It’s the last day of spring (2024) as we know it (and I don’t feel fine)

It was actually a pleasantly sunny day for the last day of Spring 2024, with a high of 26°C (not a record). The not-fine part is related to the allergies/cold/flu/alien incubation I currently have. I slept horribly last night, but I think I am on the mend now and will hopefully at least be back to somewhat normal by tomorrow, the first day of summer.

I will frolic about if that’s the case.

In the meantime, here is a wide-angle photo of Hume Park, with the grass unusually green for mid-June:

Signs of summer, signs of weirdness

Also, signs:

This is at the pool at Hume Park. The pool was filled a few days ago, and it being filled is one of the imminent signs of summer (the pool usually opens near the end of June).

The additional commentary is, well, let’s see. As best as I can tell, the first line is:

HUME PARK SHIRTS OFF JACZ

The second, clearly in reference to the “no trespassing” part, is more easily identified as:

IF They catch You, Especially

Both suggest interesting tales, the latter one of people being chased out of the pool during off hours, the former being less clear. I mean, one would assume shirts would be off in a swimming pool, so maybe “JACZ” is advising people on how to dress appropriately. Maybe JACZ is a perv who likes ogling naked chests. I don’t know. All I know is it’s summer tomorrow, and I better feel better than I do now.

Also, while on the same walk, I saw this historically accurate depiction of a dinosaur battle:

Have I lost my blogging mojo?

Yes, I have.

I am not sure why. Last year I was fairly regularly averaging two posts per day, but this year I’ve sometimes struggled just to get an average of one per day, or to just post at all on some days.

I wonder what has changed, but have no real answers. I don’t think it’s anything like “long covid” or associated brain fog, because it would have kicked in sooner, I think. Or maybe not.

I can explain the lack of a post for yesterday, though: I am experiencing either a nasty seasonal allergy reaction, or have some kind of cold (I lean toward allergies, given the symptoms, time of year and the fact that my partner, who typically brings germs home from the university, remains healthy). I have taken allergy relief pills to help reduce symptoms and as I type this, I feel better than when I first got up. But that only explains yesterday.

Maybe I am seeing the world slightly differently now. The last year has kind of soured me on people in general, and institutions and, well, a lot of things. I seek solace in simple things now. I long to be in places that are quiet, where I can be alone, and not hear the drone of cars, or the chatter of others. I am worn down by the ever-present displays of selfishness and stupidity. It feels like it is all around me.

Whoa, this is deep ‘n depressing. Normally I would end a post like this in a somewhat glib manner, by posting an animated GIF of a cat being silly.

And you know what? That’s exactly what I’m going to do! With one of the classics.

Also, it’s sunny today, which is nice and something of a change for this soggy, damp spring of ours. The weather might be a factor, too.

Anyway, cat:

Seeing the light (mode), Part 2

I have surprised myself by sticking with light mode on the PC for more than an entire day.

Thoughts:

  • Text does look a little crisper overall
  • Things aren’t too bright, but I could probably turn my monitor’s brightness down a little
  • Discord’s implementation is bad. The background for text is pure white (#FFFFFF), which is silly. You can fix it by changing the colour–by subscribing to Nitro™ for $10 a month. $120 per year to have a nice off-white is a bit much. File Explorer also uses pure white. I may see if I can change that specifically.
  • In fact, more apps than I realized seem to use pure white, so I’m guessing this is the “accepted” default for Windows 11’s Light Mode. Some other application colours:
    • TickTick: #FFFFFF
    • Diarium: #F0F3F9 for the sidebar, #F3F3F3 for the main calendar view, #F0F0F0 for the individual entries
    • Thunderbird: #FFFFFF
    • Proton Mail: #F8F8F6

For funsies, here are the above-mentioned shades of white:

I’ll stick with it for a little while longer and see how it goes. I am investigating other not-as-white-whites, using this site as reference: 122 Shades of White: Color Names, Hex, RGB, CMYK codes

Light mode, shmight mode

Today, after reading about someone launching a new text editor (one gets released approximately every ten minutes) and having it default to tiny text and dark mode, both of which were undesired by this person, I decided at long last to switch away from dark mode in windows and go fully light mode–no exceptions!

Well, except one: the browser. And really, my main browser Firefox just uses dark mode to make tabs and the address bar darker, but it helps set them apart from the actual page content below, which is a good use of contrast, in my view.

