Weekly Musings

Thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days

Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

One of my projects outside of this letter is an ebook that I'm working on in fits and starts. I don't have a title for the book yet, but its working name is Project Crimson and it will be a collection of slightly (sometimes more than slightly) contrarian essays on technology and our relationship with it.

This week, I'm sharing an essay-in-progress from that book. The essay is still a bit rough. It's still a bit unfinished. But I hope you enjoy it.

On What You Don't Own

In the not-so-distant past that was April, 2017 someone going by the name R Martin ran into a spot of bother. Martin had bought an internet-connected garage door opener called the Garadget from Amazon.com. As much of the tech we use these days is wont to do, the smartphone app controlling the device suddenly decided to stop working. On a Saturday evening.

So, like many people in this age of entitlement and easy outrage, Martin left a nasty complaint on the Garadget message board.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

Over the last couple or three weeks, the human resources or people experience or whatever they call themselves department at The Day JobTM have been pushing mindfulness. They recommend employees install an app on their phones, do mindfulness exercises, and generally be more mindful of mindfulness.

As you might have guessed, I haven't done any of that. It's not because I find mindfulness to be a crock. I don't. I just don't agree with some interpretations of it. And I definitely don't agree with mindfulness being the panacea for everything that ails us in the workplace or in our lives.

Anyway, mindfulness isn't something you can embrace by downloading an app or doing a handful of exercises. Mindfulness is something you slowly develop over the span of months and years. Mindfulness is wrapped up in time.

It's that idea which informs this week's letter. Let's get to it, shall we?

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

Remember, in the introduction to last week's letter, how I was moaning about two or three essays that just we're coming together? Well, they finally started to. And this week's musing is the one that I didn't expect to come together first. Funny how that works, isn't it?

And remember: if you enjoy this letter and know someone who might also enjoy it, please feel free to point them to the subscription page. Subscribing costs nothing, and they can cancel at any time.

With that out of the way, let’s get to this week’s musing.

On Wider Reading

Who doesn't like a good read? Sometimes, in pursuit of that good read (and the next ones after it), we all get stuck in a groove. We focus on a particular genre, a certain set of authors, a narrow topic, or a specific era.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

This week's letter is shorter than usual. It's not that I'm phoning it in, though it might seem that way. I've been jumping between writing three musings on three very different topics. None of them are coming together in the way that I want them to. I can see the end, but that end is still a bit of a ways away.

Once those essays are done, though, they'll see the light of day in your inbox. I'm hoping that one of them shows up next week.

Until then, I leave you with this short thought inspired both by my being a poly-not (as opposed to a polyglot) and by some reading I've been doing over the last few weeks.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

Music's been weighing heavily on my mind this last while. Partly because I've been digging into a lot of music I haven't listened to for a while. Partly because I've been trading song recommendations with a few friends over email.

The thoughts that listening and recommending have triggered in my mind inform this week's letter. So, instead of me prattling on, let's get to this week's musing.

On the Sounds of Music

I was eight or nine years old when I made a discovery that enriched my life. It was 1975 or 1976. I was poking around in the basement of my parents' house in Toronto when I found them: two stacks of 45 RPM singles, each about 20 cm (around eight inches) high.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

When you live at the bottom of the world, overseas travel can be a hassle. It's expensive. It takes a long time. And you often have to deal with gaining then losing a day.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't take the occasional trip or longer journey. The rewards can often be worth going through the various hassles and the expenses. But I've noticed that when people travel, they often overlook a key portion of their trip. That's what I'm looking at in this week's musing.

On Stepping Off the Plane

I’m not sure if travel does, in fact, broaden the mind. I know that the kind of rapid fire, see-all-the-sights and take-gigabytes-of-photos travel that many people to do these days doesn’t broaden much at all. But travel is definitely an experience.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

This week's letter looks at something that's important to me: good writing. Not just good writing, but the impact that that writing can have on its readers. Even though I've been putting pen to paper, and fingers to keyboard, for most of my life I'm not sure if anything I've written has truly carried impact, has truly been good. That's no reason to stop trying.

Speaking of which, if you enjoy this letter and know someone who might also enjoy it, please point them to the subscription page. Subscribing costs nothing, and they can cancel at any time.

With that out of the way, let's get to this week's musing.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

When I look back at some of what I've written over the years, I'm never embarrassed. That's not to say that I think everything I've written is great, or even pretty good. But I realize that writing isn't just an act of putting words and ideas on a page. It's a matter of growth. It's a matter of improvement.

Now, if I was writing in the same way I did 10 or 20 years ago, then I'd be embarrassed. I'm not the writer I was. I'm not the person I was. I like to think I've gotten better at both.

Sometimes, though, something I've written holds up after the passage of several years. Like this week's musing. I stumbled across it in my archives, and felt the urge to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

I've been in a somewhat cranky mood these last couple of weeks. Well, it's been more a state of being than simply a mood. Almost like a cranky buzz that's been my constant companion during my waking hours.

A number of little things have been contributing to that mood, and sometimes other little things set me off or nudge my crankiness into a higher gear. Yeah, I haven't been much fun to be around lately.

One of those little things that's been irking me of late is people overusing jargon and buzzwords. One buzzword in particular: innovation. More to the point, how people use the word innovation to describe something that isn't really innovative. That's the starting point for this week's musing. So maybe being in the occasional bad mood isn't such a bad thing ...

On the (Misguided) Need to Innovate Everything

One of the annoyances I put up with at the Day JobTM is the internal messaging system. Most of what flows through there is about as interesting to me as what flows through a goose after it has had a good meal. Once in a while, though, I find myself scanning messages in certain channels. Penance for my sins and all that.

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Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

After writing last week's letter, the idea underlying that essay continued to poke at my brain. The results of that poking (aside from a mild headache) was me digging up an older essay on that subject, which I think complements last week's musing.

I hope you enjoy it.

On Calm Technology

We're slaves to our technology. We're beholden to it. And that technology likes to remind us of that fact.

Our devices beep. They ping. They buzz. They ring. They vibrate, They flash. All of which let us know that we've got an incoming call or text message, that someone's responded to a tweet or posted something to Facebook, that there's an email or three waiting for our attention.

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