Instapaper V Pocket v2

After more than 6 months of trying both products side-by-side for my article reading needs/wants. Here are a few of my main take-aways:

  • Reading things on my Kindle isn’t the end-all-be-all
  • Being able to sign-in or link accounts to a platform is nearly more important than stripping ads for me now
  • Curated articles are almost always things I don’t care about from either platform
  • The current Pocket eco-system is something I find easier
    • Mainly because I’m been using it more
    • From the pocket home page, I’m easily able to edit my list
    • I can easily send things to other pocket users from within the app
    • Once I log in via my browser of choice to my various platforms I’m good to go I don’t have to resign in
      • Instapaper seems to have fixed this but I do have to usually log-in on a weekly basis. Where in Pocket its based on my personal browser settings so if I haven’t cleared cookies I’m logged in.
    • Sponsored content within Pocket is clearly marked.
  • Deleting items from my Pocket list is easier and can be done en masse
    • On the website in Instapaper (unless I’m missing something) its a one-by-one process. I tend to save 5-15 articles per day while I’m working. Someone sends me something or I browse for a few minutes during my break and I save it for later after work. Then after work, I’ll see what I’ve got and if I really want to read it. I’m probably getting rid of half of the stuff I saved from earlier.
  • Send to Kindle is a hassle regardless of the platform
    • Now with Instapaper its a premium feature so I’m not interested right there
    • To do it via pocket there are a few workarounds but also not easy and sometimes the articles are formatted in a really wonky fashion. Kindle needs to solve this on their end if its going to be a truly viable option. Till then I’ll read my articles in night-mode on my phone or tablet and just use the Kindle for books.
  • The sources that I’m going to have improved their in-app reading experience to the point where I’m using Pocket/Instapaper a lot less
    • I use the Athletic, NYTs, and WaPo for most of the things I read. All three of these have acceptable reading interfaces now.
    • The Athletic’s app is how it should be everywhere.
    • NYT is pretty good
    • WaPo has made leaps in the past 12-months but still is slightly below average UI experience via the App

Currently I think I am going to step away from Instapaper. If they bring back the premium for free I’ll look at it again. For now Pocket has won my read-it-later business.

PO Series

The BOOP series has talked briefly about Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator Series. Aaron picked up the PO-20 and PO-33 in the fall of 2018. I just nabbed the PO-12 as an XMas gift from my parents.

These things are simple to start using. I unwrapped this, put some batteries in the back, hit play and passed it to my Mom. The pre-set drum pattern on the PO-12 was clean, my Mom unwittingly hit the BPM button and we went from 80 bpm to 140 bpm and things started sounding funny. Then my 2-year-old got in the mix hitting buttons because they light up. Things went from chill drum-beat to open gifts too, to heart-pounding adrenaline-inducing thrash beat in seconds. That might be a fun new game for me. Program in some goofy beat or sound and pass it off to someone unwitting person.

Aaron and I are planning to do more learning and testing with these things. Through that process we are planning to post some videos. The device is laid out in a 5 by 5 grid. The top row is split between 3 buttons and 2 knobs. Then on the right you have the 1 knob (the same knob from the top row) and 4 buttons. These controls here run the features and functions on the device. The remaining 16 buttons serve the primary function of being the instrument for the device. The POs have 16 sounds, you select a sound to play or program back into the machine into sequence steps. The 16 buttons also represent the 16 sequence steps within the PO. The PO-12 is the most basic synth device. It appears to me to be the ideal drum driver in the series. There are other POs that also have drum machines and microdrum machine features. This one is stripped down to just be the beat maker.

The POs can also be chained together. The first PO in the series becomes the master and the remaining POs fall in line in terms of bpm. Having only one device right now I’m not chaining them together. In liu of chaining my devices together to make sounds I’m simple using the pattern and patterning chaining features on my single device. That is until the two new POs I’ve ordered show up this next week.

Most background. The POs currently have three series the 10s, 20s, and 30s. The one I have the PO-12 is in the 10s series. Each series has three devices. The 30s were released in early 2018, 20s in 2017 and 10s in 2016. The build quality is basic. The 10s and 20s are just circuit boards with the 30s being all metal or the metal series. Everything that matters internally is placed behind the LCD screen. Each device has an internal clock that can be used as an alarm. When I initially set mine up a week ago I didn’t take the time to read the manual to set the clock. My clock is off by 7 or so hours so I haven’t reset it or used the alarm because if I’m too lazy to reset the clock I’m too lazy to mentally figure out what time I’d need to set on the alarm to actually work for me.

