j/k. I’m super excited to present my newly-redesigned website (still powered by #Bridgetown of course). The previous design was heavily centered around a “social network” vibe, as if you were looking at my profile page. I literally repeated my name and avatar for every post, and even had an ❤︎ Awesome button you could click.
This time however, I decided to go back to my blogging roots and come up with a concept that’s both retro and forward-looking. So in terms of typography, shading, mobile navigation, performance, and other small touches, it feels like a modern website…but at the same time it’s totally obvious that it’s a blog. It’s definitely my most holistic and disciplined personal website design to date. I hope you enjoy it!
P.S. One of my secondary goals in working on the new design was to create a codebase from which I could extract a Bridgetown theme for others to use. I don’t have immediate plans to start on that, but it’s only a matter of time… (meanwhile, if you’re curious, my website repo is open to all).
Stay in the Loop
Look, I get it. You already subscribe to too many newsletters. So much to keep up with. But guess what? I only send out a newsletter occassionaly. It’s no big deal. And if you peruse the Creator Class archive, you might find something that resonates with you. It’s a great way to stay current with what I’m publishing, and newsletter recipients always get some extra insight just for them. So what are you waiting for? Let’s roll!
Blog: short for Web-log. A personalized record of content you post on the web.
Web: a shortening of World-Wide Web. A global network of hypertext documents all linking to each other.
So then, why is it rare to find anyone actually doing this with their blog? 🤔
There’s a term in IndieWeb circles called Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere (or POSSE). It sort of captures an aspect of that idea…basically you use your own blog to publish thoughts, link commentary, photos, videos, newsletters, etc., and then disseminate that content out to other services (YouTube, Twitter, mailing lists, your own RSS feed, etc.)
I tried POSSE in a previous incarnation of this site. I ended up not liking it. It doesn’t capture the workflows I instinctively prefer on a regular basis, nor how I wish the #openweb really functioned.
What I want to do is the exact opposite! IndieWeb also provides a term for this: Publish Elsewhere, Syndicate (to your) Own Site (or PESOS). They don’t recommend it, and the wiki page enumerates some of the reasons why. But I have come to realize I prefer PESOS for a lot of the content I produce, because it’s generally way easier and the UX is way better.
I like uploading podcast episodes to Buzzsprout. (I don’t for this site, but I do use it for the Fullstack Ruby podcast.)
I like posting photos on…well, certainly not Instagram any more. 😂 Glass is pretty rad, but I haven’t determined if I want to reserve it for the “fancy” photos I take with my “fancy” camera, or simply give up and flood it with on-the-go iPhone snaps.
I likereleasing music on Bandcamp. (Honestly, I don’t know of any indie musician who doesn’t use Bandcamp at this point!)
So the question then becomes: how do I post all this content elsewhere, then transparently pull in links and import content back to my own #website? Of course on a technical level, it means I’ll be writing lots of Ruby plugins for Bridgetown, the software I use to build my website. But I’m always musing on workflows that can be easily applied to the industry of blogging as a whole. I haven’t seen much evidence anyone’s truly cracked this nut. Also admittedly, dragging your own content in kicking and screaming from third-party silos is often less than straightforward (hence the notion of POSSE), because they have a vested interest not to let you feature your own content on your own website. (YouTube remains sort of a weird outlier here because they make it easy to embed videos anywhere, and youtube-dl is certainly a thing.)
Still, I’m motivated to figure this stuff out. I’ll let you know how it goes! ☺️
I’ve been rocking the iPhone mini lifestyle since the 12 series debuted. I love my mini. I love that form factor. And I’m sad to see it go.
Nevertheless, time marches one and new iPhone models come out packed with new features. And the list of new features in the #iPhone 14 Pro is impressive indeed.
Dynamic Island (I always hated the notch. Byeeee!)
48MP Main Camera
OK, maybe that last one isn’t a “feature”, but I definitely love this color. I got to hold one at my local #Apple store and generally see the Dynamic Island at work, and it’s fantastic. It’s what the design should have been from the beginning. Farewell notch…hopefully forever.
