Random thoughts (mostly) unrelated to April Fool’s Day

IMG_1208

Yesterday had more texture. Today is a bright, sunny spring day in North Carolina, which means, of course, that I do not particularly wish to leave the house because of the bright (and the pollen). So I’m taking care of things at home. And creating bullet points:

  • A month or so in, I ask again why I never used Plex before. It’s pretty wonderful, especially with my new router. Having everything I own from porn to film noir to home video on every device in the house rocks.
  • Credit Karma Tax. Love it. It was quick and painless, helped along by the fact that I no longer have itemized deductions since I no longer have a mortgage. If I hadn’t had a few thousand dollars in one-time freelance income for a consulting project I did, my taxes would have taken all of five minutes. And no fucking TurboTax fees and add-ons.
  • Anyone have a good commercial VPN provider recommendation? I’d been thinking of going with one for quite a while and in light of recent events I’m pretty sure I will.
  • For the record, it’s kind of discouraging realizing that your home state is more concerned with college basketball than with your basic civil rights.
  • Lovely. North by Northwest is having one of those TCM limited screening things, and i’ll be crammed into an airplane for both dates.
  • Best April Fool gag this year from NPR.
  • I’ll be in Albuquerque next week. That’s just not something one gets to say all that often.

Social mediation

It was a very productive weekend. I got a lot done around the house, took care of a lot of nagging paperwork related to my mom, took bundles and bundled to Goodwill, and still managed to have dinner with a friend on Saturday and to make a quite lovely pot of soup today.

I’ve given Facebook the heave-ho except for the work-related posts that are sort of part of my job. I’m sure this did not cause the flurry of activity this weekend, but it was certainly a contributing factor. I’ve been eliminating a lot of time-sucks lately, starting with the cable TV about six months ago. More recently, I have pruned my social media feeds to largely eliminate posts from people whose only contributions are memes and links to clickbait “news” sites. It helped a lot, but I’ve still been finding the signal-to-noise ration a little bit low. And I’m really growing weary of reading other people’s arguments.

As it happens, Twitter makes it a lot easier to control what you see. I use Twitter mainly the same way I used to use RSS feeds (I actually still subscribe to a few) and that’s to keep me up to date on news and interests. I follow a couple of news-related feeds and many urban- and history-based ones. And I follow friends too, but I find I’m spared most of the arguments and flame wars (or that I at least have to seek them out more actively rather than constantly being spoon-fed comments and likes). The environment is a lot nicer.

It’s exhausting being in a constant state of outrage, which seems to be the goal of much social media today. Mind you, I’m already plenty outraged about plenty of things, but I really no longer see the benefit of walking around looking at my phone every five minutes and seeing just how much more clinched my teeth can get.

Maybe it will get better after the election. Or maybe I’ll no longer care by then…

Sling has slung

Yeah, that title was pretty bad. Sorry.

I have terminated the great Sling TV experiment, for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, I realized that even though the cost was much lower, I was still paying more money than I wanted every month for maybe two channels that I ever really watched. And I also realized that I wasn’t even watching those two channels all that often.

Second, the on-demand functionality is really a mess. The big issue (and it’s very much a known issue) is that on-demand streams have a tendency to freeze. When they do, the Sling TV app does not remember when the break occurred. That would be a little annoying, but it’s made even more annoying by the fact that the fast-foward function does not really work. At all. Or at least not on Roku, OS X, or iOS. That means you have to basically start over every time it happens. And it happens a lot.

So I’m sticking with my over-the-air channels (getTV kinda rocks) and my Netflix. I may invest in a Hulu subscription. I have a shelf full of DVDs and a hard drive full of downloads and home-recorded material as well.

And if all else fails, I could read the occasional book…

Otherstream at 20: 2015

IMG_3227

It’s kind of hard to curate posts that are less than a year old, but I tried. This is the final year to be covered in my “twenty years” retrospective. I may talk about the actual anniversary tomorrow and try to draw some broad conclusions. Or I may not. You’ll have to check back by to see which it is.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Otherstream at 20: 2014

IMG_9353

Only two more years to cover before Wednesday’s big anniversary.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

Otherstream at 20: 2008

DSCF2913

There was better reading in 2008 than in 2007, maybe because I was tying (at least for a little while) to generate content for four different websites, all of which eventually landed here. I’d call this year “reflective” and “hectic” with grad school and all. I also worked a very odd part-time job, continued with my freelancing, and migrated the site from static HTML to WordPress. I’d sort of forgotten what a busy year it was.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Otherstream at 20: 2007

 

053007-1

Past the halfway point now, and only eight days until the anniversary. Highlights and favorites from 2007 (the year I started grad school and actually started working toward having a real career) follow. I have to admit very little of it is especially entertaining or inspiring.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 

Otherstream at 20: 2002

david_sears_1

Twelve days till the big anniversary, and fourteen years to cover because I missed a couple of days.

2002 was all about love and mushiness, until September, when it became all about love and cohabitation. But I occasionally managed to write about other things, too. In retrospect, I’m not wild about some of it, but most of it holds up OK.

January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

 

It works now…

So just to set the record straight: While the email issue still baffles me (but seems to have worked itself out), it turns out the iTunes issue was to some extent my own fault–an artifact of creating a separate library for video on an external drive. Once I figured out what had happened, it was relatively easy to fix by recopying my media folder and doing a global find and replace in one XML file.

This sort of makes me wonder (again) how people who are afraid to go under the hood of their computers and do things like edit XML files get by sometimes. But the answer is that they probably just don’t get themselves into situations where they would need to do so in the first place.

Anyway, all my music lives where it’s supposed to now for the first time in years and has been pretty much de-duped, etc. All I need to do now is fix lots of dates and determine which “protected” items from my ex’s account that were never converted to DRM-free versions I need to re-acquire (not many, it seems…).

It just works…

…except when it doesn’t.

I’ve owned nothing but Macs–eight of them–for almost twenty years and let me just say that my recent migration to the new iMac has been one of the most annoying and traumatic moves ever. It seemed like things were going along pretty well; all my iPhoto libraries moved over just fine, even though they had been created with a very old version of iPhoto. I got all my assorted video software working fine…and it was so very fast.

But I’ve had big problems getting my email accounts to work, which should have been just about the easiest part of the process. Granted, I have an unusual setup (and should probably just migrate everything to Gmail) but it was a fucking nightmare, and worse yet, once I got things working OK, all my settings just disappeared and I had to start over again. Right now, I’m guardedly optimistic that the mail is under control.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 7.14.52 PM

Moving my iTunes library seemed to go really well too, and I used this as an excuse to do a lot of cleanup and merging. I put in quite a bit of work. And then, as soon as the latest iTunes upgrade was installed, it all disappeared. My library was empty and when I looked at the library file, its last update showed as sometime in December. Before I bought the new computer. My music was still there and I’m currently rebuilding my library from an XML file. I have no clue what it’s going to look like when I finish.

Suffice to say I’m not amused…