Investing commercial products with personal meaning, building identity through brands

Bookmarked The Trend Report™: Memory Purchase by Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick (The Trend Report™)

On the objectification of memories and a new “it” product.

In a way, this “famous recipe” was sponsored content. It was a remixing of products. These memories, this story of hers, was a personalization of capitalism, building a lore and culture around something bought.

But where this becomes a bit concerning is when…all of your memories are wrapped up in products, in stuff, in things that came-from-the-store.

To be American, to be of the twenty-first century, is to have no heirlooms but to own so many physicalized empty calories.

The Internet

Memory and permanent records

Replied to Posting for posterity by terry nguyen (gen yeet)

Today, our brain is splintered across an array of devices, social accounts, and apps. What do we make of these growing archives? The natural human impulse, it seems, is to preserve this personal data at all costs.

As an owner of a mind garden / “second brain,” I think Nguyen is missing the other benefits beyond a searchable record, of making connections, pushing yourself to process what you’re saving, and expanding your thoughts over time (the way others do it 😉).

Re: memory, I do think sometimes of an article I read (and wish I’d saved on here) about the value of forgetting that the internet and lasting records have disrupted. I do find myself possessive of my files, especially my photos… a significant portion of which are plants and garden photos. I like taking the photos and posting the highlights on my blog, but do I really need the hundred other shots? Do I need the food photos of my brunches? Some records we make serve a temporary purpose, yet all our files are permanent unless we choose to delete them.

At work we have archiving standards for different types of work. Admin stuff that’s only useful in the same year, longer term admin stuff gets kept three years, projects ten years. Automatic archiving (deleting) feels shocking when you lose something and I highly disagree with the 90-day inbox policy being an inbox is my to do list gal, but there is some value in assigning temporal value to files, and following through on the removals.


Maybe we shouldn’t have gotten rid of our CDs

Liked Rob Sheffield on the Joys of the CD, Music’s Least-Glamorous Format by Rob Sheffield (Rolling Stone)

Compact discs never had the romance of vinyl or the convenience of MP3s. But they’re still the ideal format for getting lost inside your music collection.

I still have a CD player in my car so I hung onto my favorite 20-30 albums, and I somewhat regret getting rid of my collection. It wasn’t ever as big as my parent’s, but I had ~50-70 jazz CDs (donated to the local HS music department so hopefully someone’s still using them) plus probably a hundred albums. Some indie shit I probably couldn’t replace if I wanted (I like to think I’ve become slightly more thoughtful about what I give away in my wiser 30s 😂).

But to be fair, my listening has shifted a lot since college, so the music I listen to most I don’t have on CD, and I got rid of a bunch of albums that I had kinda outgrown, so maybe it’s not a bad thing. I’ve only bought one or two CDs a year for the past decade, indie bands I wanted to give some extra support (and listen in the car).

There’s something about having a tangible object that makes it easier to flip through your collection and pull out things you haven’t listened to in a while. Growing up I was obsessed with learning to recognize every song that came on, so I was constantly comparing against the back of the CD. I liked looking through the liner art, and had a great visual memory for what the cover of every album was. Now it’s hard for me to remember what artist performed what song – I think that physical object of the jewel case was an anchor point for my memory. I also listen to playlists primarily these days, and know only a single song (or handful) by any given artist.

(Related? Structures of Thought)

I think there’s a place for both CDs and playlists in a musical library – I’ve benefitted from both styles of listening. But I do miss my five disc changer from my youth… hooked up to massive speakers nearly 3′ tall in my living room so they could punch some damn volume 😂 (No idea if they were any good or not 🤷‍♀️)

I also think it’s worth remembering we got rid of our CDs for a reason… they do take up a lot of space and jewel cases are shit… but now we’ve spent time without them we can recognize what we’ve lost along with them.

I keep thinking about looking up a used CD player, maybe I’ll actually get around to it once day 🤷‍♀️😂 I’m curious how much I would listen to CDs if we upgraded the music system in our car and Bluetooth wasn’t an enormous pain – would I revert to mostly Spotify playlists on my phone? 🤔

Learning Society

Structures of Thought

Liked A World Ordered Only By Search by L. M. Sacasas (The Convivial Society)

In any case, the idea that is supposedly intuitive to anyone who remembers floppy disks is the directory structure model, or, put otherwise, “the hierarchical system of folders that modern computer operating systems use to arrange files.” In a recent article for The Verge, “File Not Found: A generation that grew up with Google is forcing professors to rethink their lesson plans,” Monica Chin explored anecdotal evidence suggesting that, by somewhere around 2017, some significant percentage of college students found this mental model altogether foreign.

The essay opens with a couple of stories from professors who, when they instructed their students to locate their files or to open a folder, were met with incomprehension, and then proceeds to explore some possible causes and consequences. So, for example, she writes, that “directory structure connotes physical placement — the idea that a file stored on a computer is located somewhere on that computer, in a specific and discrete location.” “That’s a concept,” she goes on to add,
that’s always felt obvious to Garland [one of the professor’s supplying the anecdotal evidence] but seems completely alien to her students. “I tend to think an item lives in a particular folder. It lives in one place, and I have to go to that folder to find it,’ Garland says. ‘They see it like one bucket, and everything’s in the bucket.”

Really interesting contrast in how we organize and conceive of structure. I’m just old enough to be fully ingrained in the idea of folders, and find the formlessness of cloud documents and the endless feed frustrating. I want information to be split into discrete chunks, for there to be ending points and divisions – as he compares to the historic breakthrough in structuring information in ways that are possible to reference as parts of a whole with chapter headings, paragraph divisions, and page numbers. He then calls out memory palaces as a way of chunking our own memory, which hadn’t occurred to me before. Even on this digital garden I try to sort things into separate buckets using categories and tags – though the digital can offer the best of both worlds: categorization and search.

Mental categories tend to be grounded in embodied experiences in a material world… Consequently, technological change not only transforms the texture of everyday life, it also alters the architecture and furniture of our mental spaces.

How has the digital environment transformed not only how we encounter the word, but our experience of the world itself?

I’d say at this juncture that we are reeling under the burdens of externalized memory. Hugh’s students labored to construct elaborate interior structures to order their memories and enjoy ready access to all the knowledge they accumulated. And these imagined structures were built so as to mirror the order of knowledge. We do not strive to interiorize knowledge. We build external rather than internal archives.

There comes a point when our capacity to store information outpaces our ability to actively organize it

Is search the inevitable conclusion to the quantity of information we now encounter?


Exercise > Memory

Bookmarked How To Remember What Really Matters by Mike Sowden (Everything Is Amazing)

Life Lessons From A Chess Grandmaster

Exercise helps you learn and remember things better.

We learn with our entire central nervous system, for which the brain works as a kind of data processing centre.

Apparently curiosity does the trick too.

“Based on everything we know about the brain, two of the things that are really good for it are physical activity and novelty. A thing that’s very bad for it is chronic and perpetual stress.”
Late-Stage Pandemic Is Messing With Your Brain – Ellen Cushing, The Atlantic