Christina is off this week. Jeff interviews Brett about why and how he builds the tools he builds.
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- Brett’s new EP!
- Quick Question: Remember the illusive answer to a persistant question
- doing: Remember what I was doing or feeling and when
- bunch: Remember how I like my computer environment to be set up in countless contexts
- Howzit: Remember how I built or configured a thing
- Tag Filer: Remember where my documents go
- podtagger: Remember how to do podcast metadata
- Cheaters: Remember my keyboard shortcuts and commands
- Markdown service tools: Remember Markdown syntax and apply it
- na: Remember what my next steps are in this directory/project
Join the Conversation
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Check out more episodes at overtiredpod.com and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. Find Brett as @ttscoff, Christina as @film_girl, Jeff as @jeffreyguntzel, and follow Overtired at @ovrtrd on Twitter.
Why Brett Builds What He Builds
Jeffrey: [00:00:00] Hello everybody. And welcome to another episode of Overtired. It’s me, Jeff. I’m here with Brett we’re alone. Christina could not be here this week. She’s traveling. Uh, she’s in Chicago. I believe so. Brett, it’s just you and me. How do you feel about that?
Brett: I’m I’m, you know, I love you. I always, I miss Christina, miss Christina, I feel like the three of us have a, a really good thing going, but you know, the beauty of having three co-hosts is if one person needs a week off, the show can go on
Jeffrey: That’s true. The show must go on. You could say that probably. Um, and, and in, in this case, the show is going on, despite the fact that your face is completely, uh, uh, ripped up and bloodied. What, what happened to you?
Brett: So I, I was on my hands and knees working on my Sonology. Um, had, I had just, I had just unwrapped [00:01:00] a 16 terabyte, hard drive and. What I meant to do was sit up and what happened was I went forward and I don’t know exactly. All I know is like, instead of coming eye to eye with the Sonology on the networking shelf, I suddenly was seeing stars.
And I had plowed my face into the carpet. I have like a throw rug down around this. And, and I just face first into the throw rug, took a chunk outta my nose, scraped up my forehead, ripped up my elbow. It was, and then I sat up and I’m, I had no idea what had happened. Like, it was very confusing to me. And I looked down and there’s like blood all over my hand.
And I wa like in a days, wandered upstairs and I was like, oh my God, what happened? And like, well, I kind of just faceplanted into the carpet for no apparent reason. So she [00:02:00] wants me to go to the doctor now. Which I, I will do out of respect. Uh, if
Jeffrey: Uh, out of concern for the why or out of concern
Brett: the why?
Jeffrey: a rug destroyed
Brett: No, no. Out of the why, like why did you go down instead of up when, when, when you sent the signal to stand up, why did you instead ke forward?
Jeffrey: Is it one of those things where you were, you were seated and in order to get up, you had to kind of lean forward to get a little momentum to get up, and then you just didn’t do the other steps,
Brett: I, I just, I skip some steps.
Jeffrey: bad program,
Brett: Yeah. Yeah.
Jeffrey: I’m sorry. Well, I support as, as a, as a co-host and I know I speak for Christina as well. We support you, uh, at going into the doctor. We agree with L uh, maybe it was like a blood pressure thing. Right? Who
Brett: could be, yeah. Could be medication related. I have a lot of meds that affect my balance and woo. And.
Jeffrey: Wow. Um, I really wish [00:03:00] Sonology was a sponsor. So somehow we could wrap this up into a sponsor read, and then maybe go to like Z doc. Um, I mean, I really feel like we’re living into a possible sponsor situation here.
Brett: Bunch of bunch of corporate tie-ins for this one,
Jeffrey: We’re gonna have to get everybody on the fifth floor on that. Um, let’s see if they can, they can work on it up there in sales. Um, well I’m glad you’re okay. That’s crazy. Oh, I see your cat. So we’re gonna do a little more, Brett. It is the 19th birthday of the everlasting cat. Yeti, who has just, I wouldn’t say marched into the screen.
Brett: I said to knock on wood, cuz you went and jinx it.
Jeffrey: What happened? Everlasting?
Brett: said everlasting cat. I, I guarantee you. He is not everlasting. The day will.
Jeffrey: Oh man. Okay. So 19 years old though, Yeti is a part of.
Brett: yet. Yeah, yet he is, I, other than a couple like brief trips out of town, I have seen Yeti every day for 19 years. [00:04:00] And like, I’ve had him from the day of his birth. Uh, his mom had FIV and we had to take her kittens away and she got euthanized and we, we raised the kittens and, uh, yeah, it was, it was, uh, be born of tragedy, but we immediately like, and I honestly like when there was a litter of six kittens and I wanted the tuxedo one, um, because I had recently lost my cat trouble to a pit bull, a pit bull had.
Jeffrey: That’s not funny, but you did just say I lost my cat trouble to a pit bull. It sounds like the lyrics to a song. I don’t want to hear.
Brett: She, she had, she had unbeknownst to me, had a litter of kittens in the closet, um, because I was a young irresponsible person who didn’t spay their cat. And she, I lived in a, will say a less than sanitary living situation. And she [00:05:00] would escape through a broken window at night and she got pregnant and gave birth and I was oblivious to the whole thing.
Um, but then she ends up trying to defend her litter against a pit bull that was visiting our house. And she lost that fight. And that kind of fucked me up for a while. So when I’m faced with this litter of kittens and there’s one tuxedo kitten in the litter and I, that was the one that I was gonna take.
Um, and my. My, at that point, fiance’s mom convinced me to take the one that looked like Eddie Munster. Um, and, and over the course of the next couple years, Yeti, Eddie Munster, Yeti Munster, um, Yeti became my cat, just, we just bonded. And like he would fetch, I could throw a toy and he would run down the [00:06:00] hall and come back going and like, bring me the, bring me like the foil ball back.
And we would play fetch and, and he slept with me and we just, we became inseparable.
Jeffrey: well, and I I’ve, I’ve experienced not just in recording this podcast on video, but also in, in our many, many, many zoom meetings together, Yeti can just kind of walk up on your desk and just start staring at you and I’ll see the back of his head. And yet he’s just staring at you.
Jeffrey: Now I have to ask this was Minneapolis with the, with the cat trouble and the pit.
So there’s a, there’s a pit bull in a house with a, with a broken window. I gotta say it. What that tells me is you were living with crusty punks.
Brett: I was well, okay, wait, no, actually, actually I take that back. I had moved out of the crusty punk house and I was living with a bunch of junkies who were also models.
Jeffrey: Wow. Models. Like what hand models? Body models.
Brett: body [00:07:00] models. We’re talking, we’re talking Abercrombie and Fitch type of models, not Abercrombie and Fitch. They were doing smaller time stuff, but like they would get makeup to cover up their track marks. And, and it was actually a very different living situation than the punk house. Um, but we were all severely addicted to heroin and, uh, that kind of ran that the house was kind of built around heroin a.
Jeffrey: Yeah. Yeah. So funny. I lived in houses like that in Minneapolis in the day, but I never was doing any drugs at all, but everyone around me was doing those drugs. I remember I lived in a house where I had a roommate who had an AK 47 with no safety that just laid, uh, against the wall next to his bed.
Brett: Yeah, we, we did not have
Jeffrey: at one point, and this, I bet you’ll relate to.
