πŸ“· Sunset on Windy Hill

Seeing that the temperature in Portola Valley was breaking 80Β° today, I thought it would be fun to catch the sunset in my hammock from the top of Windy Hill.

πŸ“· Yearly podcast usage

I spend a large amount of time listening to podcasts. In the past, I suspected the amount of time was immense, but I never knew exactly what the number was. Now, thanks to the listening statistics in Pocket Casts I know exactly how much time I spend listening to podcasts.

I captured the image below on June 16, 2018, exactly 365 days after switching over to the Pocket Casts app:

Sixty seven days is 1,608 hours orΒ 96,480 minutes. If I did absolutely nothing except listen to podcasts 24 hours a day beginning on January 1st, I would have to keep my headphones on until March 18th to equal the amount of listening I do over the course of a year.

However, 67 days is not a truly accurate representation of the amount of podcasts I have listened to because I do not listen to most podcasts at their regular speed. Given that my subscription count stands at 249 podcasts, it is not humanly possible to listen in realtime to all of the content they produce. Instead, I listen to most podcasts at two times their realtime speed. Additionally, I use Pocket Casts features such as silence trimming and intro skipping to further increase the amount of podcasts I can consume. This means that in reality, I actually listen to well over 120 days worth of podcasts every year.

Time saved features in Pocket Casts

The piece of this situation that strikes me as remarkable is not my total listening time or the amount of time I save by speeding up audio. Rather, what I find remarkable is that every single second of every podcast is 100% completely free. I did not need to spend even a single penny to obtain any of the programming I listened to. Try to do that with television, movies, or even books. In most mediums, it is not possible to consume content for free. Yet, with podcasts I can stay up-to-date with current events, explore various facets of the designed world, study important events in history, gain understandings of viewpoints which are not my own, follow local stories about the SF Bay Area, listen to music from bands across the musical spectrum, and a whole lot more without opening my wallet.

🧠 TIL about wending and poring

Today I learned that a river does not wind its way through the countryside, it wends its way through the countryside. I also learned that a journalist does not pour over the historical records, they pore over the historical records.

It is remarkable how I can go through life with these misunderstandings when I learn a word or phrase through speech instead of through reading.

🀬 Spotify is absolutely terrible

Ever since Rdio went out of business, I have yearned for a music service that is easy and enjoyable to use. Apple Music is a joke when it comes to usability and Pandora does not offer a comparable on-demand music service. This leaves me with Spotify as my only option.

Sadly, Spotify is full of design issues. However, today I encountered a problem so severe that I am closing my Spotify subscription.

Spotify permits you to save only 10,000 songs to your music library.

I wish you could have seen the dismay and anger on my face when I learned this fact. I was ready to throw my laptop threw the window in front of me.

10,000 songs is nothing. That’s less than 1,000 albums. It would take me a mere 500 hours to listen to that entire library start to finish.

This is unbelievable. I pay $120 per year for this service and I cannot save more than 10,000 songs to my library. Don’t think for a second that Spotify needs to save these 10,000 songs in a unique location on their servers requiring gigabytes of data. No, Spotify merely saves a list of metadata which holds the names of songs I’ve added to my library. It’s the equivalent of a text file on my computer which lists the title and artist name for each song in my library. At most, my account uses a maximum of 100 megabytes on Spotify’s servers. In reality, the size is probably much closer to 10-20 megabytes. In this day and age, using 100 megabytes on someone’s server is like asking the person next to you to hold a piece of paper for a second.

Spotify, I was making do with your poorly designed service, but this limit is too much for me to bear. It was nice to know you.

🧠 TIL Arby’s employs more than the entire coal industry

Apparently this is old news, but today I learned that the entire coal industry employs fewer people (~76,000 in 2017) than Arby’s (~80,000 in 2017). As of today, August 26th, 2018, an additional 40 coal power plants have closed this year, further lowering coal industry employment numbers. As far as I’m aware, Arby’s continues to do good business.

Can you imagine if the employees of Arby’s had as much political influence as the coal industry currently does? The Trump administration would be bending over backwards to support the sale of Arby’s delicious meats.Β Instead of supporting coal, the country would gain much more by supporting teachers (~3.6 million), nurses (~2.9 million), or home care workers (elderly care).

The entire coal industry employs fewer people than Arby’s [The Washington Post]

Related to the factoid above, the Trump Administration recently released its proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan. This new plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy Proposal, is designed to significantly ease regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. If implemented, the EPA’s own calculations state that the change to regulations will lead to the premature deaths of up to 1,400 people and 48,000 new cases of asthma every year. Not total. Each and every year.

EPA analysis of its own new climate proposal: thousands of people will die [Vox]

I have never wanted to be involved in the coal industry, but it sure must feel nice to have the amount of support shown by the Trump administration