Reading and Readers

    For the past couple of weeks I’ve been going back and forth, trying to decide where I’ll save (and hopefully read later) the incredible amount of links that show up daily.

    three iOS screenshots side by side, with GoodLinks, Reader, and Omnivore showing a list of saved links

    TL;DR I’m back where I started.

    For as long as I remember I’ve been using GoodLinks for that. And Raindrop to save some of those (and others), mostly links that are meant to be kept as reference, not necessarily reading material.

    The system works. But I, as one does, felt the urge to shake things up. The app that started all this was Readwise Reader, and then Omnivore joined the party.

    My perfect setup would be a good looking app, with a feature set that fits me, on both iOS and macOS. Affordable as well. I don’t need much, truth be told: tags, highlights, ability to use my fonts…

    How do they stack up?


    • GoodLinks has all that, minus highlighting. I cannot update it on macOS anymore, but it works.
    • Readwise cannot be installed on my old laptop. It has an incredibly cool web view though.
    • Omnivore cannot be installed on my old laptop. It has a very barebones web view. For now.


    • Readwise has a very nice iOS app.
    • Omnivore, on the other hand, as it’s still in beta, has a… well… beta app.
    • GoodLinks has a solid iOS app, with a nifty custom actions feature.


    • GoodLinks has no subscription, I already paid for it.
    • Readwise is expensive (relative, of course).
    • Omnivore is free.

    What else?

    • Found out GoodLinks is adding highlights in the near future.

    • GoodLinks also seems the one the scrapes the articles better, rarely missing photos. It does have a tendency to include a lot of unnecessary stuff, sadly.

    • Omnivore misses photos often. I keep reporting this.

    • I have no use for most of Readwise Reader’s features, and there’s a ton of those. It’s the most complete app of the three. By a very long distance.

    • Good links also seems to be the only one that saves a link from the iOS share sheet, and doesn’t require an extra tap to make the dialog go away. After a few saved links, I find this extremely welcome.

    If I had to, Raindrop could be used on its own, for everything. It has a free tier with most of the features I need, and a decently priced Pro tier. It’s not perfect as a reading app though.

    So, for now, I’m exactly where all this began. Feel like GoodLinks was the app I used for a reason and, even though I’d love to use Readwise, I can’t justify the cost, especially when I have a solution that is free by now, since it was paid in the past, and I will never be able to use it fully. At least until I get a new laptop.

    I’m still keeping an eye on Omnivore, as new features are being released as I write this. It’s in, as I’ve said, beta stage, and I expect it to change a lot before it’s done.

    At the moment I’m saving Readwise Reader’s money for something else. I’m sure I’ll have no trouble spending it.


    I’m aware hashtags are not really a thing on Micro.blog, but they are on Mastodon, and interaction is happening a lot more over there at the moment.

    Adding the relevant hashtags by hand on every single post that needed them was getting old but, luckily, Mike came up with a neat solution, one that uses a shortcode and a Drafts action.


    Death of an Instance

    maique.lol is dead, long live maique.lol!

    A couple of months ago, I thought about having my own Mastodon instance. I was very happy at social.lol, after being a mastodon.social user for a long time, but still…

    Mock-up of an iPhone displaying a website monitoring service, with one site down: maique.lol

    This was not my first go at a single user instance, mind you. A while back I had one, for a few months. I used a hosting service. Doing it myself is totally out of the question, it’s way out of my technical expertise. I might even get it working, but maintenance is certainly a pain. This was great: a small amount made its way to a very nice gentleman, and he took care of everything. Customer service was awesome too.

    In the end I gave up, for a couple of reasons: I couldn’t justify the cost of keeping it alive, no matter how reasonable that expense was, and I was missing some of the perks of being on a bigger instance.

    Elastic search is great, but not practical on an instance for one. It adds to the cost. Also, the local timeline becomes your own feed when you’re in a single user instance. Of course.

    On the plus side: custom emoji, as many as you want. And your own domain. Two things that are hard to beat.

    You get to moderate the links, and hashtags, that show up on the trending section but, since there’s only one of you there, it makes little sense.

    Anyway, I did it again. Fully aware of how it would work, and why it might not, I couldn’t stop myself, and took advantage of a very generous offer from Vincent.

