System Reboot [200]

Greetings from from a hotel in Bosworth...

Two hundred emails. Are we any smarter? We have certainly covered a lot of ground. I should have prepared something special for this one. A recap perhaps. Something to show how much we’ve grown. Or how better the world is.

Or maybe I should have taken a week off.

Some of you have made it the whole way. That’s about 350,000 words. Once again I must thank those of you that support this email with a monthly subscription. I doubt I would have made it this far without you.


It’s half term. So don’t expect too many moments of self realisation and profound insight.

It’s been a week looking after my kids. So imagine gaming, reading, drawing, cooking, feeding and all the other stuff that starts at dawn and finishes around 9pm. Then instead of reading a book I have been answering email or staring at my phone.

The dog has only had two short walks daily. Not the long meandering dérives she is accustomed to.

But she still loves me.

In other more important news, a collective sigh of relief was had when my Mother in law’s operation was moved forward. She is now recovering in hospital after having a cancerous lump removed from her head and a gland from her neck. She’s an incredibly strong woman. While she waits to find out if that’s that, she’s having to relearn how to talk and making great progress already.

In lesser news my callsign came through and I’m now a licensed amateur radio operator. I’ve been calling out on fresh new frequencies with my callsign M7XTN. You can’t choose the ‘M7’ but can choose the ‘XTN’ bit and for me this harks back to school.

It was my name tag for arcade game leaderboards. Xtian being short for Christian and XTN being easier to carve into what might now be an antique school desk. Yes I had a desk with a flip up lid. The teachers also used to hit the kids with sticks if they played up. I hear it was even worse for those in private schools. I think we had it easier in the Warwickshire comprehensive that has now been demolished.

Also after taking down my aerial tbefore last weekend’s storm, I single handedly put it back up onto a home made pivoting pole system.

I know you probably don’t care but at the moment in time I only use this aerial for the CB (11m). I could get it to work with other frequencies but another aerial (or aerials) will be needed. Hoping the neighbours won’t mind.

It’s also likely (according to some) that this is just a phase i’m going through and i’ll get bored of all this soon.


I watched Parasite… Loved it. Even more now I know it bothered Trump.

And Sonic The Hedgehog. Not my choice but it was better than expected. I did have really low expectations though. I bet Trump loved it. Apart from the illegal alien bit.

The kids enjoyed it. That’s the important thing.

My eight year old daughter has been making comic books this week.

I tried to explain what surrealist comedy was and this was the first video that popped up.

I’m embarrassed to say I have never watched ‘A Bit of Fry and Laurie’ but after seeing this I may need to get involved.

As if the world was not already filled with unwanted frequencies and sub-audible sounds here is a prototype wearable microphone jamming system.

Useful but whatever happened to Snips? ‘What we say at home should stay at home’.


Every day, often at the end of it when I should be in bed, I write my journal. I have not missed a day since 2011, but i’ve certainly missed sleep. This means that the words occasionally suffer. Rather than thoughts and feelings, it’s a list of things that happened. This is not always the case. Some of my journals go back to the 80’s. Stories from school. Then there are my travel journals from the 90’s, but i’m a long way off typing them up.

So far only 1,110,000 of those words are digitised and they reside in the DayOne app.

I’ve used that app for eight or nine years but feel it’s time to find some other workflow. The app works well across my devices and finally uses encryption. Not that I trust it.

Last year they went subscription only and I paid for a year. Since then though it has become bloatware. They’ve added loads of new features I’m never likely to use so I thought Id look elsewhere.

I’d be interested to know what kind of solution you might use. Be it paper only or something that syncs across devices.

I searched for ‘open source journaling app’ and MiniDiary popped up. It looks well made and simple. I have downloaded it but am yet to test it. I have also emailed the creator to ask about his future plans for it.

I used to say that I suffer ‘Formaphobia’. But it might be a part of something bigger. ‘Buralysis’. A paralysing anxiety when confronted with bureaucracy. Ok so i’m more annoyed than paralysed but I can certainly relate to the feeling. Here are 78 new complex emotions you might be able to relate to.


This week i’ve been listening to the podcast Therapy For Me from Ant Short. Have a listen. It might be therapy for you too.

And when in the office I’ve been listening to some melodic ambiance Ninety Three Days from The Reluctant Cosmonaut.

Here is some poetry to listen to.


It used to be my kids couldn’t handle the mildest of spice. But after years of feeding them ever increasing amounts of chilli, they now ask me to make curries.

To make this veggie masala:

Use a skillet with olive oil and sauté some diced potatoes with onion, shallots, mushroom, red and green peppers, garlic and ginger.

