39. Noodling

Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash

This week’s biggest discovery is modular music. I watched the start of a Twitch stream where the host noodled for 30 mins (link to the audio), and then I got into a YouTube playlist, and then I started asking friends for recommends, and oh my the rabbit hole. Anyway, tooling around with your synth is called “noodling”, thus the title.

In other news, I started the new gig and had a few meetings. I’m having troubles adjusting to the new rhythm of my life – when I work, what happens outside of it, what happens during my day. It’s not a bad thing at all. It’s just an adjustment.

Reading

My preferred virtual tabletop company Roll20 had a bit of a PR crisis this week on Reddit. Huge for the community, but small in the grand scheme of things. Here’s a good summary and here’s a good read from Forbes about handling PR crises, should you ever find yourself in one.

Kobold Press are an indie publisher of Dungeons & Dragons materials (the main publisher & ‘owner’ is Wizards of the Coast, but there are a handful of indie publishers who build upon the work done by WotC). Their latest Kickstarter Tales of the Old Margreve is live. I really love their work, but in the community there’s a conversation going on that’s not about “the work”, but about “the format”. This Kickstarter only offers physical books; no PDFs. Plenty of folks are miffed about that – they want the material, but they don’t want physical. The digital versions on offer are explicitly for virtual tabletops (or VTT, eg. Roll20), so it’s a nod to digital but not the full monty.

Personally I’m a PDF person – it’s easier access internationally, and for limiting the amount of “stuff” I have in my life. If I had all of my D&D books as real world books, I would need a bigger house! Still, it’s an interesting conversation about publishing for a community. I love that they’re producing the VTT versions. I agree with the tweet though – the discussion over format is distracting from their amazing content. A full forest setting!! Unfortunately I’m not backing it due to the physical limitations & that I don’t DM games on VTT (yet), but I look forward to seeing how this plays out for Kobold & other publishers in future.

Now, in non D&D related topics…

Your Notifications are Lying to You (Lifehacker, 5 mins)
“The purpose of a notification is to make you pick up your phone and spend time on it. Not to bring you news of an emergency or to communicate with your loved ones.” A good reminder – turn off things that aren’t important to you, or are unnecessary.

Just Don’t Call It Privacy (New York Times, 10 minutes)
“In other words, asking companies whose business models revolve around exploiting data-based consumer-influence techniques to explain their privacy policies seems about as useful as asking sharks to hold forth on veganism…What is at stake here isn’t privacy, the right not to be observed. It’s how companies can use our data to invisibly shunt us in directions that may benefit them more than us.”
I’ve had enough time & exposure to the data industry to decide that a model that empowers citizens with control over their own data sharing, instead of users without control providing data to a company in exchange for a service, is a far better system for the internet. It’s better for companies, who know they are getting less data, but what they do receive is clean & accurate. And it’s better for citizens, who will be back in control of one of their most valuable assets other than their time – their own information. A lot of the chatter about crypto & blockchain that interests me is on this topic. Picture a token system where you have 100% of your data available, and you choose who to provide your data to, for how long, and at what depth. Nothing fundamentally changes for the provision of service – aside from how companies currently make money from their users, instead of with their users.

How Away Shook Up the Sleepy Luggage Market With a Simple, Colorful Carry-On (Adweek, 10 minutes)
“Away might be selling luggage, but it’s promising something more: the feelings of romance, sophistication and success that come with travel. Away customers don’t just get a wheeled suitcase or a shoulder bag; they get a feeling of being part of a savvy, upwardly mobile clique.”

I’ve worked in product, and in marketing, and this is a wonderful example of the two working in tandem. I’m a big believer in emotional connections that go beyond the product, the why of the thing, into storytelling. Sometimes it’s all a bit of bullshit though, so you need to maintain a healthy dose of reality alongside your creative sensibility. Be careful of your own hype hype hype 💯
““You have to realize that most of [Away’s] audience is impressionable,” Barker explains. “This is marketing at its finest: ‘If I get this product, my life will be better.’ Maybe you can’t go on a trip today, but you can buy the luggage and be a step closer.””

Listening/Watching

I linked above to the modular playlist, but dang it it’s so good I think you deserve it twice.

Loving

Nuzzel for iOS, which is a summary stuff that my Twitter feed shares. Since my feed is mostly people whose opinions I care about & my hobbies, it’s like a dose of good news each day.

This article on coffee (Eater, 10 mins). Satirical or not, it reminds me that I’m a coffee snob and I chose this delicious roasted bean juice life. ☕️

The Lohals rug from Ikea. The rug really ties the room together, does it not?

Best life

I picked up a squat & pullup rack from Aldi for half price. Got some cleaning to do at home and then I’ll be setting it up. Sticking with bodyweight for now but it’ll be good to get back into a routine.

Haven’t been feeling crash hot (as reported last week) so I’m doing a week of good eating. If I’m still bad next week, to the docs I go! I assume I’m missing some essential vitamin. Probably iron, knowing my luck.

The week ahead…

First “full” week in the job. Lots of onboarding and knowledge transfer. Also playing an IRL game of Warhammer 40k: Dark Heresy RPG on Saturday, which’ll be fun since I haven’t played in the setting or their ruleset before.