Girlfriend Technology, July Update

I don’t think I ever introduced my software company, Girlfriend Technology, on this blog.

Girlfriend Technology is a software company I started to distribute apps under. My goal is to build apps that can benefit queer people, or at least think of them first instead of as an afterthought.

My app, X to Y, stemmed from a former employer not allowing me to change my name at work to be my legal name. I got tired of seeing my deadname and made my own personal browser extension to fix it.

X to Y got a nice update last week to allow it to play nice on webpages with dynamic content. The next update will help with backing up and restoring preferences.

Uses

Inspired by uses.tech, I have written up my current setup. I will try to keep this post updated as things change.

Hardware

The Bedrock

Computers

  • iPad Pro - This is my main machine, to be honest. I use it for everything, yes even coding.
  • Custom PC - This is my default desk experience when I am not working. I enjoy the new Windows 11.
  • MacBook Pro - I basically just use this for work, building the iOS/macOS builds of my apps, or Facetime.
  • Surface Pro 6 - I picked up the Surface a while back and it still runs great and is a quick portable way to bring a Windows machine with me. It’s great for low spec gaming too.

The Input Club

  • Blue Portico75 Keyboard - A 75% keyboard with a knob and a USB-C port.
  • Kensington VeriMark USB Fingerprint Key - This is finicky but when it works it’s pretty cool.
  • Kone XP - I wanted to try out a gaming mouse and this seemed like the perfect place to start. It’s light and has automatic profile switching between apps and games.
  • Logitech MX Ergo - I learned during quarantine that my hand starts to hurt after long periods of using a regular mouse. The MX Vertical is great but I’ve wanted to try a trackball mouse for a while.
  • Stream Deck - The answer to the question, “omg where is the hang up button on Zoom?!” It’s right there, on a physical button.

The Audio Video Club

Software

Multiplatform

  • 1Password - Use a password manager. Use unique passwords. Use two-factor auth. Just do it, already.
  • Affinity Designer - A full Illustrator experience on all of my devices, even iPad. No subscription fees.
  • Affinity Photo - A full Photoshop experience on all of my devices, even iPad. No subscription fees.
  • Fantastical - Not available on Windows. Fantastical merges a variety of calendars and todo lists together with custom views and natural language processing.
  • Microsoft Edge - Another Chromium based browser but without all the Google stuff. Tab napping to save resources on tabs you aren’t using is a huge plus.
  • Obsidian - A customizable library of Markdown files you can optionally apply end-to-end encryption to and sync.
  • VS Code - A fast and reliable code editor that is extendible. Runs on any platform either natively or in the web browser.

iOS

  • Blink Shell - SSH and Mosh support, now with the ability to mount SSH connections to the Files app, and the ability to launch VS Code.
  • Day One - Keeping a journal is a rewarding way to see how far you’ve come and remember important events in your life.
  • Inspect Browser - Inspect Element for iOS, not as full featured but the best and most reliable I’ve found.
  • Textastic - Old reliable code editor. It’s no VS Code, but it’s pretty good for prototyping HTML or JavaScript.
  • Working Copy - Git on iOS and it works with other apps.

Windows 11

  • PowerToys - There are so many features in here I love but I use FancyZones the most to move windows around in predetermined positions on my screen.
  • Velocity - This is like Dash for Mac but on Windows. It stores a variety of documentation for programming offline where you can easily search it for what you’re looking for.

macOS

  • Alfred - Quickly perform tasks, find apps and files, and manage your clipboard history.
  • Bartender - Everyone wants to be in the macOS menu bar. Hide those distractions.
  • Dash - Stores coding documentation offline where you can search it for what you’re looking for.
  • Hazel - Monitors files and performs actions when certain conditions are met. For example, I have a folder of Markdown files that will automatically commit itself to a Git repository when there are changes.
  • ImageOptim - Please don’t throw images up online without making sure their file size is as small as it can be without reducing image quality.
  • iStat Menus - What company spyware is causing my Mac to be so slow? Oh it’s probably just Docker. I hate it when Docker eats all available resources when it’s idle.
  • iTerm - A terminal that I can split the views in half vertically or horizontally. I swear I don’t use most of what this offers.
  • Keyboard Maestro - Set up custom actions on your Mac. I use it to extend what my Steam Deck can do.
  • Loopback - This is also primarily for the Steam Deck so I can play my annoying soundboard during work meetings.
  • Shush - This app hasn’t been updated in sooooo long and I fear for the day it stops working. It’s a great way to toggle the mute on your microphone or have a cough button.

Customizations

VS Code Extensions

  • change-case - There is nothing like a handy way to convert which case your text or variables are.
  • Code Spell Checker - Never spend another hour trying to debug code that would work if didn’t make that typo.
  • GitHub Copilot - This pair programmer’s inteligence is like magic, but it does pay to keep an eye on it so it stays on track.
  • GitHub Pull Requests and Issues - Create and review PRs without having to find what your looking for in GitHub.
  • Live Share - Invite someone you trust to code along side you each from the comfort of each other’s own VS Code.
  • Remote Development - I use this for connecting to a Windows Subsystem for Linux quite often, but it’s also great for working over SSH.
  • Sort lines - Like casing, there’s nothing like a quick way to remove duplicates from a list and sort it at the same time.
  • Turbo Console Log - Highlight text and press a keyboard shortcut to have your own easy to find console log. Each log is easily identifiable with an emoji, file name, and line number.

