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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Spotify is (was?) the best place to listen to music. It is, unequivocally, the worst place to listen to podcasts. They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars and their experience is the worst. I hope they are working on something great.

I’m collecting all of the responses to my typical day post under the typicalday tag for those interested in learning from other people’s routines. Some really great posts so far.

Rob Weychert’s typical day

Rob Weychart, tagged by Dan Mall, whom I tagged:

I keep my personal and professional web browsing segregated to different browsers, and I use a plugin to block Twitter, news, and other productivity draining sites during work hours.

I used to do something similar. I think I had an app that blocked blacklisted URLs. But I find myself so busy most days that if I am able to dive into Twitter or YouTube I allow myself.

Sara Soueidan’s typical day

Sara Soueidan, who was tagged by Dan, whom I tagged:

I think of day and time management in terms of blocks. Or, chunks of time, so to speak. I divide my day into “activity blocks” that are then distributed to occupy different time slots across the day.

Her post is a must-read even if you haven’t been following along with these “typical day” posts.

This bit hit pretty hard:

5:30am–7:30am[Creative block] This can be anything I am inclined to do, as long as it’s meaningful work — “work that contributes to your legacy, helps you advance your career, expands your skill set, etc.… When you finish such work, you have the satisfying feeling of time well spent and a job well done.” (Jocelyn K. Glei, Unsubscribe)

“Work that contributes to your legacy”. Wow. I have a bunch of projects that are sitting on the shelf. Some half-started, others half-finished. I would love to dedicate a meaningful amount of time to getting projects out into the world that will impact my legacy.

Thanks to Sara for putting so much thought into her post.

Mike Carbone’s typical day

Mike Carbone, tagged by Dan Mall, whom I tagged:

10:30am: Wake up

OK, straight out of the gate this young lad is showing off. He continues…

4pm-6pm: Lift and work. This is something new I’ve been trying and it’s been going really well! I bring my laptop to the basement, blast some music, pump out some sets and write code in-between. Surprisingly productive.

Who is this guy? Lifting weights while writing code? We’re obviously not cut from the same cloth.

6:30-7:30pm: Consume enough food to feed a small African village, shower, protein shake.

My imagination of this gentleman is running wild.

Again, I’ll be collecting all of the links to those that participated on the original post in the coming days.

Courthouse Square, Honesdale, PA – January 2021

On Friday I drove to Honesdale to pick up some takeout food (Honesdale has some good food) and had a few minutes to kill. So I walked around the square with my Canon Rebel G filled with Ilford’s HP5+. When I got home I developed the roll in my sink.

Time is passing much faster than I’ve ever experienced in my 40 years.

Noah Read’s typical day

Noah Read:

Most of the fall was absorbed with house-hunting, purchasing, finding new renters for our previous home, prepping for the move, moving, and unpacking. This has taken any spare moment and more than all my spare energy and attention to make happen.

In July, as Eliza and I soldiered on towards our new home’s closing day, I nearly threw in the towel. A new job, a pandemic, and buying a home almost did me in. But I’m extremely happy we muscled through it. We are far better off now than we were in the beginning of the pandemic.

I feel some of your pain Noah. And you have the added responsibility of homeschooling children! Hats off.

See also.

The best of 2020 as told by me

I didn’t want to get too deep into 2021 before I compiled my best of list for 2020. I usually begin to compile this list somewhere near the beginning of December and publish it before the new year starts – but I didn’t get that chance this year.

The most difficult part about making this list each year is the fear of leaving some one or some thing out. I compile it based solely on memory. Maybe for 2021 I’ll keep a running file of things that delight me and review that near the end of the year. Perhaps I’ll simply pull from my links that I publish here somewhat weekly. I think it is time for a change to this format. But, for now, here is this years totally random pulled from memory list.

You can review other years I’ve made similar lists in 2008, 2009, 2017, 2018, 2019.

Best Blog: Kottke.org

I’ve been subscribed to Jason’s blog for decades. Kottke.org made last year’s best blog runners up list. And it should likely be in that list in perpetuity. I’m giving Kottke.org the award this year because of how many times I linked to it from my blog and the amount of content I enjoyed on it in 2020.

Runners up: Julia Evans, Ton Zijlstra, Dan Mall (I like what he’s doing with his week notes)

Best (new to me) Blog: All film photography blogs.

