Jared White Photo of Jared

Expressively publishing on the open web since 1996.
Entranced by Portland, Oregon since 2017.

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Patreon is laying off 17 percent of its workforce and closing offices

I’m genuinely sorry about all the people having to leave Patreon, and I wish them well in their new job search.

All right, so let’s roll back the clock and evaluate what I posted on Twitter in April 2021:

Today I found out Jack Conte has fired a bunch of people at the behest of former Instagram bigwig who became Patreon’s Chief Product Officer in January. Obviously “the big rewrite” is now underway.

First of all, changing your development priorities = firing a bunch of people is ridiculous. It’s the cookie-cutter mentality in tech. Oh, we need React developers now. Oh, we need Swift developers now. Oh, we need Kubernetes DevOps experts now. Oh, we need…

If you can’t adequately train the people who already work for you how to adapt to changing requirements, your org is fundamentally broken. Conte insists Patreon’s doing great financially, they just have some new ideas. OK. SO THEN WHY FIRE ANYBODY @#&%!#%?!

Secondly, I’d missed the memo that the former Head of Product of Instagram’s “Home experience” (aka “Feed, Stories, Ranking, Video, Profile and Interactions”) is now in charge of Patreon UX.
That revelation alone is firing planet-sized alarm bells in my head.

And it continues on from there… I was not a happy camper!

Needless to say, it’s now been well over a year later and Patreon genuinely sucks. 😒 The iOS app doesn’t feel noticeably nicer or more appealing in any way compared to before Mr. Instagram Julian Gutman took over, and the desktop web app now looks like a crappy knockoff of old Facebook. Most of the design on my large macOS display is blank nothingness. None of the UI has any character or personality whatsoever. (Remember when Patreon looked like this? Now it’s a dry corporate Silicon Valley VC desert.)

Patreon started out feeling like an indie product: by indies, for indies. Now they’re having to peer under sofa cushions looking for loose change in an effort to placate their VCs. It’s exhausting. I begrungingly support a tiny handful of creators still on the platform. I’d much rather pay them directly.

Look, I’m sure Jack Conte’s heart is in the right place and he means well. But I have ZERO confidence in the future of Patreon. They should have never hired Julian Gutman, and they should have never taken ridiculous piles of VC money. Bad moves, plain and simple.

Next obvious question: who will rise up and take Patreon’s place, only this time actually stay indie and forever feel indie and support nobody but indies? (VCs Begone!) Inquiring minds want to know!


iPhone 14 Pro Display Panels Reveal New Pill-and-Hole Design Replacing Notch

My favorite #iPhone since the iPhone 5 has been the iPhone 12 mini. I think #Apple knocked it out of the park with the 12 line-up in general, largely due to its industrial design and iPhone 5/iPad Pro-style flat edges. Plus having a small phone again really rekindled my love affair with this product category.

So I’ve been sad hearing the rumor mill pontificate that the mini size will be going away due to middling sales numbers. However, the flip side to all this is I’ve never been a fan of the notch. Sure I understand why it’s there, and it doesn’t bother me in daily usage. Yet it’s always felt like a hack, a necessary evil, a stain on an otherwise “perfect” form factor.

The pill-and-hole design brings us much closer to perfection. There’s no visual interruption along the edges of the display. It feels much more symmetrical, especially in landscape orientation. Obviously I can’t come to a final conclusion without seeing the final product in the flesh (assuming the rumors are true), but I’m far more impressed by the mockups so far than with the iPhone X-era notch.

If that’s the new design language of the iPhone 14 Pro, I’m afraid I’ll have to kiss my mini goodbye and embrace the bigger size once again. The pill-and-hole styling is simply irresistible.


I'm not interested.

This excellent tweet by Hector Martin sums up the bewildering lack of understanding many people—including the (likely) new owner of #Twitter, Elon Musk!—seem to have around the moderation of online speech.

