LoveFrom is doubling down on craft in typeface

Mark Wilson, writing at Fast Company:

Apple products—much like the bodies of cars—feature continuous curves. Their forms have smooth transitions, as micron-level differences can distort reflection or even be felt by your hand. Technically speaking, continuous curvature requires both using the right mathematical functions to draw curves and also examining the sculpt of an object on the whole rather than considering a single corner or plane as distinct elements. 

The ampersand is quite nice.

2024 Feb·07


Listening

I was listening to a podcast where an interviewee stated,

Listening is just another word for being really genuinely available.

Throughout my life, I’ve always believed that the world, a higher being or a mix of the two send you messages if you’re a) willing to hear them and b) listening and paying enough attention to hear them. That’s really an expanded form of the above quote that distills both into a single statement.

The point I’ve shamefully missed, also throughout my life, is that people are part of that scope. We always tell our children they should seek to understand” or listen to understand”, but I’m woefully poor at the skill myself. I should be as willing to listen to someone, and be genuinely available in doing so, as I am intentional in hearing what the world has to say to me through its own wavelengths and signs.

I’m going to try to be a better listener. Not so that I can process and respond thoughtfully or intelligently, but so that I’m genuinely available to the person speaking; for their benefit and my own in equal measure.

2024 Feb·06


The Life-Changing Power of Shutting Up

I found this great post by Nate Dickson while reading the great Issue 274 of the Dense Discovery newsletter.

The post reminded me that last year I’d read about and wanted to try an extended period of no complaining”. I’d even considered making it one of my monthly doing without” experiments. This paragraph is perfectly distilled:

So instead of expressing my anger, or bottling it up, I’m trying to let it evaporate. I imagine that anger is a substance, move it away from my heart, let it evaporate off my skin, sublimate away. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t have to be a part of me.

There was a great mind trick I’d read about where you place a bracelet on one wrist and anytime you catch yourself complaining, you move it to the other wrist. You move it back at the start of the next day. The goal is to get to 21 days of not moving it over. This is from the book and movement created by Will Bowen. His website is a little to aggressive sell” for my tastes, and while the purple no complaining” bracelets he’ll ship you are a statement, I just got a couple of plain white silicone wristbands from Amazon that play to my minimalist design tendencies. While I’ve set out to have year long without” themes in 2024, I think I’ll dig out the white bands and give it a go one month.

2024 Feb·05


Digital Relationships

This post is my entry for February’s IndieWeb Carnival being hosted by Manu.

I’m part of a unique generation exposed to the early days of the web communities, but well after what I would consider my formative years as a child. I was in my mid-teens when I became exposed to the Internet”. I grew up making things with my hands, playing outside and battling my brother for endless hours on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I had a penpal who lived in a far away place. We only had relationships and digital was mostly an adjective used for displays that were no longer only analog.

The first bits of my online existence began with Yahoo! chatrooms and online forums. I’ve been a geek my whole life, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that evolved to IRC channels, ICQ and AIM chats, Myspace and so on. Zoom to now and various aspects of relationships are being overrun or overruled by digital tools and platforms. I’m still a geek, but one with a much firmer grasp on the mechanics of what healthy digital reltionships mean for me and my relationship with digital platforms that support them.

All that serving as background, in the rawest sense, if the digital term is merely framing for how you initiate and sustain relationships with other humans, it could be explained simply as evolution of medium. We no longer write the majority of our communication on paper to send by mail the same as previous generations ceased stretching animal skins or looking for a flat slab of stone to draft a message. Evolving to email felt novel in the same way that typewriters felt novel to those writing everything by hand. I think in that regard, digital communication medium relationships have much the same pitfalls that other more analog mediums had. My penpal could have included a picture of someone else and said that it was them, though I don’t think it happened as often as deception or misrepresentation does in digital mediums.

This brings me to my current feeling on where things can evolve beyond the boundaries of ease or efficiency. Typing was faster than writing. Drafting an email is faster again. Having a generative AI platform write a letter feels like a fascade. Sending a message to someone that may actually be generative AI is the moment that the coyote looks back and sees the roadrunner standing on the edge of the cliff and it dawns on him that there’s nothing beneath his feet but air. If digital is merely medium and methods, but relationship is still the term that gets the emphasis in the phrase, it’s my opinion that time marches on and I’m the beneficiary of many relationships that spawned and are fostered by a digital component. I have several digital friendships that have never crossed the boundary of in-person interaction. I have some that have never even crossed the boundary of email, which is perfectly fine for me. None of these relationships are ones that I think define much for me beyond community, career and camaraderie. My relationship with my wife is one rooted in in-person conversations and moments of physical connectedness. The digital aspects of our communication are supplemental, which feels like good balance with the scale tipped in the direction that makes us happy.

