Fido &

I enjoy finding a tool that solves a very specific problem well. I had that experience twice this week and I wanted to share them since the problems they solve are common to those in the indie web community.


Fido is a tool developed by Meadowing. It finds broken links on your site. It couldn’t be more simple. You plug in your URL and it scans the whole thing and then comes back with an index of the links that don’t work. When I ran Fido for my site, it found 3 links that were mistyped. Those are now fixed and it was such a simple task thanks to Fido. I found it after seeing another blog that used Meadowing’s lovely Guestbooks solution.

Fun name; great tool. solves a very niche problem when dealing with sites. Most domain name services (like Hover or Porkbun) offer a redirect function. The issue I was running into was that I’d merged two of my old blogs into this one. Hover’s redirects for the two old domains worked, but not for https routes. With most modern browsers defaulting to https (for good reason), this meant that when someone just typed into a Safari address bar, it would render a 404 page error. My wife was the one that brought this up to me (thank you). While I knew the technical reason for the negative experience, I hadn’t put the time into finding the right solution.

Rather than having to setup landing pages to point people to Tangible Life, or configuring SSL certs redirects (which wasn’t an option since the old sites are no longer sites, and just domains I still have registered),’s free tier offers 5 domain forwards that include handling of https routing. It was 5 minutes of configuration between and Hover and all versions of my previous two sites route here. It even supports forwarding to the same path endpoint (which I didn’t need) and has a toggle for tracking hits or letting it be a completely private implementation (which I opted for the latter).

When I find these little gems, I’m going to collect them into small posts like this one. Simple tools for common problems. Great stuff.

2024 Jul·20

IndieWeb Carnival: Rituals

As July wraps up, I’m excited to be hosting next month’s IndieWeb Carnival! The topic will be rituals. It is purposely a very open theme and I can’t wait to read what people care to share.

A few prompts to inspire, but feel free to come at it from any angle at all:

  • What value do rituals possess in your life?
  • How have rituals shaped you?
  • Are there any rituals you’ve outgrown and left behind?
  • Does the term ritual” carry any negative connotation when you hear it?

I’ll post my own entry sometime in early August and will include submissions sent through September 1st. I don’t use webmentions or current day social media platforms, so please send me the links to your posts via email. Once the month comes to a close, I’ll do a roundup post of submissions and the thoughts they sparked for me personally.

Also, please spread the word about the IndieWeb Carnival and grab a future spot to host if you’re inclined.

2024 Jul·19

June Travels

In June, I took three trips. First to Cocoa Beach with the family after dance recital weekend, then a one-day trip to St. Louis for work and last my wife and I had a getaway for the last couple of days of June. It was wonderful to spend time just the two of us. As parents of a large family, we rarely get that opportunity. We stayed in St. Augustine and ventured down to Marineland Beach, which we’d never visited before. It’s a beautiful beach and is unique due to the rock features along the shore. Cocoa Beach, our default family beach trip destination, is completely different even though it’s just down the Florida east coast from Marineland.

While I only posted to the blog once in June, all of this time away from home and my daily routines offered a lot of deep thought time. Those thinking sessions fuel future writing sessions, so I’m grateful to have had the time and opportunity to have them.

Here’s a few photos from the three trips:

Cocoa Beach sunset.Cocoa Beach sunset.

Evening take off from St. Louis.Evening take off from St. Louis.

Nightfall was gorgeous on this flight.Nightfall was gorgeous on this flight.

Marineland beach.Marineland beach.

2024 Jul·04


This post is my entry for July’s IndieWeb Carnival being hosted by James.

I’ve written about tools many times on this site. I have an entire Uses page that lists many of the tools I own and use for various things. In the purest sense, a tool is nothing more than something that aids in doing something. A spoon is a tool. A pen is a tool. The M2 MacBook Air I’m using to create this post is a tool.

The tools that mean the most to me, though, aren’t the tools I tend to have written about to date. They should be, given the name and goal of the site, but until this thought provoking carnival theme, the idea hadn’t struck me that they’re more than deserving of being written about. The tools I’m speaking of are hand tools that have been passed down to me by my dad. They each have unique and rich lineage. Some were passed down to him by elder family members. Some were found. Others were purchased by him when tools were made well enough to outlive their owners.

