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w/e 2023-04-30

Sometimes it seems a bit odd that one’s experience of any particular day can vary so much solely because of the unpredictability of our stupid bodies and brains.

This week I varied as much as the weather – from “why have I already put my winter coat away?” to “first shorts day of the year!” – and with little correlation. One afternoon I could barely convince myself that anything in life was worth leaving the sofa for. Another couple of days were brilliant and anything seemed possible. Today I had a little migraine and, even after Sumatriptan saw it off, I’ve felt like I’m slightly underwater.

I think one of my strengths (and maybe, who knows, weaknesses) is consistency, but one of the most important factors

[I don’t know, I appeared to stop writing that sentence there so let’s move on.]

§ A photo looking across a large lawn to bright green trees under a clear sky. In the foreground is a metal table and on it is a white mug containing a black coffee
The very start of one of the good days, both mood- and weather-wise

§ I’ve got an account on Bluesky now but, god, can we really be bothered? Maybe it’ll all be fine but it does feel like all the people who made accounts on Mastodon, but didn’t post there and carried on using Twitter, are like, “I can finally jump out of Elon’s frying pan now that someone’s made a new fire!”

15-20 years ago it was quite fun to get set up on a new service and, yet again, recreate your list of friends. But then the services were quite different from each other and I didn’t assume any of them would necessarily last. Few things had lasted long at that point.

But now, even though setting up on a new social network happens less frequently, it’s more tiring. It feels like there’s more at stake than just kicking the tires of a new idea. Which one will save democracy?! Don’t choose the wrong one! Why is everyone using that one instead?

§ I’ve been helping Mary plan for getting a new Mac. She’d been thinking of a MacBook Air and wasn’t sure how she’d connect her various existing peripherals and her two monitors to it. So I set about exploring the various hubs and docks. I don’t know how most (normal?) people cope.

Ultimately it turns out that despite the current M2 MacBook Airs being brilliant and very new and not cheap, you can’t connect two monitors to them. Or, you can, but it requires some third-party software that I haven’t heard great things about, and which some reliable hub manufacturers don’t recommend, and who knows if it’ll keep working?

Once upon a time having two monitors was an extreme thing. But these days so many office workers have two displays for standard tasks – email, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. And yet Tim Apple can’t get all of his shiny laptops to do this.

But even aside from that, trying to find a hub that simply has the correct number of USB-A and USB-C ports is hard enough.

Ooh, a “9-in-1 USB C Docking Station”? That’s bound to have plenty! Oh, only 2 USB-A ports and 1 USB-C.

Ah, a “USB-C Hub (11-in-1)” sounds promising! No, 3 USB-A and 1 USB-C.

I have a spreadsheet with more than 20 rows, with prices between £22 and £400 and few of them are good enough for our purpose.

And have you seen Anker’s page of Hubs and Docks? You might think you’d be able to filter the selection by choosing “4 or more USB-A and 1 or more USB-C”. Something practical.

No, here’s how to “Select the Products Based on Your Charging Needs”:

A screenshot showing a sum: 5 + 4 + 1 = 541. Underneath each number is a description. 5 is 'Your Preference', 4 is 'Number of Devices', 1 is 'Data Transfer Speed' and 541 is 'Product Number'

I’m sure someone was very pleased with themselves when they came up with this mathematics-defying product numbering scheme, but it’s – obviously! – entirely meaningless and useless.

Still, as ever, it’s a good job Apple are world leaders at designing user-friendly products so that people can easily connect their devices to them without hassle isn’t it.

§ We watched the first two seasons of Barry, having recently heard good things about it during its current, fourth, season. It’s good – fun, silly, dramatic, thriller-y – but feels a bit uneven. Treading a consistent line between drama and comedy must be difficult, and this often swerves towards one or the other unexpectedly, with additional varying doses of absurdity. Which, despite some great characters, makes it a bit hard to really fall into the world. It’s good, it just feels like it could be better.

I was also slightly disappointed with the acting classes. There is so much material in aspiring actors and their classes but a lot of the humour in the show feels like clichés of what silly acting classes are always like on TV or film. I don’t know, maybe that’s closer to what they’re like in LA than London, but I did hope for something more.

§ We also watched Looking: The Movie (Andrew Haigh, 2016) which was fine. It was obviously “the show got canceled but we can wrap up some storylines quickly” and it did that, if a little hurriedly: 85 minutes between the several characters. Which is fair enough but it mostly lacked the urgency, and “how will that person react” concerns of the two TV seasons. It was a bit too easy. Good to see them all one last time though.

§ Have a good week if you can.

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