At one point in the living room of this house, we were in, this was a house that was in like a permanent state of foreclosure that a, a friend of mine [00:08:00] kind of got hold of. And, and we were paying like almost nothing, no utilities or anything. It was over by MCAT or by the, the art art Institute in the art school.
Brett: That’s where I was living on
Jeffrey: was it, we surely we ran into each other, but there was a point where there was about seven of us living in this place. I kind of like hid in my room all day, uh, working on my, my super radical politics zine called wake up, wake up. Um, but outside me, like I remember one day we spilled a five gallon bucket of paint that we had for reasons I don’t understand.
And we were also eating taco bell. And for the rest of the time I lived in that house, there was a spilled thing of paint with taco bell, wrappers stuck in it. And I, I still wonder to this day, I’m like, okay, so you weren’t, you weren’t a junkie you didn’t know drugs at all. Like how did you find yourself in these situations?
Jeff? Cause that one, woo. There are some stories and that was like a famous, not famous. It was a, it was a barely known, um, punk [00:09:00] rock house where like the first time green day came through town, they slept on the floor of
Brett: wasn’t not castle chaos, right?
Jeffrey: Oh, my God. I think that’s what it was. It’s got the turret, the turret on top.
Yeah. That’s it. Castle chaos. I didn’t know it when it was castle
Brett: I’ve been to basement shows there
Jeffrey: Oh my God. See, we only had the second and third floor of castle chaos. And so wait a minute, wait a minute. Wait a minute. This is crazy. So I moved in at basically after castle chaos, as it was known ended. The next scenario was this scenario.
I was in with the guy with the AK 47 and we had a meth dealer who also did shitty tattoos. Um, his name was lips, which we called them. It was short for apocalypse, which was the smell of his feet. Um, and he would and he would give tattoos for, for
Brett: face tattoos.
Jeffrey: no face tattoos in his case, maybe he would give them, he didn’t have them.
Brett: I knew multiple people from castle chaos that had full face tattoos.
Jeffrey: Oh, my [00:10:00] God castle chaos. Okay. So just for my own sake, because this house enters my dreams really, honestly, a few times a year, it was a, it was a strange, magical portal of a place. Um, and it was called a castle because it had this like turret or this almost like Rapunzel
Jeffrey: Um, and, and, and it was so unique and it was so, so stunning of a house, but it was a total piece of shit.
Jeffrey: I mean, for God’s sake, it was called castle chaos for how many years. So what, how did you enter castle chaos?
Brett: uh, punk rock. Like I was in a punk rock band and it was just kind of a, it was a mainstay of the punk rock scene, like parties and the occasional basement show. And, and you just, you knew like you see the face tattoos and you’d be like, Hey, castle, chaos. Yep. Castle chaos.
Jeffrey: Yeah. Cause they, cuz you could get your face tattoos there.
Brett: I, I don’t know where all the face tattoos came from, but these are the people that worked at like Sunnyside up, uh, the breakfast [00:11:00] joint with all the punk rockers
Brett: um, yeah.
Jeffrey: Wow. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Well, I loved living there and what I thought about the reason I even brought it up is my, my roommate there had two cats, one cat was named yo and the other cat was named Corma and we call them Yagi and corny. And at one point, the ceiling in my room gave way and my room flooded.
And, um, and, and once we cleaned it all up, it was still a completely destroyed ceiling, but the water was cleaned up. Cause the part of living there for almost free was that no, one’s gonna come and help you when the ceiling explodes. Right. But then the cats disappeared for a while, but they would appear every once in a while when I was sleeping, they would just show up in the ceiling, above my head and look down at me, you know, just like, let me know they’re okay.
But I could totally imagine them having a litter of cats in the, in the ceiling of this place.
Brett: before I lived, before I lived on Clinton avenue, I lived on east Hennepin and we had a house where the landlord had. [00:12:00] Basically, let us move in. We were renting the whole house for about a thousand dollars a month. Um, and there were, I think, eight of us. And, um, I was the only person in the group who held on a job.
So to this day, everyone owes me thousands of dollars, but, uh, but he basically told us that when we moved out, he was gonna tear it down and he did not give a shit what we did to that house.
Jeffrey: Yeah. We had a similar situation.
Brett: paint, everywhere. We would like we would have parties where people would literally go through walls and we just, that place was demolished.
By the time we left
Jeffrey: Yeah. Yeah. Oh man. I don’t know how many, how many of our listeners start listening and going? Oh, I relate.
Jeffrey: relatable. Um, yeah. Okay. Okay. That was fun. Um, I mean, I’m just delighted that we shared some history of that space together. Um, okay. Why don’t we, why don’t we [00:13:00] do a little mental health corner? I would love to hear how you are doing, and then, uh, I am going to, I’m gonna interview Brett for this episode. I already started in a way, except it ended up being such a shared history, shared history of complete fuckery episode title.
Mental Health Corner
Jeffrey: Anyway, how you doing?
Brett: I’m I’m stable. I’m in that, that kind of stable spot where I’m starting to get like bored, but grateful that I’m sleeping well. And, um, just kind of emotionally at rest, uh, kind of getting worked on. I’m still BA I’m on the depressed side of stable still. Um, but it was a pretty light depression this time around, um, I did last night have trouble sleeping and had to take some, uh, over the counter sleeping meds.
Uh, which worries me because last, my [00:14:00] last manic episode, which was a little more intense than it had been, uh, started with 10 days of kind of shitty sleep. Uh, and then all of a sudden it like clicked and I was manic and, and off to the races and learning swift and writing
Jeffrey: Yeah, right. I was and, and posting a blog post every 45 minutes.
Brett: Right. Um, and, and it started with, with getting completely worn down by just waking up at three or 4:00 AM every morning and not like staying in bed, not getting up and coding like I do when I’m manic. Uh, but just staying in bed and tossing and turning for hours. And then like finally getting up at six and, and drinking coffee and going about my day.
But, uh, this is how it began and I’m trying to figure out if there’s something I can do now, I have a therapy appointment today and my therapist is pretty [00:15:00] damn well versed in bipolar. So I’m gonna talk to him and see if there’s something I can do at this point. Well, before I manic to try to, uh, control it a little bit, try to keep it manageable.
Jeffrey: it’s so awesome. You have somebody
Brett: thanks. Yeah, it took me, took me long enough to find a therapist, but yeah, I think he’s good.
Jeffrey: yeah. That’s how it goes. Takes people long enough,
Brett: I’m going, I’m going in for the in person. So far, we’ve only known videos. So today I get to, I get to meet him in person and, and I’ll let you know how that goes.
Jeffrey: man. I, my therapist only does, um, telehealth and I’m getting to a point where I wish I could do in person
Brett: Yeah. Well, I’m curious, I’m curious what the difference is. Like, like he’s hybrid, he’ll do whatever works best for his clients. Um, but I was very curious to like, just [00:16:00] see what the difference is like in person, in someone else’s environment. Um, I just, I’m curious how I will react to opening up in an unfamiliar space instead of in my very cozy office where I feel very at home.
Uh, maybe it’ll be better. Maybe it’ll be worse. Uh, we’re gonna find out.
Jeffrey: Yeah. I personally find it easier
Jeffrey: Yeah. Especially if the therapist has put some, some care into the, the room and the, and the appearance and the feeling of the place. And so that there are just plenty of signals that you are in, you are in a therapeutic space. Your only job is to be here at this time now,
Brett: Yeah. Well, it’s kind of
Jeffrey: see the other cues in your room.
