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Unplanned Obsolescence 
Greetings from the garden bar...
I’m still in shorts. I hope you are too.
We had the local ham radio rally in St Neots. It was better than I expected. I’m still trying to work out why a guy rocked up with a car full of apples. Seems a weird mix as most of the folk there had loose dentures and a hankering for valves.
The rest of the week involved family get togethers, cycling and trips out with the kids.
As we approach the 300th issue I’ve also been thinking a lot about this dispatch. It’s got some great feedback. From people I respect and others I also respect but hardly know. I feel indebted to those who’ve gone out of the way to support my writing.
We have built a collective, a community and conversations and relationships that will continue long after this endeavour ceases to exist.
It’s also been a vehicle for my projects, experimentation and play. It’s helped me grow, evolve and adapt to new ways of thinking and doing. It’s also kept me present, creative and curious. I hope you get some of the same.
I love it.
But it’s really not paying the bills. Which is putting pressure on the family and I should do something about it.
There are 1680 people who subscribe to this email, of which 138 support it with around a $5 per month paid subscription. I’d need to quadruple the subscription to pay the bills and ideally earn a little more to be able to travel, and fund experiences I can share.
It might be that I just dial this down and go back to documenting/training. I’m keen to do more podcasting workshops or photo/audio assignments. But there are some other options. Sponsorship, adverts, dropping another survey out there to see how I can niche-ify this dispatch. Narrowing my focus might attract more people. It might also dilute the novelty and serendipitous connections.
If you have any thoughts I’m all ears. I’ll add workable suggestions to some kind of survey.
I could be that I accept Paypal…
..or Bitcoin (segwit) 3BarXKyUKtuGKdTctqTqkrvhCHJzT2znsf
It only takes one benevolent benefactor to open up this email to everyone and more. Weirder things have happened.
In the meantime I shall await your suggestions/ideas/subscriptions and carry on as if the answer is just around the corner.
VFX artists debunk Pentagon UFO videos.
The comments are pretty good as well.
Over 120 open source illustrations you can download and use.
Violence begets violence… [NSFW]
Although magazine sales in the UK have dropped for the last few years The format is long from dead. Even though it’s biggest selling point is that you can easily access information tailored to your specific interests. Same as if you are adept at googling.
When I read with the kids it’s often from a physical book or magazine. Their posture and how they view printed media is very different to something like an iPad. A book, comic or magazine is something to curl up with. And although reading on the small screen of a phone can be much easier for a person with dyslexia, if you forget to mute notifications you will still struggle to concentrate.
So yes, occasionally we take trip to a large printed medium emporium. To get lost in the titles.
Faced with hundreds of publications to choose from, I chickened out and settled for two familiar mags. It was more a case of curiosity, cost and content. Some publications I liked the look of could cost over £10. Yet if you were to skip the adverts and skim read the text I was able to ingest the whole mag in store.
It had been a while since I picked up a copy of Amateur Photographer and for £3.50 that was an easy choice. Then I grabbed Practical Wireless as it had a feature on the 4m band. A part of the radio spectrum I am currently enjoying playing with.
I read them on the sofa. Undisturbed and free from digital nigglings.
I’ve been writing up my journals from the bike ride. So far in you are a supporting subscriber you can read… day one, day two, day three, day four, day five, day six and day seven. Some people really like it. Perhaps you’d like to take out an affordable full subscription and help a writer out? Did you know you can also gift someone a month and unlock past posts?
Congratulations to Digital Planet who are celebrating 20 years since their launch when they were originally called ‘Go Digital’. Quite a milestone. This episode celebrates the 20th year and is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Tracey Logan, Alfred Hermida, Ghislaine Boddington, and of course Bill Thompson, the programme’s longest-serving contributor.
Well done Bill! I have an award for you for your outstanding contributions to technology podcasting. It is shaped exactly like a pint glass containing an ale of your choosing.
The Podcast Index states that it is here to ‘preserve, protect and extend the open, independent podcasting ecosystem.’
This is what happens when you plug a harp into a distortion pedal.
