Working with what you have

I found myself lusting after some new tech.

New stuff. New and sparkly. The advertising sometimes works really well and convinces you that this widget will fix all the ills in your life.

Truth is, You don’t need more stuff. You need more focus, more consistency and to make use of what you have. How many drum kits or Stratocasters are gathering dust in peoples’ closets? It is a Tragedy of our times.

Instead of buying a new phone, start a band.

There is a valuable lesson here for work too. Don’t be fooled by new titles, new systems, and new tech which are promising revolutions. It’s far more likely you can organize and work with what’s already on the table and shape a change. You just have to care enough.

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.

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.

Microsoft

I just downloaded edge browser for my phone.

I am also moving all my mail and calendar stuff to outlook.

Excel Word and PowerPoint are all work mainstays on my computer.

I am going to Microsoft because I pay for it. The idea is that I will be the customer rather than the product.

Hardware is probably next. Liking the look of windows surface and laptops.

Software

Software is eating the world. A popular line. In my world it feels more violent. Software has eaten my brain and spat it out onto the pavement.

The net effect of Microsoft, Apple and Google in my life is grim.  I have an inability to concentrate on anything for more than one minute. I blame the software.

Blurgh.

Good if…

Drinking is good if you can stop after a couple.

Listening to podcasts is good if you have set a time and a place for regularly listening to them.

Technology is good if you use it, rather than it using you.

Exercise is good if you have had enough sleep and food to carry you through.

Relationships are good if you can look after yourself.

The internet is good if you create as well as consume.