On Airtable and Numbers

I tried out Airtable for a year, for a simple personal spreadsheet that I’ve been keeping for a few years now.

It’s slick, and quick to enter data, but in the end I’ve decided to go back to Numbers.

Yes, boring.

Things I liked:

  • I really liked being able to easily add images when needed
  • Having single-select and multi-select lists are useful and intuitive. I miss this the most in Numbers.

Things I didn’t like:

  • To do something as simple as making a little chart, I needed to pay $20 a month! Yes, the Pro plan had far more than charts, but I just cared about this one small feature, and it seemed ridiculous to me.

Things I didn’t care for:

  • I realized I wasn’t going to use the 3rd party Airtable plugins or integrations.
  • There is an intermediate Plus plan ($10/mo). I expected to use it, and would’ve been okay with it, but surprisingly didn’t hit the size limit on my bases.

Adaptations in Numbers

I was able to get most of the way to a single-select box by a combination of

  1. Setting the data type for the column to “popup”
  2. Adding a conditional highlighting (this is surprisingly easy to do)

Conclusion

I’ve always been one to try out new apps, and new tools, because there are always ways of doing things better, and the satisfaction that comes with that.

Recently though, I’ve been very sensitive to my personal info becoming siloed in a bunch of different places, and I want as much of it as possible

  1. Open format
  2. Local
  3. Index-able

Moving from Airtable to Numbers involves giving up a few features, but it satisfies these requirements I’m placing on my tools these days, so I’m quite happy about it 🙂

Youtube and Spotify

Youtube is always goiong to be superior to Spotify just because … it has more stuff.

The downside is that it’s hard to know wtf is real any more, when searching for something.

The upside is that the “tail end” of what’s available is much longer on Youtube.

Today, for instance, I discovered Jun Fukamachi
(electronic jazz music, sort of. Like a lot of people I end up really liking, a dead person. Anyway.)

Spotify, for instance, shows just three albums:

Youtube has … many, many albums. This particular one was an album made in 1984: Starview HCT-5808.

Now, many of them might be fake, but … as long as there is something I can get on Youtube I can’t get on Spotify, well, I’m going to add to my playlists there, aren’t I?

Sky Guide

Showing Jupiter and Saturn in the sky together.

Apps on our smartphones get a bad rap for wasting our time, and deservedly.

It’s true that most are either harmful or neutral, or a distraction, or a minor convenience.

One set of apps that are genuinely something that exist only because we have “computers in our pockets” are apps1 like Sky Guide, which have this magical ability to tell me which stars are in the sky, highlight them for me as I move my phone around, and display helpful connecting lines, the ecliptic, etc

I can’t believe I paid the price of a cup of coffee2 for something that’s mine to use forever, and that works so well and is delightful every single time I use it!


  1. A larger list of similar apps here ↩︎
  2. $2.99 on the AppStore right now. Compare with a Grande Freshly Brewed ($2.10) or a Tall Caffe Latte ($2.95) at Starbucks ↩︎

Deus Ex McKenna

I was going to make a short comment about liking some specific video, then thought I should provide context, then realized that I have … no real way to start because there was too much to say, and if I started in the wrong place it wouldn’t be worth it, and it’s best not to say anything.

Anyway, I will try to write more on this somehow, some day, but for now I’ll just say (this part almost rhymed) that some of the most intriguing, bewildering, lulling, awakening, and funny material I’ve ever heard is by Terence McKenna.

Yes, like many people I like to read or hear, he’s dead.

(the title shamelessly stolen from one of the few YouTube channels featuring old content by him)