## Joel Dueck

540 thoughts; 45 streams
last posted Aug. 27, 2018, 6:06 p.m.
3
Minnesota
Joined on Oct. 26, 2012, 8:47 p.m.
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## The Meta Experts

Another possible example of this that I thought of yesterday: church worship teams, which frequently lead songs whose theme or refrain is “Here I am singing this song and worshiping”.

6 thoughts
updated Aug. 27, 2018, 6:06 p.m.

## My Unicorn CMS

In short, the entire published content of the CMS is contained in or derived from a single file.

10 thoughts
updated June 12, 2018, 7:28 p.m.

## Overcast iOS app

Scrolling down past the cover art shows the chapter marks, as usual.

28 thoughts
updated Oct. 9, 2016, 6:18 p.m.

## YNAB Criticism (2016)

Even just being able to search the Memo field would be an improvement, because then I could use that as a "tags" field.

16 thoughts
updated Sept. 26, 2016, 4:49 p.m.

## Problems with Excel

Another news clipping:

### Washington Post: An alarming number of scientific papers contain Excel errors

The Australian researchers found that roughly 1 in 5 of these papers included errors in their gene lists that were due to Excel automatically converting gene names to things like calendar dates or random numbers.

...Even more troubling, the researchers note that there's no way to permanently disable automatic date formatting within Excel. Researchers still have to remember to manually format columns to "Text" before you type anything in new Excel sheets — every. single. time.

23 thoughts
updated Aug. 26, 2016, 2:18 p.m.

## Communal Life Versus

Another dimension of comparison: the ways in which I intuit (rightly or wrongly) each activity to be healthy or unhealthy for my personal development.

With Twitter, there is this great Unease (in which many of us share) that the actual activity of Twitter is both addictive and destructive of one's inner life, regardless of who you interact with. On the other hand, I have also found my thinking challenged and broadened by reading and interacting with people I'd ordinarily never hear from.

With church, it's sort of the opposite; I understand the activity of weekly communal worship and eating itself to be fundamentally (profoundly) sound; but that there are also Problems caused by tribalism among the particular people you might find yourself with.

15 thoughts
updated June 27, 2016, 5:50 p.m.

## Git for authors

15 thoughts
updated April 20, 2016, 3:33 p.m.

## User Interface for Debates

Definitions

Separate from the arguments, both sides need a place to say what they mean by certain key terms.

Either side can define a term, and for each term each side can explain what they mean by it with text of any length.

21 thoughts
updated March 22, 2016, 5:31 p.m.

## The Music Theory of Concluding Pieces

It is the assertion of The Walk of Life Project that the Dire Straits song Walk of Life is the perfect thing to play at the end of movies.

6 thoughts
updated March 15, 2016, 5:18 p.m.

## Scandinavian Economic Trade-Offs Are Good

Sixth Argument: “Scandinavians aren’t as happy as Americans”

Writer brings up suicide rates as, I guess, a proxy for economic results.

The simple explanation for this is that frozen darkness is depressing and this has nothing to tell us about Scandinavian economics.

11 thoughts
updated Feb. 19, 2016, 8:20 p.m.

## On Web Publishing and 'Simplicity'

• make web publishing completely simple for authors of no technical ability whatsoever -- but only at steps 3, 4 and 5;
• shift that difficulty to either side of the publishing lifecycle: steps 1-2, step 6 and step 8;
• make you dependent upon them for step 7 (backup) (Twitter makes this easy, Facebook makes it impossible);
• make steps 9 and 10 effectively impossible.
6 thoughts
updated Sept. 3, 2015, 5:11 p.m.

## Racket / Pollen First Impressions

As of yesterday multiple targets are supported. So for any tag that I design in my custom markup, I can specify what output it will produce for HTML targets, and LaTeX, and plain text, etc. I blogged about it.

12 thoughts
updated Sept. 2, 2015, 4:12 p.m.

## Snippets

This will always make me smile: https://vimeo.com/57981966

2 thoughts
updated July 30, 2015, 9:36 p.m.

## 3. Payment Processors

Some have said (including myself, initially) that Bitcoin would be the way to go. I think the truest thing ever said about Bitcoin is that everyone who touches it becomes either a thief or a victim. It's possible that Bitcoin could be incorporated, but in my experience and from what I've seen keeping an eye on Bitcoin since near the beginning, it's just far too complex for average people to secure their Bitcoin wallets.

15 thoughts
updated April 24, 2015, 2:29 p.m.

## Ulysses App Review & Impressions

Support for YAML is probably a long way off but it could go several ways:

1. Hardly Nothing: Just strip YAML headers in document previews (just like Marked)
2. Minimal: Implement syntax highlighting for YAML headers along with stripping YAML in document previews
3. Nice: Implement basic metadata (say title, date, and author) per-sheet and per-group, in an "internal" Ulysses format, and optional inclusion of this metadata as YAML when exporting to Markdown. Plus #1 and #2 for use in external files.
4. Really nice: In addition to #3, allow users to define their own custom fields. To preserve some simplicity, these need only support strings of text and could be the same for all projects.
32 thoughts
updated April 1, 2015, 10:05 p.m.

