When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart.

– William Gibson


Featured artist: Sergiy Maidukov

Dense Discovery
Dense Discovery

Welcome to Issue 81!

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Covid-19 is not just in the news. It is the news. It’s also every conversation and interaction we have with other human beings that don’t live with us.

Amidst that sense of ‘nothing else matters’, it feels silly to send you a newsletter about apps, pens, and fonts. I mean, who cares about that stuff right now?! I should be concerned about The Curve!

As I’m writing this, my neighbour across the road is washing his car. Unimportant? Yes. Helpful? You bet! Focusing on ‘trivial’ things we’re familiar with helps us cope by restoring a sense of normality.

And it’s not just good for ourselves, but for others too. It never felt so comforting watching someone clean their car. On my screen, the world ends any minute. But from my balcony, life goes on, one sponge wipe at a time.

So let’s think and read and write and talk about trivial stuff, too. Trivial is OK. Trivial is life. – Kai

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A newsletter about manufacturing, and other stuff

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Apps & Sites

Yac →

Voice messaging for remote teams

Yac is a bit like those short messages you can record in iMessage or Instagram, but for your desktop: “Yac is personal, asynchronous communication built for remote teams.” It also comes with a range of collaborative features, such as short, annotated screencasts.

Hopin →

Live online events platform

Hopin is Zoom for event organisers. It adds a range of useful tools to the typical live cast apps. For example, you can allow event attendees to meet each other in a side chat, create multiple, simultaneous event sessions, and more.

Code Time →

Metrics and time-tracking for developers

“Code Time is an open source plugin for automatic programming metrics and time-tracking, right in your editor.” Once activated, you get stats like: how many lines you added per day, how much time you spent in your editor, total keystrokes, and more.

Series →

Beautiful photo layouts

With this iOS app you can assemble your photos in unique ways and create a carousel that splits photos over multiples frames, optimised for Instagram.


Indie Mag of the Week



BESIDE brings together philosophers, artists, entrepreneurs, farmers, scientists, and adventurers around one compelling question at the crossroads of nature and culture.

– Latest Issue: 7
– Frequency: 2 issues/year
– Formats: print
– Origin: Canada

Every week, we’re giving away five copies to randomly selected DD readers. Keep an eye on your inbox to find out if you’re among them!




The Age of Surveillance Capitalism →

Controlling our behaviour for profit

The term ‘surveillance capitalism’ pops up in more and more interviews in Offscreen. This is the book and author that popularised the term and brought the underlying issues into the spotlight: “The stakes could not be higher: a global architecture of behaviour modification threatens human nature in the twenty-first century just as industrial capitalism disfigured the natural world in the twentieth.”


Wingback Pen →

Machined ballpoint pen

Another great-looking ‘buy-once’ pen, manufactured in the UK from aerospace-grade brass. “A satisfying single-handed twist locks the nib mechanism in place. Every pen can be personalised with a laser engraved inscription of up to 50 characters along the length of the barrel.”


Overheard on Twitter

You never need to apologize if your child or pet jump into the video conference. We’re all human beings, just trying to hold it all together during extraordinary times. I LIKE seeing your life. If we’re going to do business together bring your whole self.



Food For Thought

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief →


This has been quite useful in dealing with all the feels: “It’s a good time to stock up on compassion. Everyone will have different levels of fear and grief and it manifests in different ways. A coworker got very snippy with me the other day and I thought, That’s not like this person; that’s how they’re dealing with this. I’m seeing their fear and anxiety.

Society Centered Design →


I really like the sound of this new design approach that puts the collective first. If not now, when? “All around us we see signs that patriarchal capitalism and exploitative business models place profit over privacy, and efficiency over agency. They pit individuals against the collective. At their core, they are hierarchical and exclusionary.”

Silicon Valley, It’s Your Chance to Turn the Tide on Covid-19 →


Big Tech could do more and more aggressively to help fight Covid-19. Some suggestions by Tristan Harris. “It’s time for technology companies to demonstrate how much good they can do when they act like public utilities operating for the greater common good, rather than optimizing for extraction and profit. These steps would mark a transformational moment, shifting the old arrangement of large technology platforms toward a ‘duty of care’ that prioritizes the public interest.”


Aesthetically Pleasing

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Video conferencing service Whereby (which I highly recommend over Zoom) has a pretty bold and unique brand identity that the website alone doesn’t do justice.

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More Instagram entertainment: Trees Eating Things shows ‘trees sucking on things from around the world’.

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Roman Klčo creates adorable 3D sceneries inspired by movies and pop culture.

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Grafier is a serif typeface that rethinks classic design in the digital era.



Sore eyes and headaches? Work more productively and comfortably when you use screens with LUMES stylish blue light blocking glasses. Use code DD20 for 20% off!

Informative, inspiring, entertaining. Engage your senses with The Slowdown newsletter, bringing you the best in art, culture, design, media, technology, and beyond.

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The Week in a GIF


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