My yearly theme for 2021 will be The Year of Music. The point of this theme is to get me to do more music related things.
Doing that could be as simple as listening to some music during the day. For quite a few years now I haven’t been listening to much music. I often have my AirPods in my ears but most of the time what I’ve been listening to has been a podcast or, more recently, a YouTube video. For the second half of 2020 YouTube has more or less become the background noise of my life. This is something I really want to change.
I really enjoy listening to music and doing it makes me happy but it’s so easy to get stuck in the hole that is YouTube and podcasts. The podcast part has sort of fixed itself because it feels like I’ve burned out on most podcasts. Now there are a very select few that I actually care about listening to. On the other hand YouTube, as I wrote in the past paragraph, is a growing problem.
And don’t get me wrong, a lot of the stuff I watch on YouTube is great and I really want to keep watching it but every now and then I should turn off the videos and turn on some music instead.
I should probably also commit to listening to more new music, since my interest in whats currently popular has been close to zero for at least ten years now, but I feel like I need to set reasonable goals. So if I do listen to new things, that is good. But if I chose to listen to the same old stuff that I’ve always been listening to, that is also good.
Another way to progress the theme is to play music. I love playing guitar, tinker with synths, recording things and so on but I do it way to infrequently. Especially the recording/producing part has been close to zero for a long time. When I want to record something I would like it to be something that I’ve also written myself but that is something that I need to let go. I haven’t actually finished writing a song for a decade so it’s time to uncouple songwriting from recording an instead record some fun covers or something. I do have a more specific plan here, but that’ll have to wait for another day.
Making things related to (listening och playing) music is also part of the year of music. Working on the πiFi Music Player for instance is absolutely something that furthers the theme.
Setting up my home studio
If I were to calibrate the monitor speakers of my home studio or rerouting cables, setup synths and so on, that would also be compatible with the theme but I need to make sure that I don’t get stuck in preparing for a recording that I never make.
I still have a hard time to reconcile the fact that reading fiction, that was such a large part of my identity as a child and a teen, is something that I do so rarely these days. Part of that is how slowly I get through even books I really love from authors that are among my favourites.
Case in point, William Gibson and his ”Blue Ant Trilogy”. According to my Reading page I read Pattern Recognition in 2013 and now, in august 2020, I finished Zero History. I really like Gibson and this trilogy has been a blast but still it’s taking my seven years to get through.
I wonder how much time I’ve spent browsing timelines and listening to people going on and on about the same things in podcasts during those same seven years.
That being said, this year might be a bit different. As I said, I’ve just finished Pattern Recognition but I’m also half-way through a bunch of books, some audio books some paper/Kindle books. I occasionally actually manages to convince myself to read a bit for pure pleasure. That makes me happy.
TL/DR I finally bought myself an Apple Watch, it arrived a few days ago and I really like it.
There are few, if any, purchasing decisions that I’ve been sweating for as long time as the Apple Watch. I never really felt the need for one but the want for one has been there since its initial release. However I didn’t like the look of the first aluminum ones and I though the steel ones were too expensive. Eventually I got a Pebble Steel for my thirtieth birthday and I really liked that watch and found it useful.
After a few years and the Pebble corporation being ”sunset” it stopped working properly, it’s app started hogging disk space on my phone and so on so I stopped using it and got myself a regular watch.
EDIT: This photo was added after publication of the article.
The idea of getting an Apple Watch has been in the back of my mind more and more these past few years as I think the aluminum ones have gotten better looking. So last year I was quite close to buying one but in the end I decided not to, just to change my mind this summer. The reason (more likely excuse) was that it would be nice to track my activity when I go swimming in the lake.
I knew I wanted to silver aluminum one but I did some waffling about which band to get. In the end I decided to get two, the Alaska Blue Sports Band and the Milanese Loop
The watch bands
I’m surprised about how much I like the Sports Band. I mostly got it because I wanted to wear the watch when swimming and I didn’t want to use the Milanese loop for that but right now the Sports Band is my favorite of the two. It looks got and is comfortable.
The Milanese loop is still eligible for a return to Apple but I think I’ll keep it. I will use it some times and if I return it now I’ll definitely not buy it or something similar again because I will get cheap. So having one is probably better than not having one.
The watch itself
As mentioned above I got the silver aluminum watch and I chose the 40 mm one. I have quite small wrists and I’m not a fan of big watches so this smaller one fits me great.
I also decided to go with the cellular version, something I’ve always cheaped out on for my iPads. With the iPads I’ve never really regretted that cheapness since I never, I mean never, carry and iPad with me outside of a place with WiFi without also carrying my iPhone and tethering has always worked perfectly for me. For the watch I wanted to try and see if I decided to leave the phone behind for walks and other potential, though still not actual, exercise. So far I haven’t been able to get the cellular working because of some problem with my carrier that I need to go to a store to sorts of and I just haven’t had the time yet.