Obviously I don’t want government goons arriving on your doorstep to haul you away if you’re just spouting off racist / homophobic / transphobic / misogynistic (etc.) garbage. You certainly have the right to be a trash human. However, you do not have the right to invade an online space I’ve chosen to participate in which purports to follow specific moderation rules. Twitter has been such a space as an independent company running an independent service on the web. If you don’t like it, well guess what? Run your own space! No one’s stopping you.

If Twitter is going to change its rules to make it “OK” to post hate speech on its service, then the people who are targets of that speech along with their allies will pack up and leave…which ironically results in less “free speech” on the platform in totality. “Let everyone express themselves freely in the public square” …and eventually you will find that the only people left in that square are the trolls.

Good luck with that.


Colors: Where did they go? An investigation.

This lengthy essay featuring reams of historical context and various theories on why so many modern movies & TV shows are noticeably desaturated along with a brown/amber or blue/green color wash is a must read. It’s something I’ve thought a lot about. And it’s interesting Emily St. James mentions the The Matrix Resurrections as a startling counter-response to this trend (and to the original Matrix trilogy for that matter) because that really struck me as well…though didn’t surprise me in the least—I fully expected the new movie to feel as much like sense8 as its direct predecessors.

I’m now on record saying I have a great love for a highly-colorful aesthetic—though apparently even in this new digital world (and perhaps even more so because of it), so many filmmakers feel like the way to look more “cinematic” is to desaturate everything and avoid any significant colors popping out of the image. I can only hope more and more creators in the industry start to realize they can—and at times most definitely should—embrace vibrancy without fear of professional blowback.

#movies #tvshows


Nomadland Won Best Picture at the Golden Globes and I Had No Idea

I’m running a microblogging experiment over at HEY World (the new light-weight blog platform intetgrated with the HEY email service). I’ve published this and a couple of other posts since March began. Having fun so far! #website #writing #movies


Ready to Join the Movement to Restore Speed, Simplicity, and Elegance to the Web?

I understand that to some of my readers, my new business website will come across as a bunch of incomprehensible techno-babble. Don’t worry—if that’s the case, you’re not my target demographic. 😄 This site is by a developer, for developers. My goal is to connect with like-minded people and organizations who are building the future of the web. Ping me if you fit the bill!


Electric vehicles close to ‘tipping point’ of mass adoption

I have no doubt we will soon reach the point where buying a car that is not electric is seen as a true head-scratcher. I, for one, intend to run my current Mazda gas-powered vehicle (all paid for) into the ground…and then buy an electric car. I simply couldn’t imagine spending a single nickel on any product which consumes fossil fuels.


Apple hid an AR Easter egg in its September event announcement

This is really fun! (Click the Easter Egg link in the article while on your iPhone/iPad.)

Putting on my speculation cap, here’s what I’m hoping to see on the 9/15 #Apple event:

  • #iPadPro inspired #iPhone 12 (duh)
  • Cheap iPad but with new Pro styling
  • “AirPhones”
  • More affordable Watch options
  • Teaser (or beyond!) of first Apple Silicon #Mac
  • A new app surprise of some kind (Terminal for iPadOS? 😎)
    • (Honestly Logic and/or MainStage for iPadOS would be pretty sweet. FPC X would be a stretch, but a man can dream…)


Apple TV+ Review Roundup

I am having a really difficult time getting excited about Apple TV+. I think at the end of the day I just don’t like the idea of Apple, the computing devices company, becoming a Hollywood-style entertainment studio. It smacks of the 90s when Microsoft was trying to be all things to all people. I’m more understanding of Amazon doing TV shows…Amazon has always been a company that sells media to people (starting with books).

However, there is another new Apple service I’m very, very happy with: Apple Arcade. I’ll have to write up a whole article about it soon…


Many Americans are unsure about a number of digital topics

Well, another equally valid headline would have been Many Americans are unsure about a number of topics. 😜

Sereiously though, of interest to me is the stat that only 29% of those interviewed correctly identified #Facebook as the owner of both Instagram and WhatsApp. This is hugely problematic not only from the perspective of consumers understanding their choices around smartphone app usage, but it’s a major issue for Facebook as well. Facebook’s brand has become tarnished in recent years, yet it continues to move towards tighter integration of WhatsApp and Instagram into the Facebook platform and ecosystem. However, this could end up backfiring as people increasingly question their usage of the more “positive” apps which have escaped some of the ire directed at Facebook.

