June 27, 2015

The Cthulhu anthology

This lot are going to make the upcoming Cthulhu Lies Dreaming anthology from Ghostwoods Books a great read.

E. Dane Anderson, Lucy Brady, Traci Castleberry, Matthew Chabin, Daniel Marc Chant, William Couper, Mike Davis, Lynnea Glasser, Lynne Hardy, Thord D. Hedengren, Matthew Hockey, Yma Johnson, Morris Kenyon, , A. Leeman Kessler, G. K. Lomax, Gethin A. Lynes, Samuel Morningstar, Saul Quint, Pete Rawlik, Marc Reichardt, Brian M. Sammons, Brian Fatah Steele, Greg Stolze, MS Swift

Emphasis mine, obviously. Very happy to be in this thing.

June 24, 2015

Matt on Automattic turning ten

WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg reminiscence about Automattic turning ten:

We just want to make the web a better place. We’re proud to contribute to what I consider the best open source project in the world, WordPress. We bring it to as wide an audience as possible through hosting it on WordPress.com, and providing services for the ones we don’t host with tools like Jetpack. Through it all, we have fun and experiment with side projects that have become crucial to the ways we work — P2, Cloudup, Simplenote, and dozens more that we tried, failed, learned something from, and tried again.

A job well done, Matt!

June 22, 2015

Taylor Swift and someone else
Apple bows to Taylor Swift

Pop star Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple, regarding the Apple Music streaming service and the fact that the artist weren’t getting paid during the user’s trial period. Obviously the media went into a frenzy, because it’s Taylor Swift, it’s streaming, and it’s Apple.

The result? Apple, through Eddy Cue, bows their heads, recognise their error, and pays artists per stream during the user trial period (as opposed to a chunk of the revenue when users are actually paying).

Read more →

Warren Ellis takes five minutes every day

Warren Ellis:

I take five minutes every day just for me, to look around and see where I am and be there. Thirty-five minutes a week. Over twenty years, that’s something over six hundred hours I’ve taken just for myself.

Brilliant.

June 21, 2015

Ben Brooks on writing

If you’re interested in writing advice, you should read Ben Brooks’s piece on the matter. He has, among a great many other things, this to say:

I’m usually hit with most ideas when I am left to let my mind wander. Whether I am showering, or using the toilet, my mind can wander. One of my favorite ways for working out an idea is to talk it out while I drive alone. Do I look a bit mad doing that? Maybe, but it also works.

My best ideas rarely come in direct response to one thing, but it’s also important to remember that every idea is in response to something. The idea for this post was in response to the email I get, and my wanting to easily help people who email with with questions about my writing.

If you want even more pieces that are writing related, be sure to check out my own series, Thoughts on Writing.

June 17, 2015

Arrows makes post-its lethal, says New Yorker

I enjoyed this article in the New Yorker, about Moleskine notebooks, up until this utter nonsense:

In the past decade, programs like Evernote, SimpleNote, Microsoft’s OneNote, and Apple’s newly feature-creeped Notes (now with freehand drawing, as though no one recalls the ill-fated Newton) have promised better solutions: richer notes, infinite storage, more security. Each iteration of this software invariably introduces more layers of technology—complex menu systems, incompatible formats, awkward input options—that run interference between thoughts and their eventual digestion.

Simplenote’s iterations add no layer of complexity, and the Newton comparison is just ridiculous. It’s like arguing that post-its might be lethal because once upon a time an arrow pierced a heart, and that arrow was made of wood, thus it’s post-its’s fault. Missing its mark? Yeah, that’s my point.

I guess I should’ve known the article could be wonky. After all, the title is Why startups love Moleskines

June 14, 2015

Safari extensions gallery now require developers to pay up

Safari extensions from the official extensions gallery will, from Safari 9.0, be signed by Apple:

Secure Extensions Distribution introduces improved security for Safari on OS X. All extensions in the Safari Extensions Gallery are now hosted and signed by Apple. Users can trust that the Safari Extension they install is the one you submitted.

This means that extension developers will have to enroll in the $99 Apple Developer program if they want to update their extensions and, presumably, keep them in the official gallery. Naturally, some developers are pissed off by this, forgetting that this means better security for Safari users. I think this is a good thing.

June 12, 2015

iOS 9 and the iPad

Federico “the iPad is my primary computer” Viticci writes about iOS 9 and the multitasking iPad:

iOS 9 is going to be a watershed moment for iPad users. For many, the iPad is about to graduate from utility to computer. Apple is envisioning a future where users can do more with iPad apps without the inherent complexities of OS X – and they’re largely relying on developers to help build this future.

It’s a great read, mirroring my thoughts overall. I share Viticci’s concern regarding adoption, since proper multitasking (not to be confused with the slide over feature) is for iPad Air 2 and beyond only, but not for the same reasons, it would seem. To me, this is something a lot of developers will rush to add, because the slide over feature will be made anyway, and that, I suspect, is the roadblock. No, my concern is user adoption, since iPads tend to stay in use for a long time. I don’t think the iPad Air 2 and beyond features are compelling enough for most users to upgrade.

June 8, 2015

Time management

From Kevin Hoctor’s piece on time:

Statements that begin with “I wish I had more time to…” are red flags for me. When I hear myself say something like, “I wish I had more time to exercise and get in shape,” it really means that I need to make time to exercise. Wishing it won’t change anything. I won’t magically have more time or extra energy by making that comment, so it’s useless.

Lots of sound advice in there. I find myself thinking more and more about time, and throwing away the excuses not to do things.

June 7, 2015

Let the wifi charge your phone

Brian Barrett writing for Wired about charging your phone by connecting to wifi:

The system comprises just two components; an access point (a router), and custom-built sensors. “The goal of the sensors is to harvest RF (radio frequency) power and convert it into DC power,” explains Vamsi Talla, a researcher on the project. “The second piece, the access point, there we actually developed a custom solution on it, just a software modification that would enable the access point to act both as a good power delivery source and, simultaneously, also as a good Wi-Fi router.” In other words, it achieves power over Wi-Fi in a way that both works with pre-existing hardware, and doesn’t interfere with your Internet connection one bit.

Lots of unknowns here, but a future where we wirelessly charge our mobile devices is coming, and not necessarily contained to charging surfaces either.