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Pixel Dust

A few folks pinged last week asking for my thoughts about what Google announced at their hardware eve
The Happy Hour
Pixel Dust
By M.G. Siegler • Issue #101 • View online
A few folks pinged last week asking for my thoughts about what Google announced at their hardware event. Not much to say right now, I honestly haven’t seen any of the new products yet, beyond the Home Mini for a split second. That device looks nice at a great price point. To the point where I’m not sure why someone would buy a regular Home (or a regular Echo versus the Echo Dot, for that matter). Because it has better speakers/range? Not sure that’s compelling enough for the extra cost…
Plus, if you really want better speakers and range, now you can get the Google Home Max. This product was one of the most interesting announcements to me. It’s obviously aimed at the still-unreleased Apple HomePod (and is it weird to anyone else that it feels like we were talking about that announcement months ago already – because we were). And yes, it sort of looks like the old iPod Hi-Fi. It’s a smart play to focus on music for these devices in the early days, but they’re also pretty expensive.
The new Pixelbook sounds compelling in the sense that 90+% of what I do on a computer, I do in a web browser. But I still think that in an ideal world, I’d prefer to use dedicated native apps on my iPad to do my computing… One of the more interesting arguments I’ve heard in favor of this new device is that so many kids are using Chromebooks in schools these days that this is the device they can “upgrade” to versus getting a Mac. If that’s the play, that seems pretty smart…
As for the new Pixel phones, they sound great on paper (though I definitely still prefer the look of the iPhones). I’ll probably snag a Pixel 2 XL to try out. Moving the Google Search bar to the bottom of the screen makes a lot of sense to me. But the thing I’m most interested in by far is Google Lens. I have a lot more to say on this. Hopefully later this week. 
On that note, the Google Pixel Buds don’t look that compelling to me at first glance versus the AirPods – I mean, they’re tethered. But then Google demos that crazy real time translation tech and my mind is blown. If this works as well as advertised, I may get these just to travel with. One of those holy-shit-it’s-the-future moments Google nails from time to time.

Won't Back Down
When Randy Lewis sat down with Tom Petty after his tour wrapped in LA, he didn’t know it would be the artist’s last interview ever. But in a way, it was a fitting one:
Petty always had a purpose, and a man like that, a man with a purpose, should have had more time — weeks, months, years— to practice what he called fishing and others call songwriting.
“It’s kind of a lonely work,” he said, “because you just have to keep your pole in the water. I always had a little routine of going into whatever room I was using at the time to write in, and just staying in there till I felt like I got a bite.
“I compare it to fishing: There’s either a fish in the boat or there’s not,” he said with a laugh. “Sometimes you come home and you didn’t catch anything and sometimes you caught a huge fish. But that was the work part of it to me. … I just remember being excited when I had a song done, and I knew I had a song in my pocket, I always felt really excited about it.”
Love that analogy. And I’ve actually been thinking about something similar recently in relation to writing (blog posts, not music). I’ve found over the years that if you simply sit and force yourself to think for long enough, you’ll usually come up with something compelling. The problem is: 
1) setting aside this time 
2) having the patience to wait
You know, like fishing… 🎣
Remains of the Day
With the news that Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for literature, Patrick Collison shared a Guardian article Ishiguro wrote in 2014, detailing how he wrote “The Remains of the Day” in four weeks. Yes, four weeks:
Until that point, since giving up the day job five years earlier, I’d managed reasonably well to maintain a steady rhythm of work and productivity. But my first flurry of public success following my second novel had brought with it many distractions. Potentially career-enhancing proposals, dinner and party invitations, alluring foreign trips and mountains of mail had all but put an end to my “proper” work. I’d written an opening chapter to a new novel the previous summer, but now, almost a year later, I was no further forward.
So Lorna and I came up with a plan. I would, for a four-week period, ruthlessly clear my diary and go on what we somewhat mysteriously called a “Crash”. During the Crash, I would do nothing but write from 9am to 10.30pm, Monday through Saturday. I’d get one hour off for lunch and two for dinner. I’d not see, let alone answer, any mail, and would not go near the phone. No one would come to the house. Lorna, despite her own busy schedule, would for this period do my share of the cooking and housework. In this way, so we hoped, I’d not only complete more work quantitively, but reach a mental state in which my fictional world was more real to me than the actual one.
Turns out, this is related to the Petty link above. The key is focus. So simple, yet so hard in our age of ever-growing distraction… Also, replace “mail” with “email” here… 📬
The entire home screen of the original iPhone (320x480 pixels) is about the size of 2 icons on the iPhone X home screen (1125x2436 pixels) per David Barnard on Twitter.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer (Official)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer (Official)
Yowza. A bit worried it gives away too much. But I have this weird obsession with Snoke, so, A+.
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M.G. Siegler

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