shallow focus photography of just say no carved on tree trunk
Photo by Andy T on Unsplash

iA Writer has no focus, or vision, for what they want to be. There’s a little bit of the hyper popular wiki-style linked notes apps (Craft, Notion, Mem, Obsidian, and all those who came before). There’s a little bit of the historical writing interface that iA Writer made obscenely popular. And then there’s this sense of Text/Code Editor they have baked in. And there’s file management.

iA Writer, when it came out, was extraordinary. I loved it. But the current iA Writer feels like an app being product managed by someone who feels as though they need to morph the app into whatever the latest bit of feedback they got in their emails — without a sense of being willing to say ‘no’. It’s not a good app anymore.

Brooks Review

So many apps and services suffer from feature creep and this desire to be everything to everyone. I wish more people paid attention to the fact that it often leads to cognitive overload and poor experience. And beyond apps and services, in today’s world where FOMO is a global affliction, just saying “no” is the ultimate feature.

February 14, 2023. San Francisco

Why Pen + Paper are good for you

Even though I love technology and incessantly download productivity apps, I still am a paper-and-pen guy. I love the feel of fine artisanal Japanese paper notebooks and extra-fine nibs of my Sailor fountain pen. I draft my weekly newsletter in the note book. I use it to make my to-do lists, and I write all sorts of random things I learn during the day. Of course, I make notes of my meetings in my notebook — which sits with one or more fountain pens, along with my glasses and a Kindle, in my Dsptch Musette.

My paper and pen obsession has many upsides, as a recent article in Fast Company outlines: Continue reading “Why Pen + Paper are good for you”

Wanna Nuzzel?

Surveys say that people download apps on their phones, try them out and very rarely go back to them and move on to the next shiny thing. This paradox of plenty has come to the app-economy and is basically making second chances virtually impossible. And that’s why when some app manages to breakthrough and become part of your daily habits, you can feel why it is different.

About two months ago, I downloaded an app that has become part of my daily life and in fact has earned a place on the first screen of my iPhone. It is not the prettiest app. It doesn’t have the sexiest swipes. Its colors are monastery chic. Instead, it is simply useful. It is called Nuzzel, a social reader that leaves out complexity and makes reading things people share on the social Internet easier and smarter.

It is one of the many new services that have popped up (or will come to fore) as we all struggle with “too much” content on social sharing platforms. Think of these as mods on top of existing social networks — they are needed to scratch every itch, though their commercial prospects remained to be ascertained. (Instagram lovers should check out Chicago-based developer Nicholas Eby’s Dscvry app for iOS, which doesn’t seem to have any reviews.) Smarter algorithms, better design or just plain simple uncomplicated human-powered social discovery — we need it all.  Continue reading “Wanna Nuzzel?”