Journal

The sound has a name: Shave and a Haircut

I’ve heard this all my life, hummed it myself, and consider it the original ear worm. And now I know the name of it (via Hacker News): “Shave and a …

Finally getting those gigabytes to move on the internet thanks to local LLMs

It’s nice to see some maximal use of my ethernet and gigabit internet connection, straight from HuggingFace to LM Studio. Hello, 100 megabytes a second! You are always welcome at …

Don’t pull apart the petals, enjoy the flower as is

This Vox article (via Kottke) is an excellent look at the power of art interpretation from your vantage point. I particularly connected with this quote: “There’s an effort to create …

“Write because ideas matter, not authorship”

James Shelley paints the perfect portrait on why writing still matters, where the fun truly lies: So, what’s the fun of writing on the internet anymore? Well, if your aim …

I feel like a spreadsheet superstar with GPT-4 as my sidekick

I remember hearing once that smart folks are lazy, always seeking shortcuts to do less. It was (and still is) a validating quote for me. Case in point, I was …

Paying for search? Yes, yes I do. Kagi changed my mind.

As an experiment, I started a trial of Kagi, a homebrew search engine from Palo Alto, in October 2023. But I told myself, for me to really feel the effects …

The Bait and Switch of Donorbox, Amazon, and Other Companies Should Not Be Rewarded With Our Dollars

I recently noticed that Donorbox, the donation platform I use to manage fundraising for multiple nonprofits, relegated basic header image customization to a $139/month premium plan. This surprised me considering …

Anyone sick of paying for GPT-4 (using official ChatGPT client in browser) and having such a terrible SLA/constantly failing/stalling out/erroring out?

Something about ChatGPT treating paid customers like guinea pigs for their unstable infra as the standard Silicon Valley playbook rubs me the wrong way. I’m a paying customer, I should …

Must Listen: The Boy and the Heron Original Soundtrack

I’m sure I’ve played this album at least 20-30 times since I saw the movie, in itself a breathtaking visual masterpiece. (side note: why the heck does Apple Music not …

The “Personal” in Personal Computer Starts with My Shortcuts

This last sentence by Matt on custom GPTs being valuable for oneself and less for the masses sparked a thought: The interesting thing for me is that this is exactly …

Love glitching out my Apple Watch

Use Moom for Quick 1080p or 720p Resizing of Any Mac Window

I love Jeff Geerling’s AppleScript method of resizing windows for screen capture. I do a lot of screen captures and video screen recording with CleanShotX (the definition of a polished, …

How to Manually Restore Your Website with InfiniteWP Backups

I use InfiniteWP to manage sites for my clients. Generally speaking, its backup and restore functionality works out of the box. However, one of my clients didn’t pay their bills, …

Bluetooth pains, are they really a thing of the past?

I came across this Ask HN on Bluetooth and its unreliability and found it quite fascinating. Feel free to deep dive into the thread’s comments for your own insights. I …

Just unstar and move forward, don’t let the RSS weigh you down

I really wanted to write something on all 42 starred items sitting in my RSS feed. Day in and ay out, there are so many different conversations happening in the …

How many bridges and tunnels does NYC truly have?

This curious factoid popped up on my “woah” radar when The NY Times published this piece today about the Brooklyn Bridge banning vendors on its bridge among others: New city …

Customizing DaVinci Resolve to make Horizontal scrolling work with the Shift Key instead of CMD on Mac

I occasionally use DaVinci Resolve when working with ISO recordings from my streams via the ATEM Mini Pro Extreme. Despite not being a frequent user, I recently encountered a frustrating …

Navigating the Ethical Odyssey of AI, the Dance of Progress, and Ourselves

Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for a discussion on AI’s ever growing presence in our world and my own thoughts on it. Not surprisingly, I took the …

Rewatching old TV is pointing a mirror at yourself

Cristel Russell and Sidney Levy, researchers at Graziadio Business School shared their analysis of why people rewatch television shows they’ve already watched: What I found in my research is that …

Internet Explorer is dead…finally! (haven’t we been saying this for years now…)

In Microsoft’s continual effort to kill Internet Explorer (smart move and long time coming), it has been sunset and today is D-Day. It has been permanently disabled via a Microsoft …

Familiar WordPress lands meet shiny static site generators and my web dev quest continues

I stumbled upon this post on Coder Jerk’s Dan Devine as well as the accompanying Hacker News thread on the futility of WordPress. A key excerpt from Dan’s post: Drupal …

Break glass in case of creative rut. Literally.

