• Palace Hotel – a short story

    Palace Hotel – a short story

    Here’s another short story from 2013, or quite possibly earlier in fact. I realized, while pulling some stories from an old Scrivener file, that the dates had become jumbled. I know it was written earlier than March 18th, but that’s about it, and the same goes for That Thing which I republished a while back.

    It matters little for small pieces like this, but it just goes to show that it’s important to keep system-agnostic logs of things you create.

    Anyway, Palace Hotel is another short story originally published on the Opuss service. Newsletter subscribers got this one early, so that might be an incentive for you to subscribe, I guess?


  • That Thing – a short story

    That Thing – a short story

    I haven’t thought about this short story for a long time. It was originally published on the short story site and app Opuss, but it is apparantly no more, as Norvard pointed out to me. He wanted to read it, for inspiration, and who am I to say no to such a thing?

    That Thing was originally published March 18th, 2013. That’s a log time ago. And yes, it’s rather dark.

    You know what? I’m not like other toys. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you since I’m not a toy at all, but some people seem to hold on to that misconception. Of me being a toy I mean. Because I’m not.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about that thing. You know the one I mean, after all you committed it, didn’t you? I don’t blame you for what you’ve done, in fact I’m not passing judgment at all. That is not my place, that’s for society, and your conscience, perhaps. I wouldn’t know.

    Still, it surely was an extreme thing, wasn’t it? So intense, so full of anger and wants and needs, and so forced. I’m sure you know this, have thought it over again and again. It all ended so abruptly, in ecstasy and despair. These are not feelings I’m familiar with, but I do believe I know them when I see them. Which I did, and that’s why we’re talking about that thing.

    It shook me a bit you know. I have to confess this, although it wouldn’t be fair of me to pass judgment, as I said. And after all it probably shook her too, didn’t it? Until the very end I would say. I wonder where she is now, what happened to that shell of a girl? No, don’t try to tell me, I really don’t want to know. Just making conversation, I’m a bit nervous you see, so I keep rambling on. This is, after all, the first time I’m speaking to you after all those long years of silence. I still remember the time when I shared your bed, your warmth and your love. I gave it back you know, unconditionally.

    Those were good times, weren’t they?

    This room looks like it used to, before you moved out. It never turned into a den, an exercise room, and they never did rent it out like they talked about. Just as well, it’s a good room. I like it, it’s my whole world you know.

    I was surprised to see you here with her. That you took her to this, our special place. But that’s fine of course, you do whatever you want. I was just surprised is all. I’d never seen you like that before, all grown up and naked with another person.

    I wonder why she didn’t like you? She didn’t, right? Of course she didn’t, there was way too much screaming and crying and agony. I’m not versed in the acts of making love after all. Maybe I would’ve been if I had genitalia, but there you go. I still don’t think she wanted you to do to her what you did but that’s beside the point.

    You do whatever you like.

    I was even more surprised to see you again today. I’m happy that you’ve stayed for so long, although I wish we were in bed again, like we were all those years ago, just the two of us in the darkness trying not to think about the demons in the closet. You have new demons now I guess, but I’m sure you’re managing just fine.

    I don’t expect a reply you know. I do wish you’d get into bed though, instead of swinging in the ceiling like that. You look cold, your lips are blue and you’re very still.

    I think you’ll be here for a long time.

    I saw it all you know, did I tell you that? This shelf is a great vantage point, I never miss a thing.

  • Holiday packing list

    Holiday packing list

    I know you guys love lists and all things pertaining to something akin to a setup, so I figured I’d share what I’m taking with me on my five day trip down south. I’m celebrating Christmas with my family, but I expect to get some work done as well.

    I’m not checking anything for such a short flight, but I wouldn’t on a longer one either. The only time I check luggage is if I need to bring my snowboards, but that’s been years now, alas.

    Anyway. Two bags, one man, and a ton of people going somewhere over the holidays, possibly with wailing children. The experience will be horrible, so I want to be as prepared as possible. That means I’ve made sure to have fast track at the airport, and lounge access, although the latter sucks during the holidays. When will Swedish airports learn how to do proper lounges?

    While both bags are carry-ons, I treat one as if it would be checked. It’ll just sit in the overhead compartment, while I’ll keep a smaller bag in my seat.

    The Rimova Classic Flight Cabin Multiwheel:

    • T-shirts, socks, and underwear – five of each. I also have plastic bags for laundry.
    • A shirt, because I might want to look a little more formal.
    • A Muji canvas case with a 29W charger, Apple Watch charger cable with USB-C adapter, USB-C and USB-C to Lightning cables, Airpods, business cards, a cleaning cloth, and an assortment of USB-C adapters. I also have a smaller Muji canvas case with a few pens, stickers, and the Apple Pencil 2.
    • Extra notebook – this one from Field Notes – should I feel like writing a novella by hand. It happens, especially when I’m traveling.
    • Dried ginger snacks (to kill germs), and tissues.
    • Christmas gifts, because ‘tis the season.

