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Music Mends Broken Hearts
Follow The Staff
01/09/13 at 01:50 PM by Jason Tate
You love AP.net and I'm sure you already follow all our social sites, right? Well, there can't be to much of a good thing ... and most of the AP.net staff are also on a variety of social platforms. They're definitely worth following for a variety of takes on not just music - but anything that crosses their minds.

Jason Tate
chorus.fm
twitter.com/jason_tate
facebook.com/apdotnet
instagram.com/jasontate
rdio.com/absolutepunk

Drew Beringer
thrillwaukee.tumblr.com
twitter.com/drewberinger
facebook.com/drewberinger
instagram.com/drewberinger
last.fm/user/DrewBeringer

Keagan Ilvonen
facebook.com/keagan.ilvonen
twitter.com/keaganilvonen
instagram.com/keaganilvonen
last.fm/user/keagan2387
keaganilvonen.tumblr.com

Ryan Gardner
facebook.com/RyanGardnerC
twitter.com/RyanGardnerC
ryangardner.tumblr.com
last.fm/user/ThisMusic193
linkedin.com/pub/ryan-gardner/60/35b/888

Dre Okorley
twitter.com/thatmassivewolf
instagram.com/massivewolf
tumblr.com/dreokorley

Kyle Huntington
twitter.com/KyHunt
instagram.com/kyhunt

Alex Divincenzo
alexislegend.com
twitter.com/alexislegend
alexislegend.tumblr.com
facebook.com/alexdivincenzo
last.fm/user/alexislegend

Gregory Robson
gregrobson.net
facebook.com/gregory.robson
• twitter.com/gregoryrobson
• linkedin.com/pub/gregory-robson/13/311/8b

Jake Denning
twitter.com/jake_denning
jdenning.tumblr.com
last.fm/user/Jake_denning

Christian Wagner
twitter.com/gbchristian
facebook.com/christianjwagner
linkedin.com/in/christianjwagner

Blake Solomon
facebook.com/blakesolomon
last.fm/user/blindshoes
blakesolomon.com
wh1tesocks.tumblr.com

Thomas Nassiff
twitter.com/ThomasNassiff
facebook.com/Thomas.nassiff
instagram.com/thomasnassiff
headabovewater.tumblr.com

Andy Biddulph
twitter.com/IamAndySB

Lueda Alia
facebook.com/alueda
twitter.com/alueda
instagram.com/alueda
heyyda.tumblr.com
last.fm/user/catchinstars

Scott Weber
facebook.com/scottweber
twitter.com/scottyweebs
instagram.com/scottyweebs
last.fm/user/scottweber

Paul Tao
facebook.com/paultao
instagram.com/paultao
twitter.com/paultao
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Reminder
12/28/12 at 11:58 AM by Jason Tate
Just a reminder that I've been updating my personal blog quite a bit lately, please check it out.
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Chorus.fm
12/15/12 at 11:33 AM by Jason Tate
After over two-thousand and three hundred blog posts here ... I've decided to move a lot of my personal (read: non-music) related writing to a new page. I've set that up over at Tumblr. The main reasons for doing this can be found in the first entry -- but the main gist is that I want a place I can feel more free to write about anything I feel like, even if it's not music related, and have a lot more freedom to play around with the layout, design, typography, and style. I've already got a few things up over there - and that includes my first "linked list" (previously known as stuff/shit worth reading) that you can check out.

So yeah, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop writing here - I probably still will from time to time (especially about anything related to this website or music); however, for right now (at least until APv3 gets off the ground) - I feel like playing around with some other tools that give me a little more freedom to write.
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First Impressions: Blink-182 - Dogs Eating Dogs
12/14/12 at 10:33 PM by Jason Tate
It still feels strange to hear new music from Blink-182. I’m not sure what it is … maybe it’s because they’re the band that started me down a path that completely changed my life. Without having heard them, I am really not sure where I would have ended up. Or maybe it’s just because after their ‘hiatus’ I had relegated myself to not really expecting to ever hear new music from them again. So now … when I first hit play on a new Blink-182 song … I get this indescribable feeling that washes over me, almost as though I shouldn’t really be hearing this. Like it’s a dream of a dream. It’s weird.