Brett: I haven’t been to a yoga class in person for a couple years now. Um, and my therapist actually suggested I try going in person again. Now that that’s an option. [00:17:00] Um, cuz it wasn’t, I mean pandemic for a while there, everything was zoom based. Um, but then, uh, L my, my girlfriend, who’s also my favorite yoga instructor.
Um, she started doing classes at the studio again, but also zooming them. Um, and I just stuck with zoom cuz I gained weight, not because of the pandemic. I just, I gained weight. I was feeling not very confident about my body. Um, and it was easier for me just to be on zoom with the video off and just do the, do the class on my own.
But I, I do think there would be a benefit to, uh, like when I’m zooming yoga on my own. There’s a pretty good chance. I check my email in the middle of class
Brett: in person in a zoo, in a like live studio, yoga class. I would never check my email and, and [00:18:00] it would be better for me. I would get more out of yoga if I didn’t stop to check my email.
How’s how’s your mental health, Jeff.
Jeffrey: Um, I’m, I’m doing all right. I, one thing I’ve been really not focusing on that I need to, uh, is, so I take, um, I take medication that helps me sleep. I also take medication that, um, helps me to not have horrible, uh, nightmares, which has been a problem of mine for some time. And, um, and this medication works beautifully for that every once in a while, one breaks through and I wake up and I’m just like, damn it.
How did you get through and why? Um, and the, how did you get through and why is something I’m working on right now, which is mostly, looks like me thinking about not acting yet, but thinking about, um, my transition to sleep, because I have a tendency to just sort of. Collapse into [00:19:00] sleep, basically from the day, there’s not much of a transition at all.
There’s like a pile of clothes by the side of the bed and, and, uh, and an iPad on top of that when I’m, when I’m done reading or whatever. Um, and, uh, and so I’m trying to work on, uh, sort of long longish set of sort of signals to my brain that it’s time to time to go to sleep, time to rest. Um, and one thing that I know I shouldn’t do is work on configuring shit on my laptop until I’m ready to go to bed and leave my laptop next to me, cuz that makes it, that always makes for a bad sleep night, cuz my brain wants to keep solving problems.
Um, and uh, and it just knows that the computer’s right there. So like an example is I know to not have my laptop near my bed and have it downstairs. Um, but anyway, I’m just kind of working on that because you know, my sleep’s been great ever since we sort of dialed in. What I needed medication wise, but there’s, you know, there are things that [00:20:00] medication can’t solve alone and, and that’s what I’m sort of putting my attention to.
So, which, I mean, and to say, like, I went so long, really almost from the beginning of the pandemic until about four or five months ago, six months ago, I was waking up multiple times at night, often waking up on the hour at night, not like exactly on the hour, like public radio style, but like inside of every hour, basically.
And man did that do a number on me. And so I am every day grateful when I wake up, when I realized I only woke up once and I slept really, really good. So anyway, sleep, sleep.
Brett: And you’re back on your ADHD meds now. How’s that gone?
Jeffrey: I am. I’m taking my Viva again. Um, that’s going well. I haven’t really, I I’m trying to figure out the sweet spot for taking it. Like sometimes I take it right after breakfast. Sometimes I take it just before lunch. [00:21:00] I have taken it in the early afternoon.
Brett: Oh, Jesus.
Jeffrey: which has isn’t bad for, well, it should be part of my sleep, uh, factoring.
Shouldn’t it. Um, but
Brett: it has like, it has like a 16 hour, half life.
Jeffrey: I know mostly I take it before 11:00 AM, but I haven’t found like a sweet spot for it,
Brett: For me for me, it’s seven. Am I take it religiously? Seven? Am I take my meds at 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM and, and yeah, 7:00 AM is the sweet spot for me, for sure. With five minutes, if I want, cuz I go to bed at like 9:00 PM.
Brett: I’m an early, I’m an early to bed guy. Um, and, and, uh, taking it at 7:00 AM means I’m winding down by 9:00 PM.
Jeffrey: right. Yeah. That’s smart. Yeah. Yeah. I need to dial that in, but I mean, the good thing is it’s, it’s working out for me. I I’m on a very low dose, which is what I need. And, and, [00:22:00] um, for anybody who’s considering something like an ADHD drug, just, just be so mindful of, of does this dose feel right? Cause I’ve had so many friends who, who were given a higher dose and probably they should right away or were bumped up significantly after starting at a low dose.
Brett: So because I recommend Vivance to so many people newly diagnosed with ADHD. Tell me what a low dose is.
Jeffrey: 20 milligrams
Brett: 20. Okay.
Jeffrey: I’ve had, I’ve taken as much as 60.
Brett: yeah, I take 60. It, it goes up to 70, 60 is kind of where I found my sweet spot. Um, but yeah, like as far as ADHD, medication goes, five is in my experience, the most mellow, um, it, and to, to, to that end, it’s the least effective for me, but with my bipolar, it’s the one that plays the [00:23:00] nicest, um, that if it, if it weren’t for Vivance, I probably wouldn’t be able to be on any ADHD meds right now because everything else is so prone to triggering manic episodes for me.
Um, and Vivance just kind of fits the bill for that. Uh, some people like you react strongly to it and, and it’s all they need at 20 milligrams. Vivance works great. Uh, for me, 60 milligrams is still like, um, I’m still scattered and have trouble with motivation, uh, which I, I don’t on a drug like Focalin or Adderall.
Uh, motivation is fine for me. Uh, Vivance does not solve that issue. Um, but it also, it doesn’t cause me other problems. So it’s kind of a, a good drug for that.
Jeffrey: Right, right. Yeah, man. Yeah. Medications um, [00:24:00] alright, Brett Terpstra.
Brett: by the way, um,
Brett: I talked to, I talked to a friend of the show, Erin Dawson and she is totally down to make us some theme music. For, for like mental health corner and gratitude that we can,
Brett: we can play in. We can we can, we can break up our segments with a little theme music. Uh, she just, she just wants some idea where to begin with it, uh, some, some direction and, uh, and we can make this happen.
Jeffrey: Awesome. That’s
Brett: coming, coming soon to a podcast near you. So, uh, yeah, here’s a question.
Brett: Is there anything that matters more than the safety of you and your loved ones?
Jeffrey: Well, hold on. That’s the rest of the podcast right there. Oh, sorry. Sponsor Reid. Go ahead.
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That’s S I M P L I S a e.com/ Overtired. [00:26:00] Go today and claim a free indoor security camera. Plus 20% off with interactive monitoring. Go to simply safe.com/ Overtired. I have, I have over the course of having simply safe as a sponsor. I have really gotten better at saying the word monitoring.
Brett: that is a really hard word for me because my brain wants to go monitoring, monitoring,
Jeffrey: Monitoring word becomes the sound
Brett: I over enunciate it, but out of necessity
Jeffrey: well, I’m glad to see your growth in that area.
Brett: thanks, man.
Promo: Soul Forge
Brett: Let’s talk about another podcast.
Jeffrey: So forge podcast, what is that? It is the ultimate source for learning to live your best life episodes have covered heartbreak, dementia, suicide, and transgender issues. And there are episodes on sex, tattoos, collecting, road trips and puppies, [00:27:00] exclamation point. You never know what the next episode will bring. So come on and forge your soul with the soul forge podcast.
