On episode two of my new podcast, The Weekly Briefly, I talk about what a “Pro iOS” means anyway, some of the low-hanging fruit that would make iOS more “powerful” (such as better inter-app communication), and the importance of a 3rd-party app having a worthwhile and sustainable income in the App Store.

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The Weekly Briefly: Professional-Grade iOS

The E-M10 is the first new M43 camera to genuinely tempt me to upgrade from my E-PL5 which I’ve had for about a year and a half now.

I’ve rented both the E-M5 and the E-P5 but wasn’t blown away by either of them in such a way as to upgrade my current camera. Though I was initially very excited about the E-P5, after renting it I didn’t feel that it was a significant enough upgrade from my E-PL5 — and at nearly twice the price, I felt that was money better spent on a good lens.

However, after reading a few reviews, my first impressions of the E-M10 may be a different story — this may be my next camera.

Here’s what is compelling to me about the new E-M10:

  • Price: $700 for the body, which is a bit more than I paid new for my E-PL5 and is $300 less than the list price of the E-M5 and E-P5 (though the latter two cameras are both 20-percent off on Amazon at the moment, making them just $100 more expensive than the E-M10).

  • Size: the E-M10 looks stellar, and is just slightly larger than the E-PL5, and smaller than the E-P5, E-M5, and E-M1.

  • Manual Controls: after size, having a few manual dials to quickly adjust aperture and shutter speed is what I most wish the E-PL5 had.

  • Viewfinder: Though I don’t long for a viewfinder, I’d welcome having one.

  • Image Stabilization: the E-M10 has 3-axis in-body image stabilization (for pitch, yaw, and roll) compared to the 5-axis of the E-M5 and E-M1. My E-PL5 has 2-axis IBIS (pitch and yaw only). In usage, I never found myself in deep need of the 5-axis IBIS when renting the E-M5 and E-P5. I always felt able to get just as good of images from my E-PL5 and its “measly” 2-axis IBIS as I was with the nicer cameras and their 5-axis IBIS.

In short, the E-M10 looks to have enough compelling features, in a camera body that is still small enough, at a price that is still low enough, to be exciting to me. But we’ll have to see. Once it’s out (Feb 12th), I hope to rent one from Lens Rentals and give it a spin to find out for sure if it’s as exciting as it looks.

Mathieu Gasquet’s First Impressions of the new Olympus E-M10

And speaking of The Sweet Setup, we just published our latest app review/recommendation. It was written by none other than Duncan Davidson himself:

The upside of photography in the digital age is that it’s easy to make as many images as you want. The downside: Once you’ve made all those photos, you have to do something with them before they pile up faster than you can sort through and share the best.

The Best Photo Editing App for the Mac Is Lightroom

This week’s Sweet Setup interview is with our good friend, Myke Hurley, talking iPhone. I think more and more people are in a place where they’d agree with his sentiment (though “stooge job” not required):

With the way I live my life, my iPhone is my most important computer. Whilst I’m attending my stooge job during the day, my iPhone becomes my window to the other side of my life.

There is quite a bit of conversation around if the iPad is a PC or not (it is, of course), but we could just as well be having the same conversation about the iPhone.

Myke Hurley’s Sweet iPhone Setup

Great Typefaces of 2013

This is a guest post, written by my good friend, Josh Farmer.


I may have a mild form of Aspergers, which makes me somewhat awkward in social situations. This is especially true when I get into nerdy conversations about very specific topics I enjoy. Typefaces are one of those topics.

What follows is an alphabetical listing of great typefaces from 2013. I hope it gets you thinking about how to branch out more into the world of type, whether in your creative ventures or as an informed reader.

Alverata by Gerard Unger


Gerard Unger, one of the patriarchs of modern type design, is still going strong. For part of his Ph.D., he created Alverata as a new take on Romanesque forms. Inscription is the basis for this face, which can be seen in its sharp, short serifs and flared forms.

