I was going to skip the morning pages today as I was tired but caught myself and thought "No!" I need to show up, need to keep the discipline. I can't keep allowing myself to let things slip just because it's hard or inconvenient or I don't feel like it.

One day at a time...

Writing that sentence yesterday had a double meaning. It was to reflect that I had switched the blog's home page to the more ephemeral Daily View (although I may need to tweak the logic a bit more.) It was also about literally taking one day at a time to get through all of this (external and internal), to keep going and not give in to the doubt and frustration.

One day at a time...

That's all you can do. You can't live tomorrow until it comes and yesterday has already gone and cannot be lived again.

Today is all that we can do, today is all that we have. We can look back with contentment or regret but it doesn't change anything. We can plan ahead but there is no guarantee those plans will come to fruition.

There is only now.

One day at a time...

And that's enough.


"That's the nice thing about the present. It keeps showing up to give you a second chance."

From Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday.

26/05/2020, 18:05

Just as for the past nine weeks, I'm sitting at the dining room table in front of my work laptop. Today, however, I'm wishing I could just close it and walk away and never have to open it again.

But what then?

Even if I did have the luxury of saying "that's enough" what would come next?

Maybe it's because we've come off the back of a long weekend and I always feel worse returning after extra time off, no matter how little extra that may be. Still, it illustrates just how little my job means to me: it's only a meal ticket.

I need to start doing something with my life that is fulfilling, something worthwhile.

But what?

That's a question I seem to ask myself a lot.

I want to write more. But what?

I want a new job, something that feels like it makes a difference while still paying the bills. But what?

The problem is I've never known, at least not beyond sweeping vagueries. I need something that helps define me, something that speaks to who I truly am - not just "blogger".

But what?


I cancelled the Calm subscription that came as an extra with my phone contract so it won't renew after expiring on 12th June.

It was used daily at the beginning to go through the "how to meditate" series (which was actually pretty good) but, after that, felt the guided meditations didn't really give me too much. The goal was always to use Calm as a route back in, to help re-establish my practice but I wasn't sure if it would be a good fit permanently.

Turns out it wasn't.

I've got a couple of options with respect to timers, not to mention the 2 minute guided breathing offered by the watch, so I'm in good stead.


I've been toying with the idea of setting the blog's default page to the Daily View so that you explicitly have to switch to view historical content - the next level of ephemerality.

It would mean re-working the logic behind creating the cookie.

That reminds me of the joke in Red Dwarf:

Rimmer - "Step up to red alert."

Kryten - "Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb."

Too much?


Watch battery check:

9:36 am - 100%

3:50 pm - 78%

9:15 pm - 58%

Even after mucking about with ADB over Bluetooth and doing a couple of installs I still had 42% left at 10:30 pm.

Not bad.

I'll test different settings tomorrow starting with the always on screen/ambient mode.


"Learning is the difficult work of experiencing incompetence on our way to mastery" - Seth Godin

I feel like I'm doing an awful lot of learning.

As Seth writes "learning opens the door to identity". If we choose to do things, if we become personally invested through choice and not because we are forced, it becomes who we are.

I go to work to pay the bills because society says I should, but that's not me, that's not who I am, it's what I do - a means to and end.

I choose to turn up here on the blog, to write, to share thoughts and ideas, even if it's from a position of incompetence because each time I do it, each time I hit that publish button, I'm potentially getting better, I'm building something that leads towards mastery.

And it's not specifically the mastery of writing or of being the best blogger (I'll never be a Shakespeare or Hemingway or even a Godin) but a mastery of myself and truly establishing my identity, mastery of my own thoughts and ideas and how to share them in the most coherent way.

That's why I'm on this journey.


It's way too early to give any meaningful feedback on the Skagen watch but I can give a few first impressions:

  • Sleek. I was right, it's a very simple and stylish design that doesn't try too hard to be anything it's not.
  • Easy to use. Wear OS is pretty intuitive and the rotating crown is very nice to avoid on-screen scrolling with your finger all the time.
  • Time. No, not that it tells the time (it's a watch after all) but that it will take some time to find the perfect setup, the balance of functions vs battery life, the apps that suit me and how I'll use it.

