Dan Moren travels with the Apple Watch →

May 29, 2015 |

Interesting observation by Dan Moren, writing at Six Colors:

But more to the point, not a single person on my trip commented on the Apple Watch. Despite my generally wearing short-sleeved shirts, which left the Watch clearly visible, I’ve concluded that most people’s brains simply register something worn on the wrist as a watch, and don’t bother giving it much further attention. (I’d also guess that as the Apple Watch isn’t on sale in Portugal—a country which doesn’t have any Apple Stores—there just isn’t much awareness of it as a product.)

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the Apple Watch wasn’t really any more of an opportunity theft than your average nice wristwatch. In fact, it’s arguably less attractive in many cases, given that mine is not made from gold, and is far less valuable—and, to be honest, once parted with me, less usable—than an expensive luxury watch.

One of the worst parts of being an early adopter of Apple devices is that you can get a lot of unwanted attention in the first few months and judging by what other reviewers have said, the Apple Watch appeared to be no different in that regard. I’m happy to see that this is not the case for everyone, or perhaps not the case everywhere.

However, there’s one caveat to this: the Apple Watch hasn’t been released in Portugal yet, so there’s no reason for people to be on the lookout for it. The real question is whether this apparent lack of interest will still be the norm after the watch hits Portuguese stores.

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Water: the weirdest liquid on the planet →

May 29, 2015 |

Great piece by Alok Jha for The Guardian:

Water breaks all the rules. Since the 19th century, chemists have developed a robust framework to describe what liquids are and what they can do. Those ideas are almost useless at explaining the weird behaviour of water. Its strangeness underlies what happens every time you drop an ice cube into a drink. Think about it for a moment: in front of you is a solid, floating on its liquid. Solid wax doesn’t float on melted wax; solid butter doesn’t float on melted butter in a hot saucepan; rocks don’t float on lava when it spews out of a volcano.

Via Tools & Toys.

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Hurricane Ridge →

May 29, 2015 |

Beautiful post by Erin Brooks:

Having a 1 and a 3 year old at home means we aren’t doing as much travel as we’d like these days, although we do try to get out for quick local trips in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. A couple of weekends ago, we took our girls and went on a day trip to the Olympic National Park, and spent some time hiking Hurricane Ridge.

I love Erin’s eye for photography. The way she captures the natural beauty of the landscape — and her family — is amazing.

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More on Google Photos →

May 28, 2015 |

Google has released more details about the upcoming Google Photos on their official blog:

Google Photos gives you a single, private place to keep a lifetime of memories, and access them from any device. They’re automatically backed up and synced, so you can have peace of mind that your photos are safe, available across all your devices.

And when we say a lifetime of memories, we really mean it. With Google Photos, you can now backup and store unlimited, high-quality photos and videos, for free. We maintain the original resolution up to 16MP for photos, and 1080p high-definition for videos, and store compressed versions of the photos and videos in beautiful, print-quality resolution. For all the storage details, visit our help center.

And also:

If you want to give Google Photos a whirl, it will be available later today across Android, iOS and the web. With this launch we’ve made a lot of progress towards eliminating many of the frustrations involved in storing, editing and sharing your memories. But we have a lot more in store—so as you keep snapping photos and capturing videos, we’ll keep working on making them even easier to store, share and bring to life.

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Google makes Photos a standalone product →

May 28, 2015 |

Ron Amadeo, covering Google’s I/O conference for Ars Technica:

At its I/O keynote, Google announced that Google Photos is now a standalone product. The service has officially been spun off from Google+ and is being billed as a brand new product, according to Google’s Anil Sabharwal, and Google hopes the revamp will enable it to better take on the likes of Flickr and Facebook Photos. The new service will be available at

Google Photos looks a lot like Google plus Photos, just without the Google+ part. There is still tons of cloud storage; pictures are still automatically backed up to the cloud, and Auto-Awesome (though it has been renamed to “Assistant”) is still here. That feature still automatically surprises the user by adding funky effects, making panoramas, and creating album slideshows using copies of your pictures.

It looks interesting, no doubt. And in typical Google fashion, the best of all seems to be the pricing:

Google Photos also allows you to backup and store “unlimited, high-quality” photos and videos for free. For images, this means a resolution of up to 16 megapixels (which Sabharwal called “print quality”), and 1080p for videos.

That will have most people covered, but if you’d like to store full resolution images, there is also a $10/month for 1TB plan where Google won’t recompress your files.