The watch-faces and complications
I’ve heard CGP Grey and Marco Arment among others complain about the various watch-faces. So far I don’t agree with them. I do think third-party watch-faces should be a thing, and if that isn’t a thing there should be far more watch-faces by Apple, but the current ones works for me right now.
So far I haven’t really decided on a particular favorite. Instead I have a few that I circle between during the day for various contexts.
First of, there the Simple watch face with a petroleum blue second hand. This is my night time watch. So far I wear the watch at night as well to track my sleep so I think it’s nice to have a fairly clean-looking watch-face for nighttime viewing.
The main one here is Sleep++ by _David Smith. I’m a big fan of David and his work and curiosity about his watch apps are part of the reason why I wanted one. I put the Sleep++ complication there on this face to make sure I activate sleep tracking each night but I gotta say that the automatic tracking works very well as well, so maybe I don’t really need it there. Still, it’s nice to have the crescent moon there as a visual cue that this is the night watch-face and that I’m supposed to sleep when I see it.
I imagine this will be my main work watch-face, the one I turn to on a working day after I’ve woken up and will use until work is done for the day. In that context I love how many complications I can, and have, fill it with, though it does make it quite busy which.
The main complication here is the topmost ”multi function” one that is hosting OmniFocus. This way I can always see what I should be doing next and it’s a great feeling to check off a lot of items and then see the Done text appear, indicating that there’s nothing more I need to do.
However, I would like it even better if I could chose different OmniFocus perspectives for the watch complication and the watch widget. Right now those need to be the same. It’s in no way a big complaint but OmniFocus is this wonderful power tool of choice and settings, so it would be great if this particular thing could be a setting as well.
As for the outer complications, they are (again clockwise from top left)
Pedometer++ is another great tool by David Smith. It was the first app I got for my iPhone 5S that made use of the ”motion co-processor” and the main reason why I’ve worn my iPhone as much as possible ever since. I just love to track my step amount and I think Pedometer++ is a nice app to do it with. On the watch it works equally well and so far I’m more interested in just my steps rather than my ”exercise” and ”standing” so I prefer this one to the Apple Activity Rings.1
Yr is a weather app from Norwegian National(?) weather service. I’ve used their phone app for ages and I find their forecasts better that the Apple ones.
Home is for controlling the IKEA Trådfri lights in my house. If I work at the office that is not going to be very useful but when working from home it’s nice to have quick access to the various lighting scenarios.
Then there’s the inner complications. A time complication from Watchsmith, yet another awesome David Smith creation. It’s an app whose sole purpose is to provide useful and highly customizable complications for the watch. Very geeky, truly amazing!
Then there’s a date complication and finally the Overcast one. Overcast is my podcast player of choice and having quick access to it is great. I’m not 100% sold on the dark mode icon on the watch but I haven’t bothered checking out whether I can change it or not.
Finally there’s the Infographic Modular face which I use as my free time watch-face, or awake but with with nothing particular to do watch-face.
I like the digital time on this one for precision telling of the time and in combination with the fuzzy time beneath it it’s great. The fuzzy time is another Watchsmith complication.
On the bottom there are three complications (left to right):
All of these feature on watch-faces mentioned above, so look there for more information.
The complication next to the digital time is the battery indicator. This one will probably be changed to something else soon. I find I don’t really care that much about the battery. Maybe it will be replaced by the activity rings, but that would than make the Pedometer++ one fairly redundant so it would need to be changed as well. Or maybe I’ll change the battery to the weather.
There will be lots of fiddling over the summer and hopefully a few blog posts about it
That being said, filling the activity rings has proven to be far more addictive that I though. ↩
One of the best signs of spring and summer is that I get the urge to tinker with my blog. Right now I’m going through very old posts and making sure that the images in them aren’t broken. Also, I think I’m going to redo the blog’s theme from scratch.
Here’s some thought I wrote down for myself late yesterday.
A hamburger menu is boring but expected, almost demanded, of a modern site so I’ll probably use one.
The categories doesn’t mean anything anymore.
The main taxonomy is the Post Kinds.
Most posts will be either a note or a Photo.
What used to be snapshots are moved to photos post kinds.
Post kinds are distinguished from each other on the homepage and similar pages using slightly different background colors.
Tags are highly important.
Therefore they should be displayed prominently in the UI.
And be chosen carefully. They should describe the content of a post, not the kind of post it is. I.e. a photo of Iris should be tagged with Iris but not with Photo, Snapshot or something similar.
Inline comments on home and archive pages is great!
The problem with not caring about categories is posts that have a substantial amount of text and an audio file. Are they podcasts, i.e. Audio post kinds, or are they notes/articles? With categories I can use multiples. With post kinds it is either or.
As the movie goes on, the more Diarrhea Christmas lights the action scenes becomes but apart from that it’s a great movie. The high school kids stuff is a delight to watch and the chemistry between MJ and Peter is perfect.