One of the best examples of these tools is a pair of linesman pliers. I don’t recall which family member gave him these, but many years ago, they became mine. We were doing a job together and when the job was done, my dad and I were sorting and packing up our respective tools to go back to their respective toolboxes. I picked them up and attempted to hand them to him, and that’s when the transfer initiated. He looked at them, and as he does, said something like, Do you know where those came from?” Even if he’d told me more than once, I likely didn’t remember or I just wanted to hear it again. I may have offered some tidbit of info like a name of someone I know gave him things of the sort. He grabbed them and gave me the history once again. He told me jobs they’d been used for that I had experienced the end product or result. He would hand them back to me and they’d feel heavier than when they were in my hand minutes before, with the added weight of significance they possess beyond physical grams.

Linesman pliers that were built to last.Linesman pliers that were built to last.

He looked at them, and then at me and said, You keep em. I’ve gotten my use out of them and you’ve got a lot of jobs ahead of you.” I’m almost certain that, without fail, I’d always respond to a magical tool transfer moment like this with, Are you sure? I know they mean a lot to you.” Never a man to dwell in the sentimental, he’d respond, If you want them, have them. If not, I’ll hold on to them.” Seconds would pass, and then he’d add, Until I die. Then you and your brother can fight over them.” I took the pliers and added them to my inventory. Each time I go into my toolbox and grab them, I know they’ll get the job done. I can’t wait to pass them down to one of my own kids, sharing the history and references to jobs I’ve done with them that they’ll have a connection to.

I’m on the verge of both tears and laughter writing these words. Things my dad has said to me over my lifetime are very much like those linesman pliers. They’ve done the job they needed to do. They also land heavier now than they did when he said them to me then. He’s at a later stage of his life and while the lineage of those tools can be recalled and retold as many times as necessary, newer details and stories just don’t stick. While it’s all part of the journey of life, it’s difficult to not have the tools to hand him as he’s always had it to hand to me.

2024 Jul·02

Something From (Almost) Nothing

This post is my entry for June’s IndieWeb Carnival being hosted by Andrei.

First of all, what a great theme for the IndieWeb Carnival. I can’t wait to see what others share, because there is something truly inspiring about seeing what others have made or repurposed.

Part of me wishes that my NO SOLICITING sign build had wrapped a couple of weeks later, because it’s likely the purest form of Andrei’s theme. My latest project falls into repurpose and customization, but the (Almost) addendum to the writing theme highlights how making customizations yourself is the best way to achieve what you want from a product. This pushes against the buy/return (or throw out) cycle that many consumers follow as a default, wasteful consumption pattern today. The project is in its final stage and will be wrapped up within a week.

We’ve lived in our current home for 7 years this July. When we moved in, we bought a Hunter Cranbrook ceiling fan in the mint color. I fell in love with the mid-century modern design the moment I saw it. The fan has served as a conversation piece in our family room. Whether walking in from the garage (our primary point of entry), or walking in from the front hallway, the design grabs the eye. Recently, we’ve refreshed our kitchen/family room with new light fixtures and furniture. It was time for a change (mostly due to our English Mastiff being past the chewing/puppy phase) and we’ve been happy with the changes made. The mint/walnut combo was no longer in harmony with the new palette, but we couldn’t part with this gorgeous fan. Rather than repurchase the fan in the dove gray” option, I told my wife we could do a better job of customizing it. The blades would have still been light pine or walnut, and that wasn’t quite right.

I’d installed the fan 7 years ago, so I had some memory of how it came apart. I took the fan down and disassembled all the parts that would allow me to paint the metal mint components. Luckily, all the mint parts could be completely removed from other non-mint parts, so no masking was necessary. This considerably sped things up for the paint process. I took each component outside and completed 3–4 coats on each item, being careful to make sure every visible surface got coverage. I placed the items in used shoeboxes to keep any dust or insects from landing in the paint as it was drying. The parts look amazing, and I’ve reassembled what I can up to this point. Next came the blades.