Have you ever broken a piece of glass accidentally (or intentionally if that’s what floats your boat) and remember that sound as it crashes to the floor? It’s just a …

A spark of joy in micro scripts for your own workflows

I’ve been reading Dr. Drang’s blog for as long as I’ve had an RSS feed reader. It’s always a delight to read his chipping away at the inertia of computing’s …

Quick color name to hex code generation with ChatGPT

Currently, I’m working on a client e-commerce site that requires converting fabric colors to HEX values for customers to be able to select. If you have a list of colors …

Dropbox’s power being stripped away by Apple’s poor File Provider API substitution

Cloud storage has always been essential to my workflow, ever since I knew the meaning of the word backup. With plenty of failed hard drives in my lifetime, reliability and …

But, for everyone else, electric knife sharpeners are more convenient

Here are the facts: I love to cook. Sharp knives = easier cooking. I don’t cook enough nor sharpen my knives enough. I wouldn’t call myself a chef, just a …

When do you turn on Stage Manager anyway?

Watts Martin’s riffs hilariously on macOS’s Stage Manager which, I somewhat resonate with. Stage Manager’s newbie status means there are no terminal commands or AppleScript maneuvers to get it to …

Meditative animations with Processing

Years ago, I remember being quite astonished with Processing, a language used for creating visual and interactive graphics. I still find it quite impressive to see designers like Etinne Jacob …

I like embracing the newness of macOS releases

Maybe it’s because I’m always working at the cutting edge of software releases and betas-galore, but I generally find my computers to be quite stable with every new release. I’m …

Own your domain and limit your exposure to tech giants’ rules

Jeff Kaufman did the hard work of culling through Hacker News accounts to see how likely is it to lose a Google Account. Here’s the punch line (as summarized by …

When you’re drinking the Kool-Aid of views, Algorithms, and “Heating”, how do you stop?

Emily Baker-White Reports for Forbes that TikTok (like many other tech companies) has a super secret special OMG magic button to turn up the heat on videos and give them …

Anyone prefer TV over movies? *raises hand*

This XKCD comic resonates with me perfectly. I am one of those guys who normalizes TV show watching. I just love the narrative structure, the finite-ness, the beginning and the …

Enough Signs For Me. Just Gotta Write.

To keep my mind busy while cleaning dishes, I tuned in to James Clear’s Atomic Habits on audiobook. About a minute in, there was a point that I replayed in …

Getting rich from going viral is a formula still being made

An interesting article in Vox about the process of getting rich from becoming viral. This quote especially caught my eye, buried deep in the article: “There’s a standard that you should …

“So…why haven’t you posted an article lately?”

I’ve actually been posting on my Microblog at ashrafali.micro.blog. It’s been an effort to try and get myself to post more frequently, both short form and long form in a …

I’m moving to Washington D.C.

In just a few weeks, I’m moving to Washington DC. I’m uprooting 20+ years of living in NY for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a new community from scratch. After …

Putting money where my mouth is

My father had Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating motor disability. He also had Schizophrenia and Advanced Dementia, a product of the drugs and disease state. For more than 20 years, his …

​Today was the 2nd anniversary of my father’s death

I went to visit my father’s grave and pay my respects with a kind friend of mine. As the birds chirped and the wind blew, I reflected on my feelings …

Replacing headphones on a Sena SMH10-11 Bluetooth Communicator

I purchased a Sena SMH10-11 Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset and Intercom for my HJC CL-MAX II Modular Helmet (FYI: while the helmet is advertised with bluetooth support, you don’t actually need …

Motorcycle wipeout by a friend

I’ve been traveling extensively for the last month and change. During the first leg of my travel, I lent my motorcycle to a friend of mine who’s a beginner rider, …

I’m a budding motorcycle mechanic hitting my limits

One of the things I love about being a designer is instant feedback. If I click on the text tool and type in some text, it appears instantly. As a …

Hotkeys not triggering with Finder folders in Alfred workflows?

