Truncated
Truncated

Some people sell body fluids and others sell bad art on Etsy. Everyone has their unique spin on making a buck out of their time. More power to them all. But there's this odd and reoccurring trend of truncating RSS feeds, tweets, and even Web site posts in an effort to force additional clicks. The trend surges every 18 months or so, but some sites try it again and again. It's difficult for me to believe that this method generates any additional value for anyone, especially the authors.

Truncated ideas and opinions are not taste tests. From the perspective of a reader, truncated thoughts create a barrier for my interest. The opinion or information must be so extraordinarily compelling that I'm willing to change my reading patterns to access it. The content needs to be worth a trip out of my feed reader or Twitter client just to be exposed to the writer.

From the perspective of someone writing on the Internet, it's so incredibly difficult to get someone to care about what I think, I can't imagine making them work for it. It's such a huge privilege to have anyone contemplate my words, that I feel obliged to roll out the welcome mat.1 There are billions of new words put on the Internet every day and so many of them say the same things. It's a wonder anyone reads past the first "click to read more".

Here's to hoping new ideas in monetization are in all of our futures. After all, the value of making connections with actual humans that want to read our words is not derived by immediate page views, but by...

Everything here is available through RSS, plain text markdown, through a responsive Web site, and posted as full content on Pinboard. It's damn near impossible to avoid the stuff I put out.  ↩
blog 
6 hours ago
Audio Book Narrators
Audio Book Narrators

I'm a long time subscriber to Audible and I'm well acquainted with both excellent and terrible audio books. With audio books, the words are only half of the experience. A good narrator can raise an average book up to be something inspiring.

Until recently, George Guidall was among my favorites. I've purchased audio books based on his involvement. His voice acting is stunning and the breadth of his skills make it easy to forget myself while listening.

Recently, I've been absorbed in the Discovery of Witches series by Deborah Harkness.

The writing is terrific, but the standout feature of the audio book is the voice acting of Jennifer Ikeda. Her ability to give life to male, female, Scottish, English, French and American characters is mesmerizing. Every new character in the series brings a bit of joy as she unfurls a new voice. Character details easily lost while reading stand out clearly when she reads.

If you love audio books, then look for some read by Jennifer Ikeda. If you hate audio books, then it's worth seeing how her reading can elevate the experience.
blog 
yesterday
You Probably Suck at Presentations [Link]
You Probably Suck at Presentations [Link]

It's ok. I've rarely seen anyone not suck at presentations. Communication is hard enough. Communication with a finite time limit, topic and goal is incredibly hard. Doing it with style and grace feels impossible.

David Sparks has style, grace and a way with eBooks. His latest Field Guide is all about preparing and giving the best presentation possible.

I've given hundreds and maybe even thousands of presentations. I like to think I have my tricks. But explaining them to someone else feels like explaining the color red. David's eBook starts strong with some basic principles and builds to a full master class on getting yourself together for a professional presentation. Along the way, most people will learn to create adult presentations with one of the best tools on the market, Keynote.

The book has a logical progression and the table of contents is carefully structured to make moving between topics easy.

He's sweated every detail in this enhanced eBook. There aren't just links to apps, there are showcases. The app links are there but with style. He also goes out of his way to include links to the publisher's site. In one section, David describes his secret weapons for making interactive timelines and includes plenty of detail about the apps he uses.

Just look at the design throughout this book. This is an interactive eBook with almost every page providing either high resolution images, videos or slideshows. He brings it all together in a design as impeccable as a book about presentations must be.

The videos are well paced and targeted. It's not a collection of video tutorials floating between text pointless text. The videos are appropriate and specific and supplement the text. The slideshows allow David to incorporate additional screenshots that might not be crucial, but are instead a bit of extra help if you need it.

I really love how the book flows. The text is positioned appropriately around the supplemental images. There's no flipping back and forth trying to look at an image explained on a different page.

I'm sure you pride yourself on your "method". Hubris doesn't present well though. There are always some new things to learn about the black art of making and giving presentations. David does a great job of sharing his ideas and tricks. He's a true professional and it's clear that presentations are his strong suit (along with making eBooks).