    The Rimova goes in the overhead compartment. I keep a Peg and Awl’s Hunters Satchel at my side during the whole flight. I think you can guess what’s in it:

    • iPad Pro 11” in the Smart Keyboard Folio, which will be my largest device for this trip.
    • B&W PX noice-cancellation headphones, because I’ll be damned if I’ll listen to airplane noise. Noice-cancellation headphones is a great way to arrive somewhat mentally refreshed.
    • See-through toiletry bag, with the necessities, including painkillers. Easy access, and no need to open the Rimova at security.
    • Passport, a pen and notebook, local commuter card.

    Keen-eyed readers will note that this list differs somewhat from what’s in my travel setup. I’m tweaking my travel kit at the moment. Expect a setup update sooner rather than later, moving has switched things up as well.

    I’ll carry the iPhone XS Max, keys, and the Paper Micro Wallet in my pockets, wearing an Apple Watch as always. No extra pants, the jeans, t-shirt, Houdini Power Houdi, Blundstone 500 boots, and my trusty leather jacket will have to do.

    This is obviously enough for a trip to the family, but I intend to write, edit, and design during my stay as well. That’s what the iPad Pro’s for. Thing is, the only thing that differs in this setup when I go to our client in Zürich, is the number of shirts and suits I bring. Technically, I could do my work using this, and a camera, which I’ve decided not to bring on this trip. I might add a Nintendo 3DS with a Zelda game though, to feed the nostalgia-vein, but that’s the only excessive thing in my bag. The rest fills a purpose, which I think is important when traveling. It’s so easy to carry too many things.

    “But what if I need This Very Important Thing?”

    Spoiler: You almost never do. And if you do, you’ll work it out.

  • Här är omslaget till Webbpublicering med WordPress 5.0

    Här är omslaget till Webbpublicering med WordPress 5.0

    Om du prenumererar på mitt (svenska) nyhetsbrev om WordPress, WPSE, så vet du redan att det blir en helt ny utgåva av min bok Webbpublicering med WordPress. Den första utgåvan kom 2012, och har stått sig hyfsat väl i alla fall. Men i dag, med WordPress 5.0 och den nya innehållsredigeraren (även känd som Gutenberg), så är det väldigt mycket som är nytt och skrämmande för användarna.

    Med andra ord så blir det en Webbpublicering med WordPress 5.0! ?

    Precis som tidigare så kommer eboken att erbjudas för gratis nedladdning, tack vare vänliga sponsorer (se nedan). Nytt är däremot att det blir en tryckt version också.

    Mer om allt detta senare. Nedan ser du omslaget till Webbpublicering med WordPress 5.0. Vill du veta mer om boken så skriv upp dig på e-postlistan – det är gratis och garanterat spamfritt.

    Så här ser omslaget ut

    Ett stort tack till sponsorerna, för närvarande (i alfabetisk ordning): Angry Creative, Divide & Conquer, Glesys, IIS, KrokedilMalmö Yrkeshögskola. ?

  • Five Things (October 16, 2018)

    Five Things (October 16, 2018)

    It’s time for yet another list of things I’ve enjoyed recently. This time it’s a mix between gadgets and apps, with a dash of booze. Sounds pretty good, right? I certainly think so…

    • Let’s get it over with: The iPhone XS Max is great in every single way. I’m reading a lot more – again – thanks to the larger, and utterly brilliant, screen.
    • I haven’t played a lot of games the past year or so, but I’m slowly getting back into it. Currently I’m enjoying a quirky RPG called Golf Story, for the Nintendo Switch. It reminds me of the original Mario Golf game, which was great.
    • I’m thrilled that I can get Blanton’s Single Barrel in Sweden again. It’s a very tasty bourbon, not too sweet, and I like it a lot. So much better than the somewhat bland Gold Edition.
    • Remember Flipboard? I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks, and it’s become a part of my media consumption habits. The majority of articles I read end up in Pocket, though.
    • Been writing with iA Writer for a long time now, and I can’t recommend it enough. The latest update adds support for hashtags, which is particularly useful. Available for a bunch of platforms, check it out.

    There are more Things Enjoyed, if you’re into this sort of thing. And as always, do tell me about the stuff you like by sending a tweet to @tdh.

  • Five Things (September 12, 2018)

    Five Things (September 12, 2018)

    It’s time for another list of five things I’ve enjoyed recently. I keep doing this almost as irregular as my newsletter. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Anyway, here’s the list. Enjoy.

    • Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a pretty grand mirror-less camera. I’ve been using it for some time, and grown fond of it. It’s not without its quirks, like the sometimes shitty wifi hotspot thing and its crappy app, but for shooting slightly better than iPhone X photos, it’s great.
    • My friend and colleague Anders is not only a WordPress theme god, he’s also a fellow coffee lover. He was the one who turned me on to the Virtuoso coffee grinder, the perfect companion to my Chemex. Makes me happy.
    • I needed a small bluetooth speaker, so I went with the Dali Katch. It’s a nice little thing that fills a room in an impressive way for its size. Speakers in two directions help, a silly carrying handle does not, but this one served me well this summer.
    • Ardbeg An Oa seems fitting at the moment. It’s a smoky whisky, give it a go if you like that sort of thing. I do.
    • Final Space is an animated series on Netflix that blew my mind. The world-building here is part Star Wars, part Mass Effect with a touch of Borderlands and Rick and Morty. Just watch it.

