Off the Top: Entertainment Entries


October 25, 2020

Weeknote - 25 October 2020

I’m returning back to something I read a bit ago from Matt Webb about getting back into a habit for blogging again. Matt’s posting about 15 rules for blogging, and my current streak is one that really struck home as I’m trying to get back to a regular writing habit, here and elsewhere. Matt’s idea for one idea per post is the old school way of knocking out quick short notes on one topic for reference for one’s self, but also sharing out for others by default. The weeknote model runs a bit counter to this, but trying to get back to a habit of capturing things and trying to get to a schedule helps get things moving again. Matt’s post is more than worth your time.

The week was heavily focussed on the work front as trying doing work that could really benefit from a good innovation space with large whiteboard and to include teammates to think and work through the flows and integrated systems. I’ve been working through a solutions to a gap that makes some easy solutions not viable due to compliance and needing to craft for a large enterprise and the constraints and diversity of needs. The start to the solution came about about 3 weeks ago and trying to work through a solution for one piece of it that would remove a lot of manual work that has a lot of opportunity for error as it scales and scope increases. Getting he foundations right is key, but I think we will have a good solution. Working through permeations of scenarios and modifications coming from vendors was a good chunk of working with large logic puzzles, but the foundation should be good. Now to work on workflows and interactions for it, or at least the first step and a solid system of record for these. I love this type of work, but it is much more sane with a good sized room, large whiteboard and stickynotes, and a few others to work through permeations and potential missing manhole covers that are created when the goal is seeing them and resolving them.

Early voting starts this week and trying to sort out when I can fit that in. While today (Sunday) was eerily quiet, which could be the cold snap or Covid cases spiking at its worst everywhere around the U.S. and people playing safe, I don’t expect that quiet to last for the week.

Read

A really quiet week on the reading front. I have some things to read this next week for a quick review that I am really looking forward to.

Watched

I sort of stumbled onto starting the Finnish crime drama, Deadwind that is on Netflix. I have only watched one episode, but I think I will stick with it. I thought it was a different series, but it has me interested.

One of the things that had me intrigued is not so much the show, but it is in Finnish. I haven’t listened to a lot of Finnish as an adult and its spoken and linguistic patterns are well outside of any language I have a passing understanding of. I was reading the closed captions and trying to pull out some words that could work as way in, but that was tough. I also realized I really liked the cinematography and focussing on closed captions and thinking about language structure was a bit in the way of what had drawn me in.

Listened

Over the past year I’ve become a fan of Rick Beato’s YouTube channel and I stumbled onto his break down of Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes in the episode What Makes This Song Great? Ep.27 Peter Gabriel. There is so much more to this song and with Rick had taken another 30 minutes to dig into that.

Productivity

I’ve been using Obsidian more and a release that should hit those with early access and allowing block addressability really looks good. I’m finding with what Obsidian offers I’m able to really get a lot of crosswalks between ideas, sources, authors / creators, and structures that I just didn’t have access to before. Already it feels a bit like I have a James Burke long transfer system in the works that is part of the structure of his Connections series.



May 3, 2020

Week Note 2 - 3 May 2020

This week, like many in the life and times of Covid–19 pandemic, was a week of three Tuesday’s bookended by a Monday (a day I try to get back into the swing of things (unless it is filled with meetings)) and Friday. Tuesdays are often when I did into the meat of things I’m trying to get things accomplished for the week. But, while I’m used to working remote (15 years mostly working that way) coordinating with a corporation just gone through a large merger, is a bit more unusual (not bad, just needing different adaptions). I also am finding I really miss my monthly week with the team in Connecticut and time in Brooklyn to work though ideas in person. I’m also craving large workspaces with a lot of walls and whiteboards.

This week flew by yet again (not a good thing when feeling there is a lot that needs to be done) and trying to use weekend time to decompress, think, recalibrate, and meditate on solutions.

Also finding the simple errands that were a 30 minute walk shop and return or drive for a 45 minute shop and return are now 60 to 90+ minutes. Much standing and waiting in 6 foot apart lines, mask in the up and locked positions, to get into stores. Trying to get get tasks done while waiting in line, like clearing email, reading favorite daily items, organizing things for the week note, editing notes (downside is Dropbox breaking sync’ed folders makes this (and a whole lot of other things) impossible (reminds me I need to fix this when not standing in line to get eggs and fruit, but at a home).

