Posts Tagged “personal”

  • Positive Fungi

    Alternate title for this post: "Fungyes". You'll get it in a second. If after reading this you're still unsatisfied with the title, please provide your suggestions in the comments. Make sure you read to the end to get the morel of the story. Again, you'll get that in a sec.…

  • What's wrong with the web forms these days?

    Filling out forms on the web is an inconsistent and often infuriating experience. What follows are some of my major complaints. I'm not a UX professional, though as a front-end developer it's definitely been part of my job. This post is written from a user standpoint, though. A frustrated, annoyed customer of e-commerce websites, a user who regularly signs up for services, and one who even occasionally fills out a contact form.…

  • The Systematic Casting Call is back!

    The Systematic casting call is open for submissions! Here's the TLDR: I'm looking for new podcast guests for Systematic and you can submit an intro to the Audiodrop. More details at the end, but here's some backstory.…

  • Back from Macstock

    I'm headed home from Macstock 2016 on an Amtrak train as I write this. It's been a great weekend. I got ill on the way to Chicago, and remained under the weather for the duration of the conference, but hey, I feel good on the train ride home, which makes sense based on how little I enjoy traveling.…

  • My current blogging workflow

    Admittedly, my publishing pace has been down for a while, but I'm working to get it back to its former levels. This reboot has been a good chance to re-evaluate my workflow. I thought it was also a good time to share my current list of tools and tricks for blogging.…

  • Exercise and ADHD

    I've been exercising a lot lately. As my issues with getting the meds I need have started to seem hopeless, I began using long walks to clear my mind. It helped. I lost 10 pounds and started being able to get about 60 solid minutes of work clocked per day, which is a huge step up from a few months of being able to handle about 30 minutes (elapsed) and not enough time to actually complete anything.…

  • The eclectic soundtrack of an aberrant mind

    Sometimes I think I'd like to build a sensory deprivation chamber that lets me have only my hearing, and only hear music.…

  • In which I review an airport restroom

    While this is a rare class of post from me, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) is no stranger to restroom stories. But this one is good and has nothing to do with Larry Craig.…

  • The baked goods of my subconscious

    I am not one to journal my dreams, but I really wanted to share this one and it needs more than 140 characters. I am not making this up or embellishing, my brain actually did this.…

  • Kitchen coding

    I've developed a love of cooking. Perhaps even an obsession. It's been good for my diet, and good for my palate.…

  • Love thy neighbor

    As an introvert with poor social skills and lack of desire for company most of the time, I'm a bit of a hermit. I would love to live in a Walden-esque cabin, miles from civilization, but it's really hard to get decent internet out there.…

  • In defense of pessimism

    There are a lot of catchy clichés describing how optimism is the light of the world, and how pessimism is evil creeping into your thinking. Seeing a glass as half empty, though, is not a negative outlook. It's a realistic assessment of a limited resource.…

  • My hackable vegetarian sandwich

    As some know, almost 2/3 of my daily diet consists of a flavorless food substitute, which sounds horrifying to many. The thing is, I love food and I enjoy cooking. I just don't like cooking more than once a day, and I don't like eating too many frozen meals and processed foods when I'm not feeling like cooking. When I do cook, however, I like the experimentation side.…

  • Your teenage rock band

    You're a high schooler. You love music. You want to play music. Not marching band music, and orchestra isn't cutting it for you. You want your own band.…

  • Seems like it might be time for a pledge drive...

    I know I've been a bit slower on posting the madness from the lab lately. I've been working on more and more larger projects that have two results on my blogging: I don't have as much time to document smaller tricks and tips to an extent where I'm comfortable posting, and I'm not finishing as many shorter-term projects to woo you with. I think the end results of the things I'm working on will be of interest to many of you, but they're taking some time.…

  • Brought to you by TUAW

    It seems like everyone has written a retrospective in light of AOL shuttering The Unofficial Apple Weblog except for me. Odd, considering I owe just about everything I have now to TUAW. So here's mine.…

  • 23 tips for driving in the North

    If you're driving in a snow-covered state this winter, here are some basics, presented with my normal lack of scrutible levity.…

  • I wrapped your gift very poorly but I love you

    I think my gifts this year are thoughtful, well-considered, and appropriate, though my wrapping job belies the fact that I've never worked in a department store and apparently have not had much contact with adult scissors before.…