    What do you use these days? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know. Previous lists can be found here.

    The photo up top is by my buddy and fellow Divide & Conquerer, Anders Norén.

  • It’s time to Divide & Conquer

    It’s time to Divide & Conquer

    I sold my web agency, Odd Alice, one year ago, with a clear goal in mind. Things didn’t turn out the way we – meaning the new owners and I – planned, which meant that I took on a much more active role at 24HR than initially planned. Fast forward to today, and I’m happy to announce a new digital agency based in Stockholm. We’re calling ourselves Divide & Conquer, and it’s going to be great!

    But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

    Preparing for the next step

    I never meant to run the Odd Alice web agency for as long as I did. There were others that were supposed to take over, but life and illness held me there. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t resisting as much as I perhaps should have, because working with people, brilliant and fun people, that you can call your friends is a gift.

    Sometime in 2016 things got a bit too messy for me personally. I’m not quite sure what made me look for prospective buyers, and it’s beside the point, but I did start to shop around. There were interested parties, mainly consulting firms and agencies, which just wouldn’t jive with the Odd Alice culture. And then there was 24HR, with grand plans and an idea of non-operative owners.

    It took two years to finalize the deal, but we moved in to the 24HR office in Stockholm (there’s also a Malmö office) on August 1st, 2017. Some shareholders got paid in cash, others (well, me) in shares in the 24HR parent company, as part of the deal. I was looking forward to merging with a fully functional business, with an extensive administrative apparatus in place. There was also a talented COO running the office, and whatever doors this would open for my team, and myself. There were grand plans and expectations, as I said.

    We, being me and Malin of Odd Alice founder fame, sold the apartment in Stockholm, and moved to Österlen in the south of Sweden. The idea was for me to be an asset when needed, for concepts and special projects. Our initial goal was me at the Stockholm office a few days every other week.

    That didn’t happen.


    Moving operations to a new team and management structure is tricky. It gets infinitely more challenging if the person meant to be in charge decides to quit. There’s obviously more to that story, but let’s leave it at that.

    We were left with a Stockholm office without a leader. That’s not good for business, nor morale. The obvious choice was for me to step in temporarily, and that’s what happened. So from bi-weekly visits to the Stockholm office, flying back and forth, I went to weekly visits, then to being there Monday to Friday. Finally it became bi-weekly visits to my home and family, rather than the other way around. Add some administrative turmoil to this and you get the exact opposite to what was planned. We, as owners, all agreed that this was an issue, and we were going to work on solving it.

    Thing is, work is fun. It was a great team, and I didn’t do it all by myself. I had my team, and I had Helena Waern. It became obvious pretty early that she and I brought different things to the table, so we sat down and figured out how we could make the office work. Then we took it from there, sorted things out, and turned business around during a hectic couple of months.

    We had plans, of rebranding and bringing focus to the Stockholm branch. Lots of energy, plenty of ideas, and many late nights writing quotes and offers. It was fun, rewarding, and utterly exhausting for us both. Add the travel, and it’s not hard to figure out that we were running out of time.


    As it turns out, my idea or how a business should be run, and what’s important, didn’t match with the owners of 24HR. The owners at this point in time included myself, but since the idea was for owners to not be operational, I felt I couldn’t both represent the people working at the office, and the owners. And thus I didn’t, I kept out of the loop, mostly focusing on running the office with Helena.

    To make a long story short, both me and Helena worked way too much. We didn’t get the support we needed, and that’s not a good place to be in. So we started talking about how we should work together in the future. At this moment in time, it was obvious to us that we should continue to work as a team.

    There was talks and negotiations about a sale, of both offices and just the Stockholm one. I’m not going to go into that. Suffice to say, it didn’t work out, and sooner or later enough’s enough.

    I did my last day at the end of June, and left after that. Helena went on vacation.

    I no longer own any shares in 24HR. That would be unseemly. I wish the remaining owners all the best, and we might help each other out with remaining client work. We’ll see.


    I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to the great people I’ve had the pleasure of working with the past year.

    Mattias Ekendahl, Ellen Nordenskjöld, Mikael Hornaeus, Mark Ellis, and Marco Hyyryläinen. You’ve all been great. I’ve enjoyed working with you. We’ve had fun, I think. Circumstances could’ve been better, but such is life, right? I wish you all the best on your future endeavors. I’m sure we’ll meet down the road.

    And yes, that list is not complete. You know where this is going.

    The team

    I’ve founded Divide & Conquer with Helena. We’re doing this thing with our fellow superstars Emma Fresk and Anders Norén. I couldn’t be more happy with this team. We’re bound to do some great things together.

