On Again, Off Again

Cheryl Lindo Jones, aka jezlyn, blogs here...sporadically.

Image description: Picture of a MacBook Pro with moth and butterfly stickers and a Google badge placed over the Apple logo.

I guess it’s time for me to add my story about being affected by the #GoogleLayoffs on January 20. It’s taken a while for me to come to terms with getting laid off, and I still experience some cognitive dissonance, where it feels like I’m just on vacation, and then I snap back to reality and remember the things I’ll have to get done, like returning my badge and work devices, and getting my personal belongings from my old desk. Things still feel raw sometimes. I have my ups and downs, day to day. I was at Google for almost 11 years (1 year as a temp, almost 10 years as an FTE), so I was there before Google Play existed (I worked on the Google Play Partnerships team). This was the first job that I felt really passionate about and had confidence in my abilities. My managers actually cared about me as a person and respected my opinions, instead of thinking of me merely as a resource.

(Tangent: I’m not a fan of calling people, “resources”. Let’s move away from that.)

My thoughts are with my former colleagues in APAC and EMEA who don’t yet know how they’ll be affected. I also wish my former team all the best as they figure out how to proceed in this post-layoffs world. I’m going to miss the people I worked with. At a good job, it’s the people who surround you who make it a great experience through collaboration, camaraderie, and commiseration.

I don’t have much else to say at the moment. I really am still processing and thinking about what I want to do next. I appreciate the kind notes I’ve gotten on LinkedIn. I’m thankful for the Xoogler.co network that popped up for those laid off and for people still at Google who want to help.

If you are connected to me on LinkedIn and feel so inclined to provide a recommendation for me, that would be awesome. If you know of opportunities related to mobile app or game UX, or foldables, those are two areas in which I have expertise and continuing interest.

Otherwise if you want to just talk about random stuff like tech, photography, fountain pens or stationery, I’m game. You can find me on Mastodon, Instagram (begrudgingly), or LinkedIn.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate you.

In the last 3 or so weeks I’ve gotten back into “analog” notebooks and all the trappings that come with them — pens, stickers, washi tapes, and other ephemera. It (kind of) all started because I saw this little dialog exchange in Heartstopper between Nick and Charlie:

Now, I say it “kind of” started because of this comic scene because I’ve always been into collecting and using different stationery and pens. I stopped buying new notebooks and pens and stuff because I had a collection already built up and wasn’t using them. I also kept trying to substitute digital handwritten notes for paper notebooks, since they (in theory) were easier to manage. But I’ve always been of two minds about digital vs. analog notetaking, flipping and flopping between them randomly.

Well, anyway, I saw this dialog in Heartstopper and thought maybe I could pick up a fountain pen and try it out. I’ve never really had a fountain pen. When I was much younger, I had a small calligraphy set that I sort of used, but not a regular fountain pen that I used for normal penning. And when I was into using physical notebooks more often, years ago, I usually wrote with a gel or a pigment ink pen with a fine tip — your Sakura Micron pigment pens, Pilot G2s, or Staedtler Triplus Fineliners (not sponsored by JetPens; they’re just a cool stationery/pens site). I thought fountain pens would be a pain to use, precisely because of what happened to Nick, with his pen exploding and ink getting everywhere. But I started researching a cheap, but good fountain pen to try anyway, and was dithering about buying a Kaweco Sport, because I liked how small they were. Off and on I also was thinking about getting one of those notebook cover systems where you can use different inserts, like a Traveler’s Company Notebook or the way more expensive, German, Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter line of notebook covers.

One night I had major insomnia and was browsing JetPens again, and just made a snap judgment to pick up the iridescent pearl Kaweco Sport fountain pen, a passport-sized Traveler's Notebook starter kit with the blue leather cover, and some odds and ends. I was so excited to set up the notebook when I got it, but then I wasn't sure what I'd write in it. It seemed too special to just use it for grocery lists and other random notes. Besides, I had the Obsidian app on my phone for all of that kind of stuff. I settled on filling it with quotes and images that are interesting, inspiring, and/or insightful. This means that I'm not always writing in it, but the stuff that I have written has been delightful to revisit.

Click on the images below to see more info on Flickr (full gallery link)

I've been watching some journaling videos on YouTube, as one does when one has an interest in anything, and they've given me ideas on what I would like to do with my Traveler's Notebook, and with other notebooks I have lying about. But they're also teaching me about cool stationery and pens I don't have... I've also been researching other fountain pens, washi tapes, and stickers. I came across a “vibrant violet” Kaweco Sport AL pen which I purchased so fast after I read about it.

