Filmage: The Story of Descendents/All

Recorded on June 1st, 2015

image of Filmage poster

It’s been 48 hours since I watched Filmage: The Story of Descendents/All, and it’s still in my head. It’s an astoundingly well-done documentary, just the right length, and made with love by what must be a bunch of fans. I already knew I liked the Descendents’ music, but I didn’t know how much I liked them as people until I saw the film. Bill Stevenson — drummer, songwriter, and ring-leader — inspires those around him to join him in his insane and wonderful “All” work ethic, doing everything to its fullest possible extent, leaving nothing undone. The result is a long history of great work and a decades-long lesson in how to act.

Bill is a softy, too. Besides being a loud, grinning genius who appears to be put on earth to churn out music, he tears up a couple of times on camera when asked about his father, or the difference in popularity of Descendents vs. All. I could not like him more.

I especially loved how there doesn’t seem to be any animosity between Milo Aukerman (Descendents vocalist) and the succession of singers who fronted All. Even when he goes away for years to be the biochemist he is in “real life”, he’s cheering All on from the sidelines while they carry on.

If you ever had any interest in the Descendents or All, I urge you to watch the movie. It’s available on Amazon Prime streaming, or you can buy it in various forms from the Filmage website.

Stuff I Learned from Merlin Mann on Mac Power Users (2015 Edition)

Recorded on May 23rd, 2015

Merlin Mann was on Mac Power Users again, as is he every spring. I’m still not done listening to the episode, but the whole thing would have been worth it if only for his tips about nvALT, Editorial, and Workflow.

Stuff I learned:

  • In nvALT, if you have a URL in your clipboard, you can select some text, hit Option-Command-V, and your text and the URL will be turned into a Markdown link.
  • You can set nvALT to open its notes in whatever other text editor you want. Go to nvALT’s Preferences > Editing > External Text Editor.
  • I already knew Editorial was great, but it sounds like it’s Merlin’s main text editor on iOS, and it understands Markdown in a good way. Hmm. Worth a second look, although it will take a lot to unseat Nebulous as my go-to.
  • There’s a repository of Workflow actions on Reddit. Where has this been? (I think Katie may have mentioned this one, actually.)
  • To link to images for things like the Back to Work show notes, Merlin uses a stupid-simple trick of dumping all his images in a public folder in Dropbox, then linking to those from his HTML (or Markdown). Just what I needed for easy image-linking when posting Statamic text files from the iPhone (or anywhere, really). It’s not a long-term solution as good as hosting the images yourself, but man it’ll be nice not to worry about FTP for those. Fewer barriers!

CloudBeats for Playing FLAC on iOS

Recorded on May 19th, 2015

CloudBeats app icon image

I’ve been looking for a decent lossless/FLAC audio player for the iPhone. For a while I used VLC for iOS because it could browse a Plex library I had running at home, but either the VLC app or my aging white plastic MacBook couldn’t keep file transfers consistent. I’d queue up a bunch of music to download, let the phone do its thing, and return to find that half of them never made it to the phone. I usually noticed that on the way out the door. No lossless music = sad driving in the car.

I found CloudBeats, which had a ton of positive reviews and seemed to be updated regularly. It handles FLAC just fine, you can store music in offline folders (if you buy the non-lite version), it understands album art, and downloads are way easier and more reliable. And it works with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, MediaFire, and ownCloud.

Another plus is that it doesn’t run down the battery and make the iPhone all hot like VLC did. I also think it remembers where you were in a track better than VLC did, but I need to keep testing to be sure.

I dragged just a few folders of favorite FLAC albums up to Google Drive and let them sync. After they were done, I pulled them down to CloudBeats and every track arrived perfectly. So nice not to worry about the MacBook always being on, or being limited to grabbing audio only when I’m home. I’m only on Google Drive’s free 15 GB plan for now, but this could make me start paying for more space, or give MediaFire a spin. MediaFire gives you 50 GB free to start with, and at least right now their 1 TB plan is $2.49/month.