Anyway — how’s the new EP? Damn good. These guys just flat out know how to write songs. They have combined the sound from the Untitled album with the path they walked down on Neighborhoods - and have put together a 5 song EP that any fan should be proud to add to their collection. It’s strange to have an EP from this band … you’re used to having a full album to digest and work through, and here - there’s no wasted space or time. ”When I Was Young” opens the album with a track that would have fit right at home on the band’s last album. The production sounds crisp (although I’m sure someone out there is going to complain about it anyway) and I love the energy the band brings to the table. Look, we’re not getting any lyrical masterpieces here, we’re getting Blink-182 doing what they do best: writing catchy rock songs that you want to sing along with your friends and relate to. At this, they succeed in spades.

The title track sounds like it could have been a lost +44 song and has a pace in the vein of “Go” or “Hearts All Gone” … I’ve always had a thing for Hoppus’ led songs … and this is no exception. I think most Blink fans will say that the best tracks are the ones where both Mark and Tom are singing on — and that’s easily my favorite part of this EP because of how frequently we get to hear them going back and forth.

“Boxing Day” ended up being my least favorite on the EP - and by now I’m sure you’ve heard it — but the true highlight, in my opinion, is “Pretty Little Girl.” It may just end up being the most polarizing song from the band in a long while (I’m old enough to remember when “What’s My Age Again” and “Feeling This” were polarizing). Sure, it contains like 15 seconds of Yeowolf saying something I can’t remember — but besides that it’s got a great hook, great melody, and is arguably the best song the band’s written since they’ve reunited. With each listen to the EP I find myself getting excited for this one the most. I love how Tom says “what a crazy world, pretty little girl …”

I would say that I don’t see any reason that Blink fans should be disappointed in this release … but then I thought the same after hearing Neighborhoods. I still maintain that that is a good album with a lot of good songs. I’m not really sure what’s happened since the hiatus, but I feel like a lot of “fans” are looking to over analyze and pick on any little thing the band does. Is Tom happy? Did they record together? Who is in the producer seat? Yadaydayadya. Sure, there are some valid complaints with the last album - which I don’t, personally, think lived up to the greatness of their Untitled — but let’s also be real here: we shouldn’t be dissecting every single fucking thing about a Blink-182 album.

Do the songs sound good? Check. Can I sing them with friends on road trips? Check. The band’s growing up, and I’ve grown up with them. I’m not looking for much more.
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Replacing Evernote and Tweetbot's Icons
12/03/12 at 12:56 PM by Jason Tate
I like aesthetics. I'm the guy that obsesses over pixels. The one holding my computer up at weird angles, measuring the distance and spacing between lines on the screen in a layout. I know there's a tad bit of irony in this when looking at a website that was mostly written in 2005. Heh, but putting that all aside ... I really just wanted to share two icon changes that make the aesthetic nerd in me happier with my dock. Yeah, it's one of those blogs. As you probably know from my "favorite apps" blog posts, I really like Evernote and Tweetbot. I, however, hate their respective icons. They're just ugly.

So, I replaced them (many people don't know how to do this). Here's the two I use instead:


Figured I'd share with anyone else that may like them.

Download: Evernote - Tweetbot
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Stuff Worth Reading: November 29th, 2012
11/29/12 at 03:16 PM by Jason Tate
It's the time of the day where I can update the blog with some cool stuff I think everyone should check out and read. First up I have a few additions to my "Mac/iOS Recommendation" post, as well as a few updates to my "I recommend everything" post. I've posted the updates below, and edited them in to the respective entries as well.

iPhone App Additions

Fantastical
NoteI've used Fantastical on my Mac for quite a long time. I love the easy to use menu bar feature, the ability to enter things into the calendar in plain text, and the simple interface. I use my iPhone calendar far more though -- so I was wary of wanting to switch over and use something new. Feared that it would mess up my daily workflow. Just the opposite. It's the best calendar app for the iPhone yet, and I love it. Immediately became the default calendar app on my dock. Works great, looks great, and gives me a huge view of all the stuff on my calendar each day. Perfect.


iPad App Additions

Padgram
NoteThe best Instagram client I've found for the iPad. The interface is well done, and it works just like it should. Tried a bunch of different ones, and this is the one that I believe to be the best.


