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The Voyeur’s Motel

Gay Talese, writing for The New Yorker, with the most bizarre piece I’ve read in weeks:

I know a married man and father of two who bought a twenty-one-room motel near Denver many years ago in order to become its resident voyeur. With the assistance of his wife, he cut rectangular holes measuring six by fourteen inches in the ceilings of more than a dozen rooms. Then he covered the openings with louvred aluminum screens that looked like ventilation grilles but were actually observation vents that allowed him, while he knelt in the attic, to see his guests in the rooms below. He watched them for decades, while keeping an exhaustive written record of what he saw and heard. Never once, during all those years, was he caught.

And the follow-up from Erik Wemple, at The Washington Post, that looks at the journalistic ethics of this:

Only in journalism would one seek to cultivate a three-decade-long relationship with a motel pervert. “The Voyeur’s Motel” reflects the anxiety of a writer doing just that. After his spying on the couple, for instance, Talese recalls saying to himself, “What was I doing up here, anyway? Had I become complicit in his strange and distasteful project?” Maybe: As Talese recounts in the story, he signed a confidentiality agreement with Foos upon his 1980 trip to the motel, before his trip to the peepholes. It was a “typed document stating that I would not identify him by name, or publicly associate his motel with whatever information he shared with me, until he had granted me a waiver,” writes Talese. “I signed the paper. I had already decided that I would not write about Gerald Foos under these restrictions. I had come to Denver merely to meet this man and to satisfy my curiosity about him.” And to watch some oral sex, too.

I am still skeeved out by this entire thing.

Helpful App: Chatology

Chatology is an app for OS X that allows you to search through your iMessage history. It’s one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you really need it.

If you use Messages, you probably know that searching messages to find important info from past chats can be frustrating. Perhaps you couldn’t find what you were looking for, or your Mac slowed down so much that you gave up.

Chatology helps you find exactly what you’re looking for without frustration.

It’s a Tesla

Ben Thompson, writing for Stratechery:

To that end, the significance of electric to Tesla that the radical rethinking of a car made possible by a new drivetrain gave Tesla the opportunity to make the best car: there was a clean slate. More than that, Tesla’s lack of car-making experience was actually an advantage: the company’s mission, internal incentives, and bottom line were all dependent on getting electric right.

Again the iPhone is a useful comparison: people contend that Microsoft lost mobile to Apple, but the reality is that smartphones required a radical rethinking of the general purpose computer: there was a clean slate. More than that, Microsoft was fundamentally handicapped by the fact Windows was so successful on PCs: the company could never align their mission, incentives, and bottom line like Apple could.

Helpful App: Thunderspace 5K

The last few weeks have been just a tad stressful. Needless to say my sleep schedule has taken a massive punch in the balls. Over the past few days I’ve been using this app, Thunderspace 5K, at night as almost a white noise machine. It’s been a revelation. It might be growing up in Oregon, and having spent many a night falling asleep to the sound of rain on the wood deck outside the window of my youth, but this app has replaced podcasts when I finally find my way to bed.

Top 50 Albums From Past 15 Years

On this week’s episode of Encore we looked at the top ten albums from the past fifteen years. The goal was to pick our favorite ten albums that came out between 2001 and 2015. This was way harder than I expected it to be and I ended up cutting out albums I love, being surprised at what albums I knew had to make the cut, and you can hear my entire (strange) thought process on the episode. If you hit read more you can read the last 50 that made the cut.

Cool App: Fluid Browser

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

One of the better features to emerge in iOS 9 is support for picture-in-picture mode on the iPad. But when you’re trying to surf the web while watching Netflix on your Mac, it’s not as easy to do – you often end up moving separate windows around on the screen, or switching back and forth between the playing video and other browser tabs.

A new floating browser app for Mac called Fluid solves this problem by offering a way to view your work alongside your media content from places like YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, Hulu and more.

As I’m writing this I have Plex running and playing The Social Network in the corner. Pretty great.

Cool App: Next (Expense Tracking)

Federico Viticci, reviewing Next for MacStories:

Next is on my Home screen on my iPhone and iPad. I use the app every day, and I log every expense (whether it’s cash or an expense from my bank account) as soon as I can. My perspective of my spending habits has considerably changed since I started using Next, and I’m making more informed decisions thanks to the overview that this app offers and its elegant design combined with astounding ease of use.

I’ve been using Mint for quite a while to get a good overview of my finances (#adulting), but recently I realized I had two main categories that I wanted to better break down for budgetary purposes: food and shopping. I wanted to have a weekly food budget, and a monthly shopping budget, and make sure I could keep track of just those two things with relative ease. Enter: Next.

I’ve been using this system for the last month and am really impressed by how much it does help me make purchasing decisions. Being able to quickly glance at my week of food spending keeps me from buying that extra 6-pack of beer after my weekly store run. I like the simplicity of this system because instead of having to remember a variety of categories within my budget, I can keep two numbers in my head: food per week, shopping per month.

While I still like (not love) Mint for being able to give me a bigger overview of everything in my financial world, Next is the first budget app I’ve actually felt some delight in using each day.

Plex on the Apple TV

The new Apple TV interface, married with our own design touches, gives you the slickest navigation and search experience yet, showcasing all of your media in an elegant and intuitively organized way. Now, finding what you want is easier and more simple than ever before. And with Apple TV’s new top shelf, you can see your featured Plex content right on your Apple TV home screen.

I had tried Plex about six or so years ago and it didn’t seem for me. I liked the basic idea but this was before the wave of little pucks attached to TVs really took off and it was cumbersome to get it to work right. Instead, for the past few years, I’ve been using the old Apple TV with Home Sharing through iTunes. I used iFlicks 2 for adding metadata to any extra media I had in my collection, and, all-in-all it worked pretty well. However, recently I felt like I was spending more time managing and organizing the files while troubleshooting weird network issues (like stuff not showing up if the computer had been asleep too long). So, after hearing basically everyone gush about Plex over the past few weeks, and reading the reviews about the new native app for the new Apple TV (which I really love), I decided it was worth giving it another look.

I’m really glad I did.