It’s everywhere you find podcasts.
Brett’s New Song Drops!
Brett: I put out music every once in a while. and it gets zero traction. Like I have dad jokes that get more response than the music I put out, which really leads me to
Jeffrey: you just put music out?
Brett: I did just put, uh, a cover of the kinks. Um, not like everybody else. Um, and yeah, and, and I really enjoyed doing a, uh, fun cover of it.
But man, like my SoundCloud, I get like nine listens. I’ll like, I’ll like tweet about it. I’ll Facebook about it, you know, and I’ve got a fair number of followers and nine people will go check it out and, and they,
Jeffrey: 10. I
Brett: and they, and they won’t say anything like I’ll get zero comments about it. And I’ll just [00:28:00] assume
Jeffrey: feels good.
Brett: I’ll assume it was so bad that people listened to it and just like embarrassed for me.
You ever been at a party where like the host, like corners you in his bedroom and makes you listen to his demo tape?
Jeffrey: Uh, be less specific.
Brett: it’s happened to me more than once. That’s why I consider this a generality.
Jeffrey: Uh, got it.
Brett: like when I was touring with a band and we’d go to like, after show parties, so frequently would like a, a host of, of whatever house we were at. Be like, Hey, come here, come here, come here. You gotta hear this. You gotta hear my one man.
Four track demo tape. And then for like 30 minutes would like pumble you with sounds you just could not get excited about.
Jeffrey: I, um, I did two things to prevent [00:29:00] that kind of thing from happening to me on tour. one is I played drums in a way that I I’ve come to learn scared people and the other is. I slept in the van, no matter what the fuck we were doing, I was like, I am not going in there. I am not going through that portal in fucking Missoula, Montana.
like, I have no idea what’s gonna happen in there. I want nothing to do with it. I sleep in the van.
Brett: so what you’re saying is I played bass too approachable.
Jeffrey: yeah, you play face too approachable. I’m always, oh, people say I’m nice guy, but get this that I’m scary.
Brett: I used, I often people would tell me when they first met me, they thought I was gonna punch them. And I have never once met someone and thought I was gonna punch
Brett: Um, well, okay. It I’m sure it has happened, but for the most part, I’m super into meeting people. And, uh, [00:30:00] I guess I used to come off as very intense.
Um, and I it’s still to this day, I don’t know what that’s about, but I apparently it’s gotten better because people tell me I’m a God like these days.
Jeffrey: Ah, sucks, except for whoever punched you in the face. Oh, wait, that was your carpet.
Brett: yeah, we, we have a history now.
Why Brett Makes the Tools He Makes
Jeffrey: Um, okay. I wanna talk to you about something and we’re, we’ve, we’ve gone pretty deep into the episode, but I want to try it anyhow. Um, and see, so I’ve been, I, I have used so many of your tools, Brett. It’s how I came to be a guest on your podcast. Systematic way, way, way back in the day was I followed your blog and you put out a call, uh, for guests or guest suggestions.
And one of my colleagues submitted me. I jokingly call the collection of tools that I use your collection of tools that I use Terpstra OS. [00:31:00] Um, and I’ve been sort of revisiting some of them. Recently just cuz you have, you know, in the last couple years you’ve added a lot to, a lot of the things that I like to use.
Um, but I wanted to talk to you about something that just struck me so hard. So the thing that I love about your tools is that they allow me to forget. They give me confidence that I can remember. Um, and for me not remembering is an extreme source of anxiety and can be a source of panic. And knowing that I can forget, therefore brings me a sense of peace and ease. I listed this list here. I listed your apps that I used and your tools that I use. And then I made a remembering statement next to them. Cause I was so struck by this. So I’m just gonna go through this. It’s bear with me. All right.
Brett: [00:32:00] Yeah,
Jeffrey: First one quick question. Remember the elusive answer to a persistent question doing, remember what I was doing or feeling, and when bunch, remember how I like my computer environment to be set up in countless contexts? How’s it remember how I built or configured a thing. Tag filer, which doesn’t get talked about much.
Brett: it. Doesn’t.
Jeffrey: remember where my documents go. Pod Tager. Remember how to do podcast metadata, cheaters. Oh, cheaters. Remember my keyboard shortcuts and commands and, and various little bits about my apps. And then markdown service tools, remember markdown syntax and apply it, right.
It leaves out your writing stuff. NV, NV, ultra marked gather for gathering up markdown from a webpage, you know, mark down, editing for sublime text, which you don’t control anymore, but which [00:33:00] you wrote. And I still use, I think you still use it. Right. Um, but it’s so intense to me and it’s intense how easy it is to make a remember statement for all your tools.
When I read that list, what, what do you think?
Brett: So I, I would like to, okay. I, I have multiple things, but, uh, first of all, uh, uh, I like Terpstra OS. Jay Miller came up with the term TT tools,
Brett: which I, I like cuz my name is B R E TT. And my handle is TT scoff and we just go with TT tools. Um, I, when I realized it came up on my calendar that it was Yeti’s birthday, but I could not remember how old he was.
And I remembered that I had had this question in years past and all I had to do in my terminal was type QQ. Yeti’s how old is Yeti QQ? How old is Yeti? [00:34:00] And my, my computer was able to immediately tell me what year he was born and, and extrapolate from there. Um, and that absolutely memory. I have a, I have a shit memory.
I have an ADHD person’s memory, uh, that has been affected by drug use and, and the meds I take. Um, I was on like, uh, stuff like, uh, what’s shoot, um, sleeping pills, uh, ambient type of pills for a long time, which just decimated my memory. And a lot of the tools I make are very much about being able to answer my own questions.
Um, when I Google for the answer to a problem, there’s a 50% chance I get my own blog back as a response. And that’s where [00:35:00] search link came from. Like
Jeffrey: Search link. Oh, right. Search link. Yeah.
Brett: search search link was a way for me to, to find answers on my own blog without constantly switching to a web browser and yeah. Memory, it, it you’re, you are a hundred percent correct.
So many of my tools are just about being able to remember and being able to feel confident because it is, uh, it is very it’s disconcerting and, and anxiety producing to, to, to know that you figure something out, but that you will forget it. Um, and in my case, I’ll forget it in a week. It’s not a matter of like a year later it’s it’s a week or less that I will forget that I found the answer to something and, and that produces anxiety.
And just having ways, uh, goes back to like, when I first read, uh, GT D by David Allen, this whole idea of mine, like water and being able to [00:36:00] have a trusted, a trusted bucket where you could dump the things you needed to do. And know that you wouldn’t forget them, that you would be able to find them and that you would be able to get them done.
And, and my brain extrapolated that to, I need a trusted bucket for literally everything. I learn everything. I figure out everything that I do. I need a way to have some faith that I will be able to rediscover this in the future. Um, and yeah, things like QQ and, and doing definitely are like, that’s a core principle of them.
Jeffrey: Wait. I remember you had a, I don’t know if it was a bookmarklet or it was a tool that, um, helped to, uh, that helped to sort of document your stack overflow queries. What was that? Describe that.
