Once again I am looking for the best replacement for Evernote. I have found that I can import my Evernote notes into Obsidian and notes that contained attached or embedded items, like pictures and PDFs, look the same in Obsidian. Problem is that I don’t think Obsidian is the best replacement for how I use Evernote, which is as a repository for documents and web clips from the Internet. I am seeking a new web clipper and OneNote is an option but it there is no longer an OneNote clipper extension for Firefox, so the search continues. If you have suggestions for a multi-platform, multi-browser web clipper and repository please share them.

Here is a really good article titled the “Rise and Fall of Neoliberalism.” At the conclusion the words “be careful what you ask for, you might just get it come to mind.” A functional American society is born out of a tug of war between ideas, when one side let’s go of the rope everyone falls over.

The Chicago Cubs beat St. Louis last night and evened their record to 51-51, and sit at 5.5 games behind first place in the NL Central and 4 games back in the Wild Card. In short, a better record and potential than last year. The sell off really didn’t happen last year, but this year there is much debate about what they should do with Cody Bellinger and Marcus Stroman, both who are really good but with whom the Cubs lose contract control at the end of the season. I think the Cubs’ chances to make the playoffs this year are real, and at a minimum ownership owes the fans a competitive team for the remainder of the season. I say they should keep both Bellinger and Stroman and make serious intent to sign them at the end of the season. The farm system is not in dire need of prospects.

Today is the one year anniversary of when I started tracking my walks in the Walk The Distance app. In that one year I have walked 1,231 miles, which is equivalent to walking the Appalachain Trail from Georgia to New Jersey. I’ve walked the equivalent of 61% of the trail, so I think I am track to finishing the distance next spring.

Spoiler, every industry in the United States is “Big Tobacco,” not just Big Tech. It is the American form of capitalism that makes it ok for one to profit off the suffering of the other, which may be America’s original sin.

Right now Cody Bellinger is carrying the Chicago Cubs, so when he is traded some time in the next couple of weeks the Cubs will stop being competitive for a playoff position. Once again the season will be about watching guys called up from the minors. Ricketts has to make a clean sweep of the front office and manager, he can’t keep accepting mediocrity.

Read this morning that Tony Bennett has passed away, and what a life of 96 years to celebrate! Happy to be able to say that I got to see him perform in person, more than ten years go, at the Fox Theater in Detroit.

Danah Boyd’s take on the emergent Twitter alternatives is worth the read. I think a point not made is whether the emergent service is driven to dominate the world or satisfied to meet a niche. Case in point is micro.blog, which appears to aspire to nothing more than nurturing a relatively small community and yet I assume it generates enough revenue to cover costs and provides enough income for it’s employees. The ideas of “enough” and “nurturing” are what is missing behind nearly all of the alternatives except for perhaps Mastodon, which appears to be dedicated to nurturing an open source alternative.

Last month I wrote about impact the wildfires in Canada had on the air quality at my home. Last week there was another occurrence in which the air patterns changed to bring the smoke pollution back toward us and this time I had in place an indoor Airthings Pollution Monitor that provides PM2.5 readings. What I saw is that the outdoor smoke pollution definitely affects the quality of the air in the second floor of our condo, and therefore I think the monitor can provide indication that the outdoor pollution is worse. We didn’t have the windows open and it wasn’t so hot outside to cause our central air conditioning to run more than normal, but obviously the house is not hermetically sealed and we did open doors to go outside. What I don’t know is what to do when the air gets bad? I am thinking get more internal air circulation, either with floor fans or the fan in our HVAC or buy air purifiers.

In the neighborhood where I live I have developed the reputation as the guy who walks a lot. The reputation may be aided by the fact that I usually wear a Tilley hat. I have type 2 diabetes and have been managing my glucose/A1C in the pre-diabetic range mostly through exercise and diet. I have found that taking a walk is the easiest/quickest way to lower my glucose, and this New York Times article cites studies showing that just a two or five minute walk has positive affects. Ideally, I take four walks each day, one after each meal and an extra in the afternoon. The time and distance I walk is dictated by my schedule and the weather. During the work day I treat these walks as “coffee breaks” that are aided by the fact that I work from home.

