📅 October 31 - November 06: The best-laid plans… actually worked out :)

If you follow along here, you’ll have noticed that I didn’t write anything last week. I didn’t really have the space to think about it, and the deadline, albeit self-imposed, passed. I’m forgiving myself for the lapse.

Which leads me to the point about how I, and others no doubt, think about writing, documenting, and sharing a few bits about our life online. I’m a private person, and I don’t post much on Social Media. In part for the same reasons I said above: lack of time and motivation. The other reason is that I consider it dangerous, from a cybersecurity perspective, to freely give out too many details about one’s life over a world-spanning network, where bad-faith actors can use that information against you or those around you in your life, which is why you’ll notice that I tend to anonymise much of the information.

Still, last week was rather busy, and I didn’t have a lot of time to myself to reflect on things. I’d accepted to complete a project with a very tight deadline, and despite travelling across to the west coast of the USA, I managed to fit in enough time to plan out the needed steps. Last week was filled with fleshing out that information and producing a 75-page PowerPoint presentation to support my discussion. I completed the project Friday afternoon after a final day mad rush to get it all in place, and then promptly crashed. I was drained and felt I needed a little time to relax, as I hadn’t been able to do so for quite some time. In between all of this, I managed to fit in ten hours of teaching.

If you haven’t taught before, it is such a rewarding experience, but one that takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort to keep a class interested and not to fall asleep. I took advantage of the time of year to give the class a few bits of history to explain the time of year, Halloween, Bonfire Night, etc. I thought it would be helpful for them to have this cultural background as they are training to work in hotels worldwide and will courtois clients from the UK, the USA, and other nations. I think it worked out ok.

This week, I have a less dense schedule, so I should be able to start thinking strategically about my work. It is something I need to do and haven’t had the time to do so.


This week, I finished Glyn Moody’s Walled Culture. It is an excellent overview and essay on the state of copyright on the Internet, amongst other things. I suggest you buy the paperback, but if you can’t (for whatever reason), Glyn has a free ebook available on the website.

Instead of starting one of the books listed here, I cracked and bought the second book in Asimov’s The Robot series, The Caves of Steel. I’m only a few pages in and totally into the novel. It’s a feeling I used to get in my late teens and early twenties. I’d always have a SciFi book with me, often a couple in case I finished one and wanted to read something new. I was living in London at the time and would frequently be on public transport, which is almost the perfect setting to read books… for me.

I’ll definitely start one of the other books today or tomorrow. I just need to choose one and get started. That, or pick up on one of the ones I’ve not finished yet.

Of note

I don’t know if I wrote about it here, but I had become very frustrated with the HomePod mini I use at my desk. I have a stereo pair on either side of my monitor, and they provide a good enough sound for me to enjoy my music while I’m working. But recently, and I can’t quite pin down the exact date, they started playing up. They would get out of sync, or one side would stop working and even refuse to play at all. Requiring a reboot to get started again was a little annoying, but not the end of the world. The worst thing for me was that they had developed amnesia. They would forget what was playing for no apparent reason.

I have had this setup since they were released in November 2020, according to MacTracker (a great little resource app), and I enjoyed stereo music at my desk independent of the monitor speakers —in my case, the Apple Studio Display— or speakers that could be plugged directly into my computer. The Studio Display speakers are good enough, and I would be OK using them, but I prefer the minis because they are an independent music source. If I use the monitor speakers, I have to have macOS sounds turned on, and I would likely be disturbed by all the bleeping and pinging of modern life. And if I reboot the computer for whatever reason, the music stops, which is less than optimal. The homepods solve this, and I can silence the computer when I need to, reboot it, or do whatever I like without affecting the music. Bliss.

Anyway, the amnesia got so bad that if I paused the music on the HomePod, quickly did something for more than a few seconds, re-tapping the top of the device didn’t restart the playing, it would start a whole new playlist, joyful announcing that it would play a list just for me. It got so annoying that I sometimes ended up controlling it from my phone in AirPlay mode.

I’m glad to say that this has been fixed. I don’t know when or what happened. I suspect it is the latest firmware, but I can’t tell for sure, as Apple is ridiculously quiet on such things. All I can say is that it is back to how it used to be. I can pause music by touching the top to pause, then return a day or more later for it to restart where it left off. Peace is restored in the Galaxy.

Have a good week.

Matthew Cowen @matthewcowen