Art and Design Resources and Reference

Anti-Subscription Software Catalog

Bookmarked Anti-Subscription Software Catalog (

This website is a catalogue of non-subscription, free, open-source, and one-time fee software — which can provide relief from monopolized and financialized platforms. Why? The subscription cost can rise at any time, implement region-based barriers, and use deceptive design interactions to entice with tiered features. Say no to creative rent! Just A-S-C instead.

“Say no to creative rent” — I like it.

I use the Affinity Suite for my personal creative work.

Music Technology

Review of Tidal after a year: hot garbage

In early 2022, I migrated from Spotify to Tidal for my streaming music service. I’ve given Tidal a full year trial, and I’ve had enough. Tidal is garbage music software, and I would not recommend it to anyone.

I’m not going to rehash all the problems I called out after three months of use (tl;dr it’s terrible for making playlists and it’s hard to manage your music library). Here, I’m focused on how non-functional Tidal is as music listening software and subscription service.

Getting Shit Done Personal Growth

The reckoning of the to-do list

Quoted Hundreds of Ways to Get S#!+ Done—and We Still Don’t by Clive Thompson (WIRED)

You want to be productive. Software wants to help. But even with a glut of tools claiming to make us all into taskmasters, we almost never master our tasks.

a to-do list is, ultimately, nothing more or less than an attempt to persuade yourself.

— Clive Thompson

I fit the description in this article: I’ve tried so many different systems and software — Toodledo, Trello (currently using), Sunsama (time blocking blended with to do list), kanban (currently using-ish), GTD, off the top of my head.

I think the author’s onto something with the idea that what we really need, rather than the perfect tracking system, is prioritization and realism about how much we can accomplish. I am getting better at separating my self worth from my productivity but I think that mindset is common in our society. This is what 4000 Weeks is getting at: that we must accept we cannot get it all done. That we must choose.

And if we leave the choosing to our daily selves we get caught up in urgency rather than importance. With that in mind I’ve started to book myself an hour a week at work for “big picture” strategic work. We’ll see how well that works!

Another key thing I’ve realized over the years is that in my life overall, energy and not time is the limiting factor. Remembering and making time to work on long term projects, and finding the activation energy of getting started are my main hurdles.


Porting from Spotify to Tidal

I hope I like Tidal because it’s been a lot of work to shift everything over (and I’m not done yet) 😂 The interface looks pretty similar to Spotify. So far the lag to start playing a song seems pretty slow.

I picked Tidal because it’s the same price as Spotify Premium, they pay the musicians better, and it scrobbles to Amazon Music doesn’t scrobble directly, though I did discover I have 850 songs in my Amazon Music library.

I followed along with Violet Blue’s guide and used TuneMyMusic, except that I decided I couldn’t follow through on only doing a thousand songs at a time, since I had 10,000 songs to transfer.

The first time I loaded it, it only loaded 200 playlists, then I sprung for the paid version and it found 400 playlists when I reloaded 🤷‍♀️ I decided to release the burden of my college era weekly playlists that I’ve saved but not listened to in fifteen years, so I unchecked enough to get down to 229 playlists.

According to Exportify, I have 618 playlists 🤔 The missing 200 are mostly old playlists and duplicates I created of local file versions so that I could sync to my ipod, but there are probably some I’ll want. I may try to run the full process again — maybe it finds 200 more playlists each time 🤔

36 of the playlists ported over empty 🤨 Not a super impressive track record. I am now manually doing those one at a time using the playlist URI.

It brought them over to Tidal starting from the top of my Spotify file sorting and working their way down. Most playlists were missing only one or two songs, with the most missing five or six. I spent probably two and half hours moving things around, sorting and QCing the playlists — typed up the missing tracks from each playlist in a Word doc to see if I want to buy the song or check whether it was just a mismatch. Still have probably 20 individual playlists to move over.

I remember when I started using Spotify that my main worry was that I’d be trapped there since they didn’t have a way to get your playlists out of their service 😠 Fortunately, the market’s come up with third-party apps to do it. Although, as apparent from my experience, they aren’t necessarily great 🙄

I’m cognizant I’m changing one walled garden for another, so I’ve got some more thinking to do on my best complete music system going forward…

Music Society The Internet

How to bail on Spotify

Bookmarked How to break up with Spotify by Violet Blue (

Here’s a handy privacy-forward guide to ditching Spotify after the company formalized its commitment to Team Pandemic.

