By far and away, this week’s setup interview is one of my all-time favorites. For one, I’m a long-time fan of Jago’s illustrations (he’s the artist behind the Jesus Storybook Bible, which we love), so it’s awesome to see his setup on the site. But his interview is just fantastic — several great photos of his workspace and a lot of nerdy detail about the tools he uses and how he uses them.

But it’s not your typical use-case. Here’s just one example:

I couldn’t do without Dropbox. Through a combination of cunning and trickery, I currently have a 463Gb account, and I make good use of it.

Jago Silver’s Sweet Setup

As you know, Editorially (which was awesome), shut its doors recently. Over at The Sweet Setup, we used Editorially every single day — it was our ideal collaborative writing tool.

Jeff Abbott wrote an overview of what made Editorially so great and what some of the alternatives are. As he states, after trying just about every other alternative we could find, we’ve moved to Google Docs for our collaborative writing work.

Cheers, Editorially. Now what?

This week, on my podcast, The Weekly Briefly, I talk about the connection between staying creative and building a delightful product. Both have the same “guiding principles”, in that they are expressions of serving others.

Sponsored by:

The Lifeblood of Creativity


Two years ago, Google started bringing fiber to Kansas City. And it took them until today to make their way to my house.

Google Fiber

In the 2 years between their original announcement and when service became available in my neighborhood, I thought quite a bit about if I was willing to let Google be my Internet Service Provider.

The biggest question I had to ask myself: will Google be using my online activity to sell me ads? The answer is: certainly.

So then I had to ask myself if I was okay with that. And the answer is: yes I am.

Google is already trying to sell me ads. They have been ever since I signed up for the Gmail beta back in 2006 or whenever.

Obviously, now that they’re my ISP, they will be able to garner more information about my house. Basically they now have visibility into anything we do online that’s not an encrypted transaction, such as the movies we stream from Netflix, the products we browse on Amazon, what songs we stream over Rdio, every website we visit, and who knows what else. It sounds creepy when you put it like that, but it’s also no different than any other ISP relationship I’ve had (AOL, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T). It’s just that none of the others were in to Big Data as much as Google is.

And it’s not dangerous. All our most sensitive information is still safe because it’s transferred over encrypted connections (emails, passwords, iMessages, SSL encrypted sites like my bank, et al.).

All that to say, I am comfortable with Google as my ISP. Because in exchange, I now have internet speeds that are 20 times faster than the fastest I could pay TWC to provide. And it’s for the same price of $70/month.

Google Fiber Speed Test

In many ways, the faster speeds won’t have a huge impact on my day-to-day life. Just because I have 20x faster internet doesn’t mean I will get 20x more work done. My Rdio songs won’t sound any better, my emails won’t send or receive all that noticeably quicker, etc.

But Netflix will stream in higher quality. My daily podcast now uploads in one second (literally). Safari will connect to websites and servers quicker thanks to the fantastic ping rate with Google Fiber, and media-rich sites will load sooner. Big file downloads will be noticeably faster. And who knows what else.

Moreover, it seems worth mentioning that the entire signup and installation process for Google Fiber was incredible. Believe it or not, Google was extremely organized, friendly, clear, and efficient. All of the automated systems they had in place for contacting me when Fiber became available, and for helping me schedule the installation were clear and easy. The technicians who came to my house to run the lines and set up the network box were very friendly. And the one time I had to call customer service to re-schedule an appointment, the lady I spoke to on the phone knew exactly what she was talking about. So far, I’ve been impressed with the whole process and service.


Awesome breakdown by Brian Lovin on all the little details and interactions in Path.

Path is such a well-designed app. I used for a while back, and very much enjoyed how it works as an app, but as another social network it never stuck for me. I also had considered using it as my personal journal of sorts, but Day One is just so much better suited to that.

