Henrik Carlsson's Blog

First week of The Year of More Fun

First week of 2019 is coming to a close, so I thought it would be a good time for a quick report on my New Year’s Resolutions.

The easy part to report on is the photoblogging. I’ve been doing that every day, except today but I’ll soon get around to posting a picture for today as well. Probably while fulfilling the third bullet on my list, reading at least one evening/night every week.

As for the work stuff, things have not been going as planned but I blamed that on it being i week with only three work days, two of which were booked full with teaching. That means no work from home this week and no three hours for fun stuff.

I did build a ”self-playing ukulele”, but that was used in teaching the very next day so it doesn’t really count as a fun thing without a clear connection to the everyday grind of work.

That’s it for the first week.

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One of my projects at work today has been to make this, a system for playing back a recording of a ukulele through a surface transducer and then have it use an actual ukulele as a resonance cavity.

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A Raspberry Pi and a network switch

My daily photo for January 1st is this partial view of my messy network equipment shelves, in particular the Raspberry Pi that serves as my Plex Media Server for my home media, since that Is something that I’ve dealt with quite a bit today. Now the kids can enjoy a lot of their shows on both tvs and almost all of the iPads.

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2019

Two days ago I took a fairly long walk with Ebbe on the ice of the lake just outside our house. I was rolling him in his stroller so that he could take his daily nap but instead of making as short a trip as possible I decided to keep walking in the beautiful whether and just enjoy myself. During the walk I found out that a few of the very small islands in the lake actually has houses on them, which was news to me. I also started thinking about the year that was almost over, and things to change for 2019. New Year’s resolutions, or Yearly themes if you are C.G.P. Greyish.

More fun at work

One thing that has been quite clear this year, especially during the fall semester is that I’m having less fun at work than I’ve previously had. I think much of it comes down to the fact that this August marked my tenth year as an employee of Dalarna University. I’ve had a lot of fun for those ten years, I’ve learned a ton of stuff and I’ve been able to work on a lot of cool projects. But I’ve also done a lot of the same teaching for most of those years. As I actually started thinking about the fact that it had been ten years, I probably got more sensitive to the daily grind and bore, and the fall are the more dull part of the year at work.

So I feel a strong need to do something about this, to make sure 2019 is a more interesting year at work. The yearly theme, if that’s the way it’s supposed to be framed, is therefore more fun or less bore or something. Please note, not less routine. Routine is important, especially for a one and a half year old and an almost four year old. So it’s not about throwing out routine or make dramatic changes. It’s about making room for fun stuff, even during the boring parts of life.

The first actual thing to do about this is probably also the simplest. It’s something that I’ve done before that I just need to get back into doing and that is making sure I work from home at least ones a week. When I work from home I approach work differently and it’s also very nice having the house to myself for a few hours. Some weeks it won’t be possible scheduling-wise, so it’s not a definitive promise but an important thing to aim for.

Another thing to do to make life, especially at work, more fun is to to make sure I set aside at least three hours every week to do something fun at work. It can be things like making a drum playing robot, making a silly guitar effects video, testing out things for VR/ambisonics, maybe building a midi pedal, fiddling around with our Eurorack synth or any other kind of thing that I have no idea about right now. Things that I technically aren’t payed to do but that tends to benefit my work in one way or another in the long run. I now I can make my schedule work so that I can do this, I just need to actually do it.

Outside of work

I also constantly want to get back into reading, so consider it a resolution that I should read at least once every week, preferable fiction. I am currently reading through Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and am loving it. Hopefully I might get through a few of those books during the year.

Finally I want to get better at posting pictures from my life, so another resolution is that for the month of January I’m going to post a photo every day. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a photo of something that was a big part of the day, but at least it should get me into the habit of posting more photos.

In short

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So if I boot (or reboot) my 15″ MacBook Pro with my Belkin Thunderbolt dock connected, the bluetooth stops working on the computer. Boot again without the dock, bluetooth works fine.

What was that, Jony? Right, an elegance that only Apple could achieve.