On the right hand side of the buttons there is a button to play the currently selected pattern.

When you hit play whatever pattern was most recently selected starts playing. The preset pattern 1 that was selected when I first fired this up and handed it to my Mom is what started playing in that scenario. The “bpm” button to the left of the knobs is what my Mom unwittingly hit to speed things up into warp drive.

To change patterns you hold down the “pattern” button (adjacent to the left of “bpm”). When you hold down the “pattern” button the currently selected pattern will light up on the number pad 1-16. If you want to choose a different pattern you just hit a different button. You can then chain up to 16 patterns in a row. Chaining is simple you just hit another button. Or the same button. If you want you can go 1,1,1,4 or any combo up to 16 in a row. Once the final pattern in your chain plays it loops back to the start again.

I started off by saying this thing is easy, which it is, but I’m multiple paragraphs in before I even explained how to play a pattern. Before you start a pattern you can just hit keys 1-16 and make a sound and play that sound live as your own song. It won’t be recorded or stored in the device in this scenario but you can make music just by hitting buttons.

If you want you can hit and hold the record button on the bottom right-hand corner of the layout. While holding the button you can punch-in anything on the keys 1-16 and it’ll be recorded and quantized to the current bpm and swing settings. I haven’t mentioned swing yet but yeah you can swing stuff with this thing. From straight on the note to nearly pushed to the next note. The swing is set by holding the “bpm” button and turning knob “A” or the left knob. Its slick and easy. Here is a better image to really understand the control. I took this from the official User Guide and its better than me just adding arrows to the picture of my device in my hand.

If you click the image you’ll be taken to the actual user guide.

After you’ve written a few things you can go back in and add-in effects. And you can take the sounds in the device and augment them with the “A” and “B” knobs. There really are a lot of things you can do with each sound within the device even though its not the most fully featured synth in the PO line-up there are lots of synth features people should know.

This five minute write-up should give people more than five minutes worth of stuff to chop around with till Aaron and I get more hands-on time with these devices. Peace

SynthHunters Ep2

Jeff and Aaron got some midi keyboard controllers.  Now, the fun starts to begin.  It’ll be way cooler when they fully understand how to record these in their respective DAWs.  Jeff picked up the Komplete Kontrol A Series A49.  Aaron has the M-Audio Oxygen 25 MK IV.  These things are pretty sweet.  So far we know about 2% of what they can do.  Enjoy!

Boop – Hero Hunters Ep10 but I called the actual file Ep11—opps

October update II is in the wild.  New hero Anvil is released.  Let’s talk it up a little.  Did we skip episode 10?  Maybe but who cares.

Candy Corn is going strong.  Not a lot of days to cash in on the remaining pumpkins.  Bounty event starts this weekend.  Let’s hope that its not goofed.  

Wolves Feels – 2018-19 Season Is Upon Us

I really started loving the NBA when we were in 2nd grade a few years before we met each other.  That was the first year I remember really playing basketball.  It was my second year of organized ball and the first year I cared.  I got basketball shoes and I loved the sport.  I’d watch NBA stuff on the weekend and when NBA Inside Stuff (third grade) I was hooked.  The Bulls were my team.  MJ was a god.  The first year I started playing ball was 1988 (first grade) and the first year I really loved it was 1989 (second grade) and that’s also when our cub scout pack went to a Wolves game at the Dome.  I loved it so much my Dad took me to half a dozen more games that year (no clue how my parents afforded this one with me being 7 and my brother being 2 I have to imagine there was next to no money to spare already).  I was hooked.  Pooh Richardson was my man.  Doug West eventually but the Wolves weren’t great so I still loved the Bulls.  Since everyone already loved MJ and I thought he was a god also I was for some reason drawn to Pippen. 

I always felt like Pippen played insane defense and I always felt like that was my jam.  I never had a portion of time playing basketball where I figured out scoring lots of points.  I just was never good at working a defense.  I mean honestly I was never that good.  But defensively I always felt stronger.  Since Pip was always outscored by MJ I was drawn to him.  

Then the Wolves drafted KG.  Before KG I was so-so on the Wolves.  I’d go to games every year but I didn’t really care if they were winning.  KG changed that, I wanted them to build a contender around him.  I started watched and learning about the pieces around him.  The college season mattered.  The draft was important.  Understanding the process of finding gems in college mattered.  I started trying to understrand why guys were killers in college and got killed in the pros.  