I added some chopped tinned tomatoes and tomato paste and then added the spices.

These are ground turmeric, cumin, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, garam marsala, and chilli powder to taste

Towards the end of a 20 minute simmer I added half a cup of full fat coconut milk, a little lemon juice and some chopped kale leaves.

If you find you’ve overdone the chilli you can add a little cream. Or if you would rather keep it vegan just add more coconut milk. I served this with basmati rice, and shop bought popadoms and chapati.

Then washed this down with an unfiltered Mahr's Bräu aU Ungespundet Naturtrüb.

Although I feel vegan chocolate has a long way to go before it can compare to the velvety mouth feel you get from chocolate with any amount of milk, this is one of the best I have tasted.

Raw Halo Dark 85% is £3 from Waitrose.

I’m guessing it might be folks who read this, but thanks to the two of you who clicked my link and opted to subscribe to Whisky Me I have received my two free whisky pouches and I hope you have as well.

Any more for any more? -> click this link.


Ant Short (see his podcast linked above) popped over to talk about podcasting stuff and kindly let me borrow this Zoom Live Trak L-8.

I will test and share to the subscribers email but in the meantime here are some stats.

  • It’s an 8-Channel mixer. Channels 1-2 for microphone, line and instrument signals - XLR / TRS combo socket. Channels 3-6 for microphone and line signals - XLR / TRS combo socket. Channels 7-8 for line signals - 6.3 mm jack

  • USB stereo playback and telephone playback - 3.5 mm TRRS

  • Mix-minus function for preventing audio feedback from dial-in guests

  • Per channel: 3-Band EQ, low-cut filter, panorama control, effects loop

  • 48 V phantom power switchable

  • Effects section with 8 different programs

  • 6 Assignable sound pads for jingles, intros, outros and sound effects

  • 4 Headphone outputs (6.3 mm TRS) for main mix and 3 monitor mixes

  • Balanced stereo output (XLR)

  • 7 Scene memory slots for mixes

  • Battery operation possible (4x AA)

  • Record up to 12 tracks on SD card or computer (USB) with a maximum of 24-bit / 96 kHz

  • Simultaneously recording on SD card and computer is possible with a maximum of 24-bit / 48 kHz

  • Integrated USB audio interface with 12 inputs and 4 outputs

  • USB 2.0

  • System requirements: Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.12 or later

  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 282 x 268 x 74 mm. Weight: 1.56 kg

  • Includes 3.5 mm TRRS cable, USB cable and AD-17 power adapter

I built my pivoting scaffold system for my aerial with these parts ordered from Key Clamp Store.

I needed a part they didn’t have so they modified the middle section by boring it out. Then I could slide the pole right through. All these parts cost less than £20. So far so good. Obviously there are more storms to come so should there be the torturous sound of buckling metal (see last email) I’ll be sure to document it.


I made this spot to thank paying subscribers. Those folk that drop the $5/month to get all the content I share into this feed. If you feel like you are missing a weekly email and the sporadic podcasts then it’s time to subscribe.

Many thanks to @JameseCharnock and Fraser Smith for doing just that. You can check Fraser’s writings here..


  • The Apollo 11 Guidance Computer vs USB-C Chargers.

  • Rather than use these custom face masks to unlock your phone. Wouldn’t it be more fun to swap faces?

  • Well over 1000 of you have neglected to add yourself to the Documentally community map. Are you undercover? Take a look and fill the approximate space. How else are we to take over the world? Also I noticed that the Micron Theatre Co are using the space to advertise their theatre’s current whereabouts. Great Idea!.. if you’re a subscriber ;-)

  • Also if you are a supporting subscriber, don’t forget there is an encrypted backchannel on Sign up for their free account and add me as ‘Documentally’. Let me know you want in and I’ll add you.

  • Locust swarms larger than cities ravage Africa.

  • Artist Tomás Saraceno launches a fuel-free solar air balloon, breaking world records.


Right. I’m off out to play my part in a surprise birthday party.

Don’t forget you are allowed to hit the reply button and I will certainly get back to you at some point.

If I didn’t curate web stuff for this email I would probably pull back from immersing myself in public opinion and current affairs. It’s certainly a double edged sword.

Political pigeonholing seems unavoidable. But I’m sure public opinion has always been this diverse. Maybe now we all have a platform it’s easier to divide ourselves based on our ideological differences.

The only way to accept one another is to understand one another. I really value this community. Thank you for reading.

In the age of technology there is constant access to vast amounts of information. The basket overflows; people get overwhelmed; the eye of the storm is not so much what goes on in the world, it is the confusion of how to think, feel, digest, and react to what goes on.” 
Criss Jami

Find substance.

See you out there.


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