Colin Devroe on a kayak

Everything Colin

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


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

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

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, 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.

Google Inbox

Google, yesterday:

Today, we’re introducing something new. It’s called Inbox. Years in the making, Inbox is by the same people who brought you Gmail, but it’s not Gmail: it’s a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters.

That “years in the making” part screams “we thought of this before Mailbox but didn’t get it out before they did”. Which I doubt they did but… it sort of sounds like Instagram’s “we thought of 15 second videos before it was cool too” moment.

Anyway, Inbox looks terrible. It looks like Google+. Which is to say it looks poorly designed. I know, I’m not usually this harsh, and I’d like to say otherwise but it really is. Even though John Gruber disagrees.

Google is building reactionary products and it shows.

Because they are trying to build a product that competes with an already existing competitor — they end up making poor design decisions. Sometimes when you are inspired by others you can wait long enough to make something that is, to some degree, better than that which came before it. But other times you simply try to make something that has the same features but looks different so that people don’t call you out for it.

But often times by doing it slightly differently you end up doing it slightly worse. Mailbox’s gestures and UI for scheduling emails to respond to them at a later date is intuitive and obvious. Inbox’s are just a list. In Mailbox the “Inbox” paradigm is maintained (because it works) yet in Google’s it looks like a social media feed. Which doesn’t end up working very good for email.

I really love Mailbox. I’m using it both on the Mac and on iOS every single day and I have come to rely on its features. Perhaps that is why when I see Inbox I simply think — Bleh.

iPad Air 2 Review

Speaking of John Gruber, he just published his review of the iPad Air 2 — a review I’ve been patiently waiting for.

I spent a lot of time in this review comparing the new Air 2 to the iPad 3/4. I think that’s fair, because normal people aren’t supposed to even consider replacing their iPads on an annual basis. And from what we’re learning as the iPad era marches on, iPad users aren’t even upgrading them as often as they do their iPhones. They’re more like PCs, where people use them for several years. Anyone upgrading from an iPad 3/4 to an iPad Air 2 is going to be delighted. Anyone upgrading from an iPad 2 or original iPad is going to be amazed.

He’s right, of course. I had an original iPad and, months later, updated to the iPad 2 which I’ve been using every single day since. It still works great (though iOS 8 slowed it down a lot), battery still lasts far longer than I ever expect, and it is a joy to use. It still amazes me daily.

But it is time to upgrade. I could use the iPad 2 until one of Apple’s software updates bricks it, but I’d rather not. This iPad Air 2 seems like the right time to make the jump and I’m planning on doing so. I hope it lasts as long as my iPad 2 has.

Yosemite + iOS 8.1

Austin Mann:

Apple’s sharing all kinds of software updates with us these days, and a few of them are especially exciting for power user iPhone photographers. Here are my thoughts on how the new features affect how we create and share images with our iPhones.

People that muck about with photos on their iPhones / Mac should consider this a must-read.

/via The Loop.

Hairpieces and Web Design

Yesterday I watched John Gruber’s presentation at XOXO via YouTube. I’m very familiar with the Daring Fireball story — having been a member and supporter of John’s excellent site since the very beginning — but his presentation was great nonetheless.

One bit he spoke about was an analogy between hairpieces and web design. It was funny. And he mentioned that he had written about it on DF sometime earlier. I didn’t remember the post so I dug around and found it.

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Podcasts that I listen to

Nearly a year ago I jotted down some non-tech podcasts that I was enjoying at the time. However, today I was tagged by Joe Casabona (Cassy) to jot down those that I’m listening to currently. Here is that list:

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Me, on Product Hunt

Starting today, Product Hunt allows following and I’m right here. You know what to do.

Space isn’t everything, people matter too

I love that Toni Schneider is blogging regularly. In a recent post he tries to find the balance of having an open, collaborative office space and one that allows for private time to execute.

While I share Toni’s observations completely — that having a bit of both is really best, I also think that the people matter as much as the space. In June of this year I wrote about a Wired piece entitled The Myth of the Cool Office. I wrote:

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Dave Winer on trusting Twitter

Dave Winer recorded a short podcast in response to Marco’s argument about whether or not we should trust Twitter. He says:

Apple screwed their developers too. It happened more than once.

Good to listen to the other side of this. We’ll see how it plays out over time.

Saving China’s Salween River, One Trip at a Time

Will Stauffer-Norris:

This is the fourth pig carcass that has washed up in Dead Pig Eddy. The bloated creature rocks gently up and down against the beach about 10 feet away from our brewing morning coffee. The pig must go, it’s decided, so Lao Tang and Bob tie a piece of p-cord to a stiff leg and offer the other end to me. Just tie a quick-release knot to your kayak they say. No problem.

Amazing images, great writing.

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