Things I like about our relatively new Whirlpool refrigerator: It usually keeps our food cold.

Things I dislike about it: Random things stop working, such as the lights don’t turn on when you open the door, or the ice maker stops making ice, or it stops blowing cold air into the parts that are supposed to be cold. It doesn’t tell you that something’s wrong. You have to notice on your own. Then you have to reboot it by cutting power at the breaker for 10 minutes.

A sleepy Keeva caught a patch of sun.

The world’s sweetest and gentlest Boston terrier is sitting droopily in a sunny bit of carpet.

My company hosted a business dinner last night for infosec leaders. It was a reminder how small the San Francisco tech community can be. What you see in advance: Jane is the CISO at an intimidatingly large corporation whose stuff you use every day. What you see when you get there: Jane is awesome and funny and you have 3 mutual friends from past gigs.

The Bay Area tech pool seems enormous at times. It’s way more interconnected than you’d imagine.

This is interesting and dangerous. I’m trying the new macOS Sequoia Passwords app. I exported my passwords from 1Password to a CSV and imported them into the new app, then soon saw a bunch of ancient logins from old employers. What? Searching for them in 1Password found nothing.

Oh, turns out those are archived in 1Password. The normal cmd-F search doesn’t look in Archive even if you’ve selected it. The other opt-cmd-F find does.

Hope you remembered to delete the passwords that would get you beaten up.

I’ve recently started playing with Zellij. What you need to know:

  • Like tmux with on-screen menus that guide you through the tricky bits.
  • Mouse scrolling works by default.

I’m beginning to doubt that I’ll ever go back.

I think I’m going to upgrade my personal MacBook Air to Sequoia tonight. YOLO!

Let’s go Ballers!

A pro baseball game from behind home plate, looking down the 3rd base line. Downtown Oakland is in the background.

It’s time to view the samizdat, the Entertainment.

A picture of a TV showing an early frame from “Hackers”.

Since Ben Surtees sold his Bartender 5 app to some (IMO) shifty company without telling his users, I’ve deleted it from my Macs and installed Ice. It’s not yet as nice as Bartender, but it’s open source and does 95% of what I wanted.

The conference has little rubber duckies all over the place to play with.

Someone is holding a small, metal flake blue rubber duck with an orange bill.

My boss was right: having an unusual job title is an excellent icebreaker.

A dozen times today someone’s done a double take, then laughed. “What on earth is a Chief Security Alchemist?” “Hah! Well, let me tell ya!”

I’m heading in to staff the booth at a convention. That’s far outside my comfort zone, so when my boss asked me, I immediately said yes to commit myself to doing something new.

This has traditionally worked out well for me. I highly recommend everyone do this to extent they can.

There are more people at tonight’s Oakland B’s game than at the average A’s games this year.

John Fisher can bite me.

View of the B’s outfield, with downtown Oakland in the background.

We’re getting ready to see the first ever home game of the Oakland Ballers. Go B’s!

An Oakland B’s ballcap sitting on a white background. It’s dark green with a giant “B” on the front and the “Oaklandish” logo on the side. If you look closely, the opening in the bottom half of the B is shaped like the home plate of a baseball diamond.

A friend just pointed out:

ADHD creates impulse control issues and, consequently, advertising takes advantage of a disability.  Ergo, ad blockers are assistive devices and interfering with their operation for commercial gain constitutes a willful violation of the ADA.

Let’s do this.

This is what Hell looks like.

Screen shot of the iOS App Store: “Have More Fun on LinkedIn. Kick back with three new games.”

My old debit card got compromised last month so I got a new one. The replacement had my name wrong so my credit union sent me a new one. “The numbers will be the same”, they said. “Go ahead and update all your accounts with this one”, they said. “It’ll be fine”, they said.

It was not fine.

The atmospheric pressure sensor in my back yard experiences time non-linearly.

A line chart with a time access. Due to over aggressive line smoothing, on one day the line curves backward before going forward in time again.

I just noticed the bizarre label on the package from a luggage tag I’d ordered.

I think I need to hear more about that “Brand Of Sacrifice” part.

White barcode label on a white envelope. The text: "M u llike Berserk N ecklace forM en (Brand O fSacrifice)

Retiring DEVONthink

I used DEVONthink for many years to store, organize, and search all of my personal information. Nothing else came close to its wide variety of pro-level data management features when I started with it. However, times change. While DEVONthink continually improves, so do its alternatives. For my needs today it’s a complicated, expensive tool that’s no longer worth the extra effort and expense over other products.

