A Bionic Fan Surprises Matt Alexander

I don’t link to these kinds of things often, but this time I just couldn’t resist: for all you Bionic fans out there, a true fan surprised Matt Alexander at XOXO this year. Hilarious.  

This Week in Podcasts

This week we see the return of my favorite podcast, Roderick on the Line, to this list with an even better episode than usual. Also making an appearance we have The Campfire Project, Exponent, and Grit; a fantastic roster, if I do say so myself.  

Pokemon Black

I came across this story thanks to Polygon’s refutation of the mod’s existence, but fortunately thought to read the original article over at Tiny Cartridge first — as I would recommend you do as well. “Creepy” barely scratches the surface of this haunting tale. Especially if you, like me, grew up loving Pokemon, I encourage you to take a few minutes and read this story; it’s remarkably well-done.  

Legitimate Text Processing

As usual, a great post by Joe Steel over at Unauthoritative Pronouncements where he tackles the now-inflammatory issue of Markdown and its numerous variants, and goes on to explain why he cannot get behind Jeff Atwood’s “Standard Markdown" — later renamed to “Common Markdown”, and then finally “CommonMark" — play. I completely agree with every point Joe made. However, I will say that although I do agree with Joe, I cannot get behind the undertone vilifying Jeff Atwood running beneath a number of the articles I have read on this topic. If Jeff’s latest blog post is anything to go by, he meant no offense in the first place. In fact, Jeff gave John Gruber multiple opportunities to express any issues with any aspect of his project, but John could not be bothered to respond. As Carl Holscher pointed out, adults should have acted like adults to begin with, aired their grievances promptly and privately, and then proceeded with an interesting project sans the drama. Act your age, and not your font size.  

A Tale of Two Markdowns

Possible the only impartial take on the recent Markdown flareup you will find anywhere, Sid O’Neill took this opportunity to make a great work of prose rather than a declaration of support in favor of one side or the other. Take this opportunity to enjoy an article for the excellent craft it contains, rather than the point it attempts to make.  

The Great Facade

Every day like clockwork, I copy a small text file out of a staging directory. Shortly thereafter, a Python script pulls the contents of that file out, parses it, and then places each line into a webpage that then gets pushed up to a server managed by a good friend of mine. Within a few seconds of that page going live, the handy Bitly bookmarklet gives me a shortened URL that I then send out to the world thanks to the magic of Tweetbot.  

I Ghostwrite Chinese Students' Ivy League Admissions Essays

The idea that one could survive and prosper based on their merits alone is a comforting idea. If this story teaches us anything though, it teaches us that increasingly, it is nothing more than that — little more than a comforting notion in a world where mom and dad can open their wallets to make any door spring open before their baby. I signed eight years of my life away in exchange for a four-year education, and while I don’t regret that decision in the least, it’s remarkably disheartening to see others reap similar rewards in exchange for their father’s signature and a brief “Thanks."  

An idealistic notion

I first came across Rohan Anderson and his writing through a video titled “The Smokehouse”, where he talked about and demonstrated his efforts to construct a smokehouse completely by hand. Since that cool winter night almost a year ago now, I have continued following Rohan’s activities through his excellent blog, Whole Larder Love, and have linked to a number of his articles in the weeks and months since then. If my implicit endorsement of everything he says and stands for has not been enough to warrant your attention, though, let me come out and say it once more, this time explicitly: if you have any interest whatsoever in the outdoors, farming, sustainability, independence, health, cooking, photography, or alternative lifestyles, I implore you to spend some time learning about Rohan’s lifestyle choices and the reasons he made those decisions. And this post, An idealistic notion, is a great place to start.  

How to Unschool Your Kids at Any Age

After Ben Hewitt’s recent essay on his approach to and the benefits of unschooling, Outside Online has another great article on the subject, this time offering some helpful suggestions to those looking to differ from the norm. Again, not the time to share my thoughts on this subject quite yet, but keep this one, too, in the back of your mind when I do.  

Cabin Porn Roundup

This is a continuation of my ongoing Cabin Porn Roundup series, where I collect interesting pictures of cabins and cool stories about the outdoors from across the world and present them in a single location. Much like my “This Week in Podcasts” series, I feature only the best of the best here. Enjoy.  

