Apple Music

I’m not a music aficionado, I like music playing while I’m working just for the background noise. So switching music streaming services shouldn’t be a big deal.

A few years ago I became a Spotify subscriber and although I tried other services I always came back to it. The user-curated playlists and the ability to easily find music was always nice, but one lacking feature was the ability to listen on more than one computer on the same network.

Every day, it seemed like someone in my family would start playing music on another device kicking me off. I finally had enough and decided to add a family plan but with a family of four, I didn’t like the pricing. $5 for each additional member would push my bill to $30 a month and I am unwilling to pay that. Continue reading “Apple Music”

Book Dust Jackets

I’ve been a digital reader most of my adult life but for the past year I’ve been trying to reduce my screen time and started buying real books. I started out with paperbacks but now I’ve moved into wanting hardcovers because they seem more sturdy and will stay in better condition longer.

The one drawback I experience is with the book jackets or sleeves. They always seem to shift and move and get wrinkled or creased. I decided enough was enough and I now remove them when I start reading, then put them back on to place on the shelve.

I thought I’m surely not only that finds these annoying and went out to research why these jackets are still included and the history behind it. According to Wikipedia:

After 1900, fashions in, and the economics of, publishing caused book bindings to become less decorative, and it was cheaper for publishers to make the jackets more attractive. By around 1920, most of the artwork and decoration had migrated from the binding to the dust jacket, and jackets were routinely printed with multiple colors, extensive advertising and blurbs; even the underside of the jacket was now sometimes used for advertising.

As dust jackets became more attractive than the bindings, more people began to keep the jackets on their books, at least until they became soiled, torn, or worn out. One bit of evidence that indicates when jackets became saved objects is the movement of the printed price from the spine of the jacket to a corner of one of the flaps. This also occurred in the 1910s and early 1920s. When jackets were routinely discarded at point of purchase, it didn’t matter where the price was printed (and many early jackets were not printed with any price), but now if book buyers of the 1910s and 1920s wanted to save the jacket and give a book as a gift, they could clip off the price without ruining the jacket.

Now that the jackets hold most of the design it’s as much a part of the book as the pages themselves and I feel like they shouldn’t be tossed away.

I looked into what others are doing with their jackets and came across a few different ideas:

  • Use them as bookmarks (front flap for the first half, back flap for the second half)
  • Throw them away
  • Remove while reading
  • Keep and frame them to hang in their study or library

I would rather the design be printed on the covers but also understand the economics of doing this would raise the price.

When reading books with a dust jacket what do you do with it? Do you find them annoying?

Just 20 Pages- A Goal To Read More

For the past two years, I’ve made the same new years goal, read more books.

Both years I’ve failed. I would start off reading every night and a few weeks into the year something would happen to cause me to veer off course. A new side project idea, a new writing project, just to worn out, you can insert any excuse here but I just lost track.

Each year I would put on my list of goals an actionable item like read 20 books, but that number overwhelms me. It’s like standing at the base of a mountain preparing to climb it, all you see is a rough and rugged path. Of course, with climbing once you start you can’t say today I don’t feel like walking. Your only choice is to trudge along and make small gains every day until you finish.

A goal of reading a total number leaves an opening for procrastination. Today I don’t feel like reading I’ll catch up later.

Instead of continuing that same pattern I’m going to set a daily goal of twenty pages. For the average person, reading an average book, twenty should take at most half an hour. So it’s not overwhelming and something easy to block off time for.

Another benefit is by doing it daily then it’s much easier for it to turn into a long term habit.

Twenty pages is inspired by Farnam Street and Jeff recommended 25, but he is an overachiever. 🙂

How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Bicycle And Be Safe

For almost a decade I was a motorcycle safety instructor and taught a lot of students how to ride and more importantly how to ride safely.

In my teaching experience, I came across two types of students. The first had never ridden a motorcycle before and the second is one with years of experience. The beginner was typically timid but listened well. The experienced knew how to ride but was full of bad habits. Can you guess which one was easiest to teach? It is common to assume that if someone can already ride then explaining to them their mistakes would result in quick correction. That is rarely the case because once a habit becomes ingrained it can take years of constant practice to change. Continue reading “How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Bicycle And Be Safe”

A Trip To Mount Mitchell

Living just outside of Charlotte, NC I have the ability to drive west a few hours and be in some of the most beautiful parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A short drive east takes us to the coast. Being in such a unique area, I can take the family on a day trip and experience as much of the outdoors as we want.

Today we decided to drive up to Mount Mitchell as it’s a place I’ve personally never been. What initially surprised me is from Charlotte to the peak is only 128 miles or two and half hours away. We loaded up the minivan and away we went. Continue reading “A Trip To Mount Mitchell”

Ninjagrl Art

A few months back I decided to rework my entire office. I had grown tired of a tiny corner desk that would only hold a desktop computer and a keyboard. It felt cramped and left little room for writing or planning with real paper and pencil. This desk also featured a large hutch that took up almost an entire wall. Sitting across the room was a large bookcase that also took much of the wall space.

To rearrange, I purchased a new kitchen table to act as a desk that supplied ample room for a desktop computer, a large external monitor, and plenty of extra space for writing. Transforming the table into a desk was a fantastic idea but removing the old desk left an empty bare wall. It needed some pictures or art, and I just couldn’t decide what to get. This changed when I seen the following painting titled “Lumen”:

 

lumen
Lumen

 

This painting is from ninjagrl, an artist who started an open source collection making paintings of various projects and sayings within the open source community.

The Lumen piece certainly struck a chord with me because all through high school I would draw this same Anglerfish. I’m not sure what specifically I like about it other than it can represent so many things.

After reaching out she was pretty booked up, but I commissioned two paintings for my now empty wall. One to represent my Laravel News project and another with my two daughters.

I was probably her worst client. I had a vague idea of what I wanted and struggled to articulate clearly what that idea was. After a few emails and asking friends we came up with the idea of a reporter interviewing an elephant. For those not familiar, an elephant is the PHP mascot that Laravel is written in. Then for “Daddy’s Girls” I sent her a picture that she said would be perfect and it just went from there.

Here is what the final product of the two commissions looks like:

Daddy's Girls
Daddy’s Girls
laravelnews
Laravel News

In the one with my girls notice the rabbit. That is her favorite stuffed animal that she made at one of those “build an animal” places. What is great is that inside its paw is a contraption that when pushed causes the bunny to roar like a dinosaur.

I think they turned out fantastic and can’t wait to hang them on my wall.

Slow Motion Golf Swing

I haven’t played golf in year but had the luxury of playing with some friends  on Monday. One of the guys took a slo-mo video of my swing and sent it to me. The way I pictured myself swinging, versus how I actually swing is completely different. I do have an injured right elbow that can not bend which makes golf even more awkward.

Maybe if I start working on it now I’ll be ready for the senior PGA tour?