CHANGER, by Matt Gemmell →

June 22, 2016 |

Matt Gemmell’s new novel, CHANGER, was released today. For those of us who are members on Matt’s personal site, this is a very special day. We’ve been walking alongside him right from day one, and we’ve watched with excitement and anticipation as he relentlessly inched closer and closer to the finish line. It’s been humbling to watch Matt deal with the struggle, all without ever losing faith in himself or his writing. Today, we all celebrate.

It’s been a great journey. Writing a book is no small deed — only the tree and the child missing now, I guess — and I for one feel very fortunate to have witnessed its birth from our tiny little window: Matt’s newsletter, The Writer’s Life.

Of course, the best part — you know, the actual reading — comes now. For what it’s worth, I’m only halfway through the first chapter and I’m already hooked. I’d say I’m surprised, but Matt always did have a way with words.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I left a ruthless mercenary doing some pretty nasty things and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Care to join me?

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My review of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was published yesterday on Tools & Toys. Long story short: it’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful game, and one of the most rewarding gaming experiences ever. If you’re a fan of the series, this is an absolute must-play.

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Hello there, welcome to this special, to go edition of Morning Coffee.

Life’s been particularly busy around these parts lately, and I’m afraid I’ll continue to be pressed for time for the next few days at least. As a result, there will be no essay this week, and instead I’ll leave you with the usual selection of some of the best pieces of writing on the Internet — and yes, that’s Internet with a capital “I”.

It’s important to keep a flexible enough work schedule. That will help you accommodate most changes without disrupting your plans, most of the time. It’s just a smart thing to do, and provides some extra peace of mind. I always try to do that.

Eventually, however, a day will come when circumstances change beyond your control and/or ability to anticipate those changes, and you’ll have to adapt. And sometimes, you’ll need to accept there’s nothing you can do about it. Learning to be OK with that can be quite difficult, but it’s also a very valuable skill, as it allows you to keep your eye on the ball despite the occasional hiccup.

I suppose there’s a lesson to be learned from that.

Issue #43: Motorcycle-proof cameras and the death of the Internet

No animals, domestic or otherwise, were harmed in the selection of these pieces. Enjoy responsibly.

The Day the Internet Became “internet” | Alyssa Bereznak →

The Associated Press has now officially changed their AP Stylebook to de-capitalize the words “internet”, and “web”. Moreover, many important publications, including The New York Times, have announced they will follow suit. No offense, but the AP, the NYT, and whoever else has a problem with capitalizing the Internet can kiss my ass on this one.

Crafting My Home Office | Ben Brooks →

Great piece from Ben on how important it is to ruthlessly defend your working space. I wholeheartedly agree — and by the way: nice office, Ben.

Two and a half years, 13 countries, 1 camera: The Leica M Review | Sebastiaan de With →

This is without a doubt the best Leica M review you’ll see on the Web — see what I did there?

In fact, this review is so good that it had me looking at used Leica M3’s on eBay for a good long while after I finished reading it. And if you’re a Candid listener, you know I don’t say that lightly.

Rafael Nadal a victim of his own mental and physical strengths | Greg Garber →

Rafael Nadal is one of the best tennis players ever, but his incredibly physical playing style has been taking a tremendous toll on his body for many years now, and he may be close to breaking down for good.

Comparisons? Golden State Warriors Are Playing a Different Game | Harvey Araton →

The Warriors are making history, and there are two very good reasons for that: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Star Wars Episode IV in one picture | Martin Panchaud →

This bonus link for the week was absolutely brilliant.


Just like the foreword, I’m afraid the afterword will have to be cut short this week. Life permitting, the usual Morning Coffee format will be back next week. Until then, have a wonderful Sunday, and thank you for reading.

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Candid, Episode #16: Zooms vs. Primes & Mosquitos vs. Pyjama Bottoms →

June 05, 2016 |

There’s not a clear-cut main topic in this week’s episode, and instead we touched on a lot of different things, including the everlasting zooms vs. primes debate, and the proper attire to combat wild mosquitoes in the Canadian wilderness. I really like how this one turned out.

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Stephen Curry’s 3-Point Record in Context: Off the Charts →

June 01, 2016 |

Fascinating chart by Gregor Aisch and Kevin Quealy over at The New York Times:

How can we best put the gap between Curry and the best three-point shooters in history in context? Over the past 30 years, the number of 3-point field goals has trended steadily upward. If we project that trend into the future, 402 becomes a perfectly natural number of 3-point field goals for an N.B.A. player to make.

In the mid-2030s.

Insane stats from the NBA’s best three-point shooter ever.

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May 29, 2016

Hello there, welcome to another issue of Morning Coffee.

This week I want to take a look at the final game of the UEFA Champions League, which was contested by Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid yesterday in Milano. For the second time in just three years, these two teams from the same city competed for the most prestigious title in European football — wait, I mean soccer.

Issue #42: The UEFA Champions League trophy goes back to Madrid

What a game. Not that we haven’t seen it before, though.

Two years ago, Real Madrid won the title in heroic fashion, after Sergio Ramos scored a goal in the nick of time to tie the scoreboard at 1-1 and send the game into the overtime, saving his team from certain defeat. In the overtime, Real Madrid were just fresher and capitalized on the shift in momentum, taking the game 4-1. It was a cruel defeat for Atlético’s fans, who saw the trophy slip right through their fingers, despite almost touching it for the better part of 90 minutes.

