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Focus on your platform, not someone else's

Lee Peterson:

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media and it’s apparent lack of care for it’s users. To the platform you are a potential revenue maker. Selling you to advertisers and not putting in controls to stop hate and harassment.

I’ve been looking to remove myself from it, then it dawned on me. Why are we adding value to the very platform that doesn’t respect us? Wouldn’t it be better to build this content on our own platform. My platform is this blog, instead of sharing my thoughts on here I’ve been adding content to Twitter, something I’m going to be doing less of going forward.

When ever I get back on the blogging horse I invariably have the thought that I wish I stuck to a single platform. Had I done that it would have been easier for people to view all of my work in one spot, and on my platform no less. Who knows, maybe it would have even grown my readership, or at the very least retained more people. I have tried my best to migrate my work every time I move platforms but I am sure there are plenty of things that fell through the cracks over the years.

I decided a few months back to hide the Twitter app from my home screen and turn off notifications. I can say without a doubt that it has absolutely limited my Twitter usage. Now, I spend more time in Reeder looking at the blogs I have followed for years and seeing what they have to say on their platforms.

Even places like The Verge has made it a point to link out to other publications and blogs, which I feel is a refreshing take on how news” should be shared.

Nilay Patel on the new Verge:

Our goal in redesigning The Verge was actually to redesign the relationship we have with you, our beloved audience. Six years ago, we developed a design system that was meant to confidently travel across platforms as the media unbundled itself into article pages individually distributed by social media and search algorithms. There’s a reason we had bright pink pull quotes in articles and laser lines shooting across our videos: we wanted to be distinctly The Verge, no matter where we showed up.

But publishing across other people’s platforms can only take you so far. And the more we lived with that decision, the more we felt strongly that our own platform should be an antidote to algorithmic news feeds, an editorial product made by actual people with intent and expertise. The Verges homepage is the single most popular page at Vox Media, and it should be a statement about what the internet can be at its best. 

So we sat down and thought about what was really important to us and how to make our homepage valuable every time you open it. We also thought about where we came from and how we built The Verge into what it is today. And we landed on: well shit, we just need to blog more.

So we’re back to basics with something we’re calling the Storystream news feed, right on our homepage. Our plan is to bring the best of old-school blogging to a modern news feed experience and to have our editors and senior reporters constantly updating the site with the best of tech and science news from around the entire internet. If that means linking out to Wired or Bloomberg or some other news source, that’s great — we’re happy to send people to excellent work elsewhere, and we trust that our feed will be useful enough to have you come back later.

I am not saying that blogging is getting a new resurgence. What I am saying that as someone that thinks a lot about platforms it’s cool to see more people to care less about going viral on Twitter and care more about making their corner of the internet the best it can be.

September 21, 2022 Link


Adobe Upsells Sharing a Document

Jess Weatherbed writing for The Verge:

Adobe has come under fire by Sebastiaan de With, co-founder of popular iOS camera app Halide, for removing Apple’s ubiquitous AirDrop sharing feature from Photoshop and disrupting his workflow. De With expressed his frustrations on Twitter.

Since the release of Photoshop 23.3, Adobe has required users to save their work as a cloud document before it can be directly shared with others. The company had previously disclosed the change in May, noting that the Quick Share feature would be removed due to low usage, desire to simplify the options bar UI, and redundant functionality to other export functions.” Earlier versions of Photoshop on macOS had several file sharing options — including defaults like mail, Messages, and AirDrop — directly from the File menu or by clicking Apple’s Share button on the app’s options bar. 

In response, Adobe’s Belsky said that cloud documents were necessary for sharing and collaboration, as its implementation assisted with bringing Photoshop to the web and the iPad, alongside unlocking new features for version control. Belsky also said that including shortcuts to other export options under the Share option would be discussed internally, and assured those accusing Adobe of upselling that cloud features are included in the product at no additional cost.”

One of the best decisions I ever made was to leave the Adobe suite and go to something like Affinity Software where it does everything I want in a photo editor and vector image editor.

Things like this is also why I am worried about the recently announced $20 billion acquisition of Figma. If Adobe thinks they can do these kinds of shenanigans with Figma they will be sorely mistaken.

September 20, 2022 Link


Blot Image Shortcut

After getting my Blot theme shared on Do By Friday, I thought it might be fun to share my most used shortcut. This Shortcut will automatically resize, upload, and create a markdown image link for you to paste in your favorite text editor.

