geekery, drawing and then some

Posts about geekery

Reviving the worm-bin

worms escaping

Six years ago I purchased a wormbin and fed the wrigglers my kitchenscraps. Due to health-problems (not sleeping well) they got ignored for the past year or two. Occasionally I'd feed them but most of the time I simply forgot about them.

worm egg

Now that I started sleeping better I decided to revive the bin. Despite all the neglect, some worms actually survived. I found about 20 wrigglers and a few eggs. Once I picked them out I added a small bit of food to the bin to lure the once I missed. After a day or three, none has shown so I think I got them all.


The worms lived in a small container for a day while I prepared their new home. I got a few Klämtare boxes and used my drill to drill some holes. For the lower container I used a 2mm drill, for the top one 6mm.

newspaper coconut fiber

I added some newspaper to the bottom to prevent instant fall through and then I added hydrated coconut fiber to that.

After that the worms moved in. I haven't added breather holes to the lid yet because it doesn't close very tight.

The worms seem happy, they immediately started eating the courgette I put in.

To make sure they can process the amount of scraps I produce, I purchased 150gr of extra worms. It would take a really long time to have them reproduce up to that point.

Not entirely sure about the size of the box but if needed, I'll move them to a bigger home.

A database for my pens and ink

I have too many pens. And I have too many inks. I couldn't keep track of which ink I tried in which pen and if I liked it. Sure, I made notes in my analogue ink-journal but that didn't work quite as well as I'd like.

And suddenly I remembered I had purchased a copy of Tap Forms (a long long time ago for a project that never happened) and I decided to go for it.

It took some time but I've come up with a system I like a lot. It consists of 9 forms that link to eachother (a lot).

Read more…

Geekery and illness

Somewhere earlier this year, Nano started acting a little weird. She seemed more sluggish and slow, and at the same time more bitchy -- I think I can use 'bitchy' here, she is a female dog and all -- and easily annoyed.

Normally, we'd go out at around 22:00 and then again at 08:00 or maybe 09:00. She needed to go pee more. And she drank a lot. I had to refill her bowl four or five times per day.

After a week of waking up at 01:00 and 03:00 and 05:00 and 07:00 because she had to go pee, I made an appointment with the vet. They did some tests, including an extensive blood-test, and the cause of her malaise became very clear: high bloodsugar. Since the other tests showed no anomalies, the vet concluded diabetes. She told us to start doing shots, and then bring Nano in for another bloodsugar-test in a week or so. I asked about checking her levels myself, since I did own a glucosemeter. They showed me how to do it, and told me to phone in the results after a week of doing 2 units per meal (4 per day), 12 hours apart.


A few things became almost immediately clear:

  • Nano doesn't like the way the vet said to check her glucose
  • She almost instantly stopped drinking and peeing so much, I could sleep through the night once more!
  • Nano should have her head checked, she does not care at all about getting needles in her ear or shoulders. In fact, these days, when I take out the glucosemeter she comes running as soon as she hears the pop of the strips container.
  • Nano's levels do better on a raw meat diet, they go through the roof on dry food.
  • Nano's seemingly innocent snacks made her levels go very high (above 30mmol/L (or 540mg/dL), from around 9 or 10 (or ~160-180mg/dL)).
  • Tiny insuline bottles fall over easily in the fridge 1

nano chart

Glucose-levels for dogs need to follow a similar pattern as they do for humans. Ideally, she'll have values between 5 and 10 mmol/L. We have discovered, however, that if she drops below ~6.5, her glucose will shoot up in the next hour or so (up to and sometimes even over 20). I've tried various meters and they mostly seem to agree on the values, and that the glucose bounces back up when it drops below 6-ish.