I created an Alfred workflow to create the same default folders for a project. The workflow is bound a hotkey which I believed triggered the Bash script. In the script, …

Replacing the clutch perch on my 2009 Honda Rebel 250

More than a month ago, the metal mirror housing on my 2009 Honda Rebel broke off due to an accident. I was biking with just the right mirror (it’s legal …

Installing a passenger back rest/sissy bar with a luggage rack for Honda Rebel 250

I love the unique experience of carrying a passenger on my motorcycle. I feel like I’m taking them on a journey that is so involved with all of the senses. …

Replacing the rear lights is a wiring nightmare on my Honda Rebel

I know, I know, I’m new to motorcycle maintenance. I thought I could do all the fixes myself. But triaging wiring harnesses to install new lights was NOT on the …

Installing an aftermarket driver back rest on a Honda Rebel 250

If you are looking for more comfort out of your Honda Rebel, I recommend purchasing one of these back rests. Okay, I admit it, I was jealous of my passengers! …

Mounting an EZ-Pass toll reader on my Honda Rebel 250

Recently, I found out that motorcycles get discounted tolls with an ez-pass. Huzzah! EZ-pass was really frustrating via snail mail so I headed over to their NY office in Whitestone, …

Dropbox’s background update is using excessive CPU on my Mac

I often keep my computer on in sleep mode and return to it whenever I need to. Sometimes, resuming it results in a slow down of other processes. For my …

Why did Honda only provide a screwdriver for the 2009 Rebel 250 tool compartment?

That’s right. A screwdriver. For a motorcycle. For “maintenance.” To answer the question in the headline: cost savings. More specifically, the screwdriver is made available so that the left side …

Amazon Echo Look has a good chance of leading the camera-focused and connected future

Okay, let’s get it out of the way: Amazon’s Echo Look is pretty creepy. Not just the camera and recording functionalities, but the whole idea of an intimate space being …

Auto save IDML files when you close an InDesign document

Recently, I ran into a problem with coworkers having trouble editing my InDesign files. I run CC2017 but they often run older versions, anywhere between CS6 and up. To avoid …

My thoughts on Warren Buffet’s Letter to Berkshire Shareholders

I don’t really know what compelled me to read Warren Buffet’s yearly Berkshire letter. I’ve never read it before. But I’m glad I did. It dawned on me that a …

Solving the mystery of HDMI handshake issues with my Apple TV and Yamaha Receiver

For a year now, I’ve been dealing with HDMI handshake issues on my Apple TV 4th generation where the picture would have an overlay of snow particles. I use a …

Pasting and formatting rich text in InDesign

In the advertising world (and really, the corporate world), I usually receive my manuscripts in Microsoft Word format. That means, I’ll come across documents with formatting that needs to be …

Attempted theft on my scooter using a pen ink cartridge

Two weeks ago, I ran into some trouble with my scooter, a red, 2004 Yamaha Zuma. I was trying to put my key in the ignition and noticed that the …

Breaking in new tires on my scooter, and a horse in traffic

With new street tires in place of my dirt road tires from the dealership, I was eager to get back on the streets of NY. The mechanic cautioned me about …

Tiny Alfred Workflow: Genius “I’m Lucky” Lyrics

I really appreciate Genius.com’s lyrics wiki. With such a gold mine of music insights, annotations, and discussions, it adds color to all the music in my library. To save me …

Tiny Alfred Workflow: Current Tab in Google Chrome’s Incognito

I wrote this Alfred Workflow in AppleScript in order to take any current window open in Google Chrome, and launch it in Chrome’s Incognito. This is useful for me when …

