A-Players: Week of November 1st

Hello again all,

I think that as the past several weeks of A-Players posts have probably conveyed, I've entered the busy holiday season of the year. It seems to have come certainly early for me this year, but I already find myself scrambling to get all my ducks in a row school-wise, work-wise, writing-wise, and family-wise for the fast-coming holiday occasions.

I feel badly that A-Players posts are all I can seem to muster for you readers these last couple weeks - and I hope I can manage to change that in the future - but if you're still here reading faithfully then I truly thank you. I promise there will be some brilliant pieces coming. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Moving on to this week's reading, there are some spectacular pieces waiting in store for you. In-depth technical examinations of software and hardware, beautiful photographs, intricate automobile analogies, and even some advice for how to retain focus in the midst of a busy life that seems all the more pertinent in my life right now. I won't wallow on any longer, and I hope you guys have a great time reading through what I thought were some truly A-Player pieces this week.


  • Design Explosions #3: NeuBible — Design Explosions - Boom! Design Explosions is a series that I've loved over this past year on Medium. They take seriously deep dives into software design, and I love the little details that they point out and the new ways it makes me think about my favorite apps. They did something different this time around in that the analysis is presented in a video instead of their previous essay format, but this way has it's own unique charms as well - with hand-drawn illustrations and voiceover being among them. Well worth your watch.

  • Dialing Down — CGP Grey - CGP Grey is a person who I stumbled upon a couple of months ago through a combination of podcasts, and ever since he's been making his way up the list of internet-people whose opinions I find ever-fascinating. He doesn't seem to blog often, but when he publishes a piece - like he did this week - it makes the wait worth it. In this piece Grey tackles the idea of eliminating unneeded distractions in order to better focus on your most important work - smartly similar to the ideas Shawn Blanc has been waxing eloquent on in his Focus Course this past year. The part of Grey's piece where he talked about spiraling downward into an unproductive cycle of stress and focus-disarray really struck home with me. I've been dealing with juggling many different responsibilities, and having a tough time fitting in the things I love along with all the obligations life brings. I'm not exactly sure yet what I should be cutting back on in order to get better in this respect, but Grey's piece has inspired me to revisit Shawn's Focus Course that I took earlier in the year - I believe an ideal time for it has come in my life.

  • How I Stay Sane When Life Feels Extra Busy — Shawn Blanc - And almost as if he could read my mind, Shawn Blanc himself published a piece this week about how he manages his time and manages to stay sane when under the increasing pressures of life. Shawn's piece is full of his usual helpfulness and good advice, and I couldn't have asked for a better week for both he and CGP Grey to write the excellent pieces that they did about focus. Maybe their pieces will speak to you as well, and either way they're excellently written - give them a look.

  • The Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Review - Anandtech - While it's true that the review season for Apple's iPhones is well and truly over now, that doesn't mean I'm not linking above to an excellent one. The fine folks over at Anandtech have done their usual dive into the technical details of Apple's latest offering. And while I might not truly understand a lot of the heavier stuff, it's still a great learning experience to see what's new from what I can understand of it. I'm glad they took their time - the world needs more Siracusian efforts like this one.

  • Fine Tuning Keyboards — The Brooks Review - As someone who loves reading about different writer's preferences on things as silly as writing software, keyboards, and CMSes, (CMSii?) I was made seriously happy when Ben Brooks posted his sort-of keyboard roundup earlier this week. Now, I'm not really much of a car gearhead (yet) but Ben's analogy comparing various keyboards to various classes of cars made a lot of sense. I've been similarly enjoying the new Magic Keyboard, and I have to agree with Ben that it's overall a pleasant upgrade over the previous wireless keyboard. Maybe it's a little odd, but man do I love these sorts of pieces.

  • Autovision Monochrome Edition — Emmazed - This week in gorgeous photography; I couldn't pass up Mahmoud Mfinanga's most recent Autovision gallery. Ever since I started following Mahmoud he's been perfecting the technique of capturing the sharp specular highlights of various products whilst leaving the rest of the frame to fall into shadow. He's inspired me to try something similar a couple of times but oh my goodness has he gotten good at it himself. The features of these cars he chooses to showcase this way are nothing short of beautiful, and this piece is definitely worth your look no matter your interests. It's just plain impressive stuff.


Thank you again, as always, for reading along with me week-in and week-out. I hope you all have some great days until I write to you again, and thanks for sticking around.

Cheers,

Mike