  • On creation without consumption

    I do two podcasts on 5by5 (Systematic and Overtired), but I've admitted many times that I rarely listen to podcasts. I'm often asked why (and how) that is, and I'd like to share the results of some self-examination.…

  • At least it's not a telethon

    First, I'd like to thank everyone who's been supporting me since I went independent. Every time I see the $3-12 monthly donations come in, I'm grateful for you.…

  • 36 years in this skin

    It's my 36th birthday today. It sounds cliché, but I can honestly say I never expected to live this long. For the first 24 years of my life, I believed my life expectancy was 24. For a few years after that it felt like I was living on borrowed time. These days I accept that I'm making better choices and look forward to living to a respectable old age, if everything goes well. I'm grateful for every. single. day.…

  • Web Excursions for July 18, 2014
  • Minority Report setup: video evidence

    I shared details of my walking desk/LEAP setup yesterday and was flooded with requests for video of it in action. I hacked this together with my iPhone and iMovie this morning...…

  • My Minority Report Treadmill Desk

    I'm still excited about both my treadmill desk and my Leap motion controller. In fact, they complement each other nicely.…

  • Nick Cave, disorientation, and EXIF data

    This is a tale of woe --- spawned from a navigational "disability" --- and redemption via technology. It has very little point, but I feel like documenting it. Take it as you will.…

  • Training Dragons and dispelling myths

    My wife Aditi is a professional dog trainer, and I absorb a lot of information just being around her. She studies animal behavior and researches constantly to provide training that is based on science, not television shows. This post was inspired by her, as well as a movie I'll talk about in a minute. It's a strong departure from my usual fare. I don't apologize for that, as I think more people need to know about these things.…

  • The history of Rock and Roll in reverse

    I love music. I love discovering new music. I love discovering old music. I didn't have any guides to the world of music, really. I struck out on my own and found what I love by buying, trading and stealing until things made sense. And it all went backwards.…

  • Because it's my day off: just breathe

    I think our Pleco has the right idea. Music: Chillout Song by Ze Frank.…

  • It sounds unflattering, but I'm still kind of flattered

    >> At one point, multiple sources say, Duplan considered installing a motion detector system on his desk, so he could wave his hand rather than call out to his assistant to let her know he needed something. A source close to the company denies this.…

  • Support the ASPCA by shopping

    My wife, Aditi, works for the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) as an independent contractor. It's been difficult to describe what she does because of the amount of secrecy that generally has to surround her work for the safety of the dogs involved. However, a video was recently produced by the ASPCA that shows exactly what she does on her monthly trips. She's not in this one, but these are her friends and co-workers doing what they do best.…

  • Nobody wants to see your post about what nobody wants to see.

    There have been multiple articles lately across the parts of the Internet I frequent regarding what one shouldn't post on their social media accounts. I would like to respond to every one of them by saying "screw you." I'm pretty sure there's no Dear Abby for Facebook, and if there is, it isn't you.…

  • Independence, Day Three

    I've always said that I'm the most productive when I let myself work on what I feel like at the moment. Since leaving my day job, I've felt like working on everything. I've actually been a little scattered, but I'm getting into a groove.…

  • Brett's new adventures and how you can help

    Ok, so here's the official announcement. I left my job at AOL Tech to go off on my own (for now). Feel free to skip to the end to find out how you can support my move.…

  • When a friend loses a pet

    I had a couple of friends recently lose their beloved pets. It's a tough thing to watch, and an even tougher thing to go through, but it's guaranteed to happen eventually. I learned some things from my wife, who's lost more pets than I've owned, and I think there's good advice here for everyone.…

  • 2013: My year in review

    This year I Launched the new brettterpstra.com on a Jekyll platform (I've written about a few of my Jekyll adventures). Since then I've had a couple of projects ship, so I thought I'd take time to do my yearly review.…

  • Now we'll sit through my vacation slideshow...