If you are planning on looking for a job in nine months, now is the time to start reading this book. You have your entire future depending on the presentations you will give. $10 is a pretty small price to pay for advice from a professional showman like David Sparks. It's also one of the best resources you'll find about using Keynote effectively.
blog  Link  Mac  iOS 
2 days ago
Perspective Icons 2 [Link]
Perspective Icons 2 [Link]

I've been a longtime user of OmniFocus. I still use it strategically while depending on plain text for large scale planning. The "Perspectives" in OmniFocus are what set it apart from almost every other competitor. That's why I'm happy to see the Coffee and Icons series updated today to match OmniFocus 2.

The collection comes with several color variants and multiple sizes for each icon so they look great on standard and "Retina" screens. They go great with OmniFocus but they're also just really nice looking icons for use anywhere that needs a little visual indicator.

Just look how great the blue-grey set looks:

But then I also love the color profiles they've chosen all around. It's made to match some of the color choices in OmniFocus 2 for Mac.

The icons look nice in the sidebar of OF2:

And when the perspectives sync over to the iPhone app:1

The collection is currently on sale for $10 and requires the "Pro" version of OmniFocus 2. Check out the Web site for more examples.

The "Meetings" perspective has the custom icon. Doesn't it look much better than the default Omni icons? The correct answer is, yes it does. ↩
blog  Omnifocus 
2 days ago
The TextBundle Format [Link]
The TextBundle Format [Link]

Sure, MultiMarkdown is awesome. It's the cornerstone of 90% of my written words. But have you ever tried to work with MMD using multiple AppStore apps? It can be frustrating. Jumping between apps usually means closing the document, quitting the app and reopening the document in the new app. It also means dealing with embedded images in surprising and disappointing new ways each time.

Brett Terpstra and The Soulmen did what good people usually do. They worked together to make something better for everyone. The TextBundle format isn't a declaration or proprietary file format. It's a guide to help publishers of AppStore apps work with Markdown in a dynamic way. It makes sense for users and for apps.

TextBundle is directed squarely at sandboxed apps and how they can communicate. This will work better if everyone writing AppStore apps for Markdown gets on board. I'd buy an app that supported this format as a feature.
blog  Markdown  Link 
2 days ago
The Quality of Our Connections
The Quality of Our Connections

Let's be honest. The Internet is pretty much all about selling stuff. It's filled with native advertising and soulless endorsements. It's hard to take any kind of product recommendation seriously from sites that make their money by selling us the next product. The churn of broken promises drives the machinery of the tech blogging world.

If you read carefully you'll see the tell-tale signs. Reviews of dozens of pieces of hardware by one person written over the course of a week. There are the reviews that start with "I've used this for the past few days and I really like it." I'm sure we are all familiar with the "this looks great" non-review. When everything is super, nothing is super.

But, there are some real stand-up people that just love to share enthusiasm. My short list includes the personality blogs like ShawnBlanc.net, BrettTerpstra.com, MacSparky.com or even MacStories.net. These are people that write with affection as if they were writing a letter home.1 These are aspirational contributions to the churn of digital marking.

I'm continually struggling with two aspects of writing on this site.

I don't like to write about things that are common

I don't like to endorse things I don't actually use and like

Writing about the same headline everyone else is linking too is mostly boring and I know I hate seeing the same subject in my feed reader over and over. It's not something I want to contribute to for the purpose of traffic and virtual shoulder pats.

Writing about things I don't actually use and appreciate steals the joy from this little project I named "Macdrifter". It makes it feel like cheap work.

Then there's the flip side. I absolutely love promoting and talking about stuff I care about. I especially like sharing stuff I think is created by honest and considerate people. Let me pull back the curtain: There is almost nothing that David Sparks, Brett Terpstra, or Federico Vittici could make that I would not fall in love with. How can I not love things made by people that care about what they put out into the world?

This is a very long winded way of introducing some of today's links. You've probably already heard about them.

I'll readily admit that many of these sites run ads or commingle opinions with paid endorsements. There's nothing wrong with an honest person making an honest living. They've earned my trust by not doing it cheaply. ↩
blog 
2 days ago
The Shortcut of Shortcuts
The Shortcut of Shortcuts

I've written a fair amount about leveraging keyboard shortcuts on the Mac to create magic with your fingers.1 There's one generic keyboard shortcut that kind beats them all: ⌘+Shift+/ (a.k.a. ⌘+?)

This little beauty opens the "Help" menu of the current app and places the cursor focus in the search box. Not sure what the keyboard shortcut is for moving a message in MailMate? ⌘+? then type "mov". The OS shows the menu items that match. Selecting one shows you the item (and hopefully the keyboard shortcut). Hitting return fires off the menu selection.