Mac App Additions

ClipMenu
NoteI kinda feel this should be a default feature of OSX. It makes it so that when you hit Command+Shift+V you get a little menu that displays the last 10 or so things you've copied to the clipboard. How many times do you copy three or four things and need more than just the last one? I do it daily. Took me a little bit to customize it so that it looks minimal and how I need it ... but now it's one of the most used apps on my computers.


More Product Recommendations

Stumptown Coffee
NoteIt's from Portland, and it's just flat out my favorite coffee. Highly recommended.


--- Ok, now on to today's links and things worth reading ---

Note: As always, italics are me.

NPD: U.S. Windows Device Sales Down 21% On Last Year; Windows 8 Tablet Sales “Almost Non-Existent”
U.S. sales of Windows devices in the last month are down by 21% compared to the same period a year ago, with Windows-powered notebooks — generally in decline since the rise of tablets and smartphones — down by 24%. Desktop devices were down, too, but less, at 9%.

It gets worse. Microsoft has make a big bet on the touchscreen and tablets with Windows 8, but so far, NPD’s Stephen Baker says that Windows 8 tablet sales “have been almost non-existent.”

Well, this is not a good start.
iTunes 11 is Here
So far, I've loved it. Think it's a great redesign and much, much better. I still mostly use Rdio for music though.
The Strategy Behind Those Obama Emails
Most of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising e-mails. During the campaign, Obama’s staff wouldn’t answer questions about them or the alchemy that made them so successful. Now, with the election over, they’re opening the black box.
Which Bond Villan Plans Would Have Worked?
So, could they have succeeded? If James Bond hadn’t foiled these plots, could these Bond villains have fulfilled their dreams of financial glory? We looked through their schemes, and asked Jean-Jacques Dethier, a development economist at the World Bank (and a lifelong Bond fan), what he thought.
Obama's Economic Policy in 8 Charts
If you look at President Obama's biography and policies, you see one unifying theme more than any other: Obama wants to reduce income inequality.

His policies seem designed to achieve other objectives. The 2009 stimulus sought to end the recession. The 2010 Affordable Care Act strove to expand health-care coverage as widely as possible. And in the upcoming tax policy debate, Obama is seeking to shrink the nation's deficits over time. But in each case, Obama is also trying to reverse three decades of growing income disparity in the United States.

Here's the story of Obama's approach to inequality in eight charts.
Lost Writers Were Making It All Up As They Went Along
I was saying this from the start - and it's one of the reasons I think the show was dramatically overhyped. They put all this shit together and didn't tie it all up. The mythology wasn't well crafted, the stories weren't well designed, and in the end it was a giant clusterfuck. Planning is key in something like this ... and I've always felt Lost was the most overrated show of all time.
You're Not Forced to Pirate
Realistically, nobody’s going to stop you from pirating it, but you can’t argue that you’re justified in pirating it. Admit it: you’re ripping it off, it’s morally questionable at best (and illegal), but you don’t care. You’re pirating a TV show because you don’t want to pay for it or wait for it to become available in the ways you want. You’re not making any kind of statement or participating in a movement — you’re just being cheap and/or impatient. If you don’t have the fortitude to cope with that, then don’t pirate.

