The Philadelphia Phillies: End of An Era

The last two sea­sons have been tough in Philadel­phia. After a glo­ri­ous run as one of the best team’s in base­ball, the Phillies crashed back to Earth. Char­lie Manuel, a beloved fig­ure for any­one who’s fol­lowed the Phils, was tossed aside. Roy Hal­la­day, a player who more than any­one made Philadel­phia a des­ti­na­tion for free agents, retired after two injury-riddled sea­sons. It was a mag­i­cal time and now it is over.

The next phase is a famil­iar one. The Phillies will likely be hard to watch for a long time. With com­mit­ments made to an aging core and lit­tle to no tal­ent in the farm sys­tem, the boom has gone bust. For any­one who remem­bers what hap­pened to the team after 1993, we know what hap­pens next. It won’t be pretty, but we’ll still be in the stands, bask­ing in the ball­park, thank­ful for the mem­o­ries the Phillies gave us.

No Goal But Mileage

It’s been a while since I called myself a run­ner. After run­ning con­sec­u­tive marathons in ’08 and ’09, I took a long hia­tus. Turns out being awake all hours with a sleep­less infant isn’t con­ducive to dis­tance run­ning. I tried com­ing back in clas­sic couch-to-marathon style last year, only to injure myself about halfway through train­ing. After months of phys­i­cal ther­apy, I still didn’t feel quite right, but that didn’t stop me from try­ing again this year, only to meet the same end. It’s been frus­trat­ing since I still want to run that Boston qual­i­fier I just missed in freez­ing temps in ’08.
A few weeks ago I started run­ning again. Just three miles, five times a week. No goal but mileage. It’s tak­ing me back to a time before I had a Garmin watch, before I micro­man­aged every step I took on a run. I’m just out there in the cool fall air putting one foot in front of the other. I’m feel­ing bet­ter than I have in years. Turns out run­ning with­out a race in sight is help­ing me build the base I need to get back on track.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I signed up for a half marathon at the end of March. I couldn’t help myself. I need a rea­son to stay moti­vated dur­ing these long, dark win­ter months run­ning along­side the Cooper River. In the mean­time, I’ll be log­ging miles at a snail’s pace until I feel good enough to push toward my real goal of qual­i­fy­ing for Boston.

What’s the Future of Blogging?

Two inter­est­ing things about blog­ging lately:

First from Marco Arment

Then from Robert Scoble on why he’s using G+ and Face­book for blog­ging.

I tend to agree with the for­mer, but I’d much rather do what Scoble is doing. Why? Because it’s much lighter weight than com­ing here to write AND it doesn’t have the audi­ence built-in that other social net­works do. I see that Share but­ton when I’m in Gmail and think, “That would be so easy!”

What’s keep­ing me from mak­ing the switch? Audi­ence. Sure, I have never been good about writ­ing every day, but Word­Press makes it easy for peo­ple to find stuff I’ve writ­ten about since I started blog­ging. Google+ is get­ting bet­ter at help­ing peo­ple find me in the con­text of other search results, but it’s not quite the same.

But why not LinkedIn? Tum­blr? Medium? They’re all inter­est­ing places. I often think I should use LinkedIn as my default social net­work and share out to Twit­ter from it!

Put another way: why shouldn’t I switch to G+ or Medium, you know, beyond own­ing my platform?

To me, the long tail ben­e­fits are worth­while. Word­Press is eas­ily book­marked and shared. Google+ is a neat lit­tle ecosys­tem, but that’s just it: it wants to be self-contained in a dif­fer­ent way that most other networks.

The Principled Purge

If you haven’t already seen it, Ian Rogers’ blog post on prun­ing Twit­ter is quite good. He fol­lowed me back when I wrote about dig­i­tal music; I don’t write about that any­more, ergo he unfol­lowed me. It makes all the sense in the world. Why is it so hard?

I wrote Unfol­low­ing Is Hard back in 2012. I pared back to 500 peo­ple. It felt like an accom­plish­ment. Could I ever get under 200 like Ian? Doubt­ful. Even if I fol­lowed his lead and turned Twit­ter into real-time RSS, I’d find myself in the same fix. I pulled over 800 blogs into RSS at my peak! I’m a sucker for infor­ma­tion. I just can’t help it.

