• 2023

  • Rodeo is Turning America’s Whitest Big City Black

  • Tressie McMillan Cottom writing for The New York Times:

    In the historical scope, it makes sense why protracted conflict marred this city. It is less obvious what a Juneteenth celebration would mean for Portland. The city does not have Texas’ history with enslaved people. It does not have the cultural history of the American South. And it is not a central part of the Great Migration story of Black history.

    The Portland rodeo is a celebration trying to fasten Juneteenth’s specific story of freedom from slavery to universal themes of place, home and equality. Now that Juneteenth is a federal holiday, communities across the country are doing the same complicated dance. This nation still has not fully acknowledged its national debt to slavery. How can it find a unifying national message around Black freedom without acknowledging white accommodation of slavery? A rodeo is as good a way to explore those tensions as any other. Like a rider wrestling a bull beneath bright lights, reconciling national narratives is not a pastime for the faint of heart.


    Like every story about enslavement and the American West, you cannot talk about Juneteenth in Portland without talking about land. “Ivan very intentionally had the rodeo here at the Expo Center,” Oregon State Senator Lew Frederick said. The Expo Center is near Vanport, a formerly Black working-class enclave built around the shipping industry in the 1940s. A massive storm, followed by flooding, wiped Vanport off the map in 1948. Frederick says there remains a notion among Black Portlanders that the flooding was a convenient excuse for displacing the city’s thriving Black enclave.

    Having the rodeo near Vanport is a way of saying that this is an event for you, for us. And that we remember. For State Senator Frederick, Juneteenth is not only about commemorating news of freedom for Galveston’s enslaved people. It is also about remembering in places where a lot of effort has been made to forget. “That’s what Juneteenth is managing, to tell the history that we have not been told. So it can be told in an Oregonian way.”

    Black Cowboys have been around since long before the cattle-driving era, but sadly pop culture has diminished their myth and legend. These folks deserve every right to commemorate Juneteenth and reclaim their much deserved piece of Western Heritage. Bringing people together to acknowledging and reconcile history over song, pageantry and bucking horses sounds like a superb idea. I know where I wanna be next Juneteenth. I’ll see y’all in Portland.

  • Frosted Glass

  • Depth-based blur in CSS. Spatial computing vibes for sure.

  • Rescuers race against time to find missing Titanic submarine

  • Fosstodon admins addresses the Facebook rumors amid Anti-Meta Fedi Pact movement with skepticism and caution

  • Not much is really known about the Meta/Facebook product colloquially known as Threads (internally it’s known as Project92). What we do know is that it will presumably use ActivityPub and it will be a Twitter clone. That’s really all we know. The fact that Facebook is joining the Fediverse, concerns a lot of people. So much so in fact, that a few have vowed to defederate Facebook should they join. This movement is called the Anti-Meta Fedi Pact, and I should add it is antithetical to the mission of ActivityPub. Personally, I find it fascinating. For others, it’s validation:

    From Kev Quirk one of the admins of Fosstodon shared an official stance on the subject:

    Truth is, there isn’t that much info out there on how this thing will actually work, or what it will be capable of. Lots of people seem to be concerned about Facebook “getting their info”. Fact is, they can do that now if they really want to – it would be trivial for Facebook to stand something up that hoovers up all the public data that’s on the Fediverse, via API.

    And that’s the clincher here – it’s all public data. So the best advice I can give if you’re concerned about your data, is lock down your account and don’t post publicly.

    All that being said, here’s what we plan to do if this thing ever sees the light of day:

    • As a team, we will review what the service is capable of and what advantages/disadvantages such a service will bring to the Fediverse
    • We will then make a determination on whether we will defederate that service
    • We will NOT jump on the bandwagon, or partake in the rumour mill that seems to be plaguing the Fediverse at the moment


    However, we don’t know what this thing is yet. Hell, we don’t even know if this thing will actually exist yet. So let’s just wait and see.

    What if this thing ends up being a service that can allow you to communicate with your friends who still use Facebook, via the Fedi, in a privacy respecting manor. That would be pretty cool, I think; especially when you consider that one of the main concerns with new users on the Fedi is that they can’t find their friends.