I actually agree with a lot of this. I just flat out know most people are impatient. I know I am. I am impatient as shit. I own every single Breaking Bad episode on DVD, and watch them on Netflix as well ... that's my "justification" for not wanting to wait when the new episodes air until it hits iTunes or DVD. But I also know it's kinda a load of shit on my part. Also, see the follow-up post about this, it's also good.
Currently listening to: My Chemical Romance (One/Two), Japandroids, Foo Fighters, Radiohead.
Tags: linked list
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Stuff Worth Reading: November 28th, 2012
11/28/12 at 01:34 PM by Jason Tate
Before I tackle email today, I've got a few things worth sharing from around the internet. I've got some other updates that hopefully I can find a time to get written up too ... but, honestly, I am searching for more hours in each day as it is. I always thought when I got older I'd work less ... basically at 29 my body is telling me a giant fuck you. Not gonna happen anytime soon. But when I can steal some time to get things added to this blog, I definitely will. I am thinking of putting together a Tumblr for personal stuff as well, would be nice to have a place to be able to import all of this stuff and post photos/pictures/videos and the like ... but in a better layout and more sharability and better updates. Meh, maybe someday.

Currently playing: Young the Giant, Muse, Cartel, Andy Burrows, Japandroids.

Note: Italics are me.

Interview with Christopher Nolan
For me, The Dark Knight Rises is specifically and definitely the end of the Batman story as I wanted to tell it, and the open-ended nature of the film is simply a very important thematic idea that we wanted to get into the movie, which is that Batman is a symbol. He can be anybody, and that was very important to us. Not every Batman fan will necessarily agree with that interpretation of the philosophy of the character, but for me it all comes back to the scene between Bruce Wayne and Alfred in the private jet in Batman Begins, where the only way that I could find to make a credible characterization of a guy transforming himself into Batman is if it was as a necessary symbol, and he saw himself as a catalyst for change and therefore it was a temporary process, maybe a five-year plan that would be enforced for symbolically encouraging the good of Gotham to take back their city. To me, for that mission to succeed, it has to end, so this is the ending for me, and as I say, the open-ended elements are all to do with the thematic idea that Batman was not important as a man, he’s more than that. He’s a symbol, and the symbol lives on.

Absolutely dead on with how I think it should be, and how it should end. Great, great trilogy.
David Simon: Stray Penises and Politicos
Hypocrisy will never go out of style in American journalism or American life. But sitting there and watching the rewrite and sports desk mobilize to surround the sexual wanderings of a sportscaster, I remember making a decision: Enough. This is just sex. This is nothing more than the odd, notable penis or the odd, notable vagina staggering off the marked path and rubbing against the wrong tree. This is just people.
How James Bond Got His Gun
Letters of Note has the story behind how Bond came to carry a Walther PPK instead of a Beretta, as well as how Q came to be named Major Boothroyd.
Your Brand Should Piss Someone Off
Polarization is good. Traveling the middle road, as broad and tempting as it may be, is always and unequivocally bad. Like people, brands are defined by the company they keep. But they’re also defined by the company they don’t keep.

This is so spot on that I am almost afraid of posting it here because maybe it'll convince the other vanilla music blogs to stop being boring. Everyone has their opinions. Embrace them. You may not piss anyone off if you don’t, but no one will remember you either.


Minimalistic Web Design
The reality is that minimalism in site design is almost always a good practice to follow. So long as your website is able to maintain easy to use, intuitive functionality, there should be no problem with keeping its look and function as clutter free as possible in all cases. The basic definition of a minimalist design is one which strips down a website to its bare essentials of needed function. Since in most cases your visitors aren’t coming to your page for the sake of admiring its look, you’re almost certainly alright in maintaining a website that follows even an intensely minimalist layout and function.
Radical.FM Takes on Spotify
But while companies like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio build out businesses based on advertising and subscription services, Radical.FM is trying something a little different: in the spirit of public radio, it’s pushing its catalog of 20 million tracks in a wholly-listener-supported model to fund its operations.
Republicans vs Science
“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point,” wrote psychology legend Leon Festinger, who pioneered early work on motivated cognition, the study of stubbornness.
In Silicon Valley, Technology Talent Gap Threatens G.O.P. Campaigns
It does not require an algorithm to deduce that the sort of employees who might be willing to donate substantial money to a political campaign might also be those who would consider working for it.