An ode to virtualization on the Mac

Once in a blue moon, I get called to duty to repair an ancient Windows computer. You know, the one that your family member or uncle has critical Word documents …

Hey Adobe, hijacking the cursor is so 1997

I was recently editing photos in Adobe Lightroom when I came across an anachronism from another era. I ran across this issue after I tried deleting a photo in a …

Hubris of human bees

About a year ago, I came across this post by Mandy Brown on the parable of the bees. A recent Radiolab podcast on the worth of intangible things (via Kottke) …

NYS is working to increase minimum wage for tipped workers to $7.50

As a person who worked in the restaurant industry for more than a year, the specialty minimum wage of $5.00 was depressing. It was exacerbated by the tip sharing scheme …

Mentioning your competitor in an ad does not constitute a trademark violation

Have you ever wondered why Super Bowl ads always call it “The Big Game” and not as it is? Arstechnica ran an interesting short on the fear-mongering by the NFL …

Looks by Dr. Dre + Subtraction.com

Now we have four mainstream theories on Apple buying Beats: Investment in the growing high-end headphone market (especially with rumors of the headphone jack going away in favor of the …

Ramadan is going mainstream. Why buck the trend?

Betteridge law of headlines is a short adage that states “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” In the case of Shahed …

Inspecting Yosemite’s Icons

Now this is what you call true icon nerdery. Nick Keppol developed a handy grid and guide of OS X Yosemite icons after an analysis of the system icons. This …

Why Foursquare has the potential to kill Yelp, and then Google…

Interesting post about Foursquare’s potential (note: an app which I have stopped using a long time ago). Maybe worth giving a shot again to see some of this “high quality” …

» Nostalgia and Newspapers Clay Shirky

I wanted to stand up and clap after reading this. That’s how refreshingly honest this is: “What happened to Chittum and Doctor is endemic to media reporting generally — an …

I’m Just Now Realizing How Stupid We Are

“I’ve learned that there’s a strong correlation between knowledge and humility. People who spend 10 minutes on Google studying monetary policy think they have it all figured out, while people …

Yo – Ian Bogost – The Atlantic

“One can’t ignore the context of Yo’s creation. Arbel is a young, white male engineer financed by a group led by other white, male entrepreneurs—a club of Israeli business compatriots …

The End of Cuisine – NYTimes.com

Who would have thought an article on a 50-course (!) meal could be so engrossing? Plus it gives me an excuse to try out a new typeface, Choplin, linked by …

How normal is being redefined?

Jeremy Keith shares fantastic words about the normalcy of The Sun’s Page 3 feature of a topless model. There is a campaign to eliminate Page 3 but some are backlashing …

The Art of Eyeballing – Part II: Learning To See

The series is off to a great start. Some people can’t see the difference between Arial and Helvetica, some get enraged when someone can’t tell them apart. And I say …

Intention

Goosebumps every time. Almost as good as Think Different (that campaign will always live in my heart. Think Different is my manifesto). Worth watching.

How To Code HTML5 Video Background In Email

This is what I call pushing the envelope.

Swift has me thinking about programming languages

I found ArsTechnica’s recap of Swift, Apple’s new programming language to be a simple and clear overview. This article had me thinking about programming languages. I find programming are designed …

“Calling a developer a coder is like a tourist calling San Francisco Frisco”

Dave Winer’s quipped on his Scripting News blog (one of the longest running websites on the internet today full of knowledge nuggets) a wonderful aside worth reviewing: I’m annoyed by …

Because getting a job isn’t already difficult

The Wall Street Journal reports a new way to employ the unemployed: Zappos (a subsidiary of Amazon) is creating a social network to have candidates mingle with current employees and …

Helvetica Neue leads the charge for better displays

Apple has been slowly moving to Helvetica over the years. At WWDC 2014, it made Helvetica Neue the default font in OS X Yosemite. However, it shouldn’t be any surprise. …

I’m New Here

This is a heartwarming read about Neven Mrgan’s 15th anniversary moving from Croatia to the United States. Although this is not the premise of the article, I found this line …

