Notes

Clubhouse

Yes, I know. Many people are already speaking badly about Clubhouse, but first: I am curious. Then, I also like to try things out myself before I judge.

So I signed up and use @marcthiele to be found there.

I have listened to quite a good amount of good ”rooms” aka conversations already, but also a lot of boring and poorly hosted chats, which really feel like some people criticised: me listening to a group call of someone.

But again: I give it some time and see, if I like it or not. I also know it is nothing completely new as there are a lot of podcasts who record live with audience. Just putting in an app and trying to grow a community around it is new – at least to me. My first thought have been it might be nice to combine something like this with live recording a podcast or discussions afterwards etc etc. But yes, it is sad, that they start “app-first”, iPhone only and invite only – and not build a nice open community.

Massively Disappointed by Kickstarter

In April 2020 a project was launched on Kickstarter to back a Super Fast SSD Drive. Back then the price was tempting as I needed a new one and it was quite a bit cheaper than what you usually pay. I backed the project with $349 and was waiting for updates. They updated us with messages about copyright issues first etc. and sent the last update in September, after taking our money and asking for shipping details.

Long story short: no updates or notifications since September then. They just sent enough updates to keep the backers feeling safe until most credit card institutes won’t be able (concerning their terms) to claim back the money easily.

Well … all this is one thing and there are arseholes like these who rip off people. Turned out, they did the same on Indigogo.

I now have a lawyer involved, trying to help me. But what disappointed me most is how lame Kickstarter reacted and how less they do to help people with this and after all, that there are no options available to protect their customers – this is what their users are, isn’t it? – when things like this happen. Especially as I heard their are many projects like this.

Last notice I got from Kickstarter was this:


Hi Marc,

Kickstarter takes the privacy of our users very seriously, so we don't provide a creator's information directly to backers.

Kickstarter's Terms of Use outline the responsibilities of backers and creators. This information can serve as a basis for legal recourse if a creator doesn't fulfill their promises.

We hope that backers will consider that option only in cases where they believe that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill. If you haven’t yet, you can message a project creator directly. To do this, go to the project page and click on the "Contact me" link under the creator's name in the bio section.

If you believe legal action is appropriate here, please talk to an attorney about how to proceed.


I, again, thought that this is really lousy, that there is no better protection. Like escrow accounts for example. But I also wrote back, that I have a lawyer involved and that they should please tell me how to proceed from now on. I have written them twice. No reaction since December 23rd.

Is this really how you treat your users? I don’t think so and I will never ever back anything on Kickstarter. If it is so easy to set up fake projects and make nearly $500,000 with that, I don’t feel that this is a safe place to back anything.

Really disappointed by how Kickstarter treats cases like this.

Webbed Briefs by Heydon Pickering

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Heydon Pickering created a couple of good videos already. His latest series – Webbed Briefs – is a new one. Informative and fun to watch.

So far he release two episodes:

SVG Toys and Tools

I am working on the website for my German podcast Neu•Gierig right now and while playing around with masking, gradients in css and SVG, I came across a few things, that I’d like to list here. Especially to bookmark them for myself. But maybe you find them useful or fun to interact with as well.

GetWaves

A screenshot of the website getwaves.io showing the interface to make SVG wave shapes
Easy and fun to play with – getwaves.io

A little editor to create SVG shapes – or better – SVG waves. Choose, if you like a round wave, a more block-looking or zick zack shape, enter the preferred colour and opacity and how busy your shape should look like … done. You can then hit the button with the dice to get a new random shape based on your parameters and if you like one, simply download or copy the SVG code by hitting a button.

SVGPath Editor

Well, this actually is, what the title says: an editor to edit your SVG path in the browser. Load a shape, edit it and save/copy the SVG code again. Useful for a quick edit certainly.

Blobmaker

A screenshot of the website blobmaker.app showing the interface to make organic SVG blob shapes
Need an organic looking blob? Who doesn’t! – blobmaker.app

Also fun to play with and from the same people as the wave creator above: Blobmaker. In case you need an organic looking blob, you enter your colour of choice, choose how complex your shape should be, how round or wild you want to go and done. Download or copy the SVG code, add your brand name on top and there is your new logo … well kind of …


You have more of this stuff? Send them to me. Always fun to play with these and I am adding new ones below the above.

An Essay on Newsletters (and Other Things)

Robin Rendle has created a well written and nicely illustrated essay with thoughts about newsletters, websites, RSS, writing for the web and getting paid for it. Plus important points like how to make the web and websites and writing on websites easy, accessible and also fast.

Read “Newsletters”

⇾ Recording of the Kirby 3.5. Release Show on Stay Curious

Last week Bastian Allgeier and I hosted the release show of Kirby CMS version 3.5. The recording is online on YouTube now.

⇾ Visit: Recording of the Kirby 3.5. Release Show on Stay Curious

Grids for Instagram

I was looking for a good option to use Instagram on my laptop. After Flume did not update their software for ages and stopped replying to and email to their support, I found Grids.

If you want to use Grids, you need a subscription after a free trial period. Well, I am not a huge fan of subscription based software, but the plans start with $1 a month when paying annually ($2,49, when billed monthly). You can use it for free, but the free version really lacks a lot of features and $1 a month is something I am prepared to pay if software and support are good.

Part of a screenshot showing an option do not show ads.
This is great: no ads!

It needs a bit to get used to the different look and feel compared to Instagram itself, but once you are into it, it really is great. You can customise, how you want to see your stream, how big the photos should be, the gutter between the photos and much more.

Grids support multiple accounts, as well as stories, bookmarks, notifications and much more. Plus: Grids is available for Mac OS and Windows. But the best part to pay $1 for is: you can deactivate those absolute annoying ads you get more and more when using Instagram.

