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An Amazing Way to Index Your (Paper) Notebook

November 28, 2015

Baron Fig Confidant with writing


As far as I can tell, there are three ways to organize your catch-all notebook you carry around with you:

  1. Realize that you’re taking notes chronologically anyway, so just flip through by dated entry and hope you find what you are looking for.
  2. Number your pages (or get a notebook with numbered pages) and then keep the first three pages clear for your running Table of Contents.
  3. Use a tagging system, like you would in Evernote.

Yeah, I know. The last one didn’t seem possible to me either. But then I read this. (You’re welcome.)

Thanksgiving Opens Our Souls

November 25, 2015

Andrew Murray School of Prayer


Happy Thanksgiving! Here is a short but potent piece from Andrew Murray (1828-1917), found in his With Christ in the School of Prayer:

Let us, with thanksgiving that we have been heard, with thanksgiving for what we have received and taken and now hold as ours, continue steadfast in believing prayer that the blessing, which has already been given us, and which we hold in faith, may break through and fill our whole being. It is in such believing thanksgiving and prayer, that our soul opens up for the Spirit to take entire and undisturbed possession.

PopClip: The Most Indispensable Mac OS X Utility

November 21, 2015

PopClip is the best Mac OS X utility there is.

It’s simple, really:

PopClip appears when you select text with your mouse on your Mac. Instantly copy & paste, and access actions like search, spelling, dictionary and over 100 more.

PopClip is basically a Mac version of the iOS share sheet, which you can quickly get at just by selecting text. It looks like this:




What’s Awesome About PopClip


Its very existence is awesome. This short page shows you the extensions with which the app ships–fairly basic, though still helpful, ones.

PopClip Menu BarBut it’s all the Actions you can add to it that make it so great. Here are but a few, shown in the menu bar at right, where you can also rearrange the order to customize the appearance.

A few of my favorite things I can do with a single click:

  • select text to send to OmniFocus as a task
  • save a text selection to Evernote
  • select text to send to 2Do as a task
  • select the title of a book from a syllabus and find it on Amazon
  • do the same thing on ebay

And then there’s some cool power-user stuff, too:

  • change selected text to all caps, all lowercase, or sentence case
  • calculate a string of numbers (i.e. 4*9+7 magically changes to 43 when I select it and click on the = sign in PopClip)
  • count characters and words in a selection (especially helpful for when I’m using OmniOutliner, which doesn’t have a built in word count feature)

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are all the extensions you can add to your own PopClip, a process which is fast and easy.

There are some customizations, too. You can have PopClip not appear in certain apps of your choosing. You can change the size of its pop-up menu. And you can have it start up at login.


A Single Drawback


Just one: you cannot currently sync your added extensions between computers. So if you use two computers, you’ll have to configure evertyhing twice.


How to Get It


PopClip will fill in the gaps of many of your favorite apps by letting you quickly get information into them. It will save you time with things like its spell check, word count, and running a Google or Amazon or Etsy search on selected text. It can even automatically shorten Web links and randomly re-order selected lines of text.

PopClip is easily worth its $6.99. Find it on the Mac App Store here.



Thanks to the good folks at Pilot Moon for the review copy of PopClip, given to me for this review but with no expectation as to its content.

The Mourning Woman Who Taught the Priest How to *Really* Pray, or, The Power of (Even Silent) Prayer After Terrorist Attacks

November 19, 2015

There was once a couple who was not able to have children together. The woman felt alone and mourned regularly. Her husband loved her deeply.

It was her habit to go into a local sanctuary that had open prayer times during the day. Another woman in town, if you can believe it, would tease and provoke her over her not being able to bear children. So she wept bitterly and would go long periods of time without eating.

One day her husband said to her, “Why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad?”

She could not respond, except to go back to that sanctuary and pray.

* * * * * * *

One day the priest was there, close to where she was praying.

The woman was utterly distressed and prayed to God, weeping openly as she prayed.

She made a promise of sorts: “O Almighty God, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give me a child… I will devote him entirely to you.”

As she prayed the priest started watching her mouth. He noticed that she prayed silently. Her lips were moving, but he couldn’t hear any sound come out of her mouth. He thought maybe she was drunk.

* * * * * * *

So the priest, a man named Eli, said to her, “Hannah, How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.”

She responded:

No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.

Eli responded, as with a change of heart, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.”

* * * * * * *

Prayer, as it turns out, is not a silent, impotent act.

Even those prayers we can’t fully voice—where our lips are barely moving—reach God.

The prayer of one of God’s beloved is powerful and effective, as Jesus’ brother James tells us.

So keep praying. Keep your lips moving, even if no sound is coming out.

Keep praying though you are in despair. Keep praying when you feel helpless and hopeless and powerless. Keep praying when evil seems to have the upper hand.

Keep praying in times of drought, in times of death and destruction, in times of violence and terror, and in times of fear and confusion and sadness.

