Ending Greece’s bleeding →

July 06, 2015 |

Paul Krugman, writing for The New York Times on the outcome of the historic referendum that took place in Greece yesterday:

But the campaign of bullying — the attempt to terrify Greeks by cutting off bank financing and threatening general chaos, all with the almost open goal of pushing the current leftist government out of office — was a shameful moment in a Europe that claims to believe in democratic principles. It would have set a terrible precedent if that campaign had succeeded, even if the creditors were making sense.

What’s more, they weren’t. The truth is that Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding. A “yes” vote in Greece would have condemned the country to years more of suffering under policies that haven’t worked and in fact, given the arithmetic, can’t work: austerity probably shrinks the economy faster than it reduces debt, so that all the suffering serves no purpose. The landslide victory of the “no” side offers at least a chance for an escape from this trap.

Yesterday, the Greek people overwhelmingly said no to fear, and no to the failed austerity policies of the Eurogroup. This was a historic decision with the potential to alter the course of the entire EU, and its first consequences are already being felt.

That said, I don’t necessarily agree with Krugman’s opinion that Greece leaving the Euro would be “the best of bad options”. In my opinion — and I’m admittedly no expert — there’s plenty of wiggle room to negotiate a viable deal within the confines of the Eurozone, but in order for that to happen, Greece’s creditors must shoulder their fair share of responsibility for what’s happened.

Alexis Tsipras’s government seems keen on reaching an agreement that would secure Greece’s future in the Eurozone, even going so far as to sacrifice their own finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, in order to facilitate negotiations despite having won the referendum. The Greeks have done their part, now it’s time for the rest of the Eurogroup to pick up the ball.

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July 04, 2015

It’s been a turbulent week in Europe. Pretty much every country in the EU is looking at Greece with increasing concern these days, after it became the first developed country to default on its I.M.F. loans.

Greece’s default means it won’t get a third bailout from the Eurogroup, which it desperately needs. All through the week we saw movement from both sides hinting at a possible last-minute deal before the troika’s1 offer expired on Thursday. First Greece said they’d accept the troika’s conditions if they were granted some debt relief, to which the Eurogroup promptly said no. Then the I.M.F., which is actually part of the troika, said no further help would be given to Greece unless it’s also accompanied by debt relief. This appeared to bring both sides closer than ever to an agreement. But then, both German chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras appeared on their respective national televisions saying an agreement was impossible. Merkel wants to wait until Sunday’s referendum before deciding on anything, and Tsipras is campaigning as hard as he can for a no vote that would render all past negotiations irrelevant.

The entire situation feels like watching a fascinating game of cat and mouse between Greece and its creditors in the Eurogroup. And if that is indeed the case, then Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis would be the man who’s pulling the strings. This is not particularly surprising, considering he actually wrote several academic papers on game theory itself. I strongly suspect he’s putting his knowledge to good use here, but only time will tell if it will be enough.

In the meantime, the Greek people are suffering one of their worst weeks in recent memory, with banks closed and food and medicine supplies running dangerously low. In the streets, general chaos is overwhelming, and this comes on top of an already precarious situation that has lasted far too long. Tomorrow, Greeks will be granted an opportunity — maybe the only one they’ll ever get — to speak up and be heard.

Greece’s creditors seem bent on pushing the idea that a no vote in tomorrow’s referendum would be tantamount to Greece leaving the Euro and maybe even the complete disintegration of the Eurozone itself. In reality, however, the situation is much more nuanced. Tsipras has stated repeatedly that Greece remains committed to the Euro and to Europe and so far, nothing that’s happened during this crisis gives us reason to doubt him.

If Greeks say no tomorrow, they may give their government the strength it needs to negotiate on more equal terms with the troika. If they vote yes, it’ll probably be the end of Alexis Tsipras’s government. Whatever happens, we’ll find out soon enough.

Now, let’s go for something a bit more relaxing. There were plenty of great pieces to read this week, so grab your favorite hot beverage and let’s get on with it.