Actually, I lied: two exceptions! Any image editing program will also still use dark mode, because again, it better separates the UI from the content you’re working on.

So far, light is very bright. We’ll see how it goes. Apparently some studies say a light UI causes less eye strain, which seems a bit crazy to me, but I’m no eye-ologist. I will report back in a week or so, or when I give up and re-embrace the lovingly velvety darkness.

(I will also switch macOS to light mode, using the same exceptions there.)

Run 867: Thursday! 5K!

View from Carioob Dam, pre-run.

I was bad/lazy and did not run on Monday or Wednesday. The forecast said today would be sunny and pleasant, and the next three days after would be wet and yucky. I pondered. And then decided I would go out today and do that 5K I had been promising myself I would do for weeks.

And I did!

Conditions were similar to the last run, and though it was a few degrees cooler, it felt about the same, due to slightly higher humidity. Dry mouth was not a big issue, however I did find myself wishing I had brought water with me, because I don’t just have dry mouth, I have DMAPT1Dry Mouth And Phlegmy Throat. I don’t know why I have so much phlegm in my throat and I may consult my doctor again to discuss it. What it means for running is that when I have a dry mouth, my throat is so filled with gunk that it becomes hard to swallow, which is already a bit of a challenge with regular dry mouth. It was only a notable issue at one point, but that was enough to make me pine for my water bottle.

Other than that, the run went pretty much as I expected. The knees were fine, my stamina was well off its peak. Each km I got slower until I just edged past 6:00/km on the fourth lap. I picked up the pace for Lap 5 to 5:55 and that lifted my overall pace to 5:53/km. Sluggish, but unsurprising. I actually didn’t find myself struggling, I just chugged along until I hit 5K.

My sometimes iffy right hip was also fine until the walk home. It is fine again now that I am not walking.

Several bad people had their dogs off-leash, but on the river trail, so my run was unaffected.

Overall, I’m glad I finally got another 5K in, even if it took almost exactly two months–my last 5K was on April 12, the day I re-injured the right knee. Yoinks.

Still Creek, post-run.

Stats:

Run 867
Average pace: 5:53/km

Training status: Productive
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 10:35 a.m.
Distance: 5.03 km
Time: 29:37
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 17°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: light
BPM: 156
Weight: 169.4
Total distance to date: 6,205 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (345/663/1008 km)

Once more into the Linux

Microsoft caught a lot of flack over its upcoming Recall “feature”, and the inevitable “Switch to Linux!” chorus started up again. Even though Microsoft is changing Recall in response to the immense backlash, a lot of people have decided they simply can’t trust Microsoft anymore.

I am somewhat on the fence, but it’s prompted me to update my Linux Mint install and maybe even get really nutty and try other distros. For the moment, I’m going to spend some more time in Mint and see how successfully I can work out some of the remaining kinks that have thwarted my previous efforts to embrace the penguin.

As they say, stay tuned.

Apple Intelligence™

At the keynote for today’s WWDC24 launch, Apple revealed its version of LLM/machine language/AI stuff and is calling it Apple Intelligence, which will just confuse people, and when it doesn’t confuse people and goes sideways, Apple’s got its name stuck right there at the beginning to remind you who is behind the thing that isn’t working for you. It’s very Apple.

The keynote was pretty dull. Apple hits the same notes every time they do these and is leaning so hard into the Xtreme Craig Federighi stuff that it has gone from parody to self-parody to whatever it is now. After the prerecorded segment in which a bunch of people skydive into Apple Park, the camera drone zooms into Tim Cook on the roof of the building and saying, “Wow, that was so cool” with all the excitement of someone reading names from a telephone book (kids, ask your parents what a telephone book is).

There were a few things I liked:

  • Customizing icon arrangement on iPhone/iPad (and not forcing iPad owners to wait a year to get the feature), though it remains to be seen how much you can really customize it. Probably not as much as people will want.
  • The workout app on the Apple Watch finally acknowledges that there are days you might not complete your rings because you’re sick/hurt/on vacation.
  • Uh, I’m sure there was something else.

What I found most interesting is the limited pool of hardware that can take advantage of AI™. It will only work with an M1 or better SoC and last year’s iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max models. I mean, I doubt I’d use it much, anyway. My phone is basically a camera and text messenger device.

Overall, some nice new things, unless you’re an iPad owner hoping for a dramatically overhauled and improved UI, in which case you are probably quietly sobbing right now.