A-Players: Week of May 31st

I know I've said this for three straight weeks now, but this week has been brutally busy for me. Balancing my school prom, the last of my large school projects, and all my side-work for this site has been difficult these last 7 days, and it makes me long so much for the next week or two when I'll be able to devote much more of my time to writing and reading. I've also been putting off several extensive reorganizations of my workflows and systems across the board. There'll be some big projects for me to tackle once my summer break begins, but for now I'm just trying to get by week by week. Wish me luck, and enjoy this week's links.

  • MM Select | Summer 2015 — Minimally Minimal - Andrew Kim is back again this week with one of his excellent Selects pieces. If you're not familiar, the Selects series of posts on Minimally Minimal are a compilation of smaller product reviews that wouldn't fit elsewhere, and as such are usually a blast to read with Kim's superb design taste. This Selects post is especially unique due to it containing Kim's thoughts on the Apple Watch and several of the it's collection of bands. As usual Andrew's thoughts and product photos are spot on, and I find his stuff to be some of the best on the web. A joy to read and experience.

  • Apple Watch Tips, Tricks, and Other Miscellany — Shawn Blanc - In his second post on the watch, Shawn goes into detail about some of his favorite little features that everyone might not notice. I appreciated some of the tips Shawn covers and especially appreciated that Nose-Tapping tip at the tail end of the piece. #mykewasright ;)

  • A Review of the Ortlieb Back Roller City Bicycle Panniers — Tools and Toys - Álvaro Serrano has been on quite the streak between Tools and Toys and his own site; Analog Senses. His piece this week on the former of the Ortlieb Back Roller City Panniers (bicycle storage bags) is in my opinion some of his finest work yet. Not every product review I come across on the web feels like reading an actual piece as opposed to just a plain old post. Álvaro's review, with it's background information on bicycles and panniers, pertinent famous quotes, and intelligent observations about the functionality a quality set of panniers can add to one's life, crosses the line into a piece of work; and it was an absolute pleasure to sit down and read. I'm not a cyclist, (at least not as a form of transportation) but Álvaro's piece makes me hope that I can be for at least some of my life in the future. This review was such a pleasure to experience, and even if you're not in the market for panniers like me, I'd highly recommend a read.

  • Why and why not Google - All this - Following last week's extensive Google coverage, Dr. Drang voices his own overview and opinions on Apple, Google, and their differing approaches with user experience and user privacy. Dr. Drang errs towards a more privacy-centric opinion which I find myself falling into as well, and like I said last week I'll soon be investigating and possibly switching to Google-service-alternatives as soon as I can find the time. DuckDuckGo will probably be the first, and I think I'll find time to switch to that later on today (Thursday.) I'm enjoying all the analysis and focus on privacy that's been being discussed this past week, and Dr. Drang's take is both realistic and pertinent.

  • The Note — Shawn Blanc - Shawn Blanc writes a little about the process he uses to get himself ready to write even before he gets down to his desk in the morning. Shawn has mentioned his "note" technique several times over the past year in his various emails and podcasts, and while I haven't had the opportunity to put it into practice myself during the school year, I may give it a try this coming summer.

  • Fantastical on My Wrist — MacSparky - Fantastical launched a pretty fantastic and well-thought-out Apple Watch app this week, and while I read a lot of takes on the watch-app, David Spark's real-life examples in his piece are my favorite. If you're interested in hearing an informed and legitimate opinion on Flexibit's latest launch, look no further.

  • Morning Coffee - Analog Senses - Álvaro's post at the tail end of this week perfectly expressed something I myself have been struggling with over the last few months. The battle between day-of individual link posts and weekly roundup link posts like this one is a balance that I'm still actively thinking about and working on. Álvaro explains it well in the fact that publishing just little links every day makes you feel so much more productive than you really are, and it's more important that writers like us focus on more ambitious pieces and topics that challenge us and our comfort levels. I've been attempting to focus on getting one "quality" piece out that I'm proud of every week, but I still feel like I should be filling the gap with some individual link posts as well. For now I'll stick with these A-Players posts the way they are, but in the future I may tweak the balance again to feature more consistent daily posts in addition to these weekly roundups. Besides that I'm really looking forward to adding Álvaro's weekend link roundup to the handful of others that I've been reading over the past few months, and I couldn't be happier that he's decided to join the club.