The Week in Links

This weeks edition continues the evolution of the The Week in Links. Rather than presenting a list of links of varying length I decided it was time to start adding a little commentary and injecting some more of my interests and personality into the column. It is after all my personal blog that it appears in.

This week covers some technology news, some views on Art and Creativity, Le Tour de France, how dressing could affect our approach to work and an incredible video that I highly recommend you watch with your Sunday morning coffee or evening glass of wine.

Cheers!

  • The story of Windows 10 from inside Microsoft – It’s been a big week for computing with the arrival of Windows 10. I’ve long been a Mac user, and will be for a long time to come, but I have to say this release of Windows has me intrigued. I’m interested to see how it does and whether it can bring any traction in the mobile space.
  • Approval & Art by David duChemin – I really identified with this when I read it, in particular this short paragraph:

    The problem is that safety, in many ways, is toxic to art. We get addicted to it. We cling to it and venture out less and less. We risk less. We repeat what “works” and avoid what doesn’t. But if what works is what holds us back, it becomes a kind of sabotage to keep doing it.

  • Taking on the Tour de France – With the end of Le Tour last week, this VSCO Journal is timed nicely. Rather than your usual photographic essay looking at Le Tour with a focus on the Peloton this one has a more interesting take looking at those who are watching as well.

Other Reads

The Week In Links

This weeks edition is coming to you slightly late, no excuses other than yesterday flew by and I forgot to post it. I’ve tried something a little different this week, adding some commentary to a couple of links I really enjoyed and then listing some other good reads below them. I’m hoping to evolve this series a little over the summer to inject a bit more of myself into them. Hope you enjoy this weeks edition.

  • THE ALPS by STRAVA – The last week of this year’s Le Tour de France has been through the Alps. This photo story from Strava catches some of what the Peloton has been through these last few days. Even if you’re not a cycling fan these photos are worth viewing. The mountains are stunningly beautiful, I could sit and look at them all day and I loved visiting the Alps the three times I’ve been skiing.
  • Don’t Let Success Breed Failure — Shawn Blanc – The second half of this article from Shawn resonated with me and is why I’ve included it in this weeks edition. As a self employed person I spend a lot of time thinking about this kind of thing, especially after events earlier this year. It’s so tempting to continually say yes to everything, but it’s not possible to do it all. It takes a laser focus and discipline to make sure that workloads and priorities remain manageable.

Other links of interest

The Week in Links

Another Sunday and another edition of The Week in Links. The majority of this week’s edition came across my path in the first half of the week. In particular is the fascinating and challenging article on living well cheaply, whilst I don’t identify with the Millennials, I am technically of that generation. I found this an interesting read full of good advice.

Hope you enjoy these reads with your Sunday coffee or evening glass of wine.

Bored

I wonder how often the phrase “I’m bored…” came out of your mouth as a child? I know it crossed my lips a fair few times, during my years at primary school. As I grew older the phrase appeared less and less, in fact I can’t remember the last time that phrase crossed my lips and I don’t recall it ever crossing them in my years since university.

That’s troubling.

Does it mean I’m no longer getting bored? Do I get bored and no longer acknowledge it preferring to let myself while away the hours fiddling around on the internet or vedging out on the sofa?

Am I capable of getting bored or does the constant gratification provided by the various apps on my iPhone prevent it?

We live in a world where constant gratification of boredom is readily available. A world where children are growing up with iPhones and iPads available to them as soon as they are talking, if not before. Will these children be able to get bored?

These are worthy questions to consider, if people can no longer get bored, and I mean really bored. How will creativity flourish? Creativity out of boredom is a different kind of creativity to that which takes place at work. Boredom creativity is far stronger and more expressive than any other. When we are so bored that we decide to do something because it interests us, that’s when some of the most exciting creativity happens. A child who picks up a guitar and starts picking/strumming a song simply because they are bored isn’t playing that guitar for practise, they’re playing it with a desire to create. A desire to occupy their mind and to express themselves in a way they’ve perhaps never done before. The same goes for an artist who picks up a sketch book, and a writer who picks up a pen.

