Monthly roundup: September 2022

I want my distracting projects

< all posts


Now I’ve unpacked from the move, I’ve started recording guitars again for my band’s album. This has been pretty slow as I’m rusty as all hell. It’s been nice to have a room dedicated to work and music so that I can record without too much faffing about - not something I had in my tiny London flat.

What really hasn’t been helpful is macOS’s new microphone permission flow and how that interacts with Ableton. After setting my studio space up, I ended up spending a couple of hours franticly plugging and unplugging things, looking at new audio interfaces and generally being annoyed until I realized that I just needed to grant Ableton microphone permissions. What’s really frustrating is that instead of calling this situation out, Ableton just ends up in a hell state where all your inputs are silent. </rant>


I was completely blown away by the new Callous Daoboy’s album:

There’s been a discordant, chaotic sounding hole in my heart ever since Dillinger Escape Plan broke up, and this has managed to fill it.


I’d been using Splice Studio for a while to keep Ableton projects backed up, but had found that it can be a little flakey (and I don’t trust they’ll keep that feature free forever). To distract myself from actually having to nail takes, I ended up building a solution (which I’m calling “checkin”) for quickly backing up directories as a zip to configured place on your computer (a Dropbox folder in my case). It’s very early days, but I’m actually finding it really useful. You can install it via brew or check it out on GitHub and use the install script if you’d like to have a play. I’d like to make a UI for this eventually as I think it could be useful tool for other music peeps that aren’t comfortable with the command line. Maybe that will be a fun opportunity to pickup XCode again or learn some Electron.

I also wanted to highlight this little thought piece on “folk” interfaces by Maggie Appleton. While definitely relevant to my work on ODK Collect, I’ve found that one of the most fun/terrifying things about creating any software is seeing the completely unexpected ways people will end up using it.


Two special wines to call out this month:


I kickstarted this pretty evil looking project from Alexei Vella. Thousand Year Old Vampire did a great job of opening me up to “journaling” games and this ones looks like it’ll be a fun play around Halloween (which it will hopefully be ready for).

In much more electronic news, my Steam Deck arrived. Exactly as expected, it’s a big dumb linux computer masquerading as a Switch. That’s perfect for people like me who are happy to tinker. So far I’ve had the most fun getting EmuDeck set up which has finally let me get around to a replay of MGS 2.