2019-03-31 14.24.37

So glad this reference exists for configuring WordPress to work with status entries.

HowTo Music Post

How not to overthink iOS shortcuts for Day One Journals

I like to keep notes about the gigs I play with my various bands. Sometimes I log very detailed entries about changes we need to make to our gear or sound settings for the next gig, other times it’s just a few quick words so I can remember who came out to see us or what riff I need to work on in a given song for the next gig.

Naturally I use Day One to record this information. Last year I started using an iOS Shortcut that I wrote that prompts me for the type of information I want to record about each gig. The shortcut presented me with a list of questions and then combined all of my responses to those questions into a nicely-formatted Day One journal entry.

day one prompts for gig journal entry

The problem is that I am not a great Shortcuts writer. I’m lazy so I didn’t add any flow control statements to try to save my responses to the prompt questions as I went along. Meaning, after answering 3 or 4 questions and typing them on my iPhone (which is needless to say tedious) I would occasionally forget about my lame programming skills and try to pause the Shortcut while I go over to facebook or somewhere and download a photo from the gig to add to the entry. Nine times out of 10 I would hit “Done” in the Shortcuts app to do this and in the process I would lose all of the responses I had already typed. Frustrating.

This morning I did just that. Again. I hit Done in Shortcuts while answering the gig prompts in order to go get a photo from facebook and lost all of the details I’d already written last night’s gig. Let me be clear this isn’t Shortcuts fault or Day One’s.

day one journal template

Then I realized I’m totally overthinking this whole need to be prompted bit by Shortcuts and instead trashed my old shortcut and just wrote up this little gem which works just fine and doesn’t have the risk of me screwing it up and losing text. Moral of the story: don’t overthink it! Maybe instead of using Shortcuts to prompt you for a long list of questions, just create a template entry in Shortcuts instead.

2019-03-31 12.51.17

Thumbs up to @kevin2kelly for giving Adventure Cycling Association a mention in the latest issue of Recomendo. @advcyclingassoc is an amazing resource and I am proud to be a supporting member!

2019-03-27 22.28.14

Hey, @brentsimmons release it on the App Store! NetNewsWire will be THE gateway drug for millions of users who have yet to discover that there is an internet outside of facebook and twitter! #controlyourfeed


Read iOS HRV data (captured during breathing session) via shortcuts

I first started using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to track my recovery from a concussion that I sustained while out mountain biking. HRV is a possibly useful metric to track overall health, stress levels, etc. I have a few years worth of (not entirely consistent) HRV data as a result of using Marco Altini’s fantastic HRV4Training app. If you’re not hip to HRV, here’s a little explainer from Marco’s website:

HRV, in particular rMSSD or a transformation of rMSSD such as HRV4Training’s Recovery Points, are simply a way to capture parasympathetic activity, or in other words, level of physiological stress. As we apply stress to trigger certain adaptations, measuring our body’s response to such stressors, as well as to all other forms of stress we are affected from (e.g. simply life happening, work stress, family, etc.), is very helpful as it can provide objective feedback and help us making meaningful adjustments, the simpler adjustments is probably just being a little more honest with ourselves, and slowing down from time to time, especially when our body is already too stressed.

The difficulty for me has been taking consistent measurements. For HRV data to be useful it ought to be collected at the same time and under similar circumstances each day. For most people, that’s first thing in the morning as they are laying in bed. Unfortunately our domestic situation is such that I do not have the luxury of laying in bed once I am awakened. Additionally there are some added stressors first thing in the AM that make replicating circumstances from one day to the next very difficult. So using HRV has always been hit or miss for me. Stepping way back and looking at long term trends I can always see my HRV going down when I play too many gigs in a given month (and am out late too frequently), but aside from that, there are so many day to day stressors in my life that it is difficult to tease out whether or not the impacts to my HRV are due to workouts or just daily stressors. I’ve had an Apple Watch (v2?) for while now and was hoping that having a measurement device strapped to my wrist might help me get HRV measurements with more consistency — and in turn make better inferences from the data. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t make getting at the HRV data easy. Marco has written up a great explainer on how to get accurate and useful HRV measurements out of an Apple Watch

Recently, researchers at the University of Zaragoza in Spain, published a paper showing that RR intervals extracted from the Apple Watch while using the Breathe app, are indeed very accurate (Hernando et al., “Validation of the Apple Watch for Heart Rate Variability Measurements during Relax and Mental Stress in Healthy Subjects”). This is great news as it shows that the basic unit of information (RR intervals) can be trusted.

