Pocket Casts Acquired by Automattic

We've got some really exciting news we'd like to share with you - Pocket Casts is joining Automattic, the incredible company behind, Tumblr, WooCommerce, and other fantastic products.

Last night I got an email from Pocket Casts about that they’re excited to be acquired by Automattic. I remember the one blog post by Jeremy Keith about “how excited companies are about getting bought” (I can’t find it right now). And I have to admit, the second I read about Pocket Casts acquisition, I somehow had a bad feeling. Not because Automattic is a _bad company, but too often I have companies, apps and services dying or at least having worse service or none at all anymore. I could mention many examples here. But as Moritz Gießman stated on Twitter, last time when Automattic bought Gravatar the service stayed more or less as it was before.

What is your experience with this? Join the conversation here.

Update 20 July 2021: Pocket Casts replied to me on Twitter stating …

“@marcthiele no plans to shut it down, just make it bigger and better. Welcome aboard!”

And later …

“ @marcthiele well we have some experience with this already. We've been on the team since 2010, and already were purchased in 2018 by US public radio. I get the healthy skepticism but I feel like there's more nuance here than just a blanket rule for what getting bought means :)”

Jon Hicks Made a Font out of His Fathers Handwriting and That Made His Father Immortal

The father of Jon Hicks recently died and that is always a very sad moment. Someone who guided and accompanied you through your whole life suddenly is gone. And I could simply relate to Jon, when he wrote

[…] it feels like 2021 is the year of being weighed down by the sheer heaviness of grief.

I was able to relate not only because I lost my first brother in 2013, when my wife’s grandma died also, but also because when my other brother died end of 2015, our dog Baldo died after 16 years of being with us as well. Back then it seemed for me as if one death never comes alone.

In Jon’s post about his father’s passing, I also was reminded, that a death can also be something very peaceful, like when my mother died in 2017. Sitting next to her bed for the last hours together with my wife, my sister and one of my nephews had something very peaceful and I think in some way it gave myself some kind of strength and made me remembering all the good times I had with my mother.

Now, Jon made something lovely to make his father immortal not only for him and his family – as those of our families who die are immortal for us anyway – but he created something that also makes him being remembered by others. He created a beautiful font out of his fathers handwriting.

I also love, that he was able to use his dad’s handwriting now for all the documents for his dad’s funeral, which makes it so personal and lovely.

It is lovely to read about the process of Jon creating this font and him enjoying to do this. Sending out a big hug to Jon and his family!

You are able to use the font for free, but a donation to Parkinson UK is suggested

Update: Jon updated Bryan and enhanced it with more ligatures, an uppercase Q and an uppercase ẞ (Esszett)

Got a Sony ZV-1 as Second Camera and Alternative to my EOS R for Streaming

A photo showing my new Sony ZV-1 camera including a SmallRig cage and a Rode Video Mic Pro
Next to the camera I got a SmallRig cage, as a mounted tripod would block the batterie and card slot, next to other benefits …

I was looking for an alternative to my EOS R, which I right now use as main camera in my streaming setup. I installed Magic Lantern on my Canon 7D Mark I and it helped getting a clean HDMI signal out of the camera, but the 7D felt – related to streaming – outdated and not good. I still like it as a camera to take photos with, but for streaming, I was looking for another option.

I do have an EOS R as well, which works fantastic for streaming, but for a lighter setup or to quickly take the camera with you, it is pretty heavy and bulky. I looked into several option and ended up with the Sony ZV-1, which I caught in a discounted bundle with the wireless control grip.

I watched a lot of reviews about the camera and one of the main cons everybody mentioned an issue that, when using a grip or tripod, your battery and SD card slot is blocked and you would have to un-screw the tripod/grip each time you wanted to swap battery or take out the card. So I got the SmallRig cage which offers man possibilities. Another downside of the camera mentioned was the battery time, as the battery is very small. Well, I might mainly use it connected to the power supply via USB anyways, when streaming, but I got a 3-pack incl. charger (Amazon affiliate link) for the camera in addition as well for around €25.

So far I am happy with it and the quality of the output. The pro feature anyone mentioned was the good and fast autofocus as well as a good quality image. The built-in microphone is ok, but since I already owned a Rode VideoMic Pro (Thomann affiliate link), I am using it with the ZV-1 and it is surely improving the sound.

I might give you an update when I used it for a while, but so far I am happy with it.