    It’s refreshing to hear a competent and cautiously optimistic take in the face of all the swirling rumors. There’s no reason to sound the alarm bells before we know anything definitive yet.

  • The Cast of “Asteroid City” talk about working with Wes Anderson

  • State Farm is no longer accepting property insurance applications in California

  • Don’t freak out, but Supermassive Black Holes can get really REALLY big

  • I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but these things can get pretty freaking huge. Like, so inconceivably Solar System-swallowing large. Notably, Ton 618. I mean, this mammoth could consume everything in the Oort Cloud and then some. Kind of horrifying.

    Take a look:

  • One Brilliant Zelda Hack Turns Tears of the Kingdom Into Tony Hawk

  • If you haven’t been playing Tears of the Kingdom, I cannot stress just how much you are missing out. Apart from it being a phenomenal game and sequel to acclaimed Breath of the Wild — the mechanics alone will invade every crevasse of your brain. It’s that good. Those mechanics have yielded some surprising inventions from users. From Jake Kleinman over at Inverse:

    To turn Tears of the Kingdom into Tony Hawk: Pro Skater, all you need is the Fusion ability and a minecart. You’ll unlock Fusion in the game’s opening tutorial on Great Sky Island, which is also where you can find a mine cart. Once you have both at your disposal, equip a shield. Then stand in front of a mine cart, activate Fusion, and fuse the cart to your shield. Now, all you need to do is shield surf, and the minecart wheels will give you an extra boost.

    Just don’t forget that your new skateboard will eventually break after enough use, so try not to run out of shields right before a big boss battle.

  • WordPress is 20 Years Old

  • Happy Birthday WordPress! 20 looks good on you!

    For me, it began with Xanga and Myspace. For others, maybe it was LiveJournal or something else. Blogging exploded during this decade like never before. Blogging began as a teenage refuge. An outlet for my younger self to express myself. It gave me incredible relief to share my thoughts, ideas, and interests. It overjoyed me when others would join me in the song and dance of commenting or sharing my posts. To no one’s surprise, millions of others felt the same way.

    At university, that interest remained strong and grew even further as I delved deeper into a design career. As my design education went on, it became clear that university could only go so far in terms of teaching web development. To scratch my itch for building for the web, I got involved in as many web-related projects as possible. We built websites for parties, school projects, web forms, magazines, and stores. I desperately wanted to build websites as a career and express myself even further as a design-orientated web developer.

    When WordPress was introduced to me, I couldn’t believe it. It was like the missing piece of the puzzle. Manually editing HTML files as blog posts instantly became a thing of the past. Everything, just clicked for me with it too. The WordPress Template Hierarchy blew my mind. Understanding the ins-and-outs of how WordPress works, made me instantly hirable basically anywhere for a short while. Hand-building WordPress sites for clients was a complete joy, and later, building site-generators was even more fun.

    Maintaining a legacy WordPress site is like being working on an Audi sometimes. But, WordPress at large has been one of the greatest joys of web publishing since Markdown and I’m so excited for what comes next. I owe the WordPress community so much, so here’s to another year around the sun WordPress!

    Today is the 20th anniversary of the first release of WordPress. None of us knew what we were getting into when it started, but we had a shared conviction that the four freedoms of the GPL combined with a mission to democratize publishing was something worth spending our time on. There will be celebrations in cities around the world, please join if there’s one happening near you.

  • How to build a wood skyscraper

  • Fix for the current branch has no upstream branch error message

  • This is one of those git config things you set once and forget years later when you setup a new machine. How did we get here? You can git push expecting to fly up to the remote repository right?

    fatal: The current branch feature-1234 has no upstream branch.
    To push the current branch and set the remote as upstream, use
        git push --set-upstream origin feature-1234
    To have this happen automatically for branches without a tracking
    upstream, see 'push.autoSetupRemote' in 'git help config'.

    To get rid of this message forever and prevent git from gatekeeping you just run this:

    git config --global push.default current

    This will set your git config to only push your current branch when running git push. Enjoy never having to worry about this again!

