Two+ years with Nike+ Fuelband

I'm not a product reviewer. I don't understand the process reviewers use to determine whether a product is a quality one, but it seems their stress point is a lack of time with the product. Usually, reviews in publications are up roughly around a products' launch. Many products take more than a few weeks to experience. I have several products I've used for many years, and so I'm going to write a small series of reviews for older products that are still for sale. These won't just be products I love, either. My basic rules are that the product must be at least 6 months old, and I have to be still using it with regularity.

We're at a sort of ripe point for smartwatches. In late 2014, we have watches from Samsung, Motorola, LG, Microsoft, Fitbit, Jawbone, Nike, and others. Apple Watch will be out in Spring 2015. Each of these devices offers differing functionality. Some only work with specific phones. But each effort is impressive, from form factor to functionality.

The Fuelband is, at this point, speculative abandonware. Back in April, most of the team was purportedly fired from Nike, with the focus turning to software and apps rather than devices. Though Nike was early to the game, they haven't found themselves able to compete in a crowded market. To make things worse, the Fuelband lost to its competition in comparison tests on every post I could find.

It is missing many features that even low-level fitness bands have grown since I ordered it in the summer of 2012. It barely works with cycling, does not cover sleep at all, and has no notification functionality from a paired phone. It does have bluetooth, but for reasons I'll go into later, I almost never used it. It counts steps, tracks calories, and offers up "fuelpoints"--an amalgam of the first two metrics to show progress in a sort of RPG-like system. It also shows the time if you press the button twice. It presents this information in a fuzzy matrix of lights that look pretty cool. When the lights are off, the device looks like it has no screen. It's a gimmick but a cool one that's aged well.

I was an early adopter to the watch for a few reasons. I liked the design of the device, how the screen worked, and how easy it was to forget it was there. The Fuelband was the first fitness device that looked invisible and just worked without any input. It was stupid easy to set up and get going. The device's low profile is still its greatest asset, as I just don't think about it most of the time. I check it for the time, and after a workout or a particularly active day. It has, on occasion, inspired me to get off my butt and get some cardio in on a particularly inactive day (if I remember to check).

The Fuelband seems designed to be unobtrusive. Unlike other wearables, there are no interruptions from the device. If you've been inactive for a long time, it won't alert you to move around. It won't let you know if you've missed a text or a tweet. It won't even tell you it needs charging; the thing will just die if you ignore it long enough. Some of this is just side effects of age, as none of these features existed on our wrists in mid-2012, and they do on almost every device now. But I think Nike could have added features over time, and they've chosen not to (or there's nobody there). Optimistically, I think they like it the way it is--quiet and ignorable.

I was careful with the device early on, but there's rarely a setting where I'll take it off now. I'm not much of a swimmer, but its never once had a problem with water, steam, or heat. The Fuelband is tough, and the outer shell shows almost no wear. The only weak spot is the clasp, which can sometimes get hit by accident. If you have a shallow keyboard, expect to adjust your wrist position while typing. Then agian, I would imagine this advice holds true about any thick watch.

I had to send in the Fuelband once for repairs. About a year in, the battery refused to hold a charge for longer than an hour. Since its return, the battery life increased to roughly two weeks of juice (with about an hour to charge). I'll cop to the fact that this is likely abnormal. Other reports show the battery life to last anywhere from 4 days to a week.

I find I only see my data when I charge it, too. When you plug the device into a USB port, Nike+ launches and shows off your progress. There are the requisite bars you'd expect. It doles out "achievements" such as doubling your daily goal, week-long streaks, etc. It's all nice, but none of it has helped me. I've never once looked at the data and then gone running.

The Fuelband consistently loses in accuracy tests, but I have to wonder if this is only something you'd notice if you wore different bandsat the same time. I found its report to be consistent day to day, and have never found it to miss activity. I don't need absolute pinpoint accuracy and I don't think most people do. I just need a general sense of how I'm doing, and this device has worked fine in that regard.

When i had an iPhone, the Fuelband synced fine over Bluetooth. It would take a few seconds longer than, say, a speaker or a keyboard. But I also rarely used it. The Fuelband showed off that days' progress, and if I wanted more than that, the site itself worked better. When I switched back to Windows Phone, I didn't miss the app functionality.