    He carefully installed the instance, and kept it alive for as long as it took me to give up on it. Again.

    The reasons for quitting were the same this time around, with an added lack of disposable income at the moment thrown into the mix. It’s still not too expensive to have one, but, if you think about it, it is silly to do it for the vanity domain alone.

    If you’re a company, a business, that’s a whole different ball game, of course. For private users, for this private user, it’s still hard to justify.

    There are, literally, thousands of instances where you can have an account. For free, or contributing to keep them going by supporting the person paying for hosting them. And you should really contribute, as things can get quite expensive, pretty fast.

    maique.lol has gone to the proverbial farm upstate, and is now happily living with all the other nice instances.

    I’m back at social.lol, a nice home, set up for the omg.lol community. I’m a little sad, but it’s ok. Who knows what the future will bring?

    If you’re looking to have your own instance, I can’t recommend Vincent highly enough. Talk to him, I’m sure he’ll take excellent care of you.

    The Passport

    We needed two passports. One for tinyMovieStar, and another one for me. Mine expired during the pandemic, and she never had one.

    A Japanese entry stamp on a passport page.

    There’s no way to keep the old one, and it’s always a pain. This one, the expired one, had all the stamps from our honeymoon. Sad. I took some photos, and talked myself into not crying.

    We have a few places where we can get a new one issued, and the price varies according to how quickly you need it. If you’re willing to wait a week, it’s cheaper, and the price goes up from there. You can get it on the same day, if you add the urgency fee. Not much, in the end, but silly to pay for it if you’re not in such a hurry. We were in the middle: don’t need it today, but can’t wait a week.

    Stamps on a passport.

    So, we drove back to the city, and straight to one of the places where we’d be able to apply for them.

    When we got there, we noticed it was one of the offices where an appointment must be made in advance. Damn.

    However, this being a country where everything depends on who’s manning the front desk, we were lucky. A very nice lady told us she could try to get us in, but we’d probably have to wait an hour to take care of both passports, as they were taking a break in a few minutes.

    Stamps on a passport.

    We waited 5 minutes, and the lady told us to go in. We’d do one now, the second one in an hour.

    We got to the desk, and it was the same woman who had done tinyMovieStar’s national ID card, a couple of years ago. She asked who the passport was for, and I told us: “Both of us.”

    She was nice, quick, professional. She took care of both in less than 15 minutes. The photos look great too.

    Stamps on a passport.

    We were advised, as expected, to go for the medium urgency tier, as we might not get them on time if we picked the cheaper tier. They would be delivered, if everything went ok, on the afternoon before our flight day. Still… We followed her advice.

    We left, happy. Not 30 minutes had elapsed since we had arrived. We were so thrilled with how efficient they had been, we decided to go to a coffeehouse.

    Stamps on a passport.

    When we got back to the parked car, a fine was placed on the windshield. Seems like they were extra efficient today as well.


    Not sure if it qualifies as a mountain, but it’s the craziest peak I know of…

    A quiet country road with palm trees on both sides and, on the background, a volcanic peak that looks like a needle.

    Pico Cão Grande, in São Tomé.


    Had the usual cups of coffee in the morning, and decided to skip photographing those, hoping I’d meet a beer in the afternoon. Sadly, that didn’t happen. So…

    Drinks vending machine in a Kyoto street corner.

    Back to memory land, and a place where a beverage is never far.