  • Ralph Lauren’s Bedford home is a Georgian cottage dream

  • Lauren has an impeccable taste for vintage autos, speedsters and probably owns the sickest personal car garage I’ve ever seen. That much is true. We all know about Ralph Lauren’s love for cars. But what about his home in Bedford, New York? Welp, enter the Architectural Digest’s archives. Which rarely disappoint if I may add:

    Certain themes keep appearing. Lauren likes his rooms deeply colored, highly dramatic and turned inward. He prefers mahogany paneling and Georgian furniture polished like glass, and Persian carpets on their way to threadbare. Tartan, which most interior designers regard as a novelty, seems natural to a fashion person and is used with abandon. The dining room draperies are like great fringed kilts; tartan pillows and throws and runners are everywhere; and there are many collections of antique plaid metal boxes and accessories.

    I mean. This level of comfort is just delicious. Seeing that hearth in front of the tub, quite something to behold.

    Check out the full piece here at Architectural Digest.

  • Susan Kare’s sketchbooks

  • From Jenny Brewer of It’s Nice That:

    Susan designed the icons for the Macintosh’s graphical user interface. At the time, the notion of a GUI was revolutionary: just a few years prior to the Mac’s release, people could only interface with a computer through arcane commands written in code. By providing an image-based way to execute computer commands, the Macintosh made computers more intuitive and less intimidating. 
    As part of the original Mac team, Kare created some of the first digital fonts, the UI for MacPaint and some of the most persistent icons in computing such as the trash can/bin, the save disk and the smiling Mac. Kare added to the UI an element of friendliness and emotion. The icons that she designed were playful and simple enough to be recognisable to users around the world. 

    I am particularly taken by this image from Kare’s sketchbooks. A beautiful icon. Strikingly simple, yet infinitely complex. An icon that gave birth to thousands if not millions more since.

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto has died

  • Truly devastating. Ryuichi Sakamoto dies at 71. Cancer claims another great. One of the greatest pioneers of electronic music. An early adopter, a vanguard of just so much. His influence alone was revolutionary and profound. He was deeply beloved, and considered to be the father of J-pop and other synth-pop influences.

    From Pitchfork:

    “While undergoing treatment for cancer discovered in June 2020, Sakamoto continued to create works in his home studio whenever his health would allow,” Sakamoto’s management, Commmons, wrote in its statement. “He lived with music until the very end. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to his fans and all those who have supported his activities, as well as the medical professionals in Japan and the U.S. who did everything in their power to cure him. In accordance with Sakamoto’s strong wishes, the funeral service was held among his close family members.”

    The man knew how to create magic out of thin air. I mean just listen to this stuff:

    Unbearably tragic to think about him being gone.

  • Nearly 300 episodes later, Hot Ones still gets it

  • From The New York Times:

    “‘Hot Ones’ was just the dumbest idea of all time,” Schonberger said, only half-joking. “How is it, philosophically, that the dumbest idea is the best?”

    “It’s like, well, we can’t just have people get drunk or high,” he went on, “but I think we can get people to eat spicy food, which might just be hilarious.”

    It’s true. The best ideas, are almost exclusively the dumbest ones. Hot Ones came about at the perfect time too. Right around the same time Hot Ones was taking off, the Hot Pepper Challenges were making the rounds on YouTube and the web. Sean Evens and the show came onto the scene at the perfect time. I hope their spicy wings burn bright and strong forever 🔥

  • Salesforce shuttering Slack’s remote work research group Future Forum amid back-to-office push

  • From Kylie Robison & Jane Thier at Yahoo Finance:

    On Friday, the executive leader of the Future Forum, Brian Elliot, wrote “there’s no easy way to say this” to employees in Slack’s internal #friends-of-future-forum channel, disclosing that the company planned to shut down the research group at the end of March, according to screenshots of the message seen by Fortune. He did not cite a reason for the closure, and a Slack spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

    “I believe this is what’s best for Slack,” Elliot wrote, adding that the company will continue its investment in research around the future of work, but did not describe details for what lies ahead for the consortium.

    At the launch of Future Forum in September 2020, Elliot wrote a blog post that outlined its mission, citing “the sudden move to remote work provides the opportunity to question decades of orthodoxy about a 9-to-5, office-centric, homogeneous work culture.”