Dining out is back. Nothing fancy but between them, Five Guys and Pizza Express took £80 off me this week. A lunchtime treat while on outings with the kids. Things will certainly be cheaper when they head back to school. It was the first Five Guys for the kids. They were reverent and focused. Till all the food was gone. The burger got 5/5 from my daughter and the hotdog-thing 4/5 from my lad. I must show them a this Five Guys review.
You may be familiar with the cheap and cheerful yellow-labelled blended whisky Cutty Sark. It’s not actually that bad for the money as it allegedly contains Highland Park and Macallan single malts in its blend. This though is Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition.
The story goes that during prohibition in the US, Cutty Sark as a new brand was less likely to be counterfeited with more dangerous copies and benefitted from a seal of approval from its importer Bill ‘Real’ McCoy. People would allegedly ask for the ‘Real McCoy’ enabling the brand to grow into the best selling whisky in the US.
Bottled at 50% this Cutty Sark harkens back to the bottled in bond standard strength pre prohibition era. In the UK Governments reduced to ABV from the first world war to where the norm is now around 40%.
Not sure if Cutty Sark is laying claim to the origins of the phrase ‘The Real McCoy’ but Wikipedia offers some earlier references to the phrase.
And the Whisky? Well it’s one of the best Scottish blends I’ve tasted. Caramel vanilla with a creamy sweet finish. Add a drop of water to bring out the pepper. Well worth £24. (<- That is an amazon affiliate link for all those that don’t support this dispatch. For those that do, there is a bottle here behind the bar. Help yourself.)
As the nights draw in, my hip flask might soon come out. And this will be in it.
Top of the page in the ham radio rally photo, a guy on a stand is trying to sell this compass.
It’s a World War 2 Eclipse-Pioneer Bendix Type B16 aviation whiskey compass. Possibly from a B17 bomber. The guy on the right of the photo was not keen to buy it as the numbers were painted with radium and are therefore radioactive. Although it does emit alpha, beta and gamma radiation I think it’s only really dangerous if swallowed or inhaled. It’s in decent condition and I hope being fully sealed it’s ok to handle. The unit is still full of alcohol and the movement is fluid, smooth and accurate.
I bought it for a fiver. I think it’s a bargain. Especially as this particular compass was owned by ham radio operator Walter F Blanchard G3JKV. He was also president of the Royal Institute of Navigation. Sadly Walter died last year and some of his possessions like this compass made it onto the table at the radio rally. After being the sole survivor of a Valetta crash in the jungle and later having to eject from a Canberra aircraft over the North Sea, who knows what stories he might have told us about this compass.
The little piece off aluminium enables you to attach two water bottle to one set of mounting holes on your frame.
Day to day for short one hour rides one water bottle is enough for me. But on my recent ride I was glad to to have three to hand. Two on the forks and one on the frame. I had to put my bike lock on the down tube as with the top tube bag blocked a bottle in that position. This not only solves that issue but it enables me to have two bottles in that space.
I was convinced that being wider, having bottles side by side would get in the way of peddling. But there is plenty of space.
So for future multi day rides I’m thinking i’d like to carry my bivi and cooking gear on the forks. This £6 device will enable me to maximise the space as well as give easier access to water on the move.
I use Backblaze for one of my offsite backups. If you would like to try them this link gets us both get a free month.
The Documentally community map is thriving. Are you on it?
If you are thinking of securing your home network this article might come in handy.
Still thinking of dabbling in Crypto? Are you insane? If you use my referral link to sign up for Crypto.com we both get $50 USD :-) Obviously if you then remortgage the house and loose all your money it’s nothing to do with me. Seriously though please invest responsibly and take a look at the more sustainable options. The crypto space is doing some really interesting things at the moment. But it’s also easy to ignore.
It’s my good friend Richard’s birthday on Saturday. He’s one of the good ones. can you please wish him a happy birthday? It’s one of those a big ones. ;-)
Typos, tricks and misprints.
He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen?
The tranquility of lockdown. COVID restrictions brought brief respite from noise pollution.
Thank you for reading.
All change next week as the kids are back to school round here and the early mornings are back. Maybe some kind of routine will be born from it. Take care of yourselves and those around you.
“Technology at present is covertly philosophical; the point it to make it overtly philosophical.” ~ Philip E. Agre
Turn a page.
See you out there.