I haven't tried other bands because the Fuelband was fine. As other new fitness bands have arrived, not one feature has made me want to switch. It isn't lock-in, but it could be price. My Fuelband still works and does everything as advertised, so it becomes difficult to justify another $200 to only get one or two more features. Each competitor also has its own share of drawbacks: Fitbit doesn't work as a watch, Samsung and LG only work with Android, Microsoft's Band is US-only, and Apple Watch doesn't yet exist (and will only work with iPhone).

If I was starting fresh today, I don't know which one I'd buy. Each contender these days has a lot going for it. I would suggest that it might be smart to wait until Apple Watch launches, if only to see what happens to the market in its wake. If you recall, smart phones looked pretty different before the iPhone came out. And while I'm not itching to replace it, the Fuelband already feels like a device from the previous internet of things: Functional and sound, but incapable of changing with the times.

I Used to be K Sawyer Paul (or KSP)

Really, there haven't been that many changes. In 2005, when I published Everything We Haven't Lost, I called myself by my name: Kyle David Paul. I have a lot of middle names, and David was the one I used most often. But it was long, and a little generic, and really felt like three first names in a row. So in 2007, when I was prepping to come out with No Chinook, I changed my public name to K Sawyer Paul. Sawyer just sounds cooler, and shortening Kyle to just "K" had a somewhat literary bent.

I had been using that for several years, but I was never been wholly satisfied with it. The K was awkward, and new people have no idea what to call me. It's also infuriating online, where there's no ability to have a first name be an initial (so a lot of my online forms have either "Kyle Paul" or "Sawyer Paul" or "K Sawyer," then "Paul"). The fact is, a lot of people just call me "KSP," which is great, and would be perfect except for that there's this game called the Kerbal Space Program that has the SEO for that one all locked up. 

As a guy at a party sometime last year told me, "Yeah, you're going to lose to them. They're great." Seriously, screw that game. 

I can't just do "Kyle Paul," either, because it's too short, too obviously two first names, and the domains are all taken. As rare as it was to be a Kyle in 1983, it's super popular now, and the kids are way better at domain management. But there really still aren't that many Sawyer's. So from here on, I'll be going by Sawyer Paul. Three syllables. Easy to remember, and rare enough that you'll know it's me. 

I just bought www.sawyerpaul.com (that's where you're reading this), and that'll be added to this domain. Twitter is now @_sawyerpaul. Email is sp (a) sawyerpaul.com. I'm still in the process of moving everything over (I just changed my Skype, for instance), and I know that everyone who knows me now is going to be confused and just keep calling me whatever. That's fine. I'm not going to be a dick about it. It's just a name. 

Custom-Sized Diagonal Strokes in InDesign

You can create a diagonal line in an InDesign table rather easily, to make something like this: 

 

But what if you want to change the stroke size in the table cell? There's no easy option for that. It's at least a two step process involving placing a borderless cell inside your desired cell.

What I have here isn't an ideal solution. Preferably, I'd like to make a stroke that only appeared in the middle of a line (and not the corners), so this could be a one-step process. And while this is easy to do for a specific size, custom strokes can lead to errors as you change your width or height. As it stands, this is the only way I know how to make this effect. 

The "easy" way to get this effect is, of course, to just draw a line across and anchor or group the objects together. That'll get you something like this. 

There are downsides to this, however, if you're dealing with a table with multiple cells (which is generally the majority of tables). It can become difficult to correctly align the diagonal line.

Instead, what I suggest you do is create another cell inside the table cell, and make it just a little smaller. Remove any formatting, and place your content in and create a diagonal stroke, like so:

Then, all you have to do is paste this cell into your original cell and centre it. You'll end up with a clean, InDesign-aligned table cell with a diagonal line with a configurable width and height. 

From there, you can change the width or height of the inside cell to change the appearance of the diagonal stroke, like so: 

If you can think of an easier solution, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. 

Sonder

  1. Too Many Cooks doesn't need to be watched twice. It's already so repetitious that you'll feel like you're watching the same thing 20 times, only each viewing is more twisted. Making fun of the past just got more difficult. 
  2. So, then, what is it all worth, all this reading? Is it all just a delusion, a way of killing time, before time kills you?
  3. When I began to write science fiction, I already assumed that science fiction about the future is only ostensibly written about the future, that it’s really made of the present. Science fiction has wound up with a really good cultural toolkit — an unexpectedly good cultural toolkit — for taking apart the present and theorizing on how it works, in the guise of presenting an imagined future.
  4. I constantly apologized for being there, for being so young and probably annoying, and people would just laugh at me. But no one put me in my place. People touched me, hugged me, told me about books to read and movies to watch. I was not a ghost.
  5. But the popularity of the show places it in a very complex position, as it hasn't yet survived its first landing. And as the producers of countless dramas — crime and otherwise — will tell you, if you don't stick the landing according to rules you may not have ever agreed to abide by, the reaction can be swift and severe.
  6. I used to have impostor syndrome because I thought it was more "attractive" or palatable to be self-deprecating and frumpy. I was one of those Liz Lemon feminists who thought I had to look and behave a certain way to be "taken seriously."
  7. There's a widely held belief that more work always exists for those who want it. But is that true?