    I haven't taken a real vacation with just my wife and no family reunion or work to do since my honeymoon. We got away last week and had a blast in San Francisco. It was nice to visit a city I knew pretty well but hadn't seen 1/10th of yet. Chillier than I'd hoped, but a good 50 warmer than the town I left behind.…

  • Run while you have to, stop when you can

    This would normally be a Twitter or Facebook post, but I feel like writing just a few more characters than I should.…

  • 8 tips for no-touch flying: a completely serious survival guide to economy seating

    I fly a fair amount. It's a necessary evil, I guess. Road trips are for teenagers and very tolerant parents of small children. Trains are slow and expensive. Walking is usually out of the question if there's a plane involved anywhere in the equation. So I fly.…

  • Faceless, nameless, unforgettable

    You know those relatively mundane moments that you remember forever? The right friends, the right music, the right lighting, the right temperature: suddenly there's this moment that you know you'll never forget. It's not a rush of fear or adrenaline, it's not an event or circumstance, it's just a moment that somehow wrote itself to your permanent storage.…

  • A Jekyll Flickr Gallery plugin test

    I just had to test this. It's a Jekyll plugin that takes the ID of a Flickr photo set and turns it into a gallery, keeping all photos hosted on Flickr. Not that I make a lot of galleries on my blog, just one of those "I think I can do that" things.…

  • KINDER SURPRISE: EXCLUSIVE UNBOXING VIDEO

    That's right, brettterpstra.com got its hands on a Kinder Surprise. Illegal to sell in the US, this Italian technology is difficult to procure. Our UK connections smuggled the confection back for us, and we're bringing you the exclusive unboxing.…

  • A sincere and heartfelt thanks

    It was my 34th birthday yesterday. I wasn't planning to do much for it, but I woke up to a post on Macdrifter declaring it Terpstra Day in honor of my birthday. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. I also can't tell you how much it meant to me that a slew of other blogs picked up on it and carried it on, nor can I truly express my gratitude for the number of Twitter, Facebook and direct email messages I received wishing me a happy birthday and thanking me for all of the random tools I've…

  • Junkyard Country Poprocks

    Rounding off a very quiet week, I thought I'd throw an unusual recording of mine out there. I've been prepping a podcast, working on some non-blog writing, and managing (or attempting to) a large project at the day job. Thus, slow posting rate. Forgive me, the code craziness will continue after these messages.…

  • Lest I forget: a catalog of recent code endeavors

    I was looking back through logs and posts and thinking about all of the half-baked projects I've spent my time on over the last few years. I started compiling a list and figured I'd post it for posterity. The following are the projects that stick out to me as either being pretty cool or, at the least, having potential.…

  • Wrapping up WWDC 2012

    WWDC 2012 is coming to a close. I'm tired, but this week has been great, and exactly what I look forward to all year. See, I don't go to WWDC, I bum around on the outskirts, blogging, meeting devs, seeing apps and drinking beers with great people. And it's been a lot of all of that (the latter declining in frequency as the week wore me down).…

  • Tuesday morning at WWDC 2012

    One day into WWDC and I already have a couple of clandestine software previews lined up. For an app junky like me, that's a sweet score. I'll be sure to get the minimum embargo information and let you all know as much as I can about the previews I get.…

  • Heading to WWDC

    I'm heading to WWDC today. I'm going as blogger and tech support for Engadget and TUAW, but I'm hoping to have free time to hang out with all the cool bloggers and devs, especially later in the week after the fervor surrounding Monday dies down a little. I'm around through Friday if you want to grab a bite/drink and haven't already contacted me, let me know!…

  • 2x4 interview on Lifehack

    Just in case you missed it, a 2x4 interview I did for lifehack.org went live today. Thanks to Michael Schechter for the opportunity to talk about life, creativity and productivity.…

  • Unbelievable fortune

    The simple I understand why my scalp has never forgiven me for the things I did to it in my teens and twenties. I understand why my body has never forgiven me for the things I put in it when I was young. I understand why my future took so long to start. I understand and accept these things without question. The unbelievable I can not comprehend why my ex-girlfriends from my twenties have forgiven me. I cannot believe my wife puts up with me. I don't understand how or why I've survived…

  • From my Macworld Diary

    My Tech Talk this morning, "40 Tips in 40 Minutes" with David Sparks and Merlin Mann went really well, I think. I had fun doing it, anyway. I put up some show notes at the soon-to-change 40tips.com, if you're interested. I'm looking forward to seeing David and Merlin with Rob Corddry tomorrow. If you're around Macworld, you should probably get there early!…

