November 25, 2020

Ted Lasso on Apple TV+

 It isn’t really a secret anymore, but Ted Lasso is a great show. I am going to add my recommendation for this show. It seemingly came out of nowhere on Apple TV+. I haven’t watched many shows on Apple TV+ during my free trial, but Ted Lasso made me happy I had it and was able to experience the first season. 

Ted Lasso is a show about an American football coach who goes over to Europe to coach football in the premier league. Even though the entire premise of the show is based around “sport”… there is very little actual football happening in the series. Don’t let that scare you away. It is mostly a comedy about the relationships. 

I like that the show is not cynical. Ted Lasso is genuine and constantly cheery. This could have been annoying, but it was executed extremely well. It wasn’t his constant positivity that saved the day. It was his honesty and care for others. It was very funny and yet didn’t feel the need to punch down or make fun of characters like so many other shows. It felt refreshing.

I am happy to hear that Apple has renewed Ted Lasso for at least 2 more seasons. I think it has turned out to be one of the most popular series on the new streaming service, and it is just what they needed to get people to try it out. I am sure the budget for Ted Lasso was tiny compared to many of their other shows. I hope it doesn’t get ruined in series 2. 

If you have a way to watch Apple TV+ I would *highly* recommend Ted Lasso. There are only 10 episodes that are 30 minutes long each. It is an easy watch. I plan to watch season 1 again, it is that good!

November 23, 2020

Quote Database

I am a collector of quotes. Over the years I haven’t had a centralized place to put them. I’d paste them into whatever note-taking app I happened to be using at the time. I tried to centralize everything into Quotebook years ago, but that didn’t work either.

I find myself in a situation where when I find an interesting quote I have no idea where to put it. I have quotes scattered in sever different places and I don’t usually even remember where I decided to save my quotes to. I definitely have some entries in my Day One journal tagged as quotes. I have a single note in my work OneNote with a list of quotes. I have a physical Baron Fig notebook with a bunch of quotes I have written out. I am sure there are several quotes scattered around my old Evernote.

In the last few months I have started using Notion. I have a great book tracking workflow that I have been using. I am thinking that Notion could be a great place for a quote database. I have also started using Obsidian to collect ideas and inspiration. This could also be a great place to keep my favorite quotes.

My next step is to research workflows for saving quotes in either Notion or Obsidian. I am sure somebody has published something online for each of them. I will see what they look like and steal whichever one seems to make the most sense for me. I am sure I will also continue to write down quotes in my notebook.

November 19, 2020

Apple Mac - Mic Level Automatically Changing

When home, I work from a 2015 MacBook Pro using a Rode NT-USB Mini USB Mini mic on this stand, with some Sony MDR-V6 headphones. This is probably a bit overkill for Microsoft Teams meetings, but I lean into the absurdity of it. I like being on video with a fuzzy mic right in front of me.

The actual reason I have a mic is to record “interviews” with my two daughters. This is something I have done since they could talk.

I noticed early on when working from my Mac that the mic seemed to behave differently when I was on Teams calls. Sometimes the mic level would go down to zero and nobody could hear me, but more often the mic level would jump to maximum and all background noise was extremely amplified.

I started paying more attention to the audio input setting on my Mac. I could actually see the input levels jump around on their own, but had no idea why. I just dealt with it for weeks. It was workable, but I had to make sure there was absolutely no background noise if I wanted to use my mic.

Then I started recording a podcast with my friend. In our first recording I could really tell that my mic level was way too high. I sounded terrible. This led me to start googling the internet to see if I could find anybody else with similar issues.

Right out of the gate I found this article by Dan Moren… The mystery of OS X’s haunted input volume slider – Six Colors. This describes my problem exactly. He seems to pin down that it is app specific. For me, it seemed to be happening on multiple apps… well at least Microsoft Teams and Google Chrome. I use Audacity to record locally sometimes. That app wasn’t having any issues at all. I am able to adjust my mic level in the app and it is maintained correctly.

I continued my search. I read on a random thread that creating an aggregate device seemed to help with the issue. This process was easy to do, but difficult to understand exactly what was going on. The behavior of my aggregate device seems odd. I don’t have the ability to set the input levels at all. It is like it isn’t even recognized as a mic. I played around with every thing I could think of in the interface and ended up going back to just creating a duplicate of my Røde mic with no other devices included in the aggregation.

This appears to have done the trick for Teams. Every time a meeting starts I get a warning that says my mic volume is low, but it works and everybody says they can hear me just fine. I also don’t notice background noise nearly as much in my headphones.  When I start speaking my voice isn’t so lound loud and harsh like it was before. [1]

My next step is to do a test recording in our podcast software in Chrome to see how it sounds. I am hopeful that it resolves the issue there as well. It is still frustrating that I am not sure what is going on and why it happens, but I will just be happy to have it over with.

  1. Typically my voice would start out loud and harsh in my headphones, but them immediately go down to a “normal” level.  ↩