The 2019 holidays are coming to an end and we’re all still coming down off the high of exchanging fantastic gifts with our loved ones. Let’s take a breather from all the consumerism for a moment and unwind with some top-shelf links from around the web, shall we?
If you’re able, help yourself to a tasty snack or freshly poured beverage before we get started.
About a week and a half ago, Mr. Viticci of MacStories unveiled MusicBot, a bananas-crazy workflow powered by Apple’s Shortcuts app and designed to be the ultimate all-in-one assistant for enhancing your Apple Music listening experience.
It’s like a whole app within Shortcuts just for interacting with Apple Music, and I’m still blown away every time I use it. This is one of very few shortcuts I’ve found worthy enough of saving to my home screen for easy access.
From the shortcut’s description:
MusicBot speeds up access to your favorite music and comes with dozens of features to help you play albums, browse songs, check out new releases, and even listen to Beats 1 radio or ambient sounds by Apple Music. Additionally, MusicBot lets you create your own collection of favorite albums and new music releases, comes with AirPlay 2 support, and provides you with Smart Mixes — intelligent playlists to discover songs you love from your Music library.
…and in Federico’s own words:
I’ve spent the past several months working on MusicBot and trying to make it as comprehensive as possible for all music fans. While MusicBot is a complex shortcut based on hundreds of actions, you don’t have to be a Shortcuts expert to use it: in fact, I created MusicBot to require as little Shortcuts knowledge as possible, and I tried my best to design its actions, messages, and notifications so they could be understood by all kinds of iPhone and iPad users. At the same time, because it’s a shortcut, MusicBot can be customized to fit your needs and preferences — the decision is entirely up to you.
I hope you’ll enjoy MusicBot and that it’ll help you rediscover, manage, and simplify access to the music you love.
You can get the shortcut right here. It does take a few steps of configuration to get going, but it shouldn’t take you more than a couple minutes. For best results, check out the article’s section on setting up MusicBot’s custom home screen icon.
I found this video of Austin-based luthier/repairman Mark Erlewine repairing Willie Nelson’s iconic Trigger guitar oddly relaxing. It’s remarkable that the guitar still works at all, much less play as beautifully as it does. Then again, Erlewine’s been Trigger’s “doctor” for over 40 years now, so he surely knows what he’s doing.
Strap in for a long read folks, because Craig Mod wrote quite an essay on “the resilience of books in the face of apps, attention monsters, and an ad-driven online economy.” I’ve put some choice excerpts down below.
A printed book is an object over which no third party has agency once in your possession. […] The immutability of printed books is their superpower.
Superficially these images look similar: folks committed to a horizontal surface held in front of their faces. But the contract of these two objects [a newspaper and a smartphone] couldn’t be more different.
The printed newspaper of 1919 had edges, ended. There were ads but they were passive, not active members of the reading experience. They were not reading you. You paid. You got some paper. The paper did not continue forever.
III: (with edits made by me)
James Clear makes the argument that identity change happens as a cascade of incremental 1% changes in positive or negative directions. Opportunities for this percent change present themselves dozens of times a day. The best way to guarantee success is by preemptively engineering systems to reduce friction for positive habits, and increase friction for negative ones.
I suspect most folks reading this would not want to self-identify as an Instagram hope-to-be-influencer or Twitter combatant or Netflix binger. But most wouldn’t shy from self-identifying as, say, a reader.
Sitting outside all of this digital contractual complexity is the simple, boring, blissfully inert physical book. Given its plainness, it may be the most magical of all our contemporary technologies. It exists simply to be still, cannot be optimized, will never know us, and though a body is still while reading, the mind is active, telepathy is happening, and a sense of self-betterment and hope pervades as we turn the final page.
I won’t say that Epicurious’ viral “4 Levels” series is necessarily on par with all the Bon Appétit stuff I’ve posted about around here, but they’re entertaining enough in a fluffy sort of way. This video is interesting because it shows what it’d be like for a home cook to work with professional-level ingredients, and vice versa:
Expert chef Frank Proto and home cook [and actor] Lorenzo Beronilla are swapping their recipes and ingredients, just for your viewing pleasure. We gave Lorenzo $500 worth of ingredients and Frank’s notebook to make the best steak dinner he could (with a quick assist from food scientist Rose!) On the other side, Frank received $16 worth of goods and tried to improvise his way up to gourmet. Who achieved the most impressive results under these mixed up circumstances?
- 🎧 I often find myself thinking about Anthony Bourdain and wish he were still here to share the foods and cultures of the world through his uniquely wry lens. However, we can all at least enjoy some of his favorite songs and, perhaps, find some small connection to who we was.
🎬 The “Mr. Puppet” animation system might just revolutionize the animation industry, particularly for budding artists who might enjoy skipping many of the hurdles between their imagination and making a show happen.
📀 Kim Hill’s retrospective as a previous member of the Black Eyed Peas (she quit just before they took the world by storm) is a fascinating dip into hip-hop history, with a dash of “finding happiness beyond worldwide success” by the end.
Neat Stuff We’ve Published Recently
- Head into the New Year with a Plan of Action: The 2020 Focus Course “Plan Your Year” Workbook and Digital Planner
- The Primitive Technology guy from YouTube wrote a book showing you how to build huts and tools using only natural materials in the wild.
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a surprisingly high quality co-op deck-building game set in the Wizarding World.
- Speaking of cooperative board games, Forbidden Sky continues the story of Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert, taking you to new, electrifying heights.
- With the AeroGarden “Bounty Basic” indoor gardening system, you can grow up to 9 of your favorite herbs, veggies, or flowers indoors, all year long.
- AeroPress fans, meet your new travel buddy: the AeroPress Go travel coffee maker.
- Keep your hands nice and toasty even in sub-freezing temps with Savior’s rechargeable heated gloves.
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.