I added Play to my template as that fills in for watching, and is often my decompression, as well as discovery mode, which out of guilt of “play” from childhood I don’t often embrace.

Read

Matt Mullenweg posted his Distributed Work’s Five Levels of Autonomy, which is quite good.

As part of this week’s 99 Percent - The Smell of Concrete After Rain as part of remembrance of Michael Sorkin (which was really good) it surfaced Sorkin’s Two Hundred Fifty Things an Architect Should Know, which I’m really enjoying.

My books to finish or read more from last week didn’t get touched much this week, but may today. It was a busy week.

I did find a good piece in Vanity Fair about Regan being shot from a young CNN’s perspective and how that was the start of a viable cable news medium, in their piece “Shots Fired. Hilton Hotel”: How CNN’s Raw, Unfolding Reagan Coverage Heralded the Nonstop News Cycle.

The NY Times piece, In Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, an Oxford Group Leaps Ahead offered some good insights on structure, innovations, and challenges for a vaccine in a timely manner.

Monocle’s May edition and the 2019 The Entrepreneurs edition my time between time reading this week. Stepping away from online news and having Monocle is my guilty pleasure that doesn’t come with notification and alerts popping up (but the pages don’t offer the time with you touch the top of the page, no matter how long or hard you press).

I really liked this NY Times piece - This Florida Student Was Accepted at All 8 Ivy League Schools, which is an all too rare “Florida man” type story.

JTBD

Jim Kalbach’s The Job’s to be Done Playbook arrived this week in physical form (digi version did this a bit before, but I hadn’t had time to get to it) and I did a quick skim and read the early bits. I am really looking forward to this.

JTBD has played a common role in a lot of my focus over the last 10 to 12+ years. Enterprise work environments make a lot more sense when trying to understand problems and gaps through using the JTBD lens and framing solutions is so much easier as well. I’ve never been a full convert, but use it here and there (mostly because JTBD isn’t a full frame for understanding, but is good paired with other insight tools and methods, it by doesn’t get one far, but it opens paths for insights). Or I should say I wasn’t a full convert, as a little over a year ago I paired to do an internal work shop on work patterns, different social scales of work, tool types teams need for work, and the different tools at different scales and what type of interactions and work can be done at those scales to help set clarity for what the problems are, what are the gaps, where are tools types missing, where are wrong tools to the need being used and making utter messes (the same sort of enterprise workshop I’ve done for 10 to 15 years) using my social / complexity lenses. But, this workshop I paid with an internal designer lead who brought deep JTBD background and created a survey that mixed JTBD and a few of the complexity lenses around how teams work and interacting and working at different social scales. The outcome was insanely good that provided solid insight for what is needed, where there are issues and problems that decision makers needed to see openly and clearly to take the correct steps.

A good friend and occasional colleague has long pushed the pairing of JTBD and the complexity lenses, particularly to use as a survey and entry to capturing and showing gaps and needs. I’m a huge fan of Kalbach’s work, writing, and insights.

So, yes. I’m really looking forward to this book to putty in some of the gaps I may have.

Watched

This week was mostly a YouTube week, other than starting in on the Michael Jordan biography series running on ESPN.

I stumbled onto Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self by Julie Nolke, which was utterly brilliant and funny. That had me checking out her other offerings.

But, YouTube being YouTube watching Nolke’s pieces I was recommended Charlie Berens’ IKEA Husbands and down a rabbit hole created by Charlie Berens I went for my distractions. I love IKEA and needing to get there once lockdown lifts to finish something I started in early March with Billy (Billy is my buddy, but so is donating) and 12 years on an Ektorp, may just be a bit too long.

Listened

On the podcast front two friends I don’t get to run into nor talk to enough in recent years (one I haven’t talked to in quite a while) started a new podcast Finding Our Way, which is Jesse James Garrett and Peter Merholz talking about design, user experience, and leadership. I stumbled into this late in the week and listened on Saturday and I’m now looking forward to every session. I’m really happy they have a real website for it with a transcript, which seems like it should be the basic for a podcast these days, but oddly it isn’t (also for newsletters to have a real web home the kludgy Webmonkey hack, isn’t done well enough to really count).