Browser Extensions

Multiplatform

  • Dark Reader - Outside of Safari, I use this to manually make bright websites that are hurting my eyes dark.
  • DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials - no Mobile Safari support
  • Magnet Links - Makes Magnet Links work with Put.io. I made this!
  • React Developer Tools - No Safari support. This is for debugging React.
  • Refined GitHub - Various customizations for GitHub to fill some gaps.
  • Tabby Cat - No Safari support. Random cute cats in every tab.
  • uBlock Origin - No Safari support. Blocks ads and trackers for your security.
  • X to Y - Replace words in text or links with other text. I made this too!

Safari

  • 1Blocker - Blocks ads and trackers for your security, even inside apps.
  • Baking Soda - Replaces all video players (except YouTube, see Vinegar below) with a native video player where you can choose to have picture-in-picture or stop that annoying auto-play
  • Noir - My preferred extension for applying dark mode to websites that haven’t implemented their own dark modes yet.
  • Vinegar - Replaces YouTube video players with one that supports picture-in-picture and stops that annoying auto-play. (use with Baking Soda to make all video players play nice)

I rewrote my blog with Astro

Welcome to the blog that was known as melkat.link.

I had a fun technique for making a blog using a bookmarking service to act as my content management system. I never knew how the bookmarking service felt about how I was using it and it made my blog on external services.

A few months ago I heard about Astro, a new build tool for building websites in JavaScript. I’ve since made a few sites using it and have been pretty impressed. Before I was using Next.js, and I will continue to use it where appropriate.

The biggest change will be that I can no longer simply share a link to post on my blog. I will need to write a brand new Markdown file and deploy it, which brings it’s own set of benefits. For one, I can now write posts like this.

See you soon~

My 2019 in Media

Ranking things is a fools task. I may be a fool, but I can’t bother to do all that. So here is a simple list of things that I had a good time with in 2019. While I tried to stick to things that released this year, let’s be honest: releases are tricky. Sometimes things come out in one country on one platform before releasing elsewhere. I also made no attempt to limit or hit a certain number of items for a list.

Movies

Movies and I had a rough year. I didn’t care to go see many of them. Modern movies last longer than my bladder. The trend of reclining seats put me to sleep. So I’m not sure why I should go see a movie before it shows up online.

I know Dark Phoenix is a critically panned movie, and that may be fair, but watching Jean Grey get rejected by her friends, family, and job… well, it felt like the experience of coming out. That said, Detective Pikachu was my absolute favorite thing I saw this year in a theatre.

  • Dark Phoenix — theatre
  • Detective Pikachu — theatre
  • El Camino — netflix
  • John Wick Chapter 3 — theatre
  • Let It Snow — netflix
  • Okko’s Inn — theatre
  • Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling — netflix
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home — theatre

Music

This year I must have spent a paycheck or two of money at Bandcamp. A rough count shows 95 albums purchased. I’m a sucker for kawaii music, Hatsune Miku, and ska.

Albums

  • BIGHEAD: Kin Byobu & Kim Boybu Kyoto Edition — itunes
  • Daniel Osen & Jonathan Eng featuring Linnea Olsson: Sayonara Wild Hearts — apple music
  • DECO*27: Android Girl — apple music
  • Pinocchio-P: 零号, P+ — ototoy
  • Skatune Network: Pick It The Fuck Up — apple music
  • Tami T: High Piched and Moist — bandcamp
  • The Raconteurs: Help Me Stranger — apple music
  • TWICE: &Twice — apple music
  • Twinkle Park: All Fall Floral — bandcamp

Singles, EPs, and Etc

  • Ben Kweller: Heart Attack Kid, Careless — apple music
  • Hatsune Miku: Future Base Collection — sonoca
  • Hatsune Miku: Snow White Record — cd rip
  • Jyocho: Various EPs — ototoy
  • Kizuna AI: Various Releases — ototoy
  • KOTONOHOUSE: Various Releases — apple music
  • nyankobrq: Various Releases — apple music
  • Sayuri: About a Voyage — apple music
  • Snail House: Various Releases — bandcamp
  • Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution: Live at the Orpheum Theatre — cd rip
  • TWICE: Fancy, Feel Special — apple music
  • Yunomi: Various Releases — bandcamp

TV

TV is messy. I would like to put other shows on this list, but over the course of the year my tolerance for violence changed.

  • Bob’s Burgers — hulu
  • Bojack Horseman — netflix
  • Catch 22 — hulu
  • Dickenson — apple tv+
  • Fleabag — amazon
  • Good Girls — netflix
  • Schitt’s Creek — netflix
  • The Good Place — hulu
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — amazon
  • Tuca & Bertie — netflix
  • Undone — amazon

Books

2019 was the year mainstream American comics died and queer indie comics took over. Hell, Marvel Comics made Storm a white woman. Image Comics doubled down on protecting abusers. Who would want to deal with all that shit?