I learned of “demonstrator” fountain pens which are clear and show off the inner ink reservoir and feed mechanism. Just today I watched a Twitch stream where I learned about sticker books with release paper, and some other brands of washi tapes that are so cute! #RIPMyWallet

So, yeah. I’m back into collecting notebooks, pens, stickers, washi tapes, etc. But the big difference now is that I’m actually aiming to use this stuff. For the longest time I bought all of these things and had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that I should save them…for what I don’t know. What is the point of having these things if I don’t actually use them?? I might as well not have them. *smh* Besides, I’ve always felt wistful when I see someone page through a full sketchbook or journal, wishing I had these cool artifacts of my own life, so now I’m finally working on making them.

As always, you can find my latest social posts on Mastodon.

Hi, All.

I’m checking in with a few links that I came across in the last week or so:

  • 15 Excellent Nerdy Nonfiction Books from Gizmodo
  • Also, 12 Black sci-fi and fantasy comics to read from Polygon
  • This old article in The Atlantic by Vannevar Bush was referred to by William Gibson in his book of essays, Distrust That Particular Flavor: “If there was a more eerily prescient piece of prose, fiction or otherwise, written in the first half the twentieth century, I don’t know it.”
  • I recently got back into “analog”, physical notebooks, and newly got into fountain pens. I am still slowly learning about what I want to do with my notebooks by buying some stuff and watching YouTube videos:

    I've watched other YT videos and channels about journaling, but this channel is one I've watched the most recently. I'll probably write more about my foray into journaling, stationery, and pens later.

  • An interesting interview with Tressie McMillan Cottom from the Morning Brew newsletter that I read when I had insomnia several days ago

  • Long article about “kidults”, a group I consider myself a part of

  • Short film about used CDs that I found in the same publication as the previous list item

  • I’ve been watching this creator’s YouTube channel for a while now, not just this week. He has a lot of interesting woodworking projects. Even if I’ll never try making them, it’s cool to watch him build stuff.

Well, that’s all for now. Hope you all have a good rest of your week!

This is a silly blog post for me to write, but I thought I would, in case anyone else is having a problem with their Canon TS302 printer blinking a yellow light and refusing to print when sent a print job. I kept running into this issue, and could “fix” it by hitting the resume button (the button right below the power button).

But the next time I’d try to print, it would happen again, so I’d have to physically be near the printer. What’s the point of wireless printing, then? 🤔

DISCLAIMER: Only do this if you know that the paper you’ve loaded is the right size and orientation for your printing needs. I am not responsible if you loaded the wrong paper and your printer prints incorrectly.

Anyway, I don’t know why the TS302 would stop printing when my print settings and the loaded paper are both set to US letter-sized paper, in portrait orientation. Since there is a setting for throwing this “paper mismatch” alarm, and it is defaulted to on, I had to figure out a way to turn it off. There are two settings you have to change:

  1. When printing from a wireless device (PictBridge, smartphone, or tablet), you can turn off this alarm by holding down the resume button while watching the yellow light flash, and let go of the button once the light has flashed 10 times. You can turn the alarm back on by holding down the resume button and letting go after the light has flashed 9 times.

  2. To turn off this alarm for printing from Windows, you have to open the Canon IJ Printer Assistant Tool and deselect the printer mismatch alarm option in Custom Settings:

There is a different set of instructions for changing this setting for Mac OS.

Once I turned these alarms off, I was able to print wirelessly without any problem. It was super annoying to figure out this solution, so hopefully this helps others with the same issue. It doesn’t answer the question of why the printer erroneously “detects” a paper mismatch in the first place, but 🤷‍♀️

I saw an article about 8BitDo releasing one of their controllers in an “atomic purple” colorway (a la old school Gameboy color) a week or two ago and ordered it *so fast* even though I do not need another universal controller. What can I say? #PurpleGadgetsFTW

Today I received it and was surprised because I wasn’t sure when they were going to arrive, given all of the supply chain hullaballoo. Anyway, I saw the box and was psyched:

When I opened the box and saw the controller itself, I was still happy, but a little bummed that the controller has more of a magenta component to it:

It’s still a great-looking controller, and I’m not going to return it or anything. I just wish it were blue-ish purple like the box. Sorry, I haven’t yet tried it with my Steam Deck or Switch Pro or anything. I’ll report back on that later. 😅


For several weeks I've been using Obsidian as my notetaking/personal knowledge management tool. I won't get into it too much in this post, as it can be a post all on its own. But I bring it up because a) I'm using Obsidian to write up this blog post on my Surface Duo 2, and b) the practice of writing daily notes in Obsidian makes it easier for me to share interesting stuff I've come across this week.

