Our Shitty Political System Doesn’t Allow For More Than Two Parties

Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight explains why Gary Johnson Isn’t Fading:

Why is Johnson’s support proving more durable than past third-party candidates’? The most obvious answer is that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are extremely unpopular for major party presidential nominees; if third-party voters eventually settled on a major party nominee in past campaigns for fear of “wasting their vote,” they may be less willing to settle this year. (Of course, Johnson’s support may simply fade later than past third-party candidates.)

It would be great if had more than two shitty choices for president and it wasn’t about who got the most campaign contributions.

Remember: If the App is Free, You’re the Product Being Sold

Relaxing Privacy Vow, WhatsApp Will Share Some Data With Facebook:

When Facebook bought the start-up WhatsApp in 2014, Jan Koum, one of WhatsApp’s founders, declared that the deal would not affect the digital privacy of his mobile messaging service’s millions of users.

“We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address,” Mr. Koum wrote in a blog post at the time. “None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.”

Two years later, in a move that is rankling some of the company’s more than one billion users, WhatsApp will soon begin to share some member information with Facebook.

I am absolutely shocked. Shocked.

I’m sure all the millions of users will immediately cease use of the app.

Vesper Vacates the App Store

Vesper, the note-taking app created by John Gruber, Brent Simmons and Dave Wiskus, is shutting down:

What went wrong was very simple. We never made enough money. Why we didn’t make enough money, what we should have done differently to make more money — those are complex questions (which I’ll tackle below). But what actually sunk Vesper was not complicated. Even as a relatively popular app at a relatively high price (for iOS), revenue was never high enough. Brent took a job at the excellent Omni Group in September 2014, and from that point onward the writing was on the wall. We could have, and probably should have, shut Vesper down a year ago. But we loved it too much. Or at least I did.

I bought Vesper when Gruber announced it on his site because I knew there was probably a lot of care and attention put into it, but the truth was, I had already started my relationship with SimpleNote (SimpleNote was acquired by Automattic, the makers of WordPress, in 2013).

I can’t remember if SimpleNote had their native OS X app from the start, but they did have a web app version which I used all the time. It’s still a part of my daily workflow and note-taking.

In the original version of his post (Google screenshot), Gruber mentions the font-licensing as one of the two, big, ongoing costs to keep the app running (he seems to have removed any mention of fonts). As a designer and type aficionado, I can understand the desire for great typography in an app or website, but I wouldn’t let it break the bank, especially with the solid lineup of fonts to choose from in iOS.

Vesper uses Ideal Sans, from Hoefler & Co. who are notorious for their hefty licensing fees. Back around 2011-12 I worked briefly on the redesign and rebuild of HBO.com while at Roundarch (now Isobar). We looked into the licensing of HBO’s identity typeface, Gotham, for use on the web and I think Hoefler & Co’s license was in the tens of thousands per month (a quick look at the current HBO.com reveals they still use a version of Gotham).

It’s too bad Vesper didn’t pan out. I’m a big proponent of creating things you want to see and use in the world, not creating for some imaginary customer or fan in your head. Q Branch did just that and I respect them for it.

As Gruber points out, their timing and execution were just a little off, and sometimes that’s all that separates the successes from the failures (for more on timing, talent, practice Outliers by Malcolm Gladewll is a must-read).

Dirty Boulevard

Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I’ll piss on ’em
That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death
And get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard

Dirty Boulevard by Lou Reed

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

The New York Times: Inside the Failing Mission to Save Donald Trump From Himself:

And Mr. Trump has begun to acknowledge to associates and even in public that he might lose. In an interview on CNBC on Thursday, he said he was prepared to face defeat.

“I’ll just keep doing the same thing I’m doing right now,” he said. “And at the end, it’s either going to work, or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice, long vacation.”

Sounds like insanity to me.

Enjoy your very, very nice, long vacation, Trump.

Watch Those Decimal Points

Ars Technica: Kansas couple sues IP mapping firm for turning their life into a “digital hell”:

Ever since James and Theresa Arnold moved into their rented 623-acre farm in Butler County, Kansas, in March 2011, they have seen “countless” law enforcement officials and individuals turning up at their farm day and night looking for links to alleged theft and other supposed crime. All of these people are arriving because of a rounding error on a GPS location, which wrongly points people to their farm.

I love it: “because of a rounding error on a GPS location”


High Fives

This video made me smile.

It also made me think about how archaic the act of sticking out our hands to summon a vehicle is.

“Grandpa, what’s a taxi cab?”

“Oh they were these yellow automobiles, driven by humans, that would take you where ever you wanted to go in New York and you would get them to pick you up by standing in the road and sticking out your arm to hail one.”

“They didn’t drive themselves and you couldn’t use your neural chip to give it commands?”


Interface Details

In 2015, Moleskine released a calendar app for iOS (yes, the company that makes notebooks and journals).

The app is called Timepage. I’ve been using it since it came out and it’s really good. As with all great design, it’s beautiful, but design is about how it works, not how it looks, and it works great. It much easier to use than Apple’s native Calendar app for iOS.

I’m not going to give a full breakdown of the app, I just want to highlight one detail I love. When you have no appointments on a day, instead of showing you nothing, it displays a historic event:

If you’re the kind of person searching for great calendar apps try it out, it’s $2.99 and if that’s too expensive for you, how about you skip your over-sugared and over-priced Starbucks latte.