Google Home: Great For Music & Radio

After a few weeks with the Google Home (the voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant) I’m a fan because it’s so convenient for playing music and radio.  I’m finding myself listening to both more (and consequently watching less TV!) since it’s just so easy to walk into my apartment and say “Hey Google, play 90.9FM” […]

Electric Meter Saga

In January, my electric bill rose by 40% (88 kWh) which I found odd for my small apartment with gas heat, hot water and stove with no laundry. The increase is the equivalent of something drawing 120W 24/7 for the entire month which seemed unlikely for the electric devices I had, mainly: fridge, water pump, […]

Web Landmines: Thrash, Nags & Bloat

This is a rant.  The wealth of information on the web is amazing, but I find it riddled with user experience landmines that make it an unpleasant medium for reading.  These landmines are so frequent that stumbling on nice plain HTML page, like paulgraham.com, is refreshing and relieving, instead of normal.  The modern web is […]

Living in East Boston’s Jeffries Point

Six months after moving into East Boston’s Jeffries Point, I’m extremely happy.  When people learn it’s where I live, they usually react by saying “Oh, great move!” then shortly thereafter “Do you feel safe? Do you like it?”  I’m pleased to report that I agree it was a great move, that yes I do feel […]

Shutterfly Story Export

Shutterfly has a neat feature called “Stories” that have a cool UI, but no easy way to export.  I wanted to store the photos in Google Photos, so here is the process I came up with. It starts with a Shutterfly story URL like: https://photos.shutterfly.com/story/id/120075324736 Replace <STORY_ID> in the cURL command below, and find the payload.message property. […]

Marching in Boston

A day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, I joined hundreds of thousands of people to march in solidarity with those who fear they may be marginalized by his presidency.  It was by far the densest crowd I’ve been a part of, with an estimated 185,000 people crammed into an approximately 15 acre corner of Boston Common.  It […]

Outlook for Web

Recently I was somewhat shocked to learn that Microsoft Outlook for web has awesome features like pinning and the notion of important messages.  I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, since awesome open source web mail clients exist like RainLoop, but I was living under the rock of “nothing-compares-to-gmail.” The history of email web clients […]

Google Photos Has It All

Google Photos is a spectacular product that has helped to rekindle my passion for photography.  Since the launch in May 2015, I’ve uploaded 39,524 photos, created 117 albums and enjoyed countless “aha” moments, all while benefitting from a steady rollout of new features.  Google Photos makes it a joy to share and find my photos taken on both my […]

Pebble 2 is Part Fitness Tracker, Part Smartwatch

I’m now a week into using the Pebble 2 and I’m a fan.  I’ve wanted to try Pebble’s next generation smartwatch for ages, and almost 100 days after my wife’s pre-order and about a month after Pebble’s demise, it finally arrived*.  For my taste, the Pebble 2 gets all the hardware stuff right including: screen, waterproofing, battery, sensors […]

I Am Not Natalie Taylor

My surname (Taylor) is extremely common, ranking tenth in the 2010 US Census.  My Google Account username is nattaylor, which you’ll note is only nine letters with no numbers or special characters.  Apparently, there are lots of careless Natalie Taylor’s in the world who accidentally use my email address for their correspondence.  At times I’ve […]