I recently realized I hadn’t launched DEVONthink in months. When I tried to, I remembered that I was out of licenses for it. DEVONthink is licensed by the number of computers you want to use it on. By a quirk of fate, I own or personally operate 4 Macs:

  • An older Mac Mini I bought several years ago and now mainly use as our home server. For example, our document scanner is tethered to it.
  • A work-issued MacBook Pro that mainly sits next to my desk.
  • The Mac Studio I’m typing this on. A previous job issued it to me as a work computer and let me keep it when I left. My current job manages it for me so that I can use a very fast plugged-in computer with several large monitors when I’m working from my home office.
  • A MacBook Air I bought for myself last year when I needed a newer computer of my own before the Studio was given to me.

I’m the only person who uses these computers. Because of DEVONthink’s weird licensing scheme, my $199 Pro license makes me pick and choose which 2 I want to be allowed to use. I could pay another $198 to use my other 2, oooorrrr I could switch to another system. That was the kick in the pants I needed to investigate the options.

I ended up following the Unix philosophy of selecting well-crafted single-purpose tools for each of DEVONthink’s features. If I decide to replace one of them, I can swap something else in while I keep using all the others.

Storage and sync

I configured DEVONthink to sync my documents with iCloud, including to DEVONthink’s separate $50 iPhone and iPad app. Therefore iCloud Drive was the easy choice for storing all my information and syncing it across my devices. This cost nothing extra since I was already paying for it.


I use the Johnny Decimal system to assign each of my documents to the right folder. The closest thing to that collection of folders in DEVONthink is that same collection of folders in iCloud Drive.

Now I use Hazel instead of DEVONthink’s “classify” feature for automatically sending files to the right place. Cost: $42, or $20 for an upgrade. (New major versions come out about every 4 years, so the upgrade price is about $5 per year.)


DEVONthink has a fantastic search tool. So does HoudahSpot. I set up a global keyboard shortcut to open its search window no matter which app I’m currently using. HoudahSpot also searches locations like network drives and USB devices without indexing them in advance. Cost: $34, or $19 for an upgrade. (New major versions come out about every 3 years, so the upgrade price is about $6 per year.)


DEVONthink has limited support for taking Markdown notes. I tried using it as my catch-all notes app but kept coming back to iA Writer. It’s much better for writing, linking between notes, publishing to various online services, and as of recently automating my workflows with Shortcuts. I don’t count Writer’s one-time $50 purchase price in my total because, like iCloud, I was paying for it anyway.

Aside: If your workflows are centered around Markdown, get Marked 2 while you’re at it. Thank me later.

Linking everything

DEVONthink has mechanisms to link related objects together. Hookmark (which I’ve written about before) can make links between just about anything. I used it instead of DEVONthink’s features. Cost: $70 for the 1st year then $35 per year.


I appreciate DEVONthink’s powerful features. However, other tools caught up with or surpassed it to the point that I had been using it as one part of a broader system:

  • DEVONthink to organize, store, and search my documents
  • …into folders laid out as recommended by Johnny Decimal
  • iCloud to sync them
  • iA Writer to take notes and edit Markdown
  • Hookmark to link between documents, web pages, tasks in OmniFocus, network files, and so on

Now I’m using:

  • Hazel to organize my documents
  • …into iCloud Drive folders laid out as recommended by Johnny Decimal
  • HoudahSpot to search for them
  • iA Writer to take notes and edit Markdown
  • Hookmark to link between documents, web pages, tasks in OmniFocus, network files, and so on

DEVONthink is better than any of those individual parts, but each of those individual parts is better at the one thing they do than DEVONthink is. Hazel is a better organizer. HoudahSpot is a better searcher. iA Writer and Hookmark are better for writing and linking. And while the end goal of this wasn’t directly to save money, as I’m not allergic to spending money on things that make my life better, DEVONthink’s sticker shock is what nudged me into action. It’s a happy result to end up with a more powerful, flexible system that’s cheaper to maintain.

DEVONthink’s been good to me. It helped me collect and organize all the information I use in my personal and professional lives. Still, its alternatives got better and learned to play well with each other. Now it’s an overly expensive tool that’s less good at addressing my needs than the cheaper, better tools that replaced it.