Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.

– @debihope


Artwork by Rocketpanda

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 22!

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The essay The Ethics of Web Performance by Tim Kadlec, which I shared in the previous issue of DD, started a few conversations with readers about the energy consumption of our work on the web. Tim references a paper (PDF) which estimates that the internet uses around 5 kWh to support 1 GB of data transfer. That’s a pretty staggering amount of energy given how quickly we chew through a gig of data these days.

Tim’s article made me wonder how committed my service providers are to powering their servers (and offices) with renewable energy sources. So I sent off an email to my broadband provider, web host, and domain hosts to find out. Most of them got back to me within 24 hours but their answer was vague at best. None of them could say with confidence that they are using any renewable energy sources or point me to a website of their (or their data centres’) energy provider. There was also no reference to any kind of company policy that would indicate that they at least cared about the issue.

I think for an industry that often portrays itself as the world’s knight in shining armour that’s pretty sad. If you’d like to remind them to start walking the walk, feel free to use this simple template to reach out to your providers and let them know you care. – Kai

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Meet the New Management


Jamf Now →

The cloud-based Apple device manager

With Jamf Now, you can check your digital inventory, distribute Wi-Fi and email settings, deploy apps, protect company data, and even lock or wipe a device as needed from anywhere. No IT experience needed!


Apps & Sites

Draft →

A writer’s toolbox

There is certainly no lack of writing apps out there. While the actual writing UI is minimal, Draft offers a whole range of unique features: powerful version control, tools for easy transcriptions, commenting-out of text, and much more.

Roadmap →

Project planning

Roadmap is a project management and task prioritisation app that helps teams deliver on time. It was the playful yet clean design (rather unusual for productivity apps) that caught my attention.

Switching.Social →

Ethical, privacy-conscious alternatives

‘ is a grassroots website that is trying to let people know about more ethical alternatives to websites and apps that are threatening people’s privacy.’

Rotato →

Animated 3D app mockups

For those in the app-making business, Rotato lets you compile beautiful, animated 3D videos of your app in use. No more static screenshots in your presentations.


Idle Knowledge


Icon by icon 54

The Legend of the QWERTY Keyboard

A popular theory of why we use the QWERTY keyboard layout is that it was designed to slow down typists in order to avoid typewriter jams. However, more recent research has shown that telegraph operators preferred the QWERTY layout because it sped up the transcription of Morse code messages. Looks like we’re stuck with QWERTY now, although there are some interesting alternatives emerging, such as the KALQ layout, that are optimised for thumb-typing on touch screens.


Goods & Accessories



Minimal, adhesive laptop stand

Tired of carrying around a separate piece of gear as your laptop stand? MOFT is a light-weight, adhesive stand that hides below your device ready to be unfolded in seconds. Weird name, great idea.


Paperlike →

A more tactile touchscreen

How unfun is drawing on a glass surface? PaperLike is a matt, slightly textured iPad screen protector that makes writing, sketching, and annotating on the iPad with the Apple Pencil feel like you’re doing it on paper.


Overheard on Twitter

Was talking with a massage therapist who worked with several Bay Area sports teams about just how much effort pro athletes put into recovery. Been thinking about what recovery looks like for people whose work involves giving their minds, rather than their bodies, a beating.



Food For Thought

Your digital identity has three layers, and you can only protect one of them →


More and more decisions in our life are influenced or driven by algorithms which feed off information we don’t intentionally share. This is a great read that explains the different layers of data we generate: ‘The most valuable data about us is inferred beyond our control and without our consent. It’s these deeper layers we can’t control that really make the decisions, not us.’

How to Survive the Next Era of Tech (Slow Down and Be Mindful) →


Some great pieces of advice in this column by Farhad Manjoo from late last year: ‘The lesson of the last decade is that our private tech choices can alter economies and societies. They matter. And they matter most in the mindless rush, when everyone seems to be jumping on board the latest new thing, because it’s in these heady moments that we lose sight of the precise risks of turning ourselves over to tech.’ (Possible paywall)

Climate Strange →


‘The eco-obsessed often get labeled as weirdos – even by their peers. Weird, however, is looking better and better.’ A lot of the behaviour by environmentalists is seen as threatening, judging, and morally superior (think of vegans, for instance) because it challenges long-established norms.


Aesthetically Pleasing

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A gorgeous identity for RWA (the Royal West of England Academy) by Studio Spy.

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Mateusz Urbanowicz paints Tokyo’s streets at night using watercolours.

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Fatype is an independent type foundry with some uniquely beautiful and playful typefaces.

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Omar Aqil creates rendered 3D interpretations of Picasso paintings.



SmashingConf has broadened the horizons of what a web design conference is. Instead of showing slides, presenters show how they design and debug – live. Check the speakers →

Need experienced copywriters, journalists, editors or other creatives? Rachel’s List has thousands of approved freelancers across media and digital. Post a job or short gig now!

The Green Conspiracy Garden Planner is what happens when two graphic designers take up gardening to get away from their computer screens. Check out our Kickstarter launching today!

Get hot new trailers of the upcoming movies → Save the movies you want to see → Get notified when your movie is about to hit the cinemas. Join SCREENMARKS free →

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The Week in a GIF


Email us the URL to your favourite GIF and we might feature it here in a future issue.

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