The Dann Chronicles: June ⛱

This newsletter is bustin' out all over (something something meadow and hill)

June 2021

Hey all,

After skipping April's newsletter because I didn't really have anything to say, I feel like this newsletter is busting at the seams. I'll keep my opening thoughts brief, and leave the bulk of the writing in each of the breakout sections.

I hope everyone is having a happy, healthy summer, and that you're socializing at the exact amount that's right for you. I’m loving that buzz of energy you can feel on the streets this year. What a wild freaking ride.


🛒 Email Ad-ventures

Amazon order confirmation emails used to contain a list of items that you ordered. That quietly changed a few years ago, and now order confirmations just say "thank you for shopping with us" with a link to view the details of your order on their website.

Do you know why?

Because you're most likely being spied on, through your email. Amazon knows that you're being spied on, and wants to hide all that valuable data about your purchase habits from view.

Whether or not you specifically believe you're being spied on depends on your level of paranoia. If you're using a free third-party email client, the chances are high, because spying on you is how they make their money. Google, on the other hand, explicitly claims to not read your emails. If you use vanilla Gmail, you can choose to believe that or not.

I decided to remove myself from the conversation entirely and switch from Gmail to ProtonMail, a secure email service based in Switzerland. It offers end-to-end encryption and a pleasantly modern interface.

I'm happy with it. Might be worth checking out if you're in the market for something similar.

👨‍👨‍👦‍👦 ATTN: JEFF

This portion of the newsletter is strictly only for those named Jeff. If your name is not Jeff, please skip ahead to the next section. Pretend this next paragraph is not there.

For Jeffs only: Hey, Jeff. So glad you could Jeff. I Jeff you this Jeff.

🎬 Cinetastic

If you've subscribed to my newsletter for a while, you now know I’ve been missing the movie theater experience during the pandemic. Flavacol popcorn somewhat scratched the itch, but really just made me miss the movies that much more.

We finally made it back to the theater, and boy did we pick a great movie to welcome us back. In The Heights feels like a breath of fresh air in the genre. It's not just a solid musical, but a solid movie.

When we look at old movie musicals from the 1950's, it's easy to forget that they were cutting-edge cinema at the time. Those old musicals pushed the entire art form of cinematography forward. Musicals released since then…not so much. But In The Heights brings back some of that genre-pushing grandeur.

If you've not seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out in a theater. The collective experience of watching that particular movie in a room full of people is a wonderful way to be welcomed back into the theater.

🕹 Joy of Handheld

After years of waiting, Panic's joyous little handheld game device, the Playdate, finally has a proper update and order date, and I'm beyond excited. If you don't want to watch the full 15-minute update, you can skip straight to the delightful ad at the end.

Panic, the company that created the Playdate, is such an interesting company. They started with creating high quality Mac apps (like Transmit, the "gold standard" of FTP software), but then expanded into game publishing, releasing games such as Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game.

The Playdate is their first foray into physical devices, and they've partnered with Stockholm-based creative collective Teenage Engineering(!), on the design. That’s where the crank came from.

I haven't felt this excited for a handheld game device since the late 90's, when I dragged my mom to Toys-R-Us after Toys-R-Us looking for a Tamagotchi.

👁 Most precious resource

Your phone is designed to consume as much of your time as possible. But it doesn't need to be that way.

Just as Apple pushed back against creepy ad tracking with iOS 14, it could just as easily implement a few changes that allow users to take back control of their attentions.

I really like this proposal for what that might look like. Particularly the "time well spent?" check-in. The rule-based App Conditions is also compelling, but would probably cause more issues than not as people set it once, forget about it, and wonder why their phone isn't working correctly.

End note

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I'll be sending out these emails once per month, and I'm happy you're along for the ride. I'm trying to make it one of the best things that arrives in your inbox each month, so thoughts and feedback are always appreciated. You can just reply to this email.

Also, if you find anything interesting, send it my way.

Thanks for reading. Until next time,