Join the Dark Side: Bringing Dark Mode to the Main Website

It’s fitting that on release week for Star Wars: The Last Jedi I can bring the Dark Side to the main website. One of my favorite supporter perks in the forum has been Dark Mode — a dark slate colored theme — and I’m excited to be able to bring this color palette to the main website as well. I love our white, grey, and blue color scheme, but at night I almost always switch over to the dark theme while browsing the website on my phone. However, I’d often move over to the main site to read an article and the white contrast would be a rude awakening for my eyes. No more! Supporters can now activate Dark Mode on the main website via their supporter options page or in the forum preferences. If you’re not a supporter yet, join now to get Dark Mode.

I’ve included some screen shots below of what the website and forums look like in Dark Mode, for those curious. I think it maintains my main design goals: simple, clean, and focused on readability, while adding a new flavor to the overall feel of the website.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

I can’t believe it’s already December, but here we are. Like last year, I wanted to steal an idea I’ve seen on other websites and put together a few gift ideas that I think are worthy of your time. I have also updated my recommendations posts for movies, tv shows, books, software, podcasts, headphones, and miscellaneous stuff around the house, so the things on this list will be more focused on stuff not included in those posts and more geared toward things I’ve come across in the past year or so and think would make good gifts. As always, I only recommend things I’ve personally used and loved.

I used my Amazon affiliate link when the product showed up there, which gives our website a slight percentage back if you make a purchase, and therefore helps fund our continued existence. I hope you’ll find something cool, and feel free to drop your own recommendations in the comments.

If you’d like to get me a gift, becoming a supporting member or gifting another user a supporting membership for a year would mean the world to me.

Bridging the Forum and the Website’s Supporter Systems

Today I’m excited to announce I’ve completed the work on bridging our community and the main website’s supporter systems. Now, if you’re a supporting member of the forum community you can use your username and password to login on the content side of the website to view supporter only content (like my first impressions), manage your payment options, turn off advertisements site-wide, and soon gain access a special Dark Mode for the main website that matches perfectly with the Dark Mode of the forums.

And don’t forget: you don’t have to be a community member to be a supporter of the website! You can join right now for only $3 a month and help support this website and independent publishing. It’s because of readers like you that I can keep running this website. I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for your support over the past two years.

It’s funny how a project like this, which doesn’t end up having many outward facing changes, can be a massive undertaking behind the scenes. But now that it’s done, the foundation is better set for a bunch of cool things we can do in the future and the system is much more robust for handling payments and login credentials for our growing community.

If you are already a supporter, you don’t have to make any changes if you don’t want to, everything will just keep working as it has been. If you’d like to move away from PayPal and to the new credit card based system, you can do that here. Again, it’s totally optional to make that change if you want.

If anyone has any questions at all, feel free to drop me an email or message me in the forums.

Thanksgiving Week Is the Event College Basketball Needs

Mark Titus, writing at The Ringer:

The most absurd week ever of regular-season college basketball came to a close Sunday night/early Monday morning when no. 4 Michigan State held no. 9 North Carolina to 45 points, no. 16 Texas A&M blew out no. 10 USC in Los Angeles, and no. 1 Duke erased a 17-point second-half deficit to beat no. 7 Florida. There’s no way of fact-checking whether this was actually the most absurd regular-season week in college basketball history, of course, but I don’t think we need to bother. Shoot, these past seven days have been so wild that the “regular season” qualifier might not even be necessary. Wichita State’s comeback to beat Cal in the first round of the Maui Invitational happened last Monday, yet I could easily be convinced that it took place a decade ago because of all that’s transpired since.

The Voices in Blue America’s Head

The New York Times:

“Pod Save America” scored its first million-listener episode within its first several weeks, and it now averages 1.5 million listeners per show — about as many people as Anderson Cooper draws on prime-time CNN. Their podcast has come to occupy a singular perch in blue America; where an NPR tote bag once signified a certain political persuasion and mind-set, in the age of Trump, it’s a “Friend of the Pod” T-shirt.

Those numbers are insane. That said, the podcast is one of the few things that I look forward to each week to help navigate this current hellscape. It’s great.

You Vandal – ‘I Just Want to Go Back to Hell’ (Album Premiere)

Today we’ve got the premiere of You Vandal’s new album, I Just Want to Go Back to Hell, for your listening pleasure. The album is due out tomorrow, November 17th, but you can stream it right now below. If you like what you hear, pick it up over at Jump Start Records.

