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When you start dragging a file in Finder or content from an application, Yoink fades a tiny window over the edge of your screen, giving you the ability to quickly drag that content into the app you're currently working with.

My thanks to Yoink for sponsoring Turtle Pie this week. Click the link in the title to get Yoink for Mac. This is a great addition to any Mac user's workflow.

Thoughts on Facebook's Recent Foray into Psychology

There was a lot of noise last month about a study that Facebook had performed in which it altered the News Feed of hundreds of thousands of its US users in an attempt to see the effect that certain content omissions may or may not have on a person's emotions.

I've seen a lot of people freaking out about this, rightfully so, but I needed some time to think about how I personally felt about it felt about it. The conclusion I came to is pretty simple: I don't think that Facebook is evil, but I do think that they sometimes don't take the implications of their actions into account.

What it all comes down to, really, is that Facebook did something kinda-sorta-fucked up, so Adam Kramer, Facebook's data scientist who was the co-author of the study, has of course published an explanation of the weirdness:

"The reason we did this research is because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product," says Kramer. "We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out. At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends' negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook."

Bullshit. Well—not bullshit meaning he's lying, but bullshit meaning that's a poor excuse to manipulate the emotions of your customers (are they customers if they don't pay for the service? I'm curious.)

The fact of the matter is, whenever you start experimenting with the emotions of any living being, you should really step back and wonder if it's really the right thing to do. It's probably not.

So no, I don't think that Facebook—or any of these ad/data-driven companies for that matter—are evil, per say, but I certainly do think that a lot of responsibility is in their hands, especially once they start messing around with the nature of what certain people can and can't see. And it's easy to look past that responsibility when you're concerned about your business. It definitely says something to me about the mindset of upper management over there.

Facebook holds a lot of power and a lot of responsibility, and with that power and responsibility needs to come a strong moral center, and I'm not sure if Facebook has ever had that strong moral center.

Whether they're allowed to do this or not, and they probably are (it's in their terms of service), the fact is that they probably shouldn't. And it doesn't make them evil, but it does make them shortsighted.

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You can make a floating shot more or less transparent by scrolling down or up in it, which can give you the ability to compare two versions of your work on top of one another.

ScreenFloat also provides a Shots Browser that lets you organize and categorize all of your shots, as well as name and tag them. You can organize your shots in collections, and even Smart Collections, so that shots with tags or titles you specify are automatically collected.

Click the link in the title to get ScreenFloat for Mac. This is a unique and useful tool that is definitely worth a try. My thanks to ScreenFloat for sponsoring Turtle Pie this week!

Lovably Grey (And How it Came to Be)

I don't usually like to ramble on about my personal projects on this site, and I wasn't even planning on posting this here, but it turned out to be something I thought might fit in well on Turtle Pie. So here goes.

When I finished Readers & Reporters, I said that I wanted to take time to expand on ideas that I was having for some 'non-musical' projects. These projects were in the extremely early stages at the time, but after dealing with the fatigue of making an album, I was fairly certain that I would want a break from that world.

I was an idiot, of course, and in February 2012—the month after R&R came out—I started work on an album called Carbon Claye (now CLAYE), and I've been working on it everyday since then.

(I should mention: CLAYE is coming, I promise. Mixing for the album wraps up next week.)

While my main focus for the past two years has been finishing CLAYE, I've continued to develop those 'non-musical' projects that I mentioned. The first was an idea for a design blog called Airplane Mode, which eventually evolved into what is now Turtle Pie. Since its launch in April 2013, I've written over 40 essays for Turtle Pie, and I certainly won't be stopping there. In fact, I don't see an end in sight.

I want to make it clear that when things seem slow in between posts on Turtle Pie, it means that I'm either deeply focused on another project, or that I don't have anything particularly well-developed to write about at the time, and I'd rather have a month of silence than publish a lousy post. Honestly, I've done that before, and I don't want to let it happen ever again. There's no excuse for garbage.

So with CLAYE production wrapping up in the coming months, and Turtle Pie becoming a more stable part of my work, I decided that it was time to act on one of my other 'non-musical' ideas.

It's a new company, it's all about design, and I'm calling it Lovably Grey.

lovably-grey-logo.jpg

Lovably Grey is a design studio focused on brand development. Our mission is to create beautiful designs that are always honest and true to the culture of companies we work with. We're offering two services to kick things off: logo design and website design.

My initial work for Lovably Grey began in November 2012, when I started mocking up an idea for a small design studio that I was calling Pedalboard. I worked on that project for about a week, but I ended up deciding that if I was going to start a company, especially for something as important to me as design, I'd want to put more thought into it. I didn't want to make something that was going to go away after a year or two of being uninteresting. So I put the project on the shelf, and I resumed full-time work on CLAYE recording, as I developed Turtle Pie on the side.

A part of me knew that this project wouldn't be on the shelf for long, because I love design. In fact, design is arguably my favourite thing in the world. When I'm frustrated with music, I turn to design. When I'm frustrated with writing, I turn to design. And that's not to say that design can't be frustrating at times, but it's endlessly intriguing to me, and I never get tired of it.

