- 3 posts into this series, and I've dropped the 'list' from the 'Unordered List' title as it seems redundant - or at least, unhelpful, and possibly distracts from the key point (which isn't really "list".)
- The previous entry seemed to have a "getting old" theme. That was partly a deliberate attempt to stop everything I write here from having a "getting old" theme, but the thing is I'm at a point where I am being told that I have to start thinking about the logistics surrounding my 40th birthday; how do I want to celebrate, what do I want to book, do my wife and I want a joint party etc. etc. So there may be a degree of reflection going on at the moment that isn't entirely representative of my usual state of mind. Maybe… Sorry. 1
- In the past, my blogging "model" was Daring Fireball and the "linked list" posts. This time around, I think its a bit closer to Dan Hon's "Things that have caught my attention" newsletter. Its very good - you should probably sign up for it.
- Looking back to the first one, I said that "the ones that I get past 'noteworthy' to 'actual written notes' will get turned into links to the actual 'notes'." I'm just acknowledging that I have not yet done this, and probably won't to be honest.1
- Oh – I should probably also mention that I've finally activated the Facebook page that I set up years ago but never got around to actually enabling.1 Facebook reminded me that I've been on it for 9 years, which made me think that I should be able to use it properly by now… So, please click the link, like the page, and see updates in your Facebook feed if thats your kind of thing. I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do with it, but I can promise that what I'm not going to do with it is spam people's Facebook feeds.
- So, this is the week the new Radiohead album came out, and either everybody wants to know what everybody else thinks of it, or everybody wants everybody else to know what they think about it– I'm not too sure which. I'm still a bit freaked out by the fact that one day I could click on a few buttons in iTunes and get a brand new, free, legal Radiohead album. Which is kind of stupid, considering that In Rainbows was available as a 'proper' free, legal download years before Spotify/Tidal/Apple Music made it a 'thing'. Anyway, I still haven't listened to it properly1 enough to have an opinion worth sharing, but its the whole context that interests me more. Like the fact that its available on Apple Music, but not Spotify (and Tidal, but I'm still kind of internally dismissing that as an unsustainable project by some rich artists until I see a good reason to split with Apple's Music, which is more about my laziness than anything else.) But I'm wondering;
- How many Spotify subscribers 1 care about not being able to listen to it (or Taylor Swift, or Beyonce etc.)
- How many people who care about the new Radiohead album weren't even born when Kid A came out sixteen years ago.
- How many people who have already made the time to listen to the new Radiohead album could identify every track from their last album. Or any track. Or even name their last album. (For some reason, I'm feeling like I should go back and catch up on it before properly digging into the new one. I think its because I enjoyed OK Computer much more after Kid A came out.)
- The NME has a story about a new Stone Roses single that might be about to drop. I have very mixed feelings about this. On one hand, Heaton Park was ace and as far as I'm concerned, proves that they still have it. On the other hand, Heaton Park was a reunion; getting the band back together, reuniting old friends, going through the classics – all about going back to what was great about the old days. I don't know what to expect from these old men recording new material… well, I know what I should probably expect — a rehash of the old formula that anyone with a copy of the record could put together. What I want is the feeling that they are doing what they want to do now, and I expect that is more than just 'lets pretend that its the 1990s'. So… I guess its that pre-Force Awakens sense of cautious optimism again…
- A reminder: back up your data. Think about what would happen if your computer broke/got stolen/exploded/etc., and what kind of stuff might be gone (photos, passwords, notes, emails etc.) Think about where your backup actually physically is, and whether something like your house burning down would it out along with the computer that its backing up. Personally, I use a USB hard drive, plus Backblaze (and also have a bunch of stuff in a Dropbox folder, and photos and videos in iCloud, and lots of copies of things in various places.1) I just upgraded to a bigger local hard drive, hence the reminder to everyone else out there.
- That said, a story is doing the rounds about someone losing their music collection (note: they had a backup and didn't actually lose their music collection) because Apple Music apparently did mainly what it was supposed to do (replace the music library on the computer with a copy in the cloud), but partly what it wasn't supposed to do (which was mis-match some music). Which makes me think 4 things;
- Backups are important.
- I'm pretty sure that when I signed up to Apple Music, it was really clear that the music on my hard drive was going to be replaced, and I was really careful to make sure that I had backups of everything. (Partly because I had already experienced iTunes Match swapping out songs for different versions - eg. NSFW lyrics being replaced by radio-friendly versions. Partly because I remembered how long it took me to rip all those CDs. Partly because not all of my music library came from CDs I own.)
