Using AI with Obsidian to automate my todo list

I just built the following use case in under 20 minutes and am amazed this is possible!

I hate getting bills (medical, insurance, etc…) via paper mail, but it still happens. With Obsidian and File Explorer 200 plugin (FO2K), here is what i did:

  1. Take a photo of the bill and use the “Add to Obsidian” iOS shortcut to drop it in the FO2K Inbox.
  2. Set up a template in FO2K to parse the annotated document that FO2K creates from the image. Here is mine:

1) Add a first line to the document that says "This is a bill and should go in the bills folder."

2) Parse the content, and then add the following properties as inline dataview fields in the format of the example below. If any items are not present, state "N/A"

Sender:: (the company the bill is from)

Owed:: $100

Link:: [Click Here to Pay](PAYMENT URL From Content )

Account:: Account Number

Due:: Due Date

3) Include a task in the following format:


Where "TASK HERE" should be something like "Pay this ($amount) bill from...." and "LINK HERE" should be the link to the payment system in the task.

Then, make a final section for the original content

# Original Content

Keep all of the original content exactly as it is for this section for reference.

This means that FO2K will automatically look at the image, extract the content from it, rename it, then run the “Bills and Payment request” template on the extracted content. Because I insert folder instructions, it then automatically puts it in the Bills folder.

  1. In the bills folder I created a Bills Dashboard page with dataview lookup table that pulls all the inline dataview fields out. This creates an easy to use list of all the bills I need to deal with, with direct clickable links to the payment portals!
    Capto_Capture 2024-06-17_09-31-20_AM.png
  2. I also have it create a Task list that the Tasks plugin utilizes, so i get a nice list of all the bills to pay that I can check off when done.

All I do for this to self-create is just take photos of the bills and share it! Incredible!

Asheville Magnet Fishing

I wanted some random things to do with my kid on sunny days, so I picket up a magnet fishing kit. Basically, you throw a really strong magnet on a rope into water (lake, river, etc) and see what metal you find. Old bikes, knives, and a lot of trash. Everything you pick up is ferrous, which means it has value at local scrapyards. I am letting my kid keep any money we get from it for toys and whatnot.

We haven’t found much yet, but the weather is just starting to turn nice.

Quick table of locations we are going to try:


Location Type
Craven Street Bridge French Broad River Access
192 Riverside Dr, Asheville, NC 28801
River / Dock
Beaver Lake View Park
1157 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Biltmore Lagoon
The Lagoon, Asheville, NC 28803
Lake Julian Park
37 LAKE JULIAN RD, Arden, NC 28704
Lake Tomahawk Park
401 Laurel Cir Dr #3061, Black Mountain, NC 28711
Asheville East KOA Holiday
2708 US-70, Swannanoa, NC 28778
Charles D Owen Park
875 Warren Wilson Rd, Swannanoa, NC 28778
Azalea Park
498 Azalea Rd E, Asheville, NC 28805
Lake / Dock
Biltmore Lake
88 Lake Dr, Candler, NC 28715
Lake / Dock
Lake Lure Lake
Marshall Bridge River
Hominy Creek Put in Creek
Reems Creek Golf Club, 36 Pink Fox Cove Rd, Weaverville, NC 28787 Ponds

Also some pricing:

Product Pricing Per Pound
Bare Bright Copper $3.10
#1 Copper $3.00
#2 Copper $2.80
Light Copper $2.75
#1 Insulated $1.85
#2 Insulated $1.00
#2 Insulated – Low Grade $0.60
Yellow Brass $1.75
Radiators – Clean/Irony $1.80/1.00
Copper Alum Rads $1.40/1.10
Sheet/Cast Aluminum $0.50
MLC $0.55
Extruded/EC $0.50
Aluminum Cans $0.55
Alum Wheels $0.70
Irony Aluminum $0.15
Stainless $0.35
Lead Acid Batteries $0.18
Compressors $.15
Electric Motors $.15
For Large Volumes Please Call for Pricing
Prices Subject to Change 12/11/23

Dad Blog


I have only done something like four posts in the past 3 years on this blog. In that time I have moved across the country, had three kids, rebuilt a company to survive the pandemic then transitioned it back again, raised and butchered two pigs, got a new dog, raised some chickens and put the groundwork in for a small urban farm. It has been busy. 

My goal for 2023 is to just start writing again — at least once a week. These posts will probaby be ruminations on some aspect of dad life. I’m a father of three boys now. Shit is about to get crazy!

Above image created by Artificial Intelligence, something else I have been messing around with.

