The Everywhere Medium 
Greetings from my car...
Greetings from a country road on the border of Bedfordshire. Should you want to know my exact position while writing this it’s bright.bouncing.annotated.
The standout day for me this week was my birthday.
It began with me opening a few cards and a large present. A big box of deception. As inside a beautifully wrapped cardboard box was a lot of filler hiding a sheet of paper. On that paper was the promise of two days in Wales learning off-road skills and adventure riding. The gift of an epic experience, learning and something amazing to look forward to.
As much as I’m doing my best to be present right now, it helps to have things to look forward to. Some kind of light at the end of the tunnel.
As you know, most days I pop to the shed and join the morning ham radio net to chat and connect with others. My birthday was no different and of course I let it slip that it was my birthday. But did I get one happy birthday?
I wasn’t massively bothered. More surprised. If someones aerial blows over in a storm it’s all hands on deck as the group rally around and does what they can to sort it. I’ve a feeling that the old folk aren’t keen on growing any older and don’t want to be reminded of the inevitable.
A little while later though, away from the grumpy old men, Animal Crossing gave me what I was looking for. The residents on my island had thrown me a surprise party. My daughter told me that I’d needed to play and I’m glad I did.
In my virtual mailbox was the present of a pizza oven my daughter had been saving up to buy me. So sweet. And how strange that this A.I. driven surprise party had me feel some very real joy.
My new (lease) car arrived the same day as my Birthday and I headed out for a short drive that turned into a meandering adventure. Many of the roads I wanted to take were closed due to flooding. As a result I hit some decent wet patches with no issue and it was only after my return that I realised electric cars have a similar if not slightly better wading depth than standard ICE cars. No air intakes or exhausts must help.
Sat here on a hill, the radio scans for local chitchat and as the car’s climate control ticks over, I can hear a bird singing in the tree next to me.
I was telling a friend how I don’t normally find my ‘flow state’ until it’s too late in the day to make use of it. Normally I’ll have finally cracked a problem after everyone is in bed. For example this week, thanks to a few lines of code, I finally got a program on my Mac to talk to my radio and as a result control it. So around midnight, using the digital mode FT8 I can now send a 15 second string of data-embedded audio out of my antenna, up to the ionosphere. There, it bounces round the globe into the antenna of someone running the same software. In some cases they don’t need to even be there. Their computer can register the presence of my station and state I was heard. This in itself amazes me. And as I see how far my low power signal can venture, I’m thinking that this is the mode I’d use to search for traces of civilisation at the end of the world. But i’d need to know there was a human at the other end. And you can know. As if you’d like to fully confirm the contact or ‘QSO’, all you have to do is click the callsign of someone you can see transmitting and set off the process of sharing signal reports. The human, still the master of the tech, instructs their computer to chat with another across the globe. And then a sting of preprogrammed responses are exchanged to confirm the mutual connection. This I hope then proves that a human, albeit an augmented one, is at the other end.
But I don’t stop there. As their location will tell me exactly where they are on planet earth, their callsign will most often give me an email address. Obviously at the end of the world this would be useless. I’ll only have the location and I’d have to consider what to do with that information. After all, it could be the seed of a new organised society. Or a trap. An evil ham radio equipped nerd luring in hapless geeks who seek a better future.
Thankfully, civilisation has not yet collapsed. Not yet. So when the mood takes me, I email these radio contacts. And before I know it, I’m chatting to a guy in Kazakhstan. A country I’ve never visited, but where I now have a friend.
Really enjoyed watching the film The Dig. It is of course a work of fiction based on a real event.
It was fun following up the film with searches to see how much was accurate to history.
There is joy to be had in reading a little poetry every day. So we are doing just that at breakfast with this book.
Today’s poem is from Emily Brontë.
This book was a birthday gift from @HighKeyLee.
Jam packed and explaining 100 works of modern art that have attracted critical and public hostility.
I want more internet dramas like this.
A new music podcast i’m dipping in to. Objects of Sound.
I mentioned I’d share an online meeting place that focuses on spacial sound. But if I drop you a link now, it will be to my space and i’ll not be there. I’m in a car with flaky internet and no headphones. My Bad.
How about I drop you an extra email in the week? Wednesday night 8pm? I’ll send out an email with the link just before. Don’t worry if you can’t make it. My account only allows limited participants and the link will give you all the info should you want to make your own space.
I thought my lad’s teacher was a bit cheeky today as without warning with 30 mins to spare she told her pupils to go cook something and write it up. He roped me into help and we thought the quickest thing to do was a noodle soup.
For garnish we sprinkled a little aonori seaweed on top. I’ve had it in the cupboard for ages and not used it. Either the teacher will give him a house point or mumble a “Ooo get them.” under her breath when marking.
So that was my lunch at 10am.
I bought these beers for my birthday but up until now have only had two of them. The green one in the middle, at the bottom, was AMAZING.
I picked up the Pastore Tocca Ferro as the picture on the front reminded me of the Swiss-German Pastore who trained me to do his job. It’s a sour IPA that’s brewed locally. I will crack that tonight.
Great video. Well made and worth watching just for the production skills. But if you don’t eat meat you might want to look away.
The one ‘thing dominating the last couple of days has been my Kia e-Nero. It was the first electric car to win What Car? Car of the year award. And I can see why. It feels really well made. Perhaps that’s why Apple is keen to get Kia building their own vehicle. Yes I drove my wife’s e-Nero when it arrived but this feels different. It’s mine. It has an aerial on :-). And it will feel even more mine when I get some stickers on it.
Where would you like to go? Explore.org
A guide to anti misinformation actions around the world.
The day plant nano bionics get a foothold we will giggle at the thought that we were scared of robots are taking over the world.
Centralization is a danger to democracy.
Good news! It could still be a while before your hacked sex robot could murder you.
Scientists have found a new kind of whale.
Thanks for reading. Especially as this dispatch seemed a little radio heavy. I’m doing little else at the moment. I did have online drinks and played an escape room game with friends last weekend. There are more online drinks planned tomorrow night.
I’m still looking to get a gravel bike and aching to get back in the saddle properly. I have my eye on one but i’ll not share yet incase you buy it.
I really need to head off now. I’m pretty sure people passing think i’m fly tipping.
Have a great weekend.
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
Go for a spin,
See you out there.