I wrote a little bit about how I love using Obsidian on my Duo 2 for notetaking because of how easy it is to have, for example, a book on one screen, and Obsidian on the other screen for instant access to take notes.

You can read more about my thoughts in this short Mastodon thread.

And now, some random links from my daily notes for this week:

  • Pitchfork has an article about a huge Spotify playlist Four Tet curates (it has over 1000 tracks).
  • Interesting, but not surprising, article about Gen Z's supposed declining use of social media. Weirdly, I read somewhere that they use IG and TikTok to search for information as opposed to Google and other “typical” sources...kind of mind-boggling to this Gen Xer.
  • Fun emoji combos can be had from Emoji Kitchen (and instantly usable from Gboard on Android devices)
  • Do you want to see what Apple Stores used to look like#nostalgia
  • Funny, relatable Twitter thread about ignorant people being annoying asking where someone “is really from”. I love this video of a spunky child answering this question. 🤣
  • I haven't researched this myself further, but supposedly, “Wi-Fi” doesn't mean what you think it means...
  • I have seen this “Dear Alice” video before (#solarpunk) and think it's pretty cool, even though it is an ad. This person posted their commentary on the video, which I thought was interesting to consider.

I just received my Steam Deck today and messed around with it a bit this evening. Below are my very rough thoughts on the onboarding and game playing experience.

Tangentially, I've been researching personal knowledge management and Obsidian. A concept I came across in that research is “learning out in the open”. One of my interpretations of that is posting rough drafts of blog posts as soon as I have them so you can kind of see more of my regular thought processes, rather than the more polished stuff that takes longer to write up (not that I was ever super-polished). Of course as I continue using it and playing around with accessories, perhaps messing with installing Windows or other “mods”, I'll write up those experiences, too.

- Nondescript charging brick is meh. Cable is not braided. It is also shaped inconveniently, with the non-foldable plug and cord sticking perpendicular out of the opposite end of the brick.

- Button placement seems good even for my small hands

- Initial boot screen with logo is static and has no progress indicator 👎

- Non-glare screen looks great, but using it as a touchscreen is mixed. Responsiveness is OK. Fingerprints and smudges are not easily wiped away with the included microfiber cloth. Best not to use touch. 😒

- Touch responsiveness on keyboard seemed good when entering Wi-Fi password, but afterwards was inconsistent

- Button labels on the device should've been engraved or something; look like they'll rub off easily

- Secondary download had good progress indicator with time estimate and download speed

- Clock and other icons in the status bar look like old Android text and icons

- I don't get what the Steam Deck logo is supposed to be. It looks like a very stylistic D, but 🤷‍♀️

- Would've liked right stick to be page up/down, left stick line up/down, like on Switch

- Speakers sound good. Default level at boot time is a little loud... Sounds startled me, since initial onboarding is silent.

- WTH, scrolling through the store is so janky...

- When I scrolled through my wishlist, opened a detail page, then backed out to the wishlist, I lost my place 🙄 (I realized that this is just normal behavior in the Steam store on desktop (and in any browser, I assume). You will always lose your place in a list. Smh)

- Using the store is just a terrible experience. Best to buy on another device and install to Deck afterwards. 🙄

- The UI for current downloads is very easy to miss. I tried downloading a Peglin demo and wasn't sure if it successfully completed, since the details page itself doesn't change except for the download button changing to white. I finally noticed the small downloading icon I could tap in the status bar and see the download list and progress.

- Backstack issues: If you hit back (the B button) from a screen, like the home screen, or search, you can travel through all the previous screens you've opened. This is super messy, especially since buying a game from the Steam Deck requires set up of a payment method. You'll back up into those screens and get stuck (or at least I did when I hit the PayPal setup screens).

- Sleeping logo when putting the Deck into sleep looks cute

- Device is big, but not as heavy as I was expecting. I played a short demo and didn't feel like it was tiring to hold the weight of the device. I can't remember if I had it propped up in my lap or not.

- Once I started playing a game, the device faded into the background, allowing me to immerse myself in the game, which is what you expect. I haven't played a longer gaming session yet, since my brain is too tired for that at the moment.

- It would've been great to have a built-in kickstand on the back. (It's hard to get away from the Switch's shadow...)