I stumbled back into Prince’s New Power Generation, One Night Alone… The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over! after a couple weeks not listening and found it is as magical as always.

Food

This was a week of putting off grocery runs, as trying to work through some of what I have. But, also my usually stores have been out of what I’ve normally been seeking. There is a local egg farmer that a local store carries that have amazing yolks (the color of the shell doesn’t mean anything, but the color of the yolk tells you a lot). But, Saturday was restock day and things were in stock (even found brown rice) and good lentils (I have some asafoetida hing powder I’ve been wanting to put to good use). I also found one of the brands of gluten free flour as well as pancake mix I like, so things are good-ish.

I did make a fresh garlic and anchovy paste as a base for a quick lunch spaghetti (corn and brown rice pasta) with pea pasta bowl with Parmesan and butter / olive oil light sauce. I may want to come back to this one again. Using good jarred (pink) anchovies that aren’t overly pungent seems to be essential.

Play

I’ve been playing MLB The Show as my post work decompression for about 90 minutes each day (one thing I like and appreciate with sports is building teams and I’m playing franchise mode with this year’s Pittsburgh Pirates and did some gutting of the team (not quite intentionally) but building on contact (hits) and speed, which in current MLB is undervalued so inexpensive. I’m also focussing on decent starting pitching that can get through 5 to 7 innings, then use a series of pitchers to get through the remainder of the game pitching an inning each. The salary budget is in the $60 to $75 million range for players and I spent heavily on coaching. It is working, as I’m a week from the All Star break and 6 games up in first place.

I took advantage of a 50% off sale and picked up Death Stranding, which is a bit dark (something I normally stay away from), but the graphics, story, and AR interfaces are good. I normally keep to sports games (or sims) to time constrain play (or help reduce over play - playing a far longer stretch than intended as I did with Sim City on my birthday in an empty house in 1993 and wondering why the sun was coming up).

Productivity

This weeks productivity insights and practices took a backseat to frustrations with my daytime lack of good tools for productivity, particularly when One Note decides it won’t include anything in search from 2020. My brain dumps and notes live there and lacking basic organization, refinding, and productivity tools on Windows side (particularly that run locally) that there are on the Mac side of the world, I’ve been down that road battling.

I sort of treat OneNote as I do DevonThink as my catch all and lean on search heavily and organize later approach, which is a model that works really well with good to great search (something DevonThing is aces with, but OneNote is just okay with as its search is a blunt approach and not finesse approach).



July 28, 2006

Pixelating Pleasure

For your Friday pleasure, there is a special treat for you pixel people lovers at Iconfactory. It is time to take out the tables, well maybe past time, but at least they are doing it. [hat tip to Brian]



May 26, 2006

TechCrunch Party in Seattle

I am in Seattle next week for a few days and while there I will be heading to the TechCrunch Party on May 31st. It looks like a good event, as most TechCrunch events go. If you are around you will need to sign-up on the wiki to attend.



September 1, 2005

Top Gear is Aces

I have spent this evening in utter joy. I finally got my hands on some Top Gear episodes. This is a car show from the Beeb. It is bright, entertaining, funny, and informative and may be the best hour I have spent watching television (er, on my computer) in the longest time.

While watching it I kept thinking two things, a how wonderful this show is on a humor and well crafted video car reviews that are extremely entertaining. The other thing I kept thinking was, there is no way that American television could reproduce this.

My normal fodder, should I be let alone with the remote and 200 or so satellite stations, is Fine Living, some BBC America, and some sports (American Football, baseball, and International Football, basketball, and rugby (when the international sporting gods shine their light down upon me)). I have found the I am quite a fan of the Daily Show, but I do not have access to the remote when it is on, so I have to use other means (um, we do have more than one television, but the second one is in a room where it can not be watched and we have not caught up with 4 years ago and picked up a Tivo because, well "because" is the reason).

Needless to say, I am now a huge fan of Top Gear and can not understand why it is not on BBC America. Get your hands on it if you get a chance.



