Week 42.22

We got a cat! Well, pretty close to it, more accurate to say that we have reserved a kitten from the breeder we were previously speaking with. The next few weeks will be spent buying essential equipment, clearing up some of the mess around the house that she might destroy, and then she should be with us by the end of the month.

Appearance wise, she is what’s known as a seal bicolor ragdoll, white with brown markings on her face and tail. I’ve discovered that this combination combines the most popular and most common traits in these cats, so in gachapon terms we’ve pulled a three-star kitten. Although you wouldn’t know she was a kitten from looking at her; several people who’ve seen photos have remarked “oh, so you’re not getting a kitten?” They grow up to become large cats, with females possibly reaching 6 kg and beyond.

We’re still thinking of a name (her dead name is Dewey) but already have a strong contender. In branding terms, this phase is what’s known as “writing the rationale after having found a name that sounds great but isn’t especially meaningful”. Aside: is it a bad idea to name your cat after a Microsoft product?

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Darkroom (a photo editor I’ve used since it came out for iPhone — it now works as a universal app on iPad and Mac too) released their new update supporting the sharing of filters/presets. Early users of the app will remember that you could always share filters via a QR code, but this feature was removed a few years back when they switched to a new architecture. The way it works now is the preset’s details get uploaded to their server, generating a link that you can share. Anyone who clicks the link can see how your preset looks applied against four standard photos, and install the preset in their copy of Darkroom with a single click.

As someone who enjoys making presets in Darkroom, I’ve got a few that I would like to share with other users. I went through a phase of copying film looks from other apps like VSCO and RNI Films, as a sort of pastime, as I found it quite a soothing and mindless activity to switch back-and-forth between two photos and gradually nudge them closer together by adjusting sliders. Someone should make a game around that mechanic!

I’ve posted a few on Twitter already, but have quite a few more that I’ll put soon — “better” ones that I’ve done on my own without referencing existing film stocks or looks. I even wrote about wanting to share a new preset last October!

Darkroom presets shared so far:

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This week’s update was written via voice dictation on my Mac — with a few minor corrections. And that’s with a sore throat, stuffed nose, and raspy voice! As far as I can tell it’s not Covid, just this drawn-out flu that’s been getting quite a few people. On that note, Covid cases are once again rising here in Singapore due to the new XBB variant.

I can’t wait to upgrade to Ventura, assuming that it will have the same voice dictation enhancements as iOS 16. I wonder if this post reads differently, stylistically, given that I am saying this out loud rather than typing it. Related to that, I am now reading the book Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch (oh my God I can’t believe dictating that name out loud worked — I await the day this happens for Asian names). It’s about how language has been changed by the Internet and Internet culture (one of the things that involves is not capitalizing the word Internet, but macOS has seemingly not been informed).

What a good week it’s been for reading: I finished Adrian Tchaikovsky’s One Day All This Will Be Yours and went on to finish Blake Crouch’s Upgrade two days later. With this post-Seveneves sprint, I should be able to finish the year with a not-embarrassing 12 books or more.

I recommend both books by the way, the former being an unusual and fun time travel/time war story, and the latter another one of Crouch’s written-for-film-rights thrillers (his earlier novel, Dark Matter, is in production for Apple TV+). It is better than the film Limitless, but nowhere as great as Ted Chiang’s (dictation failed here) short story Understand. As you may already have guessed, the story is about a man whose genetic make up gets altered, giving him new abilities.


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