In the early days, I used a Launch Center Pro action to keep track of her values and the amount of food she had. It looked like this:

fantastical2://x-callback-url/parse?sentence=125gr%20rmb%20<zddate>%20@%20<zzeh[list:Select dosage|0EH=0|1EH=1|2EH=2|3EH=3|4EH=4]>%20for%200%20min%20%2Fwa&notes=nanocheck&add=1&x-success={{due://x-callback-url/add?title=feed%20Nano&hourslater=11&x-success={{launchpro://}}}}

It adds a new event in a Google calendar through the wonderful Fantastical 2 and then creates a reminder for 11 hours later to feed Nano again, in Due It relies on several TextExpander snippets to fill in the correct date and dosage. I also have an IFTTT rule set up to check new events in that calendar and add them as a new row to a spreadsheet. I don't use Google Calendar for much, but it proved useful in this case.


A few weeks ago, I found the Glucodock , a glucosemeter that clicks into the iPhone and lets the phone do the hard work. For €9.95 I figured I could take the risk and try it for a while. It works really well, and the strips actually cost less than the previous meter I used, always a bonus.

Nano has improved healthwise. She drinks normal amounts and sleeps through the night again. Last week she had surgery to remove a cyste from her toe, and the wound healed up quick. It seems she doesn't have the slow wound healing associated with diabetes and in fact, she didn't seem bother by the stitches at all. She did seem bothered by the bandage and boot she had to wear for a few days, and as soon as I removed those, she ran around like a happy little puppy.


Her bloodsugar still bounces around a bit, higher in the morning, but low enough in the afternoon and evening. She has stayed at the doggy hotel and with friends and all went well. She still tries to steal food -- usually the kind she shouldn't eat.

Over the past few months I've heard that I overanalyse the data and check her levels too often (before breakfast and dinner, and then in the afternoon and before bed). Perhaps I do, however, I'd do the same for me. I don't do it because I freak out over her levels, I do it to find patterns to find the best treatment possible.

And I also get to geek out in the meantime.

  1. So I sugrud a holderinsuline in fridge 

Oh yeah, btw...

I got a little tired from the issues I had with WordPress . Not because WordPress doesn’t do what it says it does — it does actually — but because I don’t write that much here anymore and I felt that I only consistently kept the site up-to-date WordPress-wise, and not content-wise. I felt I spent more time on updating than on anything else.

Which — naturally — meant I started fiddling. First, I tried Pelican which I liked and really wanted to use. Then, I stumbled on Nikola

I tried them both and they both seemed to work for me. In the end, I went for Nikola. It seems faster and better at not rebuilding posts unnecessarily.

The migration required the following steps:

  1. Export an xml-file of my WordPress-data (posts and pages).

    Easy enough through the ‘Tools > Export > All Content’ in the WordPress Admin pane (although I must admit it went horribly wrong for me, but in the end, I managed to get a usable file).

  2. Import in Nikola with nikola import_wordpress file.xml

    This did not work for me, it got stuck or crashed even though I checked the file with xmllint. Instead, I downloaded WordPress to Markdown Exporter and converted the xml-file that way. I lost some info, but nothing very dramatic.

  3. Mess around until everything works and looks okay.

    This took the most time because I got distracted by lots of new stuff like Python and RestructeredText. Had fun.

Pretty sure some things didn’t work as expected and I’ve possibly broken some links. However, I delved into my .htaccess file which should redirect old links to their new place. This mattered even more because at the same time I decided to switch domains 1 from http://tanniespace.com to http://tannie.nl . Apparently, when I decide to mess with things, I mess with them thoroughly.

  1. Yes, I love breaking the internet. 

Tilburg Penshow

Today I went to the Tilburg Penshow and had a blast. I hung out and tried pens with a bunch of great people, always a pleasant experience.

Before I went, I decided I had to keep a tight budget. Nano’s surgery certainly put a dent in my pen-budget (or any of my budgets, really) and my idea of finding a nice Lamy 2000 for maybe €120 (new, retail, €200) went down the drain quickly. I figured I could squeeze out enough money to buy a cheaper pen and maybe some ink.

I looked around (no ink), browsed, picked up a few pens and then it happened. The heavens opened, angels sang, light shone down on a table, and there I saw it. A Lamy 2000! 1

After checking it out with other people and asking the price, it seemed like a very good deal, too good to pass up, even. So I paid, and will eat nothing but ramen the next few months, obviously.

