Tag: Link

This Week in Links, June 8th 2022

Twitter is reportedly shifting away from things like Newsletters, Spaces, and communities to “better focus on the areas that will have the greatest positive impact on the public conversation.” This seems to be happening partially because they want to make Twitter as lean as possible amid the Elon Musk acquisition and partially because Twitter doesn’t want to be in the creator space.

As a Twitter user, I am sad to see people like Kayvon Beykpour, the Twitter Spaces team leader, get fired from Twitter. The direction Twitter was taking seemed promising to creators.

With Spaces, the purchase of newsletter service Revue, and the addition of communities, everything seemed to be on the up and up for creators. Twitter was becoming less of a firehose of information instead of creating nooks and crannies for people to nestle into. Compartmentalizing and creating spaces for different interests and hobbies would have allowed people to create and join their niche communities without dealing with all of the negative sides Twitter has going for it.

I am saddened to hear that Twitter may be reversing course in this direction because I personally loved where things were heading.


Reddit user jcceagle shared an exciting video showing the most popular web browser from February 1994 to May 2022. I have a spot in my heart for cool graphs like this, and if you do too, this one is one to watch.


Creem, “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine” is back, and so is its entire archive.

Following the 2020 documentary Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Creem has “risen.”

You can subscribe today. Issue #1 of the new Creem Magazine comes out in September.


Christopher Lawley, YouTuber and former co-host of A Slab of Glass was invited by Apple for press coverage at WWDC and came out with his first video about it. His excitement makes me excited for what is coming for iPadOS 16.


Good Tweets

The Mona Lisa Attack, Apple Design Awards, Bo Burnham, Substack, and more

  • If you want to find a good note-taking app you can use NoteApps.info as a way of comparing features between popular note-taking apps. SPOILER I will be diving very deep into note-taking next week.
  • Apple announced the finalists for their Apple Design Awards. Most of these apps I have never heard of, but one that caught my eye is the (Not Boring) Habits app.
  • One of my new favorite podcasts, Dead Cat, recently had Platformer’s Casey Newton on to talk about the state of Substack. It was absolutely interesting to hear people I consider Substack experts talk about what is next for the company and their customers.

Bo Burnham released a new hour-long video called THE INSIDE OUTTAKES, and it has been playing nonstop in the background since it’s been released.


Mona Lisa Eats Cake

In today’s segment of “what made you think that would work?” a man, disguised as an old woman in a wheelchair, attempted to smear cake on the Mona Lisa.

Thankfully the Mona Lisa is covered with bulletproof glass to stop people from ruining the iconic artwork.

The reason for this? Climate change (and most likely mental health issues).


Good Tweets

Sewell Chan shared an awesome Twitter thread about their work alongside all of Texas Tribune during the Uvalde school shooting. This is a prime example of what I consider “good journalism.”

The iPod is now dead.

Apple has officially said that the iPod is no more. You can still buy one, but only while supplies last.

Since its introduction over 20 years ago, iPod has captivated users all over the world who love the ability to take their music with them on the go. Today, the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line — from iPhone and Apple Watch to iPad and Mac — along with access to more than 90 million songs and over 30,000 playlists available via Apple Music.

I remember when I got my first iPod, it was the original iPod Shuffle. After that, I got the first iPod Nano, the wide iPod Nano 3rd generation, and eventually bought the iPod with video.

The iPod with video was my pride and joy, and it was also my first encounter with handling digital video. I learned about different video formats, how to download videos from the web, converting those videos to fit the settings needed to have them play properly, and the beauty of the internet. There were many times I would be scouring forums and chats to figure out how to get Handbrake to output the right video I needed or how to rip music from YouTube and get it onto my iPod.

Now, as someone that does video production for a living, I am happy to have had that experience.

The iPod was also my first Apple product. I grew up in a PC home, like most in the early 2000s. I remember getting that magical experience of flipping my thumb over the wheel of an iPod to select from a list of menus and options. I had my entire audio library in my pocket, and the best part was it would never skip as a portable CD player did. It would be several years before I’d get an iPhone or Mac computer, but the iPod was what sold me on Apple, the company.

While the iPhone has replaced the iPod for me – and has for the better part of a decade – it’s still sad to see the end of an era here.

The Man Behind iBeer

Steve Sheraton went from making a silly video online where he was drinking a beer with his iPhone into a full-fledged app, which then became a breakout star when the App Store launched.

Quinn Myers writing for MEL Magazine:

Before the App Store was even a concept, Sheraton started selling the beer-drinking video file for $2.99. “It was just a little video file that people had to hardwire in and download via iTunes,” he says. “But I probably made around $2,000 a day for the longest time from that.”

By the time Apple came knocking, Sheraton knew he was onto something — he just needed to figure out how to code the video to Apple’s new device. “I have a lot of experience in film and photography, and I wanted to make the beer look as realistic as possible,” he explains. “So rather than doing animation, I chose to make assets from looped videos and image sequences — that’s why the foam looks so real.”