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My current workflow for dealing with dvds

As previously stated, when it comes to watching movies I don’t like dvds or blurays. However I also don’t like piracy so back in the dvd days I bought a lot of dvds and these days – even though streaming and digital purchases is a thing – I buy a few important movies as blurays.

I recently had a reason to revisit my workflow for dealing with dvds and turning them into mp4-files. Here’s the new workflow that results in a video file that’s playable in QuickTime, on iDevices and a bunch of other devices and that has subtitles that can be turned on or in QuickTIme and iDevices.


  1. For those who, like me, have a native language with å, ä, ö, ø, æ, ï, etc. in it – make sure to install the proper ”tesseract” for Subler 

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🔖 subler subtitle OCR for languages != English

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Captain America: Civil War

🎞 Watched: Captain America: Civil War

Before getting into the MCU, this was probably the movie that I thought would be the very worst one. Super heroes fighting each other over issues that could be solved be talking is just so boring. Turns out, I was wrong about the movie. I really liked this one!

I think we all can agree that this is an Avengers movie, just as much as a Cap movie. And as such it is the Avengers movie, at least in the sense that this is how I would like more of them to be. The world is not going to end if the heroes fail, but instead there are real personal stakes here. I can understand motivations, I can get invested.

As for the fighting, the Avengers movies have the problem that you have a demigod, an almost invincible rage monster, some really powerful metahumans and a spy/assassin and a guy with a bow and arrow. This imbalance of power amongst them gets more or less silly in both Avengers and Age of Ultron (and I assume in Infinity War as well). In this one, it is much better managed. The airstrip scene, which I kind of dreaded, was really exciting. Everybody had an important role and I could understand the abilities of every character and why the could, or couldn’t, match each other.

It was also interesting that I still don’t really know if I’m on team Tony or team Cap. Philosophically speaking I would like to agree with Steve, but I can also totally see myself acting just like Tony does in the final battle, if I were in his shoes.

Right, I almost forgot. Spider-Man! (I’m looking forward to seeing Homecoming.)

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🎞 Watched: Ant-Man

I’d heard a lot about how this one was different from the earlier MCU movies and while it felt less serious – mostly in a good way – I don’t think it was this radical shift that some made it out to be.

Anyway, it was enjoyable but also a bit forgettable. I probably won’t rush to rewatch this anytime soon.

One interesting thing was the scene in the beginning that was set in the past, where they’d digitally de-aged Michael Douglas. I knew this was going to be a thing and after my negative reaction to Tarkin in Rouge One I expected to dislike this as well. Turns out I was wrong. Technology marches on fast and this digital effect looked really good. Funnily enough I actually though digitally de-aged Douglas looked more real than the real Douglas in the rest of the movie.

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🎞 Watched: Avengers: Age of Ultron

When I first watched this movie a couple of years ago I really didn’t like it. Now, as I’m watching is as part of my MCU watching, it is definitely less terrible but it’s still a mess of a movie.

Even though I’ve watched countless hours of MCU movies, since I haven’t watched the Agents of Shield tv show, I still had to resort to google to understand the stakes of the first scene. Who is Avengers fighting? Why? And why should I care?

The action scenes feels impact-less overall and I can’t really relate to the characters. There are some good things though.

I like the scene with Hawkeye’s family. It humanises all of the characters and gives me some reasons to care about them. Also, Elizabeth Olsen is good as the Scarlet Witch. She is doing some actual acting in the final battle scene, something that no-one else in the cast bothers at this point in the movie.

All in all, a more or less terrible movie.

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🎞 Watched: Iron Man 3

This movie has some serious problem with tone. Sometimes it’s great but sometimes it just can’t juggle its emotions correctly. The result is one of the worst Marvel movies. Though I have a feeling that the one I’ll watch next will be even worse.

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🎧 Listened to: Micro Monday – Episode 33: Aleen Simms aka @aleen

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🎧 Listened to: The Incomparable | Sometimes You Need a Wookiee (Episode 408)

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🎧 Listened to: H.I. #104: Fruitbooting — Hello Internet

I had already listened to this episode when it was first released but at that time I hadn’t watched Solo: A Star Wars Story so I skipped that part of the episode. Now that I have watched the movie I went back and listened to the episode.