    Emma is a bright shining star. She’ll amaze us all, I have no doubt.

    Anders is an amazing developer and designer, and a good friend. This was bound to happen, buddy.

    And Helena is the perfect co-founder for this digital agency. We’re such a good team that it’s almost embarrassing.

    Together we’ll build and design websites, APIs, apps, concepts, and strategy. We’ll also continue my work as an advisor and business developer for startups. In fact, we’re already doing this.

    What’s next?

    As of today, August 1st, 2018, Divide & Conquer is in business. We’ve technically been in business for a while, but today is the first day when we’re all officially employed, working full time with Divide & Conquer. It feels great.

    We’ve already been in the news with Bark Bar, a watering hole for dogs outside of our studio at Tomtebogatan 18 in Vasastan, Stockholm. And we have some clients, with more to come. Meetings, ideas, community projects, conferences, and then some – there’s a lot we want to do.

    It’s back to basics for me, but with new ideas and concepts for making things work. Tools and strategies, all those things that makes an agency work, there are ideas for how that should or could work. I’m looking forward to sharing the experience, because it’s rare to be able to try something from the beginning like this, with no history whatsoever. Well, plenty of history, but a blank slate.

    So there you have it. If you want to work with me, check out Divide & Conquer for contact information. There’ll be a proper site down the line, but for now we’re focusing on client work. We’re documenting #barkbar and other things on our Instagram, and there’s obviously pages on Facebook and Linkedin as well.

    I can’t wait to see where this leads. It’s going to be a great adventure.

  • Huel it when it’s hot

    Huel it when it’s hot

    Anyone keeping up with my journal knows that Stockholm is currently experiencing something of a heatwave. All of Sweden is, with ensuing forest fires, people getting sick from the heat, among other things. Keeping hydrated when it’s hot is hard, and although I normally drink plenty of water, I feel it’s not enough.

    That’s where Huel comes in. Huel is a (vegan) supplement shake that can, theoretically, replace your entire diet. It is supposed to contain everything you need to survive, and it doesn’t taste like shit. I’ve been using it for some time now, substituting a meal here and there. It’s filling and, when you get used to drinking rather than chewing, it leaves you satisfied.

    It also makes you drink plenty of water, whether you like it or not, because you have to mix the Huel powder with something and water is the best choice. I’ve found that the days where I’ve had one or more Huel shakes, I feel better in this heat. This, I believe, is for two reasons.

    1. I get more fluids into my body, as in a bonus 400-500 ml. That’s a lot, because I don’t drink less just because I’ve had a Huel shake. On the contrary, I want to wash it down with a glass of water or two.
    2. I actually get the necessary nutritions for my body, which is more than I can say for some days. Eating properly is hard in the heat, drinking is easier, and thus I’m fueling my body better thanks to the Huel shakes.

    Yes, that all reads like a promoted post or something, but I’m not getting paid to say this. I’ve turned people on to Huel, and although this sort of, shall we call it food, isn’t for everyone, it’s also helping those who have a hard time eating enough. I have that problem myself at times, and this helps.

    So how does it taste? Well, the vanilla flavored Huel is pretty decent. You don’t need to add any taste to it, although I personally prefer it with a couple of shots of espresso or a quarter of brewed coffee, and some ice. There are flavor packs, which I’ve tried and passed on. Too artificial for my taste, I prefer the relative simpleness of the vanilla flavored Huel myself.

    It does not mix well with red wine. Now you know.

    I’ve tried a few of these supplement and replacement shakes, bars, and powders. It’s not a losing or gaining weight thing for me, it’s the convenience. I live alone, I don’t cook for myself, and I get bored going out all the time. Shakes like this helps, making sure I don’t eat too little. Supplements like Huel will never replace actual food for me, I enjoy the experience of eating too much for that, but as a complement it makes sense.

    Heatwaves are hard on people, especially the old and sick. Distributing something like Huel would be a good idea. People, young and old, have a tendency to drink too little fluids, or mix up what sort of fluids they need. They also eat too little when it’s hot, because who has any appetite when you can hardly breathe, and are sweating and overheating all the time? I don’t think we should swap out clean and pure food for powder, even if it’s vegan and whatnot, but surely there’s a place for something like this in today’s resource-strained world?

    You don’t even have to want to save the world to recommend powder-based food. Just look at obesity, and how expensive it is to eat right. Huel isn’t cheap, but it’s not expensive either. They’re pitching it at $2/meal, or something like that. That sounds about right, and compared to Swedish standards, it’s cheap. So drinking a complete meal is actually saving me money, makes me drink more fluids, and is (supposedly) good for the environment. I feel I can get behind this, despite the overdone tech-bro branding Huel and its ilk are relying on.