Sheraton then programmed the looped videos and image sequence to interact with the iPhone’s accelerometer. “The accelerometer is constantly measuring the phone’s angle versus the horizon, so by tethering the line between the liquid and the foam to the horizon, you can move your phone in any direction and it looks like it’s filled with liquid,” he tells me. “From there, the rest is just a series of ‘if statements,’ so ‘if the tilt of the phone goes beyond X,’ then the program should switch to different loops of foam and liquid that make it look like the phone is emptying.”

Sheraton called it iBeer, developed under the name of his company Hottrix, and priced it again at $2.99. “We shot to first place [in the App Store] on the very first day and stayed there for about a year,” he says. “Apart from its visual humor and sort of appealing to the lowest common denominator, iBeer was a large success because it allowed people to show their friends what the phone was capable of.

Without spoiling it, Myers goes more in-depth about what happens to Sheraton after iBeer’s success.

If you read the MEL article and find that interesting, Sheraton recently did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit where he talks more about iBeer’s success, what he is doing now, and his feelings on developing apps out today.

Success and Failure at Pebble

Eric Migicovsky, the former CEO of Pebble, wrote a post recently detailing why the smartwatch company failed.

In the days after our Kickstarter campaign, it was easy for me as the CEO to explain what our goal was. Ship the best damn smartwatch that we ourselves wanted to use. Over the years, I tried several times to reposition the product and company onto a variety of new tracks, but none were based on a strong long term vision.

Startup founder lesson learned — never forget to define and talk about your long term vision for the future. When things are going well, it’s easy to get caught up in growth. But you need this to carry your company through hard times.

Looking back with hindsight, I should not have aggressively grown the company without a stronger plan. We should have just stuck to what we knew best and continued to build quirky, fun smartwatches for hackers. Pebble, the product, was and still is awesome.

The whole article is worth the read if you want to dive deep into the details behind Pebble’s start, rise, losses, and eventual acquisition.

My thanks to Matt Birchler for initially linking this article to his blog.

If you want some supplemental reading, there is an article from Wired back in 2016 after the announcement of the Fitbit acquisition.

Mike Tyson Can’t Sell His Weed Gummies in Colorado

Mike Tyson, who famously bit Evander Holyfield’s ear, is now selling THC edibles in the shape of the mangled ear. The name of those gummies: Mike Bites.

ItsTyson20/Instagram

The kicker is he can’t sell them in the US weed capital of Colorado due to a 2016 state law that “prohibits marijuana edibles from being shaped like humans, animals, fruit or other objects that could attract children.”

It turns out the ear-shaped gummy indeed falls under that description. I don’t know about you, but a disfigured ear isn’t exactly the most attractive-looking gummy to eat. Nonetheless the law is the law, and Tyson can’t sell his gummies in the Centennial state. However, if you do want to give them a go, the edibles are currently sold in California with future plans to be sold in more states across the US.

The Good from Comic Sans

David Hoang shared an article from The Cut about the font Comic Sans and it raised my eyebrows to learn how accessible this abhorrent font is.

Recently, Instagram added to its Stories an option that looks a lot like Comic Sans, a font design people have long derided. A campaign to ban the font has been afoot online since 1999.

[…]

But, as Lauren Hudgins argues for the Establishment, the agreed-upon hatred of Comic Sans reflects a certain navel-gazing, since it’s one of the best fonts for people with dyslexia, including an estimated 15 percent of Americans.

[…]

Interestingly, it’s the idiosyncrasy of Comic Sans that makes it accessible. “The irregular shapes of the letters in Comic Sans allow her to focus on the individual parts of words,” Hudgins writes. “While many fonts use repeated shapes to create different letters, such as a ‘p’ rotated to made a ‘q,’ Comic Sans uses few repeated shapes, creating distinct letters (although it does have a mirrored ‘b’ and ‘d’).” The ubiquitous Times New Roman, with all its serifs, is often illegible.

I love the internet because even something as mundane as hating a silly font can have a “turns-out” moment where that same childish font can be helpful for those with different needs.

In fact, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole with this because I remembered there was something one of my favorite apps, Reeder, does that had some connection to dyslexia, but I couldn’t remember what it was.

After some digging, I figured out it was something called Bionic Reading. According to their website, Bionic Reading’s goal is “a reading system that supports the reading flow. The eye is guided through the text by means of typographic highlights.”

To explain what it does, they say that it “revises texts so that the most concise parts of words are highlighted. This guides the eye over the text, and the brain remembers previously learned words more quickly.”

Where Dyslexia comes involved is further down on their site. It shows that those afflicted with the disability sharing that their experiences with Bionic Reading helped them read more effectively.

10% of the population has great difficulty reading and understanding texts (dyslexia). We have received feedback from those affected that thanks to Bionic Reading they immediately understood the content of various texts the first time they read them, which was impossible without Bionic Reading. This is pure motivation and also a responsibility towards society, which we are happy to fulfill.

If you think this may help you improve your reading, regardless if you have dyslexia or not, give Bionic Reading or Reeder a try today.

Sticker Doodle makes messaging fun again

Chad Etzel, who recently went independent, released one of the most fun apps for the iPhone this year.

If you like to have stickers in messages but always wanted to make your own you are now able to with a few taps and swipes. You can use your camera, saved photos, or draw your own! This is honestly the first app that had made stickers fun for me since it was released on iOS.

Best part? You can share the stickers you make within the app.

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