Colin Devroe

Stammy’s blog

3 August 2015

Paul Stamatiou, on 10 years of blogging:

For me blogging here is an outlet for creativity and an eternal personal project where I can tinker with design ideas and various web technologies.

As good as any reasons to have your own blog.

He also notes this about personal sites:

The era of the personal website is over. It's now just a personal landing page with a photo, bio and link to a Twitter profile.

He’s wrong. But that is just my opinion. There are more personal web sites today than ever. Some are old and dusty and unused. But others are brand-new and excellent. The era of the personal web site being the only way for one to share things online; that may indeed be over but I think the era of the personal site and how it is used is just getting started.

More about blogging in the archives.

NEPA BlogCon 2015

3 August 2015

Last year Coalwork sponsored NEPA BlogCon, which I wrote about on the Coalwork blog at the time, and this year we’re sponsoring the conference again.

From their press release:

NEPA BlogCon is designed to bring together bloggers of all experience levels, as well as those interested in marketing, social media, creativity, leadership, and branding. It’s also an excellent event for marketers, small business owners, nonprofit organizations, and students.

As the release says, the event isn’t necessarily for “bloggers” in the traditional sense — those that type away on their personal blogs about their lives, experiences, and life lessons — but it is for people who use blogs in their day-to-day job. It is more a marketing event than the name implies. However, it is the only event of its kind in our area and so we’re really happy to sponsor it and happy to see people getting together. Also, the proceeds always go to a good cause.

This year the event is happening at East Stroudsburg University and we already have our tickets. You can get yours on their site.

Side note: Last year was when I got to see Salvador Dalí in print. Hopefully this year’s venue will turn up something interesting to photograph too.

Facebook is the new AOL

3 August 2015

Leo Marini on Quartz:

Indonesians surveyed by Galpaya told her that they didn’t use the internet. But in focus groups, they would talk enthusiastically about how much time they spent on Facebook. 

When AOL was at its height many thought it was the internet. Now, those using Facebook don’t even know they are using the internet.

Tweet no more

1 August 2015

Kurt Wagner on Re/code:

Trevor O’Brien, who joined Twitter a year and a half ago from YouTube and oversees product for Twitter’s iOS and Android apps, is departing the company, according to multiple sources.

Based on the application updates I’ve seen these last few months I’d say O’Brien wasn’t overseeing much of anything. The state of applications at Twitter — from my outside view in my very comfy chair — is rather crap.

So far this is being painted as “a blow” to the team. And perhaps it is. But I say new blood could be good.

Jay Torres on Apple Watch

31 July 2015

Jay Torres discusses the Apple Watch on Mark Miller’s series Watchscreen:

I now always have my phone on silent and rely on my Watch to let me know of any texts. It’s subtle so it doesn’t interrupt anything, and the haptic touch is strong enough to let me know someone has texted me.

As someone who has turned off all notifications on my phone, tablet, and computer and who always, always keeps his phone on silent this is what pulls me towards the Apple Watch the most.

That being said, I do not see myself owning an Apple Watch for several generations. I believe the Apple Watch, and any other wrist-worn-device that tracks your activity, ends up becoming the watch you wear rather than a watch you wear. And I’m not all that comfortable with that yet. I like switching up my watches.

Further, the first version hardware is far from exciting to me. It is slow, thick, and doesn’t have any telephony built-in. I would not want to belittle any of the accomplishments that Apple has made with the Apple Watch — it certainly is far better looking than any smartwatch I’ve seen — but it is far from where I think they’ll be in three years.

I think I’ll stick with traditional watches until sometime in 2018-19. I’ll point back to this blog post if I’m wrong.

Michelangelo on not being interrupted

31 July 2015

Maria Popova on her incredibly good blog Brain Pickings:

Indeed, he knew value of undisturbed creative labor and protected it fiercely, unafraid to stand up to the most powerful man in Europe. Unable to bear the interruptions any longer and determined to do his work on his own terms, he left Rome and returned to Florence, where he could work on his sketches and sculptures for the project in peace.