Issue #5: on immigration, Pete Sampras, the voice of Siri, and flirting at a nude beach

This issue includes several very interesting pieces indeed. From a deeply personal letter from Pete Sampras to his younger self, to a great piece on how to make friends at a nude beach, and everything Apple-related in between, there’s enough variety here to keep you entertained all weekend. Enjoy.

You’re better than this, Europe | Nils Muiznieks →

Great piece for The New York Times on how recent immigration policy amendments made by several European countries are threatening refugees’ right to asylum. Immigration is a very real problem in Europe, and the current situation is unsustainable. Sadly, in dealing with that problem, some governments appear to have forgotten the very principles of equality and solidarity the Union was founded upon.

Life is easier when you take the stairs | David Cain →

Another week, another winner by David Cain. I don’t know how he keeps doing it, but he does:

I think what most of us really want is an easier life, not necessarily a more wholesome one. We want less trouble and more enjoyment, probably more so than we want achievement and virtue. But what we often overlook is that embracing difficulty in certain places nets us a lot more ease than our usual “easy” ways. Putting in three hours a week at the gym is easier than being out of shape 24 hours a day. Studying is easier than sitting in an exam room not having studied. Doing a good job at work is easier than wondering when they’ll finally fire you.

I’m used to thinking of ease and difficulty as a pretty straightforward dichotomy: we want more of one and less of the other. And maybe in a sense that’s true, but they are often found in the same place and come together as a package. A small amount of difficulty often serves as the gatekeeper to a large amount of ease.

Spot on, as usual. Beyond the quoted excerpt above, this particular phrase stands out: “Fears tend to stay down once you walk over them once”.

Run to the Devil: The Ghosts and the Grace of Nina Simone | Brian Phillips →

Brian Phillips has been on fire lately. Just days before penning one of the best articles on Roger Federer in recent memory, he published this incredible piece on the troubled life of Eunice Waymon, the incredibly talented girl who would grow up to become one of the most influential musicians of all time: Miss Nina Simone.

Letter to my younger self | Pete Sampras →

Pete Sampras, who was widely regarded as the best male tennis player of all time until a fella named Roger Federer started winning majors left, right and center, writes a letter to his 16-year-old self, when he was about to join the professional ATP circuit. Amazing.

At the heart of the Wimbledon tennis championships lies the IBM bunker | Sebastian Anthony →

I really enjoyed Anthony’s peek into the brains of Wimbledon for Ars Technica. Organizing a Grand Slam event, like any major sports tournament in the world, takes a huge amount of effort, coordination, and technological prowess. This is how the magic happens.

Seven years on, a MacBook Pro prepares for El Capitan | Chip Sudderth →

Apple hasn’t increased the basic requirements for running new OS X versions for a few years now, which is great news for those of us who still own and use old Macs every day. Basically, if your Mac is 64-bit capable, you’re good to go. And since El Capitan is ostensibly optimized to increase performance and battery life on older Macs, upgrading this time around really does seem like a no-brainer.

Losing weight with Apple Watch | Matt Gemmell →

This is a fantastic, in-depth analysis on how it’s entirely possible to lose weight without making huge sacrifices, or changes to your life. A little effort every day, coupled with a bit of intelligent planning and a sound strategy goes a long way. And as as Matt notes, a tech gadget like the Apple Watch can be useful to track your progress and give you an extra bit of motivation, but it’s very much not required.

Love | Brent Simmons →

Brent Simmons, the former lead developer of Vesper, shares his thoughts on the current state of the indie app development industry:

Yes, there are strategies for making a living, and nobody’s entitled to anything. But it’s also true that the economics of a thing may be generally favorable or generally unfavorable — and the iOS App Store is, to understate the case, generally unfavorable. Indies don’t have a fighting chance.

