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The Thursday Newsletter - Issue #7

Dan Hugo
Dan Hugo
Seems like a good day for a newsletter

First things First
I mentioned previously, that my reading list contained a particularly poor volume entitled Ready Player Two. I don’t want to link to it, or send you to find it, or even refer to it in any more detail than this, for fear that you may actually seek it out. If you had spare time at some point and read the first book if the pair, well, you won’t get that time back, unfortunately, but if I can save you from doubling your losses, I’ll do what I can here.
Do not read that book.
All that said, you may have heard or read that the first book was wall-to-wall pop culture references from the 80s and 90s, and that is most definitely true here. There is very little subtlety and when the author adds in the haphazard rule scheme of a simulated existence (“The Oasis”) there is very little left to ponder. It’s an eye-roller.
I’m going here because, as it happens, YouTube is suggesting the old Cracked show, After Hours, which I had always found to be creative and funny while also being fairly provocative most of the time. This one popped up, about the various potential meanings found in the first (the only?) Matrix movie:
10 Terrifying Implications of the Matrix Universe - After Hours
10 Terrifying Implications of the Matrix Universe - After Hours
It’s worth a watch if you have the time, but the take-home is simple: some of the points they raise in this episode, from 2015, are still interesting and even debated today in 2021. There is real creativity in the way all of the components (plot, characters, and the implications that stack upon one another with each passing moment of the movie), To be fair, I’m comparing a book and a movie, and that’s actually not fair, but what I am pointing out is the care with which the Matrix movie(s) were conceived and implemented, with deeper meanings and intricate possibilities that linger far beyond the end of the movie. There is no such wonder brought about by reading the book.
I shudder to think what might come of a movie version of this book, given the wide latitude taken with the first RPO movie. It was a lot of eye candy and the pop culture references, while still many, were a part of the visual splendor and not gone over in excruciating detail.
But hey, I also wanted to point to After Hours, which I have always thought was quite well-done. The four members of the cast of this version of the show mesh well and bring life to the bits. It’s a shame they didn’t actually go through with their own indy version after they left Cracked.
IRC and NNTP
Nowadays you probably know these as, for examples, Slack and Google Groups, but the old ways still work. I am logged in to irc.libera.chat right now, in fact, having moved over from freenode after the weird and allegedly hostile takeover of that stalwart service. Most of the people I have remained in contact with using, say, Facebook or LinkedIn, tend not to use these old ways, so my own interactions are fewer than they could be, but there is something to think about.
On the IRC front, it is a much simpler system than the web-based, data-driven social networks we hear about continuously in the news media. This is sort of humorous to me, when I hear that world leaders must be able to use Twitter (for example) to engage their citizens and the world. Imagine you’re POTUS and you set up irc.whitehouse.gov, always available to engage anyone who wants to check it out, with any number of channels and no editing or corporate policies to conflict with national interests.
How often do you hear about the decentralized internet, with content “on the blockchain.” Well, not nearly so trendy perhaps, but 99% of what I have to say would fit into Usenet posts if I wanted to distribute my content in a decentralized way, and anyone who would want to peer with me could have all of my posts and interactions in my newsgroups copied in our peering relationship and… voila! If my server “goes away,” the content is still there in any peers.
I mention these old school tools because, well, I’m tired of the new age of social media and all of the problems the super-commercialization of the surveillance economy has brought us, but as well, I’m sort of amazed at how the new and cool stuff is repackaged irc, news, and email. Yes, audio and video live streams and filters and whatnot are legitimately interesting for many things, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Facebook and Twitter become the modern day MySpace museum pieces. (For the nerdles, I’ll add XMPP to the list of good things)
Just a thought. That’s dhugo on irc.libera.chat by the way.
Podcasting
Speaking of old school, have you been listening to podcasts, or do you plan to? They have certainly taken the world by storm, now that Joe Rogan and Clubhouse have done whatever it is they get credit for…
Those aside, I have been producing three podcasts lately, in my continued return to The Old Ways (sure, podcasting is old school if you consider the resulting audio files to be content you download from any number of places that copy them and make them available broadly). Live streaming audio is a modern take, on radio, but making a podcast is about as easy as it gets if you want to share interactive conversations.
Well, it should be as easy as it gets. It’s actually slightly painful if you need to invite guests or, well, anybody who isn’t on top of how their microphone (and sometimes, video camera) works, how to speak into a microphone and avoid having music or echo, and so on. Multi-track recording should be the norm, but it’s not so easy to come by in easy-to-use configurations. Post-production is easy with free software like Audacity, unless they decide to get acquired and introduce tracking tools to their go-to open audio platform. Sigh.
All that said, the three shows I mentioned are presently published via Anchor.fm, and while that is a useful tool to accomplish that goal, it’s not my favorite. Self-hosting should always be the thing we consider into the future of individual internet presence (and the same is true for business, though there we would need to consider scale and reach and team member collaboration and whatnot), and publishing a podcast is no different.
Would you like to check out the shows?
Hugo Floss podcast via Anchor
FFS Talk podcast via Anchor
Quoggling Sand podcast via Anchor
You can find this list, as well as a list of links to other newsletters I’m publishing, and a list of projects I’m working on (that is about to get added here), if you visit (and bookmark for re-visiting) my Buy Me a Coffee profile:
Monetizing Things
As you can see I’ve slipped in my Buy Me a Coffee profile there, and while I’m happy to buy more coffee beans with any money that comes in through there (you are no obligated, but the profile page is one central hub of project links for those interested), I tend to fall more on the side of asking for money for actual services.
So, for example, my newsletters (this one and the other on Substack, see profile page linked above…) are like blogs, more about sharing thoughts and comedian videos on YouTube and my current reading list and whatnot. As I roll out actual projects as usable products, and I mention them, or I talk about them in my podcasts (or maybe video streams later? and there will probably be another podcast or three around particular projects), I would rather make actual money from the software development (or, more generally, the engineering) because that’s why I’m doing all of this.
On the other hand, in this crazy world we find ourselves in lately, the gig economy has made payments for all manner of services more commonplace. If tips are the language of gratitude, I may as well put out the tip jar and see what happens.
Are you monetizing your efforts? YouTuber, Podcaster, Blogger, or maybe you’re an Influencer cutting across multiple platforms with multimedia marketing and broad engagement for the big dollars. End of the day, I’m hoping that any number of things that I’m working on, be they newsletters like this and podcasts about this or that, or actual engineered software platforms with for-pay subscription access to their services, will be attractive to enough people that the bills can get paid.
So stay tuned to that BMaC profile at least, it’s one of the main “source of truth” spots where the list of active projects gets updated. Thanks!
Have a Great Weekend!
As more and more places around the US, and the World, are opening more and more with vaccinations and mitigation methods (and whatever immunity afforded to those recovered from previous infection) combine to turn the tide, so to speak, more and more people are getting outside to party, getting on planes to go to other places to party, and then returning home to party.
Or is this a Las Vegas thing?
Whatever the case, do what you can to avoid catching and transmitting anything, sars-cov-2 or otherwise. Thanks for reading, be sure and share with a friend, and get back to me if you have something to add (there are any number of ways to reach me, and by all means join me on one of the podcasts if we need to talk at length!).
Stay healthy and happy!
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Dan Hugo
Dan Hugo @DanHugo

Various topics of the day, whichever day, from home or abroad, about this and that and the other thing.
Engineer in Las Vegas, working on a variety of cool projects; Maker of Friends, Friend of Makers. Answers to most pronouns, you can call me Al.

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