Yesterday, as far as the watch was concerned, was primarily taken up with installing and uninstalling apps and different watch faces (I've settled on A/D Watchface for now), and tweaking the custom battery profile. Obviously all that hands-on time and activity meant draining the battery pretty quickly so I'll have to give it a few days to get a proper idea of how long that's going to last on an average day. I can then start looking at which features (persistent heart rate monitoring, always on screen/tilt to wake/NFC/OK Google monitoring, etc.) have the most impact.

One nice feature in the Wear OS version of the Play Store is the list of apps installed on your phone making it nice and easy to install their watch component rather than having to fiddle around with a search.

I tested the sleep tracking app Sleep As Android overnight (it has a 14 day free trial) which entailed putting the watch on charge before going to bed to ensure it had enough juice to get through wearing it all night with sensors blazing. The built-in 'Extended' power profile turns Bluetooth off between 10pm and 6am to save battery so I had to manually re-enable this for the app to connect to its counterpart on my phone. Tracking my sleep (or lack of it for the first hour in bed) for around 8 hours used about 30% battery which I didn't think was too bad at all.

The watch charges nice and fast so it's okay to then charge it back up whilst getting ready in the morning.


Liked: Enthusiasts and nerds and hobbyists - Rebecca Toh...

"The most beautiful thing about a blog is that most of us don’t write blogs to become famous or make money. We write blogs simply because we are enthusiasts and nerds and hobbyists, and our little home in this vague corner of the internet is where we go to be, in a sense, fully ourselves, a safe place where we can go full nerd with a community of fellow nerds in tow."

I'm noticing a distinct meta-blogging theme in the ether.


Om Malik linked to a post by TTTThis called "If I could bring one thing back to the internet it would be blogs".

From my perspective what the post actually highlights is not issues with blogs themselves but with discovery and platforms.

There are absolutely blogs out there, lots of them, doing their own thing, not terribly visible, not being SEO'd and hunting for traffic, just labours of love, someone spending time with their thoughts and publishing them on the web. It's true, it's hard to find a lot of them - even if you know where to look - because people don't always advertise them in any meaningful way, don't link to them, maybe don't even talk about them on their social channels (if they use social channels at all).

They just write and that's it, that's enough for them, that's all they need, they don't even really care if anyone sees it.

But some people like to read, like to immerse themselves in these visions from other worlds, other lives, other minds.

Following on from Chris' comments yesterday, the author describe blogs as:

"...something you can sit down and read and get really into to the point you forget where you even are, and think about how you want to try those things maybe in your life, or just enjoy their writing, and you can read deeper into them into past blog posts, and tune back in later and see what they've posted since the last things you read about them."

Instead of big names or corporate blogs SEO'd to within an inch of their lives "what you really want is 10,000 unsuccessful blogs", the lives and thoughts of real, normal people writing about what they love and enjoy.

Still, there is often a disconnect between the blog and the reader but is it something that always needs to be fixed?

Probably not.

How do you fix it even if the answer is yes?

It seems that you can, at least in part, rely on interaction. The comments of the above post include a reference to #100DaysToOffload - an idea by Kev Quirk to "challenge people to publish 100 posts on their personal blog in a year."

"Posts don’t need to be long-form, deep, meaningful, or even that well written. If there are spelling and grammar mistakes, or even if there’s no real point to the post, so what? What’s important is that you’re writing about the things you want to write about."

There's even a blogroll, RSS feed, and a river of posts to make it easy for us.


"When I read a blog, I want to get sucked down a rabbit hole. I want to dig deeper and deeper into someone’s thoughts and ideas about stuff they’re passionate about and how it can inform my direction too. I want to click on links, both on their own blog and elsewhere on the web, and I want this trail of thought to open up my mind in the same way that the internet first did for so many of us 25 years ago. And I want them to churn out more and more articles so I can come back day after day to get regular doses of the same insight that they first inspired me with."

