British baking brought close to home?

I like watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, which, I think, is a repacking of The Great British Bake Off. I’m not a baker myself and though I love to eat baked goods, I haven’t seen baking as an essential skill for me to develop. But I’m inspired to re-examine that assumption, but instead of learning the riches of British baking, I’m inclined to try a recipe for something I love from dim sum: Hong Kong Egg Tarts – The Woks of Life. But wait — aren’t egg tarts derived from some European dessert? According to Egg tart – Wikipedia:

The English custard tart and the Portuguese pastel de nata are European forerunners of the Chinese egg tart, which displays characteristics of both. Before egg tart was introduced to Hong Kong, it is reported that it was first found in 1920s Guangzhou. Taking reference from the recipes of fruit tarts, the chefs in Guangzhou turned it into egg tarts by filling egg custards in the middle instead, a similar way to make simmered eggs with milk (燉蛋). However, as butter was very costly at that time, it was difficult for the chefs to make puff pastry for the tarts. Therefore, they may have used lard instead.

The fog of drowsiness

In the morning, when I’m in a deep flow state, the rest of the world recedes to the background (save for brilliant warming sunshine), as my mind moves happily from step to step towards clear goals. Last night, with computer on my lap and Netflix in the distance, I could barely string together the steps needed to instantiate a Docker image. Unable to recognize the state that I call “Mind like quicksand”, I pushed on. I finally had the wisdom to call it quits on my computational work and devote my energies to Netflix. Fifteen minutes later, I was gently snoring — or so my Sweetie tells me.

The consistent Friday miracles

I’ve spent decades of my life attending religious gatherings, but I hadn’t understood the beauty of coming together as a community on a Friday evening (every Friday evening) over a large community meal — until Laura and I and some others from All Souls Parish were welcomed at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley last night.

Grateful for not giving into inertia

After taking a much needed nap this afternoon, I was grateful that I ended up honoring a commitment I had made earlier in the day to venture out, to do something new, to show a kindness to strangers. I could easily have fallen back on the excuse of being too tired. And sometimes I am actually too tired to do new things. Instead, I was rewarded by the warmth of new friends.

Transcripts await listeners to all of the big Sunday talk shows

One of the reasons I have favored CNN’s State of the Union (SOTU) (with Jake Tapper) from among the “Big Five” Sunday morning talk shows is the ready availability of transcripts. Even though I often gobble down an episode as a podcast played at 2x normal speed, I have aspired to return to a closer study of the arguments from the morning; transcripts would clearly help in such a study.

I’m glad to report that I have been wrong in believing in that CNN was alone in providing transcripts. In fact, all the other four Sunday talk shows also have them:

Return to blogging?

I rather enjoy Facebook. Perhaps too much, thus leading me to act against my own interests by trading away my privacy to a voracious entity whose CEO had a long history of not respecting our privacy. I’ve not yet left FB but have taken little steps to pare back its place in my life. For example, I deleted the FB and Messenger apps on my devices and use FB through the web browser on my laptop and phones now. Baby steps for sure. Those apps are notorious for sucking up lots of data into Facebook from right under my fingers.

Maybe an upside to cutting back on Facebook is returning more earnestly to blogging: both writing and reading them. It’s been a while since I regularly used a RSS/feed reader to track the news; it’s telling how much I have abandoned reading my feeds to Twitter and Facebook instead. But I took a tiny step in the other direction a couple of weeks ago by installing ViennaRSS/vienna-rss: Vienna is a free and open-source RSS/Atom newsreader for macOS.

Technology for organizing a neighborhood

[Work in Progress]

As I start to organize my block for disaster preparation, I’m wondering about good software we can use to organize ourselves. Are there any existing services that could be useful?

Some things I’d like to look at:

Learning iOS

[Work in Progress]

In this post, I will outline how I plan to learn the ins and outs of the iPhone and the iPad. I believe that these two devices, which both run iOS, are especially important devices for many of my prospective clients, including seniors.

What are the important tasks to learn? How do I keep up with the latest developments? How do I teach people systematically how to use these devices?

Photo sharing case study

[Work in progress]

Because I took a lot of photos with friends this Thanksgiving weekend, I figured that it would be a good time to take some next steps on what I wrote in Managing and sharing your photos:

One of the most emotionally resonant digital tasks that many of us, including seniors, love to do is taking, managing, and sharing photos. There is a lot to say about this topic. I have my own workflow involving my Android phones for taking photos, Flickr (and now Google Photos) for storage, and Facebook (primarily) for sharing. I’ve not been totally happy with this workflow and am working to change it. I’m looking for workflows that will work for a wide range of people using many different devices, software wanting to satisfy many different needs.