Overall am I happy I bought one? Yes, because I’m very much a handheld gamer. I could never really get into PC gaming because I didn’t like the form factor. This feels a lot more comfortable. I look forward to finally exploring more PC games.

I’ve sort of hit a wall with my energy to read a book a week. At the start of the challenge in April, it felt like no problem, spending a few minutes here and there during the week reading, and then finishing the book on the weekend. I had some momentum from the science fiction books (mainly William Gibson) that I was reading, so it felt effortless. Now my momentum has faded. It could be the books I was trying to read, but it could be just brain fatigue and general lack of attention span again. ☹️

Let me do a recap of the books I’ve read so far…

Leading up to the beginning of the challenge (which started in April), I was reading the “Blue Ant” trilogy by William Gibson — Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History. Zero History was the first book I finished for the start of the challenge. I liked the premise of Pattern Recognition, but felt the ending was a little bit anticlimactic. Spook Country I didn’t really like, and took a while to finish. Zero History was a little better, with an interesting mystery about a “secret brand”.

I also read this short non-fiction book, Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon, which was a very cool read. Though I don’t make much time for them, I like doing different creative, artsy projects. This book has a lot of good advice for people who want to make stuff, use their creativity, and be artists. It was on my backlog of books to read, and it was short enough that I could kinda pad the beginning of the challenge, heh.

I took a brief break from reading through the Gibson trilogies and read Pure Invention: How Japan Made the Modern World, by Matt Alt, another book on my backlog. I love reading about tech history and Japanese culture, so this was a great combo. Very interesting topics!

From there I read the Bridge trilogy by Gibson — Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow’s Parties. Since earlier this year I had finished the 2 books of Gibson’s latest, not yet finished, trilogy — The Peripheral and Agency — and kind of felt like I wanted to read more Gibson, I decided to read through his trilogies backwards, hence the Blue Ant trilogy, and then Bridge. There were some interesting ideas in Virtual Light, but I didn’t fully like the characters in the book. Idoru felt more like the kind of book I wanted to read, as it was set in Japan and was heavy on interesting tech. At first I was annoyed because it seemed like most of the characters and plot from Virtual Light didn’t seem to carry into Idoru, but when I started All Tomorrow’s Parties, VL characters and plot points started to figure in again. Looking back at my journal entries, it seems I really liked Idoru, and didn’t have any comments about All Tomorrow’s Parties… 🤷🏽‍♀️

It was after All Tomorrow’s Parties that I felt my momentum for reading a book a week start to falter. I wanted to take another break from Gibson trilogies and randomly picked In the Beginning…Was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson. I thought about reading something else from Stephenson, like Snow Crash or The Diamond Age (both pretty great books), but I’d read those before, and figured I should read something I hadn’t yet. Cryptonomicon, which I’d tried to get through multiple times before, is way too long for me to realistically finish in a week, so I ended up with this short, non-fiction book about PC OSes. It was interesting enough, with some pretty big biases, but overall it was a fine read.

I couldn’t decide on what to read next, sampling these books (some of which had been published recently):

I actually had started reading Distrust That Particular Flavor before I decided to switch to the Stephenson book. Tried to continue reading it after finishing the Stephenson book, but got bogged down. It’s a book of various essays or articles Gibson wrote for different publications or events, so the topics vary wildly, along with my interest. Then I thought I was going to read Build by Tony Fadell since it’s like a mix of tech history and leadership/career advice. However, it made me think too much about work which I’ve been trying to get away from while reading, so I switched away from it.

In parallel, I started reading this web comic/graphic novel, Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman, via the Tapas app. I actually got pretty into it and the Netflix TV series based on the books, so that delayed me in finishing any books for the last couple weeks. Annoyingly, I cannot count Heartstopper as one of (or 4 of, since the web comic covers the already published volumes 1 – 4 of the graphic novels) my weekly books, since there’s that dumb rule that comics/graphic novels don’t count. 🙄 This author has several young adult novels published, but they haven’t been released in the US yet, annoyingly. Otherwise, they would’ve been on my short list for the challenge.

Anyway, after all of that, I think I’ll finally be finishing Distrust That Particular Flavor today. But I’m still not sure what to read next. I’ve noted a few other books that I came across in various places (magazines, news feeds, etc.), so we’ll see what I end up with.

I pledged to read 10 books across the months of April – June, so I’m not too far away from the goal. 12 would’ve been the better number to go for, since that’s closer to actually reading a book a week over 3 months, but I felt realistically my reading cadence might drop off, which it has. ☹️ I thought perhaps I had renewed my motivation to read regularly and would continue it from now on, but I’m not sure. I hope I will at least read more than I used to, perhaps more like once or twice a month, rather than once a week.