Read the entire entry. If it doesn’t make you instantly subscribe to Brain Pickings you can feel free to unsubscribe to this here blog too.

Windows 10 launch

31 July 2015

Microsoft is reporting 14,000,000 Windows 10 installs in 24 hours. Not bad.

Me, in May:

I want Microsoft to do great things. I want Windows Phone to be as amazing as it is but with thousands more applications. I want HoloLens to exist. I want to see whether Microsoft’s unified Windows Platform will be a better idea than Apple’s bifurcated one.

From what I’ve seen and heard so far people are enjoying Windows 10. That’s great. I hope what they’re doing will be a home run. Like I said back in May — it is going to be an exciting 5 years.

Spacial Interfaces

30 July 2015

Interesting write-up on Medium by Pasquale D’Silva Creative Director at Elepath. He says this about Spotify:

One of the most spatially confusing, while popular pieces of consumer software. To describe how Spotify’s interface makes use of space, would be to describe a rat’s nest of wires. I challenge you to effectively sketch it on a piece of paper.

I agree. Same goes for Apple Music. Incredibly haphazard UX.

He calls out Facebook Paper, which I love, for being a bunch of superfluous interactions jammed into an interface on the iPhone. I get that. Perhaps I like Facebook Paper so much simply because it is far less cluttered when compared to Facebook for iOS.

/via Jeremy Keith.

Stop Hacking Your Life

29 July 2015

Kyle Eschenroeder over at The Art of Manliness:

Then there is the person scrolling through Lifehacker collecting listicles. Reading and re-reading the same hacks spewed out a thousand times. This is the person who won’t go to the gym until they know for a fact that they have the “perfect” workout regimen. This is the person who doesn’t start a business because they don’t know how; they always have to do just a little more research before they get going. These are the people who are constantly talking about how they need to get up earlier, to cut out gluten, to implement the Pomodoro technique…

Pretty good piece overall. Paralysis by analysis. Sometimes the hard way is the best way.

Related. Somewhat related.

Web Design: The First 100 Years

28 July 2015

Maciej Ceglowski, operator over at Pinboard, in a talk in 2014:

The Web belongs to us all, and those of us in this room are going to spend the rest of our lives working there. So we need to make it our home.

You’ve likely already read the transcript of his talk but I thought it would be remiss of me not to link to it from my blog. I too care very much about the web. I hope he is right.

Stock GoPro Videos

21 July 2015

Good move from GoPro. They’ve created a licensing platform for stock videos made by GoPro users.

Christopher Heine for Adweek:

At launch, GoPro Licensing will feature more than 600 videos from amateur and professional videographers with whom the San Mateo, Calif.-based company has struck licensing agreements. It plans to continuously expand the number of clips available, with the aim of making GoPro to videos what Getty Images and Shutterstock are to still images. Videos start at $1,000 apiece, depending on the extent of commercial use and distribution.

The video from GoPro cameras is different and compelling enough to keep this separate from any other video licensing platforms.

Visual Studio 2015

20 July 2015

S. Somasegar on his own blog at Microsoft:

Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 4.6 are an exciting next step for developer tools from Microsoft - combining new productivity for existing Visual Studio users with new platform support for developers targeting a wider range of platforms and programming models. 

Huge update to Visual Studio but most notable is the ability to write apps in HTML5 or .NET for a variety of platforms and also to take existing Android or iOS applications and port them to Windows 10 with relative ease.

Kyle Ruane on WordCamp Scranton

20 July 2015

Kyle Ruane, on his personal blog:

It’s no secret that the more this region (Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, everywhere in-between) becomes comfortable with technology and success within that industry, the greater our ability will be to develop and keep homegrown talent as well as attract entrepreneurs from other areas. This conference was another big step in the right direction. While one of the most influential people on the web was in town to present at the conference, our collective hope is that a future one was in the audience. Attendees could learn about the tools available on the web, discover strategies for getting noticed, but maybe most importantly, see proof that it’s possible to build something that changes the world. Hopefully they were paying attention.