Brett: so, and, and that’s what gather has become now. Um, uh, I had [00:37:00] bullseye. Which when I, when I found an answer it, and it worked with Marky, the mark down to fire, which was the web API version of gather. Um, and it would basically, you would, you would click on a stack overflow solution page. You would just click inside the answer you wanted to save, and it would create a markdown version for you that you could pop right into envy or into envy ultra, um, and marking the markdown.
A fire has fallen by the wayside, uh, but gather the tool I most recently updated, uh, in a manic episode, um, can, it has special handling built in for stack overflow pages. So if you, and, and it has options, you can choose to only save the accepted answer. you can choose to include or exclude comments because a lot of times the answer you want, the [00:38:00] actual answer will be in the comments to the answer.
Like someone will say, this didn’t work. Why and someone else will say do it this way. Um, so there are times that I do or, or don’t want to include the comments. Um, and all of that is now built into gather as options and basically can save any time. I find what I’m looking for in stack overflow, which is the most common place I find programming answers.
Um, I can save it as a markdown file, easily searchable, instantly indexed in NVI ultra.
Jeffrey: I remember once you, when we first started working together, I mean, just for people’s background, you started working with me really as a consultant on workflows and, um, things related to my investigative work and, and that kind of grew into some real meaningful tool building. We first started working together.
I was . I remember [00:39:00] I, I wrote you and I said, oh my God, I just dove into bunch, but here’s the thing off the record. Are you gonna be developing this thing for a while? Because I’m about to go deep, right? Cause it had been kinda left alone for a while and you’re like, no, no, it’s it’s there, it’s there. And so I said, will you send me just a couple of your own bunch files so I can get a feel for it?
And what I learned and have learned from you since is that often your tools, which have a million wonderful tentacles, you’re only really employing. A handful of them.
Jeffrey: Is that the case with most of your tools?
Brett: It, when I first started programming, I was only coding for myself. I was solving problems like it started like my first programming was basic. And then, uh, like I moved on to Pascal and did a bunch of like game programming in high school. Uh, but most of where I really got into creative programming was with like VB script in an old app called [00:40:00] home sea, uh, which was a home automation app on PC.
Jeffrey: like around what year-ish
Brett: this would’ve been like 97, 98, no,
Jeffrey: was being automated.
Brett: no, 2000, 2000, 2001. Um, X, 10 X, 10 home appliance automation. Um, but. I, I didn’t, I had never released, I had never shared any of these automations. They were just for me and I wasn’t active on like the message boards or anything. And it wasn’t until I got a Mac, uh, that I actually made something worth sharing or that I considered like maybe other people would want this.
And the thing I learned very quickly is that everyone has their own needs. And as someone who eventually became part of, kind of the software ecosystem for [00:41:00] max, uh, which didn’t start for me until 2000, um, uh, I, I, I learned that there’s kind of a standard number of features that make things generally usable.
And I be, I over time got really good at predicting what people, what feature requests were gonna come in. So, so it can do this, but here’s what I need to do. Um, and, and I learned how to build something that had more general appeal, uh, than just solving my problem and to make something that could solve other people’s problems.
And that’s kind of the core of everything I do is I made this to solve a problem I had, but I understood that my problems might not be universal. So I made it more general, uh, so that it could solve other pre other people’s problems as [00:42:00] well.
Jeffrey: And well, and in doing so you, one of the other sort of tenants of everything you build is it gives the user such a sense of control, um, that would otherwise, like you have to have a little bit of literacy to get. To get deep into any of your tools, but only a little bit and, and having a little bit, and then having your tools like it’s a to use a military analogy, it’s a force multiplier.
It’s like, I can’t believe, I mean, uh, bunch is such a great example, right? I can write a text file and bunch that had, I tried to do this without bunch. Would’ve been a really complex script that would’ve had to spend a year studying a language to do.
Brett: Well, and the beauty of bunch is nobody does the same thing with it. No two people are using it to do the exact same thing. And you can share bunches with people as kind of an example. Here’s what you can do, but it is 100% you [00:43:00] customize it to your specific needs and it is built to, to handle the most esoteric of, of requirements.
Uh, the first, the first app, the first editor I used on Mac OS was text made. it blew me away. Having spent a lifetime using windows and, and kind of limited apps that you had to have a, a higher level of proficiency in order to customize, uh, than I had at the time. Um, I started using text mate and I learned Ruby just to write text mad extensions, uh, but it provided, it provided this framework that I could make it do anything, any, any text editing tool I wanted, I could just make, and it was worth learning a new programming language just to be able to extend this app and the [00:44:00] extensibility of, of text mate.
It leads to problems for developers because not only are you supporting your own software, now you’re supporting everything your users wanna do with your software. um, and it’s, you’re opening up a whole can of worms, but like it’s the reason I built custom processors into marked. Uh, so people could make it work with pan doc or ask EOC or whatever processor they wanted to preview their, their text files with was all kind of this text BA mentality of extensibility that the user should be able to extend what you’ve done.
Jeffrey: Well, then it’s interesting that you bring up the, you had said, you know, in, in, in developing something like text mate, the developers had to support their app and all the things people wanted to do with it. You kind of walk this line where you make your tools. It almost seems like as extensible as possible, but you do stop [00:45:00] short of making it so that everyone’s making their own plugins.
For instance, is that intentional?
Brett: Um, so part of that is a lack of skill on my, on my part, um, doing is the first app I’ve ever written that allows, uh, truly has a plugin architecture. Um, and, and I don’t think I, to this day, I don’t think anyone’s attempted to use it yet, but these
Jeffrey: I was even aware of the
Brett: yeah, these days when I add a new feature to doing I U I do it through a plugin architecture, uh, where each feature exists as, as a plugin that you can add and remove and doing even has built in commands for adding and removing its own sub
Jeffrey: Yes. Okay. Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Brett: So, so I built a true plugin architecture for doing, um, you, you could look at custom [00:46:00] processors in marked as, as plugins, but really you’re just, you’re giving it a shell command to run. Um, and that shell command can be a custom script and you can go nuts with it, but it doesn’t have a direct plugin architecture with its own, like API and SDK, uh, with which to interface.
And, and yeah, I wanna offer that it hasn’t been out of fear of doing the customer support. It’s been really a lack of, uh, experience in doing that.
Jeffrey: Interesting. I always just assumed it was just a matter of like here, I’m gonna, I’m gonna do everything I can to make this thing as usable as possible. But like, especially now at this point in your life, you’ve got a full-time job. So it’s like, you can’t necessarily handle all
Brett: I’m not the genius I’m giving credit for being. Like I’m, I’m just figuring this shit out. Like everybody else, I just happen to have a creative mind that, um, that can take a problem. And I have enough of a foundation to come up with a solution, but there’s always room for improvement in everything I do.
And I’m [00:48:00] constantly learning new things and I’m not like I, I, I worship at the feet of some of the, like the developers in the community, uh, Daniel Jka, Andreas Hackenberg, uh, rich Siegel. Like these people can do so much more than I can do and have so much more skill. And I learn, I learn stuff from them every day.
Jeffrey: What about, okay. So when I, when I talked about how so many of your tools have this thread of remembering you, it was very easy for you to connect it to your own life and your own sort of you were able to make an existential connection right away. What about when it comes to this other feature of all your tools, which is just.
