Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand.

– Archibald Putt


Artwork by Cathal Duane

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 33!

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The other day I was talking to a friend about how the news and social media manage to keep us distracted. I don’t spend much time on YouTube or Facebook or Reddit or Hacker News during the day. My own distractions are harder to pinpoint and impossible to blacklist: an email here, a bit of research there. Thoughts, ideas, worries. The result is the same though: much of my work these days feels shallow – picking low-hanging fruit, avoiding the deep work.

When I think back just a few years, I think of myself as a much more focused individual that was better at carving out time to zoom in on one task without disruptive thoughts. Over these past years, working online has reshaped the circuitry of my brain. My head slowly adapted to internet thinking. I perfected the art of skimming, scanning, and skipping. To paraphrase the author Nicholas Carr: instead of scuba diving, my mind is now riding a jet-ski.

I don’t think there is a golden bullet that could ‘fix’ my mind. As long as I work online, I’ll have to deal with the demons of distraction. But as the discussion around the negative impacts of internet thinking picks up pace, I hope we can create a new awareness of what the internet does to us what we as designers, developers, and entrepreneurs do to each other. – Kai

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Apps & Sites

Jumbo →

Privacy assistant

Jumbo is an app for managing your social media privacy settings centrally in one place. Remove old tweets, change your Facebook privacy settings and delete old content (soon), reset your Google and Alexa search history and more.

Spirit →

Easy web animations

Spirit reminds me a bit of the good old Flash days: a sophisticated timeline editor that allows you to create animations for web pages.

Nebo →

Smart note-taking app

Nebo is a cross-platform mobile app for drawing and writing. It magically converts handwritten notes, diagrams, math calculations and more into digital content that you can organise and export.

Recruit →

Track your job applications

There are many apps for employers to track job applicants and the interview process, but this is the first app I’ve heard of that helps applicants track their own progress across different applications.


The Internet is Beautiful


Weird and wonderful discoveries down the information superhighway

Passport Index →

Browse the world’s passports and compare how much access each gives to other countries.

Based on a True True Story? →

A scene-by-scene breakdown of Hollywood films that claim to be based on a true story.

Global Volcanism Map →

A time-lapse animation of global volcanic eruptions and earthquakes since 1960.


Goods & Accessories


Minaal Rolltop →

Compact rolltop backpack

I’m really enjoying the simple look of this new rolltop version of Minaal’s backpack range. Generous front and top access, laptop storage, great materials, and lots of hidden little compartments.


Turing Tumble →

Marble-powered algorithms

Here’s a ‘learn-how-to-program’ toy that I’d love to get my hands on: “Turing Tumble is a revolutionary new game where players (ages 8 to adult) build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles.”


Overheard on Twitter

Me: It’s not that I mind freelancing, I love it. It’s just that the social interaction is pretty minimal and extremely uneven day-to-day and sometimes I wonder how that will affect me long term, you know?
Barista: Ok are you going to order?



Food For Thought

The Trouble with Facebook →


I’m not much of a podcast listener but this interview with one of Mark Zuckerberg’s earliest advisors and investors and now biggest critics, Roger McNamee, paints the most complete, insightful and considerate picture of the issues of Facebook and Google yet.

The Moral Peril of Meritocracy →


A great read about moral renewal and how adversity can help us overcome our egotism. “If the first mountain is about building up the ego and defining the self, the second is about shedding the ego and dissolving the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition, the second mountain is about contribution.”

Screening Surveillance →


These three short films speculate “surveillance futures and the effects of deeply embedded and connected surveillant systems on our everyday lives. (...) Intended as public education tools to spark discussion and extend understandings of surveillance, trust, and privacy in the digital age, each film focuses on a different aspect of big data surveillance and the tensions that manifest when the human is interpreted by the machine.” More of this please!


Aesthetically Pleasing

❏ ❏

Photographer Markel Redondo presents an eerie photo series of abandoned Spanish housing development projects built in a dizzying rush to make the most of cheap loans and favourable government regulation before the financial crisis.

❏ ❏

Designer Paul Conley created Badd Mono and Badd Times, two experimental display typefaces – free to download!


Ace&Tate‘s A-Z Guide to Optimism is a beautifully illustrated collection of innovative, positive ideas for a better future.

❏ ❏ ❏

Whether you support his policies or not, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is making a bold entry with this design system.



The Sentiers newsletter. Thoughtful, inquisitive, and slightly off the beaten path. Tech, society, hybrids, cities, systems, the environment, history, sci-fi, design, and more.

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Enter to win a year of monthly mentoring sessions + a $1000 cash prize by answering the question: “How would $1000 change your freelance business?” Entries close on 4/30/19.

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