My What If

This weekend, I think I finally got my "what if" component of my novel. It's a small one, but it'll push the plot forward in between all these scenes about relationships "improving." 

Essentially, what if "relationship improving" was a product you could buy? What if a tech company became less interested in productivity and social networking and more in making the connections between partners closer, and more affectionate? What would happen? 

Constraints Inform the Content

1.

I don't know where the number scheme came from [citation appreciated]. I've seen it used in novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, essays, and now tweets, but I couldn't tell you its etymology. A few scant google searches revealed nothing, so it's obviously lost to history (I am the worlds' worst journalist). Maybe it has something to do with wanting to build on paragraphs, not just have them come after one another, but have the 2nd point be inside a capsule called "2," which grew from the insight the writer came to inside "1." Somehow this is clearer than just having one paragraph after another. I've used it before without fully understanding its point or power, and I'm using it now, understanding just as little.

But I've spent my entire life using tools without fully understanding their scope. When I began designing, I didn't have a clue how to use Photoshop. I did things the "wrong" way for years. Some things, I'm still doing wrong, but they work for me. I write in five different apps depending on my mood. It doesn't work, but I don't have a better method. So who am I to say how anyone should run their personal publishing platform? I've quit more services than most people have ever started. This isn't what this is. This is exploration. This is rummaging. This is doing things wrong until you find a way, even if it's never, ever right.

2.

Some platforms have easier hooks than others. Posts on Facebook are especially difficult as they have no obvious way to link to them. You rarely see a blog post link to a specific post on Facebook, because doing so is a massive pain. Twitter has permalinks, but their search is poor. Tumblr is endlessly re-linkable, but authorship becomes questionable (and sometimes entirely lost through no fault of anyone). And while this is about doing something about what you read, it's the kind of thing writers think about. Platforms inform the content, but maybe that's better written this way: constraints inform the content. Writing in numbered paragraphs makes this piece conform to different constraints. I feel like I need to make a point every time. I feel I need to leave you wanting to go to the next one (this is how listicles work!)

I want to oscillate to two differing viewpoints about using Twitter as a place to deliver actual capital C content. During the seven years I've been on the service, I've tweeted about food, nothing, bullshit, important topics of the week, pro wrestling, cats, and politics. This hardly scratches the surface: there's over 23,000 tweets to my name (say I used all 140 characters for each; I've typed over 3 million characters. Jesus). The first point is that Twitter is great at delivering updates and ephemera, but lousy at being a blog; you know, that place where good things are written. From Marco Arment:

I don’t think avoiding Twitter is pragmatic if your audience is there, but it’s also unwise to dump all of your writing into bite-size pieces that are almost immediately skimmed over, forgotten, and lost to the vast depth of the mostly unsearchable, practically inaccessible Twitter archive.

Marco makes a terrific point about Twitter's archive: it's awful. Twitter could delete every tweet from 2013 back and nobody would notice, because unless you're scrolling your own feed it's basically impossible to get back there. He's also right about Tweets getting skimmed over. At least from a personal perspective, very few tweets stick with me. They don't get lodged in my subconscious like a great song, a great book, or even a great commercial. Length has nothing to do with it; certain lines from poems stay with me for years. But I'd be damned if I could remember a tweet from yesterday, even my own. Even though the majority of my writing since 2008 has evidently been on the service, I don't feel like tweets "count." 

But yet Twitter is my platform of choice when I want to write a sentence.

3.

If you number a tweet, the idea is that there's more to come. This thought cannot fit into one container, so we're going to use two. Or three! Or lots. And this is weird, because I'd say almost everyone reads Twitter in reverse-chronological order and thus read this barrage of tweets backwards. That's more or less where my irk with multiple-tweet arguments begin and end. 