We inked it up MacGuyver-style: unscrewing the section and dripping ink from my Pelikan into the barrel. When I wrote with it, the angels started singing again 2



[Lamy2000]: http://tannie.nl/photos/pens/2014-09-27_162055.jpg

  1. Two, actually, but I only wanted one. For now. 

  2. Or maybe I had low bloodsugar and started hallucinating again. It happens. 

Plannerism planner (tests)

Earlier this year I bought the Plannerism Planner because I liked the idea of having a planner that helped me set goals. I used it for a few months and enjoyed it, but found the paper not working quite well with my fountain pens and ink. So I strayed.

I bought a Leuchtturm1917 Academic Week Planner because I got hooked on the columns. And Leuchtturms have paper that works well with fountain pens and inks.

both planners

But that didn't do it for me either. Sure, the paper works great, I get excellent shading, I don't have to look at what pen I grab 'cause they all 'work'. The drying time started to annoy me after the short Saturday / Sunday columns did. I have plans on Saturday and Sunday too, people! Do other people not do anything in the weekend? Of course they do, they make plans too (some even with me). I really don't understand why planner/agenda-makers insist on keeping the weekend short, and tiny.

I figured, because I loved the Plannerism format so much, I should spend some times testing inks and pens and work out a system for me. I don't mind having dedicated planner-pens, and as I colour-code my type of appointments I could do with a fixed set of inks. In fact, that seemed best anyway, just one red, one orange, one blue. Not switching them around every week. Helps me to not have to think about what colour means what. Saving some brain-bandwidth for more important things, yay!

The winners!

The colours/inks that worked best for me:

the winners

All these inks performed well (or well enough ;) ) on the paper, with little to no bleed-through. I like the colours too.I had some issues with the Iroshizuku, which I think has more to do with the pen than the ink. I've tried several Iroshizuku inks and they all flow easily, but this one in this pen just won't write well. It flowed fine in another pen, so I think I'll just take out the ink, thoroughly clean the pen and try again.

The other side:

The other side of the page.

Noodler's Habanero bled more than it did in my earlier tests. The pen did also write a bit wetter than before. I did have it in my bag and tossed it around, which may explain it. I don't mind this level of bleedthrough with one of the colours.The Platinum Preppy Purple shows similar point-bleedthrough, also not a problem for me.

More inks

The Sheaffer Turquoise writes pretty wet. In general I don't notice much difference between the TWSBi 580 and vac700 nib-size-wise, but you can clearly see the differences between the two inks. The Platinum Rose Red writes dry, not unusual in my experience for a pigmented ink. Fox Red also writes pretty wet, similar to the Sheaffer Turquoise.

On the second photo can clearly see the bleedthrough of Sheaffer Turquoise, as expected. I don't feel comfortable with this level of bleedthrough, it makes writing on both sides more difficult. The Fox Red behaves only slightly better. I won't use these pens / inks in my planner. In all fairness, Fox Red also bled through in my Leuchtturm1917 planner, in a similar way, so all in all, not too bad.

More inks.

The entire page, front and back.

Sheaffer Turquoise clearly bleeding through, as does Diamine Aqua Lagoon (in a wet pen). Noodler's BSiAR does surprisingly well for an italic nib, and of course, bleeds through. Some of the others do as well (or as bad) as Habanero, but still a bit too much for me. As expected, Scabiosa performs well. Even though I used F/FA/EF some inks still bled through too much (Navajo Turquoise, Syrah, Ambre de Birmanie, Bouquet d'Antan). R&K Alt-bordeaux in the Studio with M-nib performed better, it would most likely work fine in an F.

Random pens from my inked up set.

Previous page.


As an extra test, I made little patches of each colour. The Iroshizuku had start issues even though I had used it minutes before (suspected pen-issue, not the ink). The patches did not bleed.

Little patches.

More, more!

Glitter pink gelly rolls have their place too. Also used the Sheaffer Turquoise with the EF-nib I have for the 580. Worked better, but I think the colour looks less cool.

More inks


I've updated the theme on this site and have done some fidgeting 'in the back' so some things may or may not work. Feel free to tell me if something doesn't work as expected :)

Creating subtasks in OmniFocus on iPhone

And now, for some total geekery!

