Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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What I saw this week #59: August 23, 2019

At this point, the WISTW posts are woefully inaccurately titled and inconsistent in their schedule. The following are a few things I’ve seen recently that you may enjoy – but were certainly not just from this week.

Now, to think about what to rename this series of occasional links.

Popeyes chicken sandwich

Want to hear something weird?

Last Friday Eliza and I went to New Jersey and had to grab a bite to eat in the late-afternoon. We stopped at a Popeyes in Wayne, NJ – it was on the way, and neither of us had ever had it – and we both ordered the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. The person at the register sort of chuckled that we ordered them and yelled to the back “ANOTHER! chicken sandwich”. We thought it was odd but didn’t think anything more of it at the time.

We then come home after a weekend at the beach to learn that the sandwich is a viral sensation. For a combination of reasons it has become one of the most popular sandwiches in the US over the last week. And we may have gotten some of the few remaining ones before all Popeyes began to run out of chicken. So weird.

Audio: My armchair analysis of Automattic acquiring Tumblr

Date recorded: August 19, 2019

Yesterday while driving (sorry for the audio quality) I recorded a quick audio bit to distill my thoughts on why Automattic acquired Tumblr.

Short-version: Automattic sees Tumblr as an entry point for new customers – especially youth. For someone to go from idea to full commerce or publishing success via’s current offering could seem cumbersome and not nearly as hip as Tumblr.

Listen to the audio bit for more details. We’ll see if I’m right in 5 years.

Links relevant to this audio bit:

Animating Seljalandsfoss in Iceland

The above animation, created with Pixaloop on Android, is from a photo by Eliza while we were in Iceland. That’s me in the bottom right, shooting my own images of Seljalandsfoss.

Connecticut weekend vibes – August 2019

Eliza and I enjoyed a gorgeous weekend in Connecticut this weekend with my sister and her family.

My answers to my askATP question

I’ve recently started listening to ATP. I’m enjoying the three hosts slightly different takes on things. Somehow they each have just enough of a different perspective to make their conversations – and particularly their angst – entertaining.

I sent in a question and on their most recent episode they graciously spent a considerable amount of time answering it.

My question was: What tech, outside of Apple, are you most happy with currently (or, bonus: excited about in the near future)?

I suggest you listen to their responses. Jeremy Brown shared an Overcast link (which is built by Marco Arment, one of the hosts) that allows you to listen to the moment they begin to answer the question.

Here are my answers, as if I was on their podcast and had to quickly answer the question. I’ve jotted down this entire blog post in just a few minutes.

Most happy with currently:

  • Computational photography – My Pixel 2 XL’s capability with a single, tiny lens makes me happy. I’m looking forward to the Pixel 4 but even after two years I’m delighted by the results each day.
  • Google Lens – I use this far more often than I ever thought I would. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl. You can “Google” anything by pointing your camera at it.

Excited about in the near future:

  • Autonomous driving – I know this is controversial. But I don’t think it is arguable that human beings are terrible drivers. There will be a difficult period when there is a mix of human and robot drivers, but the quicker we get to all bots the more lives we save.
  • Micromobility – Personal transport is on the rise. More individual humans will use this than autonomous driving but since I live in a rural area I think I’m slightly more interested in autonomous driving.
  • AR in glasses – We’ve seen this in fits and starts. It is coming. Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft – they are all pushing hard and investing billions. It is coming and I honestly would love it. Not for games though… I want any size screen at any time.

Thanks to Casey, Marco, and John for answering my question.

Aquaman 👎👎

Chris Stapleton, Bethel Woods, New York – July 2019

Eliza and I had the opportunity to see Chris Stapleton at the infamous Woodstock grounds. Though not a fan of country, per se, he was amazing.

Matt Mullenweg on how Verizon handled the Tumblr sale

Matt Mullenweg, stressing the more important aspects of the Tumblr sale:

First, they chose to find a new home for Tumblr instead of shutting it down. Second, they considered not just how much cash they would get on day one, but also — and especially — what would happen to the team afterward, and how the product and the team would be invested in going forward. Third, they thought about the sort of steward of the community the new owner would be. They didn’t have to do any of that, and I commend them for making all three points a priority.

It isn’t surprising that the press, and even me, commented on the rumored sale price of Tumblr. Tumblr skyrocketed from the little platform that could to $1B+ acquisition – only to be sold for far, far less. That is a story.

However, Matt is right, Verizon could have handled the sale of Tumblr and Flickr very differently – focusing on their upside. Or, they could have simply cancelled them altogether. They didn’t do that.

So kudos to Verizon’s BD team for finding good homes for these services they inherited.

New goal; learn more wild plants.