Mr. Magoo Does GIS

I’m 46. It is weird even typing that. I’ll be 47 later this year which is even weirder. In my mind I think I’m till thirty-something but age is starting to creep up to me. I’ve noticed that I need reading glasses to see my iPhone.

Homer putting on reading glasses

The days of small text on small screens so I don’t have to scroll is over. Out is 11pt and 12pt fonts in my text editors and terminal windows and in comes 14pt. Fixed with fonts such as SF Mono and Roboto Mono seem to handle my eyes better too. Originally I was thinking that the dark mode on many terminal apps and text editors was going to be hard on my eyes but the fonts above on retina screens really pops for me. That said, dropping down to a non-retina monitor I have a very hard time reading things. So the quality of the screen and fonts seem to mean more to me than the color of the screen. Right now this is my environment:

For text editing, mostly I’m using BBEdit. I’ve hacked the SF Mono font so it is available for BBEdit to use and it is set at 14pt. For my theme, I’m using Xcode Dark which attempts to recreate the Xcode dark mode on BBEdit.

But I use VSCode as well. There I’m using Roboto Mono and the Dark+ Material theme. It is different than the look for BBEdit but it works for me in VSCode.

I’ve replaced Terminal.app with Hyper.is which I’m in love with. I use Roboto Mono and the Hyper-Clean theme. Again a little bit different than the above, but it just works. 14pt font as of course.

I think given that I have three different themes going on here is proof that I haven’t settled down on what looks best for me. I think eventually I’ll have a common theme color and go with it for all three products. 14pt font for me works well. It’s big enough that my eyes don’t strain, but small enough that I can fit enough on my screen. I think if Apple releases SF Mono as a system font, rather than a hack, I’ll go with it over Roboto Mono but honestly Roboto Mono is a great font for me too. We’ll just have to see what happens.

Most other apps I use on a regular basis such as Evernote, Safari, Chrome, Slack, I just go with the defaults. Many have a dark mode that mimics the Mac OS X dark mode and that’s fine with me. If Apple were to allow customization of that dark mode I’d probably be happy but we all know that will never happen. The last year has been hard for me with my eyes, it was the first time I felt myself holding my iPhone out at arms length to read it. What I’ve learned is to embrace a larger font and not strain my eyes. Pride is not suffering because you can’t read like you did 20 years ago, it’s having the will to make the choices you need to continue to be successful. For me, the above works.

Twitter Lists and Tweet Bankruptcy

With politics and hatred all over social media these days, it’s hard not to be nostagic of the Twitter we all enjoyed between 2008-2012. I look at my twitter feed these days and it isn’t focused. It’s probably just like yours, full of bots, yahoos, idiots and morons. I started looking through who I followed in the past few years and it’s not pretty. I really miss interacting with people on Twitter, rather than just posting memes.

So I thought about declaring tweet bankruptcy. Just delete the account and start fresh. But that’s not helpful. Sure I did it with my Facebook account but let’s be honest that’s just good practice. With Twitter though I don’t want to just blow away all my tweets (looks like over 41,000 of them), but reduce noise. Looking at my follows there are some basic groups:

  • Spatial Networks
  • Baseball
  • College Sports
  • Spatial/GIS
  • Programming
  • Humor
  • News

So then all I need to do is put everyone in lists (or multiple lists) and then I can segrate my twitter experience to my needs. I spent the weekend going through every follow I had (over 1,200) and move them into lists. But at the same time I culled my follows. I wanted to reduce it down to 200-400 follows. This way my main feed is what I consider value, but i can still enjoy conversations with people that aren’t follows.

It really has helped me get more value out of twitter. When I open Twitter on my phone I get only those accounts that I feel like are important enough to me that I should always see them. They all come out of those lists above. But then on my computer, I can use TweetDeck to have my lists always availabe and I can follow work related news or anything else with ease. The other nice thing is I can follow/unfollow people without worry that I’ll lose them. They will always be in my lists.

I can’t remember when Twitter had created lists but it has been a very long time. I resisted them because I thought the firehose was th best method for tweets but I’m enjoying this much more because I see tweets, especially in my Spatial/GIS list that I missed before because there was too much noise.