There’s no lack of thinkpieces around the lockdowns and global work from home changes taking place. But I wanted to discuss a different angle that people don’t seem to be discussing, at least publicly. Right now the internet is flooded with screenshots of Zoom video conferences, everyone smiling, talking about their cute background images and how comfortable it is to be home. They’re talking about how they’re working more efficient than ever, how they can just roll out of bed and immediately start working.
A few weeks ago I shut down Longtail Music, my internet radio discovery platform. I wanted to give a bit of a postmortem to talk about what I sent out to do, what it did, and why I think things never worked out. I originally built Longtail Music as a spinoff from my time with The Bat Player, an internet radio client for the TV. I thought if The Bat Player was a client for people who already love internet radio and know what they want to listen to, then I want to build something on the web for people to discover internet radio for the first time and discover a station they would love.
I’ve felt lousy about the internet, software, computers and technology lately. Recently I’ve abandoned a project of mine and that made me feel pretty bad. It made me think about my relationship with my personal computer and the things I use it for. I realized once I removed macOS and iOS software development from things I use my computer for I’m not really tied to a Mac. And though I love macOS, Macintosh computers, and the entire Apple ecosystem, I just needed to look at something else for a while and rekindle that passion I have for my computer.
I’m no longer going to continue work on my Mastodon client, Mastochist. And even though it doesn’t really impact anybody but myself, I felt I owed people a detailed explanation and apology since people have heard me talk about the work I’ve put in it for quite a while. Mostly I owe an apology to Cara who I hired to design the look of the app, and she became my sounding board as I built out features.
I’ve had this blog post as a draft for a couple months now. And who knows how long it would have stayed as a draft, but Keith Flint of The Prodigy died this week, and given how much I owe to The Prodigy being one of my earliest electronic loves, I felt I should actually publish it. My music taste and the different artists that I’ve listened to throughout my life is a big part of my identity.
I like working with other people. I like having people to throw ideas off of, and having sanity checks for approaches I’m taking with things. I like the additional creativity that happens when you have another voice in the conversation and I like learning from people who know more about a topic than I do. This is generally pretty difficult with personal projects. And for whatever reason many of my projects start with me using a technology I’ve never used before.
I was walking to work this morning past a group of Facebook employees waiting for their bus. I wanted to say something to them. While I didn’t, it got me thinking, what if? What if I actually stopped to say something? Would it turn confrontational? Would they ignore me? What if I had an encouraging, positive, standardized statement that said “Hey, you’re really fucking good at your job. You have options.
If you look back at my recent 2018 Year in Review you know I was toying with the idea of updating my web site to use a static site generator. As you can see, I went through with it. Let me explain a bit of the process, and my rationalization behind it all. I last did a major refresh of my web site about 6 years ago where I went from self-hosting a Wordpress blog to moving everything over to Squarespace.
I figured enough has taken place this year, enough changes have taken place, and I’ve worked on enough projects that a post recapping things might be worthwhile. To start, here’s a playlist of my favorite songs of the year that you can listen to while reading this post. So what did I do with this year? It seems, looking back, I wrote a ton of code.
I've been very disheartened with the internet recently. Between Twitter's Nazis and Facebook's data collection, ad policies and democracy manipulation, I've begun to feel like the internet that I loved was gone. And as more people almost exclusively spend time using services that are run by corporate entities, these services are systematically killing off third party access to their contentin order to lock you into an experience that they control.