Even more defaults

    As a follow up to my Duel of the Defaults post, I’ve made a few changes. These are all based on further adopting app defaults to simplify things. ๐Ÿ“ฐ RSS: I’ve swapped out Feedbin for iCloud as the backend for NetNewsWire. Although I really like the Feedbin service, my primary use of it is to access my feeds via a web browser at work. In an attempt to limit my feed reading to just once in the morning and once in the evening, switching to iCloud means that only my personal iPhone has access.

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    Non-default apps

    As a follow up to my list of default apps, I have a few non-default apps that werenโ€™t on the original list from Hemispheric Views. ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธFitness: As I wrote about recently, I use HealthFit (mostly) instead of Apple Fitness ๐Ÿง˜ Meditation: Waking Up, instead of Mindfulness ๐Ÿ““ Journal: Doesnโ€™t count yet, since Apple hasnโ€™t released their journalling app. Soon, though, DayOne instead of the default ๐Ÿ“š Books: Libby instead of Apple Books, mostly because of the public library integration ๐ŸŽธ Listen later: MusicBox instead of the Apple Music library

    Duel of the Defaults: My List

    Episode 097 of the Hemispheric Views podcast held a fun Duel of the Defaults! competition. Hereโ€™s my list. Iโ€™ve really shifted to defaults over the past year. Iโ€™m conflicted about this: I really like a good indie app, yet find my needs donโ€™t justify the complexity of using non-defaults. โœ‰๏ธ Mail Client: Apple Mail ๐Ÿ“จ Mail Server: iCloud Custom Email Domain ๐Ÿ“ Notes: Apple Notes โœ… To-Do: Reminders ๐Ÿ“ท iPhone Photo Shooting: Camera.

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    Choosing a portfolio of fitness apps ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    Thereโ€™s a bewildering array of fitness apps out there. Hereโ€™s an attempt to document what Iโ€™m currently using. I have some criteria when considering a fitness app: Available on the Apple Watch, ideally as a first class app, rather than just presenting data from the phone Suitable for multisport. Iโ€™ll consider a highly specialized app, though prefer one that covers at least running, cycling, and swimming Consolidated and local data.

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    ๐Ÿš‚ Importance of Transportation Funding: Framing the Issues

    Discussions about transit often end up about funding. To help make these discussions productive, I was pleased to co-author a paper through the Transportation Association of Canada titled Importance of Transportation Funding: Framing the Issues. Working on this with David Kriger, Nick Lovett, Yonghai Xiao, Vahid Ayan, Andrew Devlin, Tamim Raad, and Haytham Sadeq was delightful. Here’s the abstract: Transportation funding is becoming an important topic of discussion at all levels of Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) councils and committees, reflecting discussions that are taking place throughout the Canadian transportation community.

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    Switching podcast apps, again ๐ŸŽง

    As predicted, after a couple of months with the Apple Podcasts app, I’m back to Overcast. I think that Apple’s Podcasts app is great for anyone new to podcasts, given it has a strong focus on discovering new shows. I’m looking for a podcast app that simply plays my carefully curated, short list of podcasts. With Apple Podcasts, I kept finding new episodes of shows I didn’t intend to subscribe to in my queue.

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    Photos of a dog at a cottage

    Lucy enjoyed her time at the cottage

    Huntsville 70.3 Ironman notes ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    After a few weeks of recovery, here are a few notes on the Huntsville 70.3 Ironman. The short version (given there’s lots of details below) is that the course was fantastic, though very hilly, and I managed to shave 15 minutes from my last 70.3. Pre-race No surprises here. There were scheduled times for registration and all we needed was the receipt from our online payment. With that, they handed over a wristband, timing chip, stickers for my bike and helmet, a hot-pink swim cap for my age group, t-shirt, and a morning gear bag for transferring clothing from the swim start to the run finish.

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    Simplifying my personal iPhone

    Now that I’ve separated my work and personal iPhones, I’m taking some time to simplify my personal device. The biggest change is that for work, I’m now fully into the Office 365 product. So, email in Outlook, tasks in To Do, and notes in OneNote. Although I really liked using MindNode as my project and task manager and Apple Notes for my notes, I have to admit that this just works so much better for work tasks and with my office Windows PC.

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    Milton Sprint Triathlon ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    That was fun! Really well organized, friendly racers, and great weather. There were 466 racers, though other than the parking lot, it didn’t seem crowded. Swim Mass start by age group for the swim. Temperature was quite nice. Other than an elbow to the nose coming around the last buoy, a pleasant swim ๐Ÿ˜€. Bike The course confronts you almost right away with a steep 320m climb up the escarpment that really tests the legs.

