Tonight, I had to force myself to stop.
To put on a record.
To start cooking dinner.
It’s been years since I got so caught up in a project, in solving a problem, that I lost sleep and forgot to eat, yet here I am on a Sunday evening still riding the energy that somehow curved in on itself and echoed into perpetual acceleration despite physics saying that’s frankly impossible.
That energy really did ride the weekend, starting Friday when I used the last of my monthly bandwidth allotment to download the monthly data dump from discogs and suddenly had my hands on hundreds of gigabytes of album data.
Album names and genres and styles and release dates.
I didn’t end up with that data on accident. One doesn’t accidentally seek out the metadata for most of history’s recorded music.
Last week, I had a moment where I purchased a National album and then the morning after panicked that I might already own said album.
You see, years ago I fell out of the Rob Gordon habit of keeping meticulously arranged albums. Of displaying the audio works of others a totemic representation of my life and core values. And worse, since my divorce, buying records has been the one indulgence I’ve really allowed myself. So my record collection has grown in the nearly 6 months since I’ve moved to the Farm.
I didn’t accidentally purchase a record I already owned. In case you were worried.
But the mere fear that I did caused me to start working on a piece of software to track my record collection. Working last weekend and in the evenings after work, I got the basic app built pretty quickly.
The premise is simple, an app where users could track their record collections.
Of course, having spent more than a decade as a product manager, that part of my brain started adding “ands” pretty quickly.
- And records already in the system could be added with one click.
- And you could denote what records you wanted.
- And the app would suggest records.
Hence the database of recorded music. And the day and a half of data wrangling. But now I’ve got my record tracking app setup with a relational database and nearly 10 million records to load in there - a number that’s littered with duplicates.
It’s a whole slew of problems, and a ton of learning experiences - a combination that digs at my core and satisfies me at a level beyond eating. I lost sleep this weekend. I skipped my row this weekend because I was trying to figure out the best way to concatenate data.
I know the app that I’m building won’t be a hit. At best, it’ll be a playground for me to work on some machine learning algorithms. Maybe a few dozen other vinyl collectors will pick it up. But right now, on the Sunday night of a weekend spent finding problems and overcoming them, I’m 100% okay with that.
This is an app that I’m building for me, anyone else who gets a good use out of it is gravy.
I should probably eat now.