I've been listening to a lot of Dawn Golden lately.

I tend to gravitate (not exclusively) towards music that feels apathetic and effortless. Golden certainly meets that criteria. His music reminds me of Bob Moses.

It's hard not to love this Spike Jonze-directed advertisement for Apple's new HomePod.

I'm torn on the HomePod. It looks like a beautiful piece of hardware (from the best design shop on the planet) -- but I'm skeptical that Siri can be as helpful as Alexa, especially considering Alexa plugs into the Amazon's rich shopping eco-system.

I'm not quite half-way through Open Culture's five-part, meticulously crafted series on Paul Thomas Anderson. Part 1 is below, the rest are here. Good stuff.

It only took me about 20 years to discover this Fiona Apple music video covering The Beatle's "Across the Universe." It was directed by her then boyfriend P.T. Anderson.

My god those eyes. She's haunting.

I enjoyed a GQ article from 2009 about the day-to-day life of an air traffic controller. It's a high-stress job that pays poorly, requires overtime, and has really shitty tech.

"These airplanes are headed toward each other on intersecting runways. Too fast. Too soon. Here it comes. The MD-80 is not over the threshold.… Fuck. “Go around!” Cali says into his headset, instructing the RJ to abort its landing. It’s too close to the MD-80. It’s too close… The plane swoops down, then up abruptly, like a gull with a fresh kill." […] "LaGuardia has thousands of go-arounds a year. At an airport like this, everything is a close call, everything is dependent on split-second decisions, snap judgments, jets constantly barreling toward each other. It’s people, just people, with nerves of steel and uncommon courage, keeping the planes from bashing into each other. Just people."

I always assumed the whole operation was mostly automated. It's terrifying to learn how manual and error-prone it all is, plus how unhappy most of the controllers are.

I just discovered "Sleep" by Max Richter, an 8 hour and 24 minute album described by the artist as "an eight-hour lullaby...a piece that is meant to be listened to at night." I have trouble mixing sleep with anything but the sound of a fan, but this sounds like excellent music to work to. I plan to give it a shot this week.

You can listen to the album on Amazon and Spotify (amongst other places).

Deck of Cards API is a series of public and authentication-less endpoints that simulate a deck of cards. Commands include `shuffle` and `draw`. I sometimes need a dummy API that I can test against -- this one is definitely more fun than the others I've used.

I'm immediately interested in Effortless. I've found that if I don't define a goal before starting to work on something, I lose focus. This simple menu bar-based app seems like it will allow me to easily define a goal, with a time box. I plan to give it a shot this week.

The Nerdwriter covers the psychological tricks of UX design. These include an app that adds a simulated speck of dust to the screen, hoping that you'll click a button in trying to remove the e-dust (that one would definitely work on me). Also interesting is just how difficult it is to close your Amazon account.

A List of macOS Programs/Tools I Can't Live Without

Whenever I get a new laptop, I go through the same set up sequence of installing a series of "can't live without" programs and tools -- things that are absolutely essential to my everyday workflow, things that I have trouble functioning without. I figured it would be helpful if I threw all of these into a blog post for everyone to see.

Note that the list below is ultra macOS oritiented (sorry Windows/Linux folks). Also, I left off the really obvious stuff (like Chrome).

  • Tyke: I both can't live without Tyke and can't really explain why it's so damn useful. Tyke bills itself as, "A little bit of scratch paper that lives on your Mac menu bar." I use it almost all day long, every day. I am constantly parking text in Tyke, to either cleanse the text of formatting or just to come back and get it a few seconds/minutes later. To be clear, Tyke is not a place to take notes -- it's a very temporary location to store a small amount of text. Does that make sense? Probably not. But of all the tools listed here, Tyke is likely my favorite.
  • Caffeine: Stop your computer from going to sleep -- ever. There are few things more annoying to me than walking away from my computer for a bit, or even having a conversation in front of my computer (especially during a presentation) and having my computer go to sleep, which now means that I have to log back into it. Caffeine stops all that nonsense, without having to dig into System Preferences. You can enable/disable Caffeine from the menu bar in a single-click.
  • Day-0: About five times a day I need to look at a calendar, just to see what day it is, what dates fall on which days, how many weeks away something is, etc. Day-O lives in my menu bar and gives me answers to these question in a single-click.
  • ShiftIt: Dead simple window manipulation via hotkeys. Easily put two windows side-by-side or on top of each other. Or, quickly maximize a window (without going into the annoying and awkward "full screen" mode on macOS). My skin crawls when I'm using someone else's machine that doesn't have ShiftIt installed.
  • Work at Night: I'm often working in bed at night next to my poor wife who is trying to sleep. In a pitch-black room decreasing my laptop's brightness to zero still isn't dark enough. Work at Night allows you to decrease your brightness even further.
  • Paste 2: An infinite history of everything you've ever sent to your clipboard. This application is both a life-saver (it often saves data that I would have otherwise lost) and a time-saver (when performing repetitive copy/pasting sequences, Paste 2 allows you to move much faster).
  • f.lux: You don't know that you need this application until you try to live without it. f.lux "makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day." When working early in the morning or late at night, f.lux is like a warm blanket and hot cocco -- it just makes you feel better.
  • WeTransfer Moment: This is the only browser extension on my list. Whenever you open a new browser tab, a new full-screen -- and usually awesome -- image is shown. This makes for quite the conversation starter when I'm giving demos and presentations, plus it's just pleasant to look at.
  • Bartender: Because I love to install apps that live in the macOS menu bar (see above), I need a way to easily manage my menu bar. This primarily means hiding Apple's system menu bar items that I don't often use to give me more real-estate. Bartender allows me to do exactly that.