This Week Without Podcasts

For the past five months I have continued publishing a series of articles dubbed “This Week in Podcasts”. Born of my love for the medium, I have curated these lists to great results, and to my great enjoyment. However, this week I find myself in an unfortunate position: although I have worked diligently to get through my growing queue of unplayed podcast episodes over the past week, I have yet to find anything that merits inclusion in this list. I have had the privilege of listening to some great shows, but nothing struck me as particularly excellent and worthy of mention, unfortunately. And so, I have nothing to share with you today. I apologize, and look forward to something more next week.  

Conjecture Regarding Larger iPhone Displays

John Gruber with the one article you ought to read before Apple announces its new iPhones in a few weeks, and the single article you ought to read afterwards as well when searching for the reasons Apple chose these dimensions. Minus the somewhat unimaginative title, a great piece, albeit somewhat hard to follow at times given the complexity of the topic at hand and the factors playing into his assumptions.  

Curation Gone Wrong

Although I have never spent much time on Reddit, I once perused Digg with the same frequency that I opened Twitter and my RSS reader; sometimes, I even opted for the former in place of the latter. Similarly, I favored Hacker News over the more popular Techmeme for a time. In both cases though, despite all the enjoyment I found in these sites, I eventually abandoned each of them as the value they provided continued a disappointing slide towards zero. Today, Daring Fireball and The Loop are the closest things to a curation service that I continue visiting regularly, and one could certainly make an argument against their characterization as such.  

We Don't Need No Education

Ben Hewitt puts forth a very good case not seeking to argumentatively justify the notion of unschooling, but rather simply to explain his motivations behind choosing it for his two children in a fantastic article for Outside Online titled “We Don’t Need no Education”. As a homeschooler myself whose education resided somewhere between the traditional system and Ben’s approach on the spectrum of organized learning, I have been fortunate enough to both witness and experience many of the philosophies named here. Although this is neither the time nor place to discuss those observations, nor my broader thoughts on education vis-a-vis this article, keep this one in mind when I finally do sit down to talk about education.  

Alone With Lions

Jeff Kish is a contributing editor for Gear Junkie, a great site that publishes articles about the outdoors and the gear we humans can use to best tackle it. For the past two months, Jeff has been on a mission to hike the Pacific Northwest Trail, and post regular updates and gear reviews along the way. With this report, he has finally crossed the halfway point, and so I felt that now was as good a time as any to post a link here: if you, like me, appreciate a good trail almost as much as a great work of prose, I encourage you to give this series a look: it has both in good supply.  

Looking to the Future

Here on this website, I predominantly write about technology: Apple, iOS, the web, code, and the like in a mixture of original articles and link posts. I also put together a weekly collection of excellent podcasts that I, quite creatively, dubbed “This Week in Podcasts”. Roughly once a month I write about cabins too, and every so often talk about outdoor gear. The vast majority of the pieces I publish here, however, are at least tangentially related to technology. So if today you have come here looking for one of these articles, perhaps one where I hypothesize as to the future of podcasts or Apple’s next operating system, you might as well leave now: today I will touch on none of those topics, for I have sat down to, for the first time in quite a while, talk about myself. Myself, and my future.  

This Week in Podcasts

An unfortunately short list for you this week, curiously, despite the fact that — given my two-week absence — I have no shortage of podcasts queued up awaiting a bit of free time. But, therein lies the problem: as school resumes, I will no longer have the eight hours a day, forty hours each week, that I did over the summer to devote to podcasts. But enough about me — on to the shows you came here to hear about:  

How to Build Your Own Cabin

A pragmatic approach to something I one day hope to undertake myself: building my own cabin out in the woods. I fully a knowledge that I do not yet have all the experience necessary to do this well, to say nothing for the money, but all in due time.  

Zero Value Added

Shortly after Amplified started in 2012, I began following The Loop back when Jim Dalrymple served as the site’s sole writer. With a great sense of humor and an attractive approach to journalism that made no bones about calling people, institutions, and companies out for their often ridiculous shortcomings, the fact that Jim wrote great hardware reviews after Apple events was more a cherry atop the sundae than a driving motivation behind my choice to follow him; before too long, he had become one of my favorite writers, and his site the one location I turned to for a more diverse set of news stories than we in the insular tech community often expose ourselves to.  

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