Hunter Cranbrook hood painted grayHunter Cranbrook hood painted gray

We needed to do some touch-ups on our kitchen cabinets as part of the rejuvenation of the space, so I decided we’d stain the fan blades to match the semi-gloss, dark espresso color and finish of the cabinets and paint the mint portions of the fan a similar gray to the variant Hunter sells, but even more perfect for our palette. My first attempt at getting the stain resulted in a color way too close to black, vs. the deep raisin and plum tones in the cabinet finish. A much more artistic paint store employee and I spent 35 minutes tweaking and reviewing a custom mix of black stain with magenta and purple tinting until it was just right. I’ve completed one blade as the test, and the remaining three are all that’s left to complete the customizations, so I can re-assemble.

Fan blade & kitchen cabinet comparisonFan blade & kitchen cabinet comparison

The best thing about a project like this is that the fan I already loved looking at and enjoying will now be something I can appreciate no only the designer that created it, but the adaptations made to it with my own hands. Next time you think you have to buy something new, evaluate if there’s something that you can repurpose or enhance instead. The result is so much more fulfilling.

Update: Here’s the final product.

Customized Hunter CranbrookCustomized Hunter Cranbrook

2024 Jun·01

My Blogging Workflow

Much like the cycle of app defaults posts, I’ve landed on another interesting round of posts from bloggers about how they blog. Thanks to Manu for bringing me into the fold with his post, and to Robert for starting the fun and linking to the posts around the web.

I keep a Markdown file of things I’d like to write about someday. That list varies from just loose ideas in a few words to something more thought out if I don’t want to lose the details if it’s something I’ve given more thought to. Occasionally, I’ll add bits to existing ideas, but most of the time the way they go in is the way they stay until I write out a post.

I have a couple of Shortcuts that I’ll use to start a post off to make the YAML frontmatter and template easier. That goes into a folder in iA Writer called drafts. I’d consider a draft to be anything partially written and not scheduled for posting at a future date. I will occasionally write something and have it go out in a few days or weeks. This is because sometimes my writing comes in bursts, but I’d like my RSS feed to be slower for readers. Most posts started in this way get finished in one sitting. Occasionally, it will take time. I don’t feel a pressure either way. When the post is done, I use the LanguageTool grammar checker and then paste it back into iA Writer, update the YAML values and move it to the Posts folder.

The only deviation to the above is linkposts. I don’t post them as much as I used to, but the workflow is similar. I use a different shortcut that formats things specific to my linkpost template. I used to sync my highlights from my read-later app of choice, Matter, to Notion where I’d categorize which site I wanted to use for the linkpost. That workflow went away when I merged all my sites into Tangible Life, and I’m glad it’s more simple now. I’ll tag things in Matter that I may want to use for a linkpost or a newsletter in the future, but most of the time I just create the linkpost at the time I’m consuming whatever it is and post it.

I’ve been reading up on webmentions recently. I am not sure whether they’d completely replace my linkposts, but I’m considering implementing them in the future.

…and those are my flows! Reach out if you have any questions about my workflows.

2024 May·23

Creative Environments

This post is my entry for May’s IndieWeb Carnival being hosted by Juha-Matti Santala.

I used to be precious about these things, long ago. Now, most of my posts get written with my laptop at the kitchen counter. I will sometimes have an idea strike me while I’m making lunches for my kids before school. I’ll walk over, open the laptop and jot a few things down to come back to whenever I get the opportunity. The ability to have what feels like an almost endless battery on the M2 MacBook Air (plus the instant wake and login of Touch ID) removes whatever friction would have existed with this in the past.

There are times when I have an idea framed, but really need some solid quiet writing time. I will usually sit on my front or back porch for these longer sessions. If it’s too hot for that, the Eames Lounger in my home office is a great spot too. Because I use my standing desk for the work that pays my bills, it doesn’t often feel like a creative environment in the sense of my writing. I will sometimes noodle around with something there, or tinker with something that the desk surface is really best suited for. An example of this type of creation would be my recent no soliciting sign build.

Only when I’m doing graphical design tasks do I plug my personal laptop into the Thunderbolt dock at my desk to take advantage of the larger screen. I also have an 11” iPad Pro (2018 model) and Magic Keyboard that I’ll take on the go for writing in random locations. I’ve written posts while waiting in carline for my kids to get out of school. In waiting rooms of various flavors and so many other places I can’t recall at this moment.