New Photos and Interview for Lexware

In October I got a message from my mate Sebastian. He was asking, if I’d be up for an interview, which would be published by Lexware in a print magazine. This magazine is distributed by/with well-known other magazines and newspapers throughout Germany. As I am always up for a chat about events, beyond tellerrand and what I do, I certainly agreed to join.

A photo showing a small pile of magazines on the left with its cover page and the title “Tell Your Story”. Next to it lies an open version on the right side with an interview of Marc Thiele about beyond tellerrand.
Cover on the left, open magazine with m interview on the right

The title of the magazine in German language is “Tell Your Story” and it contains 6 interviews with business owners who run a business that is a little different and who – as the title might already tell you – tell their story in a short interview framed by some photos of them and what they do.

Next to me, the magazine holds stories of:

End of October I got a call from Patrick Kunkel who interviewed me and created two or three text versions for the magazine. It was a lovely chat in a good atmosphere and Patrick clearly knew his job, asked the right questions and gave me the feeling to be interested in the stuff I am doing. He set the right atmosphere and base for this nice chat.

A collage with 7 different photos of me. Some in my kitchen, sitting at a table, some in the forest.
A nice set of photos shot by Andy Brüggemann

I furthermore took this as a chance to ask Andy Brüggemann, if he’d be up for a round of new photos of me. The last ones had been taken in 2016 for an interview with Host Europe and furthermore couldn’t be used for this new interview. Andy came and caught me in a couple of different situations. Luckily the weather was nice and we went out into the forest to also shoot a few photos there.

I like what Patrick, Andy and Sebastian and his agency DOTS created here and enjoy the look and feel of the final magazine. DOTS were hired to give the second edition of “Tell Your Story” a more lifestyle magazine character. I think it worked out pretty well. That makes me wonder even, why Lexware themselves created another alternative version of the magazine, which is way less attractive and stiff in its layout and that is now spread next to the way nicer version. I only got notice of it, as some people mentioned they have found an interview with me, when buying the “Süddeutsche”, the “Handelsblatt” or similar.

Anyways. I hope the nicer version by Sebastian and DOTS is being spread as well, as I think it turned out much nicer and actually quite nice overall. It was a lovely experience to be part of it. Thanks to anyone involved.

Download and read the full magazine here.

Kirby 3.5 Release Show at Stay Curious

A few weeks ago Bastian and I had the idea to run a live stream to celebrate the release of version 3.5 of Kirby and show new features and functionality. As I’m truly a huge fan of Kirby (and Basti, and his work) I loved this idea!

Why I like Kirby so much? Well, before I started using it – also for client projects back then – I aways had to suffer the “I have to tweak and bend the hell out of Wordpress to get what my client asks for” world. When I started using Kirby, and even more with the introduction of the Panel in Kirby, this was history for me.

It’s soooo bloody easy to get a quick draft of a site up and running and throw a first functional draft on your clients table. It’s so quick to quickly test whether tabs in the panel work for you or if you prefer using columns … or a combination of course. The flexibility – not just in the panel, but also with what you are able to make out of Kirby – is something everybody raves about. Including me. Just have a look at the many fantastic websites people built with Kirby. Oh, and I don’t want to miss mentioning how fast Kirby performs. Most of the times, you can really feel a difference, when you, for example, migrated your website or blog to Kirby. I mean, Jon Hicks just said this a few days ago, right?

But I get dragged away … This show is focusing on a new release: Kirby 3.5. What are the new features? How has Kirby and the team behind it, including Basti and Nico, done during Covid-times so far? What is planned for the future? How comes, that the Kirby community on Discord and formerly on Slack is so active and what does this mean for Basti’s work and the development of Kirby? If you don’t have or bring questions, I certainly will!

So, join Bastian, Nico and me in a live show about all the above and use you chance to ask them the questions you always had ;)

👉 Information and Registration

My Live Streaming Setup

I am using a lot of the tech I had already to run my live streams, but got a bit of extra equipment like light for example. As I had a lot of gear already for beyond tellerrand and running events for 20 years, I did not have to buy a lot, which means, some of the stuff is quite expensive (like the Canon EOS R), not bought specifically for this reason and you might not need this kind of camera for a good quality image and can get a way lower priced camera to use.

I am working on a post where I configure a package that is not as pricey, but a good point to start without having a big budget. If you are already on YouTube, there is plenty of good recommendations out there as well for certain aspects (camera, light, microphone), but also for complete packages.

Hardware

What I use right now, since people asked me and/or people wondered when Vitaly used my Studio for SmashingConf and Workshops, is the following (all links are affiliate links and it won’t cost you anything more to use them, but brings me some financial support during these times – if you consider buying some gear and use these links, thanks a lot):

(The link on the product name is the information link, Thomann and Amazon behind it)

Switcher/Capture Card

Camera

Light (Keylight, Hairlight, Ambient)

Audio (Soundcard, Microphone)

Additional Hardware

As said before, this is just a quick list. I am going into more detail on each of the aspects in more posts. I plan to explain which light I use for what (in case it is not clear) or why I use the Shure SM7B for podcasting, but not for live streaming, but the Røde NTG3 then, for example.

If you buy cables, don’t safe money on these. Good quality cables are really worth the money and help your good quality sound!

Next to this, software and streaming platforms are a topic I’d like to write about as well. I use Vito to gather my Stay Curious and beyond tellerrand community every other week and Ecamm Live (before I used Zoom) to host my guests on video. But more about this soon

If you have questions, please [drop me an email](mailto: hello@marcthiele.com). If you want to buy me a coffee: great! ;)