An interview with Kurt Vonnegut →

April 06, 2015 |

While we’re on the subject, don’t miss this terrific 4-part interview with legendary American writer Kurt Vonnegut for The Paris Review. I don’t want to spoil it too much for you, so I’ll just say that among many interesting things, he talks at length about his experience as a soldier in World War II:

In the same boxcars that had brought up the troops that captured us—probably in the same boxcars that had delivered Jews and Gypsies and Jehovah’s Witnesses and so on to the extermination camps. Rolling stock is rolling stock. British mosquito bombers attacked us at night a few times. I guess they thought we were strategic materials of some kind. They hit a car containing most of the officers from our battalion. Every time I say I hate officers, which I still do fairly frequently, I have to remind myself that practically none of the officers I served under survived. Christmas was in there somewhere.

Let this be a lesson to you: whatever you do in life, you do not want to piss off a great writer.

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Gritty 1980’s NYC and the Glorious Intuition of Richard Sandler →

April 06, 2015 |

It’s been said before that New York City is street photography Mecca, and with good reason. Also, check out this interview with Sandler on Urban Times:

“I liked what a photograph could do. I was attracted to the idea of stopping time. I always liked films and I grew up in a family that was involved in television…very early television…. late 1940′s….But I always liked photography’s ability to stop time. Film doesn’t stop time, still photography does. That was the initial attraction to actually freeze a moment in time and make prose into poetry.….you have to add so much of your own interpretation to a still image. It becomes very much about the viewer, whereas film and video are much more literal, you see things happen through time, time is not stopped. That was the thing I liked about it, I thought and still think that photography is a very difficult and poetic medium.”

Lots of little gems sprinkled here and there, all through the interview. On a side note, Sandler started getting into photography when he was 31, the same age I am now. Who knows, maybe there’s still hope for me.

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Best practices for standing desks →

April 03, 2015 |

If you want to try a standing desk for work, Conor McClure has some solid advice for you:

I’m still not sold on the usefulness of standing mats. It’s easy to see why comfortability should be prioritized, but in reality, it doesn’t need to be; after all, your standing desk exists for better health. If going barefoot for long periods of time is uncomfortable, your goal should be to train that, not eliminate the discomfort with a mat. Put bluntly: if you can’t use your standing desk without a mat for support, you’re a wimp.


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Apple Watch at the movies →

April 03, 2015 |

Jonathan Poritsky:

I don’t turn my phone completely off. I recognize that I could, but the fact is that there are things in this world that might be more important than the movie I’m in. I don’t think any notification that has gone off on my phone during a movie has ever more important than the movie itself, but when that day comes, do I really want to miss it? I’m talking about the big deal stuff: life and, more likely, death. I ignore the tiny buzzing in my pocket just fine.

Now, the exception to keeping my phone in my pocket is simple: if I ever get the dreaded double call, the phone will come partway, though never above the waist, out of my pocket to see who’s calling. If it’s nothing, it slips away out of sight. If it’s something then I spring into action out in the hallway. My loved ones know (as all loved ones really should) that the double call is reserved for emergencies only. I suppose I’d make a similar exception for something like ten texts in a row.

So how does this all play out if you have an Apple Watch?

Jonathan gets right one thing that I believe most people get wrong about the Apple Watch’s notification system: It’s not designed to make the notifications you don’t care about more tolerable, it’s designed to make the ones you don’t want to miss more accessible. There’s a profound difference between the two.

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The Empathy Gap →

April 03, 2015 |

Richard J. Anderson pens a brilliant piece on the relationship between empathy and technology:

I wonder if it’s possibly that over a certain limit, perhaps Dunbar’s Number, the human capacity not only for stable relationships, but for empathy, decreases. The human mind is a hodgepodge of cognitive shortcuts that make it easy for us—all of us—to lump people into categories of who deserves, or doesn’t, our empathy and understanding. I can only speak for myself, with no research to draw on, but I know it’s incredibly difficult for me to empathize with a person who has ended up in the category I’ll call my “shit list.” It’s true that nobody thinks they’re stupid, and everybody has their reasons. That doesn’t mean that I understand. My inability to do so, or even try, for those on the outs with me, is a major shortcoming. My hope is that I share it with others, who seek to overcome.

