434 days and 20 hours

November 19, 2008 — 7 Comments

There’s a very simple explanation for my year-plus absence from etherfarm. This simple explanation has fifty-seven parts, the first three of which are described briefly below:

  • Work: In either of the last two years I’ve traveled more by air than the combined miles from my life prior. I work on a project which spans four countries and I manage a team with designers in three of them: California, Israel, and India. That’s a lot of time on the road (the wife likes to remind me it’s a little over 2 months of the year), so when I’m home, I really prefer spending time doing things other than being on the computer.
  • Ray: I can’t begin to describe how much I enjoy being a dad, and no small part of that is due to Ray himself. He’s at a pretty amazing age right now: his language synapses are on auto-fire and he has a curiosity about the world which I so wish I could bottle and consume as an anti-curmudgeon elixir. The kid has excess charm and can extract a smile from just about anything, including inanimate objects (e.g. myself after a work week from hell). Or semi-animate objects, such as this Dalek:
  • Everything Else: I gravitate towards people who immerse themselves in the rigor of being good at something which requires practice. In a “plug and play” world, the whole notion of practice seems quaint, outdated, and irrelevant. But not to me. I obsess. I strive for manual competence, a term whose origins and meaning I will describe in a future post.


    My current obsessions are photography and woodworking. In both, particularly in the last 2-3 years, I’ve eschewed automation wherever possible, instead developing hand skills and material knowledge which make me feel like I’m still relevant to the process. I’m not—or at least feel like I’m not—just holding up a photo-taking machine or shoving a board through a power tool. The results aren’t always spectacular, but with practice they improve. And with that improvement I very much feel a deeper, less mediated connection to the endeavor as a whole. But maybe I’ve just been in California too long.

There are other things, of course, which have resulted in a farm less tended. No shortage of people or obligations which claim time. No shortage of emergencies and non-emergencies at work and at home. No shortage of distractions and time-wasters. And of course there’s the perennial contemplation of whether or not whatever noise I contribute to this whole web thing has ever been worth it anyway.

For whatever reason, the last month or so has brought a small wave of “you haven’t updated your site in a long time…are you OK?” emails. So all this to say; don’t worry, I’m fine. In many respects, I’ve never been better, actually, and there’d be some sound logic in believing that fact and my absence from this site are not unrelated. That said, a certain etherfarm v5, baked from scratch, should be making an appearance in January.

Until then, catch up with me on the following packaged sites:

  • Flickr: Still find the UI incredibly frustrating, but I haven’t found a better or easier way to share and socialize photos.
  • <a href="http://www.facebook.com/people/Narayan-Nayar/766203153”Facebook: Recent experiment. Liking it so far. Need to tweak the signal-to-noise ratio though.
  • LinkedIn: You know, the uber-pimp site.

7 responses to 434 days and 20 hours

  1. As your arguments are so compelling your absence is forgiven.

    Seriously though, I can understand how, with so much real world going on, you have found no time for producing “noise” here. However, it’s great to see you posting again – even if it turns out to be another 435 days before you do so again.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your redesign even though my soul is screaming “why?”

  2. >># Flickr: Still find the UI incredibly frustrating, but I haven’t found a better or easier way to share and socialize photos.

    some of us use cooliris to browse flickr


  3. Here’s what *I* can’t believe.

    I used to follow your blog religiously, but when you stopped updating I deleted it from my bookmarks/feedreader.

    Just now I accidentally logged in to an old feedreader account…and I find out that you just posted for the first time in a year two days ago.

    It’s fate I tells ya!

  4. Does this mean I remove you from the dinosaurs in my feed reader?  Good to see some words and Ray is thriving.

  5. Etherfarm is still a class act among a horrendous stampede of urgency and novelty.  I wasn’t strong enough to resist that urgency, the need to for currency over an attempt, however failed, for sublimation.  I hope to call myself a recovering–temporleptic?–relatively soon.  I often reflect to Gail Armstrong’s ultimate post, which includes this gem:

    So I’m closing up shop to focus on endeavours of more delayed satisfaction, more careful crafting, more in line with where true passions lie.

    We’re all here, there’s no rush, and I see I’m not alone in that I’ve been checking back aperiodically to see if there’s anything new, but inadvertently sometimes find novelty in something old.  Like Paul Ford’s Ftrain, sort of.  The web could use a heavier dose of measure and aging.



  6. Thanks guys.

    Jonathan–why? I need to keep my non-corporate design skills up, for one. Work and life have been intense enough to not allow for extracurricular design activities. There are other reasons, of course (I’ve wanted to simplify etherfarm’s innards for a long time, make it an aggregator of sorts for my other meager stabs at an online presence, etc.).

    Paul–what can I say? Meant to be.

    Scott–I’m surprised etherfarm was classified as a dinosaur. It should have been something more akin to crude oil.

    Thanks for your comments, Daniel. I like that quote.

  7. Hi, Narayan,

    I’ve wanted to simplify etherfarm’s innards for a long time, make it an aggregator of sorts for my other meager stabs at an online presence….

    I completely understand the idea here, and had considered this myself (with a much smaller online footprint, though), but if you’re taking requests, even though I think I understand your reasoning, don’t.

    Everything here screams of precisely that which you mention above: “manual competence.” What is written here is written for here, and is not merely collected here.  There’s a difference.

    Alas, you’re not taking requests, nor should you; and I don’t doubt that such an aggregator would still carry the attention, not merely to detail but to nuance (again: there’s a difference) that characterizes etherfarm.  I fear that the aggregator site is one step down the slippery slope to perpetual link-dump and “I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a long time” posts.

Leave a Reply