This is as much a challenge to myself as it is to anyone reading this. Do we allow ourselves to get bored? To get so bored we are compelled to do something productive out if it. Are we capable of letting creativity born out of boredom take place, or do we just occupy our minds with the latest free game on the appstore that’s taking Twitter by storm?

The Week in Links

It’s been an interesting week, during which I’ve managed to plough through a good chunk or articles that I had been saving. It’s made this weeks edition a bit of a bumper one, and there’s a couple of articles that wouldn’t otherwise have made it. One of my favourite sporting events of the year started yesterday, Le Tour de France, and so there are a couple of interview with British riders ahead of it. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Building

I’m great at making statements and promises about things that I want to do. It’s easy. I think of something I wish to do, decide there and then a means by which to do it, then post to my blog declaring it in the public domain.

In principle it’s a good tactic. The public declaration should be enough of a motivation to make sure I stick to something, but the reality is that more often than not I fall short. I might stick to it for a couple of weeks, but then life will happen and that’s it, the idea slides out of existence. Why? Because of a lack of discipline.

When it comes to discipline I’ve generally been quite good when it comes to doing something that really matters, or something that I have to do. The trouble was when it came to doing something I wanted to do, like writing for this site. So as part of getting back into it, I’ve been taking little steps, to build integrity, trust and discipline.

Integrity

Building integrity with myself is critical. The number of times I’ve set out with an aim to do something, then not succeeded to do it are countless, and this carries over into starting new things. Whilst the intention and desire can be strong, the belief that I can do it less so. It’s been erroded by years of unfulfilled promises to myself about starting to write on a regular basis.

The trick, I’ve discovered is to start small. It’s not a new technique, but I testify that it’s starting to work. I started with The Week in Links, my weekly post sharing a few links to good articles or interesting things that I’ve seen around the internet over the week. As of the time of writing, I’ve now posted an edition of that post for nineteen weeks running. I’ve built integrity with myself that I can post to this site on a regular basis, on a schedule I decided and wanted to commit to.

Trust

Now I have built some integrity and belief that I can do something I want to do and not just something I have to do. I’m building trust in myself that I can actually do it. I trust that I can manage the rest of my day well enough, to be able to set aside time to write.

Discipline

The trust in myself that I can do this, builds the discipline that I need to actually do it. Having established a pattern of turning up each week to post The Week in Links, I’m now disciplined enough to carve out that time each week to make sure I keep doing it.

It’s a knock on effect, or maybe more of a circular cycle. The more belief that I have in sticking by my stated intentions, builds the trust I need to be able to make those intentions in the first place. In turn, that builds the discipline I need to execute those intentions, thus giving myself more belief. It’s why this week I’ve added another step into my morning routine so that I can be sat here at my desk and do a half hour of writing before my work day begins. Not only am I building trust that I can work on writing for my site with regularity, I’m also building trust that I can get up and go through my morning routine with the time to do all that I both want and need to do.

Of course there is another side to this. If I do miss one of my carved out writing slots, I must not give myself a hard time about it. Life happens and I won’t always get to do these things. When that’s the case I need to be able to say nevermind, reset and go again the next day remembering that for the past however many days I’ve been able to do it.

The Week in Links

Another new week, another edition of The Week in Links. This week has been a good week with the launch of some updates to a client’s website and a new homepage for 18TWO, so my evenings have been filled with some relaxation and bike riding. Consequently there’s a good number of links for you to devour over your lunchtime coffee, covering MacBook, Apple Watch, photography, product design, workspaces, writing and finishing off with some cycling.

Barriers

Barriers are a strange thing. In the real world they exist to form a separation, a physical division between two things. They can be permanent or temporary, but they exist for a specific reason. Their purpose though, is always the same, to prevent you from going somewhere you shouldn’t.

In the mental world things are slightly different. Barriers exist of course, but for different reasons, though their purpose is similar to their real world counterparts, they stop you going somewhere or doing something. The trouble is, they aren’t physical and that makes them immeasurably harder to overcome.

