The Matrix is back! (Birch Bark #83)

Sorry this is late! I did the old “select PM instead of AM in the time picker” thing 🤦‍♂️

The Big Links

The Next Chapter of Readwise: Our Own Reading App

Currently, our reading app (which we refer to as "Reader" for the time being) is a more powerful, more flexible version of the classic read-it-later app. If you've used Instapaper or Pocket, it's like those except it's built for 2021 and beyond.

Readwise has been on my radar for a while now, and I tried it out a few months ago, but it didn’t connect with me. It was all about saving highlights as you read and getting them to sync to your other apps. This was fine and all, but that’s more work than I typically put into my reading, so it wasn’t that appealing. I like the idea of doing this, but practically it’s a stupid thing for me to spend a monthly fee for right now.

But a combination reader and read-later app intrigues me. I use Inoreader right now for RSS and Pinboard for saving links for later, and they’re both good, but I’d be lying if a unified tool didn’t appeal to me. If this Readwise Reader is good, I might have some workflows to update.

Why Metal Gear Solid Remains Hyper-Relevant Today

Twenty years later, the ideas of living your life online, of digital manipulation of media for political gain, how emotionality and traditional masculinity interacted, and environmentalism all ring even more true. In 2001 there were hints of these things changing in 2001, and game director Hideo Kojima was all over them at a time when video games were a lot less introspective or comfortable commenting on the real world. It’s a testament to this game that most of it (there is some humor that’s a bit cringy) rings very true today.

There are folks who really hate on Hideo Kojima, but I’ll remind you that Death Stranding is more relevant today than it was just 2 years after it was released, and Metal Gear Solid 2 also shares that “ahead of its time” distinction. He’s a bit wild and he doesn’t always hit, but he’s a truly unique, gifted voice, and I’m so glad he’s able to make video games.

The Quickies


Great breakdown on the Oliva Rodrigo/Paramore thing, along with some good musical theory context why these “X stole from Y” controversies are usually pretty overblown.

Do you like Metal Gear Solid and have 2.5 hours handy? Then this history of the entire franchise is well worth your time!

Remember that Verge video about building a PC that got roasted a few years ago? LTT got the guy who did that video on to build one together and it was lovely.

This is a bit simplified, but it is a good overview of how credit cards and card transactions work. So much happens in between you tapping your card to a terminal and getting that “approved” message.

I did a quick retrospective on the iPhone 12 Pro right before the new ones are announced next week.

And finally, there is a new Matrix trailer out and what am I going to do, not link to it even though I know you’ve already seen it if you wanted to see it?