Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.
I recently signed back up for Netflix after a year-and-a-half away. After realizing I had actually cancelled my account last year rather than somehow putting it on pause — therefore losing all my ratings and watch history — and then crying a little inside, I started adding cool-looking stuff to my now-empty queue.
Sigh. Anyway, one of the better shows I’ve watched so far is Chef’s Table, a six-part food documentary series that, in each episode, profiles one world-renowned chef. The series is directed by David Gelb, who also made Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
If you have even a passing interest in cooking, or you wonder what great chefs do in their lives outside the kitchen, you’ve gotta watch this show. Everything about it is good — the storytelling, the editing, the slow-mo shots of chefs in their element…gah, I could gush about it for hours.
Speaking of food, here’s J. Kenji López-Alt’s 2014 “perfect steam-boiled eggs” recipe on Serious Eats…
Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water. Place steamer insert inside, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add eggs to steamer basket, cover, and continue cooking 6 minutes for soft boiled or 12 minute for hard.
…courtesy of Jason Kottke:
Since that little bit of water boils much quicker than a full pot, you’re done much quicker. And peeling is easy too; I don’t even wait the 15 minutes or do it under running water, those shells come off super easy.
Home cooking and science: the perfect combo.
Michael Lopp, who writes Rands in Repose, is self-admittedly bad at finishing projects. Here, he offers advice on why it’s important to finish things, no matter how much it sucks:
If you’re shooting for good enough, not finishing is a great strategy. If you’re shooting for great, then you need to finish. You need to find an editor or a code reviewer who will take the time to rigorously critique your work. You need to listen carefully to that critique and not react with emotion, but understanding. It’s that understanding that will give you a better picture of your strengths and weaknesses so that next time around you’re aware of where you are likely to make mistakes or become lazy. Repeated useful critiques are how you become better at your craft.
Nicholas Bakalar, writing for The New York Times about a recent study linking life longevity (amongst other health benefits) with the habit of reading books often:
Compared with those who did not read books, those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all.
Will Hoekenga of Copy Chief examines why the marketing emails of the Cards Against Humanity company are so successful:
If you showed this email and offer to 100 people on the street, the vast majority would scoff. Which is why the email isn’t written for “the vast majority.” And which is why the promotion spread like wildfire among the game’s biggest fans.
Who are you writing your emails to? Why did they decide to buy something from you? What makes your best customers love your product? What feelings does it give them?
The answers to these questions will help you create emails they actually want to read, regardless of whether you could ever get away with being as shocking as Cards Against Humanity.
It’s not about shock—it’s about connection.
Carl “@guydeboredom” Steadman is writing again, and his comeback piece is a straight-up gut punch for those of us who are guilty of mindless tech consumerism:
The man who sees possibility in every problem pours himself a drink and thinks of the many and various things he’s owned, thinks about thinking about the absurdity of owning things when he has trouble owning his own feelings, but then thinks better of it.
Given the nature of what we do here at Tools & Toys, we try to always be mindful about everything he’s making fun of in this piece. Still hits close to home, though.
I can’t stop browsing photographer Xavi Bou’s beautiful Ornitographies project, which is a series of time-stitched photos of birds’ flight paths. From the project’s About page:
Xavi Bou focuses on birds, his great passion, in order to capture in a single time frame, the shapes they generate when flying, making visible the invisible.
Unlike other motion analysis which preceded it, Ornitographies moves away from the scientific approach of chronophotography used by photographers like Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey.
The approach used by Xavi Bou to portray the scene is not invasive; moreover, it rejects the distant study, resulting in organic form images that stimulate the imagination.
Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.