We were just chatting about music services and tracking at this week’s Homebrew Website Club, and I shared my cynicism that Spotify purposefully makes the experience of listening to music you own hard and shitty. Add in my thinking about listening to albums more and Spotify’s doubling down on misinformation, and it sounds like I need to give my music setup some thought.

I have over 600 playlists, so I need a service that will import them as well as possible.

I also need something that scrobbles with

And I need something to manage my owned music library, which may be a second piece of software.

I have bought a lot of music through Amazon music over the years because they sold individual tracks DRM free, and they ‘give you’ digital copies of most physical albums you’ve bought. (Convenient since I don’t have a CD-ROM to rip CDs anymore.) So they may be a logical option.

I never expected Spotify to take Joe Rogan off the air — they have gone all in on podcasts and he’s their biggest bet — but I do feel like there should be some conversation about disinformation, and what a platform’s responsibility is to disallow misleading falsehoods during a pandemic (and also let’s talk about undermining democracy), and how that could even be practically feasible on an audio medium. Instead, Spotify said nothing about misinformation, not even the shitty line that they’re just a publisher and have no responsibility for amplifying a message of harm to 200 million subscribers.

We need to talk about it, and I know why they don’t want to, and I know they don’t want to take any responsibility, and I know they don’t want to get into the info verification game, but FFS, even Twitter and Facebook realized that some things are too dangerous to let go completely unchecked.


Status indicators and the nature of work

Replied to The Presence Prison by Jason Fried (

what does “available” and “away” really mean? Official definitions don’t matter, because here’s what they actually mean: “Available to be bothered” and “I’m running away and hiding because I can’t get any fucking work done around here.”

I really hate the status indicator. It’s a dumb system that guesses what I’m doing based on if my mouse is moving enough or my calendar says I’m booked. It’s a tool that doesn’t work for the style of work I do: largely unscheduled days I spend making things and making things happen, communicating primarily via email, and doing knowledge work that needs long blocks of uninterrupted time.

I especially hate away. I think of the description in Bird by Bird of what counts as writing – when she’s bouncing on her sitting ball looking out the window, it looks like she’s doing nothing. Only when she’s typing does it appear to be work. Yet the real writing happens as she’s sitting, thinking, looking out the window; the typing wouldn’t happen without the thinking part. (Scalzi too.) We only interpret the loggable, measurable action as work, when much of what we do and make would probably be improved by stepping back to think more before doing.

But the status indicator is dumb. It wants busy. Only production is fruitful.

And it’s true, process is important, and showing up is needed for forward progress… but the system isn’t smart enough to know when we’re doing something outside of the computer. Thinking, sketching, brainstorming, proofing, planning, making lists, taking calls… all things I do off the computer. Real work, made invisible by the dumb status light.

Activism Environment Future Building

Obsolete already

Replied to Google Is Forcing Me to Dump a Perfectly Good Phone by Aaron Gordon (

Three years ago, my Pixel 3 was the latest and greatest Google phone. Now, the company has stopped providing software updates, making it a security risk to use.

*screams into the void*

Google just loves to rub their “don’t be evil” origins into the dirt. Why couldn’t Microsoft have gotten into the phone business early enough to be competitive? 😭😭😭

In right to repair legislation we’re seeing requirements that parts continue to be available for a certain period of time… (Not that it’s passed yet as far as I recall but the idea’s there…fingers crossed for this legislative session!) Could we also have policies requiring that high end devices be maintained for a minimum number of years?

Getting Shit Done


Bookmarked A simpler way to organize your work – WorkFlowy (

If you have a crazy job or an ambitious project, we will be your trusty sidekick. WorkFlowy is a simpler way to stay organized.

Parts look like Trello which I’m already committed to using, but collapsing lists could be handy 🤔

Resources and Reference

Read your feed on Kindle

Bookmarked Kindle4RSS: RSS Feed Reader for Kindle (

The Enduring Sounds of Colonialism

Bookmarked Decolonizing Electronic Music Starts With Its Software by Tom Faber (Pitchfork)

With the release of two free programs that encourage experimentation with global tuning systems, the musician and researcher Khyam Allami is challenging the Western biases of music production software.

New software letting musicians create outside the Western musical tradition more easily 👍