Brent Simmons on Social Media →

August 28, 2014 |

My blog’s older than Twitter and Facebook, and it will outlive them. It has seen Flickr explode and then fade. It’s seen Google Wave and Google Reader come and go, and it’ll still be here as Google Plus fades. When Medium and Tumblr are gone, my blog will be here. The things that will last on the internet are not owned. Plain old websites, blogs, RSS, irc, email.

I couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t matter how big a certain social platforms may be today, its long-term survival is far from certain. If you want your work to endure the test of time, you must publish it on your own platform.

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Josh Ginter reviews the TWSBI Diamond 580AL fountain pen →

August 27, 2014 |

Really great review, with outstanding photography as usual:

It’s been pointed out to me that fountain pens are one of the deepest, darkest rabbit holes you can venture into. Once you try a fountain pen there’s no going back.

Oh, there isn’t. Trust me on that. I first tried a fountain pen during my freshman year of college, and ballpoint pens were instantly and forever ruined for me.

There’s something special about a fountain pen. It’s a writing instrument, yes, but in my mind it’s so much more. It represents craftsmanship and precision. It is extremely unforgiving to bad writing habits, and it will force you to improve your handwriting in a way that’s hard to believe. When you use one, you feel centuries of tradition cheering you on. You become a serious writer, as if by magic.

It really is mightier that the sword.

Regarding the 580AL, I must say that, even though it’s clearly a high-quality pen, it’s not for me. Fountain pens live in a space reserved for tradition in my head, a place inhabited by names like Parker, Waterman and, of course, Mont Blanc. I also find the aesthetics of the 580AL to be quite distracting, and not in a positive way.

It looks too modern.

I do like its piston filling system, but I fear it may not very practical in every day use. It forces you to always carry an ink bottle in your bag, which is not ideal.

My pen of choice may not be as flashy but to me, it’s special. When I finished college, my father gave me a wonderful Waterman Perspective fountain pen. I love it. It is seriously classy and yet, understated, with a heft that instantly makes you realize you’re holding something substantial in your hand. That is exactly what a fountain pen should feel like: an object you can bond with.

About a year after I graduated, my backpack got stolen, and with it my Waterman. Even though it wasn’t even close to being the most expensive item in the backpack, I was crushed. And you know what my father did?

Yep, he bought another one for me, just like the one I had. Because that’s what dads do.

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Seesaws for giants →

August 27, 2014 |

Marcin Wichary:

Chicago is a city of bridges but, more importantly for that one weekend day in April 2011, Chicago is a city of movable bridges. Every spring, a few times a week, twenty-seven bridges open in sequence to allow the boats to get to the lake… and every fall that sequence is reversed.

Really cool story. Via Coudal Partners.

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Why Shooting Wide is Best for Street Photography →

August 26, 2014 |

In order to get what you usually want to capture in your final scene, chances are that you’re going to have to get close up and personal to your subject. Oftentimes, this means within a few feet. The longest focal length equivalent you should be using is 50mm; and in general 28mm or 35mm can be ideal. These lenses can put your viewer mostly in the experience and more or less mimic what the human eye sees. So all you’ll need to do is put the camera to your eye and shoot–then what you see is what you get.

Excellent advice. I love street photography and I’m trying to get better at it, but I often find it hard to get close enough to the subject to capture the image I want. For some reason, it feels like I’m invading their privacy, and that strikes me as disrespectful. This reluctancy to get close makes me tempted to go for longer focal lengths, so that I can capture my subjects without intruding.

However, if I give in to that shyness, my composition will suffer, and my images will ultimately be less compelling.

The only way out of this situation is to overcome my shyness and prove to myself that it really is ok to take a picture of someone in the street, and that I should not feel ashamed by it. This is something I need to persevere at if I want to become a better photographer, and it all starts by going out on the streets and taking the next picture. And the one after that.

With a wide-angle lens, of course.

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Conjecture Regarding Larger iPhone Displays →

August 26, 2014 |

John Gruber has published an amazingly in-depth analysis about the hypothetical display resolutions that could work well for the upcoming new iPhone models, which are rumored to sport bigger displays, at 4.7 and 5.5 inches.

Gruber’s logic is sound, and I agree with his conclusions. It all hinges on this:

But what they have never done, and I believe never will do, is redefine the virtual point to something other than 1/44th the recommended minimum tap target size for every device.

Tap target size has been a constant since the original iPhone, and with good reason. After all, your fingers haven’t gotten any smaller in the past 8 years, have they?

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