March 7, 2021

Written by

Chris Gonzales


Jordan Pulmano

Welcome to this week’s edition of our 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.

* * *

👀: Craig Mod wrote a crazy-good piece on how the pandemic taught him to look more closely at the world, with several links to other fantastic things throughout:

This act of “really looking” is deceptive. It requires an almost “unlooking” to see closely, a kind of defocusing. Because: We tend to see in groups, not details. We scan an image or scene for the gist, but miss a richness of particulars. I suspect this has only gotten worse in recent years as our Daily Processed Information density has increased, causing us to engage less rigorously — we listen to podcasts on 2x speed or watch YouTube videos with a finger on the arrow-keys to fast-foward through any moment of lesser tension. Which means we need all the help we can get to prod ourselves to look more closely, and a good description can help do just that.


This seems to say to me: Only untrained minds are boring. Or: Nothing in the world is bereft of delight. Looking closely helps unlock this delight, this wonder, this doofy curiosity.

Take your time to sit with this one and really absorb it. There is a richness to the lesson that rewards slowing down and pondering.

🫂: Ethical Design Guide is an online directory and monthly newsletter launched by Norwegian developer and designer Sarah L. Fossheim, dedicated to unearthing and collecting “tools, articles, books, podcasts, and other learning resources to guide us in creating more ethical and more inclusive products.”

Tech isn’t neutral. It’s made by people and consumed by people. People write algorithms, collect training data, design websites, write code and prioritize features.

Countless of books, articles and even documentaries have been made about the issue, and there are plenty of resources out there that can educate us on the issues the tech industry is facing and can guide us to do better.

If you know of something that would be a good fit for the site, you can try submitting it here.

🎨: I certainly wouldn’t mind having a few of Patrick Akpojotor’s architecture-inspired cubist portraits in my home.

📖: Gareth Hinds is an author-illustrator who adapts classic stories into graphic novels, like The Iliad, The Odyssey, Beowulf, and more. Any of these would make a fantastic intro of the subject matter for older kids.

You can find his works on Amazon, where they generally run for $7–$9 a pop.

🟥🟧🟨🟩🟦🟪: There’s no shortage of gradient generators on the internet, but this one by Erik Kennedy of Learn UI Design — which I last referenced back in August — goes into an explanation of what actually makes for buttery smooth gradients and why they can be tricky to pull off:

Blame it on RGB, the default color system that computers use. In the middle of the “cube” formed by the RGB lies a line of gray, stretching from the white corner to the black corner. All the rich, saturated color is in the corners (6 of ‘em, anyhow).


To get a gradient that avoids the gray dead zone [in a circular representation of RGB], you don’t draw a straight line from A to B, you draw a biiiig curve.

This could be a very handy tool for designers and such. It gives you the CSS code of any gradient you make so you can use it elsewhere, or you can export as SVG for use in apps like Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD.

⚛️: Back in October, the editors of Quanta Magazine published a new way to visualize/map the Standard Model of particle physics, the “framework that encapsulates our best understanding of nature’s fundamental order”:

Chris Quigg, a particle physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, has been thinking about how to visualize the Standard Model for decades, hoping that a more powerful visual representation would help familiarize people with the known particles of nature and prompt them to think about how these particles might fit into a larger, more complete theoretical framework. Quigg’s visual representation shows more of the Standard Model’s underlying order and structure. He calls his scheme the “double simplex” representation, because the left-handed and right-handed particles of nature each form a simplex — a generalization of a triangle. We have adopted Quigg’s scheme and made further modifications.

🎮🎧🎸🎻🥁: Even now, in the year 2021, fourteen years after the fact, I still get the Mii Channel song stuck in my head from time to time. And you know what? I still don’t hate it somehow.

Anyway, music producer and composer Alex Moukala — who, as a side note, is even more obsessed with Final Fantasy than I am — recently asked other musicians from around the world to jam over his funky bass rendition.

Here’s the resulting mix:

This is bringing back so many memories, and is a wonderful listen besides. Everyone in it is crazy talented!

(You can also view the video on Youtube.)

🛳: A couple weeks ago, Jason Kottke linked a lovely ten-minute 4k timelapse video of a boat navigating old Dutch waterways between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, which actually took place in 2013 but went unpublished until September 2020:

At first you might think this is one of those calm viewing experiences — and it definitely is a treat for the eyes — but for me, there were so many nailbiting moments like, “Are they going to make that turn?”, “They’re going to hit that bridge, aren’t they?”, “What is WITH this oncoming traffic, are they NUTS?”, and “Oh no, what happened to our tugboat buddy, did they abandon us forever? :(”

What I found most fascinating of all were the sheer number of drawbridge styles involved. The ones that lift straight up like an elevator are totally new to me 🤯

🎒📺: I’d be remiss if I didn’t link Peak Design’s takedown of Amazon’s shameless ripoff of one of their top products:

Amazon is one of Peak Design’s biggest partners. We’ve been selling Peak Design products on Amazon for years, and we work closely with Amazon to remove counterfeit and copycat products from their marketplace. Hence, we were astonished when we found out Amazon had copied one of our bestselling bags. They call it the “Everyday Sling,” which, funny enough, is exactly what we call our product.

Amazon is a revolutionary service that we use and benefit from heavily. Also, Peak Design is not the first brand to see their products copied by an Amazon in-house brand. If we were really serious people, we might get on our soapbox and pontificate about the pitfalls of capitalism. But we’re not really serious people. So we got some googley-eye glasses (thanks Amazon Prime!) and made this video instead.

We’ve long been fans of Peak Design’s stuff so we were almost as surprised as they were to discover Amazon’s copycat bag. Using the same name and everything? Wow.

* * *

Neat Stuff We’ve Published Recently

* * *

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.