Notes from Dweb Camp 2022

We (Custom Camps) recently finished running the week long, 430 person Dweb Camp 2022. This gathering of technologists took place in Navarro CA, in the ancient Redwood forests. We got a beautiful note from one of the participants who flew in from Europe:

When we were driving out of Camp Navarro, after the last bus full of volunteers had been gone, a new feeling filled me. To the right and the left of the road, the redwood trees grow high to the sky, their trunks converging in an illusional gathering, their tops actually touching each other.

Although they seem separate, we’ve learnt that the forest is connected and trees, plants, and mushrooms share information underground. I felt connected too, deeply, not only to the ground and the trees, but to the people, animals, and things. For some minutes, I had a very deep feeling of shared and decentralized existence while looking at the forest and remembering what had just ended.

It amazed me and proposed an abyss. A new consciousness requires new ways of loving, living, and sharing. How does it feel? How do I retain the wonder, take care of it, and make it grow?

To spend a week in the redwood forest was special. The landscape is gorgeous but it was much more than it. Around 300 people came to share and live together. Different countries, languages, cultures, everyone opening her spirit to be touched, to connect and learn. Many layers of the community were settled with magical ease. How does it happen? How is that achieved? (Wendy said she’ll tell me someday…).

A group of people, volunteers, built and unbuilt the infrastructure; another group maintained the wheel spinning for all, taking care of the food, the cleaning, and all the basic tasks usually invisible to the eyes of privilege.

There were a lot of resources, good infrastructure, and no money to exchange. Ideal combination for peaceful and fruitful encounters? The dynamics led us to share the meals and conversations in impossible ways, with people with whom otherwise some of us would never share because we can’t afford it or just because our daily life circles don’t touch each other.

Many of us accepted exercises that usually are not part of our character or culture but we went into the game, we bet our existence for a week, and walked inside the scenario.

There is an idea in the arts, in cinema and theater, that helps to explain why some plays, movies, or scenes work and others don’t. The goal is not about reality or fidelity in representation, but about internal coherence and credibility. If the different elements of fiction make sense in a context, if we create a world where every character, object, and attitude fit, where nobody and nothing seems to have joined a place that doesn’t belong, then the fiction becomes powerful.

I feel something like that happened in DWeb Camp. It was not fiction but it was, in a sense. Full of people willing to create a fairer world, who work to imagine and build an nonexistent (or pre-existent) reality where money accumulation is not the engine, and selling “goods” is not the goal. Gathering together people who come from contexts of scarcity, where sharing is a must, a way to survive, and people with absurd amounts of money willing to redistribute some and learn. Bringing together different superpowers, the community achieved a powerful scene that will remain in our hearts and impulse (propel?) projects, friendships, love, and ideas. It was fiction, I believe, but fiction alters outside reality and spirits, that’s its biggest force.

Let’s keep growing through gathering. Let’s decentralize the music. May redistribution replace accumulation. With their collectivism and autonomy, may trains and bikes replace cars.

Thank you all.


Just thought I would share some of what I have been up to!

Oakland to Asheville

In April our family moved 2600 miles across the country from Oakland, CA to Asheville, NC. Like many others, the pandemic influenced our timing but we are also part of the first wave of US climate migrants. We moved because the wildfires in California were causing smoke that made our lifestyles less enjoyable. Our son had just started walking, and we had 30 days in a row where the air quality was too bad to go outside. Covid made it unsafe to share indoor spaces, so we basically stayed at home and went insane.

At the end of those 30 days we flew to stay with my family in Atlanta for two months. In order to get a break from a very full house (my brother, his wife and their two kids were also staying with my parents) we took a trip up to Asheville to see the leaves change. Three trips later and we had put an offer in on a house in West Asheville! This lot is literally 7x the size of our lot in Oakland, for less money.

We have been here five months, and are now finally feeling settled in. We got a dog, and have been taking her on hikes and to play with other dogs in the neighborhood. We also have been taking our kiddo out canoeing on the nearby lakes, and soon on the river. We know the restaurants, we know the easy places to get out and see nature, and we are starting to turn our kudzu covered lot into a working garden. Our chickens (which we got in June) are now giving us eggs. We have also turned our backyard into a stage and had musicians play!

We are very happy with our relocation, and while we miss the community back in the Bay Area, we don’t miss the smoke. It also seems like people we know from California are headed this way every few months, so the community is growing on this side of the country as well.


