Category Archives: technology

Opting Out

Before Trump, Twitter was already bad. It was already a forum for harassment, bullying, propogation of stupid ideas. Trump made it worse. He makes everything worse.

Wil Wheaton is right.

But I still have some personal agency left. Tonight I’m deleting both of my Twitter accounts, and never looking at it again. Not give the morons, scumbags, and evil fucks any more of my attention. Not letting it make me worse. My job is to get better. Always better. Always aim higher.

A few tech notes

As the weeks pass, I get closer to my goal of acquiring no new technology for the year of 2014. Sure, I’ve been constantly evaluating new gadgets, computers, etc. But I’ve not purchased anything. I have come close.

My current personal tech lineup consists of:

  • 7 year-old Mac Mini for audio/video editing, connected to wide-screen 27″ Viewsonic monitor. Not exactly state of the art, but the thing is this: it still gets the job done. It is slow on processing HD video, but it can do it. I’m not in a big hurry. It does just fine as the core of my podcasting setup using Garageband.
  • 11″ Samsung Google Chromebook: This is still quite useful, and is my go-to device for most web-surfing, writing, blogging, etc. If Google would come out with some good video/audio editing apps, it would really be great, but I don’t expect that. It is what it is, and it works very well. If Google start allowing apps to get loaded on to the Chromebook outside the Chrome browser it would most likely destroy the beautiful and effective simplicity of that the device does.
  • iPod Touch 5th version: just used for mobile wifi stuff, music, blah blah. I’m about to get a little tripod and lens kit for it, as it takes very very good HD video in good light conditions.
  • Amazon Kindle Touch: Still love this single-purpose device for its intended purpose – reading the written word. I find it superior.

I’ve been interested for some time in using an iPad to edit video. This week I finally downloaded iMovie for the iOS to my iPod and played with it a bit. It is really pretty incredible what you can do with this little pocket-sized device, but if iMovie isn’t any more full-featured on the iPad, then the iPad simply isn’t a good option for “real” video editing at this point. It would be alright for quick little projects, but not good enough to spend $500 on an iPad.

And really, why do I need to be able to do that? I don’t. If I want to edit video, I can just sit down at my desk and do it on the real computer.

Also, I really struggle with the issue of planned obsolescence. I just HATE the idea of ceasing to perfectly functional, if somewhat slow, computers, as long as they are meeting my needs.

My audio-video hobby of course requires some equipment, and like the computer and software itself I am making do with what I have. I’ve written about my podcasting stuff before, so all I’ll say is this: I have everything I need for that. I have great mics and a good system. Thankfully that stuff doesn’t really change a lot.

For video, I am shooting skate video using a couple of devices:

  • Old banged-up Canon point-n-shoot camera. It will not shoot full 1080p HD video, which I’d like, but it does get the job done, and it isn’t so nice that I have to worry about it. These little cameras do have a limited lifespan, so I can see getting a new upgraded one in 2015.
  • GoPro HD Hero – the original “Hero” model. Works like a charm of up close HD video of skateboarding.

I feel like skateboarding video has really gone overboard with the high-quality cinematic bullshit. Everyone thinks that every video needs to be some “epic” life-changing tale of greatness and wonder. I disagree. They should be fun and show the skateboarding. So my personal taste has kind of gone back toward simpler and shorter videos, with the “art” being in getting good shots.

My friend, podcasting partner, and team sLACK co-founder Tony Gale uses his iPhone almost exclusively for shooting skate video. He’s the one who really made me aware of how useful the iPhone/iPod can be for this. Again – I really love the idea of using this kind of minimal technology (minimal in that you are using a phone and not an expensive camcorder) to produce interesting and engaging content.


Tablet? Again?

I went to Best Buy today to look around and was again checking out the tablet computers. Specifically, I was looking at the iPad Mini w/Retina Display and the Google Nexus 7.  There are lots of comparisons of the two devices out there on the web, but I don’t think the articles really convey the difference.

As you would have a right to expect for the extra $170 it costs over the Nexus 7, the iPad is just a LOT nicer. I say this, and I really really really want to love the Nexus 7. I am very drawn to the idea of breaking the bonds of the Apple-verse when I can. But man, the iPad is a hell of a lot nicer. Even the scrolling action on the iPad is better. That’s really the first thing I noticed. when you scroll on the iPad Mini it just glides so smoothly. The Nexus 7 glides smoothly, but no even close to the iPad. This is one of those things that a straight-up numbers-to-numbers comparison doesn’t capture. The feel of the device in use.

Is it worth the extra $170? Perhaps.  Perhaps not.

Really, I probably would have broken my “no new technology in 2014” vow today and gotten a Nexus 7 (even if it isn’t as nice) had one thing not totally pissed me off. The f*#!ing cover for the thing is $50!  That is just out-fucking-ragious. It pisses me off. You spend $229 on a device, and the frickin cover for it costs $50? Insane! And man, you need that cover! I guarantee if I didn’t get a cover for it, I would drop it and break it within 20 minutes.

To be fair, it’s the same for the iPad. Worse, really. The “smart case” for the iPad, which is just a plastic sheet that attaches magnetically to the iPad, is $79.  So if you get a $400 iPad Mini with Retina display, you can look forward to paying almost 25% of the price of the device itself just for a cover for the front of it.

So apparently purchasing these gadgets is actually just a free ticket to take it up the butt on the cover, so Apple/Google can make some real money. None of these covers could possible cost more than $2 to manufacture. I’ll let you do the math and figure out the Rape Percentage/Profit Margin.

Well, again I didn’t buy anything. Sorry Google. I could totally see spending $229 on the Nexus 7. Not as nice as the iPad, but very cool, and it has some very nice functions. But sorry, not spending $50 on the “folio” for it.



MacBook — it’s been nice knowing you?

My 7 year old 13″ Macbook, which is on it’ second battery, will no longer take a charge.  Not – at – all. Totally dependent on power chord now.

If I weren’t in the middle of a bathroom remodel and still need to buy an expensive shower door and a new crapper, I would be on my way for the replacement about…right…now.

Maybe in a couple of months. For now, the Chromebook, iPod Touch will let me get by.


People who enjoy music spend a great deal of time procuring a sound system that is fantastic, that has a huge sound, that performs.

I’m the same way. I love a good, rich sound.

But there’s something comforting about a small radio. Especially at night. Maybe it is the memory of hearing my dad’s bedside radio in the other room late at night, but I love to have the radio on at night. I love to have it on in my office when I’m working on something, or when I’m out in the garage. In the car — give me my iPod.

1891225_10151866469941502_1780433810_nI love this radio. I got it a couple of years ago. It’s a nice radio that pics up short wave bands too. So if there’s nothing on regular radio, I can always find some kind of crazy stuff from who knows where.  The crazier the better. I don’t like to listen to political talk radio. I think it is one of the biggest problems of our country, as it inflames peoples opinions against each other. When I say “crazy”, I mean conspiracy talk or crazy religious stuff, or just a good eclectic music show. Sometimes I like to just have it on a foreign language station via short wave.

One thing about radios though. If you want a radio that will have long battery life, don’t get one with display like this. It uses too much power. A standard old school transistor radio will last forever on the same batteries. They are actually not super easy to find these days, so if you have one take care of it.