Real Food is Here

Hat-tip to another article from Huckberry, Modern Pioneering, that I just linked to for bringing this one from 2013 to my attention. In the past, I have written extensively about Rohan Anderson’s own work, as well as his escapades: when he felled trees and built an awesome smokehouse by hand, that fantastic video led to a string of four posts — Something to it, walk it off brother, hard at work, living simple, and so simple — that effectively chronicled my amazement with and admiration for his chosen lifestyle. And then I stumbled across this piece, and all of those feelings rushed back even stronger than before.   

Modern Pioneering

Although I’m still coming to terms with her use of “#ModernPioneering” when promoting this, Huckberry’s recent article on Georgia Pellegrini is great even if it does seem — to me, at least — almost absurd to see the two disparate worlds of pioneering and hashtags collide so inelegantly. Someday, I would love to live the lifestyle she leads: it sounds incredible.   

Apple and Nike

Ben Thompson has been killing it over at Stratechery lately, especially with this piece comparing Apple and Nike through the apt characterization of experience companies. As a recent convert from the Windows world, I can speak to the reality of Apple’s unique (within the technology industry, at least) position as such a corporation from first-hand experience: from the outside looking in, I couldn’t help but want to join this community and become a part of the Apple world. There are undoubtedly those who will discount even the accuracy of Apple’s designation as an experience company rather than a behemoth fostering a cult of fanatic worshipers willing to pay any sum for their latest POS — and that’s not “point of service” — offering, much less the ability for that to compel anyone to Apple’s platforms over Windows and Android. However, it is very real. And most importantly, it’s working.   

Does Jeff Bezos Read Asymco?

I doubt it, but who knows — maybe Jeff Bezos has an assistant gather Horace’s articles every evening, print them onto sheets of newspaper, and insert the pages between those of his morning delivery of The Washington Post. Weirder things have happened before, anyway. To Ben’s point though, making the distinction between novelty, creation, invention, and innovation is incredibly important regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, whether among those creating products or writing about them. Having a firm grasp of these marked differences will not only inform how one frames emergent technologies, developing market segments, and potential businesses, but the viability of focusing any attention on to any one — or all — of these areas as well.   

Writing for Pageviews

When writing Rethinking RSS the other day, I started reflecting on my process for discovering and consuming new and interesting writing. This time around I zeroed in less on the specifics, though — Tweetbot, Instapaper, and Reeder — , more on the jobs I use those and other services to complete, and how that methodology could bode ill for the current metric by which website owners determine success, attain profitability, and measure popularity.   

Analog’s Stranglehold of the Classroom

Interesting retrospective by Josh Ginter over at The Newsprint on his time in college and how, then, higher education seemed to approve more of analog note taking than digital, and why. Thankfully, that has largely ceased to be the case: in my last two semesters in college, I can think of only two classes — math and Chinese, for during both those courses a romanized alphabet would have proved virtually worthless — during which no one had a computer out. Aside from those two, it has become par for the course to use some sort of electronic device during class, whether a laptop or tablet, and for the most part teachers have accepted this. Great — but personally, I’m more of a pen and paper kind of guy; for the foreseeable future, at least, analog will maintain its stranglehold on my classroom experience.   

Constellation

On April 21st, 2014, a tremor shook the podcasting world. Not a large one, but like an avalanche feeding on itself and growing ever-larger, this quake’s onset marked the beginning of a significant change. Or at least, that’s how I think we will look back on the otherwise unremarkable Monday afternoon Ben Alexander, Jamie Ryan, Lorenzo Guddemi, and Sid O’Neill launched Constellation.   

The Hard Stuff Often Matters Most

Great article and accompanying advice from Leo Babauta on choosing the hard tasks rather than sticking with the easy ones, and how this approach to every aspect of life — while inarguably more difficult — will inevitably lend itself to greater results than the alternative. “Easier said than done”, one might say, but that’s exactly the point.   

Railways and WhatsApp

I know I speak for many when I say that some disruption among the service providers of the mobile phone industry would be very interesting indeed. Unfortunately, as Benedict Evans explains here, this will prove quite the monumental task. Not impossible, but perhaps at the very least prohibitively difficult.   

CSS 3D Solar System

This is absolutely incredible. Using only JavaScript to manage the toggles, Julian Garnier made this fantastic interactive solar system powered by nothing more than CSS and some HTML structure code. Even cooler, it’s not just a pretty animation: it has a lot of interesting information to show as well. Awesome.   

In Defense of the Link Blog

Earlier this month I published Owning Their Words, an article I named for and wrote in response to Matt Gemmell’s then-recent essay titled Own your words. In that piece, Matt explained the reasons he continues to write and publish on his own website rather than using a more streamlined venue such as Medium or another, similar service potentially more conducive to greater traffic that his own setup. Doing my best not to spoil his conclusion, that motivation came down to owning every aspect of his words, from the creation process to the manner in which the browser rendered them for his readers. This had a particularly profound impact on me in bringing my long-standing discomfort with the traditional link blog format — whereby its adherents scour the work of other authors, extract the pertinent lines as a pull-quote, and post it on their own site — to a head; by the time I finished Matt’s article, I had resolved to abandon the format entirely.   