I am a proponent of the idea that computer science education should be cross-curriculum rather than focused solely on singular classes and college advanced placement. Computing should be seen as fundamental as reading and writing as it now touches ever aspect of our lives. A step in this direction is application of computer science to liberal arts and humanities, such as being done at the University of Michigan. I particularly like the three themes: computing for discovery, computing for expression, and computing for justice. Watch this presentation by Mark Guzdial to learn more.

Yesterday I added a TP-Link switch that supports Matter to my smarthome configuration. The installation process was not as smooth as advertised, but after some fiddling I did succeed at adding the switch to Google Home. You can read about my experience posted to my day notes.

Hope Is Not A Strategy

I am resigned to the fact that Chicago Cubs are not going to be a playoff team this year, which makes them sellers for the upcoming trade deadline, and it is this idea of “selling” that makes me mad. We knew that Cody Bellinger was only going to be with the Cubs for a year and if he played to any amount of his capability would be a mid season trade, so his leaving is not a problem. What I don’t want to see is the Cubs trading Marcus Stroman.

Starting pitching is the foundation of a MLB team and the Cubs have no real pitching prospects in their farm system. Every free agent pitcher not on their team that the Cubs sign is an unknown. Jameson Taillon is the most recent case in point, the Cubs didn’t really know what they were getting when they signed Taillon but they hoped he would be as good as he was in previous seasons. When you sign a player not on your team you hope they will perform as you expect, but hope is not a strategy!

Stroman has been the best Cubs pitcher the last two years. You can make the claim he is one of the best pitchers in baseball and the Cubs should know best about his health, his mental make up, and his skills. In other words, Stroman is a known asset, and when you are building a team I think general managers should bias what they know about the players on their team.

If the Cubs trade Stroman, to me that not only means this season (2023) is down the drain, it is also that they are not closer to making the playoffs in 2024. What such a trade tells me is that the Cubs continue to tread mediocrity and have no real plan for returning to the playoffs. Further, if the Cubs trade Stroman and thus are sellers at the deadline ownership must make a change in the front office and the manager. I don’t think Hoyer has any real idea how to build the team, he is just hoping to improve, and hope is not a plan.

The “buyers and sellers” phenomenon is not good for Major League Baseball. The way teams treat free agency is destroying how they build their teams and farm systems for continued success. Now, because most teams in baseball are not very good, most teams are unloading their best players mid season for prospects that might never make it to the majors or at best won’t be on their team until 3 years down the road. Every off season teams buy a bunch of free agents (basically creating new rosters every year), all who are unknowns, and hope they perform well enough to form a competitive team. Most teams find their hopes were ill conceived and they rinse and repeat.

Put it another way, nearly all MLB general managers are doing their job no differently than fantasy baseball managers. Problem is, fantasy baseball is not the real world. MLB does not build rosters based on a draft of the entire pool of available players. Right now the Cubs, and most MLB teams, are building new rosters each year from a small pool of unknowns. I am looking for leadership from the Cubs with a real plan and the funding from ownership to stick to the plan. It is looking more to me that Hoyer does not have a real plan and Ricketts has to find another person to run team who has a plan, otherwise he is no better than all prior owners of the Chicago Cubs.

The MLB All-Star break is over and the Cubs play a rare Friday night game at Wrigley that I am looking forward to watching tonight to end the week. The next two weeks are critical to any hopes for the Cubs making the playoffs.

I am confused about micro.blog cross posting. It looks like I should be able to cross post to Bluesky and Mastodon as part of my “base” account, but so far items are not cross posting to Bluesky. I looked at my plan(s) and saw something called Cross Posting bot that was disabled… enabling it costs $2 more per month, but is it needed? Posts to Mastodon are working.