## The Local Yarn: Planned Improvements

Artwork — When I started the site in 1998 I was using Victorian spot art illustrations (Examples: 1, 2). They're one of the few (maybe only) design elements that have survived to the present; amazingly, they still "fit". But I'm still using the original scans, because I lost the Dover art book I got them from. Just recently I finally ordered another copy.

The plan is for Jess to paint & ink her own watercolor versions of the same sketches. We've talked about doing this for a couple years now. I'll probably leave the originals in place on very old posts (the ones that predate the 2012 redesign) and update newer ones with fresh, colour, retina-quality artwork.

3 thoughts
updated March 27, 2015, 2:28 p.m.

## Publishing Everywhere

Two years later:

The Magazine, Newsstand, and "Subcompact Publishing" all turned out to be duds.

Ebooks may still be relevant for now. But the medium is so annoying to work with due to platform fragmentation and complete lack of open distribution mechanisms.

Personally at this point the mediums that interest me most are (1) plain old web pages (for reasons like this) and (2) printed books (which, unlike any digital format, have actual archival qualities).

17 thoughts
updated March 27, 2015, 2:31 a.m.

## Minimally Viable Paperlessness

My current paperless setup:

• Fuji ScanSnap S1300i. The OCR in the included scanning software does a great job, which means my PDFs are fully searchable from the moment they're scanned
• Hazel for automatically filing incoming scans. I set up rules to search for specific strings and dates within the scanned PDFs and use those to rename, tag and move them into a special "Paper Documents" folder.
• An Amazon Basics shredder. This thing is not very quiet but it is aggressive and does the job quickly. I keep it in the basement and either recycle the cuttings or compost them.
9 thoughts
updated March 21, 2015, 6:28 p.m.

## Thoughtstreams Bugs and Wishes

@joeld wrote above:

there's no way to file thoughts entered here into a different stream later on

Yes there is, we just obviously haven't been clear about it. If you "repost" from Your Thoughts to a stream, it moves it to that stream.

As to where they appear for others, they are under the "General Thoughts" tab on a user's page.

13 thoughts
updated March 21, 2015, 6:12 p.m.