The system wide shortcut may not be on by default, or you turned it off while trying to cut down on keyboard shortcut conflicts. Go into the "Keyboard" preference panel and choose the "Shortcuts" option.

Full menu access right from the keyboard. It's also a convenient reminder for shortcuts you want to commit to memory.

See here for Moom, here for Fastmail or here for 1Password. There's more available but those are the recent entries. ↩
blog  Mac 
4 days ago
50% Off Sale of Take Control eBooks Ends Today [Link]
50% Off Sale of Take Control eBooks Ends Today [Link]

Working in Boston generally means I dread the back-to-school time. At least the sales for nerd stuff are nice. Go take advantage of the Take Control sale to get some very good books. The 1Password, Launchbar, PDFPen and BBEdit books are one of a kind and very handy.
blog  Link 
4 days ago
Who Needs Hackers [Link]
Who Needs Hackers [Link]

Sure, the bad guys have all of our passwords. As it goes, they mostly don't need them:

"We eventually cracked 576,533 or almost 92 percent of the sample within a period of 31 days," Sigler said.

"Such a short cracking time using a word list from last year’s [common passwords] study shows that passwords were as predictable as ever.

"'Password1' was the password we came across most often in this year’s analysis."
blog  Security 
11 days ago
Email Is Still the Best Thing [Link]
Email Is Still the Best Thing [Link]

From Alexis Madrigal in the Atlantic:

That is to say, our inboxes are getting smarter and smarter. Serious tools are being built to help us direct and manage what was once just a chronological flow, which people dammed with inadequate organization systems hoping to survive the flood. (Remember all the folders in desktop email clients!)

Unfortunately, while inboxes get smarter, people get lazier. It's always been a tug of war but the last 5 years has resulted in a dramatic shift where I need to filter out bacon from friends and family a lot more aggressively than ever before. I think the future Alexis paints will be great: junk from friends and family moves to services like Facebook (where I would never see it). I think it will take at least one more generation to see that happen.

Even in this light, email is my favorite communication tool for all of the reasons listed in that link. It's the perfectly balanced combination of power, ubiquity, and simplicity.
blog  Link 
11 days ago
Dot Notation for Snippet Expansion [Link]
Dot Notation for Snippet Expansion [Link]

I find Zach Holmquist's syntax for TextExpander snippets both logically satisfying and frustratingly prone toward collisions. It's the kind of system that makes me smack my forehead for not coming up with it myself, but then I dig in and realize how terrible it would be in a world of dot notation (like URL's).

The syntax is logical: email.me expands to your preferred email address. me.home expands to the home address. You can probably guess what emoji.poop expands to.

The strength of the syntax is in it's easy recall and extrapolation. But it's weakness is how verbose it is (not to mention collisions with real situations where me.home might need to be typed).

It seems that the dot should be unnecessary. emojipoop and emojilove are still logical and extensible while being very uncommon.

Changing syntax for this stuff is hard once I've internalized it. I try hard not to mix and match syntax either. It's worth taking the time to evaluate though since I'll probably use it 100s of times a day.

By way of Simplicityisbliss
blog  Link  Mac  iOS  Tips 
14 days ago
The Lost Pieces of the Avatar Story
The Lost Pieces of the Avatar Story

I'm a pretty big fan of the Avatar animated series.2 I thought the conclusion to the series was great but there were some remaining questions left hanging. So far, it appears there's no interest in continuing the animated saga around Aang.

There is a series of graphic novels (nèe comics) that continues the story and fills in some of the gaps. [Spoilers below]1

The Promise describes the events immediately after the conclusion of the animated series when Zuko begins his life as an administrator of a super power. It's more interesting than I make it sound. I just don't want to give it away

The Search picks up after The Promise and is the adventure of Zuko's pursuit of answers about his mother. It involves a schizophrenic lightning bender, so it's pretty much my favorite.

The Rift part 1 and part 2 (part 3 is not available yet, nor is the hardback) are fun but are more of an additional set of stories rather than completing the the original arc. The artwork is a variation on the original and more cartoonish and less interesting to me.

All of these works carrying on the aspects of the Last Airbender story line, but importantly they are consistent with the character development. Toph is still grumpy and Sokka is still the comic relief. Everything I enjoyed about the original series, is satisfyingly wrapped up in these volumes.