Alverata comes in three weights (Regular, Informal, and Alternates), each with their own purpose and feel. The Regular is just what it says on the tin: basic characters that play well with eleventh- and twelfth-century history. The Informal set introduces an unexpected softness with such things as a single-story a and calligraphic terminals. The Alternate weight is made for all kinds of medieval scenarios, goth lite logos, or maybe the next dragon movie.

Bree Serif by Veronika Burian & José Scaglione

Bree Serif

The extremely popular upright italic, Bree, got a charming seriffed cousin this year. All the personality is alive and well in Bree Serif, and now it has the added benefit of working in more scenarios.

Bree began as the typeface based on TypeTogether’s logo; it was an expansion of the e–T ligature Veronika created for their wordmark. The spry upright italic has been one of their most adored and most used typefaces since its creation. Bree Serif began as a Google Fonts project and matured into a full-fledged counterpart to Bree that comes in 12 weights and speaks multiple languages. It still has the looped g, y, and z that everyone recognizes and it includes alternate forms. As readable in text sizes as it is distinct in headlines, Bree Serif puts a pair of modern glasses on Bree’s face. We all know it’s our fun-loving friend, but now we know she’s serious about having a fun night out.

Domaine by Kris Sowersby


What can I say about this type family? It’s gorgeous. Every curve is considered, every sharp point inviting. Its high class contrast will steal the money right out of your wallet and you will be all the richer for it. Seriously. Your type IQ will increase by using Domaine, which will cause others to rush to join your elite fan club. (Elite fan club not included.) Domaine is classy, erudite, and still fun. Its characters look like they began with a paintbrush and were finished with pen. It’s James Bond with a loosened tie.

FF Dora by Slávka Pauliková

FF Dora

Yet another strong release from FontFont, the team behind fontshop.com. FF Dora’s hybrid personality mixes the freedom of brush strokes with the restraint needed for a text serif. It strikes me as a contender to the great Skolar family, though it has only six weights so far. I love seeing the bulge created by the turns of the brush at the baseline when retracing a stem, such as with the italic m. Other lovely touches: the asymmetrical dot on the i, the inktraps on stem–curve joins, the italic k, the wide stance of the typeface itself, and how the stems are slightly flared.

The display version takes every aspect three steps further, daring you to slather its personality across something mundane. And who doesn’t love the section and dagger symbols? The only improvement I would have requested is more alternates for each character to expand the painterly possibilities. And ponies and world peace, but one thing at a time.

Exquise FY by FontYou

Exquise FY

Exquise is great when you want some pizzazz with your Didone substitute. I love the diagonal modified terminals that curve in on themselves, the numerous beautiful ligatures, and the gently curved strokes that finish off some letters, such as the lower- and uppercase k, v, and w. Due to these qualities, Exquise is elegant when used large and it won’t let you skip too quickly when used smaller in text.

Haven’t heard of FontYou? Think of it as a font hub where you can submit your type doodles, see those from others, vote, and then buy the ones that get awsome-ized (that is, made into real typefaces). It’s your neighborhood farm-to-market fonts that you can have a hand in creating. This is organic at its finest.

Kumla by Göran Söderström


Söderström has put out some fantastic typefaces over the years, such as Trim, Siri, Heroine, and FF Dagny — each with a very specific goal in mind. Now we are treated to the best remake of something worthy of a Russian version of Star Trek.

This high-waisted typeface feels that way thanks to the shallow bowl on the R and P, the quick curve of the S, and how the N connects its two stems. Use it in place of Eurostile, as a futuristic replacement for Helvetica (gasp, sacrilege!), as a more industrial version of Neo Sans, or to create some unforgettable branding.

MVB Solitaire by Mark van Bronkhorst

MVB Solitare

Sometimes what you need isn’t so much a show stopper as a workhorse that blends into an overall scheme. Web historians might put Verdana and Lucida in that do-it-all wallflower category. Hoefler & Frere-Jones and Mark Simonson have winners in this category with Whitney and Proxima Nova, respectively. MVB Solitaire belongs in that dignified grouping. Its enormous x-height means it’s easy to set as small as you want without any worries about legibility, and the lowercase g takes on different personalities in each weight.