    Shutting down Future Forum, makes zero sense. Clearly the business knows there’s money to made from remote work. Especially considering the CEO made moves to acquire Slack for $27B back in 2021. This is either cowardice or poor management. Even more confounding, Marc Benioff seriously believes folks who work remotely are less productive.

  • Hear the Oldest Song in the World: A Sumerian Hymn Written 3,400 Years Ago

  • In Rainbow Roads by on4word

  • Ken Block’s ELECTRIKHANA, Audi S1 HOONITRON in Las Vegas streets

  • Earlier this year, Ken Block tragically died in a snowmobiling accident. He was known for many things. For one, he was an avid skateboarder and co-founded DC Shoes. But to many, he was known for his Hoonigan brand and Gymkhana/Motosports notoriety. Block’s Hoonitron was a highly anticipated all-electric vehicle design featured in his Electrikhana film. If this is the future of eMotorsports, it’s looking super mature already. Rest in peace Ken:

  • We are now 90 seconds to our doom

  • One Day in the Coldest Village on Earth — Yakutia

  • Yakutia, also known as The Republic of Sakha is one of the coldest places on Earth. The region has been inhabited by Yakuts (Turkic Sahka) since the 9th Century (or perhaps earlier). @KiunB on YouTube put together this fascinating short documentary on their lives living in the extreme cold.

  • January Photoblog

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day

  • Seeing Apple’s homepage, spurred me to share the same quote:

    This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.

    — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Read Stride Toward Freedom for free here

  • 34

  • Yesterday, I turned 34.

    I grew a lot this year. Ticked a lot of boxes. I wrote a little bit about some positive things that happened in the past year. One of the benefits of having your birthday in January is it’s a nice little bookend. You can kick the year off and reflect in the same breath.

    I skipped a birthday post last year. Wasn’t feeling very positive about turning 33. This year around the sun, I’m feeling quite gracious and fortunate. It’s been a big year of growth for me personally and I feel like I have some more room to grow further still.

    Although, as I’ve begun to accept that I’m entering my middle-age, the idea of throwing a party becomes more and more distant. It’s really difficult to celebrate my birthday with friends strewn across multiple state lines, multiple boroughs and timezones 😢 I think when July rolls around, I’ll start planning something special for turning 35.

    To celebrate turning 34, I’m going to go see Mike Birbiglia’s, The Old Man and the Pool at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. With any luck, Mike will guide me into the warm embrace of the next stage of my life with his comedy show:

    Award-winning comedian and storyteller Mike Birbiglia takes the stage at the esteemed Vivian Beaumont Theater through January 15 only. His coming-of-middle-age story asks the big questions: Why are we here? What’s next? What happens when the items at the doctor’s office that you thought were decorative become functional?

  • Tough decisions

  • It’s hard to reconcile tough decisions.

    I often have to find a quiet place when I’m facing a tough or difficult challenge. It can be pretty difficult to find a quiet place here in NYC. Even my own apartment can be filled with noises from the street, sidewalk, traffic, neighbors and loud TVs.

    Luckily, I live nearby a park. I recommend going on a long walk or jog to clear your head. Though, not all are blessed with a quiet oasis in this loud urban jungle. Nowadays noise-cancelling headphones are abound. Couldn’t recommend them more. Even if you live in a quiet spot, I guarantee you’ll get some mileage out of a good pair of headphones in a coffee house or while traveling.

    Get to a quiet place. Breathe. Turn off notifications, and take your time. Don’t fret if you need to come back and repeat another day (or at a later hour). Dissect the issues and problems bit-by-bit. Challenging problems normally present themselves like an overgrown tree. Trim and tease out the simple problems first, then tackle the complex. I like to use a simple text editor like Visual Studio Code or iA Writer to compose little tables or lists.

  • How to break bad habits

  • Saira Mueller at Wired:

    The first step to breaking a habit is the same as building one—make a list of the behaviors you’d like to stop doing and put them into priority order. If you try to do everything at once, you’ll likely just get overwhelmed and give up, says Alana Mendelsohn, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Even worse, when we’re stressed out or tired, we instinctively revert back to our established habits—making it harder to break the ones you no longer want.


