New word to me: ‘phocine’ – Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar

Source: Amazon Kindle: Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar

One of the enjoyable things about reading a good writer like Theroux is he stretches my understanding of the language.

post office, where he was a senior official. Though elfin (or even phocine)

Phocine – of, relating to, or resembling seals. I’m not sure how many times I can use this word but I’ll try.

#new-word, #phocine, #reading, #word

Interesting phrase – Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar

Source: Amazon Kindle: Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar

I try to record interesting notes and highlights as I read. I am re-reading “Ghost Train” right now. I know I’ve read it before but for some reason Amazon pushed this book to my Kindle during a recent upgrade. As I started to skim the book it occurred to me that I truly didn’t remember anything from this book. So here I go again.

I came across this lovely sentence:

Why is the motorway culture drearier in Europe than anywhere in America? Perhaps because it is imitative and looks hackneyed and unstylish and ill fitting, the way no European looks quite right in a baseball cap.

Motorway culture, especially along an Interstate, is not all it once was in America. But the baseball cap thing… is spot on! It’s just impossible for a European to wear a baseball cap and not look ridiculous. It’s similar to an American wearing a scarf (with the caveat that an American in Europe can carry this off at times).

#book, #phrase, #stereotypes, #travel

Want Safer Passwords? Don’t Change Them So Often

The tyranny of mandatory password resets only makes security weaker.

Source: Want Safer Passwords? Don’t Change Them So Often | WIRED

tl;dr changing passwords often doesn’t make things safer. In fact it encourages people to pick weaker passwords they will be able to cycle through and remember.

The longer version of this article is that, like TSA, this is security theater. Most IT groups cannot justify their existence with simple things like “use a good password tool like 1Password”. They need large, complex, and costly processes to ensure that… well… there is good security theater.

#ineffective, #security, #security-theater, #til

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup Recipe

This easy recipe cooks a whole chicken along with veggies in a slow cooker for a flavorful and simple chicken soup; add noodles or rice before serving.

Source: Slow Cooker Chicken Soup Recipe – Chowhound

I made this recipe for dinner Saturday. I started it midday Friday and since it wasn’t ready for Friday night dinner I just let it stay on ‘warm’ in the slow cooker.

Interestingly enough at some point the chicken became very dark. It almost looked like I had smoked the bird first.

Final result: B+. The only downside was the chicken was a little dried out if you didn’t eat it right away. Will definitely use this recipe again.


#b, #paleo, #recipe, #soup

Update Balanced – for February

For February I am going to take Momentum for a spin. This app is fairly simple: the more habits you do daily you build up momentum, i.e. a backlog of goodness that you won’t want to stop. I u… Sour…

Source: Balanced – for February | Bricin

I used the Balanced app for all of February. Overall I liked the app. It’s simple, lightweight, unobtrusive, and the UX makes sense. I recommend giving it a try if you are trying to build new habits.

The Good

  1. Lightweight UI, easy to configure.
  2. Wasn’t annoying about reminders. They are there but it doesn’t constantly nag you to do something.
  3. There were times when I was going to ‘skip’ a habit and decided not to because of the app. That is exactly the goal.
  4. The overviews of each habit were pretty solid and useful
Overview of a habit in Balanced

Overview of a habit in Balanced

The Bad

Nothing in the app is really bad per se but there are some oddities:

  1. Tasks that are once per week or on irregular schedules tend to get too much focus. The overall UI shows a list of upcoming ‘habits’. These infrequent habits don’t decay quite correctly.
  2. Daily habits don’t seem truly daily e.g. if I “Hit the gym” daily then it doesn’t matter whether this is every 24 hours or not as long as I get it done Monday, Tuesday, etc.
  3. The ‘Life pulse’ screen needs work. This is hard-coded to reaching 75% of your habits/goals. Fine, but what if I want to start at 50% success and build over time? Or if I am a perfectionist and want 99% success as my measure? This isn’t configurable.

Balanced - Life Pulse


I like this app. I’m going to try Momentum for March and see how it compares.

#apps, #habits