Sorry, I stepped in some affiliate links and spread them all over the place. ↩

Not that stupid Blueman Group movie. Come on, it's a terrible version of Pocahontas. ↩
blog 
14 days ago
Some Podcasts that are Great
Some Podcasts that are Great

It's that time of year, when summer flings end and we get serious about who we want to hang out with on those long winter nights. The podcast churn is at its highest point of the year for me and I'm looking to replace some shows that have run out of surprises. Here are some great shows that I can enthusiastically recommend to keep you warm and cuddly.

We Have Concerns where Jeff Cannata and Anthony Carboni act like magical elf jackasses in the most lovable way possible. I laugh out loud at almost every episode. Think current events with skit comedy. Top notch and you can be an early adopter.

You Are Not So Smart where David McRaney shows off his silky smooth voice and frustratingly accurate insight. — per Merlin

99% Invisible is far too good to be a podcast. The production value alone might classify it as a radio docudrama. — per @potatowire

Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project is basically a super-nerd hanging out with friends and getting super excited about awesome stuff. It's fun when people love stuff. By way of someone I should really thank but have forgotten. Thanks.
blog 
15 days ago
Slack Themes
Slack Themes

Slack now has themes for the sidebar. If you work with multiple teams (like I do), it's a great visual cue to avoid accidental posts to the wrong one.

I particularly like the clever implementation because it's kind of nerdy.1

Open your user preferences in the web app:

Then bring up the sidebar theme and activate the advanced mode. Paste in a string of color codes and boom, an entirely new sidebar theme across all of your devices.

Here's some excellent themes to consider.

Slack has always been kind of nerdy. Paste color codes into a chat and you automatically see the color swatches in the web app. ↩
blog 
15 days ago
Anatomy of a Corporate "Cyberheist" [Link]
Anatomy of a Corporate "Cyberheist" [Link]

Brian Krebs writes about Tennessee Electric suing its bank for negligence when hackers funneled off $325,000 from their account. But what I found more interesting is the process by which the money was stolen and that it was distributed to 50 different "mules" around the US. Fascinating and frightening. It doesn't sound like a phishing scam but rather malware interception.1

A "cyber"-interception by "cyber"-malware. I kid, I kid. Krebs is the authority here. Still, cyber? ↩
blog  Security  Link 
16 days ago
Technical Difficulties with Paper and Pen [Link]
Technical Difficulties with Paper and Pen [Link]

We had a special guest on the show to talk about the value of sketching, thinking and working with paper and pen. Bob VanderClay, Erik and I hit on the pros and cons of digital notes and sketches but then it's pretty much just a big show and tell of our favorite stuff.
blog  TechDiff  Link 
17 days ago
Humans of New York [Link]
Humans of New York [Link]

Humans of New York feels too good to be true. God, I hope it's real and not some thesis project using stock photos. I'm too cynical but I also just spent one of my only free hours of the day on it.

By way of that damn Scott Simpson.

Note: I've received plenty of feedback that this appears to be genuine and not some viral marketing shenanigan.
blog  Humanity  Link 
17 days ago
Humans of New York [Link]
Humans of New York [Link]

Humans of New York feels too good to be true. God, I hope it's real and not some thesis project using stock photos. I'm too cynical but I also just spent one of my only free hours of the day on it.

By way of that damn Scott Simpson.
blog  Humanity  Link 
18 days ago
11 things I wish I'd known before hiking the Appalachian Trail
not Bryson but a bit funny ::: "11 things I wish I’d known before hiking the Appalachian Trail"
humor  from twitter
21 days ago
Synology Email about Synolocker
Synology Email about Synolocker

Synology is emailing registered users regarding the Synolocker ransomware I mentioned.

The short version:

It impacts older versions of DSM and the hole was patched in 2013.

The long version:

Dear Synology users,

We would like to inform you that a ransomware called "SynoLocker" is currently affecting some Synology NAS users. This ransomware locks down affected servers, encrypts users’ files, and demands a fee to regain access to the encrypted files. We have confirmed that the ransomware only affects Synology NAS servers running older versions of DiskStation Manager by exploiting a security vulnerability that was fixed and patched in December, 2013.

