Colin Devroe on a kayak

Everything Colin

A collection of the things that I write, share, make and dream.

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Muir Icons: Volume II

Sebastian de With:

Part of a continuing effort to make some nice replacement icons for applications for usage in the OS X Yosemite Dock. This time around, mostly requests from Twitter.

In Volume I he covered the Creative Suite from Adobe. In Volume II he covers some of the apps I’m more likely to use.

P. Morris, Beloved

Speaking of packaging albums in all-new and innovative waysP. Morris releases an album that you can only listen to with someone else who also has their webcam on. Think Chatroulette. Brilliant.

/via Andy Baio.

Finding friends on Twitter

Today I used Twitter’s Find Friends feature that connects to Gmail to get a list of your contacts and subsequently searches Twitter for them.

I have just over 2,550 contacts in my address book. Many are duplicates, due to how Gmail handles adding these addresses to your contact list. But, a cursory glance at the recordset shows me that I likely have about 2,000 people or business in there.

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Rockets are hard

Yesterday Orbital Sciences had a bad day. One of their rockets exploded during a mission to deliver goods to the International Space Station. Rockets are hard.

Elon Musk in Wired in 2012:

The results are pretty crazy. One of our competitors, Orbital Sciences, has a contract to resupply the International Space Station, and their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke. It uses Russian rocket engines that were made in the ’60s. I don’t mean their design is from the ’60s—I mean they start with engines that were literally made in the ’60s and, like, packed away in Siberia somewhere.

More information on the Antares rocket.

HTML 5 is now a W3C Recommendation

This was slated for 2022 at one point. I’m very happy to see things leveling off with this recommendation by the W3C. As Jeremy Keith said in his comments about this event on HTML5 Doctor:

On the one hand, it doesn’t really matter whether HTML5 is W3C recommendation or not. After all, what really matters to developers is what they can use in browsers today. So, from that perspective, the way the WHATWG views HTML as a “Living Standard” makes a lot of sense. On the other hand, it’s awfully nice to have some stability in the ever-changing world of web standards and browsers. That’s where the W3C provides balance. They are the yin to the WHATWG’s yang. HTML5 reaching recommendation status provides a welcome punctuation in the ongoing story of the most important format ever created.

“the most important format ever created”

That sums it up.

No more Platinum albums?

Hugh McIntyre for Forbes:

In 2014, not a single artist’s album has gone platinum. Not one has managed to cross that million sales mark.

Streaming/internet radio is eating digital downloads for lunch. And I think this trend is going to continue until things hit some sort of basement. But then, and I honestly believe this, something new will come around that will bring music back from the brink.

Payouts to artists from streaming is, from everything I’ve read, a far cry from the payouts that artists could earn from the album sales of yore. So streaming, while great for all of us consumers, isn’t particularly great for the artists. Especially massively popular artists.

So while we get to have our cake and eat it too, more and more artists will begin to try to find other ways to make up that revenue. Touring is an obvious way to do that. But I think we’ll start to see different ways of packaging the content — both digitally and physically — in the future.

Jack White did this somewhat recently by recording and releasing a record on vinyl in the same day. Sounds a bit cheeky? Well, he smashed a sales record doing it.

What will the artists with established audiences end up doing to make different products with their content so as to make up for the lost revenue of digital downloads? I don’t know but I’m eager to see.

/via Ma.tt

Slow reading email

Matt Haughey writing on this #tildeclub space:

One long-standing pet peeve with Gmail (and all similar email apps) is that they don’t offer a “slow” reading option. Email is a fast, efficient, intensive sort of activity, so the UI is as practical as possible, but if I ever need to write more than four paragraphs, I find myself often composing text in Google Docs or even Medium draft posts, both that get shared as a link over email. I know how much I don’t like reading tons of text in an email interface so I purposely push them to a place with larger fonts, more comfortable margins, and a way to soak in the words in a calmer UI. Go read stuff over there, where words are respected properly instead of your punch-clock email machine here.

What a great idea! I could never begin to count the number of times I’ve read “Sorry this email is so long”, or something to that effect, in an email. I don’t know why people appologize. I love long emails (well, the ones with a purpose for being long). But he’s right, reading them in most email clients is a fairly poor experience.

