Good things to read.
The Last Fine Time. It’s some of the finest non-fiction prose I’ve ever read, and it happens to be about a unique moment in my town’s history: the Polish-centered East side of post-war Buffalo. It’s one of those stories that tells a much larger story, which sounds cliché, but only because it’s true: the story of this tavern is the story of Buffalo.
Reverse Design: Chrono Trigger. I rented Chrono Trigger at least a half-dozen times in high school, generally beating it every time, over a weekend. The Game Design Forum does some eye-opening work in explaining what makes certain games just so darned compelling.
Lifted. Evan Ratliff launched his Atavist app/publishing-house with this piece, and it sells the idea quite well: stories that aren’t book-length, a bit longer than magazine, and perfect for certain types of readers. Also: bank heists. Bank heist stories are the best.
Good things to watch.
Freaks & Geeks. I’m just about the last self-styled culture nerd to finish watching this series, but I have this to say: every praise and recommendation you heard about this amazing series is true. It’s unnervingly good at evoking a very particular time in our lives.
Archer. Sex, booze, secret agents. It’s a guilty pleasure, but it does make me think about what makes for really, really great voice acting. H. Jon Benjamin is probably the best voice actor alive.
“The Baby Bullet” – It’s an infomercial, with voices dropped to roughly half speed, and creepy music thrown in. Enjoy.
Good things to use.
Forecast.io – The makers of the popular and scarily accurate Dark Sky weather app kept getting requests to flesh out their will-it-rain-in-the-next-hour app to a full-fledged weather service. So they did that—in a single, responsive, remarkably well-made webapp. Load it in a browser, a tablet, or a phone. Play with the smoothed-out radar maps. So slick, so data nerdy, so good.
Griffin USB Mini-Cable Kit. I don’t know why it took so long for me and Lifehacker and my coworking space to realize that short cables can be so much better than long cables, but, here they are. Three cables that cover most Androids, non-brand-new Apple devices, and every other USB-charged gadget, fit nicely into pockets and bags, and bend without fraying.
Pebble watch. I have an odd message about this smartphone-linked, notification-receiving watch. I don’t exactly recommend it, at least in this early stage without all its promised apps built, and not all its kinks worked out. But I find it really helpful to have a watch that shows me just the crucial things happening: text messages, emails from certain Gmail labels, rain alerts. Everything else on my phone, and in my inbox, can be more calmly ignored until I get to them. It feels like a small part of the future.