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Tech in the Trenches Posts

Night Sight Magic

The low light ability of my Pixel 4a is still magic. I walked to the grocery store for a few items and stopped to admire the light on the tracks.

I had to stop and prop my phone on the half wall, point the camera between the fencing and let the phone work it’s magic.

Where Would You Move?

I came to the realization this week, during a visit to Portland, Oregon that every city is the same.

I play the game where I would move often enough and pretend I live in the different places I visit. I try to take note of what would be different about my daily routines. I discount the fanciful daydreams of what I might do or the type of person I could become if only I lived there.

I keep my expectations based in reality. I know moving to a new place won’t turn me into a new, better person overnight, or even over months or years. I am 40 years old and am still the same person I was when I was 20.

I’m a little older, a lot wiser (and wider). I used to think when I turn __ I will ___ and now that I am those ages, I realize, I am the same me I was then. I didn’t become this other Adult Me.

But the same person with the same interests and habits. I am not going to immediately transform into a whole new me by being in a new place. I’m still going to love book stores and movie theaters. I’m going to be drawn to interesting attractions and weird signs. Whether I am outside Washington, DC. or Portland, Oregon, I am going to want to do the same kinds of things.

Each city is a collection of its historical choices that shaped the neighborhoods. Each city has grocery stores and restaurants and recreation and public buildings. There might be more of some than others and one might be a specialty of that city. But overall, it’s a city with city things and city problems.

As I look at what kind of life I want to continue to cultivate and create for myself and my wife, I look at the climate. I look at what kind of life I want to have. What experiences I enjoy most and where can I find a mix of those and other pleasantries.

No place is perfect. There is no perfect city or suburb or place to move. Everywhere is going to have its own problems and irritations.

I want to find a place where I can accept the trade-offs and build a life that pleases me. And we’ve done just that where we are. Sure, it’s not perfect. There is plenty about the DC area I would trade-in if given a crystal ball. But there are so many benefits to the area I’d give up, would it be worth the trade?

Disliking Songs in Spotify?

I emailed Spotify this morning. That was an endeavor in frustration in itself. But after coming across no way to hide/dislike a song or artist in Spotify on either the desktop application or Android phone app, I had to ask for help.

I found two help articles, but neither reflected what I was seeing in the application. And I keep them updated like it’s my job. So I emailed support and we’ll see what they say. But maybe you, dear reader, know how to tell Spotify I do not care for this song or artist, please stop showing it to me.


I want to:

  1. Tell Spotify I don’t care about an artist so they will stop showing up in Release Radar/New Release lists.
  2. Remove a song/artist from Spotify-generated playlists.

I use Spotify on:

  • Android
  • Linux (Ubuntu)
  • Mac OS

I found these help articles: Improve playlists made for you – Spotify – There is no button to dislike/hide on Android/Linux. Didn’t check Mac. Maybe it’s there but nowhere else?

Then I found: Undo disliked songs – Spotify. Since I figured if I could undo disliking a song, there must be a way to dislike the song… but I can’t dislike a song… so I can’t undo it. I tried searching for “dislike song” but it returns no results.

I’m lost. How is it not possible to tell Spotify “I do not care for this song/artist.”

I’m tired of artists showing up in release radar and playlists without a way to give input to about them.

Focus. Execute. Repeat.

You want more out of your employees? Radically reduce their responsibilities, then leave them alone to execute.

The Neuroscience of Busyness – Study Hacks – Cal Newport

I credit my manager and company with allowing me to do this for the past year. Especially the past 5 months as I worked on a major product launch. Getting it out the door on time was in large part thanks to the many, focused hours I was able to spend on the project.

The constant interruption and context switching of the office a distant memory. Focus. Execute. Repeat.

Northern Flicker

Sitting on my patio.

Watching the birds feed and mate and sing.

One hand on my book.

One hand waiting to pickup my camera.

Enjoying the sounds of the trees and my feathered friends.

Trying to ignore the drag racers screaming up and down the Pike.

Listening to the low rumble of freight trains.

The urgent whoosh of the Metro trails on their tracks.

The longer, steady chug of the passenger trains.

I mowed the yard yesterday. I expected to see the brigade of Robins hunting the fresh buffet for bugs and worms. But they’ve been absent today. My feeder is full of sparrows and mourning doves.

I share a deep love for the Mourning Doves as they seem large and unsure of themselves as I have as I went through life. Never quite sure if I could perch on a feeder. Or if I could get my head into find the seeds.

The highlight of today though was the Northern Flicker.

Northern Flicker woodpecker

I’ve seen Downy and Red-bellied woodpeckers before. But this was a new bird for me. It’s exciting to see a new friend come to the neighborhood.