If Democrats have the support of 80 percent or 90 percent of the best and brightest minds in the information technology field, then it shouldn’t be surprising that Mr. Obama’s information technology infrastructure was viewed as state-of-the-art exemplary, whereas everyone from Republican volunteers to Silicon Valley journalists have critiqued Mr. Romney’s systems. Mr. Romney’s get-out-the-vote application, Project Orca, is widely viewed as having failed on Election Day, perhaps contributing to a disappointing Republican turnout.
Does Advertising Help or Hurt the Economy?
This isn't a totally theoretical argument. Over the years, a few U.S. states have considered taxing ads. The Florida legislature passed such a tax in 1987, though it was repealed six months later after an outcry. In 2006, Pennsylvania mulled a 6 percent sales tax on advertising. And France has occasionally flirted with the idea.
Grover Norquist's Brilliant Play
Norquist and his pledge changed more than the conversation. They changed American politics. The question isn't how we'll increase taxes and by how much. It's whether we'll increase taxes. For a Republican to simply consider a tax increase is considered a massive concession. That helps them ultimately agree to less in taxes, as having conceded so much philosophically and politically, they're expected to do less as a matter of policy.
The Abortion Rate Hits All Time Low
No research has found a causal relationship yet. What we know is a correlation: At the same time the abortion rate took a big drop, use of more effective contraceptives had recently increased. That seems like it could be one factor explaining why the abortion rate recently dropped, after years of holding steady.
Black Friday is All Hype
In fact, sales over Thanksgiving weekend tell us virtually nothing about retail sales for the full holiday seasonlet alone anything meaningful about the economy as a whole. Paul Dales of Capital Economics analyzed the relationship between retail sales during the week of Thanksgiving against the overall change in retail sales for November through January. As the chart shows, the relationship is a very weak one, with dots all over the grid. But if there is any conclusion to draw at all, the relationship is actually negative! (That's why the line is sloping downward).
Why The Rich Want To Raise the Retirement Age
If we lifted that cap, if we made all income subject to payroll taxes, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that it would do three times as much to solve Social Security's shortfall as raising the retirement age to 70. In fact, it would, in one fell swoop, close Social Security's solvency gap for the next 75 years. That may or may not be the right way to close Social Security's shortfall, but somehow, it rarely gets mentioned by the folks who think they're being courageous when they talk about raising a retirement age they'll never notice.
The Deficit Is Shrinking
That doesn't mean we can wave away the long-term problems with the federal budget simply by continuing on the current course.

But it's also a reminder that part of the reason that the federal deficit has recently hit new heights is because of cyclical factors an outgrowth of the economic downturn and the government's efforts to put the brakes on the recession not just structural ones. And the reason that it's now coming down is that the government has undertaken austerity measures that will remain in place regardless of how lawmakers handle the fiscal cliff.
FAQ: Obamacare
Kind of a must read for those wanting to know all they can about the ACA.
Tax Now or Tax Later
This is going to be the central sticking point of the next month: Obama wants to tax now. Boehner wants to promise to tax later.

Taxing now has a couple of advantages for Obama. For one, it ensures that the question is, "Should we raise taxes on the rich?" rather than the thornier "How should we do tax reform?" For another, the Obama administration doesn't quite trust House Republicans, or Congress in general, to construct a tax reform plan that will raise revenue. They want revenues they can believe in now, because that gives them more leverage to reject tax reforms they don't trust later.