Brent’s piece has been shared to death over the past few days, so you may have seen it already. The explanation for that is very simple: He’s absolutely right. As much as it pains me to say it, the App Store’s promise of a sustainable ecosystem for indie developers to thrive in remains largely unfulfilled. There was a brief period in the beginning when things really were awesome. Then, after the initial gold rush subsided, things were still good. Now they just are what they are. There are people like Marco Arment who still manage to find success, but by and large, the expectations for aspiring indies in today’s App Store are pretty bleak.

Clearly Apple has some of the responsibility here. Their actions as steward of the platform haven’t been focused on protecting indies and encouraging they can create sustainable businesses, and that’s unfortunate.

Disconnect | Dave Wiskus →

Dave takes a look at some of the things that are broken in Apple’s new Connect feature for Apple Music. Connect was designed to bring artists together with their listeners, but the current implementation apparently leaves much to be desired. Dave’s piece ends on a positive note, though:

These are early days, and there’s hope. I don’t like complain-y posts where designers pick something apart and either offer no meaningful ideas or, worse, presumptuously redesign someone else’s work. So instead I’m going to break the fourth wall and make a simple suggestion to Apple: consult with independent musicians. Talk to bands who have succeeded on social media and see what worked for them. Talk to bands who have made great YouTube videos and find out how they get their audience to share stuff. Talk to bands who haven’t made it yet and ask what tools they might need to get there.

Airbnb and the Internet revolution | Ben Thompson →

Great piece by Ben Thompson, as usual. Businesses like Uber and Airbnb are great examples of the endless possibilities for disruption enabled by the sharing economy, but they’re also shady enterprises at their best, with many gray areas in the way they operate:

I increasingly believe that it is the sharing economy that is beginning to reveal the answer: a world of commodified trust has significantly less need for much of the infrastructure of modern society, including inefficient sectors like hotels whose primary differentiator is trust, along with the regulatory state dedicated to enforcing that trust. On the other hand, this brave new world has brand new holes through which people can fall: those who have lost trust, or do not have the means to build it.

The real voice of Siri explains the art of voiceover | Phil Edwards →

I love these behind-the-scenes stories. Voice acting is a pretty well-established industry in Spain, where people have been watching mostly dubbed movies and TV shows for decades. The situation is starting to change over the past few years, as many people — especially younger people — start consuming more and more of their content through the Internet in its original form. Who would have thought that it’d take massively successful TV shows like Lost and Game of Thrones for people to get serious about their English?

Anyway, this piece is a great look at some of the intricacies of voice acting, and who better to guide us through the process than Susan Bennett, the actress behind Siri’s original voice. A very entertaining read indeed.

Switzerland on film | Bijan Sabet →

Fantastic collection of pictures taken on medium format film. Switzerland is a beautiful country, and I love how the rich colors of its landscapes are captured by films such as Kodak Portra. There are plenty of good reasons in this post to go buy a plane ticket.

How to flirt and make friends at a nude beach | Maureen O’Connor →

This was a very interesting piece to read. Apparently, nude beaches feel like stepping into a parallel world, where society is governed by a different set of rules:

Paradoxically enough, every nudist I spoke to said that socializing in the buff is less sexual than socializing in clothes. Complete nudity, Jones points out, prevents a person from emphasizing any one part. Or as her fiancé puts it: “Everything just flops into place. There’s nothing to hold this up or accentuate that — you’re just you.” Meanwhile, pickup lines and overtly sexual come-ons feel unacceptably aggressive (and even more cringe-worthy) when both parties are nude.

This makes so much sense. I’ve never been to a nude beach, but I did spend a year living in Finland, where sauna is one of the most extended traditions. It feels incredibly weird when, soon after you first arrive in the country, you’re invited to stand fully naked among strangers in a tight, confined space that is heated upwards of 100°C. And yet, it’s amazing how quickly it becomes normal, and the naked part starts to feel shockingly natural.