King Dream

Jeremy Lyon from King Dream

Chicki Minaj gives up her first egg

Keeping your sanity with Mute Filters

I still use RSS to pull information from the internet to my eyes. It is the most efficient way of gathering information from multiple sources without having to manually dig, and it avoids the brain killing viral balloons from Facebook and the like.

However, there is one endless source of “news” that I am done hearing about daily. Trump. I don’t care to give any of my attention to this national reality show anymore. Enter the Mute Filter.

The news reader I have used since Google reader shut down is Feedly. It has a mute filter that removes all articles from your feed containing key words. I made a test filter for “Trump”, set it to last for 7 days, and then forgot about it.

It filtered 1561 articles in 7 days!

Today, it turned off and my feed went back to garbage. Example A below. (I know Gizmodo is a rag, but I like their tech product features…)

Example A

The Mute Filter is going back on and going to stay that way. Any actual big news related to this trumpster fire I will hear about on NPR or via email or from friends.

Cost of Newspaper Subscriptions

My brother Matt asked why there is no useful comparison of the cost of newspaper subscriptions. Some Googling made it clear – this consumer comparison does not exist. So, I took a few minutes to knock one together.

I think the real reason is most people are looking to get a specific paper, and are not shopping around for which paper is most affordable. If you want the WSJ, you want the WSJ, and the cost of USA Today doesn’t factor into it.

I’m not going to keep this updated as the cost seems to shift around depending on the season, which ads you have viewed in the past, and the content of Trump’s last tweet.

California is burning while everything else floods.


Active fires in California as of Sep 1, 2017.

There have been 30% more individual fires this year in California than there were last year. Many more in Oregon and up into Canada. A few have been near our place in Nevada City.

Multiple regions experianced disaster level flooding in the past two weeks. South Asia (40 million people affected), Nigeria, and Texas.

Update 9/1/17: San Francisco just had its hottest day ever. 106 degrees.

Crossing the country for the Eclipse

Taken by Matt Hanna, on an iPhone

The first solar eclipse Mandy and I saw was in October of 2014. That one was a partial eclipse, but nobody seemed to care. We grabbed glasses from the Lawrence Hall of Science, and joined crowds in the Berkeley hills to watch it happen. Shadows went wild, and it was a fun afternoon.

The first lunar eclipse I saw was in College in North Carolina. Since then I have seen a few and even observed one through my telescope, which was a lot of fun.

None of them compared to the totality of the 2017 eclipse. Mandy and I joined the great migration by flying to South Carolina to spend the week with my family in Hilton Head, with the plan to drive up an hour to Charleston to observe the totality.

The Migration

On Monday morning, we loaded up into a rented minivan with my family and our 10-month-old niece, and headed out at 7:30am. It was getting cloudy, so four of us kept an eye on different live cloud maps, all trying to figure out the best spot to go. Citing the lake effect (clouds don’t form as consistently over water in summer months) we aimed for a lake in the middle of the state. Traffic was not as bad as we were expecting, and the drive in took around three hours. This put us in Lexington, SC a few hours before the main event.

The town was packed. It was in the “Path of Totality” and had been preparing. Cafes were giving out eclipse cookies (Oreos and MoonPies) and every law enforcement agent in the county was on duty. We scoped out a few sites, and ended up parking near the lake, and joining thousands of people on the shore as the moon started crossing the sun.

We watched while swimming, and Mandy saw totality start while in the water. The clouds completely dissipated in the 20 minutes before totality, and then it happened. The diamond ring exploded around the moon, and we had a clear view of the sun’s atmosphere streaming out. The crowd cheered, then became silent as our brains tried to cope with what we were seeing. Darkness had fallen instantly, stars were out, and the sun had turned into a ring of fire. Sunset was visible on all sides around the lake and the colors were beautiful.

The totality was only two minutes and 33 seconds long, but it seemed both far longer, and much shorter. I’m still trying to parse out how it affected me, but I felt minuscule on the cosmic scale and part of something massive for humanity. Estimates say that 200 million people watched the eclipse in the US on Monday. On that field thousands of us were struck with awe at the same moment, and shared a powerful experience.

Interesting Data

On the way to the eclipse, people had trickled in over the weekend in small, but constant streams. Once it was over, it was like a pulse bomb was set off in the road infrastructure. Look at the traffic patterns below that follow the eclipse trajectory – some of those red and orange lines stretch for hundreds of miles.

Traffic heading back to the island took six hours. I-95 was slammed with everyone who came up from Florida. When we got back, my brother Matt looked up the effect the eclipse had on solar output in California. Interesting curves here:

Also, people on the path cared much more about the eclipse than those who were far away as Google search trends shows below: