A DDO Realized (An experiment in virtual abstinence)

Hello Readers…

I hope all is well with you. and that your Memorial Day will be or was spent, to some extent, doing what the holiday was created for – in memory of the men and women in our armed forces. Those that are currently serving and have served for us in all capacities.

Well, it came to fruition this weekend, an experiment I’d been wanting to conduct for about a month now. Yes, the DDO (dedicated day offline) happened yesterday. There are a few of you that I had mentioned this concept to in the last month. I had two particular conversations with Deb Lee, @dallisonlee, professional organizer, on this topic (some of you may know I’ve been a contributing author to her Organize To Revitalize blog on the subject of my adventures in time management and the technology that can aid it). I initially called it a “Digital Day Off”, but thought the term was too broad, broad enough that it would have to included most, if not all, things digital (video games (though I’m not a gamer)), the use of mobile phones, HDTV, etc). My reason for conducting this exercise of “virtual abstinence” was to assess the amount of time I do spend online and how much of it, spent doing certain activities (largely related to social networking), is actually robbing me of time better spent reaching goals. Interestingly enough, the day I had the conversation with Deb, this article appeared in The Post.

My first foray into social networking came back in 2000 via membership to Blackplanet. I actually joined by way of helping a coworker design her site page. I was then that I began to learn the basics of website design (within the HTML code constraints for what Blackplanet would allow). After getting a taste of social networking there, it was basically onto Myspace and Yahoo 360, Vox, blogging from my own website, various IM clients (AIM, Yahoo IM, MSN Messenger), then Twitter, and finally FB (the latter I’ve since left about two weekends ago). Along with the social networking, I always used the net for two basic things – work, and as a learning tool for basically five areas of interest – music production, technology, photography, financial literacy, and web design. Let’s now add the mobile web, and there you have it, a communications medium, now in the palm of your hand, deeply woven into the course of our everyday lives. A communications medium, whose benefits (as well as its negative aspects) range far and wide Looking over the last 10 years of being a regular passenger on the information highway, but growing up through college my first two years of college WITHOUT the internet (fancy that, huh?), I began to remember what life was like without it, and how I spent my time without it. While I can only speak for myself, my assessment was that more time was wasted on the info highway than not. This assessment caused me to purposely conduct the experiment during a normal day – not a day or timeframe where I would be away from the net for whatever reasons (vacation, family visits, etc), but during a time where it was always a mouse click (or similar) away. It created a great challenge in overcoming the temptation to connect. As inferred above, it was done as a matter of habit assessment more than anything else, but the correlation to time management is there. In looking back on my regular online activities, I saw that I could have altered them to achieve what always seems more impossible than not (with my busy schedule) – knocking tasks off my to-do list. Was a DDO really necessary to make this assessment of time management? No, I could have just decided to allot only a certain amount of time online of every aspect of my online daily routines (which probably could have been easier).

The outcome of the experiment allowed me to use a good part of my regular online time time to improve my financial budgeting/investment literacy and revamp a financial improvement SPD (systematic plan of development) for savings, investing, debt reduction and retirement . I also got a great nap in during the early hours of the afternoon ;-). In retrospect, it made assess the extent of my habitual behavior and constant temptation to be “connected”. I won’t say that all possess it to an extent (my wife is a good example of one who spends very little time on the internet – but get rid of the TVs in the house and …never mind…you see the point I am generally illustrating – 🙂 ).

Now that I’ve taken my first DDO, purposely, I feel it’ll be something that I’ll regularly do, maybe more than just once a week. Curbing time daily spent online is, of course, something to throw into the mix as well, but it wasn’t until today that I really see how a forced day off (for me) is beneficial. The time is currently 11:44 EST, and this DDO will officially be over in less than 16 mins, but I’ve learned some valuable things on a personal level. That’s always a good thing. Back to the SPD. Forget the government, I want to create a stimulus package for my own economic situation.


Welcome To The Sunday Soundtrack (recast)

Greetings Listeners…

Yes, it’s been two months since the last SSP, and a good friend who recently had a minor coughing fit (hahah), pinged me about the lack of podcasts. Ironically, I went from weekly to monthly in order to produce better quality podcasts, but in retrospect, let the supposed free time get occupied otherwise. For that I apologize for I truly miss bringing you the new tracks.

After a very productive meaning this afternoon with my business/recording partner/longg time friend, we’ve gotten our final CD project schedule completed. That being said, I can get back to my hoped for weekly production schedule for the monthly podcasts. I have tons of new tracks ready, but for today, I bring you a recast. I hope u enjoy now, as u enjoyed it then. It’s my true intention to begin working this back into my schedule, starting tonite.

More soon…


Why minidisc? (….in 2010)

Jazzy chilled beats - MD

Greetings readers….

For those who have been following my posts here, as well as on Twitter, you know that I’ve been ,along with another friend, on the minidisc technology topic for some time now – reasoning pretty much alludes to a recent post of mine here. Recently, a good friend of mine and mutual friend of the other, posted this question. While I referred him back to the post I wrote, I thought I’d further expand on why I hold on to the technology.

1. HIGH QUALITY SOUND – Copies from SACD / DVD-A, VINYL ALBUMS and CDs sound so much better than mp3 compressed sounds. While I am not an audiophile by any great length, I’ve heard the difference and definitely believe this to be true. I’ve recorded live rehearsals and concerts over the air (meaning via a mic) straight to MD and have even achieved true stereo recordings (especially of band rehearsals) to MD…with crystal clear sound. Sony has added support for CD Audio quality recording and playback on the latest HI-MD recorders. This gives you that capability to have 1.4 hours of uncompressed PCM CD quality recording on your little HI-MD MiniDisc unit. Again ATRAC3+ at high bit rates can yield even better sound in my opinion because it uses a 20 bit engine even though it compresses the sound. Good thing is you have a choice of now being able to record with CD quality and not having to convert it if you want to make a regular CD .[COUNTERPOINT} – Yes, there are many digital recorders out (Zoom H4n, for one) that use standard removable media to store audio, record in stereo with built in mics, and can dump the audio to your computer via USB (without the care of proprietary designs), but for me…I don’t need to purchase one because of the MD units I own. You can download music to the from iTunes or import .m4a, .wav, mp3 files, yes, but not without a computer with iTunes loaded.

2. CONVENIENCE – Grab a few discs and go for the day. With the amount of music u can load to an 80 min disc alone (I just put 28 songs on one disc), that’s more music than you;d probably listen to in a day Discs are smaller than CDs and hold more. {COUNTERPOINT} – I’ve iPods since the original 5GB model costing almost $300. Today all iPods hold thousands of songs, which gives you the convenience of taking your whole collection everywhere you go, to listen to anyway you’d like. Should you come across some music you’d like to add to your collection that may be hard to come by, without connection to iTunes (library or online), you’re out of luck (unless you have an iPod Touch 2G or iPhone that you can record that music live as it’s played back from another unit – but then we’re back to sound quality).

3. FULLY EDITABLE DISK’s – you can add, delete, move, cut, join, and re-label MiniDisc’s up to 1,000,000 million times. NICE… [COUNTERPOINT] – Yes, this can be done with an iPod…but again, not without iTunes.

4. PROTECTIVE SHELL – All MiniDisc’s are protected by a plastic shell which stops dust, fingerprints and scratches from hurting your precious music and data. [COUNTERPOINT] – Deal with mp3s only and you back them up to your hard drive? No need to consider a protective shell, only concern is if your hard drive crashes and your music is not archived to CD.

5. MP3 PLAYBACK – With the latest generation of HI-MD players from Sony you can now playback regular MP3 files. Sony added support for native MP3 Playback on the newest HI-MD portable units. AAC (ITunes files) and WMA – windows media files would have been even better for great compatibility Having native MP3 support does allow you to quickly copy those MP3’s onto a 1 gig MiniDisc. Very nice. Fan of album art? If you happen to own the Sony MZ-DH10P, it will even show you the album artwork on the mp3.

6. TACTILITY – Here’s more of an odd reason why I like using MD technology. I like the tactile and sensory aspect of using a MD units, being portable or a deck. I like the sound of opening the unit, popping a disc in, and closing it. Yeah, the MD unit has moving parts (unlike an iPod), but I’ve owned many and only had a problem with one (which was old and purchased used).

7. A friend, Darrenkeith, recently said minidiscs are like having “mini-LPs”. Should you chose to do so, you can make great covers for your disc jewel cases and nice labels for the MDs themselves. Again, kind of a tactile thing that collectors of CDs, LPs, cassettes could more relate to then those who pretty much deal solely with mp3s, etc. Labels and covers that are striking, take a look at some of Jay Tilson’s work.

Anyway, there are 7 complete (7 IS a number of completeness) reasons why I like the MD technology. Love my iPod Classic too, but they both live in coexistence pretty nicely…. Would I steer a newcomer to portable music towards a MD player today? If it was to be their only medium to play music, honestly probably not, but as a unit to use with their current portable player of choice, I’d tout the same merits as I have above.

For some active discussion on MD technology and users who still are into it, check out this article


Note: quoted items are excerpts and shared thoughts of Paul DeMara ofThe Minidisc Collector Homepage