When everyone is naked in a non-sexualized environment, things have a way of working out that is more relaxed, and more civilized. Sauna soon became one of my preferred activities in Finland, and still today I miss it dearly.

The Lamy 2000 fountain pen | Josh Ginter →

I love fountain pens, but I must confess I had no idea this one even existed. I guess it goes to show just how deep certain rabbit holes go. Apparently the Lamy 2000 is a legendary pen that enjoys cult status among pen enthusiasts everywhere. Indeed, going by Josh’s amazing photography alone, it’s easy to see why. It doesn’t exactly come cheap — although there are definitely much more expensive pens around — but it looks to be worth every penny. If you love pens or simply appreciate nice things, take a good look at Josh’s fantastic review.


It’s July Fourth today, one of the most important holidays of the year in the United States. I’d like to take a moment to wish a very happy day to all my American friends, I hope you have a fantastic time with your loved ones. Make the most of it, and celebrate to your heart’s content.

As it happens, tomorrow is another highly celebrated day of the year: my birthday. I’m turning 32 in a few hours, and I’m spending the weekend in my hometown with my parents to celebrate. Last night we had dinner at a new restaurant that a friend of mine opened three days ago, and we had a wonderful time. I really enjoy these quiet moments together, and in my mind it’s the perfect way to get slightly older.

I’m not one to dwell much on my birthdays, but this time around it feels slightly different than past years. I’ve been working for myself full-time for close to a year now, and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I still have a ways to go to make it sustainable, and I may have to make some hard choices about my life in the near future but for now, things are good. I love doing what I do, and I feel incredibly fortunate for the opportunity to pursue this life. I’m well aware of the privilege it entails, and I’m committed to doing the very best work I can. Hopefully you’ll stick around to see it.

That said, it’s now time for a break. I’m taking a couple of days off in order to enjoy some time with my family and relax for a little bit. I have a great article in the pipeline for next week that I can’t wait to show you, but everything in due time. For now, enjoy these great reads, have a fantastic weekend and, of course, thank you for reading.

  1. The troika refers to the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.

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Oakley in Residence restores three bicycles and returns them to their lucky owners →

July 02, 2015 |

Oakley in Residence is a hybrid between coffee shop and bike workshop that visits different places around the world. Previously based in Los Angeles, Oakley in Residence is now in London, where it will remain until the end of August.

This is clearly a publicity stunt, but a pretty cool one at that. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reuniting with your long-lost bicycle. Kudos to Oakley for coming up with this.

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DRM is the real difference between iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library →

July 01, 2015 |

Kirk McElhearn:

Both match your iTunes library and store your purchases. Both allow you to access these files, and listen to them, on multiple devices. But with iTunes Match, when you download a matched or uploaded file, you get either the iTunes Store matched copy, or the copy that iTunes uploaded of your original file.

When you match and download files from iCloud Music Library, however, you get files with DRM; the same kind of files you get when you download files from Apple Music for offline listening.

Via Dave Mark at The Loop, who adds:

The critical issue here is backing up your un-DRMed music files. Unlike iTunes Match, if you download matched un-DRMed files from iCloud Music Library, you’ll end up with a DRMed version of those files. To repeat this another way, if iCloud Music Library takes in a song file with no DRM and it has a DRM version of that same song, you’ll have no way to get back your original song file without DRM.

Being an iTunes Match subscriber myself, this seems absolutely unacceptable to me. The way I see it, for as long as I’m an iTunes Match subscriber, if the iTunes Store has a DRM-free version of my music, I should always get that version, regardless of whether I’m using Apple Music or not.

That’s not only what Apple promised with iTunes Match, it’s the whole point of the service to exist in the first place: you pay $25 a year and get access to your own music from any device. The DRM-protected files in Apple Music may sound like my songs but they are not, in fact, my songs. That’s an important distinction that Apple seems happy to just sweep under the rug.

Actually, it’s very surprising to me that Apple doesn’t even mention DRM anywhere in their entire Apple Music website. That’s a little rich coming from the company that made such a big deal out of removing it in the first place.