The fact that WordCamp ended up being pretty good is a great thing for our area. Even though it was the first WordCamp in our area it was done well and, I believe, would be attended again by the same crowd next year.

The momentum should continue to build.

This is Our Planet From a Million Miles Away

20 July 2015

Jason Major, writing for Universe Today:

More than just a pretty picture of our blue marble, this image will be used by the EPIC team to help calibrate the instrument to remove some of the blue atmospheric haze from subsequent images. Once the camera is fully set to begin operations daily images of our planet will be made available on a dedicated web site starting in September.

Don’t allow yourself to be dulled by the onslaught of amazing images coming from various space programs and astronomers around the globe. Each of these new images, and what we learn from them, are a huge leap forward in space exploration.

You might be thinking you’ve seen this image before. But you’ve never seen this image before.

Two weeks notice: the first weekend

20 July 2015

Manton Reece, on his personal blog about quitting his “day job” and going full time indie: 

I thought it would be fun to do a series of blog posts about the early part of this transition. For the next couple weeks, as I wind down one set of projects and ramp up new ones, I’m going to post here with the slightly-catchy title prefix “Two weeks notice”.

I have a feeling I’ll be liking what he’s up to.


17 July 2015

I watch Casey Neistat every day. Today he and his team released Beme. (App Store Link)

Mike Isaac for Bits:

Users capture four-second bursts of video by covering a sensor directly above the earpiece of the iPhone. During an interview in his Manhattan office on Thursday, Mr. Neistat demonstrated this by pressing the phone to his chest — a similar motion, for instance, to holding his hand over his heart as if he were singing the national anthem. The phone beeps and vibrates to let you know it is recording, and does so again when it has finished.

We were playing around with the app this morning at Coalwork. It is pretty great. Looking forward to seeing how it evolves.

Coda for iOS 2.0

17 July 2015

Mark this app down as one of the apps that will make iOS become a platform that rivals the Macintosh for creators over the next few years. This is just the beginning. iOS 9 will open the door for much, much more apps like this.

Also, kudos to Panic for their hat tip to Dennis Nedry.

Nerd news media blackout

17 July 2015

Rich Cicci writing for the excellent NEPA Scene:

San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, but unless you kept your face inches away from your cell phone, tablet, PC, or laptop this past weekend, you may not have known. That fact is shocking considering how much nerd culture has permeated everything nowadays. I mean, between Hollywood’s reliance on superheroes to keep them rolling in money, the general popularity of comic books, and how much we rely and thrive on tech devices, why wouldn’t the populace want to see such coverage, right?

Boy is he right. I know how you feel Rich.

Why WordCamp Scranton is important

17 July 2015

Disclosure: I’m not an organizer of WordCamp Scranton, though two of my companies; Plain and Coalwork are sponsors, nor am I speaking for anyone involved with the event.

I’m personally grateful for the coverage on WNEP about WordCamp Scranton but I believe it could have been so much better. I believe WordCamp’s organizers could have done a better job of providing WNEP with the talking points about what WordCamp Scranton is, why it is important, and who should attend and I also believe WNEP could have done a bit more research to improve their coverage.

I hope going forward WNEP, and all local news outlets, considerably up their game on covering technology in our area because I firmly believe it will be one of the largest areas of economic growth over the next three decades.

That being said, here is what WordCamp is, why it is important for our area, and why Matt Mullenweg coming to do a Q&A during it may be a tent pole for technology in our area.

WordCamp Scranton is a day-long event happening at Johnson College. WordCamps are events centered around discussions relating to a piece of open source software, WordPress, that powers 23%+ of the top 10M web sites. It has become an integral part of the web. In fact, many of the local news station’s own web sites are powered by WordPress.

WNEP’s web site, in fact, is powered by WordPress VIP (pricing starts at $5,000/month) — a cloud-based WordPress hosting service from Automattic — the company that manages the bulk of the activities behind this open source project. So WNEP obviously sees the value of WordPress by paying a decent sum to have it hosted by professionals.

