Tl;dr Reminders from a volunteer effort to build an app for the World Health Organization (WHO) about the basics of working with large organizations

Man and duck negotiating a common language
Man and duck negotiating a common language
There’s always a Far Side cartoon that helps.

There’s a volunteer effort helping the World Health Organization deliver an app for people, beyond the governments and health and policy professionals that WHO technology typically serves. I joined that effort early on, and recently scaled my participation back. This volunteer collective and its collaboration with WHO started with excitement, sincerity, and the best of intentions on all sides and… stalled in a variety of interesting ways.

I shared some of my notes on this project with friends, both tech and non-tech. Based on those conversations, I’m sharing here some of what happened in the hope that the arc might be useful for others. The initial theme of the conversations with friends was how easily product/engineering people and non-tech industry people can “lose track of the plot.” Over time, the topic shifted — to bureaucracies and the management/leadership issues that accompany them, and to the power of volunteer and not for profit efforts, and the additional emphasis these kinds of efforts place on trust. …


tl;dr using a DSLR as a webcam

Who doesn’t want to look better? Turns out that the front facing cameras on most devices… aren’t that great. Nicer webcams are backordered and/or jacked up in price.

Q uestion: Can you use your nice relatively newish digital camera?
Answer: Maybe.

I am super open if there’s better advice or I missed something obvious along the way. Comments are open.

Some Canon Cameras

If you have a Canon, see if their recent software release works with your camera:

This is the list of supported Canon cameras, which you can find at the link
This is the list of supported Canon cameras, which you can find at the link
My camera is too old. Sad!

Details are here: https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/support/self-help-center/eos-webcam-utility/

Clean HDMI?

Does your camera do clean HDMI out? That is, HDMI output without the indicators for battery, memory, etc. …


tl;dr some book recommendations since the last one

I’m downstream of and benefit from a lot of good book recommendations. Passing some of them along here. (As always, I welcome book suggestions and recommendations!)

There has to be something better than Medium. Recommendations welcome in comments.

Strongly Recommended Fiction

  1. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (C North). Really fun, great premise, had a hard time putting it down. Just yay.
  2. Artemis (A Weir). Flat out fun read, much more than just good. …


tl;dr book recommendations since the last one

Getting a jump on writing up the end of year book list. (I guess I missed last year’s, oops, so this one is long).

My intent is to add a little extra signal on top of the abundant lists that are out this time year for readers. I’ll start with “Books highly recommended,” then “Other recommended (and just other) books,” followed by “Books by Theme.” (I’m punting the section about “Thoughts on Reading in 2018” because this was already so long.)

As always, I welcome book suggestions and recommendations :)

Books highly recommended

Simple list up front, commentary follows. Order is arbitrary.

  1. The…


Subhead

In Safari on the iPad it looks great. In the app on iPad, not as much… :(

This is a list

  1. Aligned.
  2. Still aligned.
  3. The baseline here works.
  4. The baseline continues to work.
  5. Yep, it’s pretty
  6. But wait.
  7. As the list approaches the 10th item…
  8. Something a bit off…
  9. Happens.
  10. It looks like this. Why split it this way?
  11. OMG. It’s probably some typographic claim…
  12. No. The even ones are off?
  13. But the odd ones…
  14. Wait. 11 looks OK. But the others…
  15. Our work here is done.

Here is a picture of the way some of the list items don’t line up nicely :(

Image for post
Image for post

The end.


tl;dr how to protect against accidentally deleting an entire conversation in Messages on your Mac

The second time this week on my Mac that I accidentally blew away the entire conversation history with someone in Messages, I decided to make it much harder to mess up this way again.

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Image for post
Let’s have Command-Delete (⌘⌫) delete a conversation. What could possibly go wrong?

For background, my guess is that I hit Command-Delete (⌘⌫) to delete the message text I was editing, and then inadvertently repeated it and blew away the conversation. I ran across this Apple support posting that started from “how do I undelete” to “OK given that I can’t undelete, how do I stop this from happening again.” Credit to them for the solution. I’m writing this out because the subtlety of a new menu command appearing out of the blue. I’m sure there’s some awesome command line way of doing this. …


Last night on Twitter, formatting DJT’s tweets in Comic Sans scrolled by. This morning, it seemed like a good Chrome extension to write. I wasn’t the first to write one to do this.

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Image for post

It also works on sites that embed his tweets. Below, the Washington Post:

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Image for post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2017/02/08/trump-lashes-out-at-nordstrom-in-a-tweet-for-dropping-his-daughters-apparel-line/?utm_term=.bccf420659c3

You can see another example at NJ.com.

You can install it at the Chrome webstore. Here’s a pretty picture of what you’ll see there:

Image for post
Image for post

And source code is here for people who want to play with it: https://github.com/deanhach/TrumpSans

Updated: new version fixes both these issues. Still thinking about the puppies.

.It is a little flakey… sometimes I need to hit refresh on twitter.com for the fonts to change. …


tl;dr notes about 2016 books and early plans for 2017 reading

Book suggestions and recommendations welcome :)

Non-Fiction

Gist: Short pieces from a psychoanalyst’s case histories; “patients desperate for change but not if it means changing.”

Review that made me want to read it here.

Gist: Excessive pride and the resulting military disasters. Surprisingly readable and witty, covering both “big picture” and details. So many leadership lessons; I’m looking forward to the tech industry version of this book.

Review that made me want to read it:

Gist: Drafting off the review below: this is the story, from a few different points of view, about how “a modern army, technologically sophisticated but weakly supported by public opinion at home, gets bogged down in a failed state trying to hold the line against primitive but cunning adversaries motivated by religious zeal and determined to sustain the fight for decades, even generations. …

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Listening Learning & Writing at http://deanhach.com

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