There aren’t many ways to fix this: either Apple refunds all iTunes Match subscribers for the time they have left in their subscriptions — a pretty poor solution as far as solutions go — or they honor their original commitment and start serving DRM-free files to those users.

So instead of juggling iTunes Match users vs Apple Music users and treating them differently, why not aim for something more Apple-like and eliminate DRM completely across the board? That’s the kind of thing I expect from Apple. They’re not a company that enters a new space only to maintain the previous status quo.

The reasons for DRM to exist today in Apple Music are no better than the reasons for it to exist in the iTunes Music Store back in 2006. In fact, they’re actually the exact same reasons. Sure, devices have changed and streaming services have their own particular usage patters, but the fact remains: whoever wants to pirate music will do it, DRM or not, and this stance only hurts Apple’s own paying customers. Because let’s not forget, neither Apple Music nor iTunes Match are free services.

Dear Apple: If music truly is in your DNA, act accordingly, and let your actions speak louder than your words.

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New official trailer released for Danny Boyle’s upcoming ‘Steve Jobs’ movie →

July 01, 2015 |

Now we’re talking:

At least this one looks like it’s got some meat in it, though admittedly it won’t take much to erase 2013’s terrible Jobs movie from our memories.

Physical similarity is an important factor when casting actors in biopics, but even though Ashton Kutcher looked a lot like a young Steve Jobs, I’ll take Fassbender over him any day of the week.

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Joseph Stiglitz: how I would vote in the Greek referendum →

June 30, 2015 |

Joseph Stiglitz, one of the 2001 Nobel prize winners in economics, writing for The Guardian:

It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.

Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression if voters there commit to the troika’s target in the snap referendum to be held this weekend.

He goes on to argue that a yes vote would probably result in many years — possibly even decades — of sustained economic depression and financial ruin for Greece. As for the possibility of a no vote:

By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.

I know how I would vote.

In any case, today Greece issued a last-minute proposal asking for a new 2-year bailout and some debt-relief. Should this proposal be accepted, Sunday’s referendum could potentially be rendered moot, possibly even canceled. The Eurogroup will hold an extraordinary session today at 19:00 Brussels time to discuss the offer. The deadline expires at midnight.

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Can the United States prevent a Grexit? →

June 30, 2015 |

The Greece situation is growing more dire by the minute. If Greece misses a loan payment of 1.6 billion euros to the I.M.F. that expires today — and it seems likely — the country will be in default and, slowly but surely, things will start spiraling out of control in the entire euro zone. The referendum Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced for Sunday may stem the tide if Greeks vote yes, but if it’s a no — as Tsipras himself has called for — Greece’s exit from the eurozone appears to be the only possible outcome.

John Cassidy, writing for The New Yorker:

(…) If there is to be a last-minute compromise, the Europeans will have to offer Tsipras something that will justify a u-turn. One option, which the U.S. government appears to be pursuing, is a promise of at least some debt relief. But that seems to be a distant possibility. At a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Merkel appeared alongside her Vice-Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, who reiterated that Greece had to follow the same rules as everyone else in the euro zone. Debt relief would be considered only in a follow-up agreement, he indicated, and even then it would be limited to extending maturities and lowering interest rates—it would not entail outright cancellation. The Greek Prime Minister wanted a very different euro zone, which was a dangerous idea, Gabriel added.

Greece wants to pay, but not at any cost to its citizens. I’m well aware that in order for the financial system to function every country needs to meet its obligations, but I don’t accept as fact that creditors can never lose. Purchasing debt is an investment and as such, implies certain risks. The fact that Greece’s creditors are unwilling to assume their fair share of the burden seems profoundly unjust to me — even if, like I said, Greece should do everything in its power to uphold its own end of the bargain.

Ironically enough, back in 1953, when it was the Germans who were up to their neck in mud, Europe granted them a generous debt relief treaty. Now they’re the ones claiming Greece doesn’t deserve the same treatment. I understand the specifics of each country’s predicaments are vastly different, but come on.