  • Five Things (May 28, 2018)

    Five Things (May 28, 2018)

    Is May almost over already? That went quick. Here’s a list of five things I’ve enjoyed the last month and a half, since I last did one of these things. It might surprise you…

    • Suits. Yes, suits. It might chock some of you, but I’ve been spending a lot of time wearing suits the past months. Work has demanded it, and I don’t mind a good suit. A shitty one, now that’s a different story. Tiger of Sweden is my brand of choice, paired with a plain black tee or an Eton shirt.
    • Pocket Run Pool is a fun little iOS game by Zach Gage, known for other fun games. The game is free but you should pay to remove the ads because it’s important to support indie developers.
    • The sun requires sunglasses. I’m loving my Ray-Ban Wayfarers, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been stalking my Instagram. Such a classic model.
    • Dropbox Paper, the markdown powered Google Docs challenger, has gone from a buggy experience to a pretty decent service. There’s a lot of things I like from Quip in there too. Giving it a serious go for some projects right now.
    • I’m having fun with Korg Gadget on my iPad. If you’re into synthesizers and/or digital music, this might be a thing for you. It’s available on several platforms.

    I love hearing about things you use and like. Hit me up on Twitter or drop me a line. Previous lists can be found here.

  • Five things (April 3rd, 2018)

    Five things (April 3rd, 2018)

    Traveling is a big part of my life at the moment, mostly for work, but still. It has obviously made me reconsider some things in my setup, and also been top of mind the past few months.

    Here are five not completely travel related things for you, in no particular order as usual.

    • I travel a lot, which means that I put a lot of value in a good pair of noise-cancellation headphones. People keeping tabs on my setup know that I’ve switched to Bowers & Wilkins PX, and I couldn’t be happier. Great headphones, recommended.
    • Speaking of travel, Zürich is treating my oyster cravings well. No trips planned in April so I guess I’ll just have to find the best oysters in Stockholm then.
    • I wish there was a decent blogging app for iOS. Alas, none does it for me, so all my posts are copied as HTML and pasted into the WordPress admin interface. It works well enough on an iPad, but the UI is sorely lacking on smaller screens. (I’m tapping this on my phone in the bath, by the way.)
    • Love the Rimowa Classic Flight Cabin Multiwheel! Didn’t think I’d move from backpack to something with wheels, but this is just plain great.
    • Finally, my Peg & Awl’s Hunters Satchel was every bit as lovely as I hoped. I got it with my initials, obviously. It’s become my daily carry, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

    As always, I love hearing about things you use and like. Hit me up on Twitter or drop me a line. Here are some older five things lists.

  • Flying habits

    Flying habits

    Like so many other frequent fliers, I’ve got my habits. They’re not hacks or unique in any way, just things I’ve started doing on a regular basis because it makes traveling less stressful. Key here is to reduce stress, because traveling takes a lot of energy as it is, and stressing about it just adds to the load.

    So here you go, things that I keep in mind when I zip back and forth across Sweden, and through Europe. Actual gear isn’t found here, although noise-cancellation headphones really should be on the list, because getting on a plane without them when traveling solo is out of the question…

    • Aisle seat, always. I’m tall, worst case that gives me room to stretch. Also, I get off the plane faster which could mean I’ll have a better shot at catching an earlier airport train.
    • Get a ticket with fast track if you can, because not only is standing in line stressful, said ticket often give access to a lounge as well. I use the time saved to write, maybe you have more important things to do.
    • Airport trains almost always trumps taxis, if the airport is outside of the city centre and your destination isn’t too far off.
    • Use apps for tickets, and suffer through airline apps for live updates on delays. Check-in queues are so 2000, right?
    • Never check luggage. Carry-ons are big enough, I’d rather buy additional things at my location. Oh, and remember that plenty of airlines lets you bring a second small carry-on for your computer.
    • Speaking of bags, make sure that you have one with easy access to your computing device, as well as your toiletries. That makes it easier and less stressful going through security.
    • Put as many things as possible in a coat or jacket pocket that you can close when passing through security. That makes it go more smoothly, especially if security is crowded.
    • I keep my toiletries and liquids in a see-through toilet bag. You could use a zip-locked plastic bag too, if you can’t find a toilet bag you like.
    • Generally speaking, rolling clothes is better than folding. Divvy up clothes in bags (I use disposable plastic ones) is often a good idea, and you can keep your clean clothes separated from your laundry using said bags.
    • Mesh bags with zippers are great for organizing smaller things like cables, vitamins, and other things you want to bring but don’t need to store in a toilet bag, or have easy access to. Some people swear by mesh bags for everything, but I like to have disposable bags as well.
    • I always bring my passport, despite rarely crossing a border where I actually need to show it. That said, weather could land you someplace else, and knowing I’m prepared for the unexpected helps.

    The best travel hack to date though, is pack less than you think you might need. There are a lot of nifty gadgets that sound like a good idea, but question each and every one of them. For example, external batteries are amazing when you’re out of power, but will you ever be that far from a power outlet at your destination? Each device, each gadget, each piece of clothing needs to earn its place when you travel. I’ve yet to use all of my packed t-shirts, ever, and I travel light. Apparently not light enough though…

    For more about the stuff I use, check out my setup. It gets updated on a somewhat regular basis.