Promising to tax later has a couple of advantages for Boehner. For one, it makes sure the tax revenue isn't locked in before the spending cuts are figured out. For another, it pushes the negotiations out a couple months -- which means they coincide with the next time the country hits the debt ceiling, a crisis that Republicans think will give them added leverage.
Papa Johns Pizza: Shut Up
That won't make Papa John's feel better, and it shouldn't. The Affordable Care Act isn't helpful to their business strategy. Rather, it's helpful to the business strategies of companies that have sought success by paying their workers good wages, giving them reasonable benefits, and delivering a higher quality product. Which should make us feel better.
Has Wal-Mart Been Good Or Bad?
Wal-Mart has become so big and so pervasive that it effectively sets prices for everyone who sells to it, and everyone who competes against it. It has lowered prices for American workers -- even those who don't shop at Wal-Mart -- even as it has done much to destroy the American labor movement and to encourage the offshoring of American jobs. It has changed how goods are shipped, packaged and produced. It has, at different times, encouraged devastating environmental practices and admirable ones. Any accounting of Wal-Mart's effect on workers has to go far beyond a simple look at the wages they themselves pay to their direct workforce.
Tags: linked list
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I Recommend Everything (These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things)
11/23/12 at 04:31 PM by Jason Tate
I'm a pretty obsessive person. Obsessive in the weird way that I am extremely opinionated (shocking, right?) and extremely loyal. When it comes to most things in my life, especially those I use on a daily basis, I nerdily try a bunch of things and figure out which is the best (for me) and then I find myself fiercely loyal until I either 1) am let down by said product, or 2) am introduced to something else that surpasses it. That's why you'll find a bunch of the same kinds of brands and products around my place - and why I know what I like, and I swear but what I know. I've gotten quite a few comments about my Mac/iPhone/iPad app recommendation post from people saying they found some cool stuff in there, and then others asking what I recommend for XYZ. All of that kind of inspired this entire post. It's pretty (ok, very) nerdy and obsessive -- but when people ask for recommendations from now on, I'll have a place to send them. So, yeah ... here's where I recommend basically everything and anything. To make it on this list I have to love it ... no like ... no "I just use it" -- it's gotta be a die-hard consumerism commitment level love.

I'll try and update this when it's warranted.

Technology Stuff

Mac
NoteI own a variety of Apple computers. I have a Mac Pro which I use for my main machine, and it's connected to a Cinema Display. It's the best desktop computer I've ever used. I also own a 11" Mac Book AIR which is the best laptop - by far - that I've ever owned. If I was going to buy things today, I might do things a little differently though. We're getting close to where the MacBooks are as powerful as the desktops -- a 16gb RAM Macbook with a retina display, with a huge fusion drive, would probably be enticing -- so that I could only use one machine for absolutely everything that had enough power for my every day use (thunderbolt cinema displays together), and remained very portable. This might be the route I go in another three or four years when I am ready to upgrade - depending where tech is at that time.


Apple TV
NoteI have an Apple TV for the bedroom, and it's great. Best way to watch Netflix, movies/TV on my iTunes library, or AirPlay I've ever found.


Time Capsule
NoteThe entire house is networked using one of these -- it just works. I've had so many wireless routers over the years and none have been this easy to set up and use. The fact that it works as a back-up for all my files is all the more reason it's perfect.


iPhone
NoteSimply the best phone you can buy.


iPad
NoteThe future of personal computing.


InCase
NoteTheir cases for iPhones, iPads, Macs, form fitting sleeves, and bags are all I buy.


Elevation Dock
NoteLooks so great on my desk for charging/displaying the phone during the day. Super minimal; great aesthetic.


Nest Learning Thermostat
NoteWho knew a thermostat could be so sexy? Love being able to see all kinds of data on my energy consumption, love being able to change the temperature from any room in the house with an app or the internet, love how it learns how to adhere to your schedule. And I love how it looks on the wall. Gotten more questions and compliments about this one thing than almost anything else. Um, get one.


Audio-Technica AT-LP120 (Record Player)
NoteIt sounds great (first thing that matters), and it looks great -- I am sold.


Klipsch Image S4i - II
NoteBest headphones I've ever owned.


Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX
NoteThese computer speakers rival most of my friend's home entertainment systems.


Klipsch iGroove SXT
NoteIt's an iPhone (30 pin connector) dock/speaker system that I use in the bedroom. It charges the iPhone when I sleep, and it also lets me listen to music in the bedroom (Rdio app) with extremely impressive sound. Of course, if I was doing this now -- I think I have pickedup a second Elevation Dock, and then the Klipsch AirPlay speakers. I heard these the other day and they're insane. When I finally upgrade my iPhone (maybe the 5S?) I'll think about getting those and putting my old iPhone into this system and using it in another room.


Peripherals
NoteI recommend the Magic Mouse, the Apple Wireless keyboard, and the rechargeable battery pack. I love the PlugBug for charging two devices when I travel, and have the HoverBar attached to my bed for reading/Skyping/controlling the Apple TV in bed with the iPad (holy nerdom).