Kirby Docs Search Workflow for Alfred 4

A screenshot of Alfred App showing how you can search the Kirby CMS documentation

If you are using Alfred anyways and a lot, like I do and you are also using Kirby CMS for your websites, you might like, what Adam Kiss has published here.

He published a workflow for Alfred, that allows you to directly search in the Kirby documentation directly from your computer. Pretty handy! I love those things who are maybe not too big of an invention, but make you life easier with small, helping bits. Thanks Adam.

👉 Information and download of the Alfred workflow

Morning Coffee

A photo of today’s first coffee I made, a flat white, standing in front of my espresso machine

Every morning at 6am, my coffee machine automatically turns on to heat up and have the right temperature for when I get up and have the first coffee of the day.

I like the sound of the grinder, grinding the beans and the sound of the hot water and steam that the machine makes, when I flush out water. The smell of that first coffee as I froth the milk is almost more rewarding than the taste of that first coffee.

Elsewhere: Instagram

Upgrading Kirby

Just a note for myself, as I always forget how bloody easy it is to upgrade Kirby CMS: replace the folder “kirby” and delete the folder “media”, as it will be recreated.

Screenshot of the Finder on my Mac showing how to copy a folder to another destination
The easy way of upgrading to a newer Kirby version

A New Kirby Website

My favourite CMS – Kirby – got a new website. I like how it turned out and think Basti and the Kirby team did a good job in summarising and visualising how flexible the CMS is.

Screenshot of the new Kirby website showing the different use cases
A nice way of showing the flexibility of Kirby CMS

Next to the teaser/header image, showing the Kirby panel, you can click on different use cases or “user groups” (eg. “Your company”, “Your products”, “Your magazine” etc.). If you click on a different scenario, the header with the panel image for the different scenario changes, but also the file structure below the image adapts and the text file screenshot. I like this.

Screenshot of the footer navigation on the new Kirby website showing the different target groups
A continuous way of showing the many different target groups for Kirby

I also like the visualisation of the continuous story/journey you are on, done though a thin grey line leading from the use case navigation down to the footer with the target groups.

All in all I think that this is well done and fitting for Kirby. The overall appearance feels light and still has its own handwriting (or Basti’s? 🤔 … 😁). The new site leaves enough neutrality to find your own role amongst the mentioned roles – or even create a new one – but takes you by the hand, so that you are able to find your way and be guided.

Congrats to the whole Kirby team for the relaunch and now on to fix all the little bugs 😆

For the next week – until April 23rd – you can safe 20% on Kirby licenses … buy a full basket of licenses to safe $$$ for future projects 😊 )

Your Memorable In-Person Conference Experience

April 10th, 2021, Zach Leatherman asked:

Share a memorable in-person conference experience!

(I’ll go first)

At @jqcon (~2010) I remember @kswedberg checked me in, gave me my name badge, recognized my name (!), and told me that I was doing some cool things on the web and I still think about it 😊

My reply:

”Simply too many wonderful, funny, exciting, inspiring, interesting, motivating, positive, lovely, heart-warming, funny, memorable, open, intense, enjoyable, important, eye-opening, surprising, mind-changing … experiences that I will never forget and forever be thankful for. ❤️”

I miss all this too much …

Happy Easter Days

Photo of a path in our forest on a sunny spring day

A little sunshine and time with your beloved ones is what I wish for you. Take care!

Arpona Sans by Felix Braden

I really do like Tuna, as stated in an earlier post, in which I tested Tuna for my beyond tellerrand Website. I also bought Pulpo and used it at my events – on printed materials as well as on screen at the main stage.

Image shows sketches by Felix Braden of letters for his typeface Arpona Sans
A final sketch of letters used for digitalisation

Now Felix Braden released a new contemporary sans serif family he called Arpona Sans, which is – like he says – inspired by the work of Edward Johnston and Eric Gill for London Underground.

Arpona Sans in use on various books

Arpona Sans is a versatile font, usable for branding, in editorial design, as well as for web and app design. If you take a look on the microsite for Arpona Sans, you can see a few examples for Arpona Sans in use and can have a look how it even plays quite well in running text. Next to this you’ll find much more background about the creation process, which is lovely to read.

Right now you can grab your own copy of the family at MyFonts for 60% off (until April 18th). If you are using Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you can use it included in your Creative Cloud license.