DeRay Mckesson on tour

I caught DeRay Mckesson on his book tour as it passed through Portland tonight. He did about an hour on stage taking questions from host Lauretta Charlton before moving to another half hour of audience Q&A (on cards, no mics in the crowd, which was a welcome change).

DeRay was inspiring in all his answers as he urged us to join a movement, do the work instead of just giving lip service, and got an adoring crowd charged up for change. You can still check him out on tour for another couple weeks and I’d urge anyone that can see him to go check him out.

XOXO 2018, the land of contrasts



XOXO 2018 was really something. It had a different feel to it from earlier years of XOXO because it was so much bigger this year, in a big venue where everything fit under one roof. As always, it was an incredible way to recharge and be reminded that lots of other people like me toil away on web projects and sometimes show off the things they’ve created. In the end, it was an overwhelming and exhausting long weekend but I still came away quite inspired. What follows are a few notes I jotted down along the way:

  • I loved that 2,000 people got to attend XOXO this year, but it was so many people I didn’t get a chance to catch up with at least a dozen friends that I kept missing. I found out some friends were there only a few days after the event, while browsing instagram. I probably ran into 30-40 people I did want to see, so it was still a pretty great gathering.
  • I loved that there were multiple things to do and see at once, but I always felt like I was missing something. But then that’s better than only one thing going on at a time and finding out maybe you’re not interested in something.
  • The Art+Code and Comics nights on the smaller second stage were a fantastic addition but tough to get into and went up against other stuff I wanted to see as well. I missed most of the programming downstairs but wished I could see video of their talks (they weren’t recorded) later on.
  • I loved that everything was under one big roof (no more driving all over town), but it was in a weird stadium that didn’t feel very warm and friendly at first.
  • Some of the talks changed the way I think about certain aspects of my life forever.
  • It was fun to have everything at one place, but it was in an odd part of town and going off to eat or get a drink outside the venue was a long ass walk.
  • Having so many people around, I felt like I was saying hi to people for 30 seconds and running off to see more people immediately after, instead of spending time with people and having long conversations.
  • Every time there was a break, and I’d head out to the sea of picnic tables to see if I could catch up with friends, and it felt like I was a penguin in the March of the Penguins documentary, like there were 1 million penguins shoulder to shoulder out there and I was trying to find just the ones in the crowd I knew.
  • The festival exhausted and overwhelmed me after three days of 16hrs of entertainment, yet a couple weeks later I still feel energized by being around people that do cool shit on the internet.

Google Docs top tip

Screenshot 2018-09-17 13.51.40

I don’t think enough people writing in Google Docs know one killer way to use it is going full-screen while setting the view at 150% size to work in a distraction-free space.

I mention it to anyone who will listen, and the idea of changing the default 100% view is almost always a complete shock to others that never considered changing it before.

It’s honestly the only way I can focus on writing these days.

One year later: The LTE Apple Watch

The judgmental little shit

When the Series 3 Apple Watch came out last year, I decided to try out the new LTE option. I wasn’t sure how it’d change my use of the watch so I bought it to experiment. I bought the Nike+ running model, not because I use or like the Nike+ running app, but for two reasons: 1) it came with the new cool new velcro-like band (which is amazing and the perfect band for me) and 2) Nike watches come with a couple extra digital faces I really like using, especially for low light (subtle red outline in big type).

After a couple months of wearing it, I didn’t find myself using LTE a great deal and it never had a killer app or workflow for me. I used it to go on runs with airpods in my ears and no phone on me. From the start, streaming Apple Music was problematic and at certain parts of my 5k run loop, music would buffer or pause or cut out for a while. I don’t live in a major city, but there is plenty of LTE around and it always baffled me. After a couple runs, I downloaded several of my favorite albums to the watch instead. As far as I can tell, the apps I used never got to use the LTE connection. Strava still requires me to stand near my phone on home wifi to upload recent runs when I’m done.

I tried leaving my phone at home for bike rides or longer workouts, but my bike jerseys have pockets and I like to take photos, so I tended to bring my phone every time. About the longest time away from my phone was I’d occasionally run or ride to the gym for a 1hr workout, then head back, so maybe 90min tops with no phone.

LTE on my watch was mostly just a backup/emergency bit of insurance. On the rare times I was without my phone, maybe someday if something horrible happened, I might need to place a call or respond to a text, but I found in the 9 months or so I’ve been wearing it with LTE, I got a few texts while out on runs but nothing urgent ever happened, I never had to turn back to return home immediately, and I’ve never had to place a call using the device.

To test out a theory that maybe LTE wasn’t necessary in my life, I tried to cancel it from my Verizon plan. Of course, Verizon doesn’t let you cancel any services online that cost $10 or less per month, so I could only suspend service (but still get charged $10/mo).

In the last two months I’ve had LTE turned off, I haven’t really noticed. I’m planning to get a new larger-face Series 4 watch soon, but it definitely won’t be LTE.

Bottom line: while LTE was nice to have as emergency insurance-type functionality on the rare times I was away from my phone, I couldn’t justify the annoying $10 charge every month when it was never consistently useful or needed. I won’t be buying LTE watches in the future.