I really like Jeet Heer. I began following him because of my friend Matt Blair, who tweets so well it makes me angry. Jeet tweets in multiples so much he's put it in his profile. I don't know how this happened, but myself and several others all seemed to ask him at the same time why he tweeted long, multiple entries to form a single argument rather than write a blog. He replied in his fashion, which can be seen here as a storify. The part of his argument that got me was about footnotes:

21. What Adorno said about footnotes is true of tweets as well: it's a form for thoughts that might not live elsewhere.

I kinda love footnotes, and I get it. Twitter essays are arguments in a margin. It's not something I would do, but maybe in the future? It seems like it might annoy people. I don't want to annoy people, do I? Going by history, that would be exactly what it looks like I like doing. I jump from platform to platform, rebranding, changing email addresses, my name even. There have definitely been people in my life who go "screw that guy," or at the very least "where the hell did he go, anyway?" 

But what I really get is that Heer has found a platform that works, even if it's not the "right" one. 

4.

And this is where it becomes a thing I worry about. I have the history of moving around so much because that's partially what's inspired me, and this has been a slow poison that's followed my career. For new readers, all I have is my own word to tell you that I have been blogging in one fashion or another since 2002, and that even my seven-year Twitter account is only one of four I've had over that time, two of which no longer exist. I have done well to erase myself. I have done a remarkable job of making people think I don't care about them or myself.

If I have any excuse for this behaviour, it's that I have been in search of the best box, and my failure to find it has led to a few revelations about work and art. I thought I found the best container in Lattice, and when that came to a quick end I fell into a sort of depression about the issue. I'm not happy with blogs, twitter, print, ePubs, newsletters, newspapers. None of it feels like the right thing, like any sort of real culmination of hundreds of years of literary distribution technology. 

My revelation was not that it's the content that matters, not the container. The container very much matters, because it (say it with me) informs the content. The book I write in Scrivener and put on a Kindle is a different book than the one I'd write on a typewriter and send to a real publisher (in the 50s, presumably). The short story I write on my phone's keyboard and put up on Wattpad is a totally different beast than the one I speak orally into a tape recorder. And the tweet I save in Onenote to publish later will be a different kind of tweet than the one I write and hit send without once checking to see if something is amiss. And this is a system I would not recommend to any sane person or even to myself. This isn't the right way to do things. 

No, my revelation was that I'm not a container man. I'm not even particularly sure if I'm a writing man, but it's what I like to do more than the other things. What's a little sad is that the blog of all things is the best thing I've found. It's the most versatile, flexible, searchable, and conversely hide-able if it all goes south. But I'm not an expert on this. I only have my own experience. 

5.

I like Film-Crit Hulk. His essays about cinema are engaging, thorough, and humane. But it is infuriating reading him, because he writes "in character," in all caps, third person, and using "hulk smash"-style truncation. These things are obstacles to enjoying his work. Now, Film-Crit Hulk has his reasons for writing the way he does, but I still find it annoying. 

The thing is, people find a way. If you really, really hate his style, there's a chrome extension that removes the all-caps, and even replaces "HULK" with "I" so the sentences read more naturally. I have no idea if Film-Crit Hulk hates this thing, but if I had worked to create a style I'd be a little miffed if people went out of their way to cheat their way out of it. I wonder if that's how people on Twitter think of Storify, as this hack bolted on to make sense of their arguments on a medium they don't fully grasp.

These kinds of hacks are everywhere. There are loads of ways to make things "easier" to read. Evernote Clearly is one I use from time to time, which I pair with a read-later service (Instapaper). These things are hacks to move content from a place where the author intended to a place you, the reader, prefer. It's a preference. What I've only recently realized is that the writer now has one less thing to worry about. Aesthetics and style are important, but the writer no longer has to worry about cribbing their own sense of style (and perhaps even their natural workflow) to make sure that things look and read fine. Readers (at least the fiddly ones) are going to take care of that. This opens up guys like Film-Crit Hulk, Heer Jeet, short-form bloggers to do what they do best: write really fucking well. 

I used to worry if people could properly subscribe via RSS. I'm not going to worry about that anymore. I'm not going to worry if people like blogs, or fiction mixed with non-fiction, categorization or even particularly the metadata. I'm not going to worry about where the numbers came from. I'm just going to type into this box. 

There are many tablets like it, but this one is mine

 Harish Jonnalagadda, Windows Central:

CNN's Jake Tapper mentioned on Twitter that the controversy surrounding the commentator's use of iPads over the network-provided Surface Pro 3 was "false and idiotic". Microsoft partnered with CNN to give its Surface Pro 3 tablets airtime during the broadcaster's election coverage, which backfired as commentators were found to be using iPads hidden behind Microsoft's tablets. Tapper said that he was using his iPad for tweeting while the Surface Pro 3 was showing statistics of the exit polls.