I’ve been enjoying getting through books that have been on my backlog for years. It’s just hard sometimes to compete with other activities that are less mentally involved. 😅 I’ve already read so many more books this year than I have in years past, though, so I’m proud of that accomplishment. I do also realize that most of the books I’ve read are by male authors, so I’ll be watching out for more books written by female authors going forward. I have several in my Kindle library, just haven’t felt in the mood to read them yet for whatever reasons.

As always, if you’re interested in my more frequent/daily updates, I post on Mastodon and Pixelfed.

What happened this week?

1. I could not figure out what to read for this week’s book (I’m doing a book-a-week challenge for Apr-Jun). I had already been reading Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson before I switched over to In the Beginning…Was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson and finished it for last week. Then I started reading BUILD: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell since it was released recently and thought I’d finish that for this week, but it got me thinking too much about work stuff, so I switched back to the Gibson essay book. (And now I’m blogging instead of reading, so I’m getting even more behind 😅)

2. I also started reading this webcomic called Heartstopper by Alice Oseman thanks to stumbling across it on a post in the subreddit for the Onyx Boox line of e-ink devices. I really did judge the book by its cover…at least, the cover looked nice enough for me to look up info about it, and find where I could read it. I’m currently reading it in the Tapas app, but I like it enough that I want to get physical copies of the graphic novels. Annoyingly, graphic novels don’t count in the aforementioned book-a-week challenge I’m in, otherwise, I would not have such a problem figuring out what to read this week. 😛

3. I finally got my replacement office chair on Friday:

QiVi 5-Star Base Chair by Steelcase It is the same make as these chairs that are in one of the “fancier” conference rooms in my building, and felt pretty comfortable to me whenever I’d sit in them, so I figured I’d buy one for home. The ones at work have a white frame and teal seat fabric. I like my red and black color scheme.

Originally I had gotten a Blu Dot Daily Task Chair because I found out that it was the type of chair that was used on the set of Severance (awesome show!), for the MDR group:

severance set

Unfortunately, the chair was uncomfortable AF (hey, Dylan! 🙂), so I returned it. Luckily my replacement is nicely comfortable. Phew.

4. I decided to buy movie tickets for The Fifth Element’s 25th anniversary showings on a couple days at the end of June, one of which is my birthday!

The Fifth Element - Rotten Tomatoes

This will probably be the first movie I’m seeing in the theatres for at least a couple years… Even before the pandemic started, we didn’t go to the theatre much because we have a nice AV setup at home and didn’t want to deal with crowds and gross theatre floors. I can’t remember what movie we did see in the theatre…it might’ve been Avengers: Endgame. 😮

I actually want to see Doctor Strange 2, but am still quite hesitant to sit in a crowded theatre, even though I’ll be masked the whole time. Hopefully by the time of the Fifth Element showings, things will be calmer, in terms of COVID cases and what not. 🤞

5. Yesterday I watched Pitch Perfect 3. I didn’t think it could get weirder than the plot for the second movie, but it did! Regardless, it was fluffy entertainment for a Saturday night. 🤷‍♀️

This is sort of a random post about my laptop. I love that it doesn't look like all the typical MacBook Airs/Pros, Windows, or Chromebook laptops around.

Besides its interesting chiseled edges, I like its bronze/gold and dark brown color scheme. It seems fashion-y to me.

It's pretty light and a decent size for my usage. I haven't traveled in so long (☹️), but whenever I do again, this'll be a nice compact laptop to travel with.

It has a great tactile keyboard. I also appreciate that it still has a USB-A port so that I don't always have to use dongles. 😛 I wish it had a full SD card slot, but it has a microSD slot, which is fine.

If you know me, you probably know that I like unique gadgets, so that's a big reason why my laptop caught my attention. What's unique to me? Well, on the sort of unique end of the spectrum, my daily driver phone is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. On the much more unique end, I've used a Surface Duo and a BlackBerry KEYOne as my primary phones in the past. I also like different color schemes, especially if I can get purple gadgets (I want to make a whole other blog post just about my purple gadgets collection). 😅

I just wanted to give my laptop a shout out, since the thought popped into my head the other day when I busted it out for something (I like to use my phone for most things; I'm blogging from it right now).

Thanks for reading my random post. This is the kind of stuff you can count on popping up here from time to time. 😁

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