## Passion Planner Kickstarter Hesitations

If you have $178k to throw at an unexpected hitch in your crowd funded project, you are basically someone who has way more money than you know what to do with. This explains the warehouse, the lawyers, the accountants, and (let's be honest) the unrelenting optimism about following your passions. 15 thoughts updated Dec. 23, 2014, 4:11 a.m. ## Meaningful Tech Reviews I could be wrong. But I seem to remember that a lot of the Apple side of the "Apple vs PC" arguments of yore focused on "how is it used" rather than "who has the fastest CPU". 3 thoughts updated Oct. 27, 2014, 5:23 p.m. ## Microblogging with RSS Really, just think an open source Tumblr, optionally self-hosted, with RSS-powered "Follows" and Dashboard. 27 thoughts updated Oct. 21, 2014, 5:35 p.m. ## Webmention Abuse In my column on Microblogging with RSS I'm proposing that, in the future, blogging software would be fused with RSS reading. (Think Tumblr with its "follow" functionality, but self-hosted.) The Vouch proposal for webmention abuse would fit very nicely with this model, if we allow follow lists to do double-duty as "endorsements". So each blog will publish a list of other blogs it publicly follows -- basically a list of its RSS subscriptions. These follows serve the purpose of Vouch's endorsements. Another blog could then send you a webmention if you follow them, or if a blog you follow follows them. This automates the process of creating a vouch for webmentions you send, although the bulk of the "work" is still done on the sender's end. The sender simply needs to look up the follows of all the target's follows and see if it finds itself in there anywhere. 15 thoughts updated Oct. 21, 2014, 4:33 p.m. ## Surface Pro 3 The initial "tile" Start screen has a metric ton of crap on it. Very sad. 4 thoughts updated Sept. 18, 2014, 4:01 p.m. ## ProtonMail Theoretical Security In comparing ProtonMail with the GPG approach, remember the following: • As noted earlier, it's far harder to compel or steal that metadata from ProtonMail than from typical email providers. The U.S. government can have that info from Google very quickly and silently. • GPG remains little-used because it is too complicated for most users. It's worth considering why Snowden resorted to Lavabit rather than trying to educate lots of lawyers and activists on how to use GPG. (He did use GPG for his most sensitive correspondence, however.) • Both approaches are equally vulnerable to a compromised user machine. • Even if you and your correspondent both host your own private email server, that server can be physically and silently seized if it is located on U.S. soil, or the soil of any country the U.S. can strong-arm, or if it is hosted/colocated by any company with U.S. ties. And you can't count on encrypted filesystems to save you from government forensics. 22 thoughts updated June 25, 2014, 4:09 p.m. ## Reporter App It would also be nice for Reporter to have access to Healthkit data, thus allowing a combined data source for reporting from any other fitness apps/wearables you might be using. 15 thoughts updated June 10, 2014, 5:49 p.m. ## Reading Rainbow Being an 80s kid, I love Reading Rainbow. But I found myself unexpectedly dismayed by yesterday's Kickstarter. What is it we loved about Reading Rainbow? And, setting aside why we enjoyed it, what kind of cultural value did it have? (You can comment on my blog here or make your own stream with the same name.) 14 thoughts updated June 9, 2014, 12:18 a.m. ## Reading: Outline of Sanity Property is a point of honour. The true contrary of the word “property” is “prostitution”. And it is not true that a human being will always sell what is sacred to that sense of self-ownership, whether it be the body or the boundary. 20 thoughts updated April 23, 2014, 1:38 a.m. ## Mystic Experience and Conversion As I mentioned before, Gelernter's book is mainly interested computer syntheses of human creative problem-solving, but he devotes a couple of chapters to looking at what his ideas mean for poetry, ancient thought, and spirituality. Gelernter believes low-focus thought is the medium or music of mystical spiritual experiences. His argument for this is rich and well worth reading. I can't include it in full here, and I'm afraid to edit it down lest I mutilate it, but you can read a few of the most relevant pages of it in this PDF scanned from the book. 35 thoughts updated April 6, 2014, 6:33 p.m. ## ThoughtStreams Pricing Models Another thing about Pinboard's killer feature: it's the kind of thing where, once you sign up for it, it doesn't make any sense to cancel it or restart it. That definitely doesn't hurt the economics any. 7 thoughts updated April 3, 2014, 5:40 p.m. ## Run an Empire pre-beta ideas The Territory Tax The designers promise "the game will never offer players a paid-for advantage over opponents – the only way to build a successful empire will be through commitment and planning." This is nice, but perhaps we could go one further: not only will players not be able to buy advantage over other players, but players that do amass large amounts of territory (above a certain threshold of ridiculousness) will need in-app purchases in order to retain their empires at baseline levels. Given that this game could require significant ongoing server infrastructure and attendant costs, this could be a way of keeping the whole thing sustainable. 9 thoughts updated April 1, 2014, 2:07 a.m. ## ThoughtStreams Markdown This is body text[^1]. [^1]: This is a footnote 2 thoughts updated Jan. 28, 2014, 4:06 p.m. ## Analogues of Language Forms This brings us to Analogy #2, the second statement above: "Are all forms of music poetic?" -- no, that's not quite what I'm asking; Rather, the possibility we are considering is that: all the forms of language that share some overlap with music are poetic forms. 