Focusing on attention

This is a recording of my blog from December 17, 2019

I spent some time today thinking about exactly what focuses our attention. Some things within our space grab that attention and they might not do it for the right reasons or based on our best interests. Some of those alerts that grab our attention just dilute it and take away our focus based on contact switching and the loss of time which remains our most valuable resource. 

Alerting methods within a smartphone: text (MMS/SMS), app message notification, phone call, application pop up that takes over the screen, or maybe email notifications. I’m watching my Google Pixel 4 XL smartphone right now and trying to document all the different types of alerts that are taking up my attention. Right now I have an 4 alerts: 1) application alert from WordPress, 2) a news alert from the NYTimes application about congress, 3) Google Photos made a new stylized photo, and 4) Google News wanted to share something about a letter to congress. All 4 of those alerts require some type of acknowledgment or effort on my part to deflect them from taking up my attention. That is the type of attention grabbing items I have been thinking about recently. 

Earlier this evening I finished up some edits on my “Ai4 Healthcare NYC 2019” post from November 10, 2019. It looks like an earlier version of my talk got loaded with a few typos that needed to be corrected. I have also uploaded an audio recording of that approximately 5,000 word text for your listening pleasure. 

This is a link to a post that I edited today.

Bidding on a new guitar pedal

Today I spent some time looking at EarthQuaker Devices Fuzz Master General guitar pedals on eBay. I even went as far as submitting an offered for one today. My offer was declined within a matter of hours. Getting a new guitar pedal is probably not the top of the things I should be spending my time on today. For some inexplicable reason, I tend to focus in on guitar or computer technology and sort of look at it, research it, watch YouTube videos about it, and spend time wondering about when it will actually be mine. This type of effort is not entirely useful. It does occupy my time and keep me focused on something. Sure, I could just sit around and watch old episodes of The West Wing on YouTube. If you were wondering where my last round of binge watching The West Wing episodes left me, then you might be interested in finding out that it was around season 4 episode 10. That is really a time in the series where the density of writing per scene has hit a place where things are happening and you just feel like you are immersed in the political adventure. I have a lot more thoughts on that and a few thoughts on why a Northern Exposure crossover episode with The West Wing could have forever changed politics in America. Seriously, that last sentence was not meant as satire or to be ironic.

Anyway, back to the topic it hand. Getting some type of fuzz effect guitar pedal is probably going to happen. The real decision on that front is related to buying an actual physical guitar effect pedal or taking the plunge into some type of computer processed experience. Over the years, I have avoided taking the plunge into digital effects. My entire guitar rig including guitar, pedals, and an amplifier are all analog. That is the way it seemed to need to be. My efforts to play guitar are purely for my own entertainment and based on that never needed to be streamed to my computer. The epic sounds of my guitar are really mine and mine alone to behold. That is probably the way it should be as having a hobby is really about the art of it and not the end product. I’m not entirely sure that last sentence stands out the way I had intended for it in terms of really bringing home my point. Maybe later when I am feeling a bit more creative something better will appear on the screen during my next writing session.

Adventure awaits, but not today

Today was a day that started off with a donut and a few shots of espresso. Sure the door is open to a world of adventure, but none of that adventure is happening today. This is just one of those days that is going to start and end while adventure waits. Maybe the perfect possible future that is just within reach would be better sourced with a little bit more adventure, but again today is not the day for that. Outside the weather in Denver is getting warmer.

Spring at some point will be here and the snow will stop and things will start growing. None of that really stops the possibility of adventure. Some people might even think the winter weather around Denver opens the door to a special type of adventure. My day however is going to be limited to staying focused, to staying centered, to beginning to focus on the path forward.

Veering off into a state of constant adventure could be a path forward to explore or it might be a tangent from the perfect possible future that maximizes contributions to society and my own personal enrichment. In terms of personal enrichment, that phrase should be operationally defined to really express an increase in personal growth. It is a phrase that really needs to be viewed in terms of getting better and pushing things forward.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin muffins

Probably the only thing I plan on buying or at least viewing during the sales holiday’s that occur around Thanksgiving involves 4K Blu-ray discs. I’m wondering what types of sales will happen within that physical media space. Most store are reducing the number of movies they sell. During my last trip to Costco it did not even appear they stocked any movies. That is probably an indicator of how entrenched streaming is throughout the country. We simply do not have enough bandwidth to watch 4K movies. Our internet provider has the speed necessary, but they elect to impose some draconian data caps on customers. You can probably tell that I find those data caps to be repugnant and otherwise arbitrary. However, it is how things work and it is the reason that I continue to buy movies on discs. The 4K movies do really look pretty good. Right now, my 4K content player is an Xbox One S. It works great as an entertainment hub for the living room.

We ended up getting a Samsung 65-inch 4K UHD television and the screen looks great. Right now, I’m watching the over the air broadcast from Fox of the Oklahoma Sooners playing football against the Kansas Jayhawks. Overall the broadcast picture quality looks pretty good. It seems sharp and is super consistent. We do not get to watch the Jayhawks play football on broadcast television very often. This game is a lot more competitive than what I expected to see tonight. One of the things that I most closely associate with Thanksgiving is watching football and that should be fun this year.  

A day of algorithms and vortexes

People keep talking about the polar vortex. It is very cold in Colorado. Even my morning cup of coffee is not enough to start the day. Amazon has started sending me emails about Chromebooks. The most recent one had a 50 dollar off deal. It appears that the algorithms being used for marketing have identified my interest in Chromebooks. I’m not sure owning more than one Chromebook at a time is something that needs to happen. It is probably not something that is going to happen anytime soon. Maybe I will end up trying out one of the laptop shells that are powered by your smartphone.