Introducing my brand new email newsletter format! Plus podcast #25, thoughts on Dashboard, and more. View newsletter on the web.
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Issue #21: Say Hello to “Mark Up This!”

Well this looks different. Yes, my friends, I completely redesigned my email newsletter! Here are the reasons why I took things in a different direction:

  • When the previous design launched early last year, my frustration with “big social” media had reached its peak, so my email newsletter was an attempt to make email a way to deliver a news feed. But that format ended up proving rather inflexible…email being its own concept.
  • One of my mantras this year is to make the most out of every medium I work in. So I decided I didn’t just want to publish stuff online and then have an email go out…I wanted to publish a great email newsletter. One worthy of its own interest, giving people a rationale for being a subscriber.
  • I also wanted to switch back to MailChimp from Campaign Monitor as my email platform. I originally moved away from MailChimp because of some of the interface issues I was having with it, plus Campaign Monitor offered some cool templates out of the box. But I ended up having a lot of problems with it, and meanwhile MailChimp redesigned their interface and it’s really lovely now. So what’s old is new again, and I’m once more using MailChimp.

In short, my email newsletter now has a simplified yet more refined style, and it actually has a name this time around! Originally I’d thought about calling it Open Markup, but that sounded a little TOO geeky upon further reflection. In the final analysis, I like the name Mark Up This! because it sounds playful and a little cheeky, yet still captures the sense that I’m talking about online content and the web.

So this newsletter is now a legit publishing outlet, alongside my podcast and vlog. Speaking of which: I have a new podcast episode out now as well!

🎙 From Paris with Love

I got to see Alita: Battle Angel in the theater in 3D, which was a fantastic experience, so I give my spoiler-free review with the pros and the cons (but mostly pros!) of the movie. Plus some very interesting news regarding Emma Thompson and her takedown of The Man (aka Mr. Lasseter), as well as other links and creators of note. Enjoy!

(Pssst: if you aren’t already, please consider becoming a Patreon supporter. Every little bit helps make it easier for me to publish great content every week.)

Items I’ve Posted Recently…

512 Pixels: Dashboard

Steve Jobs pitched widgets as mini-apps that let you look up a quick bit of information without ruining your workflow or train of thought. They allowed for quick interactions. They were present when you needed them, and disappeared when you didn’t.

This is an oldie but goodie from 2016, in which Stephen Hackett breaks down the origins of Dashboard: a feature which first came to macOS in the days of 10.4 “Tiger”—and with it a suprisingly robust set of enhancements to the web itself (because Dashboard widgets were actually miniature web pages!).

I’m sharing this because I would really like to see a 2019 take on Dashboard for the Mac, but even more than that, I would love to see an iOS-variant of this concept come to the iPad this year. I relish the thought of dedicating my iPad home screen to a variety of widgets. Maybe the widgets that are already available in the Today View could be expanded upon visually and worked into a more freeform Dashboard-like concept. At any rate, even though Dashboard itself is legacy technology barely holding on for dear life, I think the concept continues to have merit and deserves a modern overhaul for both Mac and iOS.

I was messing around with ZenBrush on my new iPad Pro and this emerged. I apologize in advance to any Chinese calligraphy experts out there…I have no idea what I’m doing! This is supposed to say “Serenity.” Hopefully I didn’t botch it completely. Anyway, ZenBrush is an amazing app. (This is straight out of the device—it’s not actually a canvas hanging up in an art gallery! 😲) #iPadPro #creativity

Got into an amazing state of flow planning the week ahead after a fantastic workout. My brand new iPad Pro setup is certainly another contributing factor. 😁
Happy Sunday everybody! #iPadPro #minimalism #lifehacks

And that’s all folks! Stay tuned for my upcoming vlog episode about my day trip up to Bothell and Seattle, WA. PLUS: if you have any links YOU’d like to contribute to the newsletter, please send ‘em my way! (just send email to

Until then, may your pixels remain brightly colored! –Jared