Rather than a single winner in this category this year I’m going to highlight the dozens of film photography blogs that I subscribed to this year and have gleaned a lot of insight and enjoyment from. I would like even more (especially those covering the darkroom) so if you have suggestions please send them my way.

Best Twitter account: @pinot

The amount of content Pinot W. Ichwandardi puts out on Twitter is really amazing. He takes older tech and makes contemporary art with them. Some things seem like an incredible amount of work. What a fun account to follow!

Runners up: @3eyedmonster, @FlakPhoto, @cabel.

Best place: Home

We bought a house this summer. And we’ve really enjoyed being here. We’ve done a lot of renovations and yard work already with more planned for this year. I’m very grateful we found this place during such a hard time.

Runners up: The only places we went this year; Georgia, Virginia, and the Finger Lakes.

Best book: Contact by Carl Sagan.

I liked the movie. In fact, I watch it at least once or twice a year. But I hadn’t read the book until this year and I’m glad I did. My new computer is now named The Machine as a result. I think I’ll read it again in a year or so.

I read at least 6 or 7 photography-related books this year and perused about a dozen more. So this kept me from my now not-so-normal reading schedule. I’m hoping to pick up the pace a bit in 2021 but, like I said last year, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

Runners up: Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline.

Best hardware: Canon AE-1 Program from 1984.

Last year I noted that a film camera would likely be the winner this year and I was right. While I’ve been able to shoot with a wide variety of cameras this year the Canon AE-1 Program has stood out as the most fun to use. It was also a gift from my brother-in-law who bought it new in 1984 and kept it in very good shape. I’m thankful for his generosity as I hope to have this camera for many years to come.

Next year I hope to list a medium format camera that shoots 6×4.5 but I don’t own one yet.

Runners up: The Canon Rebel G (a very inexpensive and solid film camera), and my Beseler enlarger that I’ve been making many of my prints from.

Best desktop app: NetNewswire.

I use this app almost every weekday to keep up with all of my interests. It is a fantastic break from the pall felt within social media apps.

Runners up: Silverfast 8, Simplenote (still hanging in as my go to note taking app despite so many incumbents), Zoom (unsure how I can’t mention this app this year), 1Password (for the Apple Watch integration).

Best mobile app: Untappd

I mentioned Untappd in September. I’ve had the app installed for years and didn’t really lean into utilizing it until a few years ago. I’m very happy that I have. The more you use the app the more useful it is to you. But it also has several features that you need to remember to use in certain circumstances. If you’re into beer, and even moreso if you have specific tastes, I highly recommend investing the time to using the app.

Runners up: Pocket Casts, Chess, Flickr, Walmart (for curb side pickup).

Best podcast: The Large Format Photography Podcast

I’ve learned a lot from LFPP. It is laid back and my style. I also help manage the Flickr Group.

Runners up: Vision Slightly Blurred, All Through A Lens, ATP (I’ve listened to more episodes this year than previous years).

Best browser: Safari

Firefox has won this award multiple years but this year I’ve switched to Safari. I’m giving it this award based on the fact that it is more of a Mac app than Firefox, it is fast, and it keeps your privacy as its main priority. I do miss Containers however. I don’t know what the future of Firefox looks like but I’m thinking 2021-2023 will see massive changes at Mozilla.

Best YouTube channel: ScreenCrush

OK, hear me out on this one. I watched The Mandalorian on Friday mornings at around 6-6:30am. I believe Disney published them at midnight. By the time I was done watching the episode I was able to log onto YouTube and see the episode broken down, explained nearly frame-by-frame, with clips from old movies, past Star Wars films, etc. I still do not know how they did it so fast.

Runner up: The Dark Shed, Rolf Nylinder, Rainfall Projects, Nico’s Photography Show, ILFORD Photo, Borut Peterlin.

I really need to fix how my site displays webmentions.

Dan Mall’s typical day

Dan Mall, whom I tagged:

7:30pm–8:30pm: Optional work wrap-up time if there’s anything urgent from the day. 

I envy that he has that evening time-slot to be productive. I find that my evenings are far less productive after I get into wind-down mode. I wouldn’t mind adding an hour or so of productivity to the end of my day.

