Tag: Dispatch from the trenches

Dispatch from the Trenches #12

Not the Twitter We Want, but it’s the Twitter we Deserve

As the social survivors of “Web 2.0” gorge themselves on gifted youth they start to move further away from being things people enjoy. They become business-degree-managed sameness.

Sit back, grab your icy beverage and get comfortable. Joe makes a lot of really great points here in his dissertation on Twitter. I appreciate his dive into the world of Tent/Cupcake as well. I played with Tent a bit and realized I do not possess a Linux Beard.

Love, Grampa and Grandmaster Flash

Facebook loves to be helpful. It will auto-complete anyone you tag. Anyone. This has led to some hilarious mistaggings of Grandma to Grandmaster Flash turning the rapper into possibly the most caring, lovable rapper of all time.

Grandmaster Flash 1

Grandmaster Flash 2

Brown M&Ms

The story of Van Halen’s Brown M&M line in the contract rider was not a sign of rock star excess. The Brown M&Ms were there as a quick way to check if the promoter had read the contract rider.

It’s an interesting story because it’s legend has grown for so long and made sense in the context of huge rock stars touring the country. It was a brilliant move to combat unsafe conditions and as an early warning that the setup of the shows would take much longer and cost more.

Dispatch from the Trenches #11

POST – Dispatch 11

Thanks for your honesty, Captain Travis

“Folks, this is Captain Travis speaking. One of our crew members had a family emergency, so we decided to get her on a Newark-bound non-stop. We’re waiting for another crew member to arrive before we can get up in the air. Should be about 10-15 minutes. We apologize for the delay.”

The sighs stopped. Naps begun in earnest. Watches went unchecked.
We sat another 35 minutes, completely peaceful, before Captain Travis pushed back.

People hate to wait. Some waits are necessary. If you’re truthful and tell people what they’re waiting for, it will put them at ease. A lack of information makes people crazy. Inform them. Set their expectations and you’ll have a far better experience.


There’s a word that you encounter a lot on the internet and it always makes me want to beat myself on the head with a hot poker. That word is “community”. I’ve got nothing against it — it’s a fine word, I’m just sick of how misused it is.

Having an interest in common doesn’t make a community. I like Nine Inch Nails, video games and Mountain Dew. I would not consider myself a member of any of these communities.

Jacket and Tie

My outfit gives me super powers. Dressed up, I have the powers of confidence, of dependability and trust, of good first impressions. Plus, I look great. As long as I wear my jacket and tie, I feel like I can accomplish any task, surmount any hurdle, and deal with any unforeseen circumstance. Put a cup of hot coffee in my hand, and I become invincible. A set of clothes that look good and feel good have the power to change how you feel about yourself. Whatever misfortune, whatever woe has befallen you, you can look in any mirror and say, “at least I still look like I have it together.” For a lot of people out there, looking like you have it together is enough to make them think you really do.

There is certainly something to this. I feel great when I dress up. But I still dislike wearing a suit and tie. Give me comfortable over formal any day.

Dispatch from the Trenches #10

Today has been a long day. It’s been the last long day of a very long week. This week’s dispatch is about getting away from it all and being outside in the sunlight and fresh air. Thank you for reading this and for reading me. I am thankful for every one of you to read my work. When you share or comment on my work it fills me with pride and gratitude. Thank you all.

The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit

One of the best stories I’ve read this year is The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit. A man who decided he no longer wanted anything to do with society so he turned to the hills. Living off his wits and stolen goods, he remained undetected for decades. It’s an interesting tale from the man himself.

When, said Perkins-Vance, was the last time he’d had contact with another person?
Sometime in the 1990s, answered Knight, he passed a hiker while walking in the woods.
“What did you say?” asked Perkins-Vance.
“I said, ‘Hi,’ ” Knight replied. Other than that single syllable, he insisted, he had not spoken with or touched another human being, until this night, for twenty-seven years.

He explained about the lack of eye contact. “I’m not used to seeing people’s faces,” he said. “There’s too much information there. Aren’t you aware of it? Too much, too fast.”

Patrick Rhone recently shared this wonderful film. It’s a beautiful look at taking the long way and doing something because you can. Because you want to. And not taking the easy road. It’s wonderfully narrated and the music is perfect. I really enjoyed this bit of escape and I hope you will too.

