A-Players: Week of September 13th

Hey all,

What a week. Am I right?

This week in the tech world brought the launch of iOS 9, dozens of great app launches and app updates, and a whole new flurry of controversy around ads, content-blockers, and how online publishing should handle being paid.

With iOS 9, I've had a great time with the new update after running it this past summer. And this week was the software-nerd-inside-of-me's Christmas Morning. I even wrote up a mini-link roundup covering iOS 9, reviews of it, and the my favorite app updates out for it earlier this week. So just in case you missed it, go check it out.

As far as the Ads, the content-blockers, and their supporters of either opinion - I spent a good chunk of my time this week reading through various people's takes on the "publishing-monetization-war" that is brewing, and to be completely honest I'm not sure how I feel. My friend Álvaro had some great things to say earlier today in his Morning Coffee post this week, and I'd suggest you read that rather than expect an opinon on the matter from me. I'm conflicted, it's touchy, and it's all a very complicated situation no matter how you spin it.

In my personal life, I've had a very busy couple days between school and work, and while I wish I had something cool to tease or publish for you guys going into this next week, I really don't. I'm feeling pretty tired, but I'm glad I can at least get out these words to you.

I hope the links are interesting this week and that you enjoy them. Reading through these various articles was probably my favorite thing I got to do this week.

See you guys on the flipside, now on to the links.


  • Thoughts on Annual iPhone Upgrades — Shawn Blanc - In the first non-productivity post on his personal site in awhile, Shawn Blanc shared some details about why he's chosen to move to an unsubsidized iPhone this year. I agree with some of this points, but especially this one at the end;

    "From where I’m sitting, if you like to upgrade every year, if you’re not ultra-thrifty, if you don’t care about keeping your old hardware, and if you like to pay for convenience, then Apple’s Upgrade program actually sounds like a pretty sweet deal."

I fully agree with Shawn here, even if Apple's option isn't the most absolutely thrifty option. And if I end up getting an iPhone 6s or 6s+ later this year, I think the Apple Upgrade Program is at the top of my list.

  • Learning How to Meditate - Sarah K Peck - I came across this post by Sarah Peck early on in the week, and I can say that it was one of those articles I read that actively made me think about changing something in my life - or in this case getting back into something. I dabbled with meditation last year and enjoyed my time with the practice, but didn't get it locked down enough into my routine where it became a permanent part of it. Sarah's piece reminded me of some of the things I found most pleasant and worthwhile about meditation, and maybe I'll give the whole thing another go round now. The piece is great, and I bet it would be so even for those who haven't tried meditation before. Give it a read and see what you think.

  • The Dialogue: Michael Simmons – Beautiful Pixels - A recent RSS subscription of mine - Beautiful Pixels - went extremely in-depth in an interview with Michael Simmons, one of the co-founders of the software company Flexibits. I adore Flexibits' main claim to fame - Fantastical - on every one of my devices. And while I would have been interested in digging so deeply into almost any developer's process and journey, the interview is made all the better for me by the fact that it's being conducted with the developer of one of my favorite apps. It's a long haul of a piece, but an interesting one. And especially worth your time if you're a fan of Flexibits, Fantastical, or just software developers in general.

  • Destination Trolltunga — Atle Rønningen - It might be the second week of school now, but much like last week I've needed to read through some photo essays in order to make it through a couple of these afternoons. Josh Ginter tipped off this awesome piece and I'll have to thank him for that here. Gorgeous photography shot on some of the best film cameras & glass you can get, and just enough writing to accompany it. Great for a leisurely lunch break.

  • A Walk Through Copenhagen With Writer Nana Hagel - Ignant.de - Following in a similar vein, my life got very busy with very little free-time towards the end of this week, and Ignant's pieces like this were light enough and yet still refreshing and immersive enough to help me relax when I really needed it. This specific piece shows Ignant's recent experiences walking around the city of Copenhagen with a local photographer and getting to see some of it's lesser-known beauties and sites. A good casual read.

  • Madrid’s Food Markets: San Antón — Tools and Toys - On Thursday of this week, my friend Álvaro Serrano published his second photo-essay on the Tools & Toys site - which in it of itself is the first in a three-part series on the food markets of Madrid. Of any piece this week, this was the one that had me most interested, and I found the idea of San Antón - a classic food market fused with the idea of the modern mall - to be something the likes of which I hope I get to see in person someday. Excellent photography and writing by Álvaro. It gave me wanderlust and made my stomach grumble all at the same time.

  • Monetization - Marius Masalar - Last but not least this week was a great post from writer Marius Masalar on how he plans to handle monetization - and the inherent struggle within - on his blog in the future. This piece might not be as interesting if you're not into the whole "online-writer" thing like I am, but I really enjoyed Marius's take on the matter. And while I don't know how I really feel about monetization, ads, and the like - I do know that I respect Marius, his work, his decision on monetization, and I wish him the best of luck with it in the future.

Once again, I'll see you all back here next Saturday. I hope you have terrific, ad-drama-free weeks, and that you get to escape into a photo essay or two before I get to talk to you guys again.

Cheers,

~Mike