It's a bad idea to give people on TV a completely different tablet than the one they're used to. It has almost nothing to do with the quality of the tablet, or the quality of the software, and everything to do with the fact that the reporter's stuff probably isn't on the sponsored tablet. 

It isn't enough that Surface has a Twitter app. It wouldn't be enough that their Twitter app was as good as the one on iPad (though it isn't). The user's preferences are on the iPad, so that's the device the user prefers using. That's one of the reasons they're called preferences. It's so you'll prefer them.  

I don't mean to suggest that the Surface is on par with the iPad, software-wise. They're not terribly comparable, and their strengths don't really overlap. iPads are far and away better at the task of assisting someone on the air, I'd argue. What I'm suggesting is that it doesn't matter what new device was placed in front of the reporters; those iPads were coming out. 

What would be interesting is if you gave reporters the new iPads, without the time to put their own stuff on them. Would they have the new iPad, as well as their own, up on the table? 

 

The Last Kindle

Marco Arment:

I suspect this will be my last Kindle. Amazon doesn’t care about e-ink Kindles anymore. Why should we?

Few people would argue that reading text on a lit, LCD screen is better than reading on an eink display. However, most tablet displays in 2014 are "retina" class, while there are only two "retina" ebook readers: the Kobo Aura HD and the Kindle Voyage. For most customers, the choice is easy: one device that's pretty good for reading. It's the same choice most customers are making about portable games, and dedicated music players. One device does all of this well enough, and carrying more is a hassle. 

Every eink device has been accompanied by a tablet version, which is really a fairly garbage Android tablet. The Kobo Arc, Samsung Galaxy Nook Edition, and the Kindle Fire are all pretty horrible devices, but each company markets them as superior to the eink device, so why shouldn't customers just buy an actually good tablet and forget all this junk?

Finally, the "light" technology that allowed the Kobo, Kindle, and Nook to emit a glow that didn't affect your eyes like an LCD screen more or less backfired. Now they just look like tablets to most customers, so what's the difference?

This year, Kobo released only one new device: a waterproof version. Kindle released the Voyage, and Sony exited the market. Dedicated readers with eink screens aren't just on the back-burner for these companies, but the chopping block. 

I Used to have an iPad Newstand App

In 2013 I had an iPad Newstand App called Lattice. In total, there were 6 issues of Lattice. I'm proud of each of them, both in the quality of work I've been able to muster, as well as the world-building I'd attempted. I looked at the idea of serial fiction as a way to slowly piece together a much larger object than simply a book. I looked at it as an evolution from the book, to this new thing that could only be done with specific technologies working together. Sync. Push. Subscription payments. Tiny file sizes. Readability on every single electronic device. That's exciting stuff, and Lattice worked with all of it to create the beginning of something great. 

As of December 28 2013, the app was pulled from the iOS app store. As of February 2014, lattice.periodical.co was shut down. Obviously, this isn't something I wanted to happen. But I wasn't in control of the fortunes of Periodical, the company that helped me make Lattice such a great product. I looked at it as a partnership. I provided the raw content—my writing—and Periodical provided the excellent infrastructure. They pushed each issue to the iPhone, iPad, and Kindle, the three most popular reading devices in the world, and they created ePub files subscribers could download and keep forever, to read on any reasonably modern device in the world. It was great. There still isn't a service like it.

Unfortunately, it looks like Periodical is shut down for good, which means I have to find a new way to make Lattice work. In lieu of anything better, I'm just going to publish my work to the web, on this site, for free. I don't write for a living. I don't want to turn it into a living. I don't want to not love it. And if I charge for it, I'm going to want to turn it into some kind of business, and I don't really want to. So I'm just going to give it away.

I really shot for the sun with this one. I simply couldn't (and still can't) do the great work the folks at Periodical did by myself. And this is always the risk one takes when forming a relationship. It's one of the reasons I've remained adamantly independent my whole career. I don't feel like I made a mistake trying things out with Periodical. They made a great product, and offered a terrific service. I wish the best for them. 

Readers frustrated with the non-endings to the three narratives I wrote won't find much solace anytime soon. Much of the work will be pushed into a new story, Sprites, Jets and Elves. It'll read more like a novel than a serial, and the work there is making it seem pretty natural. Thank you all for your support. You're going to love where it goes.

