Dropbox Looking Instagram-y

I updated Dropbox earlier today and I noticed the UI is a little bit more Instagram-y:

Instagram UI for reference (current and previous):

More info on the new “productivity” features here.

I’m not sure I’ll ever use any of the features they listed, but as long file syncing remains rock solid, I’ll continue to be a paying Dropbox customer.

Podcasting is Process

Over at AIGA’s Eye on Design blog, Jude Stewart solicited advice from podcasters on everything you need to know before starting a podcast:

Perhaps the most pungent advice comes from The Poster Boys’ Schaefer: “Fail. Screw up. Fall on your face, and embarrass yourself… Only you can figure out what you want your thing to be.” Podcasting is process. At its best, it should resemble every creative act: messy, iterative, dogged. For game talkers, mistakes-enthusiasts, learning-junkies, media-pioneers or some combination of the above, podcasting may be the ideal pursuit.

This rings true to me.

When I started my Weekly Exhaust podcast last year I didn’t know what I was doing. Technically, sure, I knew how to get it up and running, but the actually talking-and-making-it-interesting-to-listeners part? No clue. When I go back and listen to the first handful of episodes I hear how rookie I was.

Editing episodes at the beginning was tough too because I couldn’t stand the sound of my own voice (most people can’t), but with time I’ve grown more tolerant of my voice. I attribute this to repetition and getting better at talking, although I still have to work on my “ums” and “you knows”.

At the end of the day I do it because I enjoy doing it and I’ve discovered how to make it a great compliment to this blog. Posts from this site, combined with talking points I capture throughout the week in my Simplenote app, give me fuel for each week’s episode.

Blade Runner: Typeface Details & Beyond

Over at Typeset in the Future, Dave Addey has an incredibly detailed analysis of Blade Runner going way beyond the typefaces used:

The subtitle reads WORLD WIDE COMPUTER LINKUP PLANNED, in what looks like Optima Bold. While the idea of a World Wide Computer Linkup might seem passé as we approach 2019, it was still very much unusual in 1982 when Blade Runner was released. Indeed, it wasn’t until March 1982 that the US Department of Defense, creators of pre-Internet network ARPANET, declared TCP/IP as the standard for all military computer networking, pretty much kick-starting what we know as the modern-day Internet of 2016.

Of course, if you’re going to set up business on the moon, you’ll need something a bit smarter than the simple terrestrial Internet we know here on Earth. Indeed, you’ll probably want some kind of Interplanetary Internet. By a strange coincidence, this is exactly what Vint Cerf and NASA have been working on, using delay-tolerant networking to forward bundles of data from spacecraft to spacecraft as and when they come into range. If you’d like to know more, here’s Vint explaining why the speed of light is too slow at a TEDx event in 2011. (We’ll excuse the Comic Sans in his slides, because he did after all invent the thing that’s letting you read this article.)

I’m a huge advocate of watching great movies over and over and over again. You never take everything in on the first watch.

via Daring Fireball

Apple Removes the Headphone Jack, Cue the Outrage

Here we go again.

Nilay Patel, “Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid”:

Ditching a deeply established standard will disproportionately impact accessibility

The traditional headphone jack is a standard for a reason — it works. It works so well that an entire ecosystem of other kinds of devices has built up around it, and millions of people have access to compatible devices at every conceivable price point. The headphone jack might be less good on some metrics than Lightning or USB-C audio, but it is spectacularly better than anything else in the world at being accessible, enabling, open, and democratizing. A change that will cost every iPhone user at least $29 extra for a dongle (or more for new headphones) is not a change designed to benefit everyone. And you don’t need to get rid of the headphone jack to make a phone waterproof; plenty of waterproof phones have shipped with headphone jacks already.

The article is clickbait, but I’ll bite.

The whole argument against removing the headphone jack is shortsighted.

If you’re unaware, the headphone jack has been around since the 19th century, where it was used in the original telephone fucking switchboards. You got that? Telephone switchboards. We have iPhones now.

Oh, you’re cool having a vestige of the 19th century stuck inside your phone like your appendix? Well, perhaps a smartphone isn’t for you.

Apple has a long history of removing technological components they deem, “on their way out.” Of course, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so by proactively removing features from products, Apple helped phase them out.

They were the first to remove:

  • the floppy drive from the original iMacs in 1998
  • the serial port (for VGA displays) from the original iMac ( 1998)
  • the CD-ROM drive on the MacBook Air (2008), and the MacBook Pro in 2012
  • the CD-ROM drive on iMac in in 2012
  • the 30-pin USB connector on iPhones and iPads in 2012

A lot of people will be butt hurt about this headphone jack removal, but trust me, we’re all going to be ok.

Final thought: If the Lightning port on iPhones and iPads is going to be used for headphones, I wonder if this means these devices will charge wirelessly through induction?

Your Formative Years Are Important

Dropbox founder Drew Houston on his formative years:

Initially, it was about playing games, and when I was about 11, I was pretty sure I was going to make computer games for a living. Part of my interest was also just discovering what makes these games tick. I would get the source code of a game and then modify it to work how I wanted.

That’s how I got my first job, actually. I was a beta tester for this game, and I was frustrated because the developers weren’t moving fast enough. So I started poking around under the hood, and I found all these security problems.

I emailed the developers, saying, “Hey, guys, you’ve got all these problems and here’s how you should fix them.” And they wrote back, “Great, do you want to work for us?” They said I could work remotely, too, so I said, “Is it O.K. if my dad fills out the paperwork, because I’m 14?” They said, “We couldn’t care less.”

Curiosity, drive, and not waiting for permission to do something: you’ll find these qualities in many successful people.

The 20-Inch-by-24-Inch Polaroid Camera

Chuck Close comments on the end of the 20-inch-by-24-inch Polaroid camera:

Like other artists he knows who have used the camera, he said, its attraction is not just in its size and endearingly oddball personality, like a creature from an obsessive hobbyist’s garage. The immediacy of making the picture, Mr. Close said, changes the relationship between the subject and the artist, who together witness the image come into being after the photograph is pulled from the camera and the chemicals perform their function. “You both work together to get something that you want out of it. Your subject knows what you’re trying to do.” (He described a 2012 session with President Obama in a hotel room so tiny that the camera and Mr. Close’s wheelchair — a spinal-artery collapse more than two decades ago left him partially paralyzed — crowded out the Secret Service.)

It’s too bad these cameras are going away.

Many artists crave analogue tools to create their work. Clicking a button on a digital device removes creative resistance from the act of creation.