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This is how you're going to reach out and get a hold of me unless you already know me, in which case... why are you here, just pick up the phone. 

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Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Just a little corner of the interwebz where I occasionally jot down a thought or two. Why do I do it? Partly to communicate in some way with you, the reader, and partly because it's some sad way of leaving a legacy of some kind I guess.

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Ramblings

minimalism

Jonathan Tom

Over the last couple of weeks I've been told about this new must watch documentary film on Netflix called Minimalism. Contrary to what most initial thoughts are when they hear the term the film centres less around living with very few possessions (well, it sorta does) and more around ensuring that the possessions that you do live with have significant meaning to you.

While watching the film I thought briefly about my own lifestyle and how it all applied to me. Honestly, I feel that people who travel for a living (such as myself) probably have a bit of an advantage when it comes to having high-quality belongings.

Because we can only carry so many things with us, it's important to make sure that the stuff we choose to carry actually means something to us. As an example, I tend to travel with a couple of pairs of jeans, a couple of t-shirts, a couple of snap shirts, a pair of sneakers, and a pair of flip flops. Obviously, this quick list doesn't include the essentials like socks, underwear, and toiletries...  I also travel with two pairs of my work pants, work shirts, and my steel toe boots which I have to have for my job.

If you have an hour and twenty minutes I would recommend that you check out the documentary and see if/how you can apply the concepts to your life.

Review: Bear for MacOS and iOS

Jonathan Tom

I have been a user of the Evernote platform for several years now and I have, for the most part, found it useful but since they increased their pricing policy in June 2016 I have been looking for alternatives. With the announcement that they are making some alarming changes to their privacy policy I think I’ve found a decent solution in the form of an application called Bear for both MacOS and iOS. I know that Evernote has walked back the privacy policy change but I feel like that change was just the final straw and shows that if no one had stirred the pot it would have gone through which tells me they don’t necessarily have their customer’s best interests at heart.

Having said that there were a couple of criteria for an Evernote replacement in my books.

  1. The application had to exist on both MacOS and iOS platforms if not Windows as well.
  2. The application had to sync between all platforms seamlessly and reliably.
  3. The application had to allow attachment to notes in the form of emails, PDFs and zip files.

Bear is a pretty fully featured replacement that I’ve been trying out over the last couple of weeks now. There are a good many good points and a few areas that could use some improvement over the next couple of versions.

So the application is oriented around tags which are created by entering a hashtag (or octothorp) anywhere in the body of the note like this: #note_tag. A listing of the tags is presented in the left pane of the default view so as to serve as a way of organizing your notes. The other plus for Bear is that it’s a pretty good markdown editor with rich text preview in-line.

Conclusion

Bear handles just about everything I’ve listed above and then some. The application is free its a subscription for roughly $1.50/month or $15.00/year to unlock their pro features. The pro features are:

  • CloudKit synchronization
  • Themes for the application
  • Rich export options (docx, pdf, jpg, text bundle, markdown etc)

I would like to see the ability to import a file (or text) into Bear from an iOS share sheet or, even better, via a dedicated email address. I am fully aware that it may not be possible or that it may be a feature that would increase the cost of the subscription but it’s something that I would be willing to pay a little more for and I can’t be the only one.

TL;DR

Bear is a pretty good application if you’re looking for a replacement for Apple Notes and/or Evernote. It’s free so you should give it a shot - the subscription is fairly cheap and they offer a free month so it’s worth while.

politically correct seasons greetings

Jonathan Tom

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. 

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2017, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Canada great while not to imply that Canada is necessarily greater than any other country.

Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

Atlantic Recap

Jonathan Tom

I think the last time I wrote we had only just set sail from Spain and we were about to begin the Atlantic crossing on the Koningsdam. The multiple sea days were actually fairly uneventful *knock on wood* and the guests seemed to enjoy themselves despite being stuck onboard. I fully understand that some people really enjoy the whole being "at sea" part but I feel like that's overrated; then again, it's probably just me.

The cruise after our arrival in Fort Lauderdale was a short one but a pretty busy one. Given that it was the ship's first call in the United States we had a sort of mini-inaugural cruise. Honestly, while it was busy, it was enjoyable to work something so high profile and with so many different VIPs to work with. 

As you may have guessed by the tone of the post, I'm currently at home where it has been snowing pretty much all day. I rather enjoy the snow and I'll take it any day... any day over the oppressive humidity. At the moment, I'm slated to go back to sea January 14th on the Eurodam (if anyone is headed that way leave me a message) but first I get to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family on land.

So while I'm sure I'll have another post before Christmas I felt like you deserved an update since it has been a while.