11 thoughts updated Jan. 28, 2014, 1:32 p.m. ## New Orthography “In handwriting the brain is mediated by the drawing hand, in typewriting by the fingers hitting the keyboard, in dictation by the idea of a vocal style, in word processing by touching the keyboard and by the screen’s feedback. The fact seems to be that each of these methods produces a different syntactic result from the same brain. Maybe the crucial element in handwriting is that the hand is simultaneously drawing. I know I’m very conscious of hidden imagery in handwriting—a subtext of a rudimentary picture language. Perhaps that tends to enforce more cooperation from the other side of the brain. And perhaps that extra load of right brain suggestions prompts a different succession of words and ideas.” — Ted Hughes, from this highly informative interview in Paris Review 9 thoughts updated Jan. 17, 2014, 10:29 p.m. ## Spoilers The only risk with allowing span-level spoiler markup is that the writer will be too indiscreet when choosing what sentences they wish to reveal and which to redact. 2 thoughts updated Jan. 17, 2014, 3:04 p.m. ## Guaranteed Basic Income ## Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult Another example of basic income -- this one not, I think, very likely to have good results overall. For one thing, it should be suspect because it is purely the result of a popular referendum; the only thing needed to get it on the ballot was to collect 100,000 signatures from the populace. So the amount of the "basic" income was probably picked very arbitrarily based on popular appeal, rather than sound economic analysis. For another, the amount is too high. As Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution notes: With that, a married couple could piece together more than 67k and simply not work, so this sum appears infeasible. 8 thoughts updated Jan. 7, 2014, 4:41 p.m. ## Licensing Software Engineers Today at the Chaos Computer Congress (30C3), xobs and I disclosed a finding that some SD cards contain vulnerabilities that allow arbitrary code execution — on the memory card itself. On the dark side, code execution on the memory card enables a class of MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacks, where the card seems to be behaving one way, but in fact it does something else. On the light side, it also enables the possibility for hardware enthusiasts to gain access to a very cheap and ubiquitous source of microcontrollers. 8 thoughts updated Dec. 30, 2013, 3:42 p.m. ## Well-Finished Text Serving up UTF-8 encoded plain-text files on the web may look garbled in the browser if the server's not sending the correct headers. I'm currently having this issue with the transcript links on my podcast episodes. 8 thoughts updated Dec. 19, 2013, 4:46 p.m. ## Apple Foundation ### Misc low-hanging fruit • Seldon makes holographic recordings of himself that he sets to play at certain dates decades and centuries after his death. In these recordings he appears and explains to whoever happens to be watching the likelihood and significance of events which he has predicted, and which at the time the recording "airs" will have only just occurred. These replays take place in the city's Time Vault, which makes for an obvious play on Apple's Time Capsule backup software. Steve Jobs could appear in an advanced version of an Apple Time Capsule. • Power struggles within the Foundation form a big part of its narrative. Something related could be made of the ousting of Scott Forstall, the subsequent rise of Jony Ive and the end of skeuomorphism. 7 thoughts updated Nov. 2, 2013, 2:54 a.m. ## iOS 7 Impressions Safari no longer displays the contents of <title> anywhere except when viewing multiple tabs. 4 thoughts updated Sept. 19, 2013, 5:54 p.m. ## My Unicorn CMS 10 thoughts updated June 12, 2018, 7:28 p.m. ## YNAB Criticism (2016) 16 thoughts updated Sept. 26, 2016, 4:49 p.m. ## The Meta Experts 6 thoughts updated Aug. 27, 2018, 6:06 p.m. ## Communal Life Versus 15 thoughts updated June 27, 2016, 5:50 p.m. ## User Interface for Debates 21 thoughts updated March 22, 2016, 5:31 p.m. ## Scandinavian Economic Trade-Offs Are Good 11 thoughts updated Feb. 19, 2016, 8:20 p.m. ## On Web Publishing and 'Simplicity' 6 thoughts updated Sept. 3, 2015, 5:11 p.m. ## Racket / Pollen First Impressions 12 thoughts updated Sept. 2, 2015, 4:12 p.m. ## Snippets 2 thoughts updated July 30, 2015, 9:36 p.m. ## Implementing universal micropayments on the web 15 thoughts updated April 24, 2015, 2:29 p.m. ## Ulysses App Review & Impressions 32 thoughts updated April 1, 2015, 10:05 p.m. ## The Local Yarn: Planned Improvements 3 thoughts updated March 27, 2015, 2:28 p.m. ## Passion Planner Kickstarter Hesitations 15 thoughts updated Dec. 23, 2014, 4:11 a.m. ## Meaningful Tech Reviews 3 thoughts updated Oct. 27, 2014, 5:23 p.m. ## Webmention Abuse 15 thoughts updated Oct. 21, 2014, 4:33 p.m. ## Microblogging with RSS 27 thoughts updated Oct. 21, 2014, 5:35 p.m. ## Surface Pro 3 4 thoughts updated Sept. 18, 2014, 4:01 p.m. ## Overcast iOS app 28 thoughts updated Oct. 9, 2016, 6:18 p.m. ## ProtonMail Theoretical Security 22 thoughts updated June 25, 2014, 4:09 p.m. ## Reporter App 15 thoughts updated June 10, 2014, 5:49 p.m. ## Reading Rainbow 14 thoughts updated June 9, 2014, 12:18 a.m. ## Reading: Outline of Sanity 20 thoughts updated April 23, 2014, 1:38 a.m. ## ThoughtStreams Pricing Models 7 thoughts updated April 3, 2014, 5:40 p.m. ## Run an Empire pre-beta ideas 9 thoughts updated April 1, 2014, 2:07 a.m. ## Git for authors 15 thoughts updated April 20, 2016, 3:33 p.m. ## Mystic Experience and Conversion 35 thoughts updated April 6, 