I don't know if this always existed or if this feature appeared during some update. However, you can create subtask in OmniFocus on your iPhone. I didn't know this at first and it frustrated me that I couldn't, and then I figured it out.

imgDepending on how you start out, you have to do different things. For this example I'll start in the 'Projects' list and in my 'health' folder. I have no current projects there.
imgTap the plus in the lower right corner and create a new project if you need to.

imgFor my example, I'll create a project called 'Make medical file' (which I did, recently)

Tap on your newly created project (you might already have a project you want to change / add things in, if so, go there through the main screen and then 'projects', and skip all these previous steps ;) )

imgI have no actions yet, so I create one by taping the plus on the lower right side.

imgI want to start by making a list of my current medication, so I make an action of that.

Fill in the desired values, I've left most empty because I just want to make an example.

By going to the project list from the mainscreen you prevent things from disappearing on you, plus, you actually want to edit the project, so going through the project-list makes more sense.

imgI create a few more actions. To make my medication list I need to check my pill bottles for the exact name and dosage. I add these actions to the list.

The last two actions need to become subtask of 'Make list of medication' so I tap 'Check bottle of pills #2'


And now, the magic happens!

Tap on that folder-icon on the bottomright.

imgYou get a screen with the actions in your project, select your main task ('Make list of medications')

Repeat for all the tasks you need as subtasks.

imgYou have subtasks.

Making my own medical file

Because of the crazy amount of medical data I have and have to deal with I decided I needed my own medical files. Not in the least because it seems to impress doctors when you slap your file on their desk and make it clear you know exactly what happened and what medication you take and what side-effects they cause.

To make my medical file, I used Scrivener, MultiMarkdown and eventually LaTeX.

First, I started out with a structure that made sense:

  1. Conditions (my various illnesses)
  2. Medication 2.1. current medication 2.1.1. prescribed 2.1.2. unprescribed 2.2. historic medication 2.2.1. prescribed 2.2.2. unprescribed
  3. Medical contacts 3.1. doctors 3.2. hospitals 3.3. pharmacy 3.4. insurance
  4. Surgeries
  5. Log
  6. Diagnostics

Then, for each of the these parts I made a folder in Scrivener and put files in it for each section or subsection. In 'Log' and 'Diagnostics' I put a folder for each year, and a file for each incident.

Using MultiMarkdown I could easily make the tables for my blood-tests in 'Diagnostics', and refer to different sections of the document. I put it all in Scrivener because that way I can keep important files in my Research folder and easily refer to those.

With the new 'Folder Sync' feature in Scrivener 2.0 I can easily sync all the files to a folder and transfer that to my EEE1. I can either bring the EEE along with visits or a printed copy (or both, because with the EEE I can easily add new info to any of the files on the spot -- saves me a lot of writing it down and then typing it in later).

Because MultiMarkdown easily converts to PDF (through LaTeX) I have a fancy printable file with a coversheet, an index, my name and the date printed on each page, and a table of contents. All of this automatically, no fiddling with layout and such required after the initial set-up.

It took me quite some time and energy to make this file, but I feel really good about it. I have a better idea of what we have tried already and when I visited who and when my last blood-tests were (need to get that vit. D checked again).

It also showed me I have roughly one hospital visit every two weeks (average for the last five years). Wow!

  1. In case you wonder, I created an encrypted container with a crazy long password for the medical info so no-one can accidentally see it or access it should I lose my EEE. 

Software sucks

I spent a frustrating few hours yesterday and today trying to get things to work properly. I updated to WordPress 3.0 (it went well in a test-environment) and then stuff started to break big time.

I use Textile for markup and suddenly, that caused issues. I tried switching it off, and switching to a lighter version, and I still had trouble editing and displaying posts. Eventually I deleted the WordPress files and installed them again and tried to get everything to work again as I wanted.

Then my RSS-feed broke and Feedburner started to complain.

I think I fixed it...

I really hope I did...

Geeking out with procmail

I love procmail, not sure why I prefer it over other options, but I do. Recently I've found / figured out a few nice rules to help automate filtering a bit.

