Burst Mode: ROOPHLOCH 2019 entry

September 26, 2019 · 3 minute read

Posted in: gopher outdoor roophloch

I’m writing this blog outdoors, in accordance with the rules of Solderpunk’s ROOPHLOCH challenge. I’m also offline… there’s no Wifi here, and I have tethering turned off for my phone; I’ll turn it on for a minute when I’m done writing in order to publish it.

I’m sitting in a park or greenway that may or may not be closed to the public. This sign blocking the stairs to the boardwalk suggests that it is, but the corresponding wheelchair ramp isn’t blocked. There are more blockages further down the boardwalk, where parts of the boardwalk were damaged in the 2015 flood. From where I’m sitting I have a view of the underside of the Gervais Street Bridge. It’s warmer than I’d like it to be, about 90F on the 26th day of September, and I don’t know whether I blame global warming or just Columbia, SC. The gnats have found me, so this may be a shorter phlog entry than I intended.

Burst mode

For the past month I’ve been in “burst mode”, connecting to the Internet mainly in short bursts while on WiFi, to fetch material for reading and responding to offline. For the laptop, this includes fetching news with Leafnode, mail with offlineimap, and code via git. A big part of my motivation is trying to save mobile data. But another part is buying a device that strongly encourages burst mode.

At the beginning of the month, I bought a reconditioned Kobo Touch e-Ink e-book reader. I’d kind of been wanting an e-book reader for a while in order to condition myself to reading longer things without distraction. I finally was motivated to do it by starting Alan Moore’s 1300-page opus Jerusalem. It was slightly painful trying to read it on my phone, and while the public library has the book in print, I didn’t want to lug its whole weight around.

This experiment has, in some ways, been highly successful: I’m about 1000 pages into Jerusalem now, read Thich Nhat Hanh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ and have also been reading various web “long reads” on the e-book reader, where a piece of long journalism often comes out to around 25 pages.

One less successful bit is that I seem to be less prone to work on my side projects, even at home, because I’m mentally in a mode where I’m doing deep consumption – not the superficial, distracting kind of consumption that dominates on phones and tablets, but consumption, nonetheless.

Technical bits

At some point, I’m going to publish the path I went through to get my e-book reader how I wanted it in terms of workflow, or rather, how I got myself to where the reader wanted me. But that’s a story for another time.

For now, I’m tethering my laptop, downloading the images from my phone, and pushing this post to my git repository, where hugo will generate both a web page and a gopher document. I may, later, also publish it to gemini, though I will have to fix up links manually.


Thanks to solderpunk for the challenge. I would have done it sooner, but I was waiting for more autumnal weather. In the end, I decided it wasn’t going to come before the end of the month, and gave up.

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