I re-subscribed to Evernote Premium in April 2021 and immediately had enough complaints to start keeping a list. However, I want to frame them constructively.

  1. Enable sending mail attachments directly to an existing note rather than requiring they be saved first.
  2. Support highlighting text in attachments by selection in addition to free form.(Same as in 2015.)

  3. Empower mobile workers with keyboard shortcuts on iOS.
  4. Simplify internal links so that we can link to notes without leaving the one we’re working on. I envision two ways: 1) double bracket notation and 2) highlighting text > note link > search-select note.
  5. Re-introduce a Related Notes feature. The web clipper still shows these, but the main interface doesn’t.
  6. Optimize launch time—last time I checked, it took at least 10 seconds for the app to open but couldn’t create a note. Had to force quit, re-launch, wait 10 seconds again to add a new note.
  7. Add support for publishing notebooks into the new apps, using the more modern webpage style used for individual shared notes, and with support for internal links.
  8. Make it easier to copy a link from a note. Currently, in reading mode tap-and-hold on iOS acts like a tap and opens the link in browser. Ideally, it would open a context menu with Copy/Share options. Instead, I have to enter edit mode, tap near the link, tap edit, then select and copy the URL. (Same in 2015.)

I put together a go bag a few years ago, but it’s not that great. The bag is oversized and has too many pockets. It has a tarp I’ll never use for shelter. I might’ve been better off with a family size camp stove than my little MSR Pocket Rocket deal. And I don’t have any hot meals (yet) for it.

Since I recently ordered a sling for daily carry, I’m working on a holistic preparedness approach, comprised of:

  1. On my person
  2. In my car
  3. At home

(If I worked in an office, that might be number four; shelter-in-place without a workplace stash does not make for a fun mental space.)

On my person

I ordered a Bellroy Sling in forest green. It’s 7L so I think it’ll be plenty roomy without being too large. My planned load out is akin to this:

  • Fisher Space Pen and small notebook
  • lip balm
  • eye drops
  • hand sanitizer
  • sunglasses and microfiber cloth
  • mints
  • AirPods
  • keys with pill holder (1 ibuprofen, 1 acetaminophen, 1 aspirin, 1 diphenhydramine; also a loose loratadine-pseudoephedrine or two)

Additional items could include:

  • Anker battery backup and cables—it’s huge, so probably only if I’m expecting a long day. Otherwise it’s with my home bag.

In my car

I finally purchased a basic roadside kit and fire extinguisher to keep in the car, and I’ve refreshed my first aid kit. The last thing to add is a bag with a change of clothes and basic toiletries.

Roadside kit

This is in the cargo area.

  • blanket—the one that came with the kit isn’t great. I may put the better one from my existing bag in the car.
  • reflective triangle
  • screwdriver, pliers, multitool
  • jumper cables
  • tow strap
  • headlamp
  • quart of oil
  • full spare with the scissor jack and tire wrench that came with the car
  • gloves

First aid kit

This and the fire extinguisher sit under the front seats, accessible from the back row.

  • bandages of various sizes
  • roll of gauze
  • alcohol prep pads
  • ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, diphenhydramine
  • Bactine

Overnight bag

  • change of clothes
  • jacket, gloves, beanie
  • toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, contact lens solution and case

Unfortunately, I don’t have a backup pair of glasses. I would feel much better having a backup pair in the car in case the contacts are bothersome. I considered keeping the case in my daily bag, but without solution it’s useless.

I need to add non-perishable snacks here.

Up front

In the glovebox, I have a couple pens, a tire pressure gauge, pen light, napkins, and my recent service records. In the console there’s a canister of Wet Ones and spare bulbs. And since the start of pandemic I’ve kept a pump bottle of hand sanitizer in the driver door. And of course, my iPhone charger and a spare USB port are always ready to go.

At home

Our pantry is well-stocked, so this is focused on equipment. My bag at home currently looks like camping gear. Again, since this is meant to be a holistic approach, the concept is to augment what’s in the car.