    Agree or disagree? Let me know by tweeting to @tdh. I’m always interesting in opting my travel days with clever hacks.

  • Five things (March 2nd, 2018)

    Five things (March 2nd, 2018)

    I haven’t done one of these things in a while. Since I’m home sick today, I figured it might be fitting to stick to the lighter side of things.

    Here are five things, in no particular order, that’s been on my radar recently.

    • I’m testing the Kronaby smartwatch at the moment. It’s a Swedish product, resembling a traditional watch more than anything you’d see from the tech giants. No LCD screen or anything, just a mechanical watch with smartwatch features. Intriguing.
    • I’m finally reading I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, the autobiography by Sylvie Simmons from 2012. It’s interesting and dense, full with anecdotes and quotes from people who, supposedly, were there. It doesn’t have his last few years though. You should check it out if you’re a Cohen fan.
    • Jamstik is a bluetooth guitar controller thingie with corresponding apps to help you learn (or re-learn, as it were) to play. It’s plasticky and small for a big guy like me, but I like it and play it every now and then when I’m in Stockholm.
    • My 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is getting a lot more use than I’ve planned. I’m in production at the moment, and I do appreciate both the larger screen (coming from the 12″ MacBook) and the keyboard. And yes, I like the Touch Bar, embrace it!
    • Alto’s Odyssey is an enjoyable sequel to Alto’s Adventure, the snowboarding game. Desert sand has replaced snow, and this time the game evolves s bit the more you play. Don’t fool yourself though, this is just more of the same, which is good enough for me in small doses.

    Got something you really think I should check out? I don’t care if it’s a book, a TV show, an app, or a gadget. Let me know on Twitter, because everyone needs more stuff in their lives… Or at least, better stuff. Yeah, that’s the one.

  • Writing a journal

    Writing a journal

    I’ve been writing a journal for a long time. It started with text files on my computer, an overpriced 386 tower in my teenage bedroom, the keyboard within reach from my bed. I wrote a lot back then, as I do now, and why bother getting out of bed, really? Ah, teenagers…

    I’ve never had a physical journal. The thought never even occurred to me. If I’m gonna put down these words, I figured I’d want them digital and not faded over time or forgotten somewhere. So it’s obviously extremely ironic that I’d lose my earlier journals to a smoking hard-drive. I wasn’t upset, it seemed fitting at the time.

    These days, when I write a journal, it gets synced to the cloud. That too will burn, or at least evaporate, one day, but for now it feels at least slightly more secure. I could add additional layers of protection, just manual exports that I’d store someplace semi-safe, a fail-safe, but up until now I haven’t bothered.

    You see, I write my journal for myself. No, I don’t want it to go up in smoke again, but if it did, I wouldn’t be upset. I’d just keep doing it. This is partly because I feel safe enough with the setup, obviously. It’s interesting to look back, and any modern journaling app (I use Day One, despite its obvious shortcomings and the subscription business model) will give you “on this day”-things, like a Timehop but not just photos and stuff you shared with everyone. If you put your innermost in your journal, that’s what you’ll get hit with every day.

    Sometimes that hurts. People pass away, feelings too, and you’ll get that, raw and possibly at the absolute worst time, but there you go. That’s life. I find it reinvigorating, that blast from the past. Even if it’s about a shattered marriage or a friend lost way too early, I’d rather remember it and feel again, than just have it lost to me. Which is easy to say now, writing this, because I’ve had days when I’ve wondered why the fuck I’m exposing myself to past sorrows again and again. But there you go, it’s for the better, I think.

    I write a journal to settle my thoughts. Just a couple of lines every day, which isn’t really every day but close enough. That’s what works best for me, the solution that gives back the most, somehow. I’ve tried doing weekly journals but I’m generally too disconnected to what I did this morning, so remembering how things went down six days ago is a challenge. Perhaps one worth taking head on, it’s a good exercise, but that’s not what I’m after when I’m writing in my journal.

    I want to face what I’ve done and what I’ve experienced. That’s the thing, I believe.

    What happened?

    How did I react?

    Who did I hurt, who did I help?

    What good did I do for the world today, and how does that balance out the bad?

    I’ve come to think a lot about things like that. Depending on who you are, and what position you’re in, you affect so many people. Your family, your friends, but also your co-workers, and anyone you interact with during your day. If you’re a dick at the coffee shop you could ruin somebody’s day. If you whine about someone not understanding something in the check-in at the airport, then you’re not exactly contributing to society, are you? Everything you do have consequences. Most of those consequences are irrelevant, some just appear so because you just don’t know better. So trying to be the best you possible isn’t such a pompous thing after all. At least that’s what I believe. Which doesn’t mean that I’m succeeding at living my life like that, but I can only try, and that’s true for you too.

    Thinking about my day, just processing it and putting it down in words, possibly a photo or three (I’m pretty into photography at times, as you might’ve noticed), helps me be a better person. Or rather, it helps me realize when I haven’t been, and perhaps do better next time. That’s the plan, at least.

