Latin phrases for iPod, iPad, et cetera

Raphael's "School of Athens" 1511
Raphael’s “School of Athens,” 1511

This started pre-iPhone. I was training for the Philadelphia Marathon and my first iPod wasn’t keeping up (I do still have it though). Apple had just come out with a new version of the iPod Nano, and as I was building my order, I noticed something interesting- an offer for free engraving of my purchase.

This is a service Apple still offers for iPads and iPods, here. With Glowforge, you can do it yourself. There are rumors that Apple will begin offering Watch engraving as a free service in the future, and there are third party companies that will happily engrave your iPhone, Mac, and more:

On Apple’s site, the free engraving perk is presented as a way to personalize a gift you’ll be giving to someone else. “I can never repay you, but here’s a start” says one iPad in their example roundup.

But, what if you’re buying something for yourself? I like the idea of personalizing something that you’ve worked hard for and will use every day. I used to name all my major tech purchases after major exhibitions, as a way to commemorate and pay homage to a lot of hard work. For example, I have a laptop named Van Gogh.

So, what to engrave? Latin has a lot of similarities to code. It’s alternately blunt and subtle. The personalities of author, translator, coder, and student invariably come through, as there are often multiple ways to say something, and even more ways to interpret it. Like Fortran, it’s an old language, but also one that’s all around us: alias, alibi, bona fide, veto, et cetera. Latin is often succinct, sometimes tongue-in-cheek (I especially liked the self-referential lines, like “Multum in parvo,” “Much in a small space), and individualizes your device. I also liked finding phrases that might refer to what one is reading, and/or musical tastes, and phrases that were encouraging and acknowledged hard work.

So, here’s the list I made:

Latin Translation Attribution/notes
Aude sapere Dare to be wise
Cave ab homine unius libri Beware the man of one book
Citius Altius Fortius Faster, higher, stronger Modern Olympics motto
De gustibus non est disputandum There’s no accounting for taste
Decies repetita placebit Though ten times repeated, it will continue to please Horace
Deus ex machina God out of a machine
Dimidium facti qui coepit habet He who makes a start has half the work done Horace, Epistles, Book I, Ep. 2
Docendo discimus We learn by teaching Seneca, Letters to Lucilius, Book I, letter 7, section 8
Dulce et utile A sweet and useful (thing) Horace, Ars Poetica
Dulcius ex asperis Sweeter after difficulties Scottish clan Fergusson’s motto
Dum spiro spero While I breathe, I hope Attributed to Theocritus and Cicero
Fac et spera Do and hope Scottish clan Matheson’s motto
Fac fortia et patere Do brave deeds and endure Motto of Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, Australia
Factis ut credam facis Deeds, then I may believe you- trust actions, not words
Fortiter in re, suaviter in modo Gently in manner, firm in action Acquaviva, Industriae ad curandos animae morbos
Fortitudine vincimus By endurance we conquer Shackelton’s motto
Humani nihil alienum Nothing human is foreign to me Terentius Afer, Heauton Timorumenos
Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need Cicero
Imperare sibi maximum imperium est To rule yourself is the ultimate power Seneca
In nocte consilium The night brings counsel
In spe In hope
Labor omnia vincit Hard work conqures all Virgil, Georgics
Lex malla, lex nulla A bad law is no law St. Thomas Aquinas
Loquitur (loq.) He/she speaks
Male parta male dilabuntur What has been wrongly gained is wrongly lost. (Ill-gotten gains seldom prosper.) Cicero, Philippics, 2.66
Multum in parvo Much in a small space
Musica delenit bestiam feram Music soothes the savage beast
Otium sine litteris mors est Leisure without literature is death Seneca, Letters to Lucilius
Per angusta ad augusta Through difficulties to honors
Post proelia praemia After the battles, the prizes
Res ipsa loquitur The thing itself speaks- tort law Cicero, Pro Tito Annio Milone ad iudicem oratio
Res mihi suppetit I have abundance to say
Ubi spiritus est cantus est Where there is spirit there is song
Ubicumque homo est, ibi beneficio locus est Wherever there is man, there is a place for kindness Seneca
Veritatem Dilexi I delight in the truth Bryn Mawr College motto

The above is my list, culled from multiple books and sites over the years. If you’ve read through this and are still looking for your best Latin phrase, I recommend: List of Latin phrases (Full), Wikipedia

And for even MORE bon mots take a look at: WikiQuote’s Latin Proverbs and The Quotations Page

Airtable, APIs, and thinking through a problem

“What is an API?” “It’s an application programming interface.” “…. oh, okay, … thank you…”

Sometimes the answer to a question doesn’t supply an actual answer. APIs are a good example- the name is an acronym, and the acronym uses specific terms that make sense in an industry, but might not translate to a digestible concept for the person posing the question.

“What is an API?” I had heard the term for a while, but wanted to understand more. At the same time, I was getting ready to go to Abstractions, a conference in Pittsburgh, PA.

Abstractions looked amazing! I was thrilled with the talk descriptions, the code of conduct, the transparent privacy policy, generous scholarship program, original art specific to the event, and more. Couldn’t wait for it to start! As I started looking at the schedule, I noticed something- the schedule didn’t render well on a browser. Talks were all in distinct blocks, and the blocks sometimes didn’t all fit on one row, meaning that you couldn’t see everything happening at one time on one row. Talks were also broken up by location first, not time first, so again, you couldn’t see what was happening at the same time.

Other people pointed this out as well on the conference Slack channel. The conference organizers, embedded in schedule-details for the past several months, didn’t see the difficulty people were experiencing, and in the heady, final days before an event, most likely had a few other things to do.

I wanted a conference schedule that I could sort and filter, and I wanted to be able to add keywords to talks so I could see what was on the docket for open source, art, various languages, and more.

