View all posts by John
It’d be interesting to know the demographics of folks who read the New York Times opinion piece on Why We Can’t Quit the Guitar Solo:
It’s easy to dismiss the guitar solo as an outdated, macho institution. The shredding lead guitar, once ubiquitous in rock music, can now feel like a relic of a bygone time.
Indeed it can. But if you’re in the right demographic – as I definitely am – it was well worth a read (and a listen.)1
- A bit of a shame that some of the samples weren’t muted after I’d scrolled down past them in the article so that I sometimes found myself distracted by (unintentionally) duelling guitar solos. That could have been a browser issue, but I was disinclined to dive into the source code to try and figure out what was going wrong. ↩
The Inheritors is an intimate science-fiction short film exploring themes of race, family and belonging. Reflecting on the experiences of people with multiple-heritage, it’s a story about how societal polarisation creates walls that divide us, deprive us of love, of community, of a sense of identity, and ultimately of our deepest humanity.
[Via Orbital Operations]
Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard has been a poorly-paced tale that is so busy looking backwards that I have very little confidence that the coming third season will be worth my time, even if they are reuniting the TNG-era bridge crew and promising us "Federation starships galore".1
“I just realized who the actress playing his mother reminds me of. Holly Palance.”
“Let’s just say that I hope ‘Look Up, Jean-Luc’ isn’t this plotline’s ‘Look at me, Damien, I love you! It’s All for You, Damien!'”
‘oh god, they wouldn’t’
Q: Jeez, Jean-Luc. I came here to teach you a lesson about romance. But I thought your Avoidant Behaviors about women were you just being, y’know, stuffy. Reserved.
(Vash told me she actually caught you doing the Picard Maneuver with a condom. C’mon man.)
I had no idea your mother made you a witness to her suicide!
Really messes up my plans for you and Laris loving it up and having the first Synth-Romulan hybrid baby; solving both my selfish Last of the Picards to Play With and making a point about growing by overcoming your deepest fears.
But no, you had to do your own thing. So now BorgRati is headed straight for the alternate dimension where AI is the dominant lifeform, from last season. The big portal full of robot tentacles? And I’ve seen enough hentai to know where that’s going.
- It’s crazy how often major, galaxy-threatening terrors turn out to have their roots in the histories of that one small group of Star Fleet officers, to the point where it’s starting to feel like a galaxy so small it feels like it was inspired by the works of George Lucas. ↩
- NB: That comment was posted before this week’s penultimate episode of the season, in which the first plot point mentioned turned out to be spot-on. ↩
A third brain,
for you, for now.
Obsidian Ultra Cloud Host (OUCH) is a brand new PKM platform by Obsidian. It’s like Obsidian and Obsidian had a baby, in the Cloud™.
(Note the publication date…)
I’d really like to be a web client so. I could view and edit my Obsidian vault’s content from my (thoroughly locked down) work laptop, so this had me going. This was the bit that tipped me off:
We all need some downtime to unplug from work, but we can never find the right time for it.
Don’t worry, our server randomly goes down for a couple of hours from time to time, so you can stay away from knowledge management and recharge your sanity.
It would be a crime for me to post a mere excerpt from Damon Young’s A letter to that man who emailed to correct my grammar.
Very nicely done.
(Not mean. Just accurate.)
Watching the video at Google’s Little Signals site, I was struck by the thought that all these oh-so polite, unobtrusive attempts to replace notifications look fine in a demonstration video but they really don’t scale well.
Take the use of a device – shown 1 minute, 15 seconds in – that taps on a solitary bottle of pills to hint that it’s time for you to take your morning (or evening, or whatever) medication…
Looks cute, doesn’t it.
Outside of demo-world, at present I take six different pills after breakfast, then one of the same pills again after tea, then one other pill after supper. A gentle tap threatens to turn into a drum solo accompanying my morning repast.1 In practice, the fact that I currently keep my pill dispenser out of sight in a cabinet in my kitchen might also be a bit of a problem.
Don’t we want alerts to take your medication to be difficult to ignore?