“The Questions We Ask” – Bruce Kirkby in a Kalum Ko film

In the spring of 2013, Canadian adventurer Bruce Kirkby crossed the Georgia Straight from Vancouver to Victoria on an inflatable standup paddleboard. In this award-winning short film, he contemplates the true meaning of adventure.

To Yosemite, With Love

Living, climbing, and working in Yosemite Valley, California with Mountain Hardwear athlete Cheyne Lempe.
For most of us — it’s a distant dream. Live full time (legally) in Yosemite Valley, California. Climb some of the best granite in the world as part of your job. Live in a small tent cabin in the famous Camp 4. For Cheyne Lempe — it’s just another day in the life.

I only spent a day in Yosemite and I fell in love with it. I can’t imagine living there full-time. It’s a spectacular part of the world. I never thought about Search and Rescue teams living in the park full-time. But it makes sense. Who better to know the area and be available than people who live there full-time climbing the peaks and hiking the trails.

Dispatch from the Trenches #9

Michael Salisbury’s Images of Apocalyptic Fog Over Chicago


Though the Polar Vortex reared its ugly head across Chicago this past winter, it brought with it something incredibly beautiful if not apocalyptic–lots of fog. Fog can always make for great images, and that’s what photographer Michael Salisbury was able to do. According to a Chicago Tribune article, the fog that was over Chicago back in June of this year was a direct result of the Polar Vortex. Lake Michigan was frozen over for much of the vortex and as a result the water temperature was much cooler than normal. When you combine this with warm air above, it creates lots of fog.

It reminds me of some foggy days we have in Richmond, VA years ago.

Vanishing Point

DuckTales Theme Song With Real Ducks

This is adorable.

I’m Good – Curious Rat

I’m trying to be less reachable. I enjoy checking Twitter throughout the day, but on my schedule. I love that I have numerous ways to communicate with people all over the world, but only when I want to. When I come home, I like to leave my phone on my desk and spend time with my wife and son. Let the notifications chime. Let the calls buzz. I can’t hear them and I love it that way.

I know I’m in the minority when it comes to tech. I want just enough to get my work done without it getting in my way.

I love this perspective and agree with it. Tech is a tool. It should work for me. As I step away from it, I don’t want it to follow me. I want to dip in and interact on my terms.

In my life, it should not be always-on. If that’s what you want, great. Do it! It’s not for me. So I’ve taken steps to turn it off or ignore it.

Dispatch from the Trenches #8

XKCD is the only web comic I’ve managed to be continually challenged and delighted by every single time I read it. Today’s is no exception.


When you’re finished reading, hold your mouse over the screen and wait for the alt text to appear. It adds to the comic.

Read the Alt Text.

Josh Ginter’s reviews are like tasty roast chicken for the eyes. The photography is beautiful and the writing thoughtful. His latest review of Overcast is one such experience. His views on Overcast mirror my own. I’ve used it since it was released and haven’t looked back. The Smart Speed and Voice Boost features are as indispensable as they are seamless.

Overcast 1

Smart Speed analyzes the downloaded episode and shortens areas of downtime or pauses in speech to speed up listening time. This is handled brilliantly. Conversations sound smoother and less robotic than a generic speed boost option. There is even an indicator in the settings menu to indicate how much time you have saved by using Smart Speed. I would wager Smart Speed alone is worth the in-app purchase.

Voice Boost is equally impressive. Voice Boost also analyzes the downloaded file and boosts areas where speech is quieter. This eliminates the need to manually up the volume when a quiet speaker takes the mic and, generally speaking, makes the whole listening experience easier on the ears.

These two hallmark features are what sell Overcast for me. They are so well executed and act so invisibly that I usually forget I have them turned on.

Overcast 2

Another feature I love is the Twitter-based recommendations.

y recommending a show, Overcast can use your Twitter account to send your recommendations to your followers. Overcast doesn’t tweet on your behalf, but rather reads the recommendations of the people you follow and shoots the results into the “Recommendations from Twitter” section in the podcast directory.

I’ve found some great new podcasts I’d never heard of based on the recommendations from Twitter. I love this app and you’d be nuts not to read Josh’s review. If podcasts aren’t your thing, he takes equal care with the same spectacular photos on his reviews of pens like the TWSBI Diamond 580AL and paper like the Field Notes: Night Sky edition.

So That’s It Then

I was turning right onto James, from Broadway, in Seattle. And I said it, as if I felt like I just pulled off some great heist as I mumbled under my breath: “So, that’s it?”

I struggled with what to say about this piece. Just go read it. It’s a beautiful story.