    I’ve written things I’m not proud of, because I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’ve forced myself to accept things I really didn’t want to believe. I’ve lied to myself for days, because I didn’t want to accept the truth, but ultimately journaling has forced me to face situations head on, and go from there. Done right, this is both easy and hard.

    Or maybe you live your life better than I do. That’s always a possibility.

    I’m keeping two journals. The one I’m talking about above is private. You can’t see it, no one can. It’s for me, it’ll die with me. I don’t want anyone to find those words, ever. Some things should disappear, like conversations they’re ephemeral when no one remembers anymore. There’s beauty to that.

    The second journal is my lifehack to write more. You might’ve seen it, it’s public on this very site. It’s not as personal obviously, but I do want to be honest in there, much like everywhere else. This particular journal exists for two reasons, one coincidental, and one very much calculated.

    The blog is dead. Remember that nonsense? That said, yes, social media has ripped a big hole in the ecosystem that I stepped into back in the day, when sites like the Blog Herald (where I ended up the editor in the end) had something to write about. It was a thing, the blog and the tech behind it – no matter what publishing solution you preferred back in the day – really did help democratize online publishing. Your words might’ve been at the mercy of search engines, but that’s nothing compared to the Facebook algorithm or soap-boxing to deaf ears on Twitter.

    There’s a movement today, about reclaiming your online self. I’ve written about this so many times that it’s boring even me, but it is as important today as it ever was. Don’t be the product, be yourself. That sort of thing. So there’s some buzzing going on, some “we’re doing this now, look at us”, and some genuin reactions based on actual realizations. I don’t care what camp you’re in, if you’re doing your own thing, owning your online presence first and foremost, then I’m in your corner. Feed and syndicate, cross-post however you like, but own yourself. That’s all I’m saying.

    And just saying it is obviously not enough, hence the daily journal entries.

    That’s the coincidental reason. The calculated one is solving a problem my new life, post-agency sale, awarded me. I’ve been struggling with finding time to write, but more importantly, I’ve lacked the energy. That’s very unlike me, and it might hint at the fact that I’m getting older (perish the thought!), but there you have it.

    I used to be a pretty efficient writer. Days of 5,000 words were in no way flukes, I could have weeks and months where that just happened. Two weeks and the first draft is done, that sort of thing. If there’s an idea (there’s always and idea), and if there’s time (there’s always time, if you make the time), and finally, if there’s energy (ah, shit…), I’ll blast through just about anything.

    I’ve been lacking the energy. Life has sucked it out of me, literally.

    I hated it. Still do, because life is still a vampire firmly attached to my arterial vein.

    So my second reason for writing a journal is to kick said vampire in the nuts. Or uterus, I’m unclear of its gender, but there’s definitely a kick in there somewhere. Writing a journal every morning has proven to be an effective word lubricant. No, I don’t always manage to get any writing in, not at a daily basis, that’s step two and it’s tied to the time aspect – that I can manage – but I do want to write every day. That’s something I haven’t felt in a long time. I’ve got the energy to write again, and it’s all down to those journal entries, the blog posts of yore if you will. A writer’s lifehack, well-used in various ways by more people than I care to admit, because I’m just happy that it works for me.

    I’m writing again. Translating Ashen Sky to Swedish, mapping out novels, getting ready to edit manuscripts, thinking about new things with optimism.

    For me, that’s huge.

    I believe that keeping a journal is a good idea. You could focus it on a part of your life, maybe your progress in the gym (I’ve got one of those too) or your running, or it’s about your sex life, your relationships, your children, or everything else. I wouldn’t know, it could be literally everything, a diary of your dirty life and times. It matters less, as long as you’re honest when you do it, because that’s when you can learn something along the way.

    Write your journal in an app, on your computer or your phone, buy and overpriced notebook and write it there, scratch it into the prison wall, whatever you feel comfortable with. Put the words down and learn from them, now and a year from now, and possibly more. Who knows? I sure as hell don’t, and neither do you, until it happens.

    You can keep a journal for many reasons, but only one actually matters. You’re keeping a journal for you.

  • The reMarkable

    The reMarkable

    Regular readers know all about my obsession with e-ink devices. From my dreams about an e-ink typewriter, later realized in the Freewrite, to various e-ink readers, it should be fairly obvious that I find e-ink fascinating. It’s also no surprise that the reMarkable would catch my eye.

    The reMarkable is an e-ink tablet with a stylus that’s meant for taking notes, drawing, marking up documents, and obviously reading. Some of these things work really well, while others are just bad. The device is roughly the size of an A4 paper, white and plastic. It’s not a super premium device or anything, but I don’t mind the feel of the plastic and the buttons feel okay. The €629 price tag is a bit steep though, but I’ll allow it since this device is one of a kind, so to speak. I’ll even accept the slowness of the screen when it needs to refresh, because that’s e-ink for you, and the lack of background lighting. Also, worth knowing, is that if your documents are getting big, undo/redo load times increase to the point where they can get annoying.