Don’t blame Powerpoint

Powerpoint is pretty terrible. The reason why many of us think so is because it is misused by so many. You can’t blame the tool, says Wayne Barz:

Many have wished for and striven for the death of the powerpoint presentation. I have always disagreed with this point of view. There is no doubt that most power point decks are terrible and yes, should be killed. However, it isn’t “Power Point” that is the problem, it’s the author!

He offers some tips in addition to a template you can download. But he urges you to read the tips - since they are more important than the template itself.

Lots of founders have asked me over the years to create a template for an effective investor power point. And, having yet again sat through one of the worst I’ve ever seen last week, I decided it was time to finally do it. However…do not just rush off to the attached template! Take a quick look at some of my recommendations below first…and then rush off to the attached template. I even stuck the link to the template AT THE BOTTOM of the page so you have to at least skim through the recommendations first!

Read first. Then download. Got it.

How Apple Pay works

Kirk Lennon:

One of the objections I’ve seen to Apple Pay is “How is it faster/easier than just sliding my card?” The truth is, it isn’t always. It’s rarely going to take longer than sliding a card, but it’s not always going to be radically faster either. However, it is much, much more secure. Merchants simply can’t be trusted with your card number, and the only real solution is to never give it to them. Apple Pay solves that, and it does so in a way that embraces industry standards and is easy and maybe even a little bit fun.

I copied the same bit as Gruber did on Daring Fireball, where I first saw a link to Lennon’s post.

If there is any reason to promote Apple Pay, beyond the fact that it is pretty easy and will someday help to eliminate the need for some of the stuff in our wallets, is that it is about a million times more secure than using a credit card. Infinitely. Perhaps.

Tell your moms.

YouTube Pop-up Bookmarklet

This is a bookmarklet that I wish I had written. But Michael Wheeler has beat me to it:

For those who find themselves wanting to pop a YouTube video out into its own window, this is the tool for you. Using the bookmarklet below, you can pop a YouTube video out into a resizable window so you can watch it while working on something else.

What’s more, this bookmarklet will automatically switch the YouTube player to HD playback.

I’ve been using this for a few weeks and I now consider this indispensable.

Some podcasts from Bijan Sabet

I should have tagged Bijan in my list of podcasts but he posted a few suggestions anyway. His are both photography related:

I’m really enjoying Marco’s latest creation, Overcast and as a result I’m listening to more podcasts these days.

I too am enjoying Overcast.

Om on the blogging challenge so far

Om Malik:

The blogging challenge, however has brought a rigor and discipline that was missing for most of the year. Almost three weeks into the challenge, I feel like a slugger in the middle of slump who is finally starting to recover his swing — connecting, but still missing the power. The desire to blog is back, writing longer pieces will come next and perhaps finally I will get the enthusiasm to write a book I eventually want to write!

I’ve never written professionally the way Om has. Sure, I’ve written on blogs that made some ad or sponsorship revenue, but I’ve never considered writing a discipline.

But, blogging for me is more about thinking. Sometimes a post will end up being something that people need or want. But most posts are really written for me. For me to jot down my thoughts on something or, really, for me to come to a conclusion on something.

It happens all the time. I’ll begin writing a post about something and have an opinion one way — only to find out by the time I’m done that I’ve changed my own opinion. That’s why I blog. And this recent challenge has got me thinking clearly again on a lot of things.

Side note: Not all things I write get published. Not by a long shot. So if I start off writing about something with the opinion of X only to convince myself to have they opinion of Y I sometimes end up not publishing it.

WordCamp San Francisco 2014

Ma.tt:

On Sunday at 11AM I will deliver my State of the Word address, our annual look at where we’ve been and the road ahead, and even if you can’t make it you can livestream the SoTW and the entire weekend for just $10 from the comfort of your own home.

I wish getting to San Francisco didn’t mean throwing an entire week directly into the bin — otherwise I’d probably attend this every year (like I did in 2007).

Don’t Call It Wordsmithing

Ken Ziegler:

As copywriters, we have a duty to our profession to remind our peers that there is no such person as a wordsmith in practically any office where copywriters operate with self-respect, dignity, and the freedom to express themselves in words without fear of being slandered by the most terrible of all imaginable portmanteaus.

I don’t know what he’s talking about. I codesmith, paybillsmith, and husbandsmith all day long.

