April 7, 2017

Written by

Chris Gonzales


Jonatan Pie

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.

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Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt, Serious Eats

Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt, Serious Eats

How to Make Japanese Katsu at Home »

Longtime Quality Linkage readers may remember when I linked Marc Matsumoto’s recipe for tonkatsu back in December 2015. Now you have yet another excuse to make this delicious dish, because J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats just published his own method for making it:

If you weren’t familiar with Japanese cuisine, you might not think there was anything particularly Japanese about katsu, a simple dish of breaded and fried cutlets. But if you’ve ever been in a Japanese shopping mall food court, you’ve seen that, just like pizza in the US, katsu has established itself so firmly in the food culture that it could be considered a national comfort-food staple. It’s an easy dish to love. Juicy chicken or pork cutlets in an incredibly crisp layer of golden-brown bread crumbs, with a sweet-and-savory sauce and a side of crisp shredded cabbage and steamed white rice, is a simple and delicious weeknight meal, whether you buy it at the food court or fry it in your own kitchen.

One thing that struck me was this photo showing the difference it makes when you properly salt your meat, even if you’re going to be breading and frying it:

Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt, Serious Eats

Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt, Serious Eats

Once you’ve read about Kenji’s method, head straight to his recipe here.

🇯🇵 Time for a language lesson! 🇯🇵

The name tonkatsu is a portmanteau of two Japanese words: ton (豚), which means pig/pork, and katsu (カツ), which means “cutlet”. There are many ways to prepare and serve katsu, but tonkatsu is my favorite.

Concept sketches by Michael Bierut

Concept sketches by Michael Bierut

Designing Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Identity »

Over at Design Observer, Michael Bierut tells the story of how he and his team designed the deceptively simple H-plus-arrow “I’m With Her” logo for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign:

It wasn’t clever or artful. I didn’t care about that. I wanted something that you didn’t need a software tutorial to create, something as simple as a peace sign or a smiley face. I wanted a logo that a five-year-old could make with construction paper and kindergarten scissors.

Regardless of your politics, this is a piece worth reading. It’s not just about the logo’s design philosophy, but also the unexpected ways design can be perceived by the public and how a well-thought-out campaign identity might be less important than you’d think.

The Birth of a Dugout Canoe »

If you enjoy watching a master craftsman take some raw material (in this case, a giant log) and slowly but surely turn it into something awesome, you’ll dig this lovely short film. I discovered it via Jason Kottke, who adds:

The video is long (18 min) and you’ll be tempted to skip ahead, but watching it is almost meditative and there are little woodworking tricks throughout that are really clever (like using wooden pegs for depth-finding while hollowing the canoe out). The film also provides ample evidence of the old adage “measure ten times, cut once” (or something like that).

Much like the tap-tap-tap noises that happen during the making of a marble sculpture, I’ll be hearing the chopping, tapping, and scraping noises from this woodworking video in my head for a while.

Shipping Things »

In the new Shipping Things video series, Lumi founder Jesse Genet has been offering some handy tips on packaging, selling, and shipping products online. If you can stand that they’re sorta advertising Lumi itself, these are useful videos to watch if you’ve been thinking of starting an ecommerce business for physical goods.

Fix the Internet by Writing Good Stuff and Being Nice to People »

Vicki Boykis wants the internet to stop being a giant billboard full of hate and clickbait so it can go back to being a public forum where indie blogs and intelligent writers can once again thrive (both financially and creatively):

This brings up an important question that we didn’t really stop to think about when building the web as it is today: who pays for high quality information?

And my answer is that it has to be us.

We have created the internet as it is today, and we have the power to change it back into something that is filled with good things to read and consume. If we want good, distributed content, we have to support things that move in that direction.

Today, I think the key is to start small. Everyone can fight against bad content.

Hear, hear.

Why Airport Runways Should Actually be Circular »

Katharine Schwab of Fast Co. Design, writing about a research project called The Endless Runway:

[The project] proposes a circular design that would enable planes to take off in the direction most advantageous for them. Namely, the direction without any crosswinds.


With a diameter of about 2.2 miles and circumference of about 6.2 miles, [the circular runway] can accommodate two planes landing simultaneously even when there are bad crosswinds. That’s because there are always two areas on the ring where the crosswinds will be aligned with the direction of takeoff. In good conditions, three planes can land and take off simultaneously.

Interesting concept. I wonder if it will… *puts sunglasses on*… take off.


The 2016 Panic Report »

App development studio Panic is celebrating its 20th (!) anniversary this year. In typical fashion, Cabel Sasser has compiled an annual report on what the company got up to in 2016:

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Some of you may not know that we founded our company in 1997, but it’s true. We’re older than Facebook, older than Twitter, older than Google, and somehow still kickin’.

Every year is a little different, and last year was for sure — a little bit quieter on the software front (at least publicly), and a whole lot louder on the launch-of-a-major-multi-platform-video-game front.

Mostly good stuff in this report, but even an awesome company like Panic has its struggles:

iOS continues to haunt us. If you remember, 2016 was the year we killed Status Board, our very nice data visualization app. Now, a lot of it was our fault. But it was another blow to our heavy investment in pro-level iOS apps a couple years ago, a decision we’re still feeling the ramifications of today as we revert back to a deep focus on macOS. Trying to do macOS quality work on iOS cost us a lot of time for sadly not much payoff. We love iOS, we love our iPhones, and we love our iPads. But we remain convinced that it’s not — yet? — possible to make a living selling pro software on those platforms. Which is a real bummer!

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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.