Chaotic Beautiful Snowflakes

Poignant article on the Chaotic Beautiful Snowflakes we all are by Michael Lopp (Rands in Repose is one of my favorite blogs). The last few sentences touched a sensitive nerve: …

“Avoiding Business school” is a one-sided perspective that doesn’t see the real-world value

I was browsing on LinkedIn a few days ago and came across this article by my former high school classmate Steven Chan. His article reflects on his experiences on his …

Snowden and The Wire’s Season 2 have more in common than Snowden realizes

I’m loving Vox’s unique take on reporting odd, out of the box content. Like for instance, this article by Dylan Matthews discusses a deeper analysis of The Wire’s Season 2’s …

TrueCrypt security audit presses on

This will help bring some level of closure to those still using the existing encryption schemes. I wouldn’t recommend touching TrueCrypt with a ten foot pole, however. There are other …

When it comes to design, nothing is ever settled for good

Thanks to John Gruber, I came across this wonderful gem of an article written by John R. Moran. He explores Apple’s thought process behind design and why other technology companies …

Block Inversions by Corporations to limit American tax dollar losses

NYTimes’ Teresa Tritch argues that US Congress should pass a bill in order to make inversions economically inconvenient for companies. This is a response to Pfizer’s recent bid to acquire …

Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel created Snapchat to mask his insecurities

Jordan Crook, reporting for TechCrunch, writes an informative anecdote framing Evan Spiegel of Snapchat’s persona against a body of e-mails recently uncovered by ValleyWag. Crook really hits the spot here: …

Uber just gave lobby fodder to every Taxi commission

Casey Newton reports for The Verge about Uber’s CEO’s comments from the Code Conference about self-driving cars: Asked about what he would tell the Uber drivers who will some day …

Drive development with budgets, not estimates

As a creative, we all deal with the perfectionist inside of us. The need to shape every corner and every angle to perfection. Of course, in the active go-getter world …

It’s official. Apple bought Beats.

Straight from the NYTimes, Brian X. Chen reports that Apple has purchased Beats for $3 billion. This tidbit jumped out at me: For Apple, the acquisition of Beats, expected for …

“TrueCrypt is not secure”

Woah. This caught me off guard. Reporting from ArsTechnica, Dan Goodin has the story: One of the official webpages for the widely used TrueCrypt encryption program says that development has …

50 Ways to Get a Job

Excuse while I knock of some of my friend’s doors with this website. (via swissmiss)

Tradition is non-existent in technology

Hits the nail on the head: “Our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation” — Satya Nadella, Microsoft (via Startup Quote)

Apps that know about you before you do (and I’m okay with that)

TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino wrote this interesting article about Foursquare’s new app Swarm. A recently minted app, Swarm is the check-in side of Foursquare compartmentalized. It’s tiny, non-invasive, and prescient. Taking …

The Study of Wu or how some questions have no answer

Some agencies have great blogs that supplement their main sites and enhance their credibility in the community. Case in point: Planetary, a tiny design agency in NY and Missouri, maintains …

Working should be like breathing: stop and started at regular intervals

Here is a great article on what it means to pace yourself, take it easy, and not become engaged in uninteresting ideas. A simple walk can do you so much …

How to talk to your inner perfectionist

As a creative, we all deal with the perfectionist inside of us. The need to shape every corner and every angle to perfection. Of course, in the active go-getter world …

Businesses need to hire copywriters with direction

David again, this time posting on Inc in 2010 about the horrendous state of copy in the business world. Prescient today as it was 4 years ago. Who writes this …

Drawing bezier curves with less points, more accuracy, and better results

I have had this article on constructing quality bezier curves bookmarked for a while. AGSC, a design studio from Sydney, Australia talks about how to construct perfect bezier curves using …

What does a Product Designer Do?

As I clear out my bookmarks, I keep coming across these great threads like this one on Designer News. I’ve reposted the top-voted comment by Ryan R., Lead Product Designer …