iPad Mini homescreen.

I see that Dominic Cummings is once again throwing Boris Johnson under the bus. He reminds me of Dr Zachary Smith from Lost In Space, I can almost imagine him squirming: “Oh please, don’t investigate me, I can be of value! Takes these small Tories instead!”

I removed the Micro.blog apps from both the Mac and iPad, and have returned to using M.b in a web panel in Vivaldi on the Mac, occasionally breaking open the full site when I need to write a quick post or work on my sites.

Clearly, Commuting by Train Has Scarred Me Mentally, Somehow...

Based on some recent dreams I’ve had, my version of Hell would be travelling by train but having no idea where I am, where I’m going, if I need to get off and change trains.

Additionally, the train would be packed, change shape and configuration as I look and move around them.

Same goes for any train stations I end up at.

Bonus: trains arriving and/or leaving may leave the tracks altogether, and any train I’m on may start moving down roads or even through fields without warning.

I have no idea why I keep having these dreams. I’ve not commuted since early 2012.

What I'm Currently Paying For

Since people on Micro.blog have been discussing subscriptions, it being the time of the year when then tend to come due for renewal, I thought I’d tot up which ones I have currently. It’s a lot fewer than this time last year, as I re-evaluated what I use and find useful.

The Essentials

  • Fastmail — my email provider since 2013, works like a champ, a keeper.
  • Backblaze — I backup locally too, but having online backups as well gives me extra peace of mind. Another keeper.
  • Bitwarden — I returned to Bitwarden in 2021 after another go with 1Password. I don’t have to pay for this, but I want to make sure they survive.
  • Microsoft 365 Personal — a necessary evil, while I train in proofreading and copyediting.

The Nice-To-Haves

  • Triode — I used apps like TuneIn Radio and myTuner in the past, but this is hands down the nicest radio app I’ve ever used.
  • Second Life — I don’t use all of the perks of the Premium account, but the ones I do use make all the difference. I also pay for the plot of Mainland I acquired last year. Yes, it’s virtual, but that’s also the case for your streaming music, Steam games library, etc. and I have a lot more fun with it than either of those.
  • SomaFM — I’ve been a listener since 2002.
  • Internet Archive — I’ve lost count of the number of things I’ve been able to track down again thanks to the Wayback Machine.

The Discretionary

  • Patreon — I support several artists and groups over there.
  • Bandcamp — probably my biggest discretionary spend in 2021. It gladdens my heart that this place exists.
  • Discogs — for those music items that I can’t find in digital form. Brexit and steep rises in shipping costs have dented my spending there, alas.

Stuff that fell by the wayside in 2021?

  • 1Password (mentioned above)
  • Apple Music (the streaming and cloud sync services)
  • Inoreader (now using NetNewsWire with local feed store)
  • Overcast (not lapsed yet, may reconsider)
  • iCloud (decided I can live without the extra capacity.)

This brings back memories of the 1980s: a recreation of the BBC’s Ceefax service using web technology and current news information.

The Quantified Soul

James A. Reeves, Broken Scales:

If I have a soul, what are its measurements and boundaries? I close my eyes and try to imagine it. Perhaps this is a fool’s errand, a pointless exercise in metaphysical speculation. Then again, there’s the 21st-century joke—or horror—that our search histories might be the most accurate portrait of our souls.

All the little gestures and routines that define me—listening to music, walking, running, meditation, writing, reading, sleep, even breathing—can now be quantified via a weirdly persistent army of devices and apps that want to tell me how fast, how long, how far, how often, and how many people.

While I wasn’t paying attention, my life became gamified into metrics and streaks. But turning myself into a scoreboard has led to blinkered thinking: a binary view in which every activity becomes about the accretion of data, not the mystery and mess of life itself. Maybe we’re not meant to know so much about ourselves.

Satan would be deeply envious of the soul-harvesting and corrupting prowess of social media companies.

Related: Siri may phone home with Ask Siri disabled



I’ve been using ScreenTime for a couple of years now, with varying degrees of success. The ability to set time limits on particular apps is useful but easy to override, and the statistics rarely got looked at. The addition of ScreenTime to the Mac hasn’t added much for me beyond an additional weekly reminder of how much time I spent on my devices.

However, something has changed with iPadOS 15, resulting in my ScreenTime figures skyrocketing. For reasons I’ve yet to fathom, various websites that I may view briefly on the iPad are being logged as sat open in Safari for hours! This has severely dented my trust in ScreenTime’s ability to track anything reliably, and for now I’ve switched it off on all my devices. It will be a test of my willpower to avoid wasting time playing games, but I reckon I can work around that by giving myself fun projects to do.

I’ve decided that “learn” will be my word for 2022. Not just learning new skills, but learning to learn again, to cement and reinforce knowledge and understanding. Onward and upward!

For some reason, Bitwarden is no longer available from within Safari 15.2 (under Monterey 12.1) — at all. Not only is the icon gone, so is the option to enable it in Safari’s preferences? The desktop Bitwarden app still works, as do the extensions in Firefox and Vivaldi. 🤷