Useful baby stuff

I've been asked a lot recently by friends for product recommendations for useful baby things (our son is now 18 months old). I remember how daunting it was to have a new baby on the way. A few friends dropped off literally truckloads of hand-me-down baby stuff, much of which were confounding collections of plastic tubes, cylinders, and funnels that were apparently supposed to connect in ways that might be useful. Every kid is going to be very different, but here's what Mako ended up using...

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How to stop spam emails from Amazon third-party sellers

Our family orders something from Amazon at least once a week. Increasingly, we order items from Amazon third-party sellers, many of whom honor Amazon Prime shipping and are almost indistinguishable to the common buyer throughout the entire purchase and delivery workflow. We have very few problems with third-party sellers, but there is one major difference between buying something Amazon-stocked and from a third-party supplier: the inevitable follow-up email that essentially puts the buyer on a mailing list they never opted into.

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Synchronized Sony a7r / a7s cameras

I'm cobbling together a synchronized shutter-release / timelapse controller for triggering Sony a7 series cameras, and it seems to work! Although, as is usual when chaining remote cables together, I'm observing some strange behavior. For example, when I connected only a 2.5" to Sony Multi-Terminal cable plus a 2.5" to 3.5" cable adapter, all physical controls on the Sony camera disabled themselves (but I was able to trigger the camera via remote). Moving to a wired Satechi remote from a wireless Neewer remote seemed to free up physical controls, although I haven't done exhaustive testing. Still, the proof of concept is sound, and I'm going to order the remaining cables to get 4 cameras synchronized. I haven't tested how accurate the sync is (yet), but I'm targeting long-exposure timelapse, so having extremely accurate sync isn't required.


Cold calls

Do people answer random phone calls anymore? I basically do not answer the phone unless Caller ID matches a (good) friend, or I have a scheduled call in my calendar.

I also use Google Voice to transcribe voicemails (I never listen to them). The transcriptions are never perfect, but I usually get the gist. It's much more effective to hang up and send an email or text, but if someone just writes "call me" without saying why, I usually do not call.

And this is coming from me! A middle-ager! Imagine what happens when you cold-call an actual millennial: you've just advertised yourself as someone who has not adapted, probably will never adapt, and possibly doesn't ever want to adapt.