The reason I will never vote for Donald Trump as President is how he handled COVID-19. Trump demonstrated that he did not and will not see himself as President of and therefore accountable to all U.S. citizens, and I find that circumstance simply disqualifying.

In my opinion, the debate over whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic leaked from a lab or naturally occurred keeps missing the real issue of the U.S. response, which is that Republicans, particularly the Trump administration, politicized the event. National emergencies like a pandemic that can, and did, result in the deaths of millions of people, should not be used for political gain or handled to minimize political risk. At a time like this the President of the United states has to stop being a politician and govern in a manner that treats all citizens of all political party affiliations the same way. Trump always analyzed very single aspect of COVID-19 through the lens of how it hurts or helps him politically. COVID-19 killed Republicans and Democrats equally. The very investigations going on right now about COVID-19 are still politically motivated, and that is the real problem!

Chrissy Stoop writes that the strongest promoters of Christian Nationalism are the church going true believers. I think that Evangelicals have unwittingly embraced the true founding of Christianity, which was to consolidate power in the Roman Empire under Caesar. Constantine, not Jesus, founded the Christian religion of what nearly every person who claims the identity, Jesus on the other hand started something very different. Oh, and by the way, the first amendment is more about preventing government from using religion to enforce tyranny than it is about allowing people to discriminate on religious grounds. The founders were not what one today would call Bible believers but they had seen how the powerful used religion in Europe to rule over others.

Finished reading: Treasure and Treason by Lisa Shearin 📚

Religious freedom is an oxymoron.

Threads is having rapid success because it’s not really a new social network, it’s the Instagram social network in a different form. You “sign up” to Threads using an Instagram account and when you do, nearly all of who you follow in Instagram is on Threads and that gives the perception of overcoming the social network barrier. (The barrier of joining a new network hand having to build a new list of people to follow.) When you realize that Instagram is all about influencers and that nearly every commercial entity, actors, musicians, publications, etc. are influencers that brings a built in group of users who must sign up for Threads. I am on Threads but I probably won’t use it any more than I use Twitter, which honestly is not much.

People in power who have a chip on their shoulder are dangerous because they cannot be influenced by the will of a majority. Such people live their lives convinced they were wronged and dedicate their lives to right that wrong. In my opinion the majority of Supreme Court justices have such chips, and as they are in the most authoritarian seat of U.S. government, we will all suffer the consequences.

I am a life long Chicago Cubs fan, and so that gives me the perspective of comparing the current Cubs teams to those of the past. The 2023 edition of the Chicago Cubs is frustrating because there is so much talent on the team that is not living up to its potential, and the result is very inconsistent play. Simply put, the Cubs lose too many games in a row. Really good teams don’t lose more than two games in a row, whereas the Cubs often fall in to a streak of losing 3 or more games in a row, the result is an attempt to move up in standings is like being in quick sand.

Unlike other weather items, it appears there is no common source for air quality stats. Right now Google says AQI here is 167 while AccuWeather says it is 204. That’s a big difference. Which is right?

Smokey Eye Not Good

I watched the Air Quality Index for my home showing on the Nest Hub creeping up all yesterday afternoon to as high as 193, due to the wildfires in Canada. Right now it is 187 and I am planning on not going on my normal walks. It’s troubling to me for it not to be raining or incredibly hot yet avoid being outdoors. Last night I watched the Cubs play in Chicago, somewhat surprised they were even playing the game with the AQI over 200. I would have expected the teams and Major League Baseball to be concerned about the health of players and the fans. As far as I know, there is no change coming soon.

We have an Airthings Wave Mini in the basement to track humidity and temperature, but it also tracks what they call Volatile Organic Compounds, which are airborne chemicals emitted by every day items. The biggest influence I see on VOC in our house is the furnace and air conditioning and the good thing is that the AC was not running as much as it could so the VOC number has stayed in the good range. VOC is not the same as Particulate Matter pollution caused by the wildfires and currently affecting the outdoor air quality, I would need a different sensor for that reading.