Affected users may encounter the following symptoms:

When attempting to log in to DSM, a screen appears informing users that data has been encrypted and a fee is required to unlock data. Abnormally high CPU usage or a running process called “synosync” (which can be checked at Main Menu > Resource Monitor). DSM 4.3-3810 or earlier; DSM 4.2-3236 or earlier; DSM 4.1-2851 or earlier; DSM 4.0-2257 or earlier is installed, but the system says no updates are available at Control Panel > DSM Update. If you have encountered the above symptoms, please shutdown the system immediately and contact our technical support here: https://myds.synology.com/support/support_form.php

If you have not encountered the above symptoms, we strongly recommend downloading and installing DSM 5.0, or any version below:

DSM 4.3-3827 or later DSM 4.2-3243 or later DSM 4.0-2259 or later DSM 3.x or earlier is not affected You can manually download the latest version from our Download Center and install it at Control Panel > DSM Update > Manual DSM Update. If you notice any strange behavior or suspect your Synology NAS server has been affected by the above issue, please contact us at security@synology.com.

We sincerely apologize for any problems or inconvenience this issue has caused our users. We’ll keep you updated with the latest information as we continue to address this issue. Thank you for your continued patience and support.
blog  Synology  Backup  Security 
22 days ago
Übersicht: Shell Commands on the Desktop [Link]
Übersicht: Shell Commands on the Desktop [Link]

Übersicht is a Mac application that can display widgets on the desktop. There's an entire cult around Geektool, which does the same, but Übersicht is raising the bar a bit for customization. It allows you to pipe shell command output to the desktop but format it using JavaScript and CSS. It looks nice.

There are many "widgets" already available if JS isn't your thing or if you only have enough spare time to install a widget. If you want to build your own, read more about on the Github page.

By way of Rocketink
blog  Mac  Link 
22 days ago
Craft Beer Market is Overcrowded [Link]
Craft Beer Market is Overcrowded [Link]

Related to the previous post, Joshua Bernstein writes about the increasingly crowded craft beer market:

I’m onboard with America abandoning middle-of-the-road beer and exploring flavorful new directions. The highway, however, is getting mighty crowded. Hundreds of different beers debut weekly, creating a scrum of session IPAs, spiced witbiers, and barrel-aged stouts scuffling for shelf space. For consumers, the situation is doubly confusing. How can you pick a pint on a 100-brew tap list? Moreover, beer shops are chockablock with pale this and imperial that, each one boasting a different hop pun. When buying beer, I can’t count how many times I’ve assisted overwhelmed shoppers, playing the benevolent Sherpa in the wilds of modern brewing.

This is actually a good thing. There needs to be churn and invention so that new and better ideas bubble to the top. In fact, Joshua gives a great example:

Yes, last year, craft beer accounted for just 7.8 percent of the market, but consumers are fickle. When I was in high school, Red Wolf and Pete’s Wicked Ale were the rage. Remember them? Probably not.

I do remember Pete's Wicked Ale. It's still around and making a bunch of beer, but craft beer today is generally better and more complex than Pete's. Cheers to overcrowding.
blog  Zymurgy  Link 
23 days ago
Against Hoarding [Link]
Against Hoarding [Link]

From BeerGraphs:

You are well within both your rights as a consumer and the bounds of propriety in keeping that cellar, friend. There are legitimate reasons to save a beer: to age it in the hopes of developing more nuance over time; to save it for a special occasion or to share with someone in particular; to create a vertical series of several or more years' vintage for a diachronic tasting. The distinction (arbitrary, yes, sure) I wish to draw is between cellaring and hoarding.

It's a funny but considered article about hoarding beer. I pretty much agree with the sentiment in general. The other downside to basic hoarding for the sake of always having something available is that it means trying fewer new things. That's boring.

I cellar a lot of beer, but then again, I cellar beers I shouldn't. Like Miles points out, my preferred drinking patterns are:

Vertical tasting1

Understand how attributes change over time

Try new things

Pattern #1 requires saving just one beer from each year of production. Pattern #2 requires saving several beers from a given year. Pattern #3 is at odds with 1 and 2, which is good.

Personally, I think I've learned all that I care to learn about aging beers with a low ABV. The general outcome is muddling of flavors and the development unpleasant ones. Higher ABV or barrel aged beers are still very interesting to age. They are similar to wine: They mature and develop complexity.

A vertical tasting is when you drink the same beer back-to-back brewed at different dates. This tells you something about how a beer ages but it also can highlight changes to the brewing method. ↩
blog  Zymurgy  Link 
23 days ago
Confirmed: Peaches Look Like Butts - The Cut
Someone FINALLY had the good sense to put pants on peaches
humor  from twitter_favs
23 days ago
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