Off the edge
October 29, 2004
** Listen to this column
on your computer, iPod or other audio player **
via Coral | MP3
direct from WelchWrite.com
Anyone, no matter what
their age, can find themselves in the depths of a rut. It can start out
slowly. Going to the same restaurants, using the same software,
listening to the same music. The next thing you know, there you are, in
a rut. As I’m finding, getting older can make it even easier to
get into a rut. There are days when I simply don’t want to face
the trials and tribulations of daily life. I just want to do something
familiar. Of course, a few days later, I wake up feeling bored…and
boring…and not really knowing why. Even though I know the importance
of finding new challenges, new passions and new input, I have to actively
reach out and engage the world in order to find them.
Music to my ears
Imagine my rut-ridden joy when I discovered something new to engage my
attention this last week. Due to an odd set of circumstances, I found
myself with a week without much consulting work. As I headed into this
week, I was dreading it. How was I going to make productive use of this
In scanning my daily list of RSS feeds (yet another way I try to find
new, interesting tidbits), I came across iPodder.org. Adam Curry, a former
VJ and current DJ put together an AppleScript to automatically collect
MP3 files posted to the net, download them and push them into iTunes (and
then to the iPod). This immediately caught my attention. I don’t
have an iPod, but the new “shows” I discovered engaged me
They also gave me a way to randomly sample new music as it came across
the wire, much that I would have never sought out on my own. Wow! Here
was a whole new world opening up, with very little effort. I immediately
grabbed the software and began to closely follow the iPodder world, including
a group that quickly coalesced to expand development on the software side.
Up and running
Suddenly, I was energized. I didn’t want to go to bed at night and
couldn’t wait to get up in the morning. Here was this little piece
of the Internet that was making me excited about technology again. I was
looking to break the rut and PodCasting appeared to help. These good feelings
spread to other aspects of my life. I found a few more topic ideas for
this column, posted some good stuff on my weblog (http://welchwrite.com/blog/)
and had a great time at the free computer class I give at the library
Don’t discount how one small thing can wake you up and shake you
out of your rut, even in some small way. If you can reach out and find
one small toe-hold, it can help to raise you up. If you’re stuck
in a rut, you have to force yourself to look at one new web page, one
new piece of art, read one new magazine or listen to one new song, anything
to get your mind working again. When you’re languishing, you have
to keep listening for the knock of opportunity at the door.
While this discovery of PodCasting helped to get my thinking moving in
other ways, it also got me started on a project I’d thought about
for years, producing audio versions of my columns so that people could
listen to them on the bus, their bike or while doing their daily walk.
In the past, the technology just wasn’t there to support my idea.
Now, with PodCasting, I could see a reason to drag out the mic and mixing
console and get to work.
So, starting with my column of September 24, I’m producing a weekly
“show” of each new column, released each Friday when the magazine
is published. Additionally, I am releasing a column “from the archives”
each week. You can use the iPodder (http://ipodderX.com) software to download
the shows automatically as they’re released, or listen to the MP3
files directly from the web site. You can find links to each column, both
text and audio, at http://welchwrite.com/career.
You don’t need to start your own Internet radio show, but you do
need to find something new that engages you, each and every day. Don’t
let a rut keep you down. Even the smallest effort to find something new
can help you to break out and do some amazing things.
Some of the PodCasts I am listening to include, the Adam Curry’s
Daily Source Code (http://live.curry.com/),
the Evil Genius Chronicles with Dave Slusher (http://tinyurl.com/3ly5e),Reel
Reviews with Michael Gohagen (http://mwgblog.com/)
and the great computer-related content over at IT Conversations (http://www.itconversations.com/).
Available from CafePress.com