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w/e 26 August 2018

This week: document scanning, the Hobby Horse podcast, Mildred Pierce, Twitter, and slowing down.

For years I’ve been wondering about getting a document scanner, weighing up the pros and cons between getting rid of a lot of paper vs having another thing on the desk and in the world. Recently I gave in: I bought the Fujitsu ScanSnap 1300i which is not as good as the often-recommended 1500 but is £100 cheaper and takes up less space. The 1500’s probably best if you have lots of large documents to scan as it can take more sheets of paper at once and is faster. But the 1300i is fast enough for me and, if you want to make the PDFs searchable (which I did occasionally), the processing for that takes longer than the scanning. The scanning software has the same air of disappointingly clunky functionalism as all printer and scanner software but the device itself is nice and simple.

I have now scanned a greater volume of paper than both the device and its box take up, paper I can now throw away, so I guess that’s a net win for the home office. Either way, it’s extremely satisfying.

I hardly listen to any podcasts but while doing all that scanning I’ve been listening to Matt Haughey’s Hobby Horse podcast which I’ve enjoyed. Matt interviews people he knows about something they’re really into that isn’t their job. I’ve listened to ten episodes so far and my favourites are:

Occasionally, while listening to some, I’d think “there must be people who know a lot more about [subject] than this” but I had to remind myself that’s not the point. It’s not a professional radio broadcast with a carefully chosen expert-of-experts. It’s a relaxed chat between friends about something one of them is really into. It’s blogging rather than serious journalism. And that’s fine! Listening to people talk about something they’re enthusiastic about is enough.

If I had one tiny criticism, it would be that some episodes spend a long time at the start discussing the person’s past and current work — half an hour in one case so far — which can be interesting but it’s not why I’m listening.

Earlier this year I was going to the cinema at least once a week but that’s tailed off due to my lack of interest in most recent films and me saving money. But this week, for the first time since 4th April, I went to see Mildred Pierce (1945) which was great. It’s nearly two hours long but it rarely lags, has loads of great dialogue, a twisty-turny plot, and almost every shot is gorgeous. I wasn’t entirely convinced Mildred would find Monte Beragon anything other than a slimy weasel but still. I also really want to see a spin-off featuring Mildred’s work colleague Ida Corwin (played by Eve Arden) who was, I believe, “sassy”.

I enjoyed this about Twitter from Jenn Schiffer’s newsletter:

you spend 10+ years building a following and a network, expecting that the platform will have your back when you’re doxxed and harassed for making fun of stupid shit like elon musk (the most boring man alive) and negative numbers in haskell ranges. you watch people you admire being chased off the platform at the same time the same site is making it easy af (as fuck) for you to make a connection with an industry peer which ultimately leads to Game Changing Paradigm Shifts in the Workplace for you to Touch Base and Circle Back on. literally no one is winning. it’s all a trap.

until twitter gets its act together and starts paying me for my engagement, i’m using my account for work stuff only. i’m saving my train of thought for electronic mail.

Similar here. I’m still enjoying Mastodon. I don’t plan to delete my Twitter account but have reduced how much I “engage” with it and rarely post anything now.

That’s all. This week I finished the work project I’ve been involved with for a few weeks and am spending a week or so offline. Taking a breath and slowing down. I hope you have a good week and find a bit of time to slow down.

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