  • Fall Panorama

    Trail in the bluffs , a photo by terpstra_brett on Flickr. My Nex-3 makes me quite happy. Also, this Flickr->WordPress deal is pretty slick.…

  • Why I will never be a wildlife photographer

    Fall 2011 , a set on Flickr. Because I can't sit still long enough.…

  • An unintentional 24-hour Internet break

    I know, it sounds like one of those experiments that the productivity crowd subjects themselves to, just to see what happens. This was not intentional, premeditated or appreciated, though.…

  • Fog In The Valley

    As some of you may know, my wife Aditi and I moved into a new house last week. It's been a crazy week of settling in, but it's already starting to feel like home. As it turns out, I'm less opposed to weekend projects than I had thought I would be. I'm not exactly handy, but I'm learning as I go.…

  • Moving day

    We just completed the first day of a cross-town move to our new house. It's my first foray into home ownership, so this is exciting and a little bit nerve wracking. Thanks to all of our friends who helped make what would otherwise have been an overwhelming task into a fun afternoon.…

  • Gratitude

    Yesterday's news of Steve Jobs' resignation was sad for me. My concern is not for Apple Apple is a vibrant community of designers and developers and Tim Cook will be excellent at the helm. My concern was for Steve Jobs. He has been one of the few people in my later life that I've truly admired, and his work and principles have been of great inspiration to me. I'd like to join many others in saying "thanks, Steve."…

  • Thanks WWDC

    Thanks to everyone I met at WWDC this year and to the friends I got to see for a great time. San Francisco was as beautiful as ever and the Mac and iOS development communities are, as usual, full of new and brilliant ideas. It's always heartening to see. TUAW and MacTech will be posting the result of our blogging work at WWDC over the next few weeks.…

  • A mistake

    I put up a dummy replacement for the Winona Chiropractic site yesterday. I didn't expect many people to see it, except hopefully the client. It's gone viral on Twitter in the meantime, and I just wanted to verify that yes, it was real.…

  • On my way to Macworld '11

    I'm sitting at the airport on free wifi right now, getting ready to embark on a trip from Minnesota to California for Macworld. If anyone is headed out there, I'd love to meet you. TUAW will be holding a meetup at some point, I think, so watch @tuaw_mwsf for that. I can also be reached on Twitter at @ttscoff, or contact me through the contact form here. I look forward to seeing some new faces and meeting up with old friends!…

  • The warmest, fuzziest scary thought

    As a child, my wife Aditi had memorized this poem by Oliver Herford. She remembered enough of it that we were able to find it on the Googles, and I'm absolutely in love with it. As your end-of-the-day, end-of-the-world thought, and as my I-just-ate-my-first-hamburger-in-15-years thought, I present:…

  • Pescatarianism and changing views

    This post is a departure from my usual. I need a chance to think out loud about a larger-than-usual decision I'm making. Bear with me, or skip it entirely if you like. You can always come back again later for nerdier fun. This morning I'm writing about this choice. This is not a life-or-death decision, but it is certainly a change in the way I view the world.…

  • Home from Punta Cana

    We made it home from our vacation to Punta Cana late this afternoon. The vacation was amazing, and I made new friends and put some faces (and amazing personalities) with names I already knew. A great time was had by all. The trip home, US Customs, canceled flights and fleabag hotels I could have lived without, but I'm home safe and looking forward to getting back to work, coding on my various projects, and catching up on all of the TUAW news I missed!…

  • Homeward, eventually

    In Punta Cana, when they let us know that there was no way we were going to make it through customs in time for our connecting flight, they promised us a hotel room and a cab. We got to Miami, made it through customs and finally got to a ticketing counter to collect our hotel room. They shook their heads at our naivet.…

  • Miami, Dallas and home

    Aditi and I are at the airport in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Wifi is a little spotty, but I'm going to see if I can get this posted from my iPad. Our flight to Miami was delayed enough that we're going to miss the last connecting flight that would have gotten us any closer to home than Florida. We get an extra night of vacation, I guess, courtesy of American Airlines.…

