Books

The Backyard Adventurer by Beau Miles

Beau Miles quickly became one of my favourite content creators over the past couple of years, one of those “drop everything, there’s a new video” type.

This book goes hand in hand with his YouTube channel and gives further insights into some of the things he’s done in videos. I highly recommend going through his channel and watching…well everything because it’s great…before reading it.

I read the book as there was no audio book at the time, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read it in his voice in my head. I’ve now purchased the audio book and plan on re-visiting it very soon!

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

I think by now everyone knows the story of Theranos but prior to reading this I had no idea who they were or what they did, boy was I in for a story!

I think I found this on Bill Gate’s reading list and from what I remember he called it a “page turner” and he absolutely was not wrong.

The audio book “Thicker Than Water” gets an honourable mention here too, it’s a great subsequent read from someone on the inside.

Honourable mentions

Apps

WorkOutdoors for the Apple Watch

If you have an Apple Watch and you’re looking for something more than just the built in Workouts app then this is a game changer.

For me it gets the most use with walking and running, but it can handle pretty much any activity under the sun. I especially love it for running as I can put my interval schedules in and I’ll just get a tap on the wrist or a ping in my AirPods (connected to the watch) when it’s time to move on to the next interval.

It’s about £5 so not cheap (funny how we’ve become contempt with dropping £400 on a watch or £1000 on a phone and then deem £5 for an app “expensive” 🙄) but it is absolutely worth every penny.

PlexAmp

I’ve spent the past few years re-building up my CD collection for various reasons, partly because there is something to owning your music in at least CD quality, partly because I built a 256GB iPod Video and a big factor has been some things randomly disappearing from streaming services.

In that same time I’ve also been looking for a way of playing everything, pointless having a collection if you can’t actually play it. This journey had reminded me just how bad iTunes had become over the last few years of it’s life, so that was out of the question. A few basic requirements of mine were; it needed to work cross-device and ideally I would like to manage the file structure of the music (i.e. not have the app doing it for me).

PlexAmp was the best solution by far, it meets both of the requirements and then some. A small catch is it requires a “Plex Pass” at £3/month but that’s absolutely worth it to support the development of Plex/PlexAmp. I’ve got a Plex server running on my old Mac Mini and all my Music is then stored on my Synology. I’ve got a funky (but working) way of getting music to my iPod and still having it work wit Last FM, which I’ll cover in another post at some point.

Music

Lifeforms by Angels and Airwaves

This is an easy one and it’s not even close. The last Angels and Airwaves album came out in 2014 so it’s safe to say this one was log awaited, but it absolutely did not disappoint.

A great mix of the classic AVA sound and with some modern twists. It’s tough, but I think “Losing my Mind” is my favourite….this week.

All being well, off to see them in March on tour, hyped!

Cry Forever by Amy Shark

Amy Shark nailed “the tricky second album” as this one is arguably even better than the first (which is fantastic).

C’MON features what might be Travis Barker’s most subdued drum track, but somehow it just works perfectly.

UK tour when?!

Honourable mentions

TV & Film

Honestly there’s not a whole lot this year that really stood out to me in the TV & Film category, obviously a lot of things have been on hold/delayed so it hardly comes as a surprise. I’ve recently enjoyed Hawkeye on Disney+, the Black Widow film was pretty good too but other than that, I can’t think of anything that really stood out to me.

General Magic (Documentary)

I actually think this came out before this year but anyway, I watched it this year and really enjoyed it. Offers a great insight into General Magic ad a really interesting look back at technology development at the time, so much of the stuff we take for granted today and where it came from/started.


Happy new year everyone and here’s to a better 2022 🤞