May 23 • 14M

The Dann Chronicles: May 🌸

An exhibition of organization, a new knotty puzzle, the robot you don't want, an icon gone, and a terrible web experience.

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An awesome audio companion to the monthly Dann Chronicles email newsletter. It's more than just the stories, it's WHY the stories, too.
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May 2022

Hey all,

I've always loved movies. It really started when I was in high school, and I discovered a small five-screen theater near-ish my house. Unlike the closer and more mainstream movie theater, this smaller space curated both blockbusters as well as smaller, more independent selections. As soon as I was old enough to drive, I was there all the time.

Then I sort of drifted away from movies for a bit. Through college, as well as most of my 20s, I just didn't follow new releases that closely. It was a mixture of lack of time, money, and interest that just didn't pull me to the movie theater like I had in the past.

But within the past year or so, I've rediscovered the fact that I do really like movies. And that it's important to spend time on things you enjoy. This has lead to a higher intake of movies. But not just watching movies, but mindfully recognizing that I enjoy films, and making conscious time to partake in that activity.

I've been dutifully logging all my movie consumption in Letterboxd, in case you're curious. But really, I'm logging for my own benefit. It's a joy to lean into the things you enjoy.


🔄 Input/Output

I consume a lot of content. Movies, television shows, video games, books, news, articles, blogs, podcasts — you name it. Some people might look at their level of consumption and set goals for cutting back. Not me. I enjoy consuming content, and am totally fine with the quantity I consume.

Part of that general sense of acceptance about the amount of content I consume has to do with a deal I made with myself: consume as much content as you want, but don't just be a consumer. Balance it out with a bit of content output as well.

This newsletter you're reading is part of that balance. So, too, is the new supplementary audio portion of the newsletter I just launched. The two full-length plays I wrote are also a significant portion of my output.

I also like to publish content on my blog, although the frequency of output there varies widely. Usually, it's a desert. But sometimes when it rains, it pours.

This month, it poured, and I wanted to link to some of those articles in case you missed them.

I've mentioned Obsidian in my newsletter before — it's the note-taking app that's basically become my second brain. This month on my blog, I gave a closer peek into two parts of my Obsidian process: how I use Daily Notes and how I process books to help me remember what I've read. Both have gotten way more attention than I was expecting.

Who knows when I'll publish again? Hopefully not too long.

🪢 Scrabble’d Eggs

Zach Gage has officially become one of the best game designers of our generation. He's the mind behind such hits as Really Bad Chess, Good Sudoku, Ridiculous Fishing, and a ton more.

Somehow, he keeps discovering new games that feel so obvious it's hard to believe they've never existed before. His most recent game Knotwords is yet another instant classic. I'm not usually a word-puzzle guy, but Knotwords scratches an itch I didn't know I had.

As for Gage, he, too, seems pleased:

This is the kind of game I’ve been trying to make my whole career — I’m amazed Jack and I discovered this design.

Traditional crosswords are really, at their core, just trivia. Knotwords is a much more dynamic game, challenging users with fundamental properties of spelling.

Also, it handles in-app purchases the right way. The game it totally free for unrestricted gameplay, forever, but fans of the game have the option to pay a one-time fee to unlock extra bonus content such as additional puzzles, daily puzzles, themes, statistics, and more.

I really dig it, if you couldn't tell. You might, too.

🤖 Sit. Stay. Behave.

Have you heard of Amazon's new personal home robot, Astro? If not, I totally forgive you. It's not like it's even available to the general public. Plus, everything Amazon touches has vaguely dystopian vibes, so it can be a bummer to follow along closely.

But as for Astro, the personal robot looks like a mix between a Roomba and one of those Japanese robotic pet dogs, but without any legs. A tablet screen with eyes makes up its face, changing its expression to match certain tasks, or entering full-tablet mode to display information or video.

If you're skeptical, you're not alone. This will be another Amazon product I skip. However, that's not to say I wasn't totally amused by Joanna Stern's Wall Street Journal review of Astro. I've long been a fan of Stern's content, and this video is one of my favorites. She's fantastic at tech reviews that satisfy both the tech nerds as well as your everyday average tech-using human.

Her segment on Astro's Hangout feature had me laughing out loud.

🎧 So long and thanks for all the Bono

After 20 years, Apple is finally retiring the iPod. It's been a wild ride.

I remember the early days, lusting after one of those first iPods and settling for an Archos Jukebox that never worked quite right (my Sony Vaio MC-P10 Music Clip got way more pocket time, and fit two whole albums if you were willing to sacrifice audio quality).

In honor of the eventful and influential life of this iconic product, Cult of Mac has updated and re-posted their illustrated history of the iPod, originally created to celebrate the 10-year anniversary.

I remember each of the product milestones happening, but had never reviewed them all in one place. It makes for a lovely nostalgia trip.

🚫 bAdBlock Plus

Is the Internet broken? I guess that depends on your definition of "broken." The user experience is definitely garbage, and I can't imagine those dysfunctions illustrated better than in How I Experience the Web Today.

End note

If you've enjoyed this, I'd love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

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, Dann