I enjoyed Grey and Brady’s discussion about it and I’m glad they more or less liked the movie. I agree with them that it probably is the second best new Star Wars movie.

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🎞 Watched: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Since this is a Star Wars movie and today was the first time I watched it I’m probably contractually obligated to write something long but that’ll have to wait for another day. For now, suffice to say it was a really enjoyable movie and I’m looking forward to seeing it again. Alden Ehrenreich – the guy that plays Han – is just perfect for the role!

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🎞 Watched: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Snoozefest.

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🎞 Watched: Thor: The Dark World

Yet another Marvel movie. This one was definitely or the sillier side and parts of it felt really bad but as a whole still quite entertaining.

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🎧 Listened to: Robot or Not? | Toasters (Episode 142)

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🎧 Listened to: Avsnitt 27 – Belägringen i Waco och bomben i Oklahoma City by Kvalificerat Hemligt on SoundCloud – Hear the world’s sounds

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🎧 Listened to: H.I. #111: Disgusting Wheel of Filth — Hello Internet

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🎞 Watched: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Another highly entertaining movie. The spy thriller elements are more interesting than the action scenes.

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🎞 Watched: The Avengers

Now this was a movie that absolutely benefited from me watching a bunch of other MCU movies prior to it. I originally watched The Avengers a few years ago, having only watched the first Iron Man beforehand. I was mildly entertained by The Avengers then, but nothing more. At times it seemed really silly and I didn’t feel engaged.

Fast-forward to yesterday when I was supposed to watch this for a few minutes during my lunch break. Since I had watched most of the preceding MCU movies, I suddenly felt myself caring about the characters and even understanding them. I cared about Captain America, a character that I’d never given a damn about before. I cared about Coulson because I’d seen him in multiple movies. I even understood where Thor came from. And I really cared about Erik Selveig, for more reasons that simply him being played by Stellan Skarsgård.

The result of this was that I blew off work for more than two hours and actually watched the entire movie in one sitting and I had a blast. Two and a half hours of solid entertainment!

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Since the election in Sweden a couple of weeks ago there are a lot of local, regional and even the state government where there’s uncertainty about who’s going to rule. A lot of coalition attempts are tried and fails.

This week however, at least one of the local governments in my region is putting that aside to prioritise more urgent matters. The yearly moose hunt.

It actually think that is a sign of good health for the Swedish democracy.

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🎞 Watched: Iron Man 2

Another entertaining Marvel movie. Not great by any means, I especially didn’t like neither the character Ivan Vanko not Mickey Rourke’s performance. Also the Iron Man fight scenes is kind of boring but the rest is fun.

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🎞 Watched: Thor

This was definitely one of those movies that I wrote off as complete garbage prior to watching. However The Incomparable’s Summer of Marvel really opened my eyes to the Thor movies, so I gave it a shot and it was actually an okay movie. Not as good as Captain America, but still a lot of fun and I’m glad I watched it.

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🎞 Watched: Captain America: The First Avenger

I’ve not really gotten into the MCU movies before. All I’ve watched prior to this one was the first Iron Man and the first two Avengers movies and while I liked Iron Man, the Avengers movies did not impress me. However, after The Incomparable’s Summer of Marvel I felt like I might have been missing out on some entertaining movies and since Netflix has added some of the early MCU movies I decided to give this one a chance.

Turns out, I really liked it. It’s far from a perfect movie but it was really entertaining and in contrast to Logan it was fun and uplifting. After seeing this movie I actually have some appreciation for the character of Captian America who previously has been more or less unknown to me.

Also, I’m always up for watching a movie where Tommy Lee Jones gets to be as Tommy Lee Jones as possible.

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🔖 Bookmarked Netflix Audio Mix Specifications and Best Practices – Prodicle

This will come in handy!

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📖 Read later: Pro Tools | Loudness and Dialog Intelligibility in TV Mixes – What Can We Do About TV Mixes That Are Too Cinematic?