  • Bring it on, winter

    After 30"+ of snow in the last couple of weeks, and some bitter cold days, I'm gearing up. My trip to Fleet Farm was productive:…

  • Why stick figures matter

    I agree with a lot of what Neven Mrgan has to say, and hold his opinions in high regard. Case in point: his piece on "The Walled Garden." However, his most recent post, in my opinion, requires a response. It's a mundane issue, and so is this counterpoint, but I just couldn't let it go.…

  • Odd-looking products, ugly websites and one very happy customer

    I hope that the folks at BSR will forgive me for picking on their website's aesthetics, as I have nothing but good things to say about the company and their products.…

  • A little rock and roll: Inconsequential Martyr

    And now for something entirely different... I wanted to test out GarageBand '11 as a musical scratchpad, so I put this together last night (also my first recording with an electric guitar). It's mostly first takes (which is especially obvious on the vocal tracks) because I wanted to see how well the app worked for just getting ideas out of my head. My conclusion: it works really well. The Groove Sync and Flex Timing fixed a lot of little mistakes. If only it had an autotuner (you'll say, I'm…

  • Title track: Something Precious

    This is a song I recorded a couple of years ago. I like it, although it's a bit dark. Yes, even darker than my usual. You may be happy to know that --- since getting my new electric guitar --- I've actually been writing some happier music. I haven't recorded any of it yet, but hope to find some time soon.…

  • Blue Bags: new song with 33% more metaphor

    You can count yourself lucky if you have no idea what "blue bags with red letters" might be, but I think you'll get the idea from the lyrics to this song nonetheless. Within certain circles, the stamp bag is a common form of packaging powdered goods... at least in New York and other high-traffic cities. A small envelope, often blue in my day, stamped with red letters which spell out the name of the dealer/batch the contents are from.…

  • Make amazing coffee without the hassle

    I've really been enjoying my current coffee and tea setup, so I thought I'd share. There's an investment involved, but you can set it up for anywhere from about $50 to $200, plus the ongoing cost of coffee beans and tea. Here's the rundown.…

  • And now... something happier

    Junky Angel, my last post, was a rather dark look into my psyche, which makes this next one, "All Comes Spilling Out," seem happy by comparison. It's a love song, dark though it may be. Kind of like Robert Smith's more stable side doing a cover of "Give My Love to Rose." Maybe.…

  • Sad songs, part 2: Junky Angel

    If not the saddest song I've ever written, "Junky Angel" is at least in the top 5. I'm not always this much of a downer, but I really needed to get this one up here as I start publishing my more recent work, mostly because this song in particular lays a historical and emotional backdrop for the journey and growth that follows.…

  • Sad music for happy people, part 1

    While I normally keep my blogging pretty technical, I've decided to start sharing some of my more personal projects, just to see what happens. I've been (slowly) working on a few songs for a very low-budget EP, and this is the first one I've "finished," per my own standards, anyway.…

  • My weather report. Seriously.

    I did some massive Spring cleaning over the weekend, and found a lot of "treasures" that, after having been momentarily cherished, are on their way to the dump. A pile of Dead Kennedy's and TCHC cassettes from High School that had been severely devastated by an extended stay in the garage, original vinyl pressings from some of my old bands, Phreak boxes , and more defunct electronics than I could possibly E-bay. Amongst all of it, though, I found a CD of work from my Interactive Multimedia…

  • Big Nerd Ranchero

    I'm sitting at the airport in Minneapolis, waiting for a flight to Atlanta. I'm headed for Big Nerd Ranch for a week-long crash course in iPhone programming. I've done a little, but I think it will be a great way to start from the basics and fill in all of the holes in my knowledge. The thing is, I'm a little torn about the circumstances Big Nerd Ranch is paying for this trip and providing a week of classes in order for me to review the facilities for The Unofficial Apple Weblog, where I'm a…

  • Where I've been this week

    Well, I've been out of touch with a lot of people for the last four days, and I thought I'd save some time and provide a place I could link everyone to for a quick explanation. On Tuesday evening, in the middle of what the weather service is calling our "worst storm in 20 years," I started having stomach cramps. I won't go into detail about what followed, but I'll skip forward to the part where Aditi (my loving and amazingly dedicated wife) packed me into her 4-wheel drive Pathfinder and headed…