You can get the shortcut here and make it your own if you want.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

September 20, 2022 Shortcut


Mobile Games Are Trash and We All Know It

Matt Birchler:

I love video games, and I love some mobile games (Alto’s Odyssey, Holedown, Grindstone, Golf on Mars, to name a few), but we all know that those games aren’t what Mobile Games are all about. Mobile games are a shit industry with shit companies making shit games that don’t exist to entertain, they exist to extract as much money as possible from a few whales who will spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Fun is not the point.

Compare this to the top selling non-mobile games of May 2022.

[…]

This is why I roll my eyes when someone says, actually, iOS is the biggest platform for video games because the most money is spent on mobile.” Okay, fair enough, but it’s the absolute worst part of the industry, even if it is profitable. I really appreciate game-makers who avoid the Mobile Game B.S., but they’re few and far between, and all the mainstream stuff is whale hunting junk.

I could not agree more with Matt here. There are a number of games I do play (mostly Zach Gage games). Aside from a few handful of games, the large majority of games for iOS and iPadOS are just shitty cash grabs.

July 10, 2022 Link


Back to Blogging, for Good this Time

After a while of waffling between blogging, making a newsletter, blogging some more, and making another newsletter, I am back to blogging with absolutely no intention of leaving. In fact, I’m making it nearly impossible for me to do so.

I have bought a year subscription with Blot and while the premise is awesome (a blogging platform with no interface, it turns a folder into a website), it isn’t easy to go from Blot to something else like WordPress or Substack. For me, that is what I want: creativity through limitation.

It’s perfect to me, a static website that is lightweight, easy to use on every device (including mobile thanks to Markdown and Shortcuts), and fast to load.

The Substack Situation

Along with moving to a platform that is easier to use there are also some other issues I have with the newsletter business, and Substack in particular.

Substack has now given layoffs to 13 people, which is roughly 14% of its workforce. This is after lots of hype on the platform and numerous deals made with high profile writers to move their work to the platform.

As Axios reports this doesn’t necessarily mean the company is doomed, but to me the optics look unequivocally bad. I understand they have capital still and continue to put out some features and products. That said, no matter how you slice it firing 14% of your workforce in hopes to reach profitability isn’t something I’d be excited about as a user. Especially as it touts itself to be a platform that promises to make your writing into a full time job.

If you add the layoffs to the already controversial history Substack has it became a tipping point for me to take my content and run. I will be moving all of the articles and writing I have written on both Tablet Habit and Clicked here in due time.

While I’m continuing to shout how important it is to own your content I am fully aware that Blot is indeed a platform that is also not in my control. If David, the creator of Blot, were to turn off the service tomorrow it would be very difficult for me to move to a new platform. That said, Blot it open source. To add to this, I have had a few exchanges with David and he seems to not only enjoy maintaining and improving Blot he also has stated that Blot will be around for [d]ecades, at least.”

To me, supporting Blot seems like a much more sustainable and enjoyable way to write online than pushing myself to be a regular poster on Substack.

I am not a Journalist

While we are on the subject, if I’m being honest with myself I decided to go to Substack in hopes to pursue a journalistic path in my writing. While I enjoyed some of the work I did I can honestly say it’s not for me.

I’m not interested in reporting or long form writing. I’m also not interested in having a regular beat” to report on. My taste is ephemeral and eclectic and those two things are wrought with failure for any columnist or journalist wanting to have a consistent and fervent audience.

Do I have some common themes over time with my writing? Sure, but that doesn’t mean that I can make it as a journalist looking to get answers to questions everyone is asking. I curate good content online and share my personal insight at times. To me that is not journalism. It is blogging through and through.

Blogging Feels Better

Finally, the last reason for me to go back to blogging is because it just feels right. When I have an idea or something I want to share my go-to platform was always blogging. Why? The answer is simple, it allows short form content and can be shared in a fast and casual way.

I don’t feel the need to let an idea marinate in my head all week and do a deep dive into the history of the topic at hand, nor do I feel like I need to turn something that would be a few sentences into a few hundred words.

Blogging is what you make of it and some times short form writing like that of Lee Peterson or John Gruber is all that you need.

Inspiration Going Forward

Among the blogs and people I follow there are a select few that I have shown me how blogging can be both fun and damn good. I thought I’d end things linking out to them so you too can view their work.

  • Lee Peterson at ljpuk.net for his short blog posts, which showed me that brevity can be good writing.
  • Matt Birchler at Birchtree.me for showing how to mix link posts with original writing and damn good web design.
  • Jason Burk at Burk.io for his web design and inspiring me to edit the look of my website to make it my own.
  • I really like this website by Jamie Thingelstad for all of his pages and menu items at thingelstad.com. I took a page out of his playbook and made some pages you can view over the the About page.
  • Gabz for showing you can switch platforms and make it work.

July 6, 2022 Meta