Empowering people giving not, I don’t mean that. I don’t mean that to sound trite, but like giving people power over their machine, um, in ways that would otherwise take a whole different, like a huge set of knowledge. Like why, why do you do that?[00:49:00]
Jeffrey: don’t, you don’t, you don’t, you don’t, uh, you don’t reign in it at all.
You’re just like, here’s everything you might need this. I don’t know. Try it. You gotta try it.
Brett: okay. So that’s part of the beauty of, of Mac OS. Um, at least historically is it has given users these tools, uh, to, to build their own experience. And I found them extremely gratifying and fulfilling, and I basically realized that a lot of people just didn’t have the building. To make use of tools like automator and apple script and, uh, the, the basic things that came with Mac OS.
So when I would create a tool using these tools, like the markdown service tools, for example, um, I would find ways to publish them so that people who didn’t have those building blocks to start with could [00:50:00] still experience the power that Mac O S provided. Um, and this is, this is the thing that I never found on windows.
And it’s, it’s what sold beyond max was the, the kind of power to the people that it offered. Um, and, and I just like, I, I got so much fulfillment from it and I get so much fulfillment from solving problems for other people. Like, I really find a lot of meaning in providing tools to people to do. Things that they aren’t, they need to do, but don’t have the tools set themselves.
So like, it’s, it’s a fulfilling, um, endeavor for me to kind of bridge that gap between here are the tools that you’re given and here’s what you can do with them. And here’s the tool that you can now customize to do what you need to do with
Jeffrey: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That’s a nice way [00:51:00] of, of describing what you make. Um, I’m curious, like in a given day, um, in a given day for you, what tools of yours are you using? Not, not hacking on that building, but using, uh,
Brett: oh man. Okay. So search link and doing are constant for me, NA, um, which is, is short for next action. Uh, anytime I CD into a project directory, it will tell me. I need to do next. Um, just, it like pops up above my prompt and says, these are the things that last time you were here, you determined were going to be your next actions.
Uh, so just as I CD around my computer, um, I use bunch frequently. Um, I use some custom MailMate commands that some of which I’ve published some I haven’t. Um, I use the markdown service tools all the time. Uh, I use search link more than the markdown service tools, [00:52:00] but, uh, yeah,
Jeffrey: what’s running in the background all the same, like tag filer,
Brett: tag, father’s always running. Uh, I have some, uh, uh, there’s another one I use called I think I just called it image Optim, cuz it uses image Optim, but like for, for preparing all of my images for. It’s a Hazel script that runs, um, I have a bunch of Hazel scripts that things just happen on my machine that I don’t have to think about.
They’re not forefront in my mind.
Jeffrey: right, right. Not one of your tools, but kind of something that you’ve cobbled together, your own mini tools inside of.
Brett: and how’s, it is integral to everything I do. Like how’s it. I use how’s it minus R, which runs a topic, uh, executes, whatever executable code I put into a topic. Um, quick, quick explanation. How’s it basically you create a markdown file [00:53:00] that explains that reminds you how you do different things like build and deploy and edit.
Um, so I can include code in like the deploy topic in the markdown file. I can include a code. That will run the deploy and, you know, like whether that’s AJE build and an R sync, or whether it’s a swift compile or an objective C uh, like, uh, an Xcode build command, I can put them all into a topic called deploy.
And so no matter what project I’m in, I can type how’s it minus our deploy and it will deploy it using whatever, like a make file kind of thing. Uh, it just automates everything. And I alias that in Phish. And so I type BLD, D E P L, and I can deploy any project. Um, and that is, that’s a constant for me, so many of these [00:54:00] tools and it’s it.
Like I use mark once in a while. Uh, it’s it doesn’t, I don’t have a daily need for mark when I’m, when I’m doing editing for work. And I, I wanna see like where I repeated a word too many times marked is great. And, uh, and because our entire workflow is, is GitHub and marked down based, uh, it’s handy, but it’s not this constant driver.
The way a lot of my smaller utilities are,
Jeffrey: and Phish too, is something where you’ve written about just stuff that you’ve
Brett: I’ve written a lot of stuff for Phish and I’m on the verge of switching to Z show. Um, I, I have that ADHD boredom setting in
Jeffrey: Yeah. Yeah. You’ve you’ve done Phish.
Brett: I’ve done Phish. Um, like I still love Phish it’s it’s, it’s still, you know, it’s, it’s what I live in right now, but, uh, but I, I, I, I pop open a, an I term profile that loads up Z shell, uh, with, oh my Z shell and all the plugins I’m playing with.
And, and I’m like, oh [00:55:00] man, Z, Shell’s pretty fucking great.
Jeffrey: That’s great. That’s great. As a Z shell, I, I speak on, I speak on behalf of all Z shell users. We’re excited. You might be diving in. Um, I I’m wondering, well, first of all, let me just say for anybody who doesn’t know this, and I’m sure most of you do, Brent has a section on his website. Just called projects.
And, uh, you can go and look at, look up any of these projects cuz we’re kind of mentioning them very quickly, but you know, it’s, it’s interesting as you’re talking, I’m realizing again, I’m gonna look at this list. Like so many of these things, these tools are just built on highly readable text files, right?
Like how’s it, how’s it a file is, is a, is a very readable, simple text file. A bunch file is a very readable, simple text file. Um, you know, like even like something a quick question, which I love so much where you just can get on the command line and say, you know, like, this is the question and this is the answer.
And it creates a text file where you know, the name of the text file is the [00:56:00] question and inside is the answer. And what quick question, lets you do is sort of query that basically, but it’s all
Brett: and doing an NA both work work with task paper, format files.
Jeffrey: yes. Doing and yeah, exactly. It’s just, this is something that’s so, so striking to me about your work.
And I think why those of us who use your stuff and get excited about anything you’re doing it, the reason it’s exciting is it kind of feels like the world ought to be this way. Right. Like it, it, it really does feel like, um, something like a direction the world could have gone that it didn’t go
Brett: well, there’s, there is, there’s a movement that’s been going on for 10 years. This like plain text. Plain text revival. I mean, it’s where, it’s where it all started. Like the first days of Unix, everything was text files and then people started building WordStar and word. Perfect. And all these formats that eventually went by the wayside, leaving all of your documents [00:57:00] inaccessible, but the thing you could still access was your text files.
Your, your readme files were still perfectly readable and people have realized that there’s no, there’s no format. Even a pages document from five years ago requires conversion to open now and
Jeffrey: Or, or in some cases, not pages, but certain word. Perfect. You might need an ator to
Jeffrey: we, we have a computer running windows 95 here. So like an actual old computer for fun. And I actually popped in all my discs that I thought were dead cuz they weren’t working. When I went through an emulator, I’m like, oh my God, all my files are here.
Brett: Yeah, but, but your text file, no one’s ever had a problem opening a text file. So my, if I’m going to have that faith that I’m going to remember something, and that it’s going to be accessible. It has to be in plain text because that is the one format that will out survive every other format. [00:58:00] Uh, and the stuff that I record now and back up to my Sonology and back up to glacier, uh, like these files will persist and I will always have this information.
Jeffrey: Yeah, it’s a beautiful, elegant thing. I mean, I’ve, I’ve actually what I did this year was started to make sure I have like, kinda like an archive directory, but in it is the text filet thing I could come to as an archive of my Twitter. Uh, my full like history of tweets, my, all of my WhatsApp conversations, um, all of my messages, conversations, like all these things are in sort of some version of a text file, whether it’s like a CSV or a, you know, and, and I know that it’s become a memory bank for me.
