As technology fades

Yesterday I really started to dig into all the various laptops I have owned over the years. Getting a new laptop used to be an extremely joyous time filled with promise and adventure. It was seriously exciting. It was an event. I packed that Hewlett-Packard (HP) Pavilion ze5300 laptop in my backup and carried it all over the United States. In retrospect, it was a very heavy and extremely noisy computing device that had absolutely horrible battery life. A few years can offer a fresh perspective on things. In the technology world something that seemed epic can quickly fall into the background. Ultimately as the technology we use fades into the background the actual things we focus on have to come to the forefront. As technology fades the path to a prefect possible future has to come into picture. We are moving ever closer to the intersection of technology and modernity. At the point where technology becomes ubiquitous it will either be the fulcrum driving action or a tool used to drive action. Within that distinction is probably the most important difference that can be stated. Within our perfect possible future technology has to be a tool for good and not inherently the plumbing of our civil society. 

Things got a little deeper in the last paragraph than they usually do at 05:00 hours, but that happens sometimes. It could be all the nostalgia that has been building up for a time before quarantine. I did seriously entertain the idea of buying a Pavilion ze5300 laptop yesterday on eBay. If the one for sale had included the power supply, then it would probably have been an impulse purchase that would be delivered sometime next week. I do not need or want a laptop that old. My current Corsair Cube cube custom build computer runs just fine and is the primary device I’m using for writing these days. Maybe next year I’ll go down the path of building out a new workstation, but that is not happening right now. I have seen a few builds with four district graphics cards in the case that could be pretty epic. Right now I’m doing development that runs in a Jupyter notebook. That pretty much means that the underlying hardware is less of a problem than writing code that just works. This early in the morning the only writing that is going to happen is a bit of stream of consciousness style prose. That happens every day now in a way that is almost starting to become a daily writing habit. 

Yesterday afternoon, I replaced the tremolo block on a Fender deluxe stratocaster guitar body. Whatever metal block that came with the body that was purchased on eBay was replaced with a very heavy brass tremolo block. I meant to do a pure tone comparison recording before and after, but the process of doing the change was so easy that it was over in about 20 minutes. I have a ton of recordings using my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface. Surprisingly the audio interface was super easy to use and setup. Using a standard cabled cabinet simulated output from a tube amplifier the audio interface just directly captures the sound of the guitar. That is about as simple a method to capture audio as I could manage to set up in my home office. It just worked from the start with no real configuration for troubleshooting. I’m not sure if either the new brass tremolo block or maybe refitting the custom neck to body added a lot of sustain. It is probably the combination of both things that helped make the guitar really ring out. 

Removing all that clutter

My desk is covered in all kinds of stuff today. Throughout the week for some reason I let all sorts of clutter get placed on this desk. Today just might have to be a day devoted to removing clutter. Today will for the most part be spent inside the house. A wide variety of things need to be worked on today. This week things just stacked up and that needs to be resolved. Yesterday I even shifted my guitars from the left side of my rack to the right side. That means things are changing and I’m one of those moods where the things around me are about to get moved around. My efforts to remove all the clutter around me really do come in waves. It happens from time to time. Looking back at some of my desk photos from the last 20 years I have made my fair share of nests of stuff. All of my focus and attention was on what was being created and none of my attention was on the clutter being accumulated around me while I was working. Either I have become a little more grown up and now want a clean environment or I lost that edge that helped me focus no matter what was going on around me. 

Things don’t have to be perfect to sit down and write. You just need a little opportunity that includes some time and a device capable of capturing thoughts. Maybe I could make a list today of every laptop that has ever been owned by me. It took me about 15 minutes by searching some of my older weblog posts to make the list of 8 devices below:

  1. Hewlett-Packard (HP) Pavilion ze5300 laptop
  2. Sony VAIO VGN-T250P laptop
  3. Dell Studio 1535 laptop
  4. HP Envy X2 11t-g010nr (hybrid 2 in 1 tablet with detachable keyboard)
  5. Google Nexus 9 tablet (it had keyboard type book sleeve)
  6. ASUS Chromebook Flip C101P
  7. ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
  8. Google Pixelbook Go

Some of those computing devices had better runs than others. I remember carrying that HP Pavilion ze5300 all over the place. It was the loudest device I ever owned. It was like a fan powered tornado with a screen. It looks like on eBay I could buy another one for $75, but oddly enough the power supply alone seems to be worth about $20. All of the proprietary power supplies were hard to deal with back then and are probably even harder to figure out now. Oh no… the Pavilion ze5300 for sale on eBay is located in Denver. I almost bought it until the item specifics clearly called out the lack of a power pack. It could have been my ultimate Diable II gaming buddy.