The album gives me a nice little power-pop/punk throwback sound, not unlike early The Ataris or New Found Glory. Catchy and breezy.

The Fermi Paradox

Tim Urban, writing for Wait But Why:

Everyone feels something when they’re in a really good starry place on a really good starry night and they look up and see this:

Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old “existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour.” But everyone feels something.

Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something too—”Where is everybody?”

This is one of my favorite post on the internet, but I had never linked it here. Now I have. Highly recommended reading.

SuperDuper 3.0

SuperDuper 3.0 has been released:

With that last bit of explanation, I’m happy to say that we’ve reached the end of this particular voyage. SuperDuper! 3.0 (release 100!) is done, and you’ll find the download in the normal places, as well as in the built-in updater, for both Beta and Regular users.

SuperDuper! 3.0 has, literally, many hundreds of changes under the hood to support APFS, High Sierra and all version of macOS from 10.9 to the the present.

SuperDuper! 3.0 is the first bootable backup application to support snapshot copying on APFS, which provides an incredible extra level of safety, security and accuracy when backing up. It’s super cool, entirely supported (after all, it’s what Time Machine uses… and it was first overall), and totally transparent to the user.

Fantastic app that I highly recommend. I have a reoccurring task scheduled to make SuperDuper clones of my entire hard drive as part of my back-up strategy.

We’re Building a Dystopia Just to Make People Click on Ads

TED Talk:

We’re building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren’t even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us — and what we can do in response.

This is good.

How Do You Go to a Gym, Though?

Casey Johnston, writing for The Hair Pin:

Kelly—I’m so glad you asked this, because as the Deepak Chopras and Oprahs and etc of the world will tell you, visualization is the key, or at least a key, to success. It’s impossible to prepare for every scenario but you wouldn’t know it to see my exhaustively anxious thought process. I am someone who tends to freeze up, and cannot, as they say, roll with the punches, so having thought through the motions does certainly help me. And Kelly, it can help you too.

This was hilarious.

First Impression: Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights

Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights

This first impression was originally posted as a live blog for supporters in our forums on October 20th, 2017. First impressions are meant to be quick, fun, initial impressions on an album or release as I listen to it for the first time. It’s a running commentary written while listening to an album — not a review. More like a diary of thoughts. This post has been lightly edited for structure and flow.

It’s been too long since I’ve done one of these.

It’s been a while since there’s been a really hyped album coming out that felt right for something like this. But, this Julien Baker album seems just about perfect as we move into fall. Her last album, Sprained Ankle, is one of my favorite fall albums and it’s only a matter of time until this one cements itself in my cold weather rotation as well. In many ways it takes what the first album did and expands upon it in every way. It reminds me a little bit of how Manchester Orchestra took ILAVLAC and enhanced a variety of different aspects of that sound, and their songwriting, to take it up another level for METN. That’s the feeling I get from this album. It takes Julien’s songwriting to a new level, maintains the “it” factor that solidifies her as one of the most exciting and talented voices in music right now, and puts her in rarified air. It’s the kind of album I could see us talking about for years.

In a year that’s been filled with so many new albums, it’s hard to pick out the ones that I think will live a life longer than just this year. The ones that we will return to, talk about, and obsess over for years to come. What are the next classics? The next great albums? The ones all of us remember as the year it came out? I’ve heard a few this year that I think are in contention, albums that have knocked me on my ass, brought a huge smile to my face, and left me speechless … and then “Claws in Your Back” finished and I looked down at the hair standing straight up on my arm. Jesus. That’s new.

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Fall Albums: Part Deux (Encore Episode 155)

Encore 155

On this week’s episode of Encore I am joined by special guest Ryan Gardner to talk about one of my favorite times of year and the music that comes along with it. We talk about why we like fall music, what makes something, specifically, a “fall album,” and then we dive into some of our favorite albums and songs that we think fit into this category. I’ve also put a playlist together (Apple Music and Spotify) that includes some of our favorite fall songs from the albums we talk about in the episode.

I’d love to hear other albums people associate with this time of the year, so hit me up on Twitter or in the forum and let me know what kind of music you break out when the leaves begin to change.

