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little dinosaur

The Cycle of Link

The big links tend to eat the smaller links, but new links are born every day to replace them. Here now are a few links gathered from their natural habitat and presented for exhibition.

Remember TV? They still make shows for it and some of them are enjoyable. If you're a fan of Ernest Shackleton or the Age of Discovery you should check out The Terror. It's not Shackleton's story unfortunately, but it is speculative fiction about Franklin's lost expedtion with some supernatural horror elements thrown in for—I don't know—fun? It's very well done and you could follow it up with a recent NOVA episode called Arctic Ghost Ship to ground the story in reality again.

I've also been enjoying Legion which is the least Marvel-y of all the Marvel shows and has some stellar acting. You really need start with the first season on this one to get up to speed and it helped me to watch along with the fine folks of MeFi.

Check out these early data visualizations from 1953 by Herbert Bayer: The World Geo-Graphical Atlas. I found this via a great profile of Field Notes: Why Field Notes Have Remained Curiously Addictive for a Decade. That also lead me to their collection of promotional memo books. There are still lessons to learn from this almost forgotten, functional design.

I use Stack Overflow just about every day and they recently launched a neat new way for teams to use their knowledge-gathering tools privately: Stack Overflow for Teams. And by 'they' I specifically mean my friend Geoff at SO who worked on this project, congrats on the launch!

The Tarot Cards of Tech will help you think about the future of something you're making. These cards have questions that don't come up when you're focused on the next to-do item and they seem like a fun way to step back and think about the big picture.

I haven't used The Greatest Keyboard of All Time (IBM Model M) and I'm skeptical of that title since we all agree that Realforce Topre keyboards are the GOAT.

I've been thinking about shift vs. support conversation since I read The Mistake I Made With My Grieving Friend.

If you haven't seen Childish Gambino's This is America you must have been offline for the past seven days. Welcome back and you have to see this!

Let us now fade into the background having examined links outside of their natural environment. Perhaps we will better understand them next time we ecounter: The Cycle of Link. [music swells, credits]
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Guy Davis
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wired

Link Defragmentation

I save links in Safari's Reading List on my iPhone so I can reference them later. Sharing them here on my blog is their final resting place. Once posted here, I remove the links from my reading list and the cycle of cruft can begin again. It's a similar process to—and as exciting as—defragmenting your hard drive. How many hours did I spend watching the defrag visualization colors rearrange themselves in Windows Disk Defragmenter? That's rhetorical, but many. Many hours. Of watching. Now you too can watch the metaphorical defrag colors along with me:

First, go listen to the latest episode of Matt Haughey's podcast Hobby Horse where he interviews people about their side projects. In Episode 4 he talks with Erica Baker about ancestry and geneology and it absolutely changed the way I look at family trees. We’re all connected in ways I hadn’t thought about before. So great—go listen!

While I'm talking podcasts, Gimlet has a new one out called The Habitat that I'm hooked on after one episode. It's about a NASA study to determine how six humans live together for a year in a confined space. They're trying to simulate the conditions that people would live in on a mission to Mars. You can binge the whole thing.

Last week I posted about the SmugMug/Flickr exchange and I've been enjoying the takes: Tom Coates, Ben Cerveny, Jim Ray, and for context this 2012 article (cold take?) by Mat Honan: How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet.

Did you know you can look up at least some of the interests Twitter has assigned to you for personalized advertising? I was surprised at how accurate some of the more obscure interests were but I shouldn't be. We need more privacy and dumber phones.

Google set up a new way to query information in books called Talk to Books. As an introvert I feel like Google really gets me with this project, you know? I'll just be over here talking to books.

@lhl found a tumblr dedicated to gathering depictions of floppy disks in anime. It's even better than it sounds.

ok, off to delete my reading list. Defrag complete!

Font of Inspiration

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Aaron Draplin at the OSU Brand Symposium showing the inspiration for his DDC Hardware typeface. The onfocus title up there is DDC Hardware.

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Red Doors

Flickr of Hope

So the big news in my corner of the Internet on Friday was indie photo site SmugMug buying Flickr from corporate bohemeth Yahoo/Oauth (or whatever). You can probably tell by my framing how I feel about it. I'm hopeful!

I posted my first photo to Flickr on August 18, 2004: luna in her office bed. (This was back when the founders would comment on new photos!) I wrote little hacks for Flickr like Add Camera Images to Flickr. And a year after that first photo I was co-writing a book about Flickr that was released a few months later. I was all-in on Flickr and it was central to my online life.

But all was not well in the Flickrverse and I became more and more disappointed with what Yahoo! was doing with the service. A year after Flickr Hacks came out I started writing here about ways to move off of Flickr and back to hosting my own images: Going Off the Flickr Grid. My personal photo site/Flickr clone lived from 2007-2010 or so at photos.onfocus.com. (I posted what I thought would be my final photo to Flickr, here on March 14, 2007: 301_moved.)

After that initial burst of off-the-grid activity, my personal photo blog features couldn't compare with the upload, album, and sharing features available at Flickr. I didn't have time to scale up my site so I continued posting to Flickr—especially when I wanted to share a collection of photos. I was disappointed with myself for not living up to my online ideals. (This is a constant life theme!)

Anyway, all of this is just to say that my relationship with Flickr is complicated. I know my mixed feelings are nothing compared with the folks who were inside building Flickr and I hope their story gets told. I'd love to know why Flickr missed the mobile revolution and today we have Instagram influencers instead of Flickr luminaries (or whatever). I think this acquisition (is it? More details please!) is a great chance to revive the good parts of Flickr—especially its sense of community where Flickr started.

Philosophize This

I stumbled on this great podcast about philosophy that you should check out if you also like things such as philosophy and podcasts. (I didn't so much stumble on it as Spotify's recommendation algorithm put it in my path and then I stumbled on it.)

Each episode is about 20 minutes of host Stephen West walking us through some problems that philosophers have tackled through years. For example, are we condemned to be free as Sartre thought or are we limited by the structure of our cultural mythologies as Barthes thought? If you need a place to start, you can't go wrong with his look at Simone De Beauvoir's The Ethics of Ambiguity. West has a real knack for making dense, often technical philosophical ideas accessible.

When the prescription for fixing our dystopian techno-hellscape is often adding more humanity, I think it's worthwhile to take some time to think about what it means to be human. Philosophize This is an entertaining way to see how that question has been answered in many radically different ways.

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Barn Cat
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Hello Oregon
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stairs
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Hello Seattle

Saturday Links

I have about 30 articles related to the Facebook Trainwreck bookmarked but I'm going to skip them this week. (I don't have to tell you things are bad — everybody knows things are bad.) Instead, here are some other links:

I have watched this video about aluminum cans a few times over the last week or so and I keep sharing it with people in person. It has five million views on YouTube so I'm not alone. I think it's so fascinating because we are alienated from many of the things around us and this video undoes a small piece of that:

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Corvallis Corner
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Stopped Motion
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Belt Dressing
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Shop Light
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Radio

Sunday Links

So many links, friends. Don't read them all in one sitting. Check the videos at the bottom for a mental chaser or just skip ahead to that.
Read These First
Facebook Trainwreck
Social Media
Etc.

The best thing from last week was this Travel Oregon video in the style of Studio Ghibli:

After that, watch actual Studio Ghibli background artist Kazuo Oga paint:

Saturday Links

Some weekend reads culled from soc meeds:

Sunday Links

I have a whole series of enlightening yet depressing news stories to share with you this week, but I'm going to try not to share them. Instead:
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Flags