In the end, all I really need is a good idea and the creative environment will sort itself out. There’s always the dream of a perfect zen spot next to a rock pond or babbling stream, but if those were the only places I could write, you wouldn’t be reading this post.

2024 May·16

Stand for Something

Vulure; standing on business.Vulure; standing on business.

I took this picture this morning. To me, it represents the epitome of owning your brand. Stand for something in this world. Even if your brand isn’t the brand that others might find attractive or sexy or trendy; fuck all that shit. Master the subtle art Mark Manson popularized with his book title.

Be you. Unapologetically.

2024 May·16

Makers Make

There are times when nothing that’s easily available meets the unique combination of a designer’s functional need while simultaneously satisfying the designer’s form need. Many designers are also makers . It is a special type of satisfaction when you need an item, none of the off-the-shelf options check your various boxes and you decide to craft your own.

Custom made no soliciting sign.Custom made no soliciting sign.

We have a sign at our front door to attempt to prevent solicitations.1 I’ve never liked the sign, other than the fact it was made out of wood vs. the plastic or sticker ones you see being sold at home improvement stores. They’re all ugly and they look like something displayed outside a business. I wanted something simple and nicely designed for our home.

After thinking about how I’d achieve something better, I’m as far along as the picture above. A few minutes in Figma, big bold Montserrat making the emphatic statement, some cardstock and about 45 minutes with an Exacto knife, hole punch and painters tape. I’ll pickup a can of fudge brown spray paint and a coat or two later it will be done and up on the wall next to my front door. Designed and made; on to the next adventure. I’ll post a picture of the finished product as an edit to this post.

EDIT: Here’s the finished product.

No soliciting sign completedNo soliciting sign completed

  1. We’ve lived in our home for almost 7 years now. Since this neighborhood was a new development in an area of Florida that has exploded with rapid urban development”, we get more solicitation of services and products than anywhere I’ve ever lived previously. There’s no regard for the sign at the front of the community that informs sales people that they shouldn’t be there. Nobody cares.↩︎

2024 May·15


Effortless. Fluid movement. Graceful progress. Adapting to disruption.

Photo by Lance Anderson on UnsplashPhoto by Lance Anderson on Unsplash

Jellyfish are one of the most beautiful creatures to observe. When I find myself mentally stuck” or unable to find a path through a problem, I will often pull up images like the one above or a video like this one. Getting outside for a walk or otherwise surrounding myself with nature in the real world may be optimal, but when there isn’t the time or chance to do that, observing imagery of jellyfish brings a calm and reframing to my thoughts.

Jellyfish as a framework for living is an interesting concept I plan to write more about. The movements of jellyfish are almost hypnotic. Even when something turbulent comes into their path, they flow through and around it. The ability to adapt to these disruptions and continue moving along is the personifcaiton of the popular Keep Calm, Carry On mantra. In our world of constant distractions and disruptions, remembering to keep your mind in a state of calm flow is key.

Watching jellyfish in motion doesn’t clear my mind due to a calming effect of the imagery itself, at least that alone. When I observe them, it serves as the reminder that they are the model. The way they exist is my model of existence. They are the teacher of that which we struggle to learn from our own surroundings and human mentors. Silently demonstrating the principles of life that we can’t hear through the noise of humanity. Beautiful simplicity that can be applied to anything you navigate. Never stopping; slight hesitations as courses shift and turbulence subsides. Movement is the way. Fluidity is the resolution.

2024 May·05

Good Enough

This post is my entry for April’s IndieWeb Carnival being hosted by Aaron Leonard.

As with most things in life, you can approach good enough from multiple perspectives. For the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on the two that come to mind most often in my current existence and outlook.

Good enough can be a mantra to fight against the never-ending pursuit of perfection; perfection being the enemy of good. In a world where perfection is constantly in our faces with photo filters and social media posts of everyone around us living their best life, it can feel like nothing is good enough until it is perfect. I call bullshit. Perfection seeking is a fool’s errand and evaluating anything with perfection being the success criteria of what is good enough has that fool doing cartwheels in our fragile and flawed human minds.