WordCamp is a very serious, educational, and valuable event for a huge number of people making their career (and good ones at that) making web sites and services based off of an open source project that is over 10 years old. WordPress has thousands and thousands of collaborators and is used by companies such as The New York Times, Yahoo!, CNN, Time, UPS, and more.

Careers can be started and bolstered at WordCamps. I’ve heard many stories of people attending WordCamps for the first time and that being the starting point of them changing careers and becoming WordPress developers or designers. A WordPress developer or designer is capable of earning $80,000 or more per year and are in high demand. There are not that many jobs the Scranton area that can promise that.

WordCamps have been held in hundreds of locations around the world. As I’ve mentioned I’ve attended WordCamps in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Honolulu, Phoenix, and New York City. Each of them have been seminal events for my career. I believe WordCamp Scranton will be no different.

I’m sure many WordCamp attendees in our area are looking forward to meeting Matt Mullenweg who is traveling here to do a Q&A session during WordCamp. However, I believe everyone in business should be looking forward to this session. Matt is someone who many people in technology have admired for a decade or more. This is bigger news than many realize and will likely be looked at as a fairly pivotal moment for Scranton.

Matt is the CEO of Automattic which has 350+ employees (I think?) and is valued north of $1.1B. He’s the lead developer of an open source project that runs a considerable portion of the Internet. And, his angel investment and research company, Audrey Capital, has made dozens of interesting investments over the last few years. Matt coming to do a Q&A in Scranton is akin to Elon Musk, Marissa Mayer, Tim Cook, Andrea Jung or Satya Nadella coming to Scranton. Overstating? Wait five years.

None of this is to say that Matt should have fanboy followers (which I’m sure he does) but that “everyday people” that are interested in technology, in business development, in investments, and in building a company from $1 to $1B may be interested in what he has to say. And I believe his Q&A will inspire WordCamp attendees to do better at their current jobs, to become entrepreneurs themselves, and could even lead to investment in this area as a result.

Technology hasn’t been only for the young or only for the geeky for decades. Our area has the habit of thinking that computing, the internet, programming, or digital design is something that only a select few are capable of. We need to curb this trend and begin to cover what is happening with technology in our area the same effort we do with politics, the economy, healthcare, and other important sectors of our lives.

WordCamp Scranton is important. It is nearly sold out. And I’m looking forward to it.

Idle Words

17 July 2015

I had no idea that Maciej Cegłowski, operator of Pinboard, had a personal blog chocked full of great writing. Did you? How did I miss this?

I’m only now aware of this due to Jeremy Keith’s writing about Maciej’s Kickstarter. He’s looking to travel to Antarctica and write about the experience.

At first I thought… why can’t he fund himself? Then I saw it was a 36-day trip that is going where not too many people go.

Most Antarctic tourism is limited to voyages along the Antarctic Penninsula lasting just a few days. Only about 350 tourists a year visit the Ross Sea, an area of immense historical and natural interest reachable only from New Zealand. Due to the great expense of the trip, I'm asking for a small donation from interested readers. 

Well OK then. *gets wallet out*

Thanks for sharing Jeremy.

Commuting to NYC with an Oru Kayak

16 July 2015

Tal F commutes to NYC on a bicycle and has done so for years. He decided to shake things up and use a kayak to commute into work — and not just any kayak, an Oru Kayak.

Tal F, on his excellent blog:

Predictably, the process of setting up and dismantling the boat in Manhattan always attracts a crowd of curious onlookers with myriad questions.

I haven’t commuted to NYC with my Oru Kayak but I have set it up and broke it down on several occasions with a crowd gathering around me and being questioned about it. It is a boat that is an instant conversation starter.

Seven rejections for Airbnb

16 July 2015

In 2008 seven investors were approached to buy 10% of Airbnb for $150,000. Five of them turned them down flat, two never responded.

Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, on Medium:

Next time you have an idea and it gets rejected, I want you to think of these emails.

Airbnb is currently valued at a $25.5 billion dollars.