TextBundle—a new sandboxed Markdown spec »

From TextBundle, the brainchild of Brett Terpstra and The Soulmen:

The TextBundle file format aims to provide a more seamless user expericence when exchanging Markdown files between sandboxed applications.

Sandboxing is required for all apps available on the Mac and iOS app store, in order to grant users a high level of data security. Sandboxed apps are only permitted access to files explicitly provided by the user - for example Markdown text files. When working with different Markdown applications, sandboxing can cause inconveniences for the user.

An example: Markdown files may contain references to external images. When sending such a file from a Markdown editor to a previewer, users will have to explicitly permit access to every single image file.

This is where TextBundle comes in. TextBundle brings convenience back - by bundling the Markdown text and all referenced images into a single file. Supporting applications can just exchange TextBundles without asking for additional permissions. Beyond being a simple container, TextBundle includes a standard to transfer additional information - to open up new possibilites for future integration.

These guys are doing God’s work. You can read more about the spec here. This is exciting.

36 years in this skin »

Hacker wizard, Brett Terpstra:

I started drinking and smoking in Middle School. I wasn’t a popular kid, but I didn’t fit in with the burnouts, either. I was just a nerd with a proclivity for addiction and a need to snuff out my feelings. It was later determined that I was Bi-polar and ADD, among other things. I saw a shrink for depression and suicidal thoughts, but nothing came of it as far as treatment. Self-medication became a way of life. By High School I was always “on” something. By college I was a full-fledged addict.

This is an incredible, moving, introspective piece from Brett. Happy birthday, man. We’re all glad you made it.

Happy Birthday, Pinboard »

Maciej Ceglowski:

I see my role much like a small-town praire banker in the 1880’s. My job is to project an aura of calm, solvency, and permanence in an industry where none of those adjectives applies. People are justifiably risk-averse when it comes to their bookmarks, and they are looking for stability. This means several things at once:

On the most basic level, the site just has to work.

On the design level, it means not futzing with stuff unnecessarily, except for bug fixes and basic improvements. Luckily there is so much work to do on Pinboard that I am immune to the temptations of a redesign. If there is a feature (or bug) you love in 2014, chances are excellent it will still be there, like a cherished friend, years from now when your trembling and aged hands go to make that final click.

Finally, there is stability on the business level. This means persuading people (including myself) that I am going to stick around, and then actually earning enough money to do that.

The money part turns out to be easy. People will pay for a decent service. As long as you stay small and don’t forget to have revenue, you too can build a bookmarking website. There is plenty of room to specialize!

My strategy of pre-emptively antagonizing anyone who might possibly have an interest in acquiring or funding the site has worked wonderfully. In five years, I haven’t received a single email from an investor or potential acquirer. The closest I came was a few months ago, when the new Delicious owners reached out to me about providing “vision”, but I think they were just unfamiliar with my oeuvre. They learned quickly.

Beautiful Pixels 5 »

Preshit Deorukhkar:

Over the last several months, we’ve been slowly working on redesigning the look and feel of Beautiful Pixels. Ever since our launch back in 2009, Beautiful Pixels has had a dark theme. Over the years, there have been new designs, layouts and additional features added to the site in order to improve the experience for our readers. Today, it’s time for a change.

Looking lovely. I’m a long-time fan of BP.

FeedPress moving to a paid-only model »

My buddy Alex Knight, the CMO at FeedPress:

Operational costs such as infrastructure, employees, and resources that go towards providing great customer support, don’t come cheap. Maxime and I are confident that we have a great product, and many of you have shared some great feedback that have helped remind us that we really stand out in the crowd. Switching over to a paid only service is going to help us continue to grow and provide even better features and support.

Nice touch for those that have an existing free acount:

If you already have a free account with one or more feeds, everything will continue to work as is. If you decide to add any additional new feeds in the future, we’ll ask you to upgrade to a quarterly (3 months), semester (6 months), or yearly plan.

FeedPress is great, no question. I think it’s smart to try to develop a sustainable model, but I have to say, this is a bold move. I hope it works out.

Network, Schmetwork »

Sid O’Neill at Crate of Penguins commenting on Marco Arment’s piece on podcast networks.:

Obviously ATP’s success is — in part — due to the loyal following that both John and Marco had accumulated over years of putting out fantastic podcasts. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that ATP itself is crap, and people only listen because they like John and Marco. People like John and Marco because they make great podcasts.

In this case it obviously made sense for them to own the show from the beginning. They don’t need the practical benefits of a network because they have the time and resources to do the same thing. They didn’t need the “discovery” aspect because they were already discovered.

Sid makes some good points. It’s not a zero-sum game.

The Time of Our Lives »

Oren Miller:

4 years ago, in the summer of 2010, we were at Bethany Beach, and everyone was having a great time. Our family and some friends were building sand castles, going in and out of the water, and just relaxing in general—everyone except anxious old me. I had hundreds of unread emails and dozens of ideas for blog posts I didn’t have time to write, and I was surrounded by too much sand and not enough coffee. I tried to pretend I was having a good time, but people could see I was out of my comfort zone, and worse, that I didn’t want to be there.

It was only on the drive back home that I had the epiphany. It was only on the drive back that I realized what I had been missing out on. It was only on the drive back that I realized I had been experiencing the biggest tragedy of human existence: I was having the time of my life, and I didn’t even know it.

After a year of health struggles, last week I got an official diagnosis of Neurosarcoidosis and pulmonary sarcoidosis, and started treatment (high doses of Prednisone) yesterday. I won’t go into the details, you can read about them if you want, but I will say that it’s been the hardest year of my life.

I’m incredibly thankful for those close to me, online and off. But specifically, my beloved Jenna.

My lovely, lovely wife has continually supported me through this in ways I can’t verbally express, in part by sending me posts like this. Reading stories like Oren’s have helped me keep my situation in clear perspective. Things can always be worse, and when they’re worse, you can still have the time of your life.

Segregation Now »

From Nikole Hannah-Jones’s phenomenally written and devastatingly sad Segregation Now: Investigating America’s Racial Divide:

In recent years, a new term, apartheid schools — meaning schools whose white population is 1 percent or less, schools like Central—has entered the scholarly lexicon. While most of these schools are in the Northeast and Midwest, some 12 percent of black students in the South and nearly a quarter in Alabama now attend such schools—a figure likely to rise as court oversight continues to wane. In 1972, due to strong federal enforcement, only about 25 percent of black students in the South attended schools in which at least nine out of 10 students were racial minorities. In districts released from desegregation orders between 1990 and 2011, 53 percent of black students now attend such schools, according to an analysis by ProPublica.

Unread 1.2 »

Jared Sinclair:

The newest version of Unread is a big one. It adds support for Fever and NewsBlur. It has tons of new features, including a bad-ass image viewer and two unlocked (previously hidden) themes. I squashed a bunch of bugs, too. Now is the best time yet to try Unread.

The update is brilliant. If you haven’t tried Unread yet, you should.

Markdown Tables Generator »

This is definitely the most useful thing I’ve found in a long time. I’ve been looking for a CSV to Markdown tool for a long while. This site handles it brilliantly. Wish there was a way to donate to its creator.