I guess that’s just another reason why I’m not cut out to be a politician.

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The Phoblographer updates Fuji X-T1 review for firmware 4.0 →

June 30, 2015 |

Chris Gampat:

The new firmware brings with it a large number of autofocus upgrades like new tracking, zone focus, and improved speed to single AF focusing.

Indeed, the camera is significantly faster to focus, and we almost want to say that it’s about on par with the fastest of Sony’s APS-C mirrorless cameras and Samsung’s NX series. However, it still isn’t at Micro Four Thirds speed.

One of the best things about Fuji cameras is the continued support they get for years after their initial release. Fuji’s firmware updates are usually excellent not only in terms of bug-fixing, but also in terms of improving performance and adding actual new features that improve usability and keep their cameras competitive and relevant for longer. They actually remind me a lot of Apple and iOS in that regard.

Clearly, other manufacturers could learn a thing or two from Fuji here.

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The Sun never sets on Roger Federer →

June 29, 2015 |

Fantastic piece by Brian Phillips for Grantland:

Four years ago, I wrote that there was “an aura of weird sadness” around Federer’s arrested decline. Federer seemed invincible for so long — not just better than everyone else, invincible — that it was unnerving at first when he didn’t. He’d do all the same Federer things — blast that big, courtly cannon of a serve, skip-float to the net, catch the ball short with an acute one-handed backhand, wheel back to the center of the court for a blistering forehand putaway — the same things he’d always done, only now they didn’t always work. Now, against Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic or whomever, they would sometimes fail. Four or five years ago, this could put you in a strange place. He’d been so effortless once that then, when the ball missed by three inches, it felt like watching beauty succumb to death.

There’s a strong case to be made that Roger Federer’s dominance in his prime set a new benchmark for greatness not only in tennis, but across all sports. I really enjoyed Phillips’s take on Federer’s twilight years — which, as he points out, have already lasted longer than his prime.

Normally I would’ve saved this piece for the next issue of Morning Coffee, but I liked it so much I’m sharing it right now. Enjoy.1

  1. It would be a shame if Federer lost in the first week of Wimbledon and was already out of the tournament by the time you read this.

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June 27, 2015

Another week went by, and it was a big one. Millions of people all over the US are celebrating not one, but two major rulings by the Supreme Court, which upheld the rights to affordable healthcare and equality in marriage for everyone. These were two historic events with the potential to transform the entire nation, and the fact that they both occurred within mere days of each other is remarkable. Just after being hit by tragedy, the American people once again have reasons to dream of a better future.

It’s still early to fully appreciate the repercussions of these rulings, but the effect is already being felt with force all over the Internet, and it’s been fascinating to watch.

Unfortunately the rest of the world wasn’t so lucky during the week, as tragedy has once again struck in the form of terrorist attacks. This time the attacks were carried out in three different continents simultaneously and left behind over 60 dead. I keep trying to express my disgust at this nonsensical horror, but words fail me.

Now let’s turn to brighter topics. The good news is, there were plenty of interesting things going on throughout the week to keep us busy.

One such thing happening in the creative sphere was Shawn Blanc officially launching The Focus Course. This project has been over a year in the making, and Shawn has poured everything he has into it. The Focus Course is clearly his most ambitious project yet, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Of course, the week in Apple was marked by the controversy raised by Taylor Swift on account of Apple Music’s payouts — or lack thereof — to artists during the free 3-month trial every customer gets upon signing up for the service. Apple quickly ceded and said they would pay labels and artists during the free trial, which was enough to convince Swift to change her mind about releasing her latest album, 1989, on the service. Still, this whole affair has prompted many people to discuss the balance of power in today’s music industry, and whether the current situation is healthy. Those are very legitimate concerns, and I look forward to seeing how the industry evolves now that the switch to streaming-first services is all but complete.

