TextSniper/An Accidental Life/Discover your sources of pleasure


Recomendo: issue no. 253

Grab uncopyable text
I often come across text on my computer that I can’t copy, such as error messages, screenshots, PDFs, or Kindle Cloud reader pages. I bought a $4 optical character recognition utility called TextSniper that lets me grab uncopyable text that’s on my display and save it as plain text to the clipboard. (It also reads QR and barcodes!) I quickly have become dependent on it. (It’s Mac-only.) — MF

Strange Autobiography
Charles Platt is a science fiction writer who was also a staff writer for Wired magazine. He is not well known, and does not have an extravagant life story, but for some reason I could not put down his multi-volume self-published autobiography which is subtitled: “How I Failed at Almost Everything.” I found his nearly day-by-day memoirs of his struggles to be a writer and zine publisher to be page-turning exciting because he had just enough success so that his inevitable personal failures would make a rollicking roller coaster ride, like a good sitcom. How will Charles screw up next? Despite the stack of unread bestsellers on my table, I’ve read Vol1Vol 2, and Vol 3 of his An Accidental Life, and look forward to the soon to be published Vol 4 and 5. — KK

Coupling pleasures with chores
I beta-tested one of Clearer Thinking’s mini-programs to help identify my greatest sources of pleasure, which is important to know, because “positive emotions are one of the pillars of well-being. By identifying your Sources of Pleasure, you can pursue them on those times you are feeling a bit low, our use them as a reward for engaging in other activities you do not feel like doing.” My sources of pleasure were mostly sensorial and not surprising to discover: animals, nature, humor. But what was surprising was the genius advice that could apply to everyone: “Coupling” to come up with ways to incorporate pleasure into your daily life. “Couple boring activities, like vacuuming your home, with something you really like to do such as listening to your favorite podcast or singing out loud.” I do love listening to standup comedy while stuck in traffic, I had never thought of listening to it while I cleaned the house. — CD

Take a “golden hour” photo any time of day
I try to veer away from using filters on photos, but there are times when the scene I am seeing is so much more vibrant than what comes out in a picture. I tried out the “TikTok” iPhone photo hack, which is a specific formula for making a photo taken in natural light look like it was taken during the “golden hour,” and I love the effect. Here is a before and after picture of my dog Pablo wading through water. The exact formula is: Exposure and brilliance to 100. Highlights to -32. Shadows to -26. Lower the contrast to -30. Brightness to -15. Black point to 10. Saturation to 10. Vibrance to 8. Warmth to 10. Push the tint up to 29. Up the sharpness to 14. Definition feature to 23. Finally, slide the exposure back down to 0. — CD

Web-based music toy
Beepster is a website that lets you make synthesizer music through experimentation. It has four tracks. You can change the waveform, speed, volume, pitch, and scale by clicking buttons. It’s configured in such a way that anything you do produces a pleasant tune. — MF

Art to follow
Instagram has become one kind of art museum for me. I like to get my art in diverse small doses. Among the artists I follow, I seek these accounts because they keep me surprised.

If you have a favorite art follow that always surprises you, let me know. — KK

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 05/23/21

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