- Backups are really important. Don't wait until you have a data loss story of your own before you set up a backup. Fact of life; all hard drives die. Not some hard drives. all hard drives. (And USB drives, and floppy disks etc.)
- Perhaps more importantly, unless you have some irreplacable music of great personal value, there is this underlying point about the shift between the stuff you own turning into stuff you rent. We saw it when Amazon messed with books that were on people's Kindles. We're seeing it now with Apple Music (albeit, I believe, unintentionally.)
- Also this week - a report says that this year, the UK's spend on renting video will overtake the amount spent on buying it. This is where we are heading. If there is a tipping point, we're well past it.
- Related, this piece on Drifting is interesting, and talks about the consequences of 'lack of ownership'. I read something similar (which I can't find now) about how a CD collection used to be an expression of yourself; which isn't something you can do with a Spotify playlist. I'm not entirely sure that its true though — yes, it used to be fun to look through each others CD collections to see what people had, but lets face it; anyone in their late teens/early 20s at the end of the 90s would probably have had pretty much the same as anyone else; a bit of Oasis, some Radiohead, some Massive Attack, some Orbital, some Prodigy, a few Beatles albums… Nobody was saying "oh wow, you've got the Bluetones album, can I have a listen?" Or "Where did you manage to get hold of that Primal Scream CD?" But now you can go away and listen to some music that someone recommended to you without paying the equivalent of £26 in todays money to be able to listen to something of your own choosing.1 I think thats probably better, all in all. You just need to think of something that makes better furniture than a pile of plastic.
- Just look at the incredible lengths people are going to in order to be able to watch a version of Star Wars that is closer to the 1977 original than the post-1997 Special Editions (which George Lucas seems to have done his best to erase from the historical record...) The Electric Shadow podcast has an interview with one of Team Negative One about their project. Listening to in on a long car journey, I learnt a few things;
- My wife is a Star Wars fan, but nevertheless literally couldn't care less about this stuff. (So, if you are a Star Wars fan and wondering if you should check it out — probably not. Check out Mr. Plinkett's reviews instead.)
- "Mr. Black" notes that spending a couple of grand on an original print wasn't really a big deal for him, because he is single and if he hadn't bought that, he probably would have just convinced himself how much he "needed" a new computer, new car etc. etc.
- When I was younger, single and had significantly more time and less money, I spent a lot of my time involved in the online Star Wars fan community. I think its a pretty safe bet that, if I was still single, I would probably be getting involved in one of these projects.
- There is another Electric Shadow podcast all about the opening crawl. I think I'm going to listen to that one when my wife isn't around, to avoid a path that leads to me having the free time to get involved in a big restoration project…
- Speaking of Apple — the company is doomed, iPhone sales are down, profits are falling, the stock price is crashing, the sky is falling... There is lots of interesting stuff going on here in terms of Apple as a business, APPL as a stock, and what this means for the future of the smartphone landscape. Six Colours has all the numbers, but right now I think this tweet (via Stratechery.com) sums it up best;
A word is missing from Apple's press release title today. pic.twitter.com/fv2Niabgd0— Benjamin Mayo (@bzamayo) April 26, 2016
- On the topic of the basics of using a computer, there is a widget here that will tell you how good your password is - ie. how long it would take to crack it using a "brute force" guessing approach. Now, you probably shouldn't put your actual password in, but its worth looking at what kind of difference it makes having a mixture of uppercase/lowercase, digits and letters, special characters etc. (And unless you are confident that your most important passwords would be in the range of millennia to crack, you should really think about changing them.) (Note - I don't know why "jiffies" are one of the units of measurement used. I get the idea of it having a meaning) - I don't see how it fits in with this particular seconds/milliseconds usage though. </ nitpick>
- Something happened in the world of football that was big enough that even if you don't care about football in the slightest, you are probably still aware of it. Which raises the question for thousands of LinkedIn bloggers - how can I turn this national event into "content"? (We know that its going to happen…) Well, Dominic Mills nails it in his Mediatel column with exactly what media/marketing can learn from Leicester City.
Not sorry. ↩
Also acknowledging that I totally predicted that at the time too. ↩
By which I mean listening to it while not also doing something else at the same time, like working. ↩
Actual paying subscribers- not the freebie listeners putting up with horrible adverts. ↩
Its unordered, but comprehensive. ↩
I think I got annoyed that I missed the vanity URL I wanted for the page and decided I didn't want it anyway. I know, real mature… ↩