Henrik Carlsson's Blog

All things me.

First week of The Year of More Fun

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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.

2019

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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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My current workflow for dealing with dvds

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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 

Captain America: Civil War

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🎞 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.)

I need your help with finding a system for note taking

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🎧 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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Tracking my podcast listening

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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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Unorganized thoughts and workflows from mixing for VR

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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

Surround Sound Apple Compressor 4 i broken. :(

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One of the sad collateral damages to updating to macOS High Sierra was my beloved1 Apple Compressor 3. Today I bought and installed Compressor 4 instead. I did that for the same reason that I years ago started using Compressor 3; to batch encode surround sound mixes from PCM (wave, most of the time) to Dolby Digital (AC3).

In Compressor 4, this no longer work.

It’s not that it is a deprecated feature, it is that the feature is broken. If I use AIFF files, it does work, if I use WAVE it doesn’t.

I’ve dug around a bit and it seems to be either a problem with Compressor 4.4.1, and it wasn’t a problem in 4.4.0, or it is a problem with High Sierra. The error message says

I’m not a developer but to me that seems like an SDK problem, so maybe it is High Sierra (in my case 10.13.5) that is the problem.

The silver lining is that there is an update to 10.13.6 available, so I guess I’ll do that update and hope for the best. See you on the other side.


  1. Well, maybe not beloved. It actually drove me crazy most of the time but it did get the job done. 

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Why I cross-post/syndicate, and why I think it’s a good idea

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For the past few days there’s been a lot of discussion about whether to to cross-post your content to different places or not. I assume much is this discussion bubbles up now because Facebook is heavily restricting its API.

Ben Werdmüller makes a good case for why open source publishing tools such as Known should not spend time developing connections to proprietary APIs that can be shut down on a whim. A lot of people agrees with him and it also seems like many are rethinking whether to syndicate posts to different social networks or not, with most participants arriving at the conclusion that they shouldn’t.

I’m not going to argue against this, but I am going to tell you why I think cross-posting is valuable and something that I plan to keep on doing. Basically, it all boils down to what can be summarized as my mother doesn’t use a feed reader.

In a more broad sense it means that different people that I want to be able to see the things I write, and whos posts I want to read (my family and different groups of friends), use different social networks. My mother doesn’t read my blog. Nor does my fiancé. That means that if I post a cute picture of one of the kids my closest family won’t see it, unless I cross-post it to Instagram.

Same goes for a lot of my friends who have stopped using RSS and instead use Twitter.1

Other people use micro.blog, or Medium or any other site and/or network.

And yes I mentioned micro.blog because to some of us, micro.blog is also a cross-post. I don’t post on micro.blog, I post on my own blog and syndicate to micro.blog. Sure, an important distinction between micro.blog och say Twitter or Facebook is that the former does all the heavy lifting for me. All it needs is an RSS feed. It even sends webmentions for replies, which I love.

So I definitely think that the case can be made that it’s not worth the hassle to support all kinds of different proprietary APIs to cross-post to the latest snapstagram, but that’s about time spent, not about cross-posting being something bad.

Someone brought up the idea that cross-posting is anoying for a person who follows someone on multiple places and while I can see that, the solution is really simple. Don’t follow someone in more that one place, if that someone is someone who cross-posts most or all things.


  1. Note that I currently don’t syndicate to Twitter. That’s simply because I want to keep myself away from Twitter because reading things there only makes me angry. 

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Which books should I include in my The Dark Tower reading?

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I just finished the first book – The Gunslinger – in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and I immediately started reading the second one – The Drawing of the Three. As those of you who have read the series knows, this is quite a long series but it can be even longer depending on which books I would chose to include.

So that is my question to all of you, which books should I read as part of my The Dark Tower reading?

Of course I will read the seven main books, but then there’s the eight ”The Wind Through the Keyhole” that takes place between number four and five. Should I read this one after ”Wizard and Glass” and before ”Wolves of the Calla” or should I consider it more like bonus material after I’ve finished the main books?

How about other King novels that tie into The Dark Tower, like ”The Stand”, should I intersperse it in the reading of the main series or should it also be considered something extra to read afterward?

Two things to note if you have suggestions for me:

  1. The Gunslinger is the first King novel (or short-story) that I’ve ever read.
  2. I’m currently reading the series in Swedish and I will try to keep it that way. While King is a successful writer in Sweden as well, he is less successful here than he is in the English speaking world. That means not all his books are available in Swedish, so it’s possible that I really like your suggestion but still chose not to read it because it’s not available in Swedish.

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