May 29, 2005

Empire Falls is Wonderful

Last night I watch the first of two parts of Empire Falls on HBO. The cast is wonderful, but the story and it depiction on the screen is even better. The tensions of the plot are set up very well. The screenplay keeps chapter breaks and author narration. The flashbacks in time are done wonderfully on the screen and the literary narrative seems like it is playing out well.

I watch very little television any more (too many other things have my attention for the same time). But, Empire Falls has made a wonderful change of pace. I put it up with Band of Brothers as one of my favorite cable movie series.



May 26, 2005

One Less Wonderful Merchant

Ismail Merchant has died. He and James Ivory's creations on films were magic. I clearly remember seeing A Room With A View at the Elmwood Theater in Berkeley, California when it came out. I later saw the film in Oxford, England at the Penultimate Picture Palace as well as on video tape there. The experience watching the film in two different cultures drew me to the film even more. In the U.S. the film was a period piece, but in Britain it was more of a romantic comedy. The film holds up to many watchings revealing details that may have been missed prior (opposed to the book, which has one good reading in it at best). It was this film that not only made me a fan of the Merchant Ivory productions, but made me a better fan or critic of the medium itself.

I have always enjoyed the interviews with Ismail as he adds depth and care to his creations. I believe that it is this care that should be poured into all of our creations and craft of our hands, mind, and soul.

Peace



March 22, 2005

Audio Spatial Relationships in Jazz Trio Recordings

This morning on the way into work I was listening to some music from the jazz pianist Benny Green. There was something that seemed quite odd. It took me a few minutes to put my finger on it, but I finally got it. The audio image was backwards, that is to say left was right and vice versa. Having played the piano for years the sound was mapped completely wrong for me. I expect to have the bass notes in the left ear and the treble in the right, just as it would be were I sitting at the piano.

Since I have had my Sure E2C (the best mobile headphones I have ever owned) I have had to re-rip many CDs to get a better sound quality as the music sounded clipped. I am a huge fan of jazz music and particularly big band and trios each for vastly different reasons. I love big band jazz because of the breadth and depth of the sound. A large horn section can really move me with volume and richness, but a really tight big band (one that move swiftly as one) has me in awe. A trio is the opposite for me, the individuals stand out in the purity of each of the player's talents working together to blend as one. In the trio individual textures are readily apparent like grains of wood showing through in a polished piece of fine furniture.

So why did the "incorrect" sound mapping bother me? When listening to jazz on headphones the only place a spatial separation can be heard in the manner represented is sitting at the keyboard. With a grand piano or at an upright the sound emitting from the piano is greatly diffused, even by the short distance, and the sound can only be heard as one voice from coming out of the piano, not the individual strings nor the left and right.

The problem is most likely attributed to the mike placement during recording. Most often piano is recorded from within the body, with the mike(s) facing the player, hence reversing the spatial relationship. The only way to replicate this sound in person is to sit in the body of a grand piano, which is not usual, nor recommended seating.

Is there a program that will reverse the left and right channels? This is going to bug me to no end. I can not put my headphones in the wrong ears as they do not fit and really do not work that way.



February 21, 2005

HST Gone

Hunter S. Thompson is dead. The man was truly not like any other and he caused many people to consider thoughts beyond the norm. He was like Zorba the Greek, but with an insanely hard edge as he lived for the moment, but in his own way.



April 4, 2003

Animatrix - The Detective

The third Animatrix has been posted, The Detective and it is my favorite so far. The first release is a very close second.



February 14, 2003

Rap Master Plushie

For your Valentine entertainment pleasure Hip Hop Plushies, in DJ Format's video. [hat tip Cory]



January 6, 2003

TicketMath for the masses

Matt coins my favorite new term TicketMath.


October 17, 2002

BBC offers Wallace and Gromit

I must come back to the BBC Walace and Gromit page once broadband arrives.


April 15, 2002

The WSJ's Thomas Weber has an opion I strongly believe in, Record Companies Should Attempt To Compete for Music Fans' Loyalty. I have a strong belief in competition of the marketplace. Media companies have poor business leaders who do not know how to compete and take advantage of changing parameters of their business environment. When VHS came out movie companies complained that it would take away sales. Solid business minds learned not to cry wolf, but to compete. The record companies have failed in the marketplace and learning to take advantage of a changed marketplace.


April 3, 2002

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