There are a lot of things that make Path, as an app, truly great. But how long will they be around? In all seriousness, assuming Path gets acquired and shut down one day, or just flat out shuts down, what will become of its inspirational design and engineering?

(Via Marcelo Somers.)

Design Details: Path for iOS

Sean Madden, writing for Wired on the fine line between “magic” and frustration:

The average smartphone user interacts with his or her mobile device over 100 times per day, and the majority of those interactions fall into just a few categories: opening an app, selecting from a list, bringing up a keyboard, and so on. If each of them is imbued with too much visual whiz-bang, using your phone becomes the digital equivalent of eating birthday cake for every meal.

It’s a great article, and what Sean talks about is exactly what Ben and I hit on in last week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly.

In short: whizbang features are cool and they look especially delightful in a press release. But the hallmark features of our gadgets are nowhere close to the most used features. How fast do apps launch, how easy is it to navigate the device, how smooth is the scrolling? These “boring” features are the ones we interact with a hundred times per day. And that’s why you’ve got to get the fundamental stuff right, because that is what ultimately defines the user’s experience as delightful or not.

And so, if you get the fundamentals wrong — by being poorly engineered or over-designed — then it’s like gluing a piece of gravel inside your customer’s $650 running shoes.

P.S. I literally wrote a book on this subject. It’s called Delight is in the Details and as we speak I’m up to my ears in a big update. If you want to follow along with the new work I’m adding to the book, you can learn more here.

The Perils of Delight

Jim Dalrymple:

The ABC channel will feature live, multi-streaming video and on-demand content, entertainment news, live hourly updates, original programming and video highlights.

PBS Kids is only available in the US and will feature full-length episodes and clips of popular shows including Curious George, Dinosaur Train, Peg + Cat, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Arthur, Wild Kratts and Sesame Street.

Nice! Maybe the PBS Kids channel can help me reclaim my Netfilx recommendations.

Also on the update, is a new Flickr app that has just about all the same functionality of the iOS (er, iPhone) app.

Apple TV Updated With New Channels

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Sponsor: Backblaze

This week I’m joined by my pal, Ben Brooks, to talk about the Amazon Fire phone and Amazon compared to Apple as two different manifestations of companies that have “obsessive attention to detail”.

Sponsored by:

  • Jet Pens: Unique Writing Instruments and Desk Toys from Around the World. Use this link to get a free Signo 0.38 pen for all orders over $25.

  • The awesome members of Their support makes the work I do a sustainable possibility.

The Weekly Briefly: Fire Phone

Ben Thompson has an excellent article regarding the Amazon Fire phone:

What we expected from Amazon was along the lines of Jeff Bezos’s promise for the Fire tablet line: “Premium products at non-premium prices.”

Instead the Fire Phone is right up there with an iPhone 5S when it comes to price, and it’s sold with the exact same contract you would get with that iPhone. There is no margin compression, no subsidized data. There’s nothing different at all. Unlike the Fire tablets, which most assume are sold at near cost in order to drive usage of Amazon’s services — especially Prime video and Kindle books — the Fire phone seems unlikely to attract any new customers to the Amazon ecosystem. And perhaps, that is what makes it so different: the Fire Phone seems to be not only a different strategy for Amazon, but a new kind of smartphone strategy full-stop.

Amazon’s Whale Strategy

Stephen Hackett regarding the Amazon Fire phone:

Since the Fire Phone isn’t going to burn down (sorry) any existing market leaders, it’s only fair to assume that Amazon’s main push here is to make it easier to buy things.

Yes. I’d say absolutely Amazon’s main push with this phone is to make it easier to buy things. You have to look no further than the dedicated hardware button that if you hold down for a second will launch Firefly. But why not? Why not make a device that’s targeted at your most loyal customers?

My question is if Firefly will make its way to other smartphones via an update to the Amazon app, or perhaps a new Amazon Firefly app altogether? Because what about folks like me who use Prime all the time but who won’t be buying a Fire phone?

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