  • Sangean MMR-88 emergency weather radio—it uses weird Nitecore 18350 batteries (need to buy more)
  • Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp
  • Rechargeable AA and AAA batteries (need to buy more)
  • USB quick charger for those batteries
  • trowel, tissue, garbage bags
  • copies of important documents in a sealed bag
  • First aid kit from Adventure Medical Kits
  • Personal camp stove, fuel canisters, and mess kit
  • Miscellany: fire starter, lint, water purification tablets.

I’d like to buy a few freeze dried Mountain House meals—the lasagna and beef stroganoff are both good.

I’m always re-evaluating and tweaking, so if you have any suggestions let me know.

Original handwritten page for this post, in an orange  Rhodia dot grid notebook with orange ink

Today I said to myself, in my allergy-induced slothful state, “It would be fun to hand write some thing and posted on the blog.” After making my coffee, I pulled out this Rhodia and thought, what am I writing for? Where do I really have to say?

There are no great revelations for me to share. I miss the desert; the gym and runs and biking – all of which feel more challenging when you live in a small subdivision in the not-city. I bought some new running shoes anyway – it felt amazing when I could run 5 miles and wear size 30 jeans. My back and joints complain that I am too sedentary.

I can be a terrible procrastinator – toiling away at a more Indieweb-friendly site to avoid studying Salesforce, or not giving this page a proper conclusion.

Year ago, I chose to move from a a physical library to a digital one as a way to save on space both in my home and in a moving van. I’ve been keeping all my books in Calibre on my computer, making sure to download any purchased from Amazon. I generally read on my Kindle Voyager (but would probably prefer a Kobo now).

Library management

Tsundoku: the reading pile

My digital library is small, at just 65 books. But I still have slightly more unread books than read, ranging from history and human geography to classics and modern novels. These books represent interests and ideals and opportunity. Really, the unread are more valuable than the read.

To reflect this, I use Calibre’s Virtual Library feature; it’s basically a saved search. First, create a column that will hold metadata on whether you’ve read the book or not.

  1. Right-click the column headers, and choose Add your own columns.
  2. Click Add custom column, and use these settings:
    • Lookup name: “#unread”
    • Column name: “Unread”
    • Column type: “Yes/No”
    • Default value: “No”

After creating and populating the column, use the Virtual Library button to create your tsundoku. I created two virtual libraries this way—Unread (search expression: “#unread:yes”) and Read (search expression: “#unread:no”). In the Virtual Library menu, I selected “Show Virtual libraries as tabs” for easy switching.

In addition, it can be nice to add a short note on why you added a book to your tsundoku, since it might be a while before you pick it up again. For this, just add another column (type: long text). All custom fields can be edited by right-clicking a book, choosing edit metadata, and going to the custom metadata tab.

A brief note on annotations

Amazon makes your annotations accessible online, but the interface is not great and subject to change at any time. There is an Annotations plugin for Calibre that will fetch annotations from books that have been USB-synced and place them in a custom field. Haven’t used extensively but I highly recommend it as a way to control and backup your annotations.

Server setup

Calibre has a built-in web server for accessing ebooks (official documentation and DigitalOcean community tutorial). While some people just run it on their home network, I thought it would be fun to set up on my VPS. The linked articles were helpful, I just struggled with Apache and expanding my SSL cert a bit. If I remember correctly, something in my Apache configuration caused an issue with the certbot challenge, and I ended up adding a DNS record to get around that. Make sure to turn on authentication, as Calibre doesn’t have a great security reputation.

Future concepts

Currently, my local Calibre install is my main, since that’s what I use for USB sync. The web server has to be manually updated via SFTP. I think Kobo readers can be set up to sync with online Calibre libraries (in addition to great support for public libraries!), so I would love to explore that option. I’m also interested in connecting object storage to my VPS for blog photos and ebooks.

Have any tips to improve my setup? Is this a project you want to try? If you have a Kobo, what do you think of it?