2014, 6:33 p.m. ## ThoughtStreams Markdown 2 thoughts updated Jan. 28, 2014, 4:06 p.m. ## Analogues of Language Forms 11 thoughts updated Jan. 28, 2014, 1:32 p.m. ## Spoilers 2 thoughts updated Jan. 17, 2014, 3:04 p.m. ## Well-Finished Text 8 thoughts updated Dec. 19, 2013, 4:46 p.m. ## Licensing Software Engineers 8 thoughts updated Dec. 30, 2013, 3:42 p.m. ## Apple Foundation 7 thoughts updated Nov. 2, 2013, 2:54 a.m. ## Guaranteed Basic Income 8 thoughts updated Jan. 7, 2014, 4:41 p.m. ## iOS 7 Impressions 4 thoughts updated Sept. 19, 2013, 5:54 p.m. ## The Music Theory of Concluding Pieces 6 thoughts updated March 15, 2016, 5:18 p.m. ## Problems with Excel 23 thoughts updated Aug. 26, 2016, 2:18 p.m. ## New Orthography 9 thoughts updated Jan. 17, 2014, 10:29 p.m. ## Thoughtstreams Bugs and Wishes 13 thoughts updated March 21, 2015, 6:12 p.m. ## ThoughtStreams Meta 12 thoughts updated Feb. 10, 2013, 6:03 p.m. ## Minimally Viable Paperlessness 9 thoughts updated March 21, 2015, 6:28 p.m. Streams by this user that have been favorited by others. ## Minimally Viable Paperlessness 1 9 thoughts updated March 21, 2015, 6:28 p.m. ## Git for authors 1 15 thoughts updated April 20, 2016, 3:33 p.m. ## ProtonMail Theoretical Security 1 22 thoughts updated June 25, 2014, 4:09 p.m. ## Overcast iOS app 1 28 thoughts updated Oct. 9, 2016, 6:18 p.m. ## Microblogging with RSS 2 27 thoughts updated Oct. 21, 2014, 5:35 p.m. ## Webmention Abuse 2 15 thoughts updated Oct. 21, 2014, 4:33 p.m. ## YNAB Criticism (2016) 1 16 thoughts updated Sept. 26, 2016, 4:49 p.m. 7 months, 3 weeks ago 0 Another possible example of this that I thought of yesterday: church worship teams, which frequently lead songs whose theme or refrain is “Here I am singing this song and worshiping”. 0 In short, the entire published content of the CMS is contained in or derived from a single file. 0 ## Self-contained file format The CMS would store its data by default in a single-file SQLite database. That way there would be no RDBMS to configure, and backups would be as simple as copying the file. The file would contain information about all pages, diagrams, shapes, and types, as well as “theme” info: HTML, CSS and logos/other images. 0 ## Self-contained binary This CMS would consist of a single binary with no dependencies that could serve web pages itself over a specified port, or run in CGI mode. The way Fossil does it. 0 Diagram elements consist of • Shapes, with connection points and labels • Connector lines, with line/arrow styles Any diagram element can be hyperlinked to a page in the CMS and can have its shape, label, or tooltip text determined by the properties of that page. 0 ## Visual Diagrams Any page could have a Visio-like diagram in addition to (or instead of) the body text. The body text could also have any number of embedded diagrams. As with the body text, diagrams are displayed in a non-editable context until the user decides to edit them. 0 In addition, every page would be able to specify a parent page. So that when you follow a link to a page, you can either hit “Back” to return to the previous page, or follow the link to the parent for more relevant context around that page. If you create a page by following a link to a non-existent node, that page's parent would default to the page containing that original link. 0 There would be facilities for • Dynamic SQL-like listings/tables of pages that satisfy a set of criteria • Links or buttons that create new pages using a type/template 0 In addition to pages, though, this CMS would provide a concept of types, which you could assign to pages when they are created. A type have a name, a collection of fields, and optionally a template for new pages of that type. A type could also have a default symbol for use in diagrams (see below). 0 ## Like a wiki but less stupid The CMS would be very wiki-like: that is, it would allow you to organize information into a web of nodes or pages without being opinionated about what goes where. Creating a new page/node (page, from now on) should be easy, as in a wiki. E.g., following a link to an as-yet non-existent page. 0 Many see the CMS as a publishing tool, or perhaps (at least in the past?) specifically as a blogging tool or a marketing tool. I think of CMSs primarily as a tool for storing and presenting structured knowledge. I have an CMS in mind that would be ideal for this purpose that no one seems to have made yet. 1. Like a wiki but less stupid 2. Visual diagrams 3. Self-contained binary 4. Self-contained file format 0 Scrolling down past the cover art shows the chapter marks, as usual. 0 The File Uploads feature is great for any audiobooks you may have that you downloaded from a service other than Audible (which has its own app) or that you created yourself from CDs that you own. You get all the same Overcast features for audiobooks as you get with podcasts. Overcast recognizes the chapter marks, remembers your last-played location (synced across the iOS app and the website player), and you can enhance the playback with Smart Speed and Voice Boost. 0 The file upload area is treated exactly like its own podcast. This means that audio files you place there are treated on the app like new episodes, and are downloaded or streamed accordingly. You can add the Uploads “podcast” to playlists. Most importantly: if the Overcast app on your phone is set to Delete Played Episodes, then once you finish listening to a file it is deleted from your phone and from the file upload area on the Overcast.fm website. 0 File Uploads and Audiobooks When you sign up for the Premium subscription ($10/year) you get the option to use File Uploads. This is an interesting feature but there’s almost no documentation on it anywhere, even within the app or on the website.