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Car Industry Strikes Back - Volvo Paints a Grim Picture →

March 31, 2015 |

I was this close to linking to another article on this topic a couple days ago, but I trusted Mikael Colville-Andersen to drive the point home much better than I ever could:

The latest piece in our ongoing Car Industry Strikes Back series writes itself. This time it’s Volvo doing its best to draw your attention to the fact that motorists kill obscene amounts of people - including themselves - by placing the responsibility on cyclists and pedestrians. It’s a smoke screen and this time it’s sprayed on. It is Ignoring the Bull in Society’s China Shop taken to the next level.

Volvo Life Paint. Seriously. Life paint.

But hey… it’s not for the 35,000+ people killed by or in cars in the EU alone by Volvo and their Big Auto homies (around the same in the US and 1.2 million worldwide - not to mention the tenfold more killed by pollution from cars and trucks or the hundreds and hundreds of thousands more injured…).

And no, it’s not rational ideas like helmets for motorists or making motorists responsible by forcing them to have external airbags.

It’s spray on paint.

The worst part is that I’ve already seen plenty of cyclists that are actually happy this product exists. I mean, how ridiculous is this? A car manufacturer developing — and selling — a special reflective paint for cyclists to spray on themselves — all with the noble goal of not getting themselves killed by the very cars Volvo makes.


UPDATE: There’s a follow-up article on They’ve created a petition on to get Volvo to offer free Life Paint for every Volvo car on the roads today. I just signed it.

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Made by: Chris Coyier →

March 31, 2015 |

The “Made by” video series by Envato takes a brief look at the life of some creative professionals around the world, and it’s just fantastic. I can identify with pretty much every word in their last episode with Chris Coyier of CodePen:

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Lost Boys →

March 31, 2015 |

Duncan Fyfe pens a great piece on why GamerGaters need not apply at Campo Santo, the video game studio currently hard at work on finishing their much-awaited upcoming game, Firewatch:

The whole idea that Campo Santo has a GamerGate blacklist, then—that’s imaginary? I asked Ng and Vanaman to explain. “Let’s say [you] want to work here in the future, when, hopefully, we’re looking to add one or two people to the team in the coming years,” Vanaman says. “Let’s say you think the gaming press should do a better job in informing consumers about what’s going on in the industry and what’s in a particular game. Great. Articulate your opinions and be thoughtful. Let’s say you think the harassment, doxxing and hate brought onto others under the umbrella of GG is awful and don’t associate with that part of the hashtag. Let’s say you’re able to articulate that very clearly. The problem is, your stalwart association with a hashtag shows a glaring blind spot in your ability to understand and empathize with other people. It shows you don’t get that labelling your opinions with something so compromised makes you careless at best and an asshole at worst.”

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Nintendo’s 1-Up →

March 31, 2015 |

M.G. Siegler:

At first, I thought it was kudos-worthy to realize they couldn’t do this alone. But thinking about it a bit more, it’s ridiculous that they aren’t doing this themselves. This segment of the market isn’t going away, and Nintendo should be taking it far more seriously than they are.

In a way, it reminds me of Apple’s partnership with Motorola on the ROKR iTunes-enabled phone. How well did that work out? A couple years later, we had the iPhone.

Agreed. As excited as some folks seem to be about the recently-announced licensing agreement, it’s hard to see it as little more than a half-hearted effort on Nintendo’s part. If they really cared about this, they’s do it themselves, as they’ve always done.

If Siegler’s correct, though — and I believe he is — it won’t be long before some of the higher ups at Nintendo start seeing things for what they really are.

Here’s hoping.

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