In other words, if you use the Breathe app on the Watch it will record HRV data for the breathing session which captures good beat-to-beat variability data. You can see from the screenshots that the Apple Watch takes a few HRV snapshots throughout each day. The measurements I’m interested in tracking are the first one from each day as I will try to do an Apple Watch breath session each morning (hopefully before the watch takes its first snapshot HRV reading). Enter iOS Shortcuts. If you’re not hip to iOS shortcuts and you own an iPhone, you should be. If you are hip to iOS shortcuts, I’ve written a proof of concept shortcut that:

  • looks to see when you’ve done the breathing app on your watch today
  • grabs the associated HRV reading from the breathing session
  • writes the value of the HRV to a Day One Journal entry

There are a bunch of directions to go with this but basically I just wanted to prove out the case that:

  • it is possible to query the HealthKit database for all of the breathing sessions (Mindful Minute sessions = 1 min)
  • get the time that the breathing session occurred
  • extract the HRV value that is captured in healthkit for that time period

Get the shortcut from iCloud here.
You need to click this link from your iPhone and need to have Day One installed but if you’re this far along you can likely modify the Day One entry to your text file of choice. The shortcut seems to generally work. While it will never have the functionality of HRV4Training it will be curious to see if deriving the HRV value from my watch makes me record the data any more frequently. Also, this is the first shortcut I’ve written and shared so I’m not sure if I create new versions if I need to post a new link or not. If you’re into this kind of thing and use it/modify it, etc. please drop me a note!

2019-03-22 12.04.04

Reassuring to see the NYTimes standing up to Apple here. I can’t figure out why the WSJ would give up such a large chunk (50%!) of subscriber revenue.

2019-03-20 21.36.24

I’m not the only one! Quick read from yesterday’s Times on personal newsletters as the antidote to social media. Make sure to sign up for Casual Housekeeping if you haven’t already.

2019-03-18 20.11.56

What’s worse, Socialism or Crony Capitalism? Probably depends on who you ask. Either way, this piece by Barry Ritholtz documenting some of the more egregious missteps of our “free” market makes for an interesting read. Via @om.

2019-03-18 15.39.59

Heartening to see movement from #flickr. Feels like there is a little bit of energy circulating there lately. Latest announcement is around In Memoriam accounts and maintaining Creative Commons works in perpetuity. 

2019-03-17 14.03.13

Thanks @advcyclingassoc for the reminder about this new GAP/CO trail video. Watched it yesterday and was reminded of what a great time I had riding the C&O and can not wait to ride the GAP now! #adventurecycling #cando #bikecamping


2019-03-15 14.17.53

Safety Dance comes on when I’m out riding and all of a sudden some part of my brain is looking at Casio watches in the Service Merchandise catalog.

2019-03-14 15.46.29

Interesting approach from Spotify here on explaining their position w/r/t Apple. I see one long thread from the 19th century Railroads to the 20th century’s Internet Explorer/Microsoft anti-trust case to the issue of app-store revenue in the 21st century. Interesting times. 


2019-03-13 14.41.47

Picked up some new #StealYourNavesink stickers. Will bring some out to upcoming gigs so hit me up! #redbanknj #deadbank


2019-03-13 12.08.24

#navesink #march

2019-03-13 11.25.50

Some really good deals on Philips Hue bulbs on Amazon right now. According to  at $10, this is the cheapest they’ve ever been. @tweethue #homeautomation


2019-03-11 21.49.20

Got outside for lunch today. Stoked.

2019-03-10 12.02.38

Good reporting from the New Yorker on Fox/White House. Back in middle school I remember learning about Vremyathe Soviet-era state-run news channel and thinking to myself If the citizens know the channel is just propaganda, why do they still watch it?  

2019-03-09 19.45.04

As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), for the tax years 2018 through 2025, you cannot deduct home office expenses if you are an employee. THANKS TRUMP!!!!


2019-03-08 21.50.22

Claypit Creek.


1994 Fender Blues Deluxe (reissue) Amp For Sale

I’ve lost count of how long I’ve been gigging with this amplifier. At least 10 years. Maybe closer to 15. It’s played hundreds of shows, that’s for sure. And it has never let me down. 

I’m thinking about selling it because I am too old to carry it around any more. It’s not that it’s *that* heavy. It’s just not light and I need something light.

It is cosmetically beat up, for sure. But is sounds amazing and is so much more reliable than any of the crazy expensive amps (Victoria, etc.) that other guitarists I’ve played with use.

According to the fender website this amp was manufactured around September 1994. It’s got a 12” speaker and 40watts of tube power. Read more specs here.

Here are some pictures. If you are interested, drop me an email or DM me @sjwillis on twitter.