words.charlie.town

The music lives on, Apple:

iPod touch will be available while supplies last.

“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

“Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products [...] there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.”

Interesting that Joswiak paints Apple's move to streaming as a natural progression of the "spirit" of the iPod, and claims there's no superior method to enjoying music. I personally believe it's anything but.

In my experience, there's an IKEA Effect-esque way in which manually curating a physical (albeit still digital) music collection makes me connect with the music more. Though I'm not hoping for a return to manually adding artwork to hundreds of albums, a happy medium between that era and the current Paradox of Choice landscape seems like the ideal scenario.

Even just taking time to be truly offline and listen to music feels like I'm fighting against the tide in recent years. I know Spotify et al. have offline modes that let you sync music for times when you're without phone signal, but the fact this is only possible on devices that have wireless capabilities anyway makes the whole real point of "offline" — not being bombarded with notifications, social feeds, and the like — moot, in my opinion. It feels like more of a crutch for people who have their entire music library in a streaming service, and want to be able to have their music uninterrupted when disconnected from a server. Shame that wasn't a solved problem decades ago... 😉

Maybe this is just a "golden age" old man rant. Regardless of how you feel about Apple and Co. leaning into streaming and its impact on both the production and consumption of music, Joswiak is right that the iPod brought music to the masses — and I'm sad to see it go.

11/05/22

Been putting in the time to finally get to grips with some (light) cryptography, specifically GnuPG/PGP. I was aware it was used for encrypted email communication, but not that it could be used independently to encrypt/verify all types of text, and even binary files.

While I agree with the common criticism that it's learning curve is somewhat difficult, it's been very intriguing - I can see an immediate use case for encrypting SQL backups, and the possibilities from there are seemingly endless!

10/04/22

Another update two weeks apart? Don't get used to it...

Anyway, I (finally) caught Covid this week, and while it unfortunately wiped out a few very important events from my social calendar, I haven't been bed-bound - so it's put me in a great position to get working on some cool side projects 👀

The latest of which is photos.charlie.town, which is going to be the place for any photos I post from here on out. I mentioned in my last post that I've been trying to move away from corporation-controlled solutions for pushing out any content I make - I tended to use them more for archival purposes than actually posting anything I wanted to show off, running the obvious risk of the content being removed down the line for an arbitrary reason.

I knocked up a photo-oriented CMS based on the one that runs words, and put together an Instagram-inspired design. I'm not 100% sold on the lightbox solution I'm currently using so that may change, but for now, it'll do. It's both a place to show off nice photographs I've taken, and store the large original JPGs for posterity.

And who knows? Maybe one day I'll clean it up and stick it on GitHub... 😆

08/04/22

It's been a while!

Apologies for the radio silence. These last couple months I've been;

  • Bugfixing for trackle, which finally came out!
  • Setting up a Dropbox-backed markdown-based notes solution (that I'm hoping is final...)
  • Browsing /r/selfhosted and feeling equal parts inspired and intimidated.
  • Planning a rebuild of my gameboy camera instagram page as a standalone site.
  • Maybe most importantly, spending as little time on Instagram/Twitter as I possibly can.

I guess there's a common theme here... I'm definitely leaning more into self-hosted, or in some cases self-made alternatives to big corporate services. I've been feeling pretty disillusioned with big tech and it's role in shaping modern society as of late, especially given the current European climate.

This feeling may pass, but in the meantime, I'm going to finally make good on my promise of giving these people as minimal amount (or ideally no) data as possible.

Some of these might get full posts eventually, especially if I end up implementing some of these 'self' solutions, but we shall see.

25/03/22

I, like most of the internet, have been completely gripped by Wordle for the last few weeks.

I'm currently working on a nice site to track your results, show graphs, export to CSV etc. One day I'll finish a side project 🙄

12/01/22

Why does a busy man build a shed?:

This is the time of year for pondering and learning. I am pondering why during 10 years of helping grow/maintain a busy Saas infrastructure I spent a great deal of my free time building two sheds in my garden. They have been a place to deal with stress, an office, and now a place to hangout. So why does someone create work for themself when they are already busy and is this wise?

sho, Hacker News:

“Of course I don’t have to do this,” one middle aged man said, carefully cleaning the table with a damp cloth. He put the cloth in a little pouch, sat down beside him. “But look, this table’s clean.” He agreed that the table was clean.

“Usually,” the man said, “I work on alien religions… I catalogue, evaluate, compare. I come up with theories and argue with colleagues here and elsewhere. But the job’s never finished. Always new examples and even the old ones get reevaluated and new people come along and come up with new ideas about what you thought was settled. But,” he slapped the table, “when you clean a table, you clean a table. You feel you’ve done something. It’s an achievement.”

— Use Of Weapons, Iain M. Banks

02/01/22

Netflix's Castlevania has been occupying quite a bit of my time over the last month. I watched the initial 4-part season when it first released, but it's been great to dive back in now that there's plenty more to chew on.

Also slightly odd to see an "anime" where the lips are actually synced to the English audio... does the cardinal sin of anime apply when the English version isn't technically a dub? 😉

17/12/21

I've been loving the Micro text editor a lot recently.

Think "nano if it was made in 2021" — Ctrl-* hotkeys, mouse support, multicursor, etc, and all in a tiny zero-dependency binary that runs on any platform you want to throw it at.

The things we do to avoid learning Vim/emacs...

24/11/21

SerenityOS Screenshot

SerenityOS came to my attention a while back, but I had since forgotten about the project until I saw it on the front page of HN today. The project's founder Andreas Kling describes it thusly;

SerenityOS is a love letter to '90s user interfaces with a custom Unix-like core. It flatters with sincerity by stealing beautiful ideas from various other systems.

He explains that he started tinkering with building an operating system after completing a drug rehabilitation programme. While he was the projects original sole maintainer, his efforts have blossommed into a dedicated community of contributors and testers. It's amazing to see what progress has been made in just a few short years, including (and I can't stress how mind-blowing this is to me) implementing an entire browser engine from scratch.

Kling admits that it's nowhere near "production ready" — in it's current state you have to build it from source, and it only runs in QEMU — but I absolutely love the look and feel of this OS, and I can't wait to see where the future takes it.

19/11/21

The Balmuda Phone is a compact Android phone from a high-end toaster company, The Verge:

balmuda phone

Where Balmuda is really differentiating itself is with design. It’s a well-worn tech writing cliche to say that something “feels good in the hand,” but that was clearly Balmuda’s intent here with the compact size and curved back that nestles into your palm like a pebble.

Reminds me of the Palm Pre 👀

16/11/21