Jeremy Keith’s typical day

Jeremy Keith, whom I tagged:

Y’know, in the Before Times I think this would’ve been trickier. What with travelling and speaking, I didn’t really have a “typical” day …and I liked it that way. Now, thanks to The Situation, my days are all pretty similar.

Waking up at 8:30 seems like such a luxury! I wish I could sleep in until then. It isn’t that I’m not allowed to do so – I simply haven’t been able to sleep past 8am in years. But then I see he doesn’t get into his pajamas until almost midnight and I realize he’s on a completely different rhythm.

At some point, I’ll update the original post with links to everyone’s daily routines for posterity.

Y’all ever scan black and white film as color film for about an hour before you realized it? No? Yeah, me neither.

Beer + JavaScript.

Film cameras in TV and movies

Mike Eckman:

If you’re like me, it is exciting to see an old camera in a movie or television show set in the past.

I’ve been known to pause to figure out the camera from time-to-time. I often remark that I wish there was a list of TV shows and movies that feature analog cameras. Now there is. At least the beginnings of one. Someone should turn this into a wiki.

Tonight I developed my first roll of film since the roll I lost. Feels good to see properly exposed negatives hanging to dry.

Chris Coyier’s typical day

Chris Coyier:

That long of a workday means that I can be very flexible without feeling behind. If I need to run any sort of errand, I do. If I need to stay home a morning, I do. If I need to come home “early”, I do. And I can do that without feeling like I’ve meaningfully eaten into my work, which is a major stressor for me. It means there is some space in my day for play and exploration.

He and I share our love of mornings. But I also like this quoted bit because my entire reason for getting to the office earlier than everyone else is selfish. I want the freedom to bug out whenever I want.

Here is my typical day. Where is yours?

I filed a Radar (now called Feedback?) bug report for the bug I’m experiencing in Photos for Mac. I wonder if it will get fixed.

Julia Evans on Docker Compose

Julia Evans:

I’m very happy about this because previous to trying Docker Compose I spent two days getting frustrated with trying to set up a dev environment with other tools and Docker Compose was a lot easier and simpler. And then I told my sister about my docker-compose experiences and she was like “I KNOW, DOCKER COMPOSE IS GREAT RIGHT?!?!” So I thought I’d write a blog post about it, and here we are.

We use Docker Compose to make it simple for people to spin up their own personal environment for Unmark. It works incredibly well. You install Docker, download Unmark, run Docker Compose and voila — it installs the entire stack you need, creates a web server, database server, and storage area then you just install Unmark (which is really just creating the needed database tables) and you’re off and running.

You don’t even need to know what any of this means to appreciate Docker Compose.

My typical day

Here is a general overview of a typical day for me. Routine makes me happy but it also lends to my productivity. The more each day is the same the more I can accomplish.

I’m sharing it because I would like to see other people post their typical days – as mundane as they may be. To that end I’m doing the old-school blogging tactic of tagging others to share their typical day. I’m tagging Manton Reece, Julia Evans, Dan Mall, Chris Coyier, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Matt Mullenweg, and Jeremy Keith.

Update, January 19, 2021: Many of the above tagged have responded with their own posts on their own blogs! And they, in turn, have tagged others! I’m going to keep track of all of the posts that I see and put them under my typicalday tag. So if you’re interested in the routines of others, I suggest you browse through them. There are some gems already!

If you’d like to share your schedule or tag others please do and let me know about it!

  • 6-6:30am – I usually wake in this window. If I don’t, by 6:30 the Apple Watch taps me on wrist.
  • 6:30-7:30 – Read and meditate on daily scripture using JW Library app. Shower. Dress. Coffee. Recently, Duolingo Spanish lesson. I also typically watch about 20 minutes of YouTube. Most of which is saved in my Watch Later list there or in Unmark. Latest topics include photography, chess, NBA highlights.
  • 7:30am – Drive to work. Listen to a podcast in Pocket Casts.
  • 8am – Arrive at work. Virtual asynchronous “stand-up” in Trello with team remarking what will be happening for the day.
  • 8-9am – Project management in Trello in some form. Making sure the team has what they need to get their work done. Work of some form usually prepping for any meetings. Slow days I open NetNewsWire.
  • 9am – Daily meeting with CEO. Pretty much a stand-up.
  • 9:30-12am – Work.
  • 12pm – Packed lunch. Catch up on news (very briefly, usually via Twitter). 20 minutes of YouTube. Usually something I am learning from programming to marketing.
  • 1-2:30pm – I schedule any meetings in this time period before I get back to work after lunch. Usually only on a single weekday. So if I may have a meeting at 1pm on a Tuesday but no other day that week. So, only about 10-20% of the time do I have an afternoon meeting.
  • 2:30-4pm – Work. Listen to music while working via Apple Music. Sometimes a podcast or a long YouTube video in picture-in-picture but only if I can concentrate.
  • 4:30pm – Typically read a few things in my Unmark queue. Then make end day notes for the next day.
  • 4:30-5pm – Arrive home. Dinner.
  • 6-10pm – My time. This can be filled with time in my darkroom, watching some TV, or yes, more YouTube. Reading a book, etc.
  • 10-11pm Go to bed.