I’ve heard some grumblings about the overall lack of progress in the standard iPhone lineup this year, and I get that. But for me it’s not an issue, because there’s no way I would ever upgrade from an iPhone mini to one of the standard iPhones. If I’m forced to leave the world of the mini behind, I’m going Pro. No question about it.
I literally searched DuckDuckGo for “what is the perfect blog post length?” and got a wide variety of different answers all on the first page. I suppose it entirely depends on the genre, the author, and the audience. In other words, perfection will be forever illusory.
So I took a look at what I’d written so far throughout the year, and for short “thought” posts like this, the average seems to be around 300 words. For longer article-style posts, the average seems to be around 900.
Rather than leave it random chance, I’m going to try an experiment to see if I can keep the length of short posts a little bit shorter—say around 200 words—so that I’m more motivated to write and publish them, and conversely strive to ensure essays clock in at no less than 1000 words.
This is all part of my renewed push to design a more disciplined and appealing workflow for blogging. You’d think I would have figured this stuff out by now! 😂 (Always more to learn…)
The one thing which has been so frustrating lately about iPadOS isn’t how far away the “pro” experience of #Apple#iPadPro is from what you get with a Mac. It’s how close it is. Tantalizingly close. You plug a modern iPad into a display, keyboard, and mouse, and if you squint a bunch and don’t try to accomplish too much all at once, you can kinda sorta see a powerful desktop OS at work. The “death by a thousand paper cuts” is what makes this experience so frustrating.
The word on the street (aka Mark Gurman’s latest reporting) is that Apple will be rolling out an advanced set of multitasking features for iPadOS at #WWDC, including an interface which will “let users resize app windows and offer new ways for users to handle multiple apps at once.” No mention of proper external display support, but it feels like that must be a given if you have a new windowing system.
Look, I’m not trying to replace my Mac. I love my Mac. The M1 Mac mini is an impressive desktop at an affordable price. However, I also want to be able to “KVM switch” myself over to an iPad desktop and enjoy everything about that experience as well. Because there are some tasks I really do prefer to perform in iPadOS vs. macOS. Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too? Hopefully Apple will soon have an affirmative answer to that question when it comes to the iPad.
Strange New Worlds feels a bit like a reboot done right.
Before you misunderstand me, listen: I’ve been pretty pro-Discovery since its inception and particularly loved seasons 3 & 4. Picard Season 1 was a masterpiece in my view and one of the best seasons of any Trek show ever. (Season 2 was a disappointing step down from those highs…but that’s a tale for another time.) And regarding the movies, while I didn’t much care for the two J.J. Abrams films, I thought Star Trek: Beyond was pretty freaking fantastic.
Yet in spite of all that, I do think we’ve been missing out a bit on that good ol’ Trek TV formula, and apparently the producers at Paramount agree: because Strange New Worlds fills that void with glorious aplomb.
Anson Mount continues to impress as Captain Pike. He weaves in elements of the original “Cage” Pike, Kirk’s swagger, Picard’s experienced poise, Sisko’s playfulness, and the endearing emotionality of later captains in Trek canon. Yet in the end he remains a fully individualized and memorable character. Mount as Pike doesn’t feel like a copy of the captains we’ve already seen, so much as he feels like the blueprint from which they later sprung. Accomplishing that in a prequel series made nearly 60 years after a failed pilot might just be one of the cleverest hat tricks in show biz.
I’ll refrain from commenting on the rest of the cast because honestly we haven’t had enough time with them yet. I will say that—no offense to Zachary Quinto’s acting prowess—Ethan Peck is the best Spock we’ve seen since 80s Nimoy. He’s filling immeasurably large shoes, and while his performance might not turn heads per se, it’s understated and competent. And honestly, that’s all I could hope for. I can believe he’s Spock more than (for example) I ever believed Alden Ehrenreich was Han Solo.
All in all, I am extremely satisfied with Strange New Worlds. I suppose things could fall to pieces in future episodes, but if they can keep the quality up this high in episode 3 and thereafter, I will claim without reservation that this is the most made-for-Trekkies Star Trek we’ve seen since The Orville. Oh snap!