Comixology appears to be dead with their app and website growing stale. The only reason to use it is to buy single issues of comics not yet collected in to trade paperbacks.

I bought most of my comics on indie platforms like Gumroad and Itch.io. This means I did most of my reading in feature rich apps like Apple’s Books app or the Kindle app.

It was also the year of coming to terms with my San Francisco studio apartment. I’ve hit capacity for books, and anyway who needs to waste all that paper and shipping?

  • As The Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman — kindle
  • Beastars by Paru Itagaki — kindle
  • Crowded by Christopher Sebela, Ted Brandt, Ro Stein, Triona Farrell, and Cardinal Rae — comixology
  • Frogcatchers by Jeff Lemire — kindle
  • Genderqueer by Maia Kobabe — paper
  • Goodnight Paradise by Joshua Dysart, Alberto Ponticelli, and Giulia Brusco — kindle
  • My Solo Exchange Diary Vol. 2 by Nagata Kabi — paper
  • Roadqueen by Mira Ong Chua — kindle
  • Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman — kindle
  • Sugar Town by Hazel Newlevant — paper
  • The Black Mage by Daniel Barnes and D.J. Kirkland — kindle
  • Trans Girls Hit the Town by Emma Jayne, itch.io

Games

As the PS4 and Xbox One are on their way out, the Switch started picking up.

Like Image Comics, PC gaming started doubling down on protecting abusers. So I moved on to finding indie games on Itch.io that are not only fun, but also pretty queer.

I also needed a break from big long stories. Quick little games like BOXBOY and Picross were where I chose to spend most of my time.

  • A Short Hike, adamgryu — itch.io
  • Baba Is You, Arvi Teikari — switch
  • BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL!, HAL Laboratory — switch
  • Dicey Dungeons, Terry Cavanagh — itch.io
  • FutureGrind, Milkbag Games — switch
  • Last Day of Spring, npckc — itch.io
  • Life is Strange 2, Dontnod — xbox
  • Luigis Mansion 3, Nintendo — switch
  • Picross S3, Jupiter — switch
  • Pokemon Sword and Shield, Game Freak — switch
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts, Simogo — switch
  • Slay the Spire, Mega Crit — switch
  • Spring Leaves No Flowers, npckc — itch.io
  • Super Mario Maker 2, Nintendo — switch
  • Untitled Goose Game, House House — switch
  • What The Golf — apple arcade

Online Video

Would you believe I’ve never been in to YouTube? I think from 2006 until like… 2017(!?) I avoided it. I have supported my friends who were lucky enough to find an audience on Twitch, but it wasn’t common for me to tune in.

  • scottthewoz — youtube
  • skatunenetwork — youtube
  • thedragonfeeney — twitch
  • thereportoftheweek — youtube
  • tim rogers, kotaku — youtube

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is the most dangerous drug on the market today. Like all other mind altering drugs, it should used with caution. Everything in this list has major issues and they do not work in 2019, but that is why it’s called nostalgia.

I would expect Three’s Company to be the most problematic thing on the list, being a show based around gay panic. It’s not. At it’s core our main characters accept homosexuality. I’m not going to make excuses for it: a lot of it’s homophobia crosses over in to transphobia real fast. The most transphobic episode I have seen so far is definitely S4E17.

And why is Neopets so anti-semitic? I asked them to comment on their use of anti-semitic symbols and their response, in 2019, was “it’s just a game.”

Rugrats is the least transphobic thing on the list. I love how it can show AMAB babies being girls at will. That said, Lil is most likely a TERF, but as she is a baby of the 90’s I hope she grows out of it.

Hey Arnold opens it’s first season with an episode about how Helga isn’t the gender she says she. So the episode spends its entire time showing her being misgendered. Ugh.

  • Cheers — netflix
  • Hey Arnold — hulu
  • Neopets — website
  • Rugrats — hulu
  • Three’s Company — ;-)

Looking Forward to 2020

It’s hard to get exited about something for in the year ahead. Things get canceled. They get exposed for being problems. They get delayed. They get acquired (but I said canceled already). Also, I love discovering new things that I do not already know about. Music comes out from people I like as they make it, so writing down an album release date is difficult.

  • 920London by Remy Boydell — comic
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons — switch
  • Bob’s Burgers: The Movie — movie
  • Boyfriend Dungeon by Kitfox Games — switch
  • Calico: Magical Girls Running Cat Cafes — pc
  • Get in the Car, Loser! by Love Conquers All Games — itch.io
  • Hatsune Miku Expo 2020 US — concert
  • Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix — switch
  • Laid Back Camp — anime
  • Kentucky Route Zero’s final episode — pc
  • Love Me For What I Am by Kata Konayama — manga
  • SkateBIRD by Glass Bottom Games — switch
  • Streetlight Manifesto — anything at all
  • Weathering with You by Makoto Shinkai — movie
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