    thingsThisWeek #22

    • 🍷 Comida Independente had a party, we attended. I was supposed to document the event, but things didn’t turn out as easy as expected. I’m not really great at shooting these things, and the end result is always so depressing that I find myself shooting less every time. Of course that means I have fewer, and worse, photos. I guess I should just start saying no to these.
    • 🍿 The Tinder Swindler to start the week, followed by The Drug King. Special Correspondents, second time for me, because movieStar hadn’t seen that one yet. 6 Underground, Screwball, The Highwaymen, True Memoirs of an International Assassin, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing. Series? Inventing Anna. We binged the series, meaning a couple of episodes a night. Last week’s show (Murderville) was left behind. Somehow it didn’t feel funny enough for movieStar, and I’ll have to agree. There are SO many shows to watch, some are bound to be left unwatched.
    • ❤️ Yes, Valentine’s Day happened this week, and I totally forgot it was coming. We ended up having lunch at our Mexican joint down the street, and that was it. Turned out pretty great, with lunchtime margarita happy hour thrown in for good measure. Next year I promise I’ll remember and plan accordingly.
    • 🎥 Movie Day for tinyMovieStar. Kindergarten took the kids to the movies, and she had a great time. It was her first time at the cinema, and they watched mostly Russian short (very short) movies. Everyone was behaving very well, silent and entertained. She slept on the bus that took them back to kindergarten, even though it was a 15 min drive.
    • 🔋Felt tired all week long. No energy. Nothing. Still have some photos left to edit, and took care of another batch, but that was hard. Did nothing worth a sentence. Nothing at all.
    • 🏝 Seems like March might not be the month we go back to the island after all. Confirmation didn’t come through, some things that were planned there have been postponed, so probably our trip will go the same way. A couple of friends have been down there in the past month, we keep hearing about it, looking at the photos. It’s even harder now, when we thought we were so close to going back. April, maybe?
    • 📱Got myself a birthday present, a month before the actual date. Finally upgraded the phone. The X will now go to movieStar, and it’s the phone I enjoyed the most up to now. It was the one that shot most of the photos of the previous years, the best time of my life. It’s been with us on the island, around Asia, a bit of Europe, and, topping that off, it was the phone that captured tinyMovieStar’s first months on this planet. Thank you, mrBatsu.

    thingsThisWeek #21

    • 🦥 Zoo time! Haven’t been in ages, didn’t really want to go back, but there you have it. tinyMovieStar rules the world, with movieStar as second-in-command, and we ended up spending a couple of hours at the local zoo with cousins, and their kids. What can I tell you? I’m not a fan of zoos. Can’t recall, but I don’t think I liked them when I was younger. tinyMovieStar loved it tough. She talked about it the whole week. movieStar got her a plush sloth on the way out, and it’s now one of her favorites, along with the panda she’s had for a while.
    • 🍿 Another week, another batch of tv series and movies. Started the weekly marathon with The Hater. Then A Family, Get Him to the Greek, The Fable, The Fable: The Killer Who Doesn’t Kill, Untold: Crime & Penalties. We also watched one episode of Murderville. Funny. I heard about this one on Smartless, and was curious about it. Not great, but good enough for a few laughs.
    • 🦷 Teething. Ongoing. These are probably the last ones, but they are proving to be a challenge. Poor thing keeps sticking her finger in her mouth. Still, I find it amazing how strong she is, I’d be rolling around on the floor.
    • 📰 Surprise, I got back and did an assignment for the newspaper I left years ago. Felt good to be back to these assignments. It was a small, simple, affair, but felt great getting in the car and driving an hour out of the city to shoot a place I’ve never been before. When is the next one coming?
    • 🎉 This was also the week when we, finally free from the Covid shackles, could visit both our families. Grandmas and grandpas were happy to see tinyMovieStar again, she was thrilled to see them as well. She played with the dog, she had strawberry ice-cream, scrambled eggs by the dozen, the whole thing… We slept over at my in-laws, and came back on Sunday, after a lively lunch with my brothers-in-law. A day later one of them calls and announces they too got the virus. Not from us, but from someone else at the wake we all attended last week.
    • 🏝Seems like we’re going back to Príncipe. Probably March, but still waiting for the confirmation. A lot of things are worrying me at this point. I’m sure we’ll be fine, but the move from Gang of Two to Gang of Three has me thinking about the preparation a lot more than I used to.

    Travel Plans

    We’re on the first stages of planning our upcoming trip. We’re still waiting for the confirmation, but we’ll probably spend a month (March?) on the island.

    It’s the first big trip we’re making with tinyMovieStar, and the destination can be challenging for a (close to) two-year-old toddler.

    This is a trip we’ve made many times before, but travelling with her adds countless new variables. That has been true when moving in the country, it will get a lot harder with this trip. Long gone are the days of pack&go!

    She’ll be flying for the first time, and not a short flight at that. That is our first concern. Then she’ll land in a place that is entirely different from what she’s used to. None of the things we rely upon to feed her and entertain her are available. We’ll have to pack tons of food, medicines, toys, books, and so on. Vegetables are hard to find there, and everything else has regular shortages as well.