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🎞 Watched: Logan – The Wolverine

I didn’t really have high hopes for this movie and unfortunately it didn’t prove me wrong. I think I’m just tired of these bleak near-future post apocalyptic stories.

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🎧 Listened to: H.I. #39: Getting Things Done

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📖 Read later: iOS 12: The MacStories Review – MacStories – What’s Missing from Shortcuts?

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I need your help with finding a system for note taking

🎧 Listened to: Cortex #33: Cortek

I’ve been taken a lot of notes lately, for my masters studies. I take notes in class and, most importantly, I highlight passages in the books I read and also take notes around the reading. Some of those notes relates directly to the highlighted passages, other notes are more general thoughts as I’m trying to work things out.

As I was reading, highlighting and writing last week I realised that over the course of two years these notes and highlights would grow to a big mess of assorted thoughts that I could never have any hope of organising in my final thesis, or any written exams either for that matter. So I need a better system.

I recalled having heard one or more podcasts where CGP Grey talked about how he handled similar tasks around his research for videos so I googled and found this old episode of Cortex. Around the 44:00 marker he describes his main workflow. Here’s the gist of it

Read ebooks -> Highlight passages -> When done, screen shot the pages with highlights -> import screenshots into Evernote -> Make notes in Evernote

I need to do something similar, but two things

  1. I prefer to read paper books for this. Not a huge problem, but a small change.
  2. Evernote seems like the wrong way to go.

Grey (and Myke) was already upset with Evernote when makes this podcast (in July 2016) and in later episodes that has been mentioned again and again, so it seems like it would be dumb to actually start taking these kind of notes in Evernote today.

So basically what I need is

I’m thinking of maybe some kind of combination of Microsoft OfficeLens for the scan and Apple Notes for everything else, or maybe just Microsoft OneNote for the whole thing. Or maybe save the notes as flat text files (preferably in Dropbox or iCloud Drive) together with PDF scans from something like OfficeLens. In this later case I might not need the OCR on the phone since instead I can use PDFPen on my Mac.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

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🎧 Listened to: Cortex #74: The Biggest Challenge of Being a Human

Some interesting elaborations from CGP Grey on his decision to more or less leave social media for the rest of the year.

While I will not take as extreme actions as Grey, I do agree with him regarding the problem with screens everywhere, algorithms everywhere and the attention deficit society that it might lead to.

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Tracking my podcast listening

I’m going to try an experiment. From now and some time ahead I’m going to be tracking my podcast listening (scrobbling, if you prefer) on my blog. Every episode of every show that I listen to will be a blog post in my Listen-of category. Some posts will be nothing but the title of the podcast and episodes, others will contain short comments from me and some might even have really long comments.

The idea behind this is that I, like many other people, listen to a lot of podcasts. I often find food for thought in these and often find myself wanting to have a way of cataloging what I’ve listened to and what was interesting in the episodes. Up until now I haven’t had a good system for that and now, I have a system. Whether it’s a good one or not, time will tell.

For now I’ll let these posts syndicate to Micro.blog but if I feel like they fill my timeline there with noise I might make some tweaks to the backend on my blog to stop them from syndicating.

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Spatial Workstation User Guide

I always have a problem finding this, so I’ll leave a link to it here.

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Unorganized thoughts and workflows from mixing for VR

This post is much more of a way for me to store my thoughts that to actually communicate anything to anybody else.

Checklist

Other random tidbits

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Microcast: In which I’m giddy about mixing ambisonics

Download and listen to Microcast: In which I’m giddy about mixing ambisonics

Links

FB360 Spatial Workstation

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An Old Fashioned cocktail

Judging by my drinking habits, I should probably have a lot more tattoos and facial hair.

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It seems like the correct way to get spatial audio to work on the Oculus Go is to encode your video as a ”Facebook 360 Video” in the FB360 Encoder.

A screen shot of the FB360 Encoder

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Important note to self: If I want to change the max upload to php on a web server, just changing upload_max_filesize in php.ini might not be enough, since there is also a post_max_size value.

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