DuckDuckHack Instant Answers

At the moment, DuckDuckHack has 687 live Instant Answers. DateMath and DaysBetween are slick (and will save me trips to Time And Date). Here are examples of DateMath and DaysBetween, respectively:

I also noted TimezoneConverter, Timer (e.g. timer 5m), Stopwatch, Random Choice, Random Number, News, and Rhymes.

For awhile, I’ve had DuckDuckGo as my primary fallback search in Alfred, and this is a reminder for myself that accessing these are a few keystrokes away. 😎

Eight years using Instapaper

Yesterday, I was reading “The best read-it-later service” by The Sweet Setup, and this stood out to me:

In September 2014, Instapaper announced that the app would switch to a freemium model, with most basic functionality offered in a free version, but several new premium options available for a subscription fee of $3 a month or $30 a year. Customers who’d already been subscribing for $1 a month were grandfathered into the new plan.

To my archives!

I haven’t tried or considered other read-it-later services (like Pocket and Readability) because Instapaper has never let me down.1🙂

Thank you, Marco, and (now) Betaworks. I look forward to many more years!


  1. I searched my archives to make sure I didn’t rant about Instapaper. ;) 

DuckDuckGo and phonetic spelling

Thank you to contributor Robert May for helping add Phoneic to Instant Answers at DuckDuckGo. This handy new query allows you to “spell a string phonetically with the NATO alphabet”.

As an example, consider someone asking you to spell your name over the phone. Assuming I’m in front of a computer, with an Alfred web search, I can type “duck phonetic villarin“, and see the Instant Answer at the top of DuckDuckGo search results:

Phonetic: Victor-India-Lima-Lima-Alfa-Romeo-India-November

Slick. Happy Thursday!

Bravo-Romeo-Yankee-Alfa-November.😉

NBC app on Apple TV

I saw the new NBC app on my 3rd generation Apple TV home screen a couple of days ago, and it appeared to have full TV episodes of their latest shows.

Checking season 3 of The Blacklist, I was bummed the first episode was no longer available. I rented it on Apple TV, then watched the second episode in the NBC app.

Observations — I’d mute the TV during commercials (between 60–120 seconds). There was a weird block of commercials between the final scene and credits. On the other hand, maybe it makes sense when binge watching, because the start of the next episode is immediate.

Overall, all went well, and I’m on my way to catching up. Nifty to have another option.

GIFs, Cloudup, and Simplenote

I have a handy bookmark of a Cloudup stream with a bunch of GIFs ready to go. In Simplenote, a pinned note contains descriptions and URLs of those GIFs for quick searching.

With several of my colleagues as inspirations1, I’m fairly quick to have a relevant GIF for a Slack channel or P2 thread at work.

Priorities. Don’t hate! 😎

In all seriousness, GIFs are fun, and the visual element might be helpful for subconsciously improving recall detail of certain facts.

Consider the NBC TV series, Chuck. Flashing images, then Chuck knows Kung Fu.

Perhaps the connection of a GIF with a lengthy conversation can be recalled in greater detail when thinking about the GIF.

I said “perhaps”.


  1. Thanks in alphabetical order: James, Cat, Kevin, Watkis, and many other Automatticians I missed. 

Huffduffer: Your personal podcast feed

Huffduffer is a free service that helps you create a podcast feed consisting of your selected episodes. While downloading individual episodes with Overcast can be done in a few steps1, there isn’t a quicker workflow when using a laptop or desktop.

With a Huffduffer account, you can use a browser bookmarklet! Stumble across an episode? With the bookmarklet and a few text fields (optional if you’d like to add a description), that podcast episode will be queued for download shortly.

You’re also given a Huffduffer username and public page, where others can subscribe to your Huffduffer feed, or listen to podcasts from the page itself. (I was able to snag bryan.)

Enjoy!


  1. Search the title of the podcast, scroll through the episodes, then tap the episode you’d like to download. 

Switching to wireless delivery from Instapaper for my Kindle 3G

For months, I’ve been using Wordcycler (Windows, freeware) to manually sync individual items from Instapaper to my Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi via USB cable. Now that I have a smaller number of articles to read, I’m going to try receiving new items via Wi-Fi through Instapaper.

I’ll also start trying Instapaper’s Send to Kindle bookmarklet for immediate delivery (Account > Manage My Kindle Settings).

If this works well, it’ll be fantastic not having to connect my Kindle to my computer every few days. I’d only need to worry about charging it.