(   )
                          (    )
                           (    )
                          (    )
                            )  )
                           (  (                  /\
                            (_)                 /  \  /\
                    ________[_]________      /\/    \/  \
           /\      /\        ______    \    /   /\/\  /\/\
          /  \    //_\       \    /\    \  /\/\/    \/    \
   /\    / /\/\  //___\       \__/  \    \/
  /  \  /\/    \//_____\       \ |[]|     \
 /\/\/\/       //_______\       \|__|      \
/      \      /XXXXXXXXXX\                  \
        \    /_I_II  I__I_\__________________\
               I_I|  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I_II  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I II__I  I     XXXXXXX     I
            ~~~~~"   "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tue, 27 Aug 2019

Consume Less, Create More

Shane posted an essay by an unknown author, "Consume Less, Create More" [0][1]. It is an inspiring essay. I've been aware of the relationship between my overall happiness and how much I create for some time, in my case my main source of creativity is the material I create for the D&D games I run, supplemented by journal/blog/phlog writing. Which brings to mind another point - you don't need to create for anyone but yourself. Creating is harder if you are constantly worrying what others might think of your creations.

Also, this quote is insightful:

Smartphones, I've decided, are not evil. This entire essay was composed on an iPhone. What evil is passive consumption, in all its forms.

There are many things to demonize about smartphones in this day and age (mainly revolving around security and privacy), still they are useful at times. I never considered actually writing an essay on a smartphone, but in the context the author describes (daily bus rides), it seems like a great use of the device.

EDIT: Alex Schroeder linked to the original source [2] with more comments of his own [3][4].

Thus, the audience is small, and I'm mainly doing it for myself. I think that's how I keep our sanity.

posted at: 23:10 | path: / | permalink | consumer, creativity, mobile, smartphone

Sat, 24 Aug 2019

Crappy Cellular

My wife and I were discussing how our efforts to improve at French are hampered by the crappy quality of cellular voice calls. We don't notice it when calls in English are of bad quality, my guess is our brains interpolate and fill in any missing words for us - but in French, the poor quality is obvious and makes it impossible to understand the full meaning of what someone is saying. Voicemails seem to be particularly bad. We listened to one left in French yesterday from our local bike shop where every other word was unintelligible, as if the guy had a mouthful of marbles. My suspicion is that the cell carriers are double-compressing the audio - once as normal during the original call and once again when the voice message is stored. When you play it back it gets compressed yet again. It's worse that we're both old enough to remember when phone call quality did not suck. It all makes me want to go back to a landline and tape-based answering machine.

posted at: 03:30 | path: / | permalink | cellular, compression, mobile, voip

Sat, 07 Oct 2017

Thoughts on Privacy

Like many other privacy-minded geeks, I've been trying to lessen my public footprint and use of big-provider emails. I've had my own mail server for many years - In the US I ran my own server from a decent business-class connection with static IPs, but that all went away when we moved to Canada. So I migrated my mail server to Ramnode, where it has been ever since. But for a time during the move, when things were uncertain, I relied more heavily on gmail/yahoo mail. Now that we're settled, I've stopped use of both of them entirely and moved everything back to my own email server again. I don't consider using SDF email in this context, since I don't want to associate my real name with my SDF account.

read more after the break...

posted at: 20:17 | path: / | permalink | data, mobile, privacy, social

Mon, 16 Nov 2015

Dumb Phones

I've noticed lately more and more people buried in their mobile devices in public or even while they are in supposedly social situations. While the former is understandable (the phone has taken the place of books or magazines in waiting rooms and airport terminals), the latter is downright rude.

Perhaps it is generational, since I did not grow up with a "smart" phone in the 70s and 80s, it took me a long time to even see the need for one. I have one now because I must, as a sysadmin who is on-call it is expected. And I do amuse myself with it in public waiting rooms (although typically with FBReader). But I make a point to put it away and not check it when I'm with my friends or family. If I'm checking something on my phone while someone is talking to me face-to-face, I'm really telling them what they are saying is not important, compared to whatever is on my phone. Why engage in conversation with me at all if all you want to do is check your facebook feed obsessively or text someone?

Ray Bradbury had it right, he was just a bit off as far as scale. Rather than flat-screen TV wall displays (although I notice those are proliferating quite rapidly in bars, restaurants and doctor's offices), the device has shrunk and we are being stupefied by a hand-held version of the interactive TV.

posted at: 19:06 | path: / | permalink | bradbury, mobile, phones, smart, tv