The following rule checks for the existence of various headers usually used by mailing-list and filters the mail into a mailbox with the list's name:

* ^((List-Id|X-(Mailing-)?List):(._[< ]\/[^>]_))
    * LISTID ?? ^\/[^@\.]*

Some mailing-lists don't have a 'List-Id' and such, but they do have a 'Sender'. For these I use:

* ^X-BeenThere:.*
* ! ^(List-Id|X-(Mailing-)?List):.*
* ^Sender: \/[^@-]+

For a lot of webforms I use an address with a '+' in (a completely valid symbol in an e-mailaddress btw). If I'd need to use an address for say, google.com, I'd fill in 'tannie+google@tanniespace' (and .com ofcourse). To filter out these addresses to their own folder I use the following rule:

* ^TO._+\/([a-z]._)\@(mydomain|otherdomain)
* EXTENSION ?? ^\/[^@.]*

More geekery with twitter and flickr stuff

A couple of weeks ago I found and edited a php script to help me post photos to flickr from Tweetie for iPhone (now Twitter for iPhone -- do keep up...). After using it for a while I realised the title of the photos got a bit too long for my taste and I spend a little time tweaking. I've now changed it so that the first sentence (up to the first . or ! or ?) becomes the title. The rest becomes the description of the photo. For me this works out pretty well.

I added the following lines (changing the last line of my previous tweak to prevent confusion):

$string = preg_replace("/#\w+/i", '', $title); //previously the above line said: $title pregreplace("/#\w+/ i", '', $title);
if (preg_match("/^.*(\.|\!|\?)/U", $string, $matches)) {
    $title = $matches[0];
    $description = preg_replace("/^.*(\.|\!|\?)/U", '', $string);
else {
     $title = $string;
     $description = "";

right before:

$parameters = array( 'api_key' => API_KEY, 'auth_token' => API_TOKEN, 'tags' => $tags, 'title' => $title, 'description' => $description, );

Note that I also added that last field in there ('description'). I haven't completely tested it; however, my limited tests seemed to work fine. I don't really know much about php, so I probably used more lines than I needed. This way I could keep track of what I did though, and I think I'll still understand my changes a couple of months from now.

Geeking out with twitter and flickr stuff

Recently I found a php script by Chris Morrel which allows you to post photos to flickr (and get the correct flic.kr short url back) from Tweetie 2. I tweaked it a little to get used hashtags as flickr-tags and to have them removed from the title (the script uses the message as the title).

Right after:

$tags = FLICKR_TAGS;
$tags .= ' @' . $_POST['username'];

I added:

preg_match_all('/#(\w+)/', $title, $matches);
foreach ($matches[1] as &$tag) {
    $tags .= ' ' . $tag;
$title = preg_replace("/#\w+/i", '', $title);

It worked as I wanted, so yay!

Snoozing, deferring and other things in OmniFocus

A while back I wrote about snoozing and deferring tasks in OmniFocus and Dan's scripts. He has since added two more scripts, to move tasks to today and tomorrow quickly. Sometimes I don't check my task-list for a few days (for whatever reason) and then I may ==cough== have tons of overdue items. These two scripts easily let me put them on the right day, either today or tomorrow, and helps me clean up fast.

I've set up the same shortcut keys in Fastscripts.

Today I've also edited my task-list. I had too many things on them and felt overwhelmed. After listening to one of Michael Nobbs' audioboo in which he mentioned his three things to do list and the twenty minute trick (I go for fifteen), and also mentioned that once something becomes a habit he just does it and doesn't add it to the list anymore, I decided to remove a few items that I know I do anyway. It looks much smaller and much easier to manage.

I might actually go and do something today...

The iPhone saga, part 7

I went to the T-shop to check on my phone because I hadn't heard anything yet, and I noticed they had the wrong number on my form. Turns out, they had my (replacement) phone there. The lady was very nice and I hope this one works better than the other one. At least it doesn't have any dead parts in the screen (so far) and it seems to work properly. I give it another week before I slap my Zagg shield on it.