'Offline' Category

Internet :: Return

Giving up the Internet at the weekend, starting last September, has been a great experiment, but one that I’m bringing to an end in 2014. My dozen or so weekends offline (how lame/first-world/etc… does that sound?) were in aid of rediscovering what the Internet is good for, and where it’s been encroaching too far on my *real life*. And interestingly, the points at which it has proven to be utterly superfluous are those in which it was aimed at augmenting or extending (embracing, extending…extinguishing?) my behaviour as a regular hyouu-maahn.

There’s some interesting takeaway, which I’d like to spend more time researching in the coming months, but a skim of my messy, messy notebook yields a few headlines:

— It just seems like social networking isn’t for me — Facebook and Twitter are both out of my pocket, and I haven’t particularly missed either, nor have I been at all tempted to invite them back. Maybe this is a true reflection of my everyday social attitudes, in which case, I’m probably not qualified to comment any deeper. But maybe there’s a lot of people who aren’t nearly as social as their online selves would portray.

— However, I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for Instagram. I think perhaps that putting content first in a unifunctional app that doesn’t have to pull any UX manoeuvres to trick you into using it lends it some real credibility. It is authentically what it is, no more, no less.

— I never realised before how reliant I was on streaming video (Netflix, NBA Game Time) for entertainment — TV for me is a total thing of the past, I could buy a set without a tuner and not skip a beat at this point. The Xbox (or Apple TV, or Roku, or RPi + XBMC etc…) are fully equipped to take over

— The internet is amazingly good for discovering music. Yes, most online music services are mostly just mainstream taste homogenisation devices (‘You liked Drake? You’ll love Drake featuring Rhianna!’), but for people with more esoteric (that is definitely not to say better) taste, the web is outstanding. (Where else would you find a documented exchange in which one Don Cab fan offers to exchange chicken parmesan for a CD-R of a Speaking Canaries record? It’s awesome.)

Offline Weekends :: 21 – 22 Sept. 2013

21 / 22 Sept. 2013

– I want to replace my Fender Deluxe Reverb amp with the smaller Princeton model (yup, the one I sold to get the Deluxe). With no idea how much they cost, or what models are available, my first thought is to head for the website. Of course, that’s now off limits, so instead I made a phone call to GAK. The salesman and I discussed my old Princeton, my pedalboard, the current models available, and the merits of the forthcoming models. It was a more valuable experience than any solitary internet research could possibly have delivered.

– I was trying to get rid of a cold, so had a Berocca with my breakfast. I instinctively put an ice cube in it, which for some reason I thought was worthy of Tweeting. It seemed idiotic when I thought about it, twice as much so when I wrote it in my notebook, and ten times as much now. Even though I think it’s really valuable, Twitter is mostly vapid.

– Twitter again. I was listening to Autechre, and was struck by what a vital piece of information this was to share with the world. With no access to Twitter, I took a second to think about what I was actually trying to accomplish – I think I just wanted someone to talk to about some great music. Social networking seemed really sad all of a sudden. I texted a music-loving friend to recommend the group and a couple of their albums, he text back saying he’d give them a listen. I can’t wait to discuss them in person.

– The opening track from What Burns Never Returns, Don Caballero 3, has a section that sounds a bit like Zoot Allures, one of my favourite Zappa guitar pieces. I was satisfied to have made the connection, and couldn’t think why it was necessary to publish this information (which was my first instinct).

– Probably the best offline moment came on Sunday. I had a train delayed by half an hour, and without Reeder, Hacker News, or Twitter to entertain me, music was my only option. How completely fucking stupid that music is fourth on that list. I listened to the first Storm and Stress album, without distraction; it was a perfect experience of a wonderful record.