I still don’t know if I would trust Google with my entire photo library, but they certainly took a step in the right direction today.

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This is why you shouldn’t call people at work →

May 28, 2015 |

Sofia Quintero:

An unexpected phone call can be a huge distraction, especially if it happens at the wrong time. The act of recovering from an interruption can cost you a big part of your working day. In fact, most of us lose 28 percent (or 2.1 hours a day) of our productivity to constant interruptions and recovery time.

When people call me out of the blue it feels to me like they are saying in their most macabre voice: “I own your time now, my life and my priorities are more important than yours so now proceed and surrender to my communications needs.

This is especially uncomfortable when we are talking about sales calls. In that case is more like this: “Hello, let me interrupt your day now because I really want to sell you something and I am sure you have nothing better to do with your time than talking to me.

Agreed. This is exactly right and it really, really pisses me off. In my eyes, there’s nothing more disrespectful towards your customers than invading their personal space like this.

The good news is, we can fight back. A couple years ago I left my bank after more than a decade with them because they wouldn’t stop calling me during office hours. And more recently I switched Internet providers simply because they wouldn’t stop trying to upsell me to a “better” plan, despite me having told then repeatedly that I wasn’t interested.

Was it a pain to switch? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Hell, yes.

See also: why sometimes I can be an ass.

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Amazon announces new typographic features for Kindle, including much-awaited hyphenation →

May 28, 2015 |

John Brownlee, writing at Fast Company:

But the new app finally gives the boot to the hideous absolute justification of text that the Kindle’s been rocking since 2007. The new layout engine justifies text more like print typesetting. Even if you max out the font size on the new Kindle app, it will keep the spacing between words even, intelligently hyphenating words and spreading them between lines as need may be.

The layout engine also contains some beautiful new kerning options. They’re subtle, but once you see them, you can’t unsee them: for example, the way that the top and bottom of a drop cap on the Kindle now perfectly lines up with the tops and bottoms of its neighboring lines. Like I said, it’s a small detail, but one that even Apple’s iBooks and Google Play Books doesn’t manage to quite get right.

I’ve always hated justification in my Kindle books. This sounds like a great update, but Marco Arment isn’t impressed, so take it with a grain of salt:

Now, hyphenation is being added (which Amazon is doing not by changing the client-side configuration, but by slowly updating their entire catalog of the books themselves to individually enable it, and it won’t apply to all books). Hyphenation is a big improvement for the books that get it, and makes justified text suck less, but it still sucks.

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Chris Gonzales launches ‘Stellar Edits’ →

May 28, 2015 |

Exciting announcement by Chris Gonzales:

This is where I come in. Stellar Edits is a professional editing service I’ve created to help indie creators publish their words with confidence. Everyone has a unique voice, and I want to help you strengthen yours.

Let’s tell your story better.

Every time I’m working on a lengthy piece I wonder how some guys1 are able to publish thousands of edited words per week without any noticeable decrease in quality or polish.

The reason I wonder is because writing is the easy part. It’s where all the fun happens and if you get in the zone, you can easily get through a whole piece in one sitting. The problem is, once you’re done writing you still have a long way to go if you want your piece to be polished and ready for publication. If you aspire to maintain a certain standard for your work, you have to edit.

And guess what? Editing is hard.

It’s hard not only because it’s less fun to do — which it is — but because as the original author, you’re probably not even equipped to edit your own words professionally. Great editing goes way beyond simple grammar-fixing, it’s all about making sure that the message gets through to the audience as clearly as possible and if you’re the one making the mistakes, you’re probably not going to be able to fix them on your own.

A brilliant editor you can trust is probably one of the most — if not the most — valuable assets any writer can have.

I’m really excited about this. Everything we can do to increase the level of polish and professionalism of the written Web is a win in my book, and Chris just scored a big one for the team. I know I would trust him with anything and I’m sure once you try his services, you’ll never look back.

  1. Jason Snell, I’m looking at you.

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John Gruber on Jony Ive’s “promotion” →

May 28, 2015 |

Astute analysis by John, as ever:

I can see Cook-Ive as a sort of titular reversal of the Jobs-Cook C-level leadership duo. Cook oversees operations and “running the company”; Ive oversees everything else. So they created a new title to convey the authority Ive already clearly wielded, and promoted Dye and Howarth, his trusted lieutenants, to free him from administrative drudgery. I could be wrong, and we’ll know after a few years, but that’s my gut feeling today.

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