Pizza Toast & Coffee

Craig Mod, walker, photographer, philosopher, and now videographer, has produced a lovely short film on the Japanese tradition of pizza toast & coffee, or kissaten.

Many years ago I toured a tiny section of Japan with my mum, and one morning we were desperate for a change from the breakfasts of fish and miso. We wandered the streets and daringly (for us - we had no language) ventured into a small cafe that promised toast.

It was wonderful - not pizza toast, like Craig, but a wedge of just as thick, white, paper-light bread, toasted to perfection, and smothered in butter. It was also the first cup of coffee I’d ever enjoyed, largely because it was served with lashings of cream, making it more like a bowl of molten dark chocolate than coffee. Now I drink double-shot ristretto piccolos, which I guess is progress?

Craig is a bit of a wonder. He writes beautifully on his experiences walking and living in Japan, the craft of bookmaking, and the challenges and joys of running a membership program that funds all this creativity. His attention to detail on all his projects is inspiring, as evidenced in the pizza video - the sound, editing, and typeface choices are all perfect.

Worth following on any platform he turns his hand to.

Posting to

After seeing Colin Devroe respond to my post about his photo process, I realised that there was no good way for people to interact with this site. Not that I’m expecting much, but it helps to have a way to contact an author for corrections if nothing else.

Colin managed to dig out my dormant Twitter handle for this site (that I’d more or less forgotten about) to let me know there was a problem with the RSS feed - very kind of him to point it out, and now fixed hopefully.

As a result of this interaction, I started looking around for a way to automatically syndicate posts to Twitter again (which used to be easy with Wordpress). nicemachine is published using GitHub and Netlify, so it looked like this was going to be complicated. to the rescue! As well as Twitter I thought I should finally push posts to my empty account too, which is incredibly easy - just add an RSS feed to your account and it’s done.

And as a nice bonus, the setup solved the Twitter problem too - it will cross-post anything coming in on the feed to Twitter too. I’ll be interested to see if the Twitter link is to the original post or to the feed - hopefully the former.

In any case, posts from here should now be turning up on both platforms. Hello if you found this in either!

Tyler Hall’s Photo Management

On the topic of photo management, developer Tyler Hall is working1 on a Iris, a macOS photo management tool (‘the culmination of over a decade’s worth of thinking and experimenting’) with a great philosophy of power and privacy:

Iris is for people who care about their photos and videos and believe they’re worth safeguarding in a private, future-proof format that will outlive their grandchildren.

Iris is for family historians and archivists. As well as those who want a better, more robust, and dare I say nerdy way to manage an ever-growing photo and video library.

Iris is pragmatic and does not impose a certain workflow on you. Just point the app at your photo library on disk, and Iris will take it from there.

All sounds perfect for someone running their site on Hugo :-) Speaking of, the ability to export to a static site is a unique(?) and promising feature:

Iris can export a beautiful static website of your library, specific albums, or a custom search query. Then, just upload that to your own website.

Tyler’s blog is another marvel of well thought out posts that explain his (sometimes heated!) software frustrations and how he’s gone about solving them. He’s created a wealth of simple but elegant macOS utilities, often free, to enhance his workflows - the excellent looking TextBuddy being the most recent example.

He’s posted about his efforts to take control of his photo data in the past, and the quality of his existing work gives me high hopes for Iris. I don’t even own a Mac (waiting on the near-mythical 14" Mx Macbook) and I’m interested.

  1. Or at least I hope he’s working on - there have been no updates for a few months. He does call it his ‘white whale’, so I guess we should expect slow but steady progress! ↩︎

Colin Devroe’s Photo Management

Colin Devroe has posted his updated photo management workflow, a process that has taken him considerable effort to develop:

In 2018 I decided to set out on a sort of mission; I wanted to create a photo library that would be relatively future proof. Should I decide to use a different app or storage platform, I’d want to be able to do so easily rather than painfully.

Colin uses macOS, but the principles in the article apply to any platform.

His philosophy on keeping the photo metadata with the image file is exactly what I would want to do - protecting the metadata from a corrupt database or unexpected software changes, and allowing portability. I take the same approach to my ripped FLAC music library, which is gathering dust these days but still a nice backup for the days you want something the streaming services don’t have or have suddenly dropped.

I’d like to see an another post on lessons learnt and why not to do certain things. Also curious about the step where Colin fast-filters the keepers - is that just using Finder to flick through the images? There’s probably no need for anything more complex, which is a refreshing thought.

Also interesting that despite working on the workflow and tool selection for years, there’s still a missing piece: search on mobile.

I appreciate the effort people take to post things like this. Every post adds to the pool of knowledge to help avoid easily made but difficult to change mistakes, like Colin’s own findings when depending on Apple Photos as the main tool.

Dr Drang is one of the best examples of this kind of writing, using his posts to show the inner workings of his processes and why he chose certain paths over others - and as a reference site for his own memory.