Once you get your premium subscription, you need to log in to the Overcast.fm website, then scroll past your Active Episodes, and under the list of Podcasts, click on a new podcast you’ll see there called Uploads. (You could also go to https://overcast.fm/uploads after logging in. )

There you can upload any audio file. (The site will prevent you from uploading other types of files.)

0

Chapters: Overcast now supports chapters in MP3, M4A and M4B files , allowing you to skip back and forth to particular sections of the file, assuming the creator of the file put them there to begin with.

Right now the ATP podcast is the only one I listen to that puts chapter marks in their podcast episodes. I find it very handy since, if they happen to talk about a bunch of topics that don’t interest me, I can skip them pretty easily.

0

### Oct 2016

Streaming has long since been added. There is an app-wide setting to download new episodes on wifi, download on wifi and cellular, or stream. You cannot configure this per-podcast.

On an individual podcast, you can go to the list of All Episodes and tap once on an episode to fetch it manually. If Overcast is set to download new episodes, this will place the episode in the download queue. However, you can tap the episode once more and it will be switched into streaming mode and begin playing immediately.

0

Even just being able to search the Memo field would be an improvement, because then I could use that as a "tags" field.

0

Another example, suppose you are a school teacher and you end up budgeting for extra supplies for children in your class and you want to compare your spending in this category for different school years. (Never mind the fact that you currently can't even total category spending by calendar years within the app.)

In all of these cases you might try setting up a new category for every school year and "archiving" (hiding) categories for previous years to keep from cluttering up your budget. But besides the fact that you still wouldn't get totals across any time frame shorter or longer than a calendar month, this is tedious and ugly.

0

Related to my third annoyance above, "no search or reporting", it would be good to have some way of tagging transactions related to a particular project.

After much saving, I'm finally finishing off my basement. All the spending for that project is going against the "Quality of Life Goals:Home Improvement" category. But if I want to keep track of all my spending just for this basement project, as distinct from other projects like bedroom painting, etc., I need to do it in a separate spreadsheet. Which is silly!

2 years, 7 months ago
0

For example: Jess puts in an order for some stuff, totaling $212.17, and enters it into YNAB right after placing the order. Then the vendor splits up the order into three shipments and charges her in three separate transactions of$17.84, $111.90, and$82.43.

Right now YNAB is going to import those three transactions and treat them as separate from the one that Jess entered for $212.17, which consequently will never clear. Instead, it would be insanely helpful if YNAB could notice, "hmm, they entered this charge for$212.17 and I don't see it here anywhere, and it's been at least a week since the date it was entered so it should have cleared; but here are three transactions from the same vendor that they didn't enter that total up to exactly the same amount -- let's maybe ask if they're related or something!"

0

There are some annoyances that aren't bugs, just things that YNAB could (and probably should) make easier.

Mostly these are things caused by how online banking works in general.

0

Sixth annoyance: Imported transactions are often not matched correctly with entered transactions when the date varies by more than a day or two.

Jess will often buy something online and dutifully enter the transaction that day. But often a vendor won't actually charge her card until the item ships, meaning that the date on the imported transaction will be a few days later than the one she entered. YNAB will often fail to match the two, leaving the entered transaction as uncleared and creating a cleared-but-erroneous copy of it.

These are often easy to spot but it's a needless annoyance. Perhaps the problem is being exacerbated by my fourth annoyance above (poor vendor name matching).

0

One example: A couple of times I've accidentally deleted a transaction, which eventually results in my having to go through the account line-by-line and re-mark the "cleared" status of each transaction.

During this process, my mouse cursor is always hovering over the "cleared" marker while I compare each line with a printed statement and mark it off.

Because of this, every time I look back at my screen, the current line's transaction amount is obscured by a tooltip that says "Gleefully mark this transaction as cleared." Sheesh!

Possible workarounds: arrange my browser to put some distance between its right edge and the right edge of my screen, thus allowing the browser to push the tooltip further to the right (not really helpful on a laptop though). Or jiggle and reposition my mouse cursor after every line (stupid).

But there are no workarounds for having to see cute witticisms repeated tirelessly for many months on end.

0

Fifth annoyance: "Tooltips" always get in the way.

YNAB has some entertaining, well-written tool tips and they've been consistent about putting them everywhere. They're cute and funny and helpful the first two times you see them.

But there needs to be a way to turn them off.

0

Fourth Annoyance: Payee name matching is not as smart.

When importing transactions, YNAB frequently fails to identify and auto-rename payees that we use all the time. Things like our favourite grocery stores and gas stations still often show up as, say, "ALDI STO#4187" and without an assigned category in imported transactions.

In YNAB 4, there was a place to configure the auto-renaming and categorization so that you could say "if the payee contains 'ALDI', rename the whole thing to 'Aldi' and always categorize it as 'Groceries'."

The new YNAB gives you no control over this and attempts to memorize how things get named and categorized without any help from you. It gets it right about half the time.

