I only have a bit to add to the correct notion here that 2020 is not worth recapping. I was extraordinarily fortunate and lucky over the past year. I got a new job, and no one in my immediate bubble has caught the plague going around. I was able to chronicle how different everything was.

The only thing to add to this notion is a general, simmering rage that has been building since March. From forcing everything to reopen, to brand new kindergarten students having to learn over Zoom calls, to seeing other countries able to hold large gatherings in the fall, to watching helplessly as doses of the miraculous vaccination expire, unused. My trust in basically everyone currently in a position of power is gone, unlikely to be repaired. Little acts along the way help, but I am not sure the rage will ever subside.

I will think about other little acts while I go noodle around some more with TiddlyWiki.

<img src="https://images.newrepublic.com/625eae118e8faa4a829e88163bffa86ccd82b609.jpeg?w=1000

Since college, this has been my go-to listening during crunch time. From the microcontroller final class project to my current job, it has yet to fail me. Just helped me get through another tight schedule.

It only seems to work if I listen to the whole thing, but once the piano outro starts in “How A Resurrection Really Feels”, my work is done.

I have never met a hoodrat. I have never drank gin from a jam jar, let alone in an emergency room. Never been shaken or stirred in a dirty storefront church. Chicago has never seemed tired to me. Still, the album speaks to me.

Everyone seems to have a go-to for this situation. If for some reason you need one, you cannot go wrong with Separation Sunday.

During the primaries, the mild, establishment candidate muscles out a popular challenger from the left, securing their party nomination. This mild candidate is running against an obviously bad one fielded by the other party, self-evidently unable to do the job.

Aforementioned mild candidate then does not worry about creating an affirmative case for themself, and why would they? Their opponent is obviously bad. Much easier to say “wow, doesn’t that guy suck?” than to create plans to help fix the myriad of things that are broken.

This mild candidate does not campaign in battleground states (this time around, because it’s responsible and prudent), instead focused on fundraising from large-money donors.

Polling goes heavy in this candidate’s favor. There is just no way the obviously bad candidate could pull this out. The obviously bad candidate has a brush with his own hubris in early October, solidifying polling through the election.

Getting surprised on election day would be the definition of insanity, right?

I’ve had this on my mind for a few years now, and was reminded by this article about how Apple will reject Stadia and xCloud from the App Store. I’m a fan of both of those services so far, but my thoughts are tangential to Apple’s locked down platform. The nit I am picking is with search.

There is an almost throwaway line in Apple’s policy about how all the games would need to be reviewed and available in search. In direct relation to this issue, the policy is dumb and will likely fold, either to antitrust inquiries or backdoor handshake deals (or both). It creates a bad user experience (people who want to use the service on iOS cannot) for the sake of a good user interface.

I can’t fault them for it. In my 10 years using smartphones, I was able to switch to iOS for an entire 6 weeks, around the end of 2015. The only thing that still haunts me as an Android user is Spotlight Search.

It underscores the core design difference between the two systems. There is a single iOS which everyone experieces, but users bring along their individual stuff into the walled garden. On Android, you are generally encourged to create your own unique experience, which is rewarding in itself. However, trying to access personal items is a hassle, as search is almost always pointed outward toward the G-shaped hive mind.

I’ve spent several weeks organizing personal notes, experimenting with new tools. The interoperability and longevity of plaintext notes has proven particular alluring, and quite useful in practice. But if I want to perform a mobile search that includes my personal files as well as relevant emails/todos/etc., I am out of luck. The market leader to end all market leaders of internet search fails to accomplish this, and probably on purpose, because again, all search points outward by design.

Anyways, this has been bugging me for years, and won’t get any better because I just got my next Android phone. On a related note, I look forward to Obsidian coming to mobile.

I was lucky enough to get into Google Music early, by invitation. I have used it ever since, with a 1-month hiatus around 2014 to determine that Rdio was the best streaming service available (lol). In reality, the only option at the time for people with iPod-filling-sized music collections was Google Music. You could probably run a Subsonic server or something, but that stuff was for nerds. This was one of the largest companies in the world, offering a consumer solution for a consumer problem.

This was all before the wide realization of Google’s penchant for killing its offerings that people actually liked. But this one has obviously been much harder – they’ve started trying to kill their original music service over 2 years ago with no luck.

Youtube (in terms of branding) is already a step down. It has its own trouble with extremism, etc. Also, streaming music on Youtube always seemed like an anachronism to me – your medium is wrong, you are using unnecessary bandwidth, also you aren’t cool enough to have amassed your own collection. Can’t beat (ad-supported) free, I guess.

Grandfathering into the early adopter’s rate has saved me roughly $160 so far, over Spotify and others. May not be enough monetarily to justify staying, but it is enough to say I got in before it was cool. And to people who curate music collections, that is worth more lol.

The wrench in all this is I got a 3 month trial to Tidal, and it is going pretty well so far. It apparently can be combined with Plex, which may be getting back to that holy grail of mine + theirs. Will have a decision to make soon.


I only recently1 found out about TiddlyWiki, and immediately became enamored with it. After a couple months of playing with individual files, today I made a breakthrough today in hosting TiddlyWiki on my site.

I tried a few ways to initialize with cPanel on my current host, without any luck (I may return to this next, now that I’ve seen it in action. It turned out to be much easier to spin up a DigitalOcean droplet with Node, and follow the instructions in this guide from Josh Sullivan. The only modification I made was to use pm2 instead of forever (as DigitalOcean already had it configured). I found another article on initializing pm2 with Tiddlywiki, and I used the following command in place of forever:

pm2 start --name wikiprocessname /lib/node_modules/tiddlywiki/tiddlywiki.js -- nameofwikifolder --listen author=name username=name password=yourpassword "readers=(anon)"

Now, my experimentation with TiddlyWiki involved saving single html files and playing with each individually. I ended up with a few single-topic wikis – one for archiving my old notebooks, one for my video game collection, etc. I may combine at some point, but I thought it would be better for now to host individually. All that needed to happen, at least with the DigitalOcean reverse proxy setup, was to initialize nginx correctly.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/DOMAIN2.COM
sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/DOMAIN3.COM

Then in each file, make sure the port is unique and the URL matches. Symbol links for each:

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/DOMAIN2.COM /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/DOMAIN3.COM /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Rerun certbot if needed for these URLs, then intialize each in pm2:

pm2 start --name wikiprocessname /lib/node_modules/tiddlywiki/tiddlywiki.js -- nameofwikifolder --listen port=#### author=name username=name password=yourpassword "readers=(anon)"

You can play with the various arguments for the TiddlyWiki webserver outlined here. I made a couple available to only myself for now by removing “readers=(anon)”. Don’t forget to run pm2 save so your server stays up.

Going to keep playing, but right now my commonplace book is live with barely anything in it. Hope this helps someone get theirs off the ground as well.

  1. Pretty sure I picked up the idea from Chris Aldrich, who wrote his own guide for hosting the single file version of TiddlyWiki.