Why the Web Still Matters for Writing

Great counter-point to The decline of the mobile web by Ben Thompson, guest posting on Matthew Mullenweg’s site about the value of the web in a world dominated by apps. An infinite number of apps could be made for infinite number of use cases, but they will still only be designed for those specific use cases; beyond those, there must be something more flexible, able to handle every other possible need. That something is the web.   

The decline of the mobile web

In preparing to read this article, rather than read it on Chris Dixon’s website, I first tried in Instapaper. Instapaper failed to accurately parse the article though, so I then created an account at Pocket where I ultimately read and finished the piece before writing about it in Drafts and posting the end result from my computer. Now, as I have explained in the past, this is not usual: for the most part, I prefer to read articles in their intended environment. Ideological values only last so long though, and if that’s not a damning case for the future of apps over the web, I don’t know what is.   

This Week in Podcasts

Driving home from a weekend with the family? Boy, have I got just what you need to spice up a few hours of monotonous turns and straightaways: the following list contains all the best podcasts I have had the privilege of listening to within the past week. Whether you’re out on the open road or simply looking for the diamonds in the rough, look no further than this week’s installment of my ongoing series, This Week in Podcasts.   

An Interview with Ben Thompson

Josh Horwitz, writing for Tech in Asia, conducted a great interview with Ben Thompson about his decision to go solo, and his background as a writer in the tech sector. If you’re still on the fence as to whether you should become a member of Stratechery or not, both this interview and another article from The Next Web by Jon Russell on Ben’s transition to independent writer ought to convince you. Ben knows what he’s talking about: he has an impressive background that gives him fantastic insight into modern-day events within nearly every industry technology touches. And even at $30 a month — disregarding the existence of the two lower membership tiers at $5 and $10 a month — access to those insights is a steal.   

Rethinking Passwords

Until a few days ago, I was the cautionary tale; everyone told my story leading up to a punch line in which some unfortunate schmuck lost everything after a malevolent hacker gained access to one of his online services. Despite his best efforts, an obscure — or not so obscure, ahem Heartbleed — security breach had given an attacker access to one of this poor individual’s passwords, and although he had selected lengthy combinations and varied them slightly from service to service, they ultimately remained only marginally different; he had to keep them all straight in his head, after all, and so after the initial break-in, determining the appropriate combinations to everything else from Gmail to bank accounts proved relatively easy for his maligned attacker. Thankfully, it never actually got as far for me as it did for our hypothetical Job. It could have, though, and that realization has weighed heavily on me for quite some time now.   

Stratechery 2.0

As of yesterday, Ben Thompson has gone indie: after a three-part series examining the decline of newspapers and the role of individual writers in this new world order, he took his own words to heart in crafting an impressive business model consisting of three membership tiers, each chock-full of some very compelling offerings. Along with an excellent new weekly podcast called Stratechery.fm — whose first episode, Welcome to Stratechery.fm, I plan to cover at length in this week’s installment of This Week in Podcasts — he intends to publish much more often and in this way make writing for Stratechery his full-time job. I became a member, and I hope you will too; we could use more intelligent analysis in the tech industry these days, and Ben Thompson is just the man for the job.   

Rethinking RSS

My relationship with RSS, while not exactly turbulent, has remained fairly amorphous over the last few years. In the Google Reader era, I used RSS occasionally to keep up with a handful of sites using Google’s now-defunct service, an iOS app called Feedler, and then, later, Feedler Pro — you could say I was moving on up in the world. Following Reader’s demise, however, I had to change things up a bit as I simultaneously lost my primary tool for participating in this medium and became much more enthusiastic about it. Unable to find any suitable web-based alternatives capable of syncing across multiple platforms though, I opted for the somewhat cumbersome route whereby I pointed my latest iOS RSS client, Reeder, directly at the RSS feeds I wished to track with. In other words, rather than signing in with a Google Reader account, I pasted the feed URLs directly into Reeder and let the app take care of the back-end work previously fulfilled by Google. Although this had the benefit of cutting out my reliance on middlemen, it came with one major downside: no sync whatsoever. Thus, unless I wanted to scroll through the same list of feeds multiple times for each device — and I did not — I could subscribe to and read these feeds on one device only.   

Popular + Luxurious = Populuxe

Huckberry takes us on a nostalgic trip to a bygone era I fear we will never experience again. Aspiration, decency, and pride are all vanishing from America at much too rapid a pace these days, and that rate has only continue to increase in recent years; Nicholas Pell is right to be saddened by their untimely and unfortunate passing, for once our society loses these values I doubt we will ever see them come back.   

Measuring Success In Life

Colleen Kong wrote a guest post on one of the few websites I follow unrelated to technology, Financial Samurai, detailing how she measures success in her life outside of her wallet’s size, with some great advice for everyone regardless of their lot in life. I wish her the best of luck.   

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