Daily notes for 2023-03-01

ยท 1195 words ยท 6 minute read

I, casual ๐Ÿ”—

When I got my PlayStation 4 a little while back I thought I was buying into the same sort of thing going on with my Nintendo Switch in terms of game selection and cost.

I like the Switch just fine and haven’t had a huge issue with the Nintendo online market. It’s slow-loading and frustrating to shop through if you don’t keep up with it weekly, but it’s fine. I don’t tend to buy too much stuff when it’s new, but I’ve bought a few of the big ports over the years, and I do catch the occasional sale. All in all, selection is okay and cost is what I guess I expect for using an online store instead of buying used stuff.

The thing I wasn’t expecting with the PS4 was what I guess I should have been expecting for a superseded platform that’s mostly still on shelves because of supply chain problems: There’s a ton of stuff that’s great for a casual like me at prices I find incomprehensibly low. It’s stuff I saw ads for a while back and thought “looks cool, too bad I hate games now” over the years, and it’s $4.99 or even free if there’s a bunch of DLC they can still sell for more.

As someone who’s gamed on:

  • VIC 20
  • Atari 2600
  • Nintendo NES
  • Atari 5200
  • Commodore 64
  • Amiga 500
  • PC (8088,386,early Pentiums)
  • Sega Genesis
  • Gameboy, Lynx, whatever Sega’s handheld thing was in the early ’90s
  • PS 1, 2, 3
  • Nintendo DS, 3DS, Switch

… the value I’m getting as a casual gamer is just beyond anything I’ve ever seen. I haven’t felt this way since I went to a flea market where some guy was selling grocery bags with a Sega Genesis and a few fist-fulls of cartridges for $20. I’ve got more games than I know what to do with sitting on this thing, with a PSPlus subscription that delivers even more.

I know there’s better, cooler, and prettier out there, and I have briefly experienced the tug of seeing a new release and not seeing my system listed, but not enough to get me to care. This thing is pretty fun for a 10-year-old product. It makes me curious about the economics of the whole market. I assume at some point someone at PlayStation Central will decide they’ve indulged people like me long enough and their digital marketplace will fold up and herd us all along, but for now I kinda feel like I’m getting away with something.

TickTick Progress ๐Ÿ”—

Today I found a Draft action for getting stuff into TickTick. Not much more to say about TickTick generally. I’ve been fine-tuning the focus stuff and adjusting the reminders and find it very usable. Being able to fire-and-forget a Draft into my inbox is useful and makes me more likely to keep using it.

AirConnect ๐Ÿ”—

We went Sonos a while back, but just before AirPlay2 support came along, so there are a few devices in the house that require the Sonos app. The last of them – a pair of Sonos 1’s, are sitting in my office so Al and Ben don’t have to deal with them because the Sonos app is infuriating.

This morning I gave myself a 30-minute pomodoro to go find something to help me with this problem and ended up with AirConnect, which just sits on your network and advertises Sonos speakers (and Chromecast devices) as AirPlay devices.

I went in a little warily when the first post I found was some guy talking about running it in Docker, but a quick DuckDuckGo search netted me the AirConnect-Synology project, which just makes packages for Synology.

Configuration was amazingly simple: I uploaded the package, ticked a few boxes, accepted a few defaults, and it was working.

I’m glad it’s just for these two speakers in a room nobody else uses. I don’t trust anything until it has been “just working” long enough for me to forget it exists, and I hate forgetting about tech things that affect Al & Ben.

People like to jokingly refer to themselves as their family’s IT department. I prefer to think of myself as our family’s tech sin-eater.

New printer day ๐Ÿ”—

My little Brother laser printer, which worked pretty well through grade, middle, and high school for Ben, has always made me tense up when it wakes up. The UPS on the same circuit senses the sag of a laser printer heating the drum on startup and makes ominous clicks and increments the fault counter and sometimes the lights flicker. I did enough reading to know laser printers do this to everybody.

With our recent electrical problems, something had to give: There’s a little too much load on the “office and entertainment” wing of the residence. My new MOCA stuff gives me some options for moving bits around the house, but the two power-hungriest rooms are on the same small circuit (inexplicably also including the range hood downstairs) and there’s not a lot that can go anywhere else. It’d make the most sense to move the laser printer, but it’s a pre-AirPrint model, so it’d be a pain without the NAS going along with it (which has served it up as an AirPrint endpoint when it’s connected via USB.)

So I replaced it with a Brother inkjet all-in-one everybody says is fine. For some reason, everyone’s top pick being consistently rated 4/5 stars is comforting to me. Like, lots of people think it’s fine and a few other people are disappointed by some pedestrian hangup or another.

It came today and I admired a few things about setting it up:

  • The display walks you through onboarding - installing the cartridges and paper, getting it networked, etc.
  • It does a quick calibration test where it prints a page then scans the page to check nozzle alignment.
  • It’s the first scanner I’ve personally owned that works natively with Apple’s Preview to do over-the-network scanning.
  • AirPrint just works with no need to get the NAS involved or any other hacks.

And unlike Epsons and Canons I’ve owned, reviews suggest it’s better about sitting and not ruining its own ink cartridges if you’re not constantly using it.

The fax part is useless. I guess I’m a little surprised there’s not some sort of e-fax thing built in, but whatevs.

Job progress ๐Ÿ”—

I went from radio silence for the past five or six weeks to two interviews next week. The hang time on one of them after applying was close to 30 days. Thinking back, I don’t think I ever ran a search that slow, but it’s happening a lot from what I hear.

I’m also glad I built the job tracking setup I did: I knew going in that long gaps in contact, slow responses, etc. would all be part of the process, and that it’d be good for my morale if I could quantify what I was seeing. So when I heard back today and thought “that was fooorrrrreeeever ago” then looked up the card, I could see that I opened the card on the 1st of last month and submitted an application the next day.