A-Players: Week of June 21st

What a great week πŸ˜β˜•

It was a landmark week for the United States in more than one way, as I mentioned when I wrote briefly about Friday's Supreme Court Marraige ruling. Between that and the progress many organizations made towards blotting out some of America's more unpleasant history this week, it's been a hopeful time to be an American, and that's in stark contrast to last week's terrible tragedy. In no way do this week's events make that any less tragic, but the progress makes the world itself seem a bit less hopeless, and that's uplifting to me.

It's been a bit of an off-week in the tech news world, with the excitement of Taylor Swift's open letter to Apple last Sunday and Apple's decisive 180-turnaround being largely delegated to the weekend, this week has been left with headlines like these ones (rolls eyes) as we wait for Apple Music to debut next Tuesday. I for one will be trying the service once it launches, and I think there's a high probability I'll end up switching to the service long-term.

In my personal life I've been having a bit of an all-over-the-place sort of week as I've fluctuated from learning about web design and C-influenced coding languages, to working on some quick graphic design projects, and continued on with re-taking Shawn Blanc's (excellent) Focus Course. I'm starting to get into the groove of working on my own projects during the summer and I'm loving the freedom. I'm hoping I'll be able to bring you guys some exciting stuff over the course of the next couple of months. I hope I can.

Now without further dilly-dallying, on to this week's links:

  • 11+ Bottle Humidifier β€” Minimally Minimal - Waking up on a Monday morning and having a new Minimally Minimal post to read through is a great way to start the week, and Andrew Kim's review of the 11+ Bottle Humidifier this week was just that. I'd known about the Bottle Humidifier for awhile now, as - like Kim says in his piece - it's quite the design icon. I had not seen much good imagery of the humidifier before now though, and if there's anything that I know will be good coming from MM, it's product photography. A very "Minimally Minimal" post, of a very "Minimally Minimal" product, and there's nothing that isn't enjoyable about that.

  • The Continuing Pursuit of a More Perfect Computer β€” The Brooks Review - I've been anticipating Ben Brook's take on the new MacBook with some excitement for a couple months now. Ben had been following and talking about the rumors of the 12 inch MacBook earlier this spring, and it came as no surprise to me that he had ordered one after it's launch. One month of use later, and his thoughts are here. As a fellow writer, I was wondering how Ben would take to the machine, and his positive impressions are heartening. I'm not in the market for a new OS X machine this year, and probably won't be for another couple, but I'm looking forward to where Apple's new line of ultraportables for the everyman will be by then, and I bet the computer of the future that Ben has here will be even more fully realized by the time I get my hands on one.

  • A Laptop for Writers - Matt Gemmell - Surprisingly, there was another great review of the new MacBook this week, this time from another great online writer; Matt Gemmell. While I'm somewhat new to Gemmell's work, his take on the MacBook is even more focused on using it as a writer than even Ben Brook's take was. And while it's a little less an overview of the machine, that's just fine when you're coming to the piece as a fellow writer like I am. Between this piece and Ben Brook's I'm quite convinced that I'd be fully able to live with the MacBook as my primary Mac, and I'm just glad that there's no need for me to upgrade at this point in time. If there was, right around now I'd be mighty tempted.

  • Our favorite pro writing app for Mac - The Sweet Setup - Continuing this week's theme of writing, the folks over at Shawn Blanc's The Sweet Setup put together a great roundup of some of the best professional writing applications, with a couple nice product photography shots to boot. They chose Ulysses - the app I use - as the best choice in the Mac pro writing apps, and I'd have to agree with them. I bought the new Ulysses for Mac the day it came out, and it's been nice to have a desktop version to fall back on in the rare occasion that my iPad setup doesn't cut it.

  • The Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 Micro Four Thirds Lens Review β€” Tools and Toys - Beginning to round out this week, Γ€lvaro Serrano had an excellent review of the Olympus 45mm portrait lens for the Micro 4/3rds system over on Tools and Toys. I've dabbled in portraits only a handful of times over the past couple years I've been working at photography, but seeing such lovely ones in Álvaro's review make me want to try to brush up on my own skills in time for the next time I get to write a review for Tools and Toys. Many of their reviews feature excellent shots of people using the product in question, and I'd love to be able to contribute to that trend of quality they have there. Maybe you'll see some of my efforts here on the blog, maybe not. We'll see.

  • A New Context β€” The Brooks Review - Bringing this week to a close, Ben Brooks gets his second mention in this week's A-Players with his piece discussing how he overhauled the way he uses OmniFocus's contexts. Ben has some really solid ideas on how he structures his contexts, and as I mentioned before I've been meaning to getting around to restructuring my own. This post was the inspiration that finally got me to do so, and while maybe I'll talk more about my own setup in the future, a quick summary for now is that I took some of Ben's excellent ideas and adapted them to work in my own setup. I'm glad I finally got around to doing that, and Ben's piece is full of great productivity insight that I'd recommend you take a look at.

That's all for this week folks! I've been having more and more fun putting these posts together as time has gone by, and it's really awesome to see some of my friends and peers put their own unique spins on link roundups in a way that then inspires as me as well.

 This photo is here to give you a small, visual glimpse into my life. In the future, my goal will be to make them more contextually relevant ;)Β 

This photo is here to give you a small, visual glimpse into my life. In the future, my goal will be to make them more contextually relevant ;)Β 

In the coming weeks I think I'll try to encorporate a bit more of my everyday photography into these posts, as well as continuing to try and editorialize and improve the links and opinions within the piece itself. I hope you guys are enjoying the little tweaks I'm making to the formula as I go along, and I'm excited to see where I am a couple of weeks or months from now.

Until next week.