname_lastname. I will, at some point in the future, begin organically grouping these folks back into trees. [I’ve actually started with all the RMFO-Blogs feeds that I follow.] Essentially, I’ve gotten back to a flat structure, which I’ll then go back to treeing.

Good gracious, when are more people going to start supporting tag-style architectures? It may be a hard problem—I honestly don’t know—but it makes so, so, so much sense.’s remaindered links? I want those in “jason_kottke” and “linklog”, because sometimes I feel like perusing all the linklogs I follow, and sometimes, I want just Jason’s editorial voice. The same way with groups of my friends—I want Jonathan and Ashley in both “cabal” and “creekmores”, because sometimes I want to catch up with all my friends, and sometimes, I just want to know about what’s going on down the road from me. And best of all, I want my Bruins-related feeds from in “boston”, “bruins”, “hockey”, “nhl”, and “sports”, depending on what mood I’m in. [Why the bifurcation of “hockey” and “nhl”? Hell, I follow and eat/live/breathe college hockey, people.]

When one first encounters tag-style architectures, it seems a bit much, but so can treeing … you can get very, very specific with trees. Why do I prefer tag-style architectures? They slice horizontally and vertically.

So anyway, incoherent rambling over. I’m suck it up with going away from tag-style. I’m in mourning, but not enough to switch back. Right now, I’m fixing everything in NNW, essentially doing all my feed-reading at home [which is fine, because I’m busy at work], and then hoping to go to FeedDemon soon and have this setup all completely done so the OPML import into FD is a thing of simplicity when I’m ready for it.

12939 Unread Items

Yeah, almost 13k new items in NNW. That’s just from the import of my OPML. The sad thing is this: I can’t just mark all as read, because some of those feeds weren’t getting updated in my old aggregator, so I need to spend a little time with each one to be sure that I haven’t missed anything. [In some feeds, it won’t matter; others, stuff I monitor, yes, it matters greatly. Those monitoring feeds are probably a third of my feeds. :sigh:]

Goodbye, FeedLounge; Hello, Newsgator

I’ll write more about why I, the first release honoree of FeedLounge, am leaving the FeedLounge service behind, but this post primarily notes that I’ve moved to a client-side-married-to-a-server solution: NewsGator‘s offerings are my new feed-reading home.

Leave all the questions that I’m sure you’ll have in the comments. I’ll answer at-length soon. But in short, enough has proven to be enough.

Tasks Proâ„¢ 1.7 alpha 1

I’m really tempted to grab TP 1.7-a1. I won’t only because other people use my TP install besides me. Just as soon as a Tasks alpha with tagging showed up, though, I’d be ready to dive in: tagging is my most-wanted feature, by far. I live inside of Tasks, people. [And yes, when I havemake time, I’m writing that up as a best practice entry.]

Kudos as always, AK.