How to Heal the Left-Liberal Divide

Pete Davis, writing at Current Affairs:

Roughly speaking, these two sides could be characterized as the “populist wing” and the “establishment wing” of the party, but even the divide’s terminology is a point of controversy between the feuding sides. The party’s left wing, for example, wants to call the conflict the “left-liberal divide.” Loyalist Democrats want to play down the divide, calling for unity on the grounds that Democrats are either (if they are younger, millennial types) all members of the Left, or (if they are older, Clinton-era types) all “liberals.” The Right, meanwhile, does not understand the divide, continuing to believe in a monolithic “radical left” filled with “radical liberals.” This leads to the funny situation, as one commentator noticed, where members of both the Left and the Right reach for the same “I made it through college without becoming a liberal” t-shirt.

This is a good piece.

Accidental Music Podcast (Encore Episode 154)

On this week’s episode of Encore I am joined by special guest Deanna Chapman. Deanna returns to the show to discuss music and technology. We talk about Brand New’s High & Low set (which Deanna saw in person), new albums from Mutemath, Foo Fighters, The National, PVRIS, and more, and then go deep on the latest Apple event. We talk about the new products, Apple Music, iOS 11, and what we think we want to upgrade and not upgrade.

Add Favicons to Tabs in Safari

Favicongrapher:

Faviconographer asks Safari.app for a list of all visible tabs (and their positions) in the current window, and for the URLs of those tabs.

It then uses that information to fetch the corresponding icons from Safari’s Favicon cache (WebpageIcons.db), and draws them above the Safari window.

It’s a “hack” — the cleanest solution would be Apple implementing Favicons in Safari — but it works surprisingly well.

Note: Faviconographer does not “hack” your system. It does not inject code into other apps or manipulate system files. In fact, it doesn’t even require Administrator access!

I’ve gotten used to not having favicons in tabs, but I know a lot of people live by them.

Science Fiction – Part Two (Encore Episode 153)

Encore 153

On this week’s episode of Encore I am once again joined by special guest Thomas Nassiff. Thomas returns to the show to discuss the album we spent most of our time recording this show waiting on … Brand New’s Science Fiction. This episode of the show differs from the previous episode in that we we spend most of the time talking about the album roll-out and the industry ramifications of this new album. We talk about the band going #1 on the charts, how this specific roll-out was the only way they could live up to expectations, and the chance of there ever being a band like this again.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself that this actually happened.

This Is for Boston

Isaiah Thomas, writing at The Players’ Tribune:

But that’s what I think my trade can show people. I want them to see how my getting traded — just like that, without any warning — by the franchise that I scratched and clawed for, and bled for, and put my everything on the line for? That’s why people need to fix their perspective. It’s like, man — with a few exceptions, unless we’re free agents, 99 times out of 100, it’s the owners with the power. So when players are getting moved left and right, and having their lives changed without any say-so, and it’s no big deal … but then the handful of times it flips, and the player has control … then it’s some scandal? Just being honest, but — to me, that says a lot about where we are as a league, and even as a society. And it says a lot about how far we still have to go.

This whole thing is fantastic and worth reading.

Pixelmator Pro Coming This Fall

Pixelmator, my image editor of choice, has announced their new “Pro” app coming later this year:

Pixelmator Pro is an image editor packed full of innovations. From a reimagined editing workflow and simplified editing tools to machine learning powering all-new, intelligent image editing features. So the tools at your fingertips are smarter and more powerful, yet more intuitive and easier to use than ever before.

It looks good.

Scenes From a Debacle in Phoenix

Dave Eggers, writing on Medium:

In downtown Phoenix, in the space of a few blocks, there were 15,000 Trump supporters and 10,000 anti-Trump protesters. There were Bikers for Trump and a platoon from the John Brown Gun Club, an anti-fascist group carrying loaded handguns and semiautomatic weapons. There were roving packs of weightlifters wearing pro-Trump attire. There were men in sleeveless Confederate flag jackets, and there was a giant inflated chicken made to look like Donald Trump. There was a man with a megaphone who asserted throughout the afternoon that homosexuals were going to hell, drunk drivers should die, and women who wore skirts deserved to be raped. There were anarchists, antifa, and hundreds of heavily armed police officers. This was a week after Charlottesville, the country grieving and boiling in the madness of its most irrational era, and in Arizona, it was more than 105 degrees and felt far hotter.
That no one died that day in Phoenix is miraculous.