MVB Solitaire is a straight shooter with just enough personality to pair well with almost anything. This means that, though no one would put these faces in the same category, MVB Solitaire can stand in equally well for Gill Sans, Myriad, Futura, or Verdana.

Magasin by Laura Meseguer

Magasin Typeface

Magasin is a friendly connected script based on the flattened oval. That geometric foundation makes way for the connections to be seen, and the separated strokes show how each letter was formed. As for me, I love the pilcrow, British pound, and Registered symbols. If you ever get the chance to rebrand the Madeline cartoon and they’re ready to change the hand-drawn wordmark, put Magasin on the list.

Dieter Hofrichter of hoftype.com

Fonts by Hofrichter

Dieter Hofrichter gets the award as one of the most prolific typeface producers each year. Last year he released 11 faces; this year it was six, of which my eye is drawn to Capita, Foro Rounded, Quant, and Qubo.

Granted, some releases are rounded versions of typefaces Hofrichter has already created, but that doesn’t make his productivity any less impressive. His typefaces are great for setting a textual tone and are optimized for setting medium or long texts, so try one of his to replace your normal text face. How easy is this to do? Super easy, because Hoftype usually gives away one weight of each new family for free. Keep an eye on Hoftype next year. Who knows how many new faces we will be graced with in 2014.

Remo by Thomas Thiemich


Oh, happy retinas, Remo is here! Thiemich has a way of crossing categories better than almost anyone in type design today. I was immediately drawn to his exhaustive Alto type family, with its friendly inner raindrop shape and variety of widths and weights. He’s back once again showing off his serious design skills and his eye for what works across several decades of type design. If a relaxed geometric is what you need, instead of another strict redrawing on a grid, Remo is it.

Thiemich started with strict geometry, but then moved on with more charm and maturity than you would expect from a turn-of-the-century typeface. Each stroke is pushed toward the outside of the block of space it inhabits, so the thin glyphs feel like they maintain about the same area as the heavy weights. If Remo were alive, I’d imagine it got frozen in time as it inhaled.

Check out the difference between the thin and light weights of the M; the center apex moved down. The curls added to the a, d, and l, along with the cheery s, create gentility. The low-waisted R, Y, and S are begging for some Broadway attention, but don’t pigeonhole it to 1920s New York; the a, J, Q, and l would never feel at home there. And that’s the genius of this type family — it fits multiple styles like a glove. I love the descending italic f and the face’s enormous x-height, but you might be just as happy to replace the overused Futura. Or Univers. Or Avenir. Or Mr. Eaves. Or Broadway, you Windows users who still want to use the marching ants effect. When you’re ready to get a typeface that can handle so many different decades, Remo is your man. This typeface makes me happy.

Sauna Mono by Underware at underware.nl

Sauna Mono

Forget the days of coding headaches. Sauna is interesting to look at — even fun. So far, monospaced typefaces have been bitmappy, annoying, and just horrid. Nitti put a dent in that universe but didn’t truly change the expectation. Sauna Mono is the answer to, “And what normal person would ever want to look at a coding font for hours each day?” Someone who is staring at Sauna Mono, that’s who. Sauna has personality and good looks; it’s definitely not your grandma’s mono, which sounds weird now that I’ve said it. Classy, readable, and with another text and display family just waiting to be discovered. If you do any coding behind the scenes or screenwriting important scenes, you should check Sauna Mono out. Why not do your job well and love the typeface you’re using at the same time? And I do mean love. Don’t just take whatever mono Sublime Text has packaged, get something you will love. Sauna Mono fits this bill.

Supernova by Martina Flor


Ever since Lettering vs. Calligraphy took the font world by storm, I’ve been waiting to see a brush script come from Martina Flor’s hand. Supernova is her brilliant release that doesn’t lose one ounce of energy, regardless how it’s used.