Every time I talk with a friend or colleague about how I’m not on Facebook but still use Instagram, I immediately add “yeah I know, it’s still part of Facebook.” Most of the time the folks I talk to know this already, but most of the folks I talk to are fairly digitally savvy. Farther afield, I fear a great many people just have no idea that even when they’re using Instagram or WhatsApp, the buck still ends with Zuck.


Apple’s 2020 iPhones will be all-OLED

Assuming anything anyone knows about next year’s iPhones is even remotely accurate: I sure hope the OLED display technology Apple plans to use has been much improved in the color department. Every time I look at the iPhone XS line at the Apple store, the way text looks on light backgrounds really bothers me. It’s one of the reasons I’m quite happy with my LCD-sporting iPhone XR.

(Although…with the upcoming release of iOS 13 featuring Dark Mode, maybe the color shifting of OLED won’t be as noticable because I’ll often be reading light text on dark backgrounds.)


“Exclusive podcasts”

I find it utterly despicable that companies such as Spotify have taken it upon themselves to redefine the meaning of the word podcast. There is no such thing as an “exclusive podcast” because podcasts, by their very technical nature, are not exclusive and are part of the very fabric of the #openweb.

A podcast is simply an RSS feed which is downloadable from a website. The RSS feed contains items with various metadata and links to MP3 files. In theory an RSS feed could be behind some kind of HTTP auth paywall or be served via an obfuscated URL—but at the end of the day, that RSS feed can and should be playable by any podcast client.

A “podcast” that can only be played by a single client is not a podcast. That’s as absurd as somebody claiming they’ve published an “exclusive website” that’s only accessible via a single app. If the website can’t be viewed via any standard web browser on the internet, it’s not a website. If a podcast can’t be listened to via any standard podcast player on the internet, it’s not a podcast.

Spotify, and anybody else out there trying to pull a fast one like this, you do not get to redefine the terms or the technology of podcasting. They belong to the open web. They belong to us. And we won’t let you have it.


The Invisible Web Master

Geoffrey Ellis is a master artisan flute maker based in northern California. I consider Geoffrey Ellis a good friend and long-time collaborator, and his impromptu write-up of our work together over the years is humbling and much appreciated. If you are at all a folk musician of any sort, you must try one of Ellis’ flutes. They’re physically gorgeous and sonically outstanding.


13 Ways To Avoid Being An Asshole Online (according to the Apostle Paul)

I haven’t blogged over at Simple Praxis in quite a while, so what better way to kick off my latest stint there than to draft a humorous take on what is quite honestly one of my favorite passages of Scripture. #comedy #spirituality


Apple News+: I’m liking it

Jim Dalrymple gets it. Leading up to the #Apple event and even afterwards, I noticed a lot of eye-rolling online about how this was just Newsstand all over again and how this would be a failure just as Apple’s past forays into the digital magazine space were.

But News+ is a totally different model compared to the previous “each-publication-is-an-app” approach. News+ is one app. No matter which magazine or newspaper you’re currently reading, you are using only one app with a consistent and unified reading experience.

And perhaps most importantly, you don’t have to manage a ton of different subscriptions to various publications…which adds the congitive overhead of trying to pick and choose which ones to subscribe to or not to maintain a sensible cash flow. With Apple News+, you have one subscription. That’s it. One charge per month and you have access to everything.

I’ve been surprised how much I’m using Apple News+…on my iPhone. Of course it’s a delightful reading experience on the iPad with its big beautiful display, but it works astonishingly well on iPhone. Apple even kicked off its News+ presentation showing the app running on an iPhone. That’s impressive.

I’m definitely paying for News+ past the trial period, and I’m excited to see how the service grows and evolves down the road.


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