archer

Kevin Purdy – Writer, Podcaster

Kevin Purdy co-hosts the In Beta, has written multiple books covering technologies like Google+ and Android, and is a former contributing editor at Lifehacker – these are his good things.

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.

If you’d like to read more about Kevin visit thepurdman.com or find him on Twitter, @KevinPurdy.

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John Pitek – hollywood assistant

This is John Pitek and these are his good things.

What are some good things you’ve read?

I work in the entertainment industry and one of the film news sites that I love to frequent is www.slashfilm.com. It comes highly ranked and has a mix of thoughtful reviews, articles, and random tidbits. What I really enjoy about it is that it covers not just movies, television, and video games, but also the culture impact of them. So if you’re into film like me, then I recommend this site.

I am in the middle of reading of The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris. What’s great about this book is the author, through years of trial & error, and various tests, has determined the minimum effective effort to get maximum results. My friend introduced this book to me and he’s been on the program for 3 weeks and has lost 7.5 lbs. already. I plan on using it to cut my body fat percentage and increase muscle mass. The best part is how the author writes. It’s as if he’s having a conversation and answering all your questions that pop up as you read and he even insists that you don’t read the whole book, only the chapters that apply to your goals.

I also enjoying reading the Hollywood Assistants tumblr. Most of the memes and gifs are specified to working as an assistant in Hollywood, but I believe there are some that apply to anyone else working as an assistant outside of the entertainment industry. It also serves as a nice reminder that there are hundreds of other people going through the same crazy stuff I am. Not to mention it helps kill some downtime with a good laugh.

What are some good things you’ve watched?

50/50 – This cancer dramedy starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Seth Rogen is based on the true story of the screenwriter’s (and best friend of Rogen) life when he was diagnosed with cancer and a 50/50 chance of surviving. You’ll feel good laughing at the right parts and crying at the others. I saw it twice in theaters and rank as one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Cabin in the Woods – Horror film written by Joss Whedon (Firefly, Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, The Avengers) and Drew Goddard. If you aren’t familiar with Joss Whedon, you should make yourself and I suggest starting with Firefly. Anyway, this expertly crafted horror movie takes an interesting view on the horror genre itself. With some genuine scares, the movie takes a great turn in the 3rd act that I will not spoil, but will say it’s awesome. Added bonuses are also abundant in the humorous dialogue. Out on Blu-ray/DVD on Sept. 18th.

Archer – This FX Networks TV series is by far one of the best comedies ever created. If you consider yourself to be “”PC”” or “”Politically Correct””, then this is NOT the show for you. The characters say and do awful things within a very intelligent and witty storyline throughout each episode. You’ll quickly get through a season wanting more. First two seasons are available for purchase.

What are some good things you use?

For those of you who don’t live in a large metropolis such as Los Angeles and don’t watch the Food Network, food trucks are a hugely booming industry. LA has at least 200 trucks now. What is helpful are the web and mobile apps offered by FoodTrucksMap.com and RoamingHunger.com to find them all and fill my belly with delicious cheese steaks, sliders, and bahn mi’s without me driving around like a crazed and hungry mad man.

Air Conditioning. Period. It has been uncommonly hot in Los Angeles for the past couple weeks with some days reaching the high 90s. We even had a 12 acre brush fire the other day nearby. Air conditioning allows me to get through my work day and sleep great at night. It is definitely worth the larger utility bill, without a doubt.

The one place I don’t have air conditioning is in my ’97 Mercury Sable Station Wagaon. This is especially rough because if you know anything about LA, then you know our traffic is horrendous and I spend at least 40 minutes in my car on my (7.8 mile) commute, each way. Given its declining nature, I am in the market for a new car and I am finding that Kelly Blue Book’s research tools, comparison shopping, and reviews (both consumer and expert) to be very helpful in narrowing down my choices (most likely something in the Prius family, either a used regular Prius or Prius C).