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Pat Dryburgh

I designed and developed **Hitchens**, an open-source Jekyll theme for writers

I designed and developed Hitchens, an open-source Jekyll theme for writers

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I've been designing and building on the web for over 20 years* and have had the pleasure of working with the best clients in the world, like The Focus Course, Finstripe, Tools & Toys, Cocoatech, and many more.

* A website I built at the age of 14 with Cool Pages counts, right?

For the last several years, Stephen Hackett, Myke Hurley, and the team at Relay FM have run annual fundraisers for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a nonprofit operating in Memphis, Tennessee that provides treatment, care, and support to young cancer patients and their families at no cost to them, made possible through donations from people like you and me.

In an ideal world, our friends in the U.S.A. wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of healthcare. But until that time comes, it’s heartening to know that someone is alleviating this burden for families whose children are fighting for their lives. Through the support of individual contributors, St. Jude has been able to quadruple the childhood cancer survivor rate from 20% to over 80%.

Two years ago, the Relay FM community was able to raise $69,000 for the kids of St. Jude. Last year, the team set their goal for $75,000, hoping they might push it to $125,000.

They raised $315,000 in one month.

They are at it again this month and have set an initial goal of $315,000 with fun milestones along the way. There are countless causes worthy of our support, but if you have more to give, St. Jude’s is definitely amongst those who deserve your support.

There will be a live Podcastathon on Friday, September 18, from 2-8 PM Eastern on their Twitch channel. If you can’t wait until then, have a listen or watch last year’s Podcastathon full of laughs, hijinks, and touching stories about the good work of St. Jude.

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In a little less than a month, I will be packing my belongings into the back of my Toyota 4Runner and making my way east from my current home in Vancouver, British Columbia back to my hometown near London, Ontario.

I first moved to Vancouver in 2012 for a job and moved back to Ontario in 2013 to be with Mom. When she passed in 2014, it was only a matter of time (246 days, to be exact) before I would move back to Vancouver. I’m not sure my reasons for moving back to Vancouver were entirely logical. I just knew I loved BC and wanted to get away from the grief I was feeling in Ontario.

(As it turns out, grief isn’t limited by geography 😄)

These last 5 years in BC have had their ups and downs. I fell in love for the first time in a long time, got engaged, then wound up single again. I worked on a number of amazing projects and a couple less-than-amazing ones. I made a few new friends and lost a few others. I got to live in Uganda for 6 months, an opportunity that only presented itself because I was living and working in Vancouver.

I was lucky to be able to return home often for holidays and summer workations, and once to attend a dear friend’s funeral. Being able to fly home at a moment’s notice made being so far away from the people I love somewhat tolerable.

As soon as the country went into lockdown in March, I knew flying home was not going to be possible for a very, very long time. It was clear that I needed to move home to be closer to my family.

I wasn’t sure when or how I would move and uncertainty around SARS-COV-2 meant I had to wait until I knew I could travel safely. I’ve been planning my strategy through the summer and think that by preparing meals ahead of my departure, camping in my tent along the way, and limiting my exposure to other people to only when I am buying gas and can’t pay at the pump, I should be able to avoid unnecessary contact with people.

I’m excited to be closer to family again, to be able to help my father with chores and errands, to spend time with my brother and his wife and their daughter, and to only be a day’s drive instead of a day’s flight away from my sister and her fiancé.

With the way things are now, I’m not sure when I’ll be back to visit BC. I know I will miss the mountains and the ocean, Lynn Canyon and Sloquet Hot Springs, I will really miss the few friends I still have here, and—of course—I’ll miss the sushi.

I am hopeful there is still time to see people before I go (I’ve only seen two friends in person since March and am open to socially-distanced outdoor hangouts) and that one day soon I will be able to visit this beautiful province—my second home—again.

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On the latest episode of The Talk Show, John Gruber made a comment during a conversation about the prevelance of email spam that made me chuckle:

There’s no possibility in the real-world [for] a spam filter.

I had to chuckle because here in Canada, we’ve had real-world spam filtering for over two decades 😆

Starting in 1998, Canada Post has allowed residents to request that unaddressed advertising mail no longer be delivered. When the policy was first introduced, residents had to send a letter to Canada Post and then a red dot sticker would be placed in your mailbox, letting carriers know to stop delivering unaddressed advertising mail to your address.

Most Canadians were unaware of this ironically unadvertised policy until 2008, when Vancouver-based marketer Beth Ringdahl created the Red Dot Campaign to encourage Canadians to make this request of Canada Post in an effort to reduce paper waste.

Canada Post has since updated their policy to remove the requirement of making the request to stop unaddressed advertisting by sending a letter. Now, all that is required is a note inside your mailbox. Or, at least here in Vancouver, a little red dot.

My Little Red Spam Filter
My Little Red Spam Filter
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Canadian wireless telecommunications provider Freedom Mobile is offering a very enticing deal right now: 20GB of data for $55/mo. The catch? The only way to get the deal is to risk exposing yourself to a lethal virus by entering one of their physical stores.

When I told the Freedom Mobile customer service representative I spoke to that demanding customers go into public during a global pandemic is insane, they responded “I understand where you’re coming from. I really do.”

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Pushed a big update to my site last night. Blog posts now live on the site’s homepage rather than buried under a menu item. I improved how pagination on the blog works and brought back a few old posts I found hadn’t been transferred from my old blogging system when I transitioned to using Jekyll in 2016. In fact, this week I discovered hundreds of posts that lived in my old system and didn’t make their way during the transition that I hope to migrate over in the coming months.

I also updated the about page with more of my history and added pages showing some of the work from early in my design career. Projects for companies like Corona Light, Pepsi Max, and my very first client as a freelancer back in 2010, Grammy-winning recording engineer Tim Latham. I learned just this week Tim later went on to win a second Grammy for his work mixing the Original Broadway Cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical, which has since remained on repeat in my iTunes.

I would love to hear what you think about the changes. Write to me at feedback@patdryburgh.com.

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Whenever I try to use Siri, I run into two frustrating issues:

  1. Siri often misses the first few words I speak, despite waiting for the ding before I begin.
  2. Siri often stops listening when I’m in the middle of my sentence or question.

The first problem is likely a bug, but the second is because I speak slowly to Siri and often need a few seconds to think of even very basic words.

Back when I could initiate Siri with the Home button, I could hold the button until I was finished my sentence and Siri would listen until I let go. Without the home button, I don’t know what to do.

Addendum: I’ve just discovered that if I invoke Siri by pressing and holding the power button and don’t let go, Siri continues to listen even when I need a few seconds for my words to come out. Not sure why that had not dawned on me other than that I had been invoking Siri with “Hey Siri” and by tapping my AirPods. I guess those aren’t options for me.

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