365 days of travelfeet

I took a few weeks off of Instagram. Then, I thought, if I were to come back I’d like to have some reason to post. Something with a few constraints (beyond the square crop) and something regular. So, I’ll be posting #travelfeet for 365 days straight. I hope. I’m going to try.

My niece and a few others have already decided to join me in doing so. Maybe you’d like to?

The rules are simple:

  • Take a photo of your feet at some point during the day
  • Share it on Instagram (and anywhere else you’d like)
  • Hashtag that thing with #travelfeet
  • And be sure to caption it with a bit about your day

That’s it.

I’ll be posting them here on my blog as well. We start on Monday October 27, 2014. I’m @cdevroe on Instagram.

jk on Ello

Last night, also, I read this post on Ello by @jk. I like the way he’s using Ello.

Trouble at the Koolaid Point

Kathy Sierra:

I now believe the most dangerous time for a woman with online visibility is the point at which others are seen to be listening, “following”, “liking”, “favoriting”, retweeting. In other words, the point at which her readers have (in the troll’s mind) “drunk the Koolaid”. Apparently, that just can’t be allowed.

Such a sad retelling of her story. I sat on my couch last night and read this and thought about how incredibly terrible a tool the web is for some.

What is Tilde Club?

In case you went all o_0 when you saw #tildeclub in my last post. Here is the story of its origin.

The golden age for independent content

Matthew Haughey waxing nostalgic on the incredibly retro tilde.club:

That made me think back to posting 4–5 times a day on my own blog, and RSS (and The Time Before Google Reader Was Killed), and even back before that. I tried to think of the ultimate time for the indie web, when I was experiencing my favorite setup during the early days.

There is some amazing stuff going on over at tilde. I think it will be somewhat short lived but I’m soaking it all in while it lasts. Follow #tildeclub on Twitter to see the antics.

Side note: Matthew has a very nice blog. Maybe he should use that? Like Andy is?

Which type of glass to use for which type of beer?

Digg has a roundup of beer glass types and which brews to drink with them. Notice, 8 out of 10 glasses are recommended for IPA. IPA tastes great in anything.

Blogging is back

I’m loving loving loving this.

Andy Baio:

So I think I‘ll try doing the same thing here. In the early days of Waxy.org, before I launched the linkblog, I used to blog short posts constantly. Multiple times a day. Twitter and Waxy Links cannibalized all the smaller posts, and as my reach grew, I started reserving blogging for more “serious“ stuff — mostly longer-form research and investigative writing.

So, to recap - we have many people that have come back to blogging far more regularly. People that used to but sort of stopped. People that were tweeting rather than blogging. People that went into professional journalism due to their blogging. People that rarely blogged but are starting to see the delight in it.

I’d link to them all here but I suggest parsing through the archives here and seeing what has been going on over the last few months.

Blogging is back.

Five ways to learn more about wine

Wine Library:

Without fail, one of the greatest ‘hands-on’ approaches to learning about wine, spirits (or brews for that matter), is to coordinate a guided tour while enjoying the spoils that come with “vacation”. Actual vineyard growers, winemakers, and owners will more quickly and pointedly debunk myths and elucidate the most important facts about your beverage of choice than 3 months in a classroom, period.

The way Eliza and I ended up learning about wine was first by visiting local wineries for free tastings. This was super helpful because it

  • helped us to learn the types of wines we liked, and don’t like, for free
  • gave us background on what we were drinking because people at these wineries often knew the process behind the wine
  • we were able to ask stupid questions without feeling stupid for asking them
  • were able to buy after trying, again for free

Good tips from Wine Library.

/via my friend Gary (whose family owns Wine Library)

Way to go Ello

Well, this is cool. Ello has raised some capital and in doing so they’ve filed as a “Public Benefit Corp.” and made everyone involved sign a mission statement.

Jonathan Shieber for Aol/Techcrunch:

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Galaxy NGC 7331

Mike Hankey:

Here’s the first astrophoto I’ve published since the spring. This is a spiral galaxy called NGC 7331 and its located approximately 40 million light-years away from Earth. This galaxy is similar in size and structure to our own galaxy and is sometimes called the Milky Way’s twin. The fuzzy dots surrounding the picture are also galaxies, there are three prominent ones that appear to be hovering above the main galaxy in this photo.

If I had time I’d write a Spacebit on this I would but — this is a gorgeous photo of billions of objects that are millions of lightyears away taken by a hobbyist. We live in amazing times.

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