Worse, I’m sen­ti­men­tal. There are peo­ple I’ve been fol­low­ing since I joined. We’ve had lots of laughs. They’ve watched my son grow up. How could I leave them now if they’ve not grad­u­ated to Face­book friend status?

That’s what I like most about Ian’s post: clearly delin­eated friend pro­files that iden­tify where they should go. His birth­day rule is the best. He trans­formed Face­book into Path. He just unfriended his way to it!

I call it the prin­ci­pled purge. This isn’t just rip it up and start again; these are mal­leable plat­forms and we should evolve as our use cases change. And if you get scared you can always cheat with a handy list!

Why I’m Switching to Android

I wrote about renew­ing my iPhone vows about a month ago. I’m chang­ing my mind. Why? A com­bi­na­tion of curios­ity and convenience.

I’m not going to dis­count the num­ber of posts from influ­encers like Matthew Ingram, Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble, but the tip­ping point was really friends who’ve adopted Android with their lat­est phones. Whether they were entrenched Apple users or smart­phone new­bies, their move to Android was inspir­ing. It made it seem less intim­i­dat­ing to ditch the famil­iar for some­thing a lit­tle more chal­leng­ing. I mean, I haven’t thought seri­ously about a smart­phone pur­chase since I first bought a smart­phone nearly five years ago. I wasn’t going to make this deci­sion with­out help.

Why now? It’s eas­ier. Android apps have grown up. Most of my most used apps are avail­able and those that aren’t can be replaced with com­pa­ra­ble apps. More impor­tantly, I’ve come to real­ize that my depen­dence on basics like Gmail and cal­en­dar are bet­ter solved with a native plat­form. I’m also unrea­son­ably excited to try some of the UI tweaks, like Ubuntu-style app launch­ers and the like. Being able to rein­vent the expe­ri­ence is some­thing that will keep me inter­ested as well.

Saying Goodbye to My CD Collection

I started pack­ing up my remain­ing CDs last night. I’ve finally real­ized that no mat­ter how often I tell myself that I’ll rip them to a drive, or that I’ll fall in love with the medium all over again, they will only col­lect dust in a dark cor­ner of my house. Don’t believe me? Look how many times I’ve lied to myself about it!

I’m rid­ding myself of a col­lec­tion I’ve built over 20 years. With a lit­tle effort, I could turn the entire thing into a Spo­tify playlist in about an hour. It’s hard not to feel defeated. How often did I spend money bet­ter spent on food or clothes on music that I barely heard? I’m still find­ing unopened CDs with receipts that are a decade old. Now I’ll sell them for pen­nies on the dol­lar and be glad.

I’m doing my best to not be sen­ti­men­tal about it, but it’s brought back mem­o­ries of trips to record stores around the world. My R.E.M. CDs have been with me since I lugged them to Den­mark as a 17 year old! I can still remem­ber how much I cher­ished the 40-odd albums I took on exchange. I remem­ber when my col­lec­tion bal­looned to 120 care­fully curated discs in grad school. I spent time man­i­cur­ing it, trad­ing in to trade up, bud­get­ing as best I could to have a col­lec­tion my peers would respect. It grew to nearly 1500 discs when I moth­balled it in the walk-in closet. Now as I pack it up and pre­pare myself to sell it all, I shake my head with every obscure disc I find encased in shrink wrap.

If you or some­one you know would like to own a music col­lec­tion that imme­di­ately makes it seem like you came of age in the ‘90s, you might want to stop by AKA Music in the next cou­ple weeks. It’s only fit­ting that I take them back to the place where I spent so much time and money on the music I’ve loved most.

Why I Switched to Poster

You may have noticed some changes here recently. Here’s a hint: fresh con­tent! Want to know my secret? The Poster app! Now I know we’ve all heard that the iPad is not a content-creation device, but I’m find­ing it pretty easy myself. In fact, I haven’t reopened my Mac­Book once, not even to change my blog theme!

Why do I like it so much? It doesn’t try to do any­thing more than allow you to draft, sched­ule and pub­lish con­tent. I don’t need a reader baked into the app, or to see stats on my per­sonal blog. I just want to dive in and bang out 250–500 words about some­thing I liked enough to write about. Like Poster! If you want to start using your iPad for blog­ging, you should check it out.