#art / Plus Equals #3.

Another quarter brings the latest issue of Rob Weychert’s fantastic zine. The subject is on creating seamless patterns.

In my design career, I’ve created my share of tile patterns, especially in the early days when the background of pretty much every website was a neo-Warholian eternity of stars or balloons or skulls or whatever. In patterns, as in any other aesthetic endeavor, beauty is not easily formulated or defined. Music theory and the golden ratio notwithstanding, the right brain guards its secrets well. But I’ve found that patterns that stimulate my left brain tend to obey a recognizable principle: the harder the individual tiles are to detect, the better. This often equates to complexity: greater complexity equals greater seamlessness equals greater wonder induced.

Achieving that kind of complexity in tile pattern design has typically evaded me, to say nothing of making it actually look good. But recently I started thinking about how complex, seamless tile patterns could be derived from relatively simple systems, and it wasn’t long before combinatorics entered the fray.

Intriguing from cover-to-cover, especially the gallery of combinations made possible by Rob’s process. The whole issue is beautiful, especially if you’re fortunate to receive the printed edition. What I really want now is a series of desktop images and maybe even the tile set to play with on my own.

#writing / I got 99 grammar problems and Oxford commas ain't one.

You’re going to want to bookmark this handy reference. An English grammar reference guide written based on data gathered by the AI-powered tool, Writer.

One of the questions our subscribers ask most, whether they’re proofreading pros or full-time students, is how they can avoid the most common grammar mistakes. In this list, we outline some of the most common grammatical errors we’re seeing, based on millions of data points from Writer subscribers.

My favorite of the list, Run on Sentences:

Contrary to popular belief run-on sentences aren’t necessarily long they simply occur when commas and/or other types of punctuation are missing like this.

My second favorite, the list of “7 major types of grammatical errors” that’s actually ten. I’m not sure if that’s an AI joke or not, but the information is super helpful none-the-less.

#ebike / Observations from 4,500 miles on an ebike—and why you should get one already.

Suffice to say, Colin O’Keefe has earned every mile of his point-of-view on ebikes. And he shares quite a few thoughts on ditching you car for an electric bike including this bullet point:

The very biggest part of this, something that’s impossible to put into words is this—it’s more fun. It’s way more fun than driving. If you need to do four different errands in your neighborhood, and you do it in a car, it’s torture. Whipping a bike to all four spots? The opposite. There is no feeling like going to a huge sporting event in which your team wins and cruising out into the night by bike. The only downside is you’re gonna hate driving even more than before.

I love my Vanmoof, but I already have my eye on the next bike, the all carbon-fiber LeMond Prolog. Check out the Wired interview, Greg LeMond and the Amazing Candy-Colored Dream Bike.

#purchasebehavior / How to buy nothing new this holiday season.

My better half and I stopped buying gifts for one another a while back because after the initial excitement wore off, the gifts we were buying didn’t make a lot of practical sense. It didn’t take too long before we had a better life buying what we needed when we needed it and trying to cut down on buying things for the sake of a holiday tradition.

I like Annaliese Griffin’s thoughts that add even more credibility to our capitalist habits this time of year.

Every new purchase puts into motion a global chain of events, usually beginning with extracting oil to make the plastic that is in everything from stretchy jeans to the packaging they come in. Those materials travel from processing plant to factory to container ship, to eventually land on my front porch, and then become mine for a time. Sooner or later, they will most likely end up in a landfill.

There’s so little pleasure in those kinds of purchases, and I’m not alone in that assessment. In her book “Consumed,” Aja Barber, a sustainability and fashion industry expert, writes about the perpetual disappointment of Black Friday shopping that ends in buying “merchandise you hadn’t seen before and didn’t especially want, but somehow felt compelled to buy because of the low, low, low cost.”

The last paragraph feels cringe-worthy because it’s true. “Stuff isn’t our identity,” as Annaliese writes, and “time spent together in conversation, on a walk or preparing a meal is far more meaningful than anything you can unwrap.” Time will always be the best gift you can give because not all of the money in the world can buy one more minute.

#film / Taika Waititi to direct The Incal.

This is fantastic news in so many ways. Aside from Luc Besson, I can’t think of a better creative person to bring Jodorowshy’s epic science fiction story to cinema. And, apparently, it’s just the beginning!

The Incal is also just the first work in a series of connected comics that Jodorowsky wrote (referred to as the Jodoverse), which could see the upcoming film be the start of the kind of long-running franchise that Hollywood has been chasing since the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

With that in mind, Waititi is the best candidate to pull this off. What a great opportunity for people who make films.

#apple / Insanely great.

Steven Levy’s ode to the Macintosh published by Wired magazine in 1994.

The shape is now a familiar component of our culture, as instantly recognizable as a Volkswagen or a Coke bottle. But in November, 1983, two months before its public unveiling, I had never seen anything like it. All I knew was its name - Macintosh - and that it was supposed to change the world.

