What we name the things we build matters. Last week a new version of Potluck, the social news product from Branch, laun…
Wrote something about naming and food and pleasure and life.
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I ran a marathon on Sunday. The 30th Florence Marathon. It was a spectacular day. The sun was shining. I’d been training for this for 16 weeks, across four different countries, starting in Scotland, cruising through London, running through Italy and across the USA.
I crossed the finish line in 4 hours, 10 minutes and 10 seconds. Just as I was passing the 20km mark, at 01:59, I saw the Ukrainian runner who won it cruising over Pointe Vecchio. He finished his 42 km ten minutes later.
I’m still not sure why I did it. I was entered by someone else. But I did it anyway. Ask me in a week whether I’d do it again.
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Here’s how it’s played out:
WEEK TWO: I started getting fancy. The room I’m recording in is in the eaves of a renaissance-era stone house. The floor is stone tile, the walls are made of stone, there are big single-pane windows with wooden shutters (no curtains), the ceiling is, effectively, the inside of the tile roof, and there are two large skylights. In other words, audio recording nightmare.
So I started by putting a pillow on top of the audio foam.
WEEK THREE: I created a little cave for the mic. Unfortunately, the mic kinda got lost.
WEEK FOUR: As week 3, but with the dog’s mattress on the lamp behind me. Just ‘cause. See, every time I’ve been in a studio, there’s softness everywhere, to catch the audio waves and reduce reflected sound. The recordings were echo-y to my ear, so I thought this might help. Thankfully, he doesn’t shed.
WEEK FIVE: I started building forts.
The first one wasn’t much more structurally exciting than adding a blanket over my head to the setup in week 1. But by the next week, my newfangled Editor’s Keys portable vocal booth pro2 arrived, and I was able to get seriously creative.
WEEK SIX: There are pieces of bed involved. Suitcases. And the foam Jason gave me on the mic stand behind. And towels. And the dog’s bed. And a lap desk. It’s very exciting. it’s also raining directly above my head onto the skylight, which is noisy. Must try harder.
WEEK SEVEN: I am in a more complete fort. Every pillow in the house has been enlisted. Every blanket. Clamps. Clips. And I am trapped. I literally can’t get out. Help.
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Over the past five years, every writer I know has been told by their agent to ‘monetise the activity around their writing’. Give talks. Go to conventions. Judge prizes. Write reviews. Write articles. Go on telly. Go on radio. Go on Twitter. Build your brand.
The problem with all these activities is that nobody actually wants to pay you to do them. Instead, you are given vague assertions that it will be good for sales, good for your profile, and if you do all these things, then my son, there will be jam for tea.
Well, I’m now 41, have written 10 books over 12 years, and for me it’s tea time. The kettle has come to the boil, the Crown Derby is laid out, the bread is sliced and I need the jam right now. In short, I want to be paid for what I do.
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How Much Food Can Five Dollars Get You Around the World?: What do 3 pounds of bananas in Australia, 5 pounds of bananas in France, 8.5 pounds of bananas in the USA, and 25 pounds of bananas in Ethiopia have in common? Besides that fact that they’re all bananas, these are the amounts that five…
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Data and data sets are not objective; they are creations of human design. We give numbers their voice, draw inferences from them, and define their meaning through our interpretations. Hidden biases in both the collection and analysis stages present considerable risks, and are as important to the big-data equation as the numbers themselves.
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