My basketball IQ started expanding and I was understanding the game at a different level.  I started to see patterns within the league (nothing brand new just started seeing the stuff that lifers have been living with).  There are eras.  There are windows.  The game evolves constantly.  If the big man is valuable today, understand going to figure out how to make non-bigs valuable.  Its just constant evolution that is tied to the greater development cycles.  

I’m a fan of the NBA but its really through the lens of the Wolves.  

Here are the Wolves in 2018 going into the season.  They’ve got as much talent as they have in over a decade.  You could make arguments this is their most talented team ever.  The ceiling in high.  It feels like the whole thing could implode or just fail to leave the pad.  The KAT/Butler/Wiggins combo is sick if they are all on the same page and clicking.  I don’t think we have seen that yet.  I don’t think they are trying to get there either.  Butler doesn’t appear to think Wiggins/KAT have the internal drive to be winners.  Wiggins doesn’t seem to think there is friction.  KAT clearly doesn’t like Butler big-timing him.  It seems to be adding layers and levels of difficulty to the game to be fighting within your own team.  

When you go around and read the various season previews for the Wolves there is a large swath of variance.  The Wolves could be the #2 seed behind the Warriors or they could be in the #10 spot looking for ping-pong balls.  

I’m not as worried about the record.  I don’t honestly think anyone beats the Warriors this year unless they are wrecked by injury.  Or if there is some unforseen infighting between their stars.  

The Wolves need to be judged and growth.  Where is KAT arguably today in the NBA at the 5 position?  What developments will he make this year?  Can he become the scariest low-post scoring threat in the league?  Will there still be 15-20 games this season where he’s a no-show or non-factor on the offensive end?  Does defense matter to KAT?  

Wiggins what are you?  Wiggins are you a good stats, bad team monster?  Wiggins are you just a monster?  Wiggins will you show-up for more than 70 games this year?  Wiggins can take over a game.  Its happened way too infrequently but it can happen.  Can we see that wiggins this year.  The one that just decides this game is shut-down in the first five minutes of the fourth.  Again this has only happened a few times in his career to this point.  Or is it going to be the defer to the crowd Wiggins again?  

Butler is the person everyone wants to talk about.  I don’t care about Butler.  Butler is going to be good where he plays this year and I think for 2-3 more years.  Should the Wolves resign him this next summer if given the chance? Yes.  Should the Wolves trade him for $0.60 on the dollar yesterday?  Yes.  Butler can change games for either team.  Butler appears to be as much of an issue in the locker room as he is on the court.  Do I think the Wolves should’ve moved Butler this summer?  Yes.  Do I think Thibs things he can change Butler’s mind and get him to resign in Sota for max money next summer?  Yes.  Do I think Butler lives up to a 5-year max contract next summer?  No.  I think Butler’s game won’t age gracefully.  I think Butler will see a precipitous drop-off in his defensive skills.  Butler’s outside game isn’t strong enough to lose a step.  The gravity will be lost.  Butler will still be a good starter for 5 more years.  Max level player?  Nah.  The Wolves will be hitting their peak in 3-5 years.  KAT/Wiggins are young.  We can’t forget that today.  Lining their windows of success up with the rest of the team makes a lot of sense.  The win-now approach when you have GSW in the league as they are currently constructed is foolish.  Plan and play the long-game.  Look at what LBJ is doing in LA.  He’s building.  He’s not constructing overnight.  

The Wolves have rookies too.  Where will Thibs work them into the rotation?  Will Thibs develop anyone?  Does Thibs care about 2-4 years out?  Or is it this year or bust?  

Glen Taylor saved the Wolves.  That’s one of those statements that always has to be said about Glen Taylor.  Past that Glen Taylor has been pretty awful for the Wolves.  As long as Glen is calling the shots we are going to see odd stuff like this Thibs drama this summer.  I’m game for Glen selling the team or stepping down and letting someone else in the family run the show.  I don’t think that’ll happen but its probably time.  

Minnesota Timberwolves 2018-2019 Season Preview The Feels Edition

John and Jeff banter their way through current feelings with the coming season.  There are more questions than answers.  What are fans supposed to do?  Just call each other semi-regularly, record it and put it out as a podcast.  That’s our plan at least.