The first time I saw the Macintosh I knew that whatever I did in life, I wanted to do it using that computer. I bought my first Mac almost ten years later and never looked back.

#color / Contrast.

A nifty macOS app that makes it “easy to get the WCAG color contrast information you need to make informed decisions about the color of your text.”


So, what in the hell is Web3?

Lately, a number of my friends and people that I trust have started to talk about web3. That tells me that it’s time to start diving in and paying attention to what’s going.

The Internet is approaching its next Seldon Crisis, and change is upon us. The next set of technologies will require remapping what we know and think about transactions, payments, currency, and how companies and communities are governed. And that’s just a few things that are bound to get turned upside down in the near future.

But before a deep, deep dive. I recommend starting with this article: What is Web3? The Decentralized Internet of the Future Explained.

In web3, developers don’t usually build and deploy applications that run on a single server or that store their data in a single database (usually hosted on and managed by a single cloud provider).

Instead, web3 applications either run on blockchains, decentralized networks of many peer to peer nodes (servers), or a combination of the two that forms a cryptoeconomic protocol. These apps are often referred to as dapps (decentralized apps), and you will see that term used often in the web3 space.

To achieve a stable and secure decentralized network, network participants (developers) are incentivized and compete to provide the highest quality services to anyone using the service.

When you hear about web3, you’ll notice that cryptocurrency is often part of the conversation. This is because cryptocurrency plays a big role in many of these protocols. It provides a financial incentive (tokens) for anyone who wants to participate in creating, governing, contributing to, or improving one of the projects themselves.

These protocols may often offer a variety of different services like compute, storage, bandwidth, identity, hosting, and other web services commonly provided by cloud providers in the past.

In web3, Identity also works much differently than what we are used to today. Most of the time in web3 apps, identities will be tied to the wallet address of the user interacting with the application.

Unlike web2 authentication methods like OAuth or email + password (that almost always require users to hand over sensitive and personal information), wallet addresses are completely anonymous unless the user decides to tie their own identity to it publicly.

If you do any work in the world of digital, then it would behoove you to start digging in web3 now. And where you can, map where your profession and skill set fits in (or probably more importantly, where it doesn’t). There is more to this next version than this summary provides. Web3 is going to be complicated beyond new languages or scripts to learn, it will create new methods of business, transactions, and monetization.

After reading the complete article referenced here you’ll find three more promoted at the end: The New Creator Economy - DAOs, Community Ownership, and Cryptoeconomics, The Value Chain of the Open Metaverse, and The Rise of Micro-Economies. This is a good start.

As the web shifts once again, now is the time to prepare yourself to make the most of the opportunities to come. Stay curious and start poking around.

#aaronsucks / The Aaron Rodgers news is a stab to the heart

Ethan Stanislawski holds no punches in his latest blog post:

There’s no comedian, musician, actor, or artist who could have disappointed me more than Aaron Rodgers disappointed me this week. And what he did isn’t close to the worst thing any of my former heroes have done. He’s not an open Trump supporter like Mariano Rivera, Paul O’Neill, or Brett Favre, hasn’t engaged in generally idiotic criminal behavior like Johnny Jolly, Sean Avery, or Brett Favre, and has never been accused of abusive or predatory behavior or violence like David Cone, Robin Van Persie, or Brett Favre. For Christ’s sake, I’m willing to do the mental gymnastics to continue to root for the New York Knicks despite everything that’s happened for the last 20 years, and the fact that their recent resurgence is in no small part fueled by Derrick Rose.

There’s a sense of betrayal with Aaron Rodgers, though, because, for the past decade-plus, I’ve convinced myself that he is not only one of the greatest athletes to ever play for a team I root for, but that he, himself, was a fun dude to root for.

Indeed. Considering how much Aaron is embedded in our culture, beyond sports, his actions, his excuses, and his response are all extremely disappointing.



November, apparently, is “National Blog Posting Month” and it comes with its own acronym: NaBloPoMo. I have been blogging since 2002, and I don’t recall this being a thing but a quick search points to many blog posts on the subject. In 2006 Eden Kennedy took the idea of National Novel Writing Month and applied it to blogging.

The challenge is to inspire blog authors to post each day this month—thirty days, thirty posts. Automattic, the people behind Wordpress posted about the challenge last week:

November’s National Blog Posting Month challenge is an opportunity for creators to find new inspiration, strengthen their content and get into the habit of consistent posting. By searching the web for inspiring content, you are on track to find new and creative ways to post daily. Working with new styles and formats is a great way to expand your offerings and learn more about what you like, and what content resonates with your audience. Creating a blogging community or continuing to build one is a great way to ensure that you stay connected, motivated, and encouraged to post your content all month long.

I don’t know that I’ve ever participated in a challenge like this, but I’m in. It’s meant to inspire others, and I hope it has that effect instead of annoying subscribers. If there was ever a time to have some input on what gets published here, now is it.

A number of blogs from days gone by came back to life this year, and I hope they’ll join me in publishing each day.