A blank page gives no feedback

Every day starts the same with a little bit of righting here on my workstation. I’m well on my way to developing a writing habit. We will see if the activity of daily writing is going to be sustained long enough to celebrate the development of a writing habit. Writing on my Google Pixelbook Go Chromebook does not seem to happen very often. The keyboard is comfortable enough and the form factor of the device is near perfect for what I need. 

Strangely enough I seem to prefer to code on the Chromebook and write prose sitting in my downstairs chair on my Windows 10 desktop. Maybe the formal practice of sitting down to write and putting my smartphones in the Pelican G40 sets the stage for a little bit of writing. Getting everything setup to be able to complete a stream of consciousness writing sessions can be a little involved. It is a commitment that requires sitting down and working until the work is done. Sometimes an interruption will occur, but for the most part you are sitting down to write until the writing is done. That is pretty much the method I employ to write. 

Today is a Friday (exciting!) and that means that it should be full of hope for a productive weekend. A few opportunities are waiting throughout the weekend to take some time to get things done. Blocks of uninterrupted time are wonderful. They are illusive. Over time they have become harder and harder to sustain. Both Saturday and Sunday morning will feature an hour or two of uninterrupted time that could be spent accomplishing something. A lot of my writing is iterative based on writing sessions that push something forward. You could say it is like thinking out loud to a blank page that is always willing to listen. That same page never has any feedback to give the act of working on a topic by writing iteratively. A blank page gives no feedback; it only offers the opportunity to make something out of nothing. Building toward a perfect possible future is going to require a lot of making something out of nothing. 

One of the things I have been thinking about is finishing up a 100 days of data analysis course that really walks somebody with no Python coding skills to being able to take action. Maybe that is a little bit ambition, but I’m thinking that is what I want to spend some time doing here this summer. It could provide the foundation for a few other activities go forward. It felt good to publish some machine learning Jupyter notebooks on GitHub. I might need to get one of the  Octocat logo stickers for my Pixelbook Go. It is entirely possible that I will not come across one of these stickers. It is pretty unlikely that I’m going to go out of my way to order one of those fancy Octocat stickers. 

Interrupted. School.

Moving along today toward something

Things are moving along today toward something. It feels like today I might get some things done. At the start of the day it is good to have a feeling that includes some type of forward momentum toward something. It could be the espresso talking or it could just be time to get some serious writing done today. My Warren Zevon station on Pandora is actually playing songs by Zevon. Summer is here for sure and the weather is getting warmer. All of the news about the pandemic is daunting right now. Things have moved westward and not in a good way. Maybe it is a bit of nervousness that has stirred my need to write. All things considered these are strange times indeed. 

At some point, I’m going to write a review about the new camera that arrived this week. It is a Sony ZV-1 camera and it should help making and creating videos. For some reason, I also purchased a Sony camera bag for it to keep all the accessories together. That is what I keep telling myself. The camera could fit in my front pocket. It probably did not need a new camera bag, but one was purchased and is here on the counter. Yesterday I walked around outside the house and took some pictures of nature. It was not about documenting my surroundings or making art. I was just really curious about how well the camera was going to work in practice. At the start of this weblog, a lot of the posts were digital pictures of things that I observed. My original Flickr account was mostly a photostream of things that happened along the way. It was a glimpse into my daily life and the things that I ran into from day to day. 

Over the years I have missed the community and networking that happened on the original Flickr and weblog communities. Sometimes at the start of the things the people who like to be on the bleeding edge of technology get together and maybe it is shared enthusiasm and interests that makes the experience powerful and memorable. It could have just been the right people at the right time coming together to create some things. Recently, I started using Flickr again, but it is not the same experience. With my free version of Flickr it clearly says when I go to post things, “You can upload 997 more photos and videos.” I’m pretty sure that hitting that limit will be easy enough, but deciding to move away from the free tier of the service will be the hard part. Sometimes I have wondered why Flickr as a company did not become what Instagram did given that it had a super passionate user base and was worldwide. Maybe the mobile aspect of the whole thing was the key differentiator in the products and the focus of how they were used. My perspective is a little different on the whole thing given that I don’t really engage in professional photography. Sometimes I make really large composited panoramic images, but that is more to see what happens vs. artistic expression. 

Interrupted. Work.         

Oh Wednesday…

Today feels like it is going to be an interesting day. I’m trying to stay away from writing very short posts. Those are the ones that people seem to visit and probably wonder what I was doing that day and why the one post they stumbled upon is so short and unsatisfying. Along the way a lot of one or two sentence posts have been shared. Some of them were probably the foundation for a Tweet or maybe something else happened. One of them that people keep visiting is about the first time “The Simpsons” show was run from start to finish as a marathon. It was a lot of cartoon driven episodes to stream in a sequence by a network. At the time it was like a commitment of half a month of time to sit and watch all the episodes. That was before the time of pandemic and lengthy quarantines. People might have been more likely to wonder how somebody would stay inside and watch so many years worth of a show. Now the context is different on that question. 

Interrupted. School.