Okay. So. 1. Excited about a conference 2. Wanted to plan my time well 3. Schedule wasn’t helping as well as it could

What to do? I had the information- but I needed it to listen to my needs. This is what an API is. In many cases it’s a tool, some form of software, but at its core an API is a series of decisions that connects information to action in a way that’s beneficial and transformative.

I can’t say enough good things about the conference organizers. They were completely fantastic- forward thinking, responsive to attendees, endlessly on-point with a thousand event-planning details, and they built something incredible in Pittsburgh. One awesome thing they did was provide the conference schedule information as a pure JSON file in addition to their formatted version of the schedule.

What is a JSON file? Another term I had heard, and even used in conversation, maybe the same way someone would talk about a vegetable even though they’ve never cooked with it. “Ah, the celeriac root! Yes, what a great…. root.”

Okay. So now we’re at: 1. Excited about a conference 2. Wanted to plan my time well 3. Schedule wasn’t helping as well as it could 4. Had a JSON file

From there my Google path was “What is JSON” ➡️“JSON visualization” (apparently not a thing/hard) ➡️“data visualization for schedules” (also apparently not a thing) ➡️lots of variations on that phrase, which mostly netted me schedules for data viz conference (which were terrible) ➡️listening to the most recent CodeNewbies podcast, which had a shoutout for Airtable ➡️Airtable ➡️“JSON and Airtable” ➡️“how to convert JSON to CSV”➡️ download CSV ➡️upload to Airtable ➡️tweak, add keyword content and “I’m new to coding” suggested talks track as a tag,➡️review ➡️share on conference Slack.

Here it is!

Here’s what you can do with it: sort by any column, search, filter, download a CSV, make your own copy and add other columns/fields (like a priority column, for example), and print. Links are active; you can make a Twitter list of speakers, check out their websites. Sort by suggested audience level, filter to only see organizer Justin’s recommendations for an “I’m new to coding” track, sort/filter by keywords.

Keywords was the feature I most wanted- I pulled them from the talk descriptions. You can see everything JavaScript, any other specific language, etc. In some ways, every talk could be tagged as “Best Practices” or “Career Development.” Same for terms like “software,” “coding,” or “tech.” With that in mind, I tried to tag for what stood out.

I shared it, people liked it and were appreciative, and the conference organizers ended up using it to plan speaker-emcee assignments. Things to figure out to do for next time- 1. Make it sync live with the JSON file the conference organizers hosted online (hmmm sounds like an API!), 2. Fix special characters.

So, API, JSON file, celeriac root.

API stands for Application Programming Interface, and it’s a series of decisions that connects information to action in a way that’s beneficial and transformative. JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. It’s a lightweight file that allows you to structure data in a way that can be read by web applications and/or converted to CSV for further data-wrangling. And celeriac root is a variety of celery that grows wild in the Mediterranean Basin and Northern Europe, that tastes amazing roasted, in soups, and in the French salad celerie remoulade.

And Airtable is great.

And more conferences should share their schedule information as JSON files.

Thanks Abstractions team! You put on a wonderful event, I had an amazing time and learned a lot, and THERE WERE DOGS.

Smorgasbord & order: Bloglovin to the rescue

Follow me with Bloglovin

Moment of silence for Google Reader, which was the best blog feed aggregator for a long time.

Google put that product out to pasture in 2013 and readers were left scrambling to find a comparable replacement. There were (and continue to be) many, many RSS options, from the longstanding Feedly to a sleek minimalist option called Miniflux.

I found Bloglovin after testing a few other options and have used it ever since.

Why do I prefer Bloglovin?

It’s quick- importing blogs from Google Reader took seconds.

It’s the right balance of image and content- some blog readers strip away all images and some are heavily weighted towards images. I wanted to see what images writers were choosing for their posts, but not at the expense of readability. Bloglovin’s main feed has each post’s title, synopsis, tags, and main image. Clicking on that summary will bring you to the full post.

It offers tools for engagement and privacy- you can share, like, and create collections. You can also choose to mark blogs you follow as private- I can see this feature being useful, for example, if someone was trying to have a child and following a lot of pregnancy blogs. You might not want to share that information with everyone, and by marking a blog private it doesn’t show up in your profile. Bloglovin offers integrations with Facebook and Pinterest; I have not tested these but I imagine they could be useful!

Image showing Bloglovin UI
Account portal to manage blogs: Add blogs, create groups, mark as private, and unfollow

It offers discovery- I don’t use this feature a lot but I do appreciate it- at the top of the site are general categories including Art, Technology, and Education. Clicking on one of those brings up a smorgasbord of posts relating to that topic, and you can choose to follow whatever blog looks good to you. Above that is a search bar that will search all the blogs and posts on Bloglovin using whatever term you put in. If a site isn’t on Bloglovin you can add it very easily- a feature that I really like. That feature means authors aren’t solely responsible for adding their blogs to this platform- once a blog is added, Bloglovin will pull information from that site just like any other RSS feeder, and authors can claim their blogs whenever they have time. 

Image showing Bloglovin Linux search results
Using the Bloglovin search bar for “Linux” shows me so many new sites and interesting posts!

It’s free- Not “freemium,” not subscription-based, free. No plugin or extension needed. Android and iOS apps are available and render well.

I’ve organized the blogs I follow into groups: Tech, Product, Money, Amusing, Philadelphia, and Scholarly. I can choose to read only what’s in one group, or scan through my whole feed. 

When I check Bloglovin, I scan through my main feed, open the posts that are interesting to me, share things with others, and then mark everything as read. It’s quick, comprehensive, and free; all things I like 🙂 You can check out my profile here and see what blogs I follow; maybe you’ll find something new?