    We’re probably getting a house in the city, and that comes with advantages, as well as disadvantages. We can cook, but we have to find supplies to do that, not as easy as asking the kitchen staff to help out. There’s only one “supermarket”, and regular things can be in very short supply. There’s also no pool or beach in the city, and the number of things to do in town in general is very, VERY, limited. The town is tiny.

    The nicest hotel, the one where it would be easier to keep her happy, fed, and entertained, is closed for renovation. That’s the one with the nicest beach too. Bummer.

    We’ll also have to find someone to help out with babysitting. We have someone on our minds, but aren’t even sure if she’s on the island at the moment.

    Transportation is another issue. There are no taxis (they do have motorcycle taxis, but those are obviously not suitable), no buses, and renting a car for a month would be crazy expensive. There’s a bus that takes the hotel’s employees around the island, and that’s probably what we’ll use.

    It will be crazy hot! We can handle it, sometimes barely, but she’s never been in a place as hot as the island. It’s another reason to worry.

    She’ll miss her kindergarten too, as she’s really into it at the moment. movieStar will ask the teacher to send a video now and then, but the first days will surely be hard for her. She doesn’t have a babysitter here, she spends all her time at kindergarten, and with us, I’m sure it will be something difficult to overcome. I will probably not work while there, but something might come up. I’ll keep her company for as long as I can, while movieStar goes off to work but, if I have to work also, things will get messy.

    We’re thrilled that she’s going there, and happy that we’re back as well, but I know things will be very different this time around, the whole dynamic has changed too much. Still, this is a wonderful opportunity, and I can’t wait to see her there, having fun and discovering a TON of new things. I hope she has as much fun as we do. She’s meeting the place where mom&dad met and married!

    thingsThisWeek #20

    • 🎂 Mother-in-law had a birthday, and we couldn’t attend. We’re still a little scared we might be infecting people even after the mandatory week at home. Still testing positive when the week started, and the cough had yet to disappear. That changed later on, as the week unfolded.
    • 🍿 Made it to the end of The Girl From Oslo, and moved on to… Did watch a couple of movies as well, still on my quest to go through the worst movies on Netflix: Home Team, Munich The Edge of War, The Polka King, The Trader, The Week Of, Bad Boys for Life, Yes Day, Sand Castle, Operation Finale, The Dirt. Busy week! One series that I keep turning to when I have nothing else lined up, or have no time to look for something, is Superstore. Fun enough, perfect for a break while editing photos or other chores. I believe I’ve watched it all already, but don’t mind seeing the odd episode from time to time.
    • 🗳 Sunday was Election Day. This is the one I was working for until my test came back positive, and I’m sad to say that the nazis got a lot more votes than I expected. At the same time, the socialist party managed to get a huge chunk of the votes, an outright majority (way more than expected), and consequently they’ll be able to keep doing what they’ve been doing for six years now.
    • 🦠 We finally tested negative on the Covid test. We had complied with the mandatory isolation, but we were still a little scared to go out and meet people, because our tests kept coming back positive. Now we’re free to go anywhere again. We can visit our parents again! This variant is still going strong, and everyone we know that has kids is getting infected.
    • 🖼 Something I hadn’t done in a long while: go to a museum and see an art show. A colleague from Porto is showing some photos at the prestigious Gulbenkian museum in Lisbon, and Nuno thought it would be a good idea to visit. It was. He rode his bike and offered a lift (always a thrill), and the show was pretty cool. Small, but nice.
    • 💻 Finally got around to it and edited a ton of photos from an assignment that was left behind when the virus came into our lives. Still another one to deal with, but shouldn’t take long.
    • 👶🏻 tinyMovieStar is growing fast. Too fast. I’m aware this is something every parent feels, we were warned about it multiple times, and everyone was spot on. Things happen at a speed I wasn’t prepared for, and she’s not even two yet! Every single day we’re amazed by the new thing she’s doing. She talks a LOT, and I love it. She narrates her whole day, describing what she’s doing at all times. And it gets better and better, every day, with the new words she’s picking up. Sweet as can be.
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