At first glance it may seem like my week is meeting heavy. However, most weeks my meetings are less than 4 hours total. When meetings are on a schedule, have a purpose and most often an agenda you’re able to block those times out in a such a way that you remain productive in the other times. Unexpected meetings with no agenda are the ones that are the killer. Very short daily meetings cut down on the need for any other meetings.

Obviously, this schedule varies a lot. I may have meetings with new clients or other things that break up my day. But in general I’m able to keep this routine and I’m feeling just about as productive as I’ve ever been in my career.

See also Benjamin Franklin’s.

Shift Nudge

Matt D. Smith (@mds), explains what Shift Nudge is:

Shift Nudge is the systematic process to learn the visual skills of interface design, even if you don’t have a design background. Perfect for those wanting to enter or advance in the field.

Let’s say you’re sitting there reading this and you’re a coder that wishes they had more experience with and confidence in interface design. You have ideas. You can build them quickly. But you think they don’t look as good as they could or work as well as they need to. A program like Shift Nudge can help build your vocabulary, skillset, and train your eye for good, usable interface design. And Matt is the perfect person to teach you that.

I met Matt in 2013 in Greenville, South Carolina at the Greenville Grok. I was impressed with him then. He’s be upping his game ever since.

The most important blog

Seth Godin:

Even if no one but you reads it. The blog you write each day is the blog you need the most. It’s a compass and a mirror, a chance to put a stake in the ground and refine your thoughts.

And the most important post? The one you’ll write tomorrow.

His post is about the most important blog post. I’m saying that the most important blog is yours.

Black Women Photographers

Laura Beltrán Villamizar, writing for NPR, describing the website Black Women Photographers:

Her site, Black Women Photographers, is a forum where members can celebrate each other’s work. It’s also a platform both to elevate the work of Black women in the photo and documentary industry as well as to help financially support photographers whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic. And it’s a database, so editors and curators can reach out to new talent and expand inclusive hiring practices.

The “her” in that quoted bit is photographer Polly Irungu who started the site. It is a great site to browse. Bookmark it. Use it to be inspired by great photographers. Use it to find the next photographer for a gig.

For those wondering, everything is going great in the darkroom.

Firebase is awfully nice. Wow. Side note: I had an idea rolling around in my head for 13 years that I’ve wanted to try and I was able to make a prototype of it in just a few hours.

Simon Collison on personal websites

Simon Collison:

You tend your domain like you steadily improve your home, and it can take years of false starts and incremental commits. Don’t think of it as urgent work, or — heaven forbid — a “side-hustle”.

Don’t I know it.

Well, well over twenty years on. Still loving it.

The last few months I’ve been hyper productive both at work and on my own projects. I think that is what scares me most about updating to Big Sur and why I’m holding off. I’m at an age where I want zero downtime.

Music at Lucky Hare Brewing – March 2020

Just prior to lockdown, we were able to listen to this lovely chap play some music at Lucky Hare Brewing in upstate New York.

I rescanned this 35mm negative to get a better quality version than my first scan.

Shot on Kodak Ultramax 400 using the Canon AE-1 Program.

Me, encounters an issue with some open source web software.

Time to fix from 1994 until about 2014: mere minutes.

Time to fix today: give up after 8 hours of figuring out dependencies.

In some ways, web development has gotten worse.

If anyone has any old film cameras, darkroom equipment, materials, paper, etc. etc. that they will decidedly never use and they’d rather pass them onto someone who will — I’m willing to pay shipping. 🙂