Specifications

Specs can dominate your life if you let them. What chip is in your smartphone? What resolution is the song you are listening to? How big is your car’s engine? Newer, smarter, better. It’s a game that can drag you down a rabbit hole.

The biggest problems of chasing the specs as I see it:

  1. There is always a newer gadget coming up around the corner. This means your claims and feelings of superiority are always going to leave you empty when the new gadget is released.
  2. The FUNCTION of the gadget often gets totally lost in the spec wars. I was describing the problem of being an audiophile to a grounded friend of mine. I told him how the marketing leads us to believe that the newer amplifiers and DACs and speakers can reflect a truer sound than the old. He dismissed the whole thing in one simple question: “What is the point of listening to music? It’s to enjoy the music, right? You don’t sound like you’re enjoying the music much when you talk about the specs”. Music players are there to serve us music, not to make us feel like we are lacking something.
  3. Specs are corrupting in the most real sense. If two different specs matter, but they are contradictory – it can corrupt the human spirit. Take VW emissions standards as an example (link). The tension between on the one hand, environmental responsibility and the customers’ perception of the company doing the right thing, and on the other hand, customers need a high performance vehicle that is zippy and meeting speed and power specs – this dichotomy led to false information being manufactured and published. Possibly 20 years in jail??! Hectic punishment all to meet a specs expectation.

As someone prone to chasing specs, I am learning that making do with something that is GOOD ENOUGH for the job it is intended – this is the secret to a lot of contentment and productivity.

An hour a day

With most things, an hour a day will make it better. Whether it’s an hour of exercise, an hour of cleaning up, an hour of meditation, an hour of writing.

Only 8 hours in the day though.

The question then becomes, what 8 things am I going to do today?

Embedding a track

Continuing with the podcast preparations, I am going to try and embed a Soundcloud track on this blog post.

This blog will be the primary place to go to hear my podcast. Therefore I want to be able to embed tracks so that they are playable without having to leave this site. This involves getting HTML code and pasting it into WordPress. I’ve never done this before, so here it goes with an old track I digitised from an LP a while ago:

Cute song. Radical embedding of audio!

One step closer to my podcast.

Types of podcast

Free form conversations. Structured research pieces. Reviews of products. Scientific discussions. Interviews. Creative stories. I want to create a podcast, but what sort of podcast should it be? I thought about this yesterday – I came up with a quick list of desirable characteristics:

  • I want it to be a long form conversation rather than a formal interview
  • I want it to be a weekly show if possible
  • I want to discuss in depth some ideas and stories that guests can bring with them
  • Topics of interest are as follows:
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Stories and narratives that affect our lives

After thinking about it for another day – I would stick with what i said, and I would focus on the stories as much as possible. Everyone has a story to tell, and humans relate to each other primarily through stories. Narratives. Archetypes.

I am going pretty well in lining up some guests. There are a few stories to tell already so we’re looking good. It’s an interesting exercise trying to find people to join you in a creative project like this. It forces you to look at your network of people around you, and to think of who might be interesting to listen to. It is the work that you have to go through to produce a series of podcasts. It is more intensive than i thought it would be.

I am already buzzing with my creative pursuit. It is happening alongside my office job career which is going just fine too. But the creativity is food for the soul.

Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire.

Podcast Plans

One of my goals is to be more creative – specifically I want to create a podcast. So far I have gotten all the equipment, I have created a proof of concept and then a first pilot episode with my friends. These can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/chimpwithcans (you’ll also see some early soundcloud recordings I uploaded as a favour to my mum 🙂 )

All of this was done with the creative process in mind rather than the end goal (ie. wanting to just create SOMETHING, rather than knowing what sort of thing do I want to create). It has been fun. There is a long way to go, though.

Now I am trying to line up some guests for the more formal Chimpwithcans podcast. It is not an easy process and it is making me think more about what the goal of the podcast is. I thought to write down here what exactly I want to achieve from the podcast.

  • I want it to be a long form conversation rather than a formal interview
  • I want it to be a weekly show if possible
  • I want to discuss in depth some ideas and stories that guests can bring with them
  • Topics of interest are as follows:
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Stories and narratives that affect our lives

It’s broad and will be whittled down. I’m really looking forward to being more creative. I’ll keep updates here as they happen.

Christmas

People gravitate towards food. The food courts in shopping malls are the busiest parts. Ideal for people watching.

I’m almost done for the year finding gifts for family. We go back to Kenya in a couple of days and I’m pretty excited to get there and into the Christmas spirit.

Til then lots of organising to do. Some final purchases, lining up some work for next year, sort out the house and cars while we are away. Make sure the dogs are fed.

That sort of stuff is what people are escaping in malls and food courts. Responsibilities and work.

My coffee is done. Time to get to it for two more days.

Happy Christmas.