Eighteen weeks ago I started posting a weekly article with a collection of links to interesting articles I’ve read during the week. I started it because I wanted to get back into writing for my blog. I thought having a regular post to commit to would remove the barrier that I seemed to have errected over the last couple of years. To a degree it’s worked, posting to my blog regularly has helped me to rebuild my interest in it, it’s helped me to establish a desire to post, but it hasn’t removed the barrier.

For the last few weeks I’ve started each week with the aim that this week would be the one that gets me writing a post a week. Several times I’ve drafted something, but each time I’ve failed to publish it. Fear seems to be the barrier preventing me from clicking that button. That little voice that says “No one will read it, no one really cares what you have to say” squarks away as my mouse hovers over the publish button.

So I’ve decided, this week is going to be the week that I breakdown that barrier. The little voice will be silenced and I will post an article every Wednesday from here on out. It is a challenge, but one I want. I have no idea what I will post about, but as Shawn Blanc says I have ideas it’s just a case of letting them grow and taking a bit of action on some of them, regardless of whether they are good or bad, as well as having a bit of courage to press publish at the end of it.

The Week in Links

This weeks edition of The Week in Links covers a rande of topics. There’s the usual dose of Apple things, some thoughts from Shawn Blanc on focus and creativity, an obituary to one of the greatest type designers of all time, a moving video from Israel and a moving story from the Welsh valleys.

With the edition also falling on Father’s Day it would be remiss not to mention my Dad. So just a quick note to him to say thanks for being my Dad, you support me, you help me and you guide me and as well as being my Dad you’re also a great friend. Have a beer on me tonight!

The Week in Links

The latest edition is a bit late in arriving. I've tried something a bit different this week, just adding a few thoughts to each link. Enjoy some Monday lunchtime reading.

  • Initial Thoughts on iOS 9’s iPad Multitasking: A Deep Transformation
    Thanks to iOS 9, I put The Talk Show’s video player in a floating popup, opened Twitterrific, and continued watching. When I wanted to take notes, I swiped from the right edge of the screen and I started typing in Notes – all while still watching the video and having Twitterrific open at the same time. It all felt natural, and it was glorious.

This is one of the things that's intrigued me the most about the iOS 9 announcements. Apple paid the iPad some much needed attention and it grew up, making it an extremely compelling device once again.

  • The Apple Watch
    I've been waiting for this review from Ben Brooks, he's waited and spent time with the device for publishing his thoughts to the world. What's interesting to me is that the Watch seems to be genuinely helping people become less connected, and to have more space and time away from their more intrusive devices. I was convinced the Watch would just be even more intrusive.

  • Building an audience - Matt Gemmell
    There's not much to add about this, other than a big YES!

I've been writing on the web since 2005, one of the biggest regrets I have is that I let that first blog die out and it's posts disappear into oblivion. Building an audience takes time, and it's taking a long time to rebuild it.

  • MessageKit
    I really the concept outlined in this post on Medium. I have a load of apps installed on my iPhone that only get used occasionally. It doesn't play well on a 16GB device, this seems like a great solution. With natural language coming in Spotlight on El Capitan, maybe it's not a far off idea…

The Week in Links

The sun has been shining here this weekend and I’ve been out on the bike I enjoying it. Consequently this weeks edition of The Week in Links is a bit later than usual. There’s still some interesting reads to enjoy with your Sunday evening glass of beer or wine!

The Week in Links

Issue 15 of The Week in Links is a very visual one. Photography is at the heart of it, with photo stories from a trip to Vancouver, an Apple Watch review, different ways a design team uses notebooks and the story of one of my favourite cycling races. Enjoy!

The Week in Links

This weeks edition of The Week in Links is an eclectic mix. The history of Japanese business culture, workspaces, Ethiopia, Apple Watch and a look into designing a typeface to represent a nation to the world.

The Week in Links

This weeks edition of The Week in Links is a small one, but features some great projects. An insight into developing a consistent branding for one of the most recognisable brands and some tips on starting a business. Finishing the edition is a look at the process behind a brilliant personal project. One I would love to do myself one day.

