🎵 Birch Bark Issue #72

It's the music issue!

Hello! It’s music week again and instead of recommending a few albums I’ve been enjoying, this time I’m sharing an hour-long playlist with a bunch of great music that I’m enjoying this summer. The only rule for this playlist is that every song had to come out in 2021, so no oldies here, just new stuff!

Check out the playlist on Apple Music here, but I’ve included the full track list below if you’d like to find some of it on Spotify or wherever else you get music.

  1. How Dare You Want More - Bleachers

  2. Bad Dream - Cannons

  3. The Walls are Way Too Thin - Holly Humberstone

  4. Paradise - James Vincent McMorrow

  5. good 4 u - Oliva Rodrigo

  6. Lovers - Roosevelt

  7. Carpenter - Islands

  8. Be Sweet - Japanese Breakfast

  9. Questions - Middle Kids

  10. 15 Minutes - Julian Lamadrid

  11. Anxious - bennytheghost

  12. I Ran Away - Dinosaur Jr.

  13. Overexposed - Jelani Aryeh

  14. Trouble’s Coming - Royal Blood

  15. Feel the Love - Daði Freyr

  16. Close to You - Dayglow

  17. Pinky Ring - Remember Sports

  18. Relative Fiction - Julien Baker

  19. Hesitating Nation - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah


The top link this week is clearly iPod.js, which lets you play Apple Music and Spotify in an old iPod interface. It’s brilliant.

What the Hell Is Going on in the Classroom?

And one of the things that’s become clear since then is that this controversy is a concerted right-wing Astroturf campaign to link Critical Race Theory to national talking points. So it’s not localized, it’s national. It’s similar to the massive resistance in the 1960s around desegregating schools in Virginia. This time, we have massive resistance to integrating curriculum. It is a national issue.

I think this is a totally fair comparison. Literally making it illegal to talk about this stuff in the classroom is some serious government overreach, but I don’t see conservatives rising up against this 🤷🏻‍♂️

Phil Schiller in an email to Steve Jobs and Eddie Cue in 2011:

If someday down the road we will be changing 70/30, then I think the question moves from ‘if to “when” and “how”. I’m not suggesting we do anything differently today, only that whenever we make a change we do it from a position of strength rather than weakness.

Schiller also brings up reducing Apple’s cut of App Store payments once it becomes a $1 billion business, but his point about making changes from a position of strength has gone out the window. Apple is going to have to change due to the proposed legislation going through Congress right now, whether said legislation passes or not. The company could have chosen to look magnanimous and earn good will from developers, merchants, creators, and the general public, but they had to juice that services revenue, I guess.

Nostalgia still sells – but not when it comes to checkout

Tap on Phone technology democratizes the point of sale by turning the smartphone a business owner already owns into an acceptance device. Customers simply tap their contactless-enabled card or mobile wallet against the business’s Android smartphone to make a payment.


With partners like NMI, Celero Commerce, and Global Payments Inc., Mastercard has been continuing to scale our Cloud Tap on Phone next generation acceptance products with a new host of pilots, including Glen Ellyn Sweet Shoppe.

I happen to work at NMI, and this is some of the most exciting payment tech I’ve seen in recent years. Removing the need to have a separate card reader is huge! Not only does it provide a better experience for the merchant and customer, but it’s a huge cost saver for merchant who may not be able to pay the sometimes massive cost of dedicated card readers.

I can also say that we are gutted that we can only run this on Android. The vast majority of mobile phones and tablets used as POS devices are iPhones and iPads, so not being able to bring this tech to those users sucks.

I’m a sucker for nice typography, and Adobes winners of their 36daysoftype contest are fantastic!


I think there’s still time for some videos, so let’s jump into it!

I went down a rabbit hole this week with watching people get their beards trimmed and it’s super satisfying. There are a bunch of videos similar to this, but this is the one that got me going down this path.

My other rabbit hole has been custom keyboard videos, which I get a real ASMR vibe from. That said, Glarses’s channel is not like that at all, and is the keyboard comedy YouTube channel you didn’t know you needed in your life.

I’m not a part of the “there’s something better about film cameras” crowd, but working the photo counter at Walgreens was my first job and this look at how they develop film in 2020 is a great piece of nostalgia, but also a cool example of how they’re modernizing the process in a few interesting ways.