    If you’re trying to check your phone less often, David Kadavy, author of Mind Management, Not Time Management, suggests locking it in a lockbox for part of the day. “Make it as hard as possible to actually perform the habit,” he says. While you’re still going to get the cue to check your phone, the effort of going to the lockbox and unlocking it can help block the behavior from triggering. Or, say you’re trying to check social media less often: “Just delete the social media apps from your phone,” says Kadavy. “Block them with the parental controls or, at the very least, don’t have them on your home screen.”

    I’m sure you’re just like me. In search of a way to spend less time on your phone. I’m here to confidently say that these techniques do indeed help.

    Step 1: setup Screen Time on iOS

    ScreenTime on iOS is very effective. There’s really no need to put your phone into a lockbox. However, if you’re trying to kick the nicotine habit, I hear that technique works well.

    Step 2: disable notifications (or delete the app outright off your device)

    I have found that disabling notifications on troublesome apps is pretty effective. Deleting them off your device is 100x more effective. I deleted Twitter off my phone and while I still have an account, I have found myself in a better place mentally. Instagram still vies for my daily attention. Now that it is essentially a WhatsApp clone, full of direct messages, I can’t stay away. Now it’s just a matter of trying to read my DM’s each day before I go over my allotted Screen Time.

    Let’s say you delete all these social apps off your phone. The good news is you can still check your Twitter timeline or Instagram DMs on the web from your computer. When I’m on my laptop I’ve found that I enter into a sort of “GTD mode.” I’m in, and out real quick. Avoid the mobile app timesuck at all costs.

    You’ll quickly begin to realize that the mobile apps are all designed to pull you in and keep you on. Once it clicks for you, it’ll become so easier to stay off your phone and fill that time with shit that actually matters like reading, gaming, exercise, learning or whatever floats your boat.

  • Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Deep Voodoo raise $20M investment

  • The duo’s deepfake studio raised a combined $20M investment from Connect Ventures, Creative Artists Agency and New Enterprise Associates. The deepfake studio opened its doors in 2020 according to TechCrunch:

    The Parker/Stone cachet showed when the company made its public debut alongside no lesser a personage than Kendrick Lamar. The video for “The Heart Part 5” has the musician delivering his lyrics in seemingly one take, but when he addresses the camera directly his face takes on the aspects of others: OJ Simpson, Nipsey Hussle, Kobe Bryant and Kanye West:

    It comes as no surprise that this technology, is making its way to Hollywood and artists. Deepfake studios are the next logical step. There has always been a symmetry between the porn industry and Hollywood.

  • The Apple Stores last headphone heads

  • Michael Steeber runs an awesome blog called Tabletops. It features stories and analysis of Apple Store’s visual displays and floor designs. His latest post caught my eye. Apple Stores used to feature wooden “headphone heads” in their music bays. I always thought they were quite striking, but it sounds like Apple is phasing them out:

    The Music bay, complete with its rows of spherical wooden heads, was part of the original set of Avenues introduced in 2015. It was perfectly suited for the on-ear Beats era and predated AirPods entirely. Apple began phasing out the display in June 2021, but at least two stores are still holding on: Apple Park Visitor Center, with its custom Apple Music display, and Apple Upper East Side, the first store in the world to pilot Avenues.

  • Learning in the new year

  • For much of last year, I kept my Duolingo streak alive 🔥 There’s no shortage of ways to stay frosty and learn something new in 2023. Here’s some ideas:

    Udemy and Coursera have awesome affordable courses. Codecademy and code schools can teach your programming fundamentals. Learn a new language with Duolingo. Learn from the experts with MasterClass. There’s tons of free basic cooking classes on YouTube. Already know how to cook, but want to level up your chef skills? You can pay for a fully interactive Sur la table course taken over zoom.

    Good luck everyone!

  • Lucasfilm’s 1983 image, The Road to Point Reyes took one month to render

  • From The Computer Museum:

    One of the most significant static images in the history of computer graphics, The Road to Point Reyes is one of Lucasfilm’s most important early projects. Begun in 1983, Rob Cook directed the image and conceived the scene, while Alvy Ray Smith, Loren Carpenter, Tom Porter, Bill Reeves, and David Salesin provided various elements including shading, hidden surface routines, and fractals. The single image, which Smith has described as a ‘one-frame Movie,’ took a month to render, and was eventually displayed at The Computer Museum in Boston.