TotalMount - Apple TV Universal Mounting Kit
NoteI use this to mount the Apple TV to the back of the TV in the bedroom -- works exactly as described.


Panasonic Plasma Viera TV
NoteFor the price, size, look, picture quality -- this is the TV I settled on after all my obsessive testing. Extremely happy with it.


Epson Artisan 730
NoteFor when I need to print (so rare these days) - this is what I use. Great picture quality (plus scanning/copying), wi-fi printing, and it's relatively inexpensive.


Home Products

Zebra F-301
NoteThe only pen I want to use. Yes, I know this takes my obsessive nature to a whole new level.


Jack Black Beard Lube
NoteI hate shaving, this makes it tolerable. I've tried just about everything to find what works best for my skin ... and for me ... this is it.


Neutrogena Men Razor Defense Post Shave Lotion
NoteUm, basically see above.


Z by Malouf Latex Zoned Pillow
NoteYou spend a lot of time in bed if you add it all up -- might as well be comfortable.


Lorell Executive High-Back Chair
NoteI spend a lot of time at my computer -- if I'm not comfortable and it doesn't help my back, I'd be fucked. This makes the long hours not seem so bad, and doesn't look ridiculous


Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap
NoteBasil smell - 'cause it cleans and doesn't smell like girl.


Simple Human X-Frame Laundry Hamper

Yankee Candles
NoteDudes smell. Fact of life. We do. These candles smell good, last a long time, don't look fruity, and make your place not smell for when you have company. Little things matter.


Clothing

Basically all my shirts are from J.Crew. Until their cut doesn't fit anymore, that's what I'm wearing. Shoes are Macbeth (the Gatsbys are my current pair), sandals are Rainbow, sunglasses are Ray-Ban or Persol. Regular glasses are ProDesign. Columbia and North Face make great rain/winter jackets - living in Oregon, I recommend a good water proof shell for the rain, and something warm for the winter. Don't buy umbrellas, you'll look like a tourist.

Misc.

I've only bought one car for myself in my entire life (drove the hand me down Jeep in college), but I couldn't recommend Audi enough. I have an A4, and treat it like it's a person.

If I was going to name movies it should just be an entire post, I don't have nearly enough time for that, so here's the short version: LA Confidential, anything Christopher Nolan has done, ditto for David Fincher.

Same goes for books you should have read, so here's the quick version: Calvin and Hobbes, stuff by Dave Eggers, stuff by Robert Greene, stuff by Dennis Lehane. That covers three different kinds of writing I love. I try and update my blog or twitter when I read new books/see new movies and what I think about them.

And for TV shows: Batman the Animated Series, Arrested Development, The Wire, The West Wing, Veronica Mars, early seasons of The Office, Friends, The Sopranos, Archer, Breaking Bad, Dr. Who, Downton Abby, Dexter, Game of Thrones, Happy Endings, How I Met Your Mother, It's Always Sunny in Philly, Louie, Mad Men, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Sherlock, The Newsroom, Homeland.

When I need things printed, I recommend Costco printing. They've been able to handle any size I've needed done (including all the canvas prints I have in my place), and if you get them a high-res file -- the quality has been extremely impressive for the price.

Food/Drinks

Beer: Bridgeport Brewery, Deschutes, Full Sale, Red Hook, New Belgium. I prefer lagers and IPAs. Ninkasi makes a great IPA. If you're drinking PBR - spit that shit out right now.

Food (in PDX): Mio Sushi, Andina, Portland City Grill, Cha! Cha! Cha!, North 45, Blue Moon (McMenamins).

During the day I drink Xing Tea, Coke, and Florida's Natural OJ.

Stumptown Coffee
NoteIt's from Portland, and it's just flat out my favorite coffee. Highly recommended.


Note: All the links are affilate links with Amazon, so if you buy something from them you support my Christmas shopping. Thank you!
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Movie Recommendation: Safety Not Guaranteed
11/20/12 at 11:33 AM by Jason Tate
If you never saw Safety Not Guaranteed -- this is my post recommending you check it out. Gotta support the little guy, and this was one of those movies that I can't recommend enough. If you like sci-fi, indie-flicks, and a good sentimental quirky comedy -- this is perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving lull with a belly full of turkey.