I feel like it was a long time waiting for another Stange movie to arrive. I must reiterate that Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange is my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Way back in 2016, I wrote concerning the first Doctor Strange movie that it featured “excellent characterization, stunning locations, a surprisingly top-drawer script, and a director that manages to pull off some of the most breathtaking effects visuals I have ever seen on screen…this is clearly one of Marvel’s best cinematic efforts to date.” Eight years and several rewatches later, I still hold by that assessment.
So believe me when I say I’ve been very, very excited to head out to my local movie theater to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Unfortunately, while I did enjoy the experience and by no means think this is a bad film, overall my opinion is mixed on the merits of this second outing. There were aspects to the movie I thought were utterly delightful and wickedly clever. Yet there were other moments where I found myself befuddled and disappointed at the choices made by the Marvel story team. Without giving away any spoilers, I thought the tie-ins with Wandavision were the weakest links in the chain by far. Elizabeth Olsen certainly pulls off an amazing acting feat in her role, but the role itself in the context of the entire story arc left me cold. I honestly wish they’d gone in a different direction and not touched her character at all. (Perhaps leave that to a “Wandavision 2” or standalone Scarlet Witch movie.)
I’ll share this spoiler-filled dive into the film by one of my favorite YouTube pundits, Kristian Harloff. I think his thoughts echoed my own in nearly all cases, so if you’ve watched it yourself by now, you might find his commentary intriguing.
In the end, I did appreciate much of what was in the movie scene-by-scene and enjoyed my time at the theater, but the problematic elements of the story took the entire experience down a notch. Overall, I’d have to rank this in the lower half of MCU productions to date, and nowhere near my Top 10. Which is a real shame considering the first Doctor Strange film is one of my favorite comic-book / #scifi#movies of all time.
Alongside the “Great Resignation” of 2021-2022, we are witnessing the “Great Recognition” of the simple fact that the #openweb is the only digital space where you can leave a true legacy as a thinker and a writer.
Walled gardens like #Facebook, #Twitter, Medium, and many others have tried to capture words over the decades. They failed. 100 years from now, when people look back in time to witness What People Thought, they won’t be gleaning the highest wisdom and deepest insights from tweets and likes and shares.
It will be Articles. Essays. In other words, Blog Posts. (Before you say “what about Newspaper Columns?”—in this day and age they might as well just be considered Blog Posts because we typically consume them the exact same way.)
Medium-to-longform content, written by individuals, and largely posted on independent websites for all the world to see. Not trapped inside a social network, but freely accessible*. I’ve never been more bullish on the power of the #openweb to both contain and promote forward thinking than I am today.
* Rest assured I’m not making a case here against paywalls—even paywalled #writing can be “freely accessible” on the open web in the sense that you don’t need to join a Big Tech platform to make #payments in order to access the content.
Back to the #openweb I go. Not that I ever left it…but to be quite frank, it’s so easy to post and get immediate feeback on #Twitter that I spend most of my day-to-day “chit-chat energy” there and not on my own #website.
No longer! Now that Elon Musk is buying Twitter and taking it private, I’m done putting serious effort into creating content for walled gardens. Everything, and I mean everything I publish from here on out will start on my own properties and then get syndicated elsewhere.
I’m also in the process of switching from Revue (owned by Twitter) to ConvertKit for my email newsletter. In the meantime, feel free to email me to get in touch! 😃
Even in its nascent state, Universal Control changes everything. Suddenly iPadOS becomes a true extension of #macOS…like many power users I’ve run an #iPadPro on a stand next to my desktop Mac for years, but ergonomically-speaking, switching between the two was a major pain. It became incrementally easier with the Magic Keyboard/Trackpad, but issues remained…not the least of which is transferring files and even bits of in-context data back and forth doesn’t always feel natural and smooth.
With Universal Control, you start to forget you’re running two different devices running two different environments…suddenly you’re just using “AppleOS” everywhere. Heck, I’ve even gone from desktop Mac (M1 Mac mini) to laptop (Intel MBP) as well when I need to do something on one from the other. And yes, you can span all three with nearly zero lag or fiddling—even when using drag ‘n’ drop!
This is without a doubt the biggest quality-of-life improvement #Apple has brought to its ecosystem since cursor support on iPadOS first appeared almost two years ago.