Supernova’s most amazing feature? It’s readable. Yes, it actually works in short- to medium-length text. She made five weights specifically for text and one with more expressiveness for use in huge sizes, appropriately called the poster weight. She then added a few alternates for each glyph and some decorative elements such as curls, frames, slathers, and dollops. My gut feeling is that she had to force herself to stop adding alternates and decoration. Supernova is cheeky and vibrant. It’s perfect for packaging and will also add some much-needed charm to the neutral or overwrought geometric typeface you were forced to pick by some faceless committee. Not that this has ever happened to me you.

Zulia by Joluvian and Ale Paul


Zulia is an expressive, legible paintbrush face with great alternates. Quick turns and extended swashes are the easiest to notice, but look at the downward strokes for a lesson in controlled speed. This typeface is precisely what Sudtipos are known for.

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A final thought. I’m making two calls: This will be the year of the alternate glyphs, and a year of focusing more on multilingualism in type.

We’ve seen much of these before, but I think it’s increasing substantially. We’ve seen type designers create awesome things from scratch and breathe new life into entire categories, so now I think many designers will use alternate glyphs to distinguish themselves and their typefaces. We’ve seen a bit of this in the past, especially with well done scripts such as Underware’s Liza. Lately there’s been a trend toward sans and serif families with a greater range and the ability to switch tones. Alternates for characters such as a, g, e, s, and l provide just such a tonal distinction. Read Kris Sowersby’s article on Metric & Calibre to see how easily and effectively tone can be changed through just a few letters. I’m guessing this will become standard practice, in tandem with a long-awaited multilingualism for major releases, in which type families are created from the start with something more than the Latin alphabet as the driving force. What would the Latin alphabet look like if it came through the filter of the Cherokee language first? Little experiments like this are happening all the time, and I think the world sees better with pluralistic, artistic glasses on.

So here’s to this past year in typefaces and to the great start of 2014. Because, in case you didn’t know, just since I began writing this article several more typefaces were released. And that’s great news.

Great Typefaces of 2013

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My thanks to Creative VIP for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. They really do have an impressive roster of discounts and other perks with some great software and services. Also, the goodie bag is awesome. I got one a few months ago and who doesn’t like opening a parcel full of fine paper good, etc.?

Sponsor: Creative VIP

Here we go. It’s the inaugural episode of my new podcast, The Weekly Briefly. On today’s show: a brief history of why and how I got into blogging for a living, defining creative success, micropatronage and the pros and cons of paywall-blocked content, and the rough elements of a successful creative business.

You can subscribe to the podcast via the Podcast RSS feed, or in iTunes. And, this is where I say that it would be so nice if you took a minute to rate and review the show in iTunes.

This episode is brought to you by:

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The Weekly Briefly: Indie Life

Grandpa’s iPad

My grandpa is legally blind. He can see, but poorly. When he reads books they are the extra large print editions, and he holds them so close they’re practically resting on his nose. And when he watches an old western film from his VHS collection he sits about two feet away from his big-screen TV.

Last weekend, while in Colorado visiting family, we had a big family dinner at my parents’ house. I loaded my 2-year-old son, Noah, into the car and we drove to pick up my Grandpa from his apartment and bring him over for dinner.

My Grandparents’ homes were always filled with seemingly floor to ceiling photos of family. And his current apartment is no different. There are picture frames on the table and on the desk and on the dresser, and snapshots of grandchildren have been printed out (with the help of more tech-savvy relatives) and thumb-tacked to the walls.

At the apartment, I held Noah while my Grandpa gathered his things — his coat, hat, and walker. And, a new item now: his iPad.

The iPad was a gift from my aunt. It’s a 3rd generation and she doesn’t use it that often so she gave it to him hoping he could use it. (Perhaps as a giant remote control for the TV?)

But my Grandpa discovered a use for it that none of us had considered. It is the best camera he’s ever owned.

Before leaving the apartment, Noah and I had to pose for a picture. Holding the iPad about 10 inches in front of his face, my Grandpa snapped a few photos.