I Used to Instagram

Instagram is all positive reinforcement. Because there was no desktop version (and still isn't, not really), nobody had to redesign how to heart something. You just tap, and that motion is so naturally in tune with swiping and stopping that I (and everyone) did (and does) it all the time. Almost no grams went unliked on my account, and it helped lure me in. I Instagrammed for maybe two years. 

I grammed on my iPhone, and then when I moved to Windows Phone I missed it. It showed up, first in unofficial spats of disparate feature sets, then uber-talented developer Rudy Huyn showed up and saved the day. Instagram showed up with a half-baked Beta, but Huyn's version (along with every other service he's co-opted) is the way to go.

But Instagram's claws never got into me so much that it became a daily thing. I went black and white for a while. I used other apps to make filters to throw in. I had fun with it. But when it came time to consider what would stay and what would go, Instagram was an easy app to toss.

It could be that many of the people I'll miss from Instagram shoot their photos to Twitter anyway. People don't silo very much if the service makes it easy. It could be that I've never actually been impressed with a gram, but I know that quality isn't the point so much as hanker sores. It did seem like a game I couldn't win. It did seem like it meant nothing to post. 

I used to Facebook

I've quit Facebook three times. When I told my wife about deactivating the account, she added without any plus whatsoever, "you'll be back." I don't know if she's wrong. 

It's not easy to stay away from Facebook, but it helps to treat it a bit like having an allergy or an abjection. "Sorry, I can't," is a way to go. And the adults in your life understand. Some of them wish they could quit too. But Facebook is where the people are. It's where the people they know spend their time online. 

I'm lucky, I guess, that I know people through email, and instant messaging, and several other places online. People look at you funny if you say you're not on it, because they assume you try to not be on the internet at all (or don't get it). And people look at you even funnier if you say you do get the internet, and are all over it, just not there. 

Facebook recently asked me to fill out a survey. It was about satisfaction, fun, security, and value. I was taken aback that Facebook would care about garnering this information through such an arcane form as a form, but there it was. Facebook asked me for my opinion, and I answered honestly. They'd know if I were to lie anyway, wouldn't they? After filling out the survey, I deactivated the account. What I wrote them told me the entire story. I did not enjoy the service. I did not feel secure. I was not having fun. I didn't see the value in it. So I left. 

Or, to put it more succinctly, "If you're superconnected, time to leave." 

But ever since Facebook has been around, people have been leaving it. The trendline seems to be that Facebook is winning, and isn't becoming another Myspace. People come back. People stick around, even if they hate it. And that's due to two things: friend guilt and ease of return. My friends will give me a hard time for not being there. And it's worked! I have come back to Facebook before for this reason. And when I got there, I received a mildly harrowing realization: Facebook doesn't delete anything. Your profile is no more deleted than when you might log out. Your friends can still invite you to things. Everything works as if you are there. 

The nut of it is, to be on Facebook you have to more or less play by its rules. You have to fit into what Facebook thinks is community and social media and communication. And when I'm in there, doing as it suggests, I feel like a garbage person. And while I have no idea if I hate Facebook or myself, I know that Facebook doesn't help. 

Sonder

The best blogs build on one another. While stories and links will appear in other articles, I want to set aside a space for those that left a particular impression on me. I'm calling this collection of posts Sonder, which I'm pilfering from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

These stories mattered to me, even though I don't know the authors and they don't know me, did not have me in mind when they wrote it, but affected me all the same. This is my way of saying thanks. Three of these stories made me laugh when I really needed to laugh. One of these stories helped me forget about fear for a few hours. One of these stories sparked this new blog. 

  1. "To understand a work of art is to fuck it, deeply, making the vulnerable mewling sound reserved for women under 25 you don’t respect but can really be yourself around. To read-fuck a book is a process. “If I read a book it’s because I want to.” I am like Barthes in that way, in many ways. I own five hundred Moleskines."
  2. Not every novel that concerns itself with the lives of women is a feminist novel. Fifty Shades of Grey is not a feminist novel.
  3. What happens after you've learned how to make technology that is supremely appealing and functional? A whole new range of opportunities opens up. By breaking those rules, we can create technology that is more than merely useful or beautiful or natural. We can imagine technology that is complicated and personal—nostalgic, funny, self-deprecating, abrasive.
  4. We’re all in deep water. Which is fine: it’s by far the most exciting place to be.
  5. Well, fuck that. I miss the casual spontaneity of it all, and since I'm pretty sure hardly anybody's reading my site again after the death of Google Reader, the pressure's off.
    What do I have to lose?