What I really want is…
- A medication timer app for iPadOS (or simply daily recurring entries on any halfway-decent ToDo app) that sends me notifications that I can’t easily ignore, not a polite tapping sound from the kitchen cabinet that I might miss completely.
- Or a high-tech version of my cheap plastic pill organiser that can light up the appropriate compartment containing the pills I need to take at the appropriate time.2
Or just the self-discipline to keep on top of and check off the uncleared medication-related tasks from my Markdown-formatted Daily Note.3
[Via Dan Hon
- Also, all my pills come in cardboard boxes and once a week I file them away in the right compartment in a weekly pill organiser according to when I’m due to take them. A dull tap on a plastic pillbox just won’t deliver the same distinct audible signal as a tap on a glass pill bottle, I fear. ↩
- With a companion app to program the times, set default colour schemes and sound effects, naturally. ↩
- Yes, I’ve turned into an Obsidian zombie. ↩
I gave in and upped the font size on Mail.app on my Mac because I’m now not too precious to admit that I need to be able to read things. Which got me thinking: if we’ve got Dark Mode, then what does Old Mode for Internet Olds look like?
Potential Old Modes:
- text-only sports websites because Old Internet People remember when stuff loaded quickly and was just text and then evergreen example text.npr.org
- Make This Like A Chronological Feed For Me Mode for Old Internets who keep going on about some “Google Reader” and “RSS” and can’t handle intrinsically algorithmic/recommendation-powered feeds like TikTok
- So, you know, not just skins that make things look old, but skins that are interfaces on top of modern services that behave in certain kinds of old. Or interface aesthetics that work for Old People.
I realise this is really just a subset of the last item, but it’s an important one. Letting users control your software using keyboard shortcuts1 is a big one, for me.
- If your software has drop-down menus, have it display those shortcuts on-screen, right next to the menu items. ↩
Can’t imagine why Apple are so disinclined to allow sideloading of apps under iOS/iPadOS, given the number of ways Google/Alphabet Inc. have backed away from the picture they drew1 back in 2008.
- Well, Scott McCloud drew, but as a work-for-hire for Google. ↩
Spotted in the Guardian‘s letters, a reader gives the government credit where it’s due:
I am pleased to say I have spotted the first concrete evidence of the government putting its levelling-up agenda into action. While viewing information on my NHS app, I found the guide to foreign travel under Covid regulations, with the following very useful guidance: “Find out what you need to do … to take your pet dog, cat or ferret.”
The inclusion of ferrets in this list really does show that the government takes the interests of northerners into account in its policies, don’t you think? Unfortunately, there is no mention of what to do if you want to travel with your ferret down your trousers or up your jumper – but it’s early days, so no doubt they will learn the finer points of ferret-keeping as we go along.
Addingham, West Yorkshire
Boris Johnson will probably delegate the travel-with-a-ferret-down-your-trousers demonstration to Michael Gove.
Dave Winer wants publishing platforms to stop locking writers into using the platforms’ own writing tools to compose content:1
I’d like to see someone like Substack or Medium, for example, who says “Write your stuff in your favorite writing tool, export it in Markdown, and give us the link. We’ll take it from there.”
That way you could:
- Use a tool that fits your writing style perfectly.
- Developers would be incentivized to create such tools.
- You could use more than one service, say use Substack to manage your mail list, and Medium to manage your web presence, and Facebook for discussion among your friends, Slack to discuss among your work colleagues. […]
- Great archival services could come about because they could be one of the services you cc on your writing.
- Service providers could make custom toolkits to make it easy for tools to adapt to this interface. […]
- Who knows what else will come about.
It’s amazing that we have this incredibly powerful network, but the business models of service providers protect their services by not allowing writers a choice in writing tools.
Everyone wants to make money and try to build an empire on the basis of their suddenly being an essential middle-man. Even if that entails complicating the task of providing access to (mostly text) files over a network, a process that the World Wide Web made a pretty decent start on resolving a couple of decades ago.
- Apologies to Dave Winer for the length of the quote from his original post, but I thought the points he was making about the implications of the basic concept he’s putting forward deserved to be spread far and wide. ↩