🎄 Birch Bark Issue 46

No, a holiday won't stop me from sending out fun links!

Image via Reddit

Merry Christmas Eve! The below email looks a little different today, and that’s because we’re officially moved over to Substack for Birch Bark. Why? Quite simply, Substack allows me to make this email quicker than ever before, which is enormously valuable for me.

If you have any questions, please hit me up at matt@birchbark.email. Until net time then, happy holidays and I’ll see you here on January 1!





Is it me?

Starry night embroidered



The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth (2010)


2020 Ipsum - This Lorem Ipsum generator puts a fitting 2020 spin on this classic type of generator. Or…

Lorem ipsum storm Area 51 frontline workers whipped coffee stay-at-home order you're on mute. Zoom call my camera is off into quarantine.

Things you’re allowed to do - A particularly inspiring list going into a new year that for the first time in forever is guaranteed to be different from the year that just ended.

To Serve Better Ads, We Built Our Own Data Program

In June of 2020, The New York Times launched an advertising data program for our direct-sold ads business that uses our own data and data science techniques. This first-party program is our answer to the shifting landscape of online advertising data and part of our move to better protect our readers’ privacy. Our program doesn’t rely on third-party data or cookies, but instead focuses only on what readers do on our site and mobile apps.

How Nikola Lazarevic creates photorealistic objects in Sketch

I think the most important thing is the proper use of light and textures. You won’t believe what can be achieved using Gradients, Shadows, Inner Shadows, and Gaussian Blur — they all help make an object look real.

I have resigned from the Google AMP Advisory Committee

I remain convinced that AMP is poorly implemented, hostile to the interests of both users and publishers, and a proprietary & unnecessary incursion into the open web.

I am glad that I tried to make it better, but I’m sad to have failed.

Facebook: Free as in Bullshit

It’s an unfortunate quirk of the English language that free as freedom and free as in beer are very different meanings of free. But when you see an ad headlined “Apple vs. The Free Internet”, most people would assume they’re about to hear an argument about free as in freedom.

Not Facebook. They’re arguing about free as in beer. I mean, they’re alleging that Apple is taking away freedom — the freedom of small business advertisers to benefit from unrestricted tracking for ad targeting — but their argument to the public is that such privacy initiatives will cost users their free beer.

New York Times Retracts Core Of Hit Podcast Series 'Caliphate' On ISIS

The New York Times has retracted the core of its hit 2018 podcast series Caliphate after an internal review found the paper failed to heed red flags indicating that the man it relied upon for its narrative about the allure of terrorism could not be trusted to tell the truth.

WallCreator 2.0 - This Shortcut from Federico Viticci is ridiculously good. Not only can it generate dynamic wallpapers for you on the fly, it now supports automation, so you can set a new wallpaper overnight and wake up to something new everyday. Amazing!

It's Not Just Cyberpunk, Video Games Need to Take Epilepsy More Seriously

One big question unanswered, even after CD Projekt RED acknowledged their mistake: how did this happen? Even if this issue slipped past CD Projekt RED, shouldn't Microsoft and Sony, who have "certification" processes to approve games on their platforms, caught it?

The Spark: The Last Jedi, Three Years Later

For all the science fiction jargon, proper nouns and lore Star Wars throws at you, the terms that really matter are the simplest: rebellion, faith, hope. From the simplest entries to the most convoluted, the cinematic stories are driven by one thing and one thing only, pathos.