Messing around with podcasts

Yesterday during the evening I started to remove a few applications from my Google Pixel 5 smartphone. That effort started as a basic cleanup of a few applications and soon became a bit more intense. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all now removed from my smartphone. I still have access to them from a browser at my desk computer or my Chromebook. However, they are now distinctly less accessible. I kept the communication applications loaded on my phone for now. At some point in the future, those applications might very well be the next wave of things that are going to get purged from my smartphone. For the next few days I’m going to just remove an application a day like a digital game of survivor. Generally applications get downloaded and are allowed to just sort of stay forever. 

Over the last few months the two applications I probably use the most are Pandora for streaming music and Google Podcasts. I know that people running Pandora would really like me to use it for Podcasts instead. They even changed the application byline to reflect that it is a music and podcast application. Moving my favorite Podcasts over would be pretty easy. In no particular order that would involve subscribing to the following: Sway, Bourbon Pursuit, Decoder, The MLOps Podcast, The New Yorker Radio Hour, How you livin j Piven, The Daily, Tomorrow. Lex Fridman, The Wan Show, Literally! With Rob Lowe, FiveThirtyEight Politics, Machine Learning Street Talk, and This week in Google. You can try to figure out a pattern from that mix of subscriptions. You won’t really find one as the content I elect consume is generally based on my mood intersecting with the topic they are covering. I’ll scroll along until I find something that catches my attention. 

It took me about 5 minutes to “collect” all the podcasts mentioned above using the Pandora website. Under the banner of collected within the Pandora website you can see all the podcasts. A good chunk of the podcasts that I listen to were either not on Pandora or hard to find. I even had to submit my own podcast, “The Lindahl Letter,” which in theory should arrive in 4-6 weeks on Pandora. I’m not sure actually switching over to Pandora for podcasts is going to be a possible thing to do in practice. A lot of the technology related podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis were not in the catalog of things to be collected on Pandora. I’ll give the application a try during my walking efforts over the next four weeks, but it may not work out and I’ll have to switch back over to using Google Podcasts as a primary driver.

Completing enough content before spring break

The first portion of this morning was spent on editing a Substack post called, “Touching the singularity.” My routine of writing on Saturday morning and finishing the editing on Sunday morning worked well enough. I was able to complete the audio recording for that post today and it is scheduled to go out on Friday April 1, 2022. Based on the current planning and scheduling I’m four weeks of recordings ahead on The Lindahl Letter. After spring break that buffer will be diminished by a couple of weeks. I’m not sure The Lindahl Letter will ever be months ahead in terms of recording. The content is not meant to be tied to a specific time and place. I’m trying to write in a more general way that really covers a topic vs. trying to provide news or observations that are time sensitive. One of the things that I do need to complete at some point is a YouTube video about the audio recording and editing process. You can probably expect a video about how I record podcast audio at some point in the near future. It has been snowing since last night in Denver, Colorado. It’s March 6th and we have several inches of snow on the ground. Being stuck in the house all day might be the catalyst to complete that video. 

I’m probably going to need to update OBS and maybe take some B roll of the microphone setup itself with my Sony ZV-1 digital camera. Given a couple shots of espresso and the right amount of quiet time I can probably record the entire thing in one shot without a script. My podcast recordings are highly scripted and produced to the point of sounding professional. At least, I think they are relatively professional in audio quality for a weekly podcast recorded at my desk for the pure purposes of adventure. Given that I’m already starting to think about the mechanics of the recording process, that video is probably going to happen. I have a couple of hours right now that are going to be spent on digging into the content presented in my 5 year writing plan. Finding solid blocks of time to engage in academic writing is something that will continue to be a priority. Really sitting down and deeply focusing without distractions is almost becoming a super power these days. It is something you have to be planful about and really make happen on purpose.

Trying to refocus

Overall my plan to put the smartphone down and not keep it with me all the time is working out pretty well. That vtech “Connect to Cell” system works well enough as an extended headset to my Google Pixel 5 smartphone that it is almost like a house phone. It is sort of weird to hear phone calls ringing throughout the entire house again like the days of yore when land lines were a common household feature. 

The vast majority of the application alerts and notices that I spent all day clearing out are not necessary. A lot of unnecessary attention was going to that smartphone each day and that was easy enough to stop. For the next couple of days I have planned time off that could be spent writing and working on a few things. 

Today I picked back up and worked a little bit on my week 30 Substack post. It needed a little bit of refinement and rework to be ready for Friday. Intellectually I know that I should spend a few minutes on the next few posts and get them into suitably completed drafts. Initially I was able to work ahead a little bit more than what is happening now, but for some reason that process broke down and I am just working on one week at a time. If the content being produced was real time, then that would make sense as an approach. The content is however planned out weeks in advance making it much easier to produce drafts in a queue instead of working in real time to be timely based on the news of the day. Maybe that is the key to unlocking a different type of content at some point in the future. I have considered turning the weekly Substack post into both a YouTube video and a weekly podcast. I’m actually curious what has stopped me from turning the first 30 weeks of content into multimedia formats. It is probably some type of weird nostalgia for the written newsletters of the past.

Getting really focused and locking in to write for a prolonged period of time seems to be illusive. I’m able to focus on topics and complete work, but I’m struggling with really spending hours working on the same thing. That is something that is going to need to be remedied before longer form prose and projects are going to get done. Part of that is just being able to sit and type for a sustained burst of 30 minutes without shifting around and working on different things. Even right now Rocky the dog is trying to distract me with growls at a reflection in the glass of the door. It is way before sunrise right now and nobody is stirring in the house. Right now is the time for me to write and for Rocky the dog to hang out in my office.

Some blocks of time

Throughout the next two days I’ll be able to work on whatever boils to the forefront of my thoughts. That is a powerful way to go about deciding where to spend your time. Right now I have the time to sit down and write without interruption. Pandora (Music & Podcasts) is playing in the background and the day is just starting. Apparently, Pandora is working to note how much they love podcasts. During the course of giving up cable and not really paying to subscribe to any news services I learned to like podcasts. Initially a lot of my time and listening energy went to the Leoverse (TWIT, TWIG, All About Android).[1] At one point, I had even trained my old TiVo box to download the Leoverse and I watched it like a television show. I still have the ability to boot up my Google Podcasts application and listen to Nilay on the Vergecast or Josh on the oddly erratic Tomorrow podcast.[2] The longest running theme in my podcast listening experience is probably the combination of Nilay and Josh. Right now Pandora has been switched off and I’m listening to the latest episode of The Vergecast and typing along. 

That last paragraph was a little bit indulgent, but that is what today is about. My thoughts and efforts can go in any direction. Nothing was planned for today between breakfast and dinner. I elected to just let my whims of the moment take me along the path to doing things today. 

Footnotes:

[1] The Leoverse is contained on https://twit.tv/ 
[2] Nilay’s The Vergecast and Josh’s Tomorrow podcast