The Week in Links

This weeks edition of The Week in Links is packed with some great reads and a stunning video. It covers notebooks, Antarctica, workspaces, focus, learning and a stunning piece of branding. Grab a coffee, beer or glass of wine and sit back and enjoy.

The Week in Links

Writing, future uses of new technology, design processes, an interview with a design legend and Apple Watch. The range of subjects covered in this weeks edition of The Week in Links, has a bit more variety in it than previous weeks. Sit back and enjoy.

My Homescreen: May 2015

With this week completely focused on finishing phase one of a client project, I completely missed that it was the 1st of the month yesterday. So now that the working week is over and I’m sat back relaxing it’s time to sort out this month’s edition of my homescreens. I’ll tackle both iPhone and iPad at the same time, since the changes to both are identical and for the same reason. 

iPhone

iPhone May 2015

Dock

The Rest

iPad

iPad My 2015

Dock

The Rest

What’s New?

  • OmniFocus – Since the start of the year I’ve been using Things to manage my tasks, in the last month I’ve ended up switching back to OmniFocus. Partly because one of the porjects I’m working on has needed breaking down further than Things can cope with, and partly because of OmniFocus MailDrop.
  • Outlook, Gmail, Inbox by Gmail and Mailbox – Recently I’ve been having some issues with the provider of my email, lots of servers down and unreliable delivery. As a self-employed person I need to be able to rely on my email never failing, and so my work email has now switched to Google Apps. I’m still deciding on my personal email setup.

One of the advantages of moving to Google Apps for Work has allowed me to test out a few email apps I couldn’t use previously, and also to combine my email with IFTTT so that it works harder for me. Part of that IFTTT integration has been to combine the Gmail channel with the email channel and my OmniFocus MailDrop address. I’m still refining things and trying to decide which apps to use, but I hope to be able to explain further how I’m making my email work for me rather than having to work to keep on top of it.

Rediscovering the Personal Site

It’s been an interesting start to the year to say the least, but one positive from it has been the renewal of my interest in both my own blog and the blogs of others.

I’ve been reading blogs, or personal sites would probably be a more accurate term in 2015, since I came across them in my second year at university in 2006. Back then I loved the idea of people publishing something to the internet and quickly set my own blog up. I came across a number of great writers who like me were just finding their feet in the world of Web 2.0. In the 8 years that have passed since then, I’ve had a number of my own blogs and lost my motivation/desire to post to them all at various points in time.

In the early days of the blog, there was what felt like a strong community. A group of people writing about what interested them in a way which was new and exciting. It was inspiring to see others sharing in this way and it made me want to do the same. In the years since I left Uni in 2007 there seemed to be a change amongst the blogs I read. They became focused and somewhat same-y in their content, it felt like the blogs lost their personalities as their authors pursued a desire to be better writers. A few of them managed to maintain the personality that drew me to them in the first place, but, many didn’t and as a result the blogs either died off or my interest in them waned. It was sad and with that homogenising of content my own inspiration and desire to write also dried up.

Over the last few months I’ve started to notice something different. Perhaps it’s just that my own mindset has changed, or it could be that I’ve been finding a bunch of new sites, or a reaction to the likes of Facebook who seem to want to be the internet rather than part of it. But the personal site seems to be rising like a phoenix from the flames.

Many of the sites are specialised, with focused content, but they no longer seem to be of one voice talking about the same thing all the time. They have personality. The posts, whilst often being focused around a similar subject, are varied and seem to be a reflection of the people who write them. It’s both inspiring and a joy to read these sites. They might be writing about a pen, a notebook or a new Mac, but they are doing it in a way which is interesting and engaging.

These personal sites have the polish and high standard that the web in 2015 demands, but they seem to be returning to the personality and interest that was so apparent in the the rise of the blog back in the mid naughties. It’s refreshing and I’m thankful for it. I applaud those behind it and I hope it continues long into the future.