It is Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Portland, Oregon.
Today I bagged up EIGHT bin bags/trash bags full of old DVDs (mainly region 2 ones that for some reason we relocated from London to Portland) and screeners because I couldn’t figure out what to do with them. Those DVDs and shiny optical media were just collected by a company that’s going to destroy/recycle them because they don’t go in our recycling boxes here.
I am not ashamed to admit that I just threw money at the problem to make it go away. The reason why I did this, though, was to get a recording space ready to produce a trailer for my planned Dan Does Strategy In The Style Of John Oliver Yelling And Explaining Stuff show.
Things That Caught My Attention, Volume 1 is out now! Subscribers get 20% off.
Paid supporters get a free copy, which is excellent value for money. If you haven’t gotten yours, then drop me a line and I’ll make sure you’re sorted out.
Let’s do a few quick things that caught my attention today.
Playfulness in 3-D Spaces is an essay Clay Shirky wrote in 1998 covering why Quake, a game famous for its soundtrack, is a better indication of a mass-adoption “virtual reality” than the then-nascent VRML1.
Caught my attention because: this is some sort of deep memory that’s part of the reason why I keep saying Fortnight (et al) is a Metaverse that people are actually using. Yes, I understand that Fortnite doesn’t do what certain people want a little-m metaverse to mean, but still.
Google’s done another experiment into how ambient notifications could work, this time called Little Signals2. This one’s six objects, covering off air, a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland growing/bouncing/twisty button/knob, a seven-peg moving bar-graph-type-thing, a physical speaker where you turn it over to mute it (flashback to early 2000s physical phone design – again, I think Nokia did something like this?), a shadow-casting-thing, and a thing that taps-on-things.
Caught my attention because: okay, let’s start with the good stuff. I’m really intrigued by these because they’re not the type of ambient explorations and experiments that came out a good 10-15 years ago. Why’s there more interest in them now? Partly I think because the rest of the world has caught up: so many more people now are continuously online, and so many more people are plugged into continuous/ambient presence. There’s more awareness of notification overload, and just the idea of One More Red Circle With A Number In It is enough to, well, I think we’ve got Red Circle Notification Number Blindness now. It’s just too much. I’m genuinely interested in the tapping thing, and also! The way I’ve described these things feels somewhat magical/anthropomorphized, much more like little robots with personality. Tapping to get my attention could be super interesting.
The 1992 caper with a bit of a ridiculously good ensemble cast helmed is one of my favorite films, so it’s kind of a gimme that the recent Metafilter thread about Sneakers caught my attention.
The Endpoint Cylinder and Dictabelt Machine is a machine for non-destructively scanning and reading audio stored on cylinders. Caught my attention because it’s data archaeology. The stuff Endpoint Audio does looks super interesting too.
Look I know this is going to sound like Old Man Shouts At Cloud, but I’ve been complaining about this to lots of people near me. I am suffering from Cobbler’s Shoes syndrome which is that my consulting business should have a Good Website or at least a better one, and (so far) every single method of Doing A Website has felt either a) shit or b) needlessly complicated for wanting to do something simple. Right now, the Simple Website was just supposed to be Github Pages and Jekyll but then that turned into Why Is This So Hard before I tried to Add A Theme, I looked at WordPress and (genuine Old Man Yells At situation here) everything had changed so it’s all Blocks now? So I gave up and looked at Squarespace and ran away for about half a year.
Last Friday I looked at Squarespace again in the sense of “either I wrestle this fucker to the ground or I pay someone to do this for me” and reader, I successfully wrestled it to the fucking ground. I did not like it. It was annoying. It felt, honestly, like using Microsoft Publisher to export something to HTML and I hate it, but that’s where we are? The tradeoff is that millions of people get to insert whatever Squarespace’s tagline is to start a business? Which is good, right? I am just yelling at a cloud and needed to get that off my chest.
It feels like Monday but it is Tuesday. Time continues to pass.
How are you? I love getting notes from readers, even (especially?) when they’re just “hi”. So: hi.