Like I’m starting to use it. I’m not that old, but I’m getting to a point in my life where I realize I really need to have a little, you know, grab bag I can reach into and pull out what I. Rather than having to try to search around my computer and figure out did [00:59:00] I write a document about that or whatever, anyway, that again, plain text, right?
Like CSV files, um, markdown files, whatever. Yeah. Beautiful scripts, right? Like scripts are a way of remembering like, oh, this is how I wrote this
Brett: well, that is totally automation like that is automation is great for time saving, but that’s only half the story. Like if you automate something, you are basically creating a permanent record of how to do something properly and you’re going to do it consistently and you’re not gonna miss steps.
And it basically, it sets in stone a process, uh, and it may, it might take you four hours to write an automation that only takes 30 seconds to run. Um, but for me, like when I come back to that a month later and can’t remember what the commands were or what the sequence was or what, what things had to happen in the process.
Um, and that’s part of when I built house it, like it [01:00:00] doesn’t, it doesn’t just run things. You can also include notes that will come up to say, here’s the step you need to do before this
Jeffrey: how I use it. Yeah.
Brett: here’s, here’s the step you need to do after it runs. Like these are things that can’t be automated, but I can record them and I can have them come up in an automated way to remind me like about processes and yeah.
It’s memory. It’s all memory
Jeffrey: This reminds me of, um, Uh, okay, so this is something I wanted to talk to you about, which is actual documentation of tools because, um, your documentation is, is really excellent and, you know, clearly written and, and very, very sort of like geared towards the reader. Like you’re speaking to the reader as the person doing the documentation, rather than like, I don’t know what you would call the voice of most documentation, but I don’t know who the fuck it’s talking to.
It’s it’s like a machine person they’re talking to. Um, but your documentation [01:01:00] is so crisp and clear. And I wondered if, um, I wondered if the process of writing documentation happens, uh, you know, sort of isolated way when you’re done with something or if it’s actually part of creating a tool, like, are you writing a little bit and going, oh, this makes me realize I should add this to the tool and then you’re programming and then you’re writing.
How does it, how does it happen for
Brett: So the initial, like the initial creation of a tool is a flurry of coding and there’s not a lot of pausing. Um, just like, oh, and I can, it can do this and it can do this and it can do this and it, oh. And I’ll like, rewind, restart, get it done. Then I’ll sit back and be like, how would I explain to this, to somebody?
Um, this thing that I just put 14 hours into, how would I, how would I convey my own excitement about this? And I sit down and I write the initial documentation from that point on every time I add a feature, I immediately. Add it to the [01:02:00] documentation, uh, with something like bunch, like every time I add a new feature, the first thing I do is write about it.
And like the bunch documentation is some of the best documentation I’ve written to date. Uh, it’s literally a whole website full of, of explanations and, and step by step, uh, procedures. Um, and, and documenting it also helps me find bugs. So it becomes part of the workflow. Uh, I say, this is what it should do.
And then I go test it and it doesn’t do that. And, and so then I will revise the code to.
Jeffrey: Fact checking.
Brett: Yeah, exactly. The fastest way to find bugs is to make a screencast about something you
Jeffrey: Oh, totally. Totally.
Brett: wrong will
Brett: But yeah, so like there’s, there’s an initial flurry of coding and then documentation, but from that point on, yeah.
Documentation is part of the [01:03:00] development process
Jeffrey: Yeah. Yeah. That thing about screen casting. Helping to find bugs. It’s almost like, I’m sure you’ve had this experience. You, you go on a stack overflow and you’re about three sentences done from posting your question and you’re like, oh, I know the answer.
Brett: yeah, totally, totally.
Jeffrey: needed to write about it first.
Brett: Yep. Yeah.
Jeffrey: that’s awesome.
Brett: out, writing things out in, in plain English or whatever your native language is. Um, definitely is a problem solving step.
Jeffrey: yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, let me ask you this last question. I know that when you were. Making changes to gather recently, it was your first time really diving into swift.
Jeffrey: And I have a two part question to close this out. one is, do you ever have a sort of roadmap in your mind for what you want to do next?
And I don’t mean what you want to add to an existing [01:04:00] tool, but like, are there, are there ever tools that are just in your head that you want to build or is it, are you reactionary enough in terms of like, holy shit, I need this now I’m gonna build it. Now that doesn’t happen. That’s my first question.
Brett: So usually like a tool, like gather, which was actually a revision of multiple tools before it, but like, it’ll be something. Is an idea in the back of my head for a while before I actually sit down and start coding on it. Um, it’ll be a cool thing that I think could happen, but there, like no one has published yet.
Um, so like I’ll first, I’ll go Google and if someone’s already done it great. I will gladly use other people’s tools. But, um, yeah, like then I’ll, I’ll start to code. It’s not reactionary, uh, so much as, it is exploratory. Um,
Jeffrey: yeah, yeah, yeah,
Brett: and then like [01:05:00] feature additions are often due to responses from after I publish something.
Someone will say that’s cool, but can it do, and I will make a judgment call. Yeah. That actually fits with the original mission statement. And it should be able to do that or. That’s out of scope. Um, you know, that’s, that’s another tool you’re thinking of and, and, and I will choose to, or not to add a feature.
Um, but the initial it’s always just exploratory to begin with.
Jeffrey: mm-hmm . And so, and so do you have a sense, is there something banging around in your head or that’s a, that’s a awful, uh, is there something kind of, uh, in your head now that you’re thinking, like, if I ever, if I build another app, like an actual app, like a marked or, or an NV alter or something, which I know is still in progress, like, do you have a sense of what that would be?
You don’t have to say it. Yeah.
Brett: yeah, I don’t like right now. Right. Like right [01:06:00] now, what my mind obsesses about is getting NV ultra. Up and out. Uh, and I think about the things that I need it to do and that I, that I want it to do. Um, and I’m, I’m focused on the tools that I have in progress right now. I don’t currently have anything in mind for an app that needs to be built.
It will come, you know,
Brett: give it a little time and there’ll be something else that I need to tackle. Um, but no, I don’t like I’ve built as of this moment. I’ve built everything that’s on my mind.
Jeffrey: So the last, the second part of the two part question, and then we’ll do gratitude for sure. Just running a little long. I think that’s fine. Um, is now that you’ve gone into swift, you know, I was thinking about, you were saying you learned Ruby really as a way of, um, customizing text made. Right. Uh, and, and Ruby’s just not like a language that [01:07:00] it, people are seem to be like picking up now.
Right. I’m not, I’m not making fun of it
Brett: not the new kid on the block.
Jeffrey: no. And I, and I’m not even playing that game. Like, I, I, I don’t like that kind of discussion too much because I actually don’t know Ruby, but I find it a pretty beautiful language when I, when I do explore it or especially when you write something and I just kind of, for me, that I have to look through or whatever.
Um, but do you imagine yourself. In five years thinking of yourself as a swift person, rather than a Ruby person,
Brett: Yes. Um,
Jeffrey: bash person. You’re a fucking bash person. My brother
Brett: I, I was, I haven’t written a bash script for, I don’t know how long, like I learning swift was extremely. I was very grateful, uh, that I found it in me to learn a new language because there have been a few languages on my list, go rust swift, um, that I have known if I was going to keep up my [01:08:00] coding skills I needed to learn.
