Matt Gemmell says farewell to Xcode →

January 19, 2014 |

Wow. 2014 is shaping up to be a year of change for many people, including myself. Congratulations Matt, and best of luck. I can’t wait to read more from you.

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Storehouse: visual storytelling →

January 17, 2014 |

Great new iPad app to share your photos and videos in an attractive, easy to navigate way. John Gruber explains it:

Storehouse is two things: (1) a creative tool for collecting photos and videos into elegant stories, where a “story” is a single scrolling page; and (2) a hosting service for all published stories. So you use Storehouse both to create your own stories, and also to view/read the stories published by everyone else. Drafts are stored locally on your iPad; once published, all stories are public. You can follow individual users, a la social apps like Twitter and Instagram.

I just downloaded it and it is indeed gorgeous. A perfect way to share photos and videos of your trips with family and friends. Absolutely recommended.

UPDATE: The only thing I’m not liking so far is the need for your photos and videos to be on your iPad in order to use them. This is obvious since this is an iPad-only app, but I suspect most people don’t use their iPads as their main cameras (although the trend seems to be emerging).

Personally, I take most of my pics and videos with my iPhone, due to its superior camera and the convenience factor: it is always in my pocket and ready to use. I also don’t use Shared Photostreams on my iPad because it seems redundant; I prefer to keep my pics on my iPhone (and possibly my Mac), and use the limited storage capacity of my iPad for other media content, like movies and TV shows.

That means in order to use Storehouse I need to previously upload my photos to a 3rd-party service (like Dropbox or Flickr), or use Shared Photostreams on my iPad. Either way, it feels like a waste of time and/or space on my device. I suppose the only way to overcome this would be to release an iPhone version of the app and/or an iPhone-friendly Web client. However, neither of those is easy to implement because the larger display of the iPad is essential in making the editing/uploading process attractive and usable. It is a tough design challenge, for sure.

Anyway, this is admittedly a minor issue that applies mostly to my personal preference and usage pattern; if you don’t mind using Shared Photostreams or you already keep your photos and videos on your iPad, Storehouse is definitely a winner.

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Systematic #79: Marco Arment →

January 16, 2014 |

Great episode of Brett Terpstra’s podcast over at 5by5. In this episode he is joined by Marco Arment and they talk about how they transitioned from side-gigs to becoming self-employed full-time. This is something I’m giving much thought to lately, and I found their take to be incredibly inspiring.

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Google to Acquire Nest →

January 14, 2014 |

Well, this is awkward:

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy Nest Labs, Inc. for $3.2 billion in cash.

In case you don’t know Tony Fadell, Nest’s CEO, he is the man behind Apple’s iPod. As John Gruber points out, Google’s strong suit has never been producing consumer hardware of the highest quality. This could very well be an attempt to correct this situation.

Other than that, I’ve noticed that there seems to be a general concern all over the Internet regarding Nest’s privacy policies going forward, i.e: whether they will be forced to share their customers’ data with Google. Some even go as far as to suggest that this is the actual reason behind the acquisition. I agree with most of it and for the most part, I think the concern is justified given Google’s history. However, I also wonder why we’re all so concerned whenever Google tries to acquire new data sources to drive their ad-targeting technology, and yet we seem to turn a blind eye when other companies do the same. Facebook, for example, knows a great deal more about their users than Google, and not only do their users provide this information voluntarily, but they actually encourage others to do so as well.

I wonder how Facebook managed to sneak so much into our lives, and I also wonder what will happen to it when (not if) their user base finally awakens to this and realizes just how much of their lives they’re sharing with the service.

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The Copenhagen Wheel | Superpedestrian →

December 09, 2013 |

The Copenhagen Wheel basically substitutes your rear bicycle wheel and transforms any regular bicycle into an e-bike.

Riders are given a boost as they pedal by measuring their effort, instead of using a throttle. This preserves the normal biking experience while enabling riders to bike faster, farther, and easier.

Awesome. I’m not particularly interested into this whole e-bike thing, but if you’re in the market for one, this is definitely worth a look.

Via The Loop.

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Thanks for the tip, I’ll get it on Amazon →

December 02, 2013 |


Independent booksellers have taken a lot of body blows in the last two decades—from the coming of superstores such as Indigo, through the real behemoth on the block, Amazon, to ebooks—to the extent that some indie stores in the U.S. have donation jars beside their cash registers. But nothing has gutted the indies, emotionally as well as financially, as the practice known as “showrooming.” Prospective buyers come into bookshops, wander the stacks, peruse the artful displays and even—unkindest cut of all—seek the advice of staff. Then they leave, those who bother to do so first, and order the books they want online, where prices can be up to 50 per cent cheaper. “That is so hard for us to take,” says Eleanor LeFave, owner of Mabel’s Fables children’s bookstore in Toronto, “especially the abuse of our staff’s time and expertise.”

This has been happening to all sorts of small retailers for years, and it’s getting worse. Unfortunately, as long as there are massive online stores out there, it’s going to be difficult to stop it. No small shop can compete with say, Amazon on price, or even convenience now that free 2-day shipping is common practice.

However, they can compete on something else: the guy at your local shop knows his stuff, and more importantly, he knows you. He knows what you like, what you don’t, and he can recommend things based on your personal preferences much more accurately than Amazon ever will. That’s why it hurts these small shops so bad when you go around, ask questions, make up your mind… and then buy the stuff online. It’s just mean.

The example that hits closest to home are local bicycle shops. It’s great that you get to know the staff, talk to them about bicycles and share some good times. They’re usually extremely nice and friendly people, always ready to help out with anything you need. I would never buy a new bicycle online, because it’s not just a good deal I’m after. It’s not just an economic transaction, but the birth of a potentially great relationship. Which is awesome.

Via The Loop.

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Penny Arcade’s Insultingly Horrible Job →

November 27, 2013 |

Marco Arment, on a terrible job offer from Penny Arcade:

This is everything wrong with tech-startup culture, unreasonable expectations, and workaholism in one job posting, by a company with a massive audience that probably contains a very high percentage of young software developers.

It’s absolutely shameful. The notion that if you want to have a cool job you must be ready to give up your personal life, your health and your firstborn son is something generally accepted as fact in the tech industry. That somehow the sacrifice is worth it in the end. Well, it’s not. Ever. I don’t care if you work for Apple, Google, or whatever.

Self-respect is the most basic requisite to do great work in any environment. If you don’t value your effort and protect your personal life, nobody else will do it for you. I like Marco’s take on this:

Yes, there are other employers this bad (and worse) in the industry, but you don’t have to work for them. There are a lot of better options, especially if you satisfy even half of Penny Arcade’s requirements — and a healthy work-life balance is a basic requirement, like your paycheck, that you shouldn’t tolerate losing for any employer.


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How money can buy happiness, wine edition →

November 08, 2013 |

Felix Salmon:

What’s more, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on first-growth Bordeaux for this to work. You just need to spend a little bit more than you normally do — enough that you consider it to be a _special_ bottle of wine. That’s it! When you sit down and pop it open, probably with people you love, in pleasant surroundings, everything is set for a very happy outcome.

Small pleasures. That’s what life is all about.

Via Daring Fireball.

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Fear →

October 29, 2013 |

Matt Gemmell takes a huge load off the chest. I won’t spoil it, because such an intimate, personal story deserves your full attention. Just a tidbit:

I had some panic attacks too, during the height of it all. If you’ve had one – a real, proper, actual fireworks-show of a panic attack – then, well… you know. That’s _got_ to be what dying feels like.

Much respect, Matt. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

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