This time around, it was once again Real Madrid that took the trophy home, and it was an even tougher defeat for Atlético, if that’s even possible. An early goal by Sergio Ramos — again — put Real Madrid in the lead, and Atlético were forced to adjust their strategy, playing in a way that does not come naturally to them.

Much to their credit, they did an excellent job and managed to create a few clear goal chances, only to see them foiled at the last second. They even missed a penalty kick in the beginning of the second half, something that is extremely difficult to put behind when the stakes are this high.

But if Atlético have one character trait as team, it is their absolute refusal to give up. They kept pressing on and eventually, Yannick Carrasco somehow found the perfect way to finish a tremendous offensive play and put the scoreboard back on level terms. It was back to square one.

By that point there were only 15 minutes left and both teams were understandably cautious, so there weren’t any more serious chances for either team before the referee signaled the end of the 90-minute game. Just like in Lisbon two years ago, the final was headed into the overtime.

However, this year there would be no glorious victory in the overtime, no epic goals and, frankly, not much to speak of at all. Both teams were exhausted due to the extreme physicality of the game, and most players were just trying to make it to the end, fighting the cramps and the pain in order to remain in play. Some, like Filipe Luis, didn’t make it and had to be replaced. Others, like Gareth Bale, managed to hold on through sheer force of will.

It was time for the penalties.

Whenever a game of this magnitude has to be decided by a penalty shootout, there’s always drama. Some people say penalty shootouts are cruel, and unfair. I disagree. I believe in sports, you need to make your own luck.

Losing by the narrowest of margins always stings, but such is the way of the game. And so, when Juanfran missed the penalty that would ultimately bring down Atlético, the look on his face was heartbreaking, but he shouldn’t be the one to blame. After all, both teams had 120 minutes to earn the trophy and the simple truth is, both failed to do so. Just like victories are team efforts, defeats too must be endured collectively.

I have no doubt Atlético will recover. Another admirable character trait they share is their utter belief in hard work as the only valid path to greatness. They believe soccer is a meritocracy, and that the best team is the one that wins. That sounds like a simple enough philosophy, but Atlético have proven time and time again that they actually live by it, which is a lot harder than it seems, especially on nights like this.

For Real Madrid, last night was one for the history books: 11 Champions League titles, and counting. No other team comes even close to those numbers, and it’s time for a well-deserved celebration. For Atlético, on the other hand, it’s time to get back to work.

Fortunately, nobody does it better than them.

Top Five: Uncharted 4, a missing parrot, Google’s CEO, and the perils of losing our free will

This week’s selection comes to you fresh off the presses. Enjoy.

’Uncharted 4’ Director Neil Druckmann on Nathan Drake, Sexism in Games (SPOILER ALERT) | Chris Suellentrop →

This was a really great interview with Uncharted 4’s creative director Neil Druckmann for Rolling Stone. I love how straightforward and down-to-earth this guy is. It’s kind of crazy when you realize he’s been responsible for several of the greatest video games of all time, some of which have budgets comparable to Hollywood blockbuster movies.

A Brain Dump of What I Worked on for Uncharted 4 | Allen Chou →

Another Uncharted 4 link for you, this time from Allen Chou, one of the developers who worked on the game. I love these behind-the-scenes pieces, and it’s always interesting to learn just how much work it takes to create a game like Uncharted 4. really impressive stuff.

The Strange Tale of Echo, the Parrot Who Saw Too Much | Laurel Braitman →

This is priceless. A parrot that used to belong to a New Orleans crime boss has disappeared, and people are looking for him because, get this, they want to put him in a witness protection program.

Apparently, the parrot was saying things he really shouldn’t be saying, and some people think he could provide critical testimony that could help put his owner away. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but it looks like it’s not all BS:

Certain species in particular, can be spot-on imitators of the sounds around them—from the mundane cell phone conversation of their owners to calling the family dog by name and then bark just like them. They can mimic the beep of a microwave or a cell-phone ring so closely that it’s confusing. Sometimes they mimic other things people do too.

I know this is a serious matter, but it’s hard not to laugh at that last one.

Searching for Sundar Pichai | Mat Honan →

This was an interesting profile on Google’s CEO. Come to think of it, I knew almost nothing about the man, which seems kind of crazy considering how huge a company Google is, and how much media attention it garners.

There’s No Such Thing as Free Will | Stephen Cave →

And here’s your existential piece of the week. There are lots of troubling ideas to consider here:

Determinism not only undermines blame, Smilansky argues; it also undermines praise. Imagine I do risk my life by jumping into enemy territory to perform a daring mission. Afterward, people will say that I had no choice, that my feats were merely, in Smilansky’s phrase, “an unfolding of the given,” and therefore hardly praiseworthy. And just as undermining blame would remove an obstacle to acting wickedly, so undermining praise would remove an incentive to do good. Our heroes would seem less inspiring, he argues, our achievements less noteworthy, and soon we would sink into decadence and despondency.

So basically, the day we stop believing in free will, we become total assholes. Food for thought.


How’s your week been? Mine has been interesting. I’m now working on a review of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, after thoroughly enjoying the heck out of that game. It’s been a truly impressive experience, and definitely the prettiest game I’ve ever seen. If I had to rank it, it would place a close second to The Last of Us in my all-time list, but that’s only because The Last of Us is so emotional and character-driven that it really transcends the medium.

Other than that, things seem a bit quieter than usual on the Internet, although the calm is definitely not going to last. With WWDC just around the corner, we’re about to go from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, so I’ll happily take the down time now.

Thank you for reading, and have a great Sunday.

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