Besides the Apple Music controversy, we also got some great reviews of the new MacBook. I had been looking forward to two of them in particular, and they didn’t disappoint. Both Matt Gemmell and Ben Brooks shared their thoughts on the latest Apple computer and, though they have markedly different approaches, both made some excellent points about the device and its intended audience.

Now, as usual, let’s dive into some of this week’s most interesting pieces of writing.

Issue #4: On climbing El Capitan, setting expectations, the lead up to Wimbledon, fighting Uber, and comparing portrait lenses

This week I stray a bit from the usual topics on Analog Senses, but hopefully the content will remain just as compelling. Enjoy.

Climbing El Capitan’s Nose | Matt and Joanne Stamplis →

The Nose is perhaps the most iconic rock climbing route in the entire world. It’s 1,000 feet high and usually takes multiple days to ascend. Matt and Joanne Stamplis attempted the climb back in 2009, and they took some pretty incredible pictures along the way. I was getting goosebumps just by looking at the images, but the actual narration is just as great. It took them four days and seven gallons of water to climb The Nose, but climb it they did. What an awesome story.

Climb Yosemite’s El Capitan Like a Rock Star—From Your Computer | Andrew Bisharat →

Speaking of El Capitan, it is now possible to experience the adventure from the comfort and safety of your home. Google has digitally mapped the entire route using the same technology they use in Street View, and the result is incredibly cool. This is a great way to complement Matt and Joanne’s story.

The tragedy of small expectations (and the trap of false dreams) | Seth Godin →

Seth Godin makes an astute point, as usual:

Expectations that don’t match what’s possible are merely false dreams. And expectations that are too small are a waste. We need teachers and leaders and peers who will help us dig in deeper and discover what’s possible, so we can push to make it likely.

Transforming the possible into the likely is a pretty substantial leap. Successfully making that leap depends on the culture around us, which is why doing everything we can to dispel myths about what can’t be done is so important.

How Math’s most famous proof nearly broke | Peter Brown →

I love tales of scientific discovery, and this one’s as good as it gets. Via Tools & Toys.

Essentials | Matt Gemmell →

I really enjoyed Matt’s answer to the old question: “What would you take with you to a desert island?”. Or, to put it another way, what is really essential to you? There’s nothing like packing for an upcoming trip to ponder these questions. I have my list, and no doubt you have yours. In my own case, much like in Matt’s, I’ve found that as I go through life, the list not only keeps changing, it also keeps getting shorter.

How Arthur Ashe became the only black man to win the Wimbledon title | Aimee Lewis →

Wimbledon, the most prestigious tournament in the tennis world, in finally upon us and as usual, the BBC will be providing extensive coverage of the event. This piece is one in a series of in-depth looks at the history of the tournament that the BBC is publishing in the lead up to the tournament, which is due to begin on Monday.

The 1975 Wimbledon men’s final pitted two American players against each other: Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe. Ostensibly, these two characters didn’t get along at all, which is why on the day of the match, tension was running high. In the end, the match not only lived up to the expectations, but instantly became one of the all-time classics on the green lawns of the All England Club.

35 facts that prove Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player ever | Chris Chase →

Continuing with the Wimbledon theme, there’s no other player whose game is better attuned to the grass than Roger Federer. In fact, 7 of his record 17 Grand Slam titles came at Wimbledon, and 12 years after lifting his first Wimbledon trophy, he’s still trying to add to the list. Federer may well be the greatest male player of all time, although that question is likely to forever remain unanswered. After all, it’s very difficult to compare players across different eras, because the sport has changed so much since then.

Still, Federer has made a hell of a case for himself, and this piece by Chris Chase shows you why. Some of the numbers in Federer’s career are absolutely staggering, like the fact that he contested 23 straight Grand Slam semifinals, or 18 out 19 straight finals. These numbers are unreal, but perhaps the greatest thing about him is the fact that he’s not done yet.

