Emergency plumbing

Discovered a leak under the kitchen sink during the pre-dinner prep that required rather immediate attention.

Tools were available, plus replacement parts bought maybe 10 years ago by accident. Maria Kondo might tell you to rid your house of the stuff that doesn’t bring you joy, but lemme tell you having the replacement part on hand during a -20 winter night is most joyous.

Anyhoo, problem averted. Late dinner. No pics, evening mostly derailed. Ciao.

Pew-pew-pew!

Tera 5100E Handheld Scanner

Something amazing arrived through the middle of the snowstorm this week!

I was told something was going to show up Wednesday, and it did. I had a sneaking suspiscion of what it might be, but this wasn’t confirmed until I actually opened the package…

…which contained the pew-pew laser gun, pictured above.

And I was thrilled!

It was something I thought about grabbing maybe 15 years ago, maybe more, back when the free CueCat was a thing. (I’ll let anyone reading search that story on the web). Of course, the tech has improved since then, and the current one integrates pretty seamlessly with some of the web apps, so it might finally be possible to get a full catalog for

I’m excited!


(And a massive thank you to the sender, if they’re reading this blog. Sending something like this, personal and perfect, shows so much. Thank you. 🙂

Artwork

Thinking about the artwork on the podcast today, and how I’d like to get something that isn’t procedurally generated. I used one of the early generative tools for it (forgot which one) when I was trying to get it launched, and while it helped, and I like it overall, I know the “look” of the generative art isn’t necessarily for everyone, and might be an active turnoff.

So, thinking of a couple different approaches:

  1. Photography (plus a little editing):

Take a picture, of something that roughly matches, and then process it so it keeps the same overall “feel”, but had a human involved in the steps rather than an automated tool.

Pros: not AI generated, original to me, own the copyright

Cons: at a certain level, what’s the point? What’s the difference between something that’s procedurally generated, and something that’s heavily processed? They’ll end up looking similar by the end of it, with the original barely recognizable. If one of the benefits of the generative tools is that they automate the work, as we’ve argued several times on both the podcast and on this page, then what’s wrong with using the tools?

  1. Contracted Work:

This would involve finding one of the many artists accepting commissions to create am icon, a logo, some splash art, something like that. I’m fine with this, even though the cost might scale, depending on what (or how much) I’m asking for. Licensing might be an issue, and terms of the agreement. Copyright to the artist, obviously.

Pros: something that looks good, created by a professional, business to an artist.

Cons: negotiations, cost, rights to the work. Obviously this gets done and happens all the time, but it’s still outside my experience. And the ability to change and modify the work for different contexts, like special podcast episodes, or for different places (Podcast v Youtube v here, frex).

I’m not against it, but I’m still a little wary.

  1. Self-created:

Using an art tool, like Canva, Moho, or something similar to create the work. This is what I’ve been using for everything aside from the banner and logo for the podcast. Again, not bad, but limited, especially with my artistic skills and Canva’s free options. I’m not 100% happy with the look of stuff that I’ve created. Maybe that’s a me thing, but I know it could be better as well.

Pros: Already started down the path, would have ownership of the material as well.

Cons: Doesn’t look great, kinda sends off an amatuerish or unprofessional vibe, cost could increase significantly to possible little effect (if the issue is with my “eye” or style more than the tools).

Could be (or “can” or “is”) a massive time sink, spending hours doing something outside my skillset where I could be working on the writing and recording. So, perhaps not the best use of my Friday nights?

And there may be other options I’m missing. But it feels like this is where I’m at at the moment with respect to the art for the blog, podcast, and YouTube channel.

I’m excited that there’s an opportunity to try new things with each of the above options. But I’m a little worried by each of them too.

I think the best way might be to explore each one in turn, and see which one gives me a result I’m most happy with (without breaking the bank, of course!).

I’ll link back here, and update, with examples of each as we give it a shot.

Recombinant Innovation

Was shared a link today, to a video showing off the newest Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra:

It’s fantastic technology, showing off the ability to translate (almost) live between Korean and English, functioning as a middle-man, or middleware, between the Sender and Receiver in the communication channel, reducing the overall noise in the system (in this case in the difficulty of two very different languages).

But in discussion today, we noted how simple some of the various components are: the translation, which exists already at both ends, Google translate, or any of a number of dedicated devices.

And this is the point: there are very few completely new things in the world. Most new things are combinations of existing things.

The interesting thing is how you put them together.

Hence, recombinant innovation.

The ability of these innovations to reduce friction (or appear to, at least; there can often be a dark side of it as well) can determine how well these tools get adopted. It depends on if people can see themselves using it.

And in this, the Youtube video above is very effective: we can readily picture ourselves in that situation needing to make a reservation at a restaurant, and deciding that this would work for us. And from there it’s a quick jump to see how we could use it in other areas of our lives. Talking with loved ones, or their families, and being able to speak directly (or with at most a quick pause), and share with them too.

There’s a lot of magic in our innovations. Let’s start the discussion.

Wake-up call

Got a scheduled message from a friend today, with a reminder to get back to work on the Book Chapter.

(amazing little tool, by the way. Shows up where you’re sure to see it, and can be useful as a note to self, or a gentle nudge on the schedule.)

And yeah, it woke me up. Figuratively, at least. They were nice enough to send it at a respectable hour in the morning.


So, back at it. Goal is to have draft by the end of January, with enough time to tweak if needed.

4000 words isn’t too bad; some of the podcast episodes are similar in length, so I’ll use that as a guide.

Finish up the heavy research this week, and get an audio draft done.

(I’ve been experimenting with changing my research and writing process over the last few months. I’ll document that more on a dedicated page elsewhere on the site.)