I know there are people out there who take pictures using their iPads, because I’ve seen — ahem — pictures of them doing it. But I’ve always thought it a bit funny and awkward.

And there I was. Posing to have my picture taken with an iPad.

At first, I wanted to snicker. But how could I? If my Grandpa wants to use an iPad to take a picture of his grandson and great grandson, then who cares? Certainly not me.

Back at my parent’s house, my Grandpa continued to spend the first part of the evening taking everyone’s picture. Several of my cousins were there, and many of us don’t get to see my Grandpa more often than every couple of months, if not longer. It was a prime time for snapshots.

Later, Noah quickly warmed up to my Grandpa thanks to the iPad. (As any parent knows, iPads and iPhones are captivating to a toddler. Noah is already quite fluent with iOS and has been sliding to unlock since before he could walk.) The iPad was a way for my Grandpa to spend some time with Noah at his side, as the two of them flipped through the camera roll.

With a smile, I’ve been thinking about that evening for the past week.

My Grandpa’s iPad has enabled him to do something that he’s been unable to do for as long as I can remember. The 9.7-inch touch screen has turned my Grandpa into a photographer.

The screen is large enough that he can see well enough to actually frame and take pictures. And then he has them right there, on that same large screen, where he can browse through them any time he wants.

To me, that’s pretty magical.

Grandpa’s iPad

Sam Polk is a recovering wealth addict, and he wrote a sobering article in The New York Times about his years on Wall Street:

I’d always looked enviously at the people who earned more than I did; now, for the first time, I was embarrassed for them, and for me. I made in a single year more than my mom made her whole life. I knew that wasn’t fair; that wasn’t right. Yes, I was sharp, good with numbers. I had marketable talents. But in the end I didn’t really do anything. I was a derivatives trader, and it occurred to me the world would hardly change at all if credit derivatives ceased to exist. Not so nurse practitioners. What had seemed normal now seemed deeply distorted.

For the Love of Money

Introducing The Weekly Briefly Podcast

This week I’m launching a new podcast: The Weekly Briefly.

(Though, if we’re going to be technical about it, it’s not really a new podcast… It’s more like a new spin on my current podcast.)

I’ve been recording and publishing my members-only podcast, Shawn Today, since February 2011. As of this morning I have published 467 episodes. Over the years, topics have run mostly parallel to topics here on shawnblanc.net — such as software, productivity and time management, photography, design, and more. But I’ve also talked about things I don’t write about, such as impostor syndrome, finances and budgeting, life as a dad, and more. On more than one occasion, Shawn Today has been the seedbed for future articles and reviews here on shawnblanc.net. (Last summer, Shawn Today was even the seedbed for an entire book.)

With Shawn Today now entering its 4th season, I want to change things up a bit. Here’s why:

  • I very much enjoy doing Shawn Today, but I wanted to expand the show’s reach and add something new to the mix to see what would happen.
  • The Weekly Briefly is a way for those who aren’t members to still listen to my podcast (albeit a weekly version instead of the daily), and a way for me to put some of my podcasts out there for anyone and everyone. Because, I believe ideas that spread, win.
  • For those who are members, but who don’t keep up with the daily episodes, now you have an easier target if you want: just listen to the once-a-week show.
  • Hopefully this once-a-week public episode will draw in new subscribers to the members-only daily podcast.

If you’re already listening to Shawn Today, there’s no need to subscribe to The Weekly Briefly because the latter will double as the Friday episode of the former.

My deepest and most sincere thanks to all the subscribing members of this site who listen to the show, give feedback, and enhance the conversation. You’ve made the past 467 episodes of Shawn Today a possibility, and I am very much looking forward to what the next 467 episodes have in store.

Introducing The Weekly Briefly Podcast

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My thanks to Scribe for sponsoring the RSS feed this week.

Sponsor: Scribe: Copy and paste anything from your Mac to your iPhone, without Wi-Fi