    I’ve been using the reMarkable for a couple of months now, not just a quick test, and it’s found its way into my workflow. More on that later, but first, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way: If you want an e-ink tablet for reading, this isn’t it. Yes, it works, but it’s not a particularly good alternative. The format’s all wrong, it’s cumbersome, the interface is horrible, and I just plain hate it. If you want to mark up PDFs or paper scans, thus getting something from the larger device footprint, you should also forget about the reMarkable and get yourself an iPad.

    To be fair, that exact advice can be offered for anything you can do with the reMarkable. An iPad Pro, like the 10” model I’m typing on at the moment, can – with a Pencil – do everything the reMarkable can. Better, even.

    And yet, the reMarkable is on my desk and gets used a lot more for note-taking and scribbles than the iPad Pro. Why is that?

    First of all, I have a soft spot for devices that do one thing well. That’s everything a smartphone or typical tablet isn’t. They’re multi-functional monster computers, entertainment machines, typewriters, books and magazines, and the whole bloody internet in your hand. Meanwhile, the reMarkable is digital paper.

    I like the digital paper idea. Single purpose devices can be motivated if their existence adds something special. The texture when the stylus hits the e-ink screen might not be identical to paper – alas no – but it’s a lot closer than the hard glass of an iPad Pro. Add to the fact that the reMarkable is close to the iPad Pro when it comes to picking up whatever you choose to write or draw, and you’ve got a pretty nifty little thing right there. Feature-wise, the note taking and drawing alternatives on the reMarkable are laughable compared to the apps available for iOS and Android. That’s beside the point, because the reMarkable feels right. Despite the stylus, I must add, because it’s on the light and cheap side compared to Apple’s Pencil.

    There’s something to be said about owning another gadget that performs worse than one you already got, just because it feels right. In general, I’d scoff at the notion, being a person who’d like to cut down on “stuff” rather than add to the pile. And yet, the reMarkable is a part of my workflow now. There are several reasons I could list for you:

    • Single purpose devices offer no distractions.
    • The feel of stylus on the screen is more akin to paper and thus I type and write better.
    • It’s something new and curious, a great ice-breaker in meetings.
    • The paper-sized screen is more suitable for taking notes.
    • It’s cheaper than getting an iPad Pro with a Pencil.

    That’s all well and good, but not really relevant.

    Truth be told, I just plain like the reMarkable. It’s the paper metaphor I’m sure, but it does unlock something in my mind. My notes in meetings are more vivid, I use it to barrel through logical problems when developing, and I like that it can just sit there on the desk, waiting for me to put stylus to screen. The iPad never did that for me, because I use it for so much more. It’s the same reason for having a notebook to scribble notes in, the difference is that the reMarkable won’t run out of paper, and my notes are synced. I had an extra iPad for a while but that was just too excessive.

    This. This works for me. Remarkable, isn’t it?

  • iPhone X

    iPhone X

    There’s something horrible about writing a post on the latest smartphone from Apple. It’s such a luxurious gadget, so over the top unnecessary, that I almost feel bad for getting it. Which is obviously ridiculous, since my previous model has found a new home, and so it goes until these precious pieces of tech don’t work anymore. We’re not ruining the world as long as we pass our stuff forward, right?

    Be that as it may, a $1,149 phone is sort of mind-boggling. That’s a computer, two computers, or five, or whatever, depending on what you think is decent enough to be called a computer. Personally I’m struggling with this, which is such a weird thing coming from someone tapping away on an iPad Pro… I’m not blessed or anything, I’m just gadgetally inclined. My bank account hates me for it.

    I don’t hate the iPhone X though. It’s the best bloody phone – sorry, portable computer – that Apple has ever made. I love the fact that it’s smaller and yet bigger than before. Face ID is magic, the build quality is amazing, the camera(s) are what you expect from The Next iPhone, and, well, yeah. It’s great. Next generation. It has the wow factor.

    You shouldn’t get it.

    Again, best iPhone ever, which – honestly – means best phone ever. Period.

    But the money, oh all that money! Chances are that you, if you’re contemplating the iPhone X when your contract runs out, already have a decent phone. The battery might be struggling, running dry even, and it’s starting to get sluggish.

    Restart it. Reset it. Try again.

    You see, while I can’t help myself, you could be stronger. Don’t swap out your stuff just because hey new shiny!!! hits you. There was literally nothing wrong with my iPhone 7 Plus (now removed from my setup), it was – is – a great phone. The iPhone X might be better, but my iPhone 7 Plus was more than enough. I never wanted more power, not really. I did want a smaller phone, and I got that, but the rest is just gravy.

    Sweet, sweet gravy.

    Where was I? Oh yeah.

    Save your money. Consider what you need, then reconsider, and ask yourself if a new phone will make you happier.

    I didn’t do that. I’ve got the iPhone X by my side. It’s amazing, but it doesn’t make me happy. On the other hand, owning it doesn’t make me sad either. It’s just one of those things, another gadget that’s better than the last, that won’t change my life.

    But it sure is the best iPhone ever.