Adjust your scale and allow good enough to become any level of anything that both makes you happy and satisfies your needs. Not your wants. Not your warped perception of the world based on the Internet and all the generative AI tricks it hurls at your little glass house like a futuristic trebuchet. Let good enough become a weapon against anything that you know you’ve done to a level you’re satisfied with, yet still feel an obligation to continue to refine for refinement’s sake.

Good enough can also be the mantra of accepting the current state of mediocrity that we’re led to believe is modern success of industry and technology. Clothes that are so cheaply manufactured and cheaply sold that they feel cheap and wear like shit, but are good enough. I call bullshit again. The fact is that we’ve been conditioned, dare I say programmed, to believe this form of good enough is not only acceptable quality for life, but a quality of life.

Modern life. Where we have the technology, and convenience because of it, that we should subject ourselves to good enough meal from a convenient restaurant, conveniently brought to our doorstep by a delivery gig worker and every human in the chain of custody is aiming for that thin line below good enough to meet the margin and not an atom more. This form of good enough is a parasite to the tangible life and should be eradicated. This form of good enough is one that we should all take a stand against and say loud and proud we refuse to accept it or that it is a demonstration of our modern capabilities.

I frame good enough as an evaluation of the Dieter Rams concept of less, but better. In one way, the emphasis is on the less, because anything more would be more than enough vs. good enough. In other cases, the emphasis falls on better and the evaluation is that it may be less, but it is not better in any form and it is not (for me) good enough.

2024 Apr·28

Too little, and too much, self-promotion

Manu frames his feelings so well:

Every time I need to do something that is marketing-related, I can feel the tension in my brain as if a part of me is trying to fight against it.

My discomfort goes a step beyond this. When I actually do get a Ko-Fi donation notification, I feel like guilt, shame and imposter syndrome made a stew in my inbox. There is no reason for me to feel this way. It passes and I then feel appreciated and supported, but damn if that first moment isn’t a bitch every single time.

There is some verbiage, that I don’t use myself in my small self promotion mention in my About page, that I see and sometimes consider importing. If you enjoy reading XYZ, and you’re able to make a donation to support.” It’s subtle and I go back and forth on if it is something people truly would pick up on, the difference between like to/want to” and are able to”. Some readers may want to and aren’t in a financial position to do so.

My current self promo plug still uses want to. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I’ll decide to leave it as is and try to stop overthinking it, or I’ll update it and you’ll know it resolved that way in my brain.

2024 Apr·25

Listenbox is Cool

When I wrote this post about switching away from Castro to embrace the Apple Podcasts app, I mentioned that one feature I was leaving behind was sideloading YouTube videos as podcast episodes. Castro did that as a simple Share Menu option, though my milage varied on how often it would work without multiple tries.

I’ve found that Listenbox is a great way to mimic this functionality while using Apple Podcasts as my player. The premise is simply that it will let you add YouTube videos as podcast episodes. It offers more if you want to subscribe to a paid plan, but my use case needs nothing other than the free option.

From any YouTube video, copy/share the URL and plug it in on the homepage of Listenbox. Once you click Listen, it will provide you with an audio or video version of the YouTube video with buttons to subscribe” in Apple Podcasts and a slew of other popular podcast apps. Once you tap the player of your choice, it will open the show” and you can follow/subscribe to get the episode in your queue for listening. That’s it.

The one paid feature that is enticing for how I use the service is a Listen Later” queue where you could load as many YouTube videos as you’d like and still get a single feed to subscribe to in your podcast app. The only extra effort I have with my free tier method is that occassionally I go into the Shows section of Apple Podcasts and unfollow the shows, since there will only ever be one episode (that corresponds to the video I wanted to podcast-ify).

While ~$50/year may seem reasonable, I am not using any of the other paid features so the Listen Later single feed isn’t worth it to me. Maybe the developers will add an option that only enables that feature for a lower price.

This service reminds me a ton of the awesome Huffduffer. I still use my Huffduffer feed from time to time, but it doesn’t work well with YouTube videos since they aren’t an audio file natively. I wish Huffduffer would support transcoding YouTube videos to mp3 format natively, but I doubt it will get that enhancement.

2024 Apr·21