Again, these are my opinions and like most things, they may not be sound for anyone other than me. How a family sits around a table in public all staring at their phones carrying on reltionships digitally with everyone other than those sitting in close physical proximity is a tip of the societal scale that disturbs me. How others begin, navigate and end romantic relationships exclusively with digital mechanics confuses me. The fact that our world seems to be trending toward more technology that replaces the relationship with more digital depresses me. Evolution is going to happen in spite of any attempts to thwart it, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t the opportunity more carfeully define the trajectory of that evolution.

More relationships with people, supported by healthy relationships with digital means is my own goal. What does that look like in practice? Meals with family where we look each other in the eyes and communicate verbally about our feelings. Physical interactions with other humans when the lives of said humans support it. Lots of emails. Lots of messages and group chats in Messages/Telegram. No social media” as it has been defined by platforms like Instagram, Facebook, etc. No AI pals. No chatbot chums. Just more people like yourself that read a post like this and decide you’d like another digital relationship in your life and click here.

2024 Feb·04


Migration Complete

Back in December, I started down the path of combining multiple blogs into one.

I thought it would take much longer, but with the combination of some python scripts to reformat other content management exports and a fair amount of copy/pasting and checking for broken links, internal references, etc. it is done.

The redirects have been set for Tech & Coffee and mnmlist·me to route visitors to Tangible Life. The posts from both of those have been migrated here and are all available in the archive section. I changed my mind about not moving my now page and my newsletter here. Honestly, Blot is really nice to use, so pulling those in was worth the extra time. It meant I got to redesign the ▲ of the Mind header/logo. The old one was awesome, but it didn’t fit this site’s theme, so I fired up Figma and created a v2 that I think feels perfect. This renewed attention on the newsletter even motivated me to finish the back issues for the archive. Those had been locked away in an old Revue export and I’d struggled to finish the effort. The first new issue will go out next week and I’m pretty excited about getting back to it.

Nav links at the top of the site route to the site archive/index (which includes tags/search), an about page, ▲ of the Mind and an RSS link. I may bring a photo gallery in the future. I may offer a dark/light theme toggle (conflicted about if this is really worth the effort with decent auto-darkmode extensions these days).

Now that the under-the-hood work is done, all that’s left is to write. So, write I will.

2024 Feb·01


Year of Living Without 2024

As mentioned in an earlier post, I wanted to take time in January to give thought to what I would do without in 2024. I thought that another round of monthly themes would come out of it; however, I’m taking a more basic approach for 2024. Rather than doing without something for a month to train my mind or body to lean into discomfort, I’m going to cut out 3 things for the entirety of the year. Those 3 things are:

  1. No soda.
  2. No phone usage in bed.
  3. No device usage in the bathroom.

I don’t drink soda often as it is; however, I’m going to go without it completely for the remainder of 2024.

I slowed my fiction reading toward the end of last year, and the phone slipped its way back into my end-of-night routine. I’m cutting the phone out of my wind-down routine to resume fiction reading during that time. Starting tonight, the phone will go on the MagSafe charger that’s mounted on the back of the headboard. If there’s a legitimate need to grab the phone to do something (like check the outdoor cameras, etc.), it’s there. It will still serve as my alarm clock (should I sleep through my vibrating alarm on the Apple Watch). I’ll continue wearing my Apple Watch for the silent alarm that allows me to wake up without disturbing my wife. The watch will also allow me to listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks with an AirPod as I fall asleep. There are a few shows that I’m excited to watch soon, so just before sleep is the only time I have; I’ll use the iPad from the bed or the couch in our bedroom vs. making an exception for the phone. Almost any exception to use the phone from bed leads to using it for anything and everything, so I’m avoiding that risk.

After doing without devices in the bathroom last year for a month, it was a habit that stuck with me for most of the months after that. Sometime during the last two months of the year, I got less aggressive about maintaining it. For the rest of the year, I’m back to no phone, watch, or any other device usage in the bathroom.

There are lots of themes and new habits I want to build during 2024 that have to do with doing MORE of something vs. doing without something, so I think by simplifying the Year Without criteria to 3 year-long eliminations, it will make it easier to also focus on doing more of some things. I’ll write more about that soon.

2024 Jan·31