A Reflection on One Year of Daily Journaling

Josh Ginter has journaled every single day for an entire year. He explains his process, along with some insights he's learned along the way:

What matters is that [journaling] has changed my life. Recording, recognizing, and signifying important events in the past year has improved my memory and my realism. Pushing the tidal waves of thought and emotion through the nib and onto paper has created a metaphorical bottleneck — my recorded thoughts now have structure, my daily doings now have amplified importance.

In typical Newsprint fashion, there are plenty of lovely photos to ogle while you read.

Typography in Ten Minutes

Matthew Butterick, in his online book Butterick's Practical Typography:

This is a bold claim, but I stand behind it: If you learn and fol­low these five ty­pog­ra­phy rules, you will be a bet­ter ty­pog­ra­pher than 95% of pro­fes­sional writ­ers and 70% of pro­fes­sional de­sign­ers. (The rest of this book will raise you to the 99th per­centile in both categories.)

All it takes is ten min­utes—five min­utes to read these rules once, then five min­utes to read them again.

A short, concise ruleset that can make any website look more professional. So often I come across blogs that would be 10x more readable if they accounted for rules #3 and #4 alone.

If you end up reading through Mr. Butterick's typography guide in its entirety, consider paying him a few bucks (or more) in thanks. He did a wonderful job with it. (Tip: hyperlinks throughout the guide are indicated by prepended diamond symbols.)

The SIRUI T-025X Travel Tripod

Álvaro Serrano T&T Tripod Review

Álvaro Serrano wrote a review of the SIRUI T-025X travel tripod for Tools & Toys:

In a nutshell, the T-025X is one of the world’s most compact and lightweight full-size travel tripods, but what really sets it apart from the competition is its incredible balance of performance, features, portability and price. There may be some slightly lighter tripods out there, and tripods that can withstand more load. There are probably also taller tripods, and tripods that offer more stability. But you’d be hard pressed to find one that matches the T-025X in all those features at the same time, and even more hard-pressed to find another carbon-fiber tripod that can do all that at this price point.

You wouldn’t necessarily read the term tripod review and think “interesting read” or “gorgeous photography” but Álvaro nailed it on both counts.

David Sparks, Esq.

David Sparks (aka MacSparky) decided to make a big career change:

So much of my own neurosis screamed out at me to keep the steady job and continue “pedaling” as best as possible. I laid awake at night. I rambled on about it incessantly with my family and closest friends. They all had excellent, well-meaning advice, much of which was contradictory with one another.

At the end of this process I found myself repeatedly coming back to my hypothetical death bed. If I was laying somewhere right now facing down the reaper, what would I regret more? It then became crystal clear to me.

Congrats to David on the new gig. I'm (somewhat selfishly) looking forward to what he will now be able to produce at MacSparky with his newfound free time.

A Note on Blockquotes

Spoiler alert: in this post I will explain why I am changing the way I write blockquotes.

I fully expect 99% of readers will file this into the “why on Earth are you sharing this information with us, literally no one cares” category, and rightfully so. (If you consider yourself in that 99% and would rather leave right now, might I offer this cute video of 5-year-old kids making espresso instead?)

This one goes out to the other one percent—the writers who obsess over stylistic details and think way too much about this stuff. I love you wackos, you know who you are.

 

Bill Carter on Covering 'SNL' and Lorne Michaels for 40 Years

I've loved Saturday Night Live since I was a kid, so this glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes was fascinating and entertaining to read.

[Lorne] Michaels needed to get station clearances up fast or face ratings doom. So he agreed to talk to me — initially on the phone. One thing he said illustrated how sure he was of his mission: “When we do well, we do the best comedy on TV. That's not ego; that's just the way it is.”

As John Gruber put it, “How [The New York Times] let Carter walk away is beyond me.”

Publishing a Day One Journal as a Book

Donnie Ray Jones:

“My wife and I keep a journal of notes to our twin girls in Day One. After a year of journaling, I wanted to print the entries in a physical book for my wife as a Christmas present.”

Interesting idea, and would make a great gift to family members next time Christmas rolls around.

If you need more ideas for journaling in Day One check out my recent, in-depth review, which offers several ideas and a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of the app.

Federico Viticci's Review of the iPad Air 2

Federico's review of the iPad Air 2 is far more than a breakdown of its specs and features. It's a credo for why the iPad has become his primary computing device.

“The iPad’s screen and body are glued together physically and conceptually. [...] as a computer [it] truly disappears in your hands, feeling like a display that you grab and touch and swipe and throw away when you’re done.

[...]

Three years ago, when I was stuck in a hospital bed and I wanted to continue my work, I started using the iPad out of curiosity, challenging myself to get more done on iOS in spite of its limitations and differences from OS X. Today, some of those limitations still remain, but the iPad and new versions of iOS have solved most of my problems in new and unexpected ways.

The iPad is the best thing that happened to my professional life.”

Like Federico, the iPad—mine is the 4th-gen model—is my primary device. In fact, I don't even own a traditional computer anymore (unless you count my wife's Windows 7 laptop, which I avoid using at all costs).

I'm in a better position than most to find any holes in Federico's argument, but I can't disagree with a single word of his review, or more importantly his philosophy concerning the iPad. It truly is an incredibly versatile device. Most shortcomings with it I've ever come across have been due to lack of developer interest, but even that problem is getting less and less prevalent by the year.

Just to give an example, here are some of the apps that help me get my writing work done:

And this list is just the tip of the iceberg. The iPad has limitations, sure, but those are more and more becoming edge cases. Nearly all my needs are covered by the iPad, and I have almost no desire for anything more.

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Further reading: Josh Ginter's review + gorgeous photos of the iPad Air 2 on Tools & Toys.

God is in the Details

No, I am not linking to a religious piece. I have no interest in such things.

This article by Buzz Usborne—UX Director at Campaign Monitor and founder of Prevue—is all about celebrating the importance of obsession over the tiniest details in one's work.

“God is in the details.”

It applied to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe when he was designing buildings in the mid 1900’s, and it remains true in product design today. Though I don’t profess to know much about architecture, another likely commonality with product design is that it’s those same details that are the easiest to forget. But it’s those little things, the tiny minutia of detail, that ultimately make beautiful products, and beautiful houses.

[...] I’m not talking about obvious design things; like colours, drop-shadows or placement. Instead I’m referring to something harder to define; experience and subconscious patterns that help the user feel more at-ease with an interaction. That detail might come in the form of a change in cursor, a “down” style for a button, or a helpful animation.

He focuses on UX design mostly of course, but a careful eye will reveal philosophies that can apply to other kinds of creative work.

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I would be remiss here if I did not also remind readers about my friend Shawn Blanc's wonderful ebook + audiobook + interview bundle, Delight is in the Details. Get this book and really absorb its lessons—your work will be better for it.