Um, and I was worried that I’d gotten to an age where I just wasn’t able to pick up new languages anymore. Um, and so the, the flurry of coding that led to, uh, developing enough basics in swift to write a small app, uh, was just so grateful to know that my brain can still do that. Um, and I hope that five years from now I’m well versed in swift and I’ve also picked up rust and.
Brett: and Scala and like really like gotten myself into modern, modern programming languages. Uh, I, I hope, I hope well into will say my seventies, uh, that, that I continue to learn.
Jeffrey: yeah, you can always go back to basic. Did you have the book? Did you have the, the [01:09:00] binder in the slip
Brett: I did. I did with that 10, that 10 neural cover.
Jeffrey: And beautifully designed by the way.
Brett: I actually am working, uh, at work right now. We’re working on a Twitter based compiler language. Uh, that people can send tweets that will cause a massive raspberry pie cluster to perform different functionality. Um, so as a part of doing this, I have to dig into the literally the basics of compiler theory.
And, and it is, it’s like going back to basic because it’s, it’s, it’s the basics of compiler theory because we want us a, a concise language with very simple, uh, outputs and yeah, it reminds me a lot of working in basic
Jeffrey: That’s amazing. I love it. Basic, you know, I [01:10:00] recently got a TRS 80,
Brett: yeah. Trash
Jeffrey: yeah, the trash 80, but it’s like the handheld version. It was from a, a friend used it as a reporter for the start to be,
Brett: no way.
Jeffrey: on like a Southeast Asia trip in the eighties.
Brett: Oh, wow. That’s amazing.
Jeffrey: great. And I’m thinking of just, I want to, he had programmed, uh, a space invaders game in there, but it’s not there anymore, you know, by
Brett: Was this, did this have like a, like an 80 character wide by, by eight pixels, tall little screen on
Jeffrey: Yep. Wonderful keyboard works like a charm still fucking works.
Brett: that’s awesome.
Jeffrey: and the best part is that he gave me the custom documentation that the star Tribune used, which is the, uh, Minnesota or the twin cities paper. And they actually said instructions for using the trash ad at the top. It was amazing.
Um, alright, let’s do some gratitude and thanks for talking to me, uh, about, about, uh, about you. That was super interesting.
Brett: for the delightful questions. That was really fun. I, I, [01:11:00] I had been, I had been hoping for the Jeff treatment.
Jeffrey: I feel like now you guys
Brett: your interview with Christina,
Jeffrey: Yeah. If one of you is gone, the other one’s gonna get interviewed. Um, do you wanna go first? You want me to
Brett: Sure sure. I, uh, I’m actually picking task paper this week. Uh, task paper, uh, Jesse Gross, Jean created a very simple, uh, text based format for creating to-do lists and, and adding some basic tagging and due dates and things like that. All with just text files you could read in any editor, and then he built a, an app, uh, to streamline working with, uh, these text based files where you could, you know, have keyboard shortcuts for completing tasks or moving them around between projects.
And, uh, and there’s a whole query syntax, uh, that you can use to, uh, you [01:12:00] can take a huge. Task paper file and query out just the, the things you need, for example, your next actions, things that don’t have, or that have a start date that is current and aren’t finished yet. Like you can, you can get a list of those things and, and batch add tags to them.
And, um, it’s not a complex program. Uh, it is a very elegant, uh, very easy to use way to accomplish a lot of what you would do in like something like OmniFocus, uh, but using all plain text. And I love it. And as mentioned, uh, a lot of the apps and tools that I’ve written work directly with the task paper format, because it is a universal text based format that it just, it works.
Jeffrey: Do it, your, your tool doing calls for a task paper.
Jeffrey: And NA [01:13:00] awesome. I love that. You know, I, I recently found, I, I used to, I was doing a, um, research project about five years ago and it involved interviewing a ton of teachers and asking 'em basically the same set of questions. And, um, the, the way that my list of questions went is there were a couple of questions that had to get asked.
I had to ask these to every single person, cuz it was a research project and the rest were like sort of a menu of options. And I was able to work with custom styles and task paper where I made, um, a list of questions for an interview. And when I would finish a question, I would, I would click it and it wouldn’t like strike it out.
It would. I’m trying to kind of light gray. So it was kind of there, but in the background, cause some reason the striking it out was just noisy to me as I was looking at the transcript and then it was actually able to show me like, Hey, you forgot this, you forgot that. You know, these are one of the important questions you’ve been rambling on.
You have to answer this question before this interview is done. Like it’s one of those things that’s just super extensible. Um, and
Brett: actually, I.
Jeffrey: as it is.
Brett: I use [01:14:00] custom themes, that color, uh, tasks, uh, based on tags. I, I use priority tags at priority one through at priority five. And I have, I have little scripts that let me with keyboard shortcuts assign a priority very quickly. Uh, and then the tasks, the background color of the task changes based on its priority.
So I can see at a glance, like what is high priority at any given time?
Jeffrey: and there’s a developer who, I mean, I remember listening to an interview with him on Systematic. Is a lot like you and, and really has as his value, a sort of, you know, when you open up an app, are you able to just comfortably calmly start working?
Jeffrey: You know, and I love that. I love that idea and, and task paper is certainly one of those.
Um, my app is peak P E E K by big Z labs. You know, this one, Brett. [01:15:00] So it’s a, it’s a paid app through an eight bucks. And it’s a quick look extension for your Mac. And it’s a wild, quick look extension. It will change your life. First of all, it works with more than 500 file extensions. So I know, you know, if anybody’s ever been in that situation where you, you know, you’ve got your in finder and you hit the space bar a quick look and all you get is the icon like that is almost not happening to me anymore, but more incredible.
Is that you can do, like if you’re looking at code, you can jump to lines, you can copy, uh, text. It does scroll restoring. Um, it does syntax highlighting. Uh, it’s just, it’s the most beautiful thing. It’s everything that I always want to be able to do. When I quick look something I don’t want to have to open it.
I just want to grab this one piece out of it.
Brett: and markdown preview.
Jeffrey: And the markdown preview is really nice. Really
Brett: with, with [01:16:00] automatic table of contents
Jeffrey: yes. With a sidebar that has your main headers. I mean, it’s just,
Brett: And that copy paste is so handy and it works in forklift and Pathfinder too.
Jeffrey: Yeah. That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. So, so good. Yep. Oh wait. Did, does my forklift do that because of
Jeffrey: I was like, oh, forklift does this too.
Jeffrey: I’ve just started reacquainting myself with forklift after. Reacquainting myself with Pathfinder and deciding I still didn’t want to be in that universe.
Brett: yeah, no. Uh, after it was just this year, I think, um, forklift directly integrated peak into the preview, um, also integrates with Huda spot
Jeffrey: And kaleidoscope
Brett: yeah, yeah,
Jeffrey: You just, you click two files in the split finder window and, and there’s a button there and you get kaleidoscope for diff uh, for D [01:17:00] display.
Brett: Good stuff.
Jeffrey: yes. All right, Brett, it’s been a pleasure.
Brett: Hey, thank you. Thank you for a fun interview episode.
Jeffrey: Yeah, it was fun. Get some sleep.
Brett: Get some sleep.