I don't care about not having control if the software can consistently do the right thing. Maintaining auto rename/categorize rules was a pain in YNAB 4, anyhow. But at least it was predictable.

0

Third annoyance: No search or reporting.

I almost never look at historical reports of my finances, other than reviewing last month's spending. I don't care how my net worth has changed over time, as long as I'm budgeting so that it will go up and not down.

That said, I frequently would like to find all transactions of some specific amount. Somewhat less frequently, I'd like to know how much I spent in a given category over the past year, or I've wanted to see all the transactions with a certain vendor. YNAB doesn't really have affordances for this sort of thing. Not only are there zero (0) reports, period, there is not even a search box.

I can live without reports, but lack of basic search is a pretty big regression from YNAB 4.

Workarounds: you can sort all transactions alphabetically by payee, or in order of amount, and scroll around till you find what you want. But this doesn't give you any totals, and it isn't going to scale once I have more than 12 months of data in the new YNAB.

Budget categories do show you the average monthly budget/spend. It doesn't say over what time frame, bu the tooltip seems to indicate it's across all your transactions, ever. So if you wanted to know spending by category over the past 12 months, you could probably get a rough estimate by multiplying that average by 12...until you accumulate more than a couple of years' worth of data.

0

Second annoyance: occasionally when editing transactions and switching between the Budget and Accounts screens, anomalies occur. This includes things like category totals being off after changing a transaction's category or date.

For example:

1. I imported a transaction (the one for my YNAB subscription actually) [The transaction was for $45 and had no category assigned at this point] 2. I re-dated it from 1/31 to 2/1 because reasons 3. I then assigned it a category (Subscriptions) My budget for January now shows$45 in uncategorized spending, but there are no transactions for that month without a category.

