I am testing Squarespace and as I play with the dashboard and edit the tagline and fumble around the WYSIWYG editor, the thing that occurs to me is that I’m not so much testing Squarespace as I am testing the limits of my own ambitions and like, self-image.
To put it more clearly I should start by saying that Squarespace is very nice. So nice, in fact, that it seems like overkill for the minimal web blogging and curating that I do today. So nice that in order for me to justify the expense of a new domain and a subscription fee and etc., then I would really need to commit to writing more frequently. And being more thoughtful. And refining my point of view.
Those are all good things. I know I should do them. But my ambitious and thoughtful self is at odds with my lazy and frugal self. In writing this down it becomes clear which me I should side with here.
And a bigger idea emerges too. We see ourselves in the tools we use and the tools we use suggest a lot about who we are. Are you using the right tools for the you you want to be?
THINK WITH YOUR HANDS.
Great tools inspire great ideas. We could not be more excited to announce Pencil, a new hardware accessory for Paper, and the latest in our essential suite of mobile tools for creativity. Pencil is the most natural and expressive tool for getting ideas on Paper—a beautiful blend of advanced technology and artisanal craft. Pencil’s special expressive features: Erase, Blend, and adaptive Palm Rejection, open up a whole new world of creative possibilities in Paper.
Pencil comes in two models—“Walnut” made from sustainable hardwood and “Graphite” in black, brushed aluminum. Pencil is now available in the U.S. and Canada at shop.fiftythree.com starting at $49.95.
When you connect Pencil to Paper, amazing things happen:
Palm Rejection. Our adaptive palm rejection instantly knows whether it’s your hand or Pencil touching the page. Rest your hand on the screen, write from any angle. No calibration or setup. You’ll forget you’re creating on a tablet.
Erase. Pencil’s unique built-in eraser lets you precisely carve away to get at what’s essential. No need to switch tools, just flip Pencil to erase.
- Blend. Get hands-on with your ideas. Pencil takes care of the lines so you can use your finger to smooth rough edges and blend colors directly on the page. Create beautiful color transitions for charts, skies, and shadows.
On top of the expressive features, we’ve radically simplified critical details:
Lasting power—Pencil’s battery will last about a month under normal use. The lithium-polymer battery can be recharged on any USB port in under 90 minutes.
Kiss-to-Pair™—Bluetooth connection as it should be: no settings menus, no confusing pairing rituals. Just press Pencil’s tip to the screen. Clear, stable, simple… easy as falling in love.
Get the Tools—Try Sketch, Outline, Write, Color, and Mixer for free while using Pencil.
It’s been a long road to bring Pencil into the world. Those of you who have been following the FiftyThree story may have wondered what the team here in Seattle has been working on, and we’re thrilled to finally shine light on the cross-disciplinary craftsmanship that has been centered here over the past two years.You’ll find the same thoughtful attention to detail that you appreciate in our software has been applied in equal measure to every aspect of Pencil. Crafting hardware from scratch is a complex endeavor, and doing it well requires people with experience ranging from industrial design and mechanical engineering, to embedded systems and manufacturing management. We even did the product photography!
Pencil is a collaboration between many remarkable people at FiftyThree, in both Seattle and New York, who lovingly attended to Pencil’s details through many late nights. We also owe a debt of gratitude to our manufacturing partners, who have worked closely and patiently with us to create something that we hope will inspire you to sketch, to create, and to bring your ideas to life.
Lady Gaga: Do What You Want Musical guest Lady Gaga performs “Do What You Want” with R. Kelly.
This was maybe my favorite SNL episode of all time. I have a newfound respect of Lady Gaga.
What it means to be great
If I could point to one podcast that has changed my life: the way I think, move, consume and reflect - my habits - then it is The Critical Path.
This week The Critical Path released its 100th episode. The show’s mission is “to understand what it means to be great” so it’s fitting that Horace and Moises contemplate the show’s own history and several questions it has addressed in the past in this episode, rather than a specific topic in current events. Like every episode, however, the centennial was a thoughtful reflection on the developments happening all around us every day. Developments which most can’t quite put a finger on or miss entirely.
If you want to learn what it means to be great - to think carefully and express your thoughts articulately - then you should listen to this show.The Critical Path
"I’m the only cop on the force who can play the bassoon dammit" "Not anymore" New cop in sunglasses walks in, just killing it on the bassoon— patrick (@tastefactory)
Good Job, Virgin America.
Virgin America’s new flight safety video appears to be a huge success. I don’t want to critique the video but instead applaud how this one piece shows how insightfully they think about their brand.
Here they have taken a mundane genre - the federally regulated flight safety video - and made it sublime. And they try to do this for every part of their in-flight experience: the lighting, the touchscreen panels, the electrical outlets accessible from every seat. It’s great.
There was some great back story on the new safety video and the company’s current position in The New York Times a few weeks ago. While Virgin creates the greatest economy class travel experience around, it’s unclear whether they can also create a sustainable business:
Creating an airline that’s profitable and popular is much harder than it looks, said Robert Mann Jr., an industry analyst. “Everyone in their heart of hearts thinks they’ve solved the Rubik’s Cube or built a better mousetrap,” he said.
As for Virgin, Mr. Mann says it has “a nice boutique following” and a “legitimately great product.” But history may not bode well. David Robinson, a senior lecturer in the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies airline marketing, points out that Virgin is still very small. “Can it scale?” he said. “At some point, you stop playing rugby and start playing American football.”
So, is a great experience and loyal following good enough in the aviation industry? And, if not, why be in this business? What is the opportunity? I don’t know but I sincerely hope they continue to fly and expand within the US and internationally.
Good job, Virgin America. I’m rooting for you.
At Virgin America, A Fine Line between pizzaz and profit The New York Times
Airline safety message gets fresh take, with elves and rapping LA Times
Virgin America Wikipedia
Your lifestyle has been designed
This blog post by David Cain is a provocative consideration of how the common 9-5 lifestyle has been engineered to make us want.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
Can you imagine what would happen if all of America stopped buying so much unnecessary fluff that doesn’t add a lot of lasting value to our lives?
The economy would collapse and never recover.
Your lifestyle has been designed by David Cain
There’s some truth in this, but I think it raises a more interesting question: what can you do to design your own lifestyle?