Through our prayers and the prayers of others, we are healed. Our words uttered to God plant us in the soil of his love, and we are saved. The prayers of God’s children are powerful and effective.

15% Off All Logos 6 Base Packages

November 16, 2015

Logos 6 Gold


I haven’t posted about this in a while, but you can get 15% off any base package in Logos 6 through Words on the Word. If you order a base package through this Logos landing page, Logos feeds a percentage back to me, which I use to support the work of Words on the Word. So if you’re going to buy a base package anyway…

…check it out here, or just use the promo code ABRAMKJ6 when you check out with a base package in your Logos cart. My review of Logos 6 is here.

Mediac: This Is The Most Serene Republic in 2015

November 13, 2015




The first half-minute of ambience that opens Mediac took me right back to the first time I listened to The Most Serene Republic’s fantastic debut Underwater Cinematographer. I have my sister-in-law to continue to thank for introducing me to that still-ahead-of-its-time album.


Unique Toronto, Unique Toronto


TMSR always has been and still is a band very much their own. Are there 4 members? 8? 126? It doesn’t really matter, because they all (there are actually 6) play in sync with each other, even while contributing unique lines you might not otherwise think could be combined in a single song.

That’s part of the band’s unique genius. Sometimes you’re experiencing the music as one unified groove, as in the poppy “I Haven’t Seen You Around,” Mediac’s second track, or as in “Ontario Morning,” the album’s first single. Other times you hear the instruments more disparately and have to work harder to take a song in, as in “Brain Etiquette,” the album’s second-to-last song.

TMSR is not afraid to challenge their listeners, a trait I admire in a band. What other rock sextet do you know of that routinely incorporates brass and strings as if it were second nature? Well, okay, maybe a lot do, but not this creatively. “Failure of Anger,” the sixth track, makes you wonder why you haven’t heard more banjo and electric guitar fuzz in the same song before this.

But back to the beginning for a minute.


TMSR Through the Years


Underwater Cinematographer came in 2005. And on a blog that has long since disappeared from the Internet, Phages was my 2006 Album of the Year… even though it was an EP. That’s how good these guys are. Their live show matched the energy and quality of their recordings. They were probably my favorite band of the mid-oughts, or whatever we finally ended up deciding to call that decade. Their second full-length, Population (2007), was my favorite outdoor running companion for many months.

I sort of lost touch with the band at that point, and they actually have been on hiatus themselves for the last five years. Well, they’ve worked the last four years on Mediac, but I don’t know who knew that until now.


PR Photo of Some Cool-Looking Dudes

PR Photo of Some Cool-Looking Dudes


Word Association


Ready for some album reviewer’s word association?

Creativity? They’ve still got it.

Quality production? Check. (Brought to you by Ryan Lenssen from the band and David Newfield, who has overseen Broken Social Scene, Super Furry Animals, and Los Campesinos!).

Memorable hooks? Done, throughout.

Lush, interweaving guitars? Yes, even if it’s not a priority as such.

Thought-provoking, critical-of-the-mainstream lyrics? Uh, yeah. In “Capitalist Waltz” (which, awesomely, is not a waltz) Adrian Jewett snarkily sings, “I’ll advertise for you,” an impulse we reviewers have to face cautiously, much as we may love the bands we write about.

In that spirit, some lyrics hit me as a little obtuse:

To fill the day with an effigy of you,

while Earth’s cigarette is freshly lit

in the modern times, the modern times.

(Et tu, Facebook? he Tweeted.)

That same song is still catchy, though:

A montage of you turning around, turning around, turning around

And, okay, I’ll admit–if I’m understanding the song right, referring to Facebook (and/or Instagram) as “Earth’s cigarette” is actually right on the money.


Concluding Evaluation and Where to Get Mediac


I’m thrilled these guys are back in action with another full-length. Their first few records showed real progression, while each being winners in their own right. Medaic is a little harder for me to know how to place in the TMSR corpus, all of which I’ve listened to. It has some real bright moments, though I didn’t initially experience it as being as cohesive or as innovative as previous efforts.

That said, if you have never listened to TMSR, they exude talent, passion, conviction, and RAWK on any album they put their hands to.

And even as I wrap up this review, some weeks after starting to listen to Mediac, it’s growing on me with each listen. I find more hooks, melodies, motifs, and layers to latch onto each time.

You probably will, too, so definitely untangle those headphones in your jeans pocket, download the album, and queue up your iPod. The Most Serene Republic is back.

Mediac releases today, November 13. You can find it on Amazon here, iTunes here, or at the band’s site here.


Thanks to the fine folks doing PR for TMSR, who provided me with an advance copy of the album so I could review it.

Firefox for iOS, At Last!

November 12, 2015

Screenshot 2015-11-12 10.33.21


At long last Mozilla has announced today the release of their flagship product, Firefox, for iOS. Now you can easily access all those bookmarks, history, and reading lists from the desktop Web browser.

Find it (free) in the App Store here.


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