In late December 2013, I came up with the name 'Lovably Grey', and it excited me. It seemed different from the other names I'd thought of, like it was more friendly or something. Maybe that sounds stupid? Either way, I bought the domain, as any geek with an idea does, and I've spent the last six months, in tandem with a very strict CLAYE recording schedule (60-70 hours a week), developing and building on my ideas for this company.

Now I'm finally able to come out and show it.

So that's Lovably Grey, and how it came to be. You can check out our website, lovablygrey.com, for more information about the company and the work we do.

I hope you like it!

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What is the Pomodoro Technique? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple. For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically. You work for 25 minutes, then take a break for five minutes. Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name came to be. After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Focus lets you enter and manage your tasks, work with customizable session lengths, and review your completed tasks. It helps you to focus on your tasks and stay productive all the time.

Click the link in the title to get Focus. Focus is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with iOS 7 and also for OS X Mavericks. My thanks to Focus for sponsoring Turtle Pie this week!

Lifestyle vs. Utility

The Internet is the best. And trust me when I say that any argument I try to make against the Internet isn't actually against it, but instead against the ways that we use it.

I've been thinking a lot about how the Internet fits into my life, or more importantly how it should fit into my life. Most of these thoughts stem from stuff I've been reading about all of the net neutrality arguments that have been going on in the US lately. I've heard a lot of writers argue that the Internet should be treated as a utility, something akin to plumbing and electricity, and I think that's a generally healthy way to look at it.

The Internet has become less of a strict utility, and much more of an overall lifestyle.

Net neutrality aside, those arguments have gotten me thinking a lot about the word utility, and if I can really consider the Internet to be a utility in my own life. I mean, in concept the Internet certainly is a utility, an amazing one at that, but I'd be lying if I said that I always use it as one.

The Internet for me has really become less of a strict utility, and much more of an overall lifestyle. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is pick up my phone to check a million different things around the web. I've been trying not to do this lately, and maybe I'd have more success if my alarm clock were an actual alarm clock, and not my iPhone.

Once I'm ready to make breakfast, I turn on a podcast, and then I sit down and eat in front of my computer to recheck the same things that I checked on my phone less than an hour earlier.

Gosh, seeing this in writing makes it sound obsessive at best and downright depressing at worst, but I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this is how at least half of my readers start their days, too. No offense.

The idea of using the Internet as more of a utility than a constant lifestyle choice is really interesting to me, and in concept it seems like it could be as easy as checking Twitter fewer times during the day. But it's surprisingly difficult once you've grown accustomed to being online for as much of the day as I usually am.

The thing that makes it so difficult is that the Internet is such a huge part of our lives now, and it's taken over so many different activities that used to be separate, unique ways to spend your time. Listening to music, reading the news, writing, and looking at photos are just several examples of things that used to happen away from a screen, but now it feels almost old-fashioned not to do it on one. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and maybe the Internet is actually a utility in these situations, because its purpose is to make doing this stuff faster and easier than doing it in the more traditional ways.

The biggest reason why I'm looking to diversify what I do away from the Internet is that I'm concerned that I might not be using it in a way that is best for me, and that my (over)use of it could be affecting the in-person relationships that I have. Another reason why I'm thinking a lot about this is that, to put it simply, I'm bored with it.

I'm tired of spending too much of my time on Twitter, or reading random articles that I don't really care about, or looking at product photography for way too long. It's not that anything that I'm doing online is actually bad for me, and it's not even affecting my work or how productive I am, it's just that I'm probably using it more than I should be, and now I'm bored with it.

I've found that it takes a pretty conscious effort to change these habits. It takes some self-awareness to wake up differently, deal with boredom differently, and maybe even talk with people a little more when the easier thing to do would be to open up my laptop and look busy.

I don't think of myself as an incredibly social person, especially in person, but some of the most enjoyable conversations that I've had in the past three years have happened on the Internet. There are even a few people that I'd consider friends that I never would have known existed if it weren't for Twitter.

But there are obviously people in my physical life outside of the Internet that I care about, and I've probably spent a great deal of my time with them more disconnected than I should have. And it's not like never using the Internet would make my life with them better, but the balance I have right now isn't right.

People have a glorious lack of self-control, and it's sad that as soon as we're given something amazing, we abuse it, and that's nobody's fault but our own.

Oh, and speaking of being disconnected from the people around you, every time I go anywhere I see literally two-thirds of the people around me with their heads down looking at their massive phones. The funny thing is that I never really noticed this before, because I was one of them. I noticed how weird and rude it is once I began to make a conscious effort to keep my own phone away while I'm out. It's honestly so weird, and it's almost as if people have their hands glued to these 5-inch slabs of glass. Things will be really weird if Google Glass or something like it ever takes off.

The problem with all of this really isn't the technology, it's how we use the technology. I think that people—in general—have a glorious lack of self-control, and it's sad that as soon as we're given something amazing, we abuse it, and that's nobody's fault but our own. There is no person or thing that we have to blame for that.

It turns out that most of the stuff that's bad for us really isn't, it's just that we don't know how to use it in a way that's best for us. And over the next ten years, as more and more of the world goes online, the Internet is going to become a lifestyle for a whole lot of people. But remember that the way you use it is always going to be up to you.

(Ironically, this essay was written with the sole purpose of being read by people on the Internet.)