by Leon Rosenshein

Good Design

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I run a 3 monitor setup. And two of those monitors have speakers. The big Apple monitor has the best sound, so when I'm docked and no-one is around I use that for background music. When I'm not at my desk the system switches to the built-in speakers on my Mac. If I'm at my desk an in a meeting or there are folks around I use my USB headphones, and if I'm elsewhere I usually use a set of wireless headphones, but when they fail I fall back to a set of earbuds plugged in to the 1/8th inch headphone jack. Let's hear it for analog signals over copper. It might not be cool, but it _always_works. As complicated as that sounds, it mostly just works, so I don't have to think about it, except for the fact that different speakers have slightly different spectral and power responses. On the other hand, there's my computer's system volume, spotify has a volume, youtube has a volume, and with extensions you can even change the volume of individual chrome tabs. The combinatorial explosion of sound devices and volume controls. And to make matters worse, the [loudness wars]( have ensured that no two audio sources have the same base output level. The net of all this is that I'm often poking at overall volume or balancing sources. I know it's a first world problem, but the struggle is real. So every once in a while I look for a good volume control that can handle multiple sources automatically and give me something like a consistent output. The Windows Audio Mixer panel was a pretty good solution, but there's nothing like it built into MacOS. I still haven't found something I like yet, but I did stumble across something that made me appreciate just how good I've got it. Apparently over on reddit there's a thread where folks are trying to _improve_ the [volume_slider]( There are some really innovative options in there, but overall I think I'll stick with the slider I've got. But what's that got to do with development? Not Invented Here is more than the long form of a three letter acronym. Just because someone else came up with an idea/implementation doesn't mean you should build your own. There mightbe a very good reason to build your own, but check your biases and don't build a new version just because. Conversely, just because something is new and different doesn't mean it's better. it might very well be, and new things are worth a serious look, but don't chase the shiny new thing just because it's shiny and new. Just like those copper wired analog earbuds, there's value in "it just works". So make sure you're adding customer value with your decisions, because that's the real goal. But if you could use that geospatial volume control with some kind of monitoring so that you were able to control absolute output level, not just the gain on the input I might be tempted to use it.