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    โ˜Ž๏ธ ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Living dangerously for seven years with a corporate phone

    For seven years now, I’ve been living dangerously by only using my corporate phone for everything. I knew this was wrong, yet couldn’t resist, until this week. There were only two, day-to-day negative impacts of relying on a corporate phone. The first, admittedly minor, though surprisingly annoying, one is that any explicit songs in Apple Music were blocked. It isn’t that I feel compelled to listen to explicit lyrics. Rather, there are lots of good songs with a few swear words thrown in, especially for the more high-energy rock I prefer for workouts.

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    What I think about when I say goodbye to my beloved dying pet

    But it was still deeply upsetting. My eyes started to water just writing about it. The good death of a beloved animal who has led a good life is both sad and OK. The inescapability of mortality means we have to accept it but we donโ€™t have to feel good about it.

    Reading this brought back memories of our prior black lab, Ceiligh, and our decision to euthanize her once she was diagnosed with significant and incurable cancer.

    In addition to everything described in this essay, two other factors made this a very difficult decision:

    1. We made the choice on her behalf. Of course, we made the choice to reduce her suffering, but it was still an active choice for which we were accountable.
    2. Our kids were young enough to not have experienced much loss yet, while also old enough to understand what was happening. Explaining to them why this was the best outcome was difficult.

    We valued Ceiligh’s role in our family and welcomed her predecesor, Lucy, knowing that the choice might arise again, while also knowing how much she would enrich our lives.

    Our black lab, Ceiligh, later in life

    Reading more books in 2022 ๐Ÿ“š

    I read many more books this year than in recent, past years. Although this was intentional, Iโ€™m glad it worked out. I really cut back on my various internet feeds, so that I was less distracted away from books. Purchasing a Kobo and connecting it to the local public library was also helpful. The most influential non-fiction book for me this year was Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. Plenty of practical and insightful advice in this book.

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    Computation with marbles ๐Ÿงฎ๐Ÿง

    I’ve been interested for a while now in better understanding the underlying mechanics of computers. I’ve also been keen to do something other than stare at a screen. Turing Tumble is a fun solution to both of these goals. Turing Tumble is an educational game in which you build a mechanical computer that is powered by marbles. The game comes with a comic book that guides you through ever more complex computing principles, adding more sophisticated parts as you progress.

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    How much does a Triathlon cost? ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฐ

    Other than knowing if I was physically capable of finishing, the main source of uncertainty when I signed up for my first triathlon was how much it would cost. Starting out, I had one pair of running shoes and some goggles from my kids' swimming lessons. So, I knew I’d need to invest in a lot of gear. Here’s the list of what I ended up buying along with some commentary.

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    The Kobo Libra 2 is great for cottage reading ๐Ÿ“š

    As a follow up to my earlier post, now that I’m on the eleventh book of my vacation, I can confirm that the Kobo Libra 2 is exactly what I’d hoped. The screen has been easy to read in all lighting (especially bright sunlight on the dock), the page turn buttons are reliable, and the public library integration has been seamless. Perfect for cottage reading!

    Looking for a beaver lodge ๐Ÿฆซ

    Weโ€™ve seen a beaver swimming from one end of the lake to the other, most evenings at our rented cottage. Today we paddled out to investigate. We found three separate lodges, though I could only really get a good picture of one. As well as a dam that was blocking a culvert at the end of the lake.

    Tremblant 70.3 Ironman notes ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    After a few days of recovery, and before I forget, here are a few notes on the Tremblant 70.3 Ironman. The short version (given there’s lots of details below) is that the course was fantastic and the race was really well organized. Pre-race This part was easy and the day prior to the race. There were scheduled times for registration and all we needed was the QR code from our online payment.

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    COVID and Readiness to Train ๐Ÿฆ ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    With two school-age kids, this seemed inevitable: All things considered, my symptoms aren’t too bad, which I’m grateful for. Nonetheless, I’ve mostly been in bed for a couple of days to properly recover. Since I’ve been monitoring my Readiness To Train (RTT) score, I was curious to see how COVID would appear in the metrics. Thursday morning was the first indication that something was wrong. I completed what felt like a reasonably strong swim workout, only to suddenly feel really drained of energy while walking home from the pool.

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    New trail running shoes ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

    I added a new pair of running shoes to my closet: Saucony Switchback 2. They are a lightweight trail shoe with the BOA Fit System (rather than laces) and good treads for gripping. I took them out for a 10k run around the neighbourhood. Not quite the right conditions, since I was mostly on sidewalks and they’re trail running shoes. Despite that, the shoes felt fast and light. For the first couple of kms, I felt a bit like I was slapping my feet on the ground, since I’m used to more cushioning and my feet weren’t making contact quite when I was expecting them to.

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