1. I then deleted the transaction altogether to see what would happen. There was no change, and my January budget still shows $45 in Uncategorized Transactions. (This was actually the content of the Feb support ticket I mentioned above.) I've since discovered that if this happens, logging out and reloading the site clears it up. This happens maybe every other month or so. 0 A big reason I'm doing a Thoughtstream for this and not just submitting bug reports is my experience reporting bugs early on. In Feb 2016 I sent in my first (and so far only) bug report through their support system. In response I got back an email thanking me for the bug report. It was courteous but clearly a blanket response by a customer support person, saying "if this turns out to be a bug" they might reach out. I never heard anything else. So that's my first annoyance: the process for reporting bugs does not feel at all productive. It's like tossing a penny into a deep, dark well and making a wish. To be fair, most software companies get this wrong. 0 All that being said, here are the flaws that remain annoying. I'm sure everyone has their own set but these are mine. 0 Why I decided to switch to the new web-based version after completing the trial: 1. I don't mind paying for regular improvements to software 2. The new version looks great on a Retina screen (unlike version 4) 3. Importing transactions made keeping the budget up to date much simpler. Instead of logging in to the bank and two different credit card sites, clicking around three different screens to download Quicken files and then running an Import on each of them, I could now simply click Import within YNAB once for each account. 4. Since the software is now web-based I can easily access my budget from work. 5. Numbers 3 and 4 meant that it was much simpler to simply reconcile all my transactions once every week or so rather than saving all that work for the end of the month. Having more-frequent reconciliations in turn is huge, because now the monthly budgeting process takes maybe fifteen minutes instead of an hour. I'm also much more in tune with the status of our budget spending, and have a higher confidence in the numbers I'm seeing throughout the month. 6. Syncing between YNAB's new iPhone apps and the web service is instantaneous. On the old version, after every time I did our monthly budgeting, I would usually get wrong budget numbers until after manually syncing two or three times. 0 Overall I love the product and for budgeting and recording expenses there's nothing I'd rather use. I'm married with two children, and both of us parents share accounts and expense entry, so I'd like to think of our usage as "typical & non-trivial". 0 I switched to the online subscription-based version of You Need A Budget as soon as it was available in January 2016 and have been using it since. There were some shortcomings when it was first introduced and they've had time to sort stuff out, but some issues remain. 0 Very often (not always) the first type of activity is just your basic grift. The second type of activity may just be the kind of feedback loop that arises naturally when you enjoy two activities purely for their own sake—and one of them happens to involve some form of disseminating information. 0 An example of the second would be a podcast and blog about pen & paper products, in which the writers/hosts actually do make heavy use of pen and paper products—but mainly to keep track of podcast episode ideas. 0 I think there are two subtly different types of activities to be teased apart here. In the first: you’re nominally an “expert in X” but most of your time/energy goes, not into X, but into telling other people how they can become good at X. In the second: you do spend a lot of your time/energy doing X, but your need for X is mainly generated by how you disseminate your expertise about X. In other words, if you were to cease regularly talking about X, your actual need for X would be greatly diminished. 0 Specifically, I’ve been thinking about whether a suitable term exists for this kind of activity. 1 Been thinking about this for a while too: For a while I've been thinking about people that tout themselves as experts in X but are really (self-professed) experts in being expert at X. I'll call these types of people the Meta Experts. Meta Experts may be too kind a term. In many instances of this kind of activity, there is more bullshit involved than "Meta Experts" would suggest. Thoughts by this user that have been liked by others. 4 It would be nice to be able to rename streams. 1 Aside: Comments by git inventor Linus Torvalds raise doubts in my mind about the optimalness of git even for its intended use case (source code): You released the Git distributed version control system less than ten years ago. Git caught on quickly and seems to be the dominant source code control system, or at least the one people argue about most on Reddit and Hacker News. Git has taken over where Linux left off separating the geeks into know-nothings and know-it-alls. I didn’t really expect anyone to use it because it’s so hard to use, but that turns out to be its big appeal. No technology can ever be too arcane or complicated for the black t-shirt crowd. I thought Subversion was hard to understand. I haven’t wrapped my head around Git yet. You’ll spend a lot of time trying to get your head around it, and being ridiculed by the experts on github and elsewhere. I’ve learned that no toolchain can be too complicated because the drive for prestige and job security is too strong. Eventually you’ll discover the Easter egg in Git: all meaningful operations can be expressed in terms of the rebase command. Once you figure that out it all makes sense. I thought the joke would be obvious: rebase, freebase, as in what was Linus smoking? But programmers are an earnest and humorless crowd and the gag was largely lost on them. Linus Torvalds goes off on Linux and Git, Sep 25, 2012 1 Reporting did get wearying and old after a month or so, but after that it became routine. If you have a fairly repetitive lifestyle, as I currently do, Reporter will make that extremely (perhaps painfully) clear very quickly. I work a 9-5 job and spend most evenings at home. Data collection becomes much less interesting when the data involved seldom changes. 1 Effective questions: Reporter comes "What did you learn today?" as a default "ask at sleep" question. I soon ceased bothering with answers to this one. I guess it was too open-ended, and even when I have an answer it's never compact enough for the little-token format that Reporter seems to expect. 1 The only questions I've added to the default set are "Are you wearing glasses?" (I started using non-prescription reading glasses for most screen related work to prevent headaches) and "How many coffees did you have today?" 1 Usually a five-pointed star would indicate an opportunity to "fave" an episode, with no social aspect. Calling this button “Recommend”, by contrast, makes it seem as though clicking it will make something social happen. But if something social did happen, I couldn't figure out what it was. For example, no new tweets appeared on my Twitter timeline as a result (it would have been a kind of creepy sneaky way to do it if it had though). 1 A good example of an "easy" win would be if ThoughtStreams implemented sending and receiving webmentions. • Perform webmention endpoint discovery and sending on all outgoing links in new cards • Receive webmentions for streams and individual cards -- display them in appropriate places, and optionally notify the user. • Ideally allow users to specify a u-in-reply-to URL. If this were in place, suddenly I'd be able to carry out a exchange with other TS users, or between my TS and any webmention-enabled blog, or between TS and any Twitter account (if the Twitter user is signed up at brid.gy). 1 I've already implemented webmentions on my site, so I have skin in this game. At a minimum I'll be trying to design and code ways of mitigating abuse before it happens on my own web properties, now that I've opened that door. But if in the coming months it turns out that abuse prevention remains an optional part of the spec, and people have to bake their own countermeasures (or not) on a site-by-site basis, then the writing will be on the wall. 1 In this article I outline a few big changes I would make to the internet to empower small, independent creators, and to make certain kinds of huge online businesses unprofitable to run. Adding universal micropayments to the web is a core piece of that proposed set of reforms. Here I muse about how that could actually be implemented. 1 ## Overview of my proposed method 1. The web server, responding to a request for a web page, includes an HTTP header that says, in effect, Price is$0.01, payment should go to john@hisdomain.com.
2. The user's browser sees this header and notes this amount in a ledger.
3. Every so often (exactly when would be configurable) the user would see a report saying "Here's how much web usage you've incurred", breaking the amount down by site
4. The user would have the ability to adjust payment up or down. This could be done on a total basis (thus adjusting payments to individual sites proportionally) or on a site-by-site basis. Payments are voluntary.
5. The browser connects securely to a payment processor (I nominate Gratipay or Patreon for starters) with whom the user has already signed up. It sends a list of payees and amounts for each, in a standardized format.
6. The payment processor pays sites out of the user's balance as directed.
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## 3. Payment Processors

Some have said (including myself, initially) that Bitcoin would be the way to go. I think the truest thing ever said about Bitcoin is that everyone who touches it becomes either a thief or a victim. It's possible that Bitcoin could be incorporated, but in my experience and from what I've seen keeping an eye on Bitcoin since near the beginning, it's just far too complex for average people to secure their Bitcoin wallets.

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