MidRange

By Ernie Smith

Not quite short form, not quite tedious. A less ambitious newsletter by Ernie Smith.

Not ten short items. Not one long item. One mid-range item.

Three times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday). With a time limit. ⏲

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#115・

On Grid Removal 🏕

There are so many things I could write about this week, starting with the fact that our most recent president seems to be preparing a social network with contradictory rules that appears to have all the makings of a pump-and-dump scheme and also appears to be…

 
#114・

Pretending I Saw the MacBooks Yesterday 💻

So I’m currently writing this Sunday night, approximately 16 hours before Monday’s Apple event. I’m going out of town tomorrow, and the cabin reportedly does not have Wi-Fi, so I likely will not have any idea of what Apple released on Monday. I’ll be left gue…

 
#113・

Up Against The Limits ✋

I really like Zapier. I consider it an essential tool—one of the most essential I use, in fact.But it has a feature I don’t particularly love, and I’d like to discuss why real quick.Essentially, last month I had an unexpected period of success, thanks to an a…

 
#112・

Robin’s Viral Egg 🥚

Not everyone could don a pair of suspenders and make off-the-wall jokes and make it look convincing. Nor could anyone take a particularly heavy bit of material and cycle between lightly humorous and dead serious so seamlessly.So the fact that Jamie Costa was …

 
#111・

Porting A Port 📲

I’ve often thought a lot about the fact that limitations on our computer hardware, such as ports not appearing where they should, are often a side effect of people not being compelled enough to create something better, to be unwilling to jump through the prop…

 
#110・

Your Plot Of Land ⛏

The misconceptions about Section 230 are fierce, and some of them came up last week after I posted a Tedium item that compared Facebook’s role as the dominant force in social networks to that of AT&T, and how AT&T, despite its 1984 breakup, is now act…

 
#109・

Don’t Do This 🪛

A couple of years ago, Microsoft showed off a version of its Surface Laptop that could be opened up by a technically inclined person and repaired, even upgraded, if needed. Rather than making things hard, the company made it possible. (Sure, not great—iFixit …

 
#108・

Bring Back Personal Websites 🖥

I fully admit that I don’t closely follow the career of Matthew Gray Gubler, in part because I don’t watch a lot of police procedurals, but I will happily admit that I really like what Gubler did with his website.The actor, who had a notable appearance in a W…

 
#107・

Dead Link Department 🔗

Last weekend, in the midst of all my cleaning, I came across my old newspaper pages, some of which are nearly 20 years old at this point. The newsprint is fraying and yellowed at this juncture, but it’s still totally readable. It’s my history—and I made a poi…

 
#106・

More Thoughts on Ozy 🗞

You know, it’s strange. The tale of Ozy, already one of the weirdest in recent media history, is so nuanced and strange that, despite writing a take on the topic just two days ago, I feel compelled to write about it again. Indulge me.First off: I’d like to be…

 
#105・

The Art of Puffery 💨

So, over the weekend, I was vaguely excited about Tedium appearing on Product Hunt and doing pretty OK, receiving more than 60 upvotes from fans and regular Product Hunters.No, it wasn’t an insane success, drawing tens of thousands of thumbs. And nor did it f…

 
#104・

Bless This Mess 🙏

When it comes to writing, it always helps to have something that can briefly pull your attention for a second, threatening to pull you from your full focus for a while.And I decided to do just that with my pile of stuff. Basically, my disorganized files and o…

 
#103・

Staying the Course 🔧

There’s a comment I spotted the other day on Hacker News that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I saw it. In a thread asking why Google’s messaging strategy has been so broken for so long, someone laid out this comment which makes my mind explo…

 
#102・

Thunder On The Surface 🌩

For years, the biggest knock one could carry against Microsoft’s many Surface devices—which have become hugely popular, especially within businesses—has been the lack of Thunderbolt support.Reviewers who otherwise loved the machines complained about the fact …

 
#101・

Norm-Core 🤣

Without getting into the details of it, last week was kind of a tough one for me, and as a result I made the call to largely take a week off from writing and social media (with one little exception).I found a little mental health space in a few places last we…

 
#100・

Best Of: Lessons From a Cleaning 🪥

Over the weekend, I had a sudden urge to clean my keyboard. I don’t know where it came from, but I went through the motions of keyboard cleanup in a pretty methodical way.To me, it felt like a form of yak shaving, the idea that in an attempt to do one big thi…

 
#99・

Best Of: Road Writing 101 🚗

Hey all. I’m returning home from a long weekend in which I got to stay with family in an Airbnb, thanks to the fact that we have a decent circle of people who got vaccinated.It was nice. I stayed in a room that had old radio magazines on the wall, which is ju…

 
#98・

Best Of: The Lone Coder

It takes a certain kind of person to create something for an audience of die-hard enthusiasts for years on end, but it takes another kind of person to transition away from that project.That person is Cameron Kaiser, and that project is TenFourFox, one of the …

 
#97・

Clues Blues 🦴

A quarter-century ago, Steve Burns stumbled into a role as the primary host of the long-running kid’s show Blue’s Clues, after thinking he was doing a voiceover role. But it turned out that he had unconsidered charms as an on-camera presence, and that made hi…

 
#96・

Open To Interpretation 💾

Open-source software, depending on the model and the organizations relying on it, often makes better sense as an ideal than a business reality. And perhaps for that reason, we’re starting to see more cracks than usual in the model.The big knock came last week…