October 16, 2023

Disappointment and Modernity

Image by Gary Meulemans from UnsplashImage by Gary Meulemans from Unsplash

Fr. Stephen Freeman writes about the modern condition in a way that resonates with me and what I’ve witnessed in my lifetime.

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October 9, 2023

Sonic Economics

Photo by Denissa Devy on UnsplashPhoto by Denissa Devy on Unsplash

I’ve been writing recently about my new appreciation for physical media for my music collection. I’ve hit a few snags, though. As the absolute cost of obtaining music goes down in that you can get almost anything included as part of your all-you-can-eat streaming music plan, the cost of physical copies of that same music keeps increasing.1

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November 25, 2023

Staying Put

Wherever you find yourself, do not go forth from that place too quickly. Try to be patient and learn to stay in one place.”

~ St. Antony of Egypt

My former pastor was the one to introduce me to this saying from the venerated desert father.1 He used it in the context of my decision to leave the Presbyterian Church to attend an Orthodox Church. It did not convince me to stay, but did stick in my head. I’ve thought about it often in all sorts of contexts.

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November 24, 2023

The Great Wave

Best Buy has a LEGO set of The Great Wave” by Hokusai.

The Great Wave iA Writer wallpaperThe Great Wave iA Writer wallpaper

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November 22, 2023

The Death of Physical Media

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November 22, 2023

The Ghost newsletter refers to dark patterns on the web.

Are you sure that you’re surely not sure about cancel-activating your subscription reactivation?”

November 22, 2023

Pardon The Intrusion

Last week, having given up on Ghost Pro — mostly due to the inability to use a custom theme — I set up another self-hosted Ghost instance. Despite the time it takes to restore images, starting a new instance from a backup of Ghost is fairly easy. The Ghost team has really refined the process.

When deciding how I wanted to handle newsletter emails, I thought back to this post from CJ Chilvers. In it, Chilvers tackles whether to do a curated style or essay style newsletter. He thinks the choice is ultimately a false one, but still comes down on the side of the personal essay.

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November 18, 2023

Too Close To Real

Last night, I saw my youngest playing a game on Xbox that involved his character, armed with some kind of pistol, going into a ballroom and shooting people as they crouched in terror. His friend, with whom he was communicating over his iPad, was imploring him to just kill them all.” It was a disturbing moment. The sense of realism in games now is prominent, and these kinds of situations have frightening parallels to real-world events.

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November 17, 2023

Suburban Solutions

At the beginning of 2023, I went through a bit of a thought experiment. I imagined that I had the power to call forth a new album from any band of my choice. What band would I choose? The two names that came foremost to mind were Wild Nothing and Ice Choir, both essentially pseudonyms for single musicians who make immaculate sophistipop (Jack Tatum and Kurt Feldman, respectively).

I’ve learned that although Kurt Feldman is working on some new music, his love for complex and time-consuming video games means that any kind of release may be long in coming. However, Tatum hadn’t been heard from since the Laughing Gas EP dropped just on the eve of the Covid pandemic and its forced isolation. Since Wild Nothing typically released something every few years, it was about time for a fresh batch of tunes in some form. I was beyond excited a few months ago to hear that indeed, a new album entitled Hold was on its way in October of this year.

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November 12, 2023

Ubiquitous Therapy

As someone who in college majored in psychology and family and child counseling, I’m a proponent of therapy as an intervention in the case emotional difficulties. However, I am starting to question the potential overuse of therapy. Olga Khazan writes for The Atlantic about a study in which Australian teens with no history of mental health challenges were given therapy and actually saw negative outcomes as a result.

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November 10, 2023

The AI Poison Pill

I have benefitted from the use of AI recently. When I wanted to buy a complementary DAC and speaker combination, I consulted the Schiit Talker,” Schiit Audio’s chatbot. It helpfully steered me away from some speakers that were less compatible with the DAC (but cheaper) I was looking at and towards the Kanto Yu4 set. I’ve been extremely happy with the DAC + speaker combo since I acted on the advice and purchased the equipment. The experience helped me warm up a bit to the idea of using AI for advice in a situation where it would be unusual to get human help.

While I’ve enjoyed using DALL-E for images (dig the one for this post), I can see the point of artists who are opposed to their works being used to train imaging AI. To that end, I was interested to see a kind of poison pill” technology that warps an image when AI tries to use it for training. Kiona N. Smith reports on the new technique for protecting images for Ars Technica.

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November 9, 2023

State Of The Social

Adi Robertson writes for The Verge about the new direction for Tumblr. The post highlights communication from Matt Mullenweg, head honcho of Automattic, the company that owns/runs Tumblr.

On his Tumblr blog, he outlined a little of what Tumblr users can expect to change. One thing I’m hoping with a more focused approach in 2024 is that we can streamline some of the extra things that were launched (like Live) that haven’t gotten the adoption we hoped, and focus in on the core functionality that people use a ton of on Tumblr,” he said. We will likely be shipping less new stuff and more focused on improving existing functionality and core flows.”

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Canned Dragons is a blog about faith, noise and technology. This blog is written by Robert Rackley, an Orthodox Christian, aspiring minimalist, inveterate notetaker, software dev manager and paper airplane mechanic. If you have any comments about these posts, please feel free to send an email to Robert at (this domain).
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