The original hope | A Demon’s Voice →

My favorite Internet demon reviews one of the greatest films of all time, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Warning: strong language is frequently used throughout this review.

The long history of the fight against Uber | Om Malik →

Fantastic piece by Om Malik for The New Yorker. Technology enables change to occur swiftly, and sometimes people and entire industries are left behind in the process. Such is the relentless wheel of progress. In a world where instant gratification reigns supreme, traditional businesses are left unable to compete.

Being a conscious consumer goes a long way towards finding a balance, because the truth is, protecting and supporting our local businesses is incredibly important, perhaps now more than ever. I may have a bit of a Luddite in me, but I can’t help but prefer buying my meat in the small shop around the corner, where Luis the butcher greets me by my first name every day. He also keeps a watchful eye on my bike, which is parked right by his shop’s door. Those little things are important to me, even if buying my meat at a supermarket would probably be a bit cheaper.

iOS 9 and Safari View Controller: The future of Web views | Federico Viticci →

Another great in-depth look at a new technology in iOS 9 by Federico Viticci. The new Safari View Controller technology has the potential to vastly improve the experience of using in-app browsers, which are some of the most annoying things left in iOS.

Panasonic Lumix 42.5mm f/1.7 review and comparison with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 vs Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 | Mathieu Gasquet →

Just two days after my review of the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens for Tools & Toys, Mathieu from MirrorLessons put its main competitor to the test. His results all but confirmed my initial impressions: that despite being four years newer, the Panasonic lens doesn’t provide any meaningful optical improvements over the Olympus. Still, it’s an excellent lens in its own right, and perhaps the better choice for owners of Panasonic bodies due to the built-in optical image stabilization, so go check it out.


This week has been pretty interesting to me, personally. Early in the week Tools & Toys published my review of the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens, which I believe is some of my best work yet. This one took quite a bit of effort to put together because I’d never done a lens review before, and there were lots of small details to get right. It was also incredibly fun to do, and I hope you find it interesting.

I also dedicated quite a bit of time to explore some of the incredible photography exhibits that are being shown in many galleries across Madrid this month. It’s the 2015 edition of the PHotoEspaña International Festival of photography and visual arts, and there are some really incredible galleries to visit. I’ve barely even scratched the surface of the festival and I’ve already discovered a few artists whose work I wasn’t familiar with, but who have blown my mind.

Take Martín Chambi, for example. This Peruvian photographer documented Peru and its society during the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s, and his pictures are breathtaking. The gallery I visited held a few of his most famous images, but the best of all was that these were not scanned and then digitally printed copies, but actual optical prints made from the original glass plate negatives by none other than Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, one of the most renowned darkroom artists in Spain. The results are positively mesmerizing.

Or take the amazing exhibit “Las Reglas del Juego” (the rules of the game) by Chema Madoz, whose surreal images have a unique way of teasing viewers and forcing them to fill in the gaps by themselves. The following video is in Spanish, but provides a great look at some of Madoz’s iconic images:

These are just two examples, but there are many others all across town, and I can’t wait to check out as many of them as possible.

Other than that, yesterday was Apple Watch launch day in Spain. I’m not sure this deserves a finally, but it sure as hell feels like it. This was probably the most delayed Apple product to arrive to Spain since the original iPhone — which never actually arrived to Spain, by the way. I’ll be going to my local Apple Store in a couple days to check it out and try on a few different models, and then I’ll decide whether or not to buy one. Right now I’m definitely leaning towards yes, but I don’t want to make a final decision until I see it in person. I’ll keep you posted.

I believe that about does it for the week. It’s exactly 14:30 in the afternoon and I’m yet to have lunch, so my stomach is getting impatient. Writing these issues keeps taking longer than I initially anticipated, so perhaps I should try and change the name to something more appropriate, like “Mid-day Appetizer”. Or perhaps I should just have coffee for lunch.

As always, thanks very much for reading, and have a great weekend.

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