July 8, 2015

The Zappos Messiah

From Paul Carr’s story about Tony Hsieh, Zappos’s new management structure, and the apparent failure of the Las Vegas Downtown Project:

Hsieh took over as CEO of Zappos in 2000 (he is not the company’s founder, as many believe) and you only have to spend two minutes — I spent two years — living around Zappos employees to realize that many see him as an almost messianic figure. It’s hard to walk the length of a street with Hsieh without being stopped by a succession of acolytes hoping to touch the hem of his ubiquitous Zappos branded t-shirt.

It was a good read, in typical Paul Carr fashion.

July 7, 2015

Amex and UP4

Jawbone UP4 – yes this is a fitness band – has support for payments, if you’re an Amex customer. But the fine print is just weird, from an email Jawbone sent me today:

Amex Payments: Only one U.S. Amex-issued consumer, or small business credit, or charge Card can be connected to an UP4™ band and can’t be changed. Only available when you check out at merchants which accept American Express contactless payments. Payment capability expires as early as 7/31/2019. See important terms and limitations.

Sounds like a swell experience. I’ve yet to try the UP4, but I have tested both the UP2 and the UP3 (and the UP24 before that). They’re overall good fitness bands, and definitely the leader if you want to wake up from vibrating arm links.

July 5, 2015

June 30, 2015

Apple Music is on Tumblr

Apple has launched its Apple Music service (and iOS 8.4, of course), which I’ll talk more about after having given it a proper go, as well as the Beats 1 always on radio channel. If you’re curious about the latter, check out beats1radio.com, which incidentally is powered by Tumblr, as is the rest of the Apple Music site. Is this the new, hip, Apple?

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