Those are the words of Chris Foley over at Foley Music and Arts who lists 20 blogs he reads in 2020.

I can completely identify with the sentiment in that statement. It's why I read blogs, it's why I blog. I love to get behind the words, get an idea of the person behind the screen and someone's blog can be the most effective way of doing that.

With that being said, I am humbled and flattered that Chris has included me among that number alongside some familiar names and others I have yet to discover - I will be taking the time to dig through those I am not yet acquainted with.

Thanks Chris, I'll try to make it worth the visits.


That underused space on my wristComments

It's funny how opinions change over time like from considering myself stuck with Android using the Mate 20 Pro (when I was unable to upgrade to an iPhone 11 Pro) to embracing it and then buying the Samsung.

I don't miss an iPhone per se, maybe just some of the software design aesthetics compared to Android's Material design language.

What I do miss, however, is the Apple Watch or, at least, wearing a competent smartwatch. Again, this required a change of opinion as I had fallen out of love with it whilst ill and needed a shift in approach before I got to grips with it once more, including changing the watch face. As soon as the Watch was part of my daily routine again I found it became almost indispensable, it was just a shame it was a Series 0 (the original model) so stopped receiving Watch OS updates and was getting a bit slow. These issues helped me rationlise giving it up 2½ years ago, plus the fact that it was borrowed from work - not that there was an issue with me continuing to use it.

In the interim I've tried some cheaper bands and watches running their own proprietary operating systems but they were too limited, too unwieldy or clunky.

And now...

After getting the Samsung phone I began considering my options including whether a Galaxy Watch might be a good option considering the tight tie-in with the Galaxy phone. Samsung's offering does look like a viable solution but, for my own purposes, the limitations on specific third party apps (read Google) meant that it was a non-starter.

I had heard mixed noises about Wear OS devices including complaints about performance and battery life. The latter appears to be primarily down to Qualcomm's chipsets and the former a combination of this and manufacturers providing inadequate specs. There's not much you can do about the chipset apart from ensuring you choose a watch using the latest (sadly some manufacturers are still refusing to include this on new watches) but upping the amount of RAM onboard and providing additional battery mode customisations seem to be making a difference.

Being an older model I was used to charging the Apple Watch each day so doing this doesn't bother me although I may arrange a charging routine that allows me to use it overnight for sleep monitoring.

The Fossil Group, which includes brands like Skagen and Misfit, seems to be leading the way here so that's where I started looking.

Initially, I was looking at the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle as its traditional, sleek looks appealed to me. All reviews seemed to be very favourable except one that mentioned a slight lip/gap between the screen and surrounding bezel which can become a dust trap - videos of this didn't look good. Off-putting.

With the Fossil Group being an umbrella for other smartwatch brands, and the internals of the Gen 5 acting as a base for other models, I knew I had other options.

I've been trying to reduce my impulsiveness (with varying degrees of success) so, after some research and deliberation, I've chosen the Skagen Falster 3 - essentially the same as the Gen 5 insides but housed in an even sleeker, more minimal case. Very stylish.

I'm not that concerned with fitness monitoring beyond steps and heart rate, and will be using it more for notifications, Google Assistant, Maps and Google Pay. I will also be looking for apps like meditation timers so that I can manage this directly from the watch.

It should arrive some time in the next 3-5 days (hopefully nearer the startof that window) and I cant wait to get started with it.

That underused space on my wrist

The friend who had a heart attack and operation last week had another episode on Monday and went back to hospital. Because of his condition he was given a test for coronavirus, and has been confirmed as positive.

It doesn't rain...

Fortunately, so far, he is asymptomatic so we hope he stays that way and can just concentrate on recovering from the heart problems without the added complications the virus would bring.

Colin Walker
Colophon. Content: CC NY-BC 2.0 UK, Code: GPLv3