Blog post: Some brief views on iOS clients for Mastodon (as of mid 2019) utcc.utoronto.ca/~cks/space/bl

(Covers Amaroq, Tootdon, Mast, and Toot!, of which I like Toot! best, especially on an iPad; Mast and Toot! are basically tied on a phone.)

Current status: writing down what this script is supposed to do, what options it has, how it will work, and what questions this raises before I start coding the script.

(Among other things, this is a great way to put off writing the script.)

Every time I have to pull a sweaty bike jersey over my head to take it off after a bike ride, I'm reminded of how much nicer jerseys with full length zippers are. I should remember this the next time I select a jersey to wear on a scorching hot day.

(My bike club's jerseys have full length zippers, but I don't always wear them, especially for commute rides.)

Also, I frankly hate the process of buying things. Any things, no matter what. I will generally put almost all shopping and purchasing off for as long as possible, and then some, even when I know exactly what I'm going to get and where from.

Just because this hard drive hasn't dropped dead yet and merely keeps throwing read errors periodically is not a good reason to delay replacing it. Someday I'm not going to get away with this. But I'm lazy (and the drive is mirrored, of course), so I keep making excuses.

(The drive also re-scans clean on a regular basis, so I keep getting some reinforcement for my lazy optimism.)

How much has the university funding situation changed over the decades? Well, let me put it this way: my university has a branded central IT help desk. Really, it's in the official name: it's 'the <big bank> InfoCommons Helpdesk'.

Sometimes it feels like I should create an app folder on my phone called 'Aspirational'. The first apps moved there would be all of these TOTP and second factor apps I downloaded, since I've never used any of them. (Also 1Password, sorry app; so far either I trust the iOS keychain or I don't trust the phone at all. Perhaps I'm missing the point of 1Password a bit.)

It says something about the discoverability of features in iOS that until I tried out Secure ShellFish, I had no idea that you could enable various apps as file sources in Files. I do sort of feel for Apple here, but at the same time I missed something useful for quite a while.

(In theory I have the Apple iOS manuals for iPhones and iPads. In practice I've never read very much of them.)

My latest iOS app pickup is Secure ShellFish, which is focused on being a high quality SFTP backend for Files (and anything supporting the document browser), so you can directly open files from your servers in iOS apps (and then save them back). This is something I can use and just the kind of narrow focused app that often appeals to me.

PS: It's from the author of the well regarded 'Working Copy' iOS git client app.

I did manage to bike home without getting rained on. Not because I was patient after all, but because I deliberately distracted myself with writing much of a techblog post.

Well, I sure missed my window of opportunity to bike home without getting rained on. Unless I'm patient. (Spoiler: I am probably not that patient.)

Today's discovery: you can use the Prometheus statsd exporter to let stateless shell scripts or other event-based things safely increment & modify Prometheus counters (which you can't via Pushgateway). The statsd exporter will even create quantiles and/or histograms for you from individual measurements that you push in from your events. The statsd protocol is simple ASCII, you can talk to the statsd exporter over TCP, and the extended protocol it uses even directly supports providing labels.

I did succeed at my work/life balance challenge, in that I went on our group bike ride and had a good time with no feelings of guilt. Now I'm sweeping up random small bits of the mess from home, because that's easy enough.

PS: the ride, with the Toronto Bicycling Network: ridewithgps.com/trips/36349575

This morning is presenting me with the hardest work/life balance challenge I think I've ever faced. I'm hoping I can argue my treacherous brain into choosing 'life' and going on the group bike ride today, because work explicitly has no claim on us on weekends even if something explodes there.

How distracted and absent-minded was I this morning? Well, when I started biking to work, I only had one bike glove on and it took me two blocks to notice.

Belated obvious realization: using a metrics system for alerts instead of hand-rolled checks means that you can outsource handling state to your metrics systems and everything else can be stateless. Want to only alert after a condition has been true for an hour? Your 'check the condition' script doesn't have to worry about that; you can leave it to the metrics system.

As usual, the result of lazily deferring a kernel update on my home Linux machine is that now there's another Fedora kernel update, so I win with fewer reboots and less update wrangling.

(This pretty picture is somewhat spoiled by a power failure this morning, which rebooted the machine anyway. Oh Toronto Hydro, I do so love your infrastructure in my neighborhood.)

It's interesting how twitchy I now get when I see other people's TLS certificates counting down under 30 days left. Let's Encrypt has conditioned me to think that certificates should always have at least 30 days left, and significantly less is alarming.

As usual, this Prometheus + Grafana dashboard needs a redesign. Part of that is that it evolved over time as more sources of information became available and I understood things more, and part of it is that I never really sat down to think about how people would or should use it and thus what they would need and care about.

(Dashboards are a humbling education in so many things.)

Apparently I need a new iPad Mastodon client, since Tootdon turns out to have some privacy issues, cf mstdn.jp/@tootdon/997596448800 and pleroma.site/notice/9jJjkzRibF

(Mast is a reasonably good iPhone client, but sadly it is not currently a particularly great iPad client. Amaroq is effectively iPhone only. Toot! may be what I need.)

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