Grab it on iTunes or Amazon.
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The One Question I Never Want to Answer
11/15/12 at 06:28 PM by Jason Tate
I've been meaning to write this blog for a long time and answer a very weird (to me) question I get from time to time. I get asked often by people what it is that lead to my "success." First, this is odd because I never really consider what I do a "success." I, contrary to popular belief, do try and have a humble outlook on what it is that I do - and know how absolutely blessed it is that I can do this for a "job." When I first started out my only real goal was that I didn't want to ever have a job I hated, working for someone that I didn't want to work for, and doing it only to pay my rent. The manual labor jobs (painted houses), the retail jobs (worked at Borders), and even the web-design work, all left me feeling like my soul was being sucked out of me every single day. I hated it. I had a passion for music and for technology, and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to control my own destiny and - hopefully - if I was lucky - find a way to have a financial independence that allowed me to do what I wanted, when I wanted.

Anyway, to answer this question in a way that I feel is adequate, is very difficult for me -- because, in hindsight, I am unsure if my path was 1) healthy, or 2) something worth sharing in the first place. What I have definitely learned as this is not a blueprint for everyone. But, because I get asked about it frequently enough, I feel like it's important I at least get some thoughts down on the matter and in a place where I can adequately expound upon my answer (and edit it as I see fit over time). Now, for the disclaimer: This is just flat out my thoughts on the subject when I look back and attempt to deconstruct the past 15 years or so of my life. I am in no way saying this is the only way to do things, nor am I even saying it's a good idea -- I'm simply trying to be somewhat introspective and look at what occurred in my life to get me to this point now. Also, I am the first to say that past "successes" (word feels weird to use) mean absolute shit and that the entire timeline of one's life is worth looking at; judge me when I'm dead. I hope that's a long time off, I don't wanna retire anytime soon. But that also means I could be living on the streets next year without two pennies to rub together. We are promised nothing in this life. There are no guarantees. No shortcuts. No easy money. I believe getting hung up on the past and thinking that you're infallible are the absolute biggest problems with stunting future success and innovation. My goal is to always be searching for new answers, new techniques, and new goals through my entire life ... because the moment you think you know it all, or you've "done it" - is the moment you should seriously just quit. Just walk away. Because you're wrong, and you've already committed the biggest sin to progress.

So? What's my advice? This isn't going to be easy. Work. Very. Hard. Now, that's something you've probably heard before, right? But there's a difference between when you hear you need to work hard and what it actually means to do it. There's a difference between thinking there's a sacrifice that needs to be made - and actually having the stomach to go through with it when it shows up. There's talking about leaping blindly off a cliff and assuming you're going to be ok - and the moment when you're airborne. The work ethic that equates what my definition of "working hard" .... is absolutely absurd. It's probably three or four steps, at least, beyond what you think it takes. However, for as long as I can remember I have had one thought that keeps me up at night: That there is someone, somewhere, that is still up, still learning, and still trying to get better at what they do than me. The thought that someone may still be up reading over a coding website to learn a new technique, or prototyping out new community software, or re-thinking sharing/news-feeds/forums ... terrifies me. I have made it my absolute mission to -- no matter what else happens -- never let someone out work me. Never let there be someone out there that wants it more. And it's absolutely ruined my relationships in my life -- with friends, family, and girls. It's been a single focus that has led me to skip birthday parties planned for me, sit on my computer and ignore friends, and spend countless hours reading over any nugget of information I can find that I think could benefit my end goal. I've ended real relationships over the amount of time they took ... because they didn't fit into what I was working on. Healthy? Probably not remotely. However, if there is one thing that I can say with some level of confidence, it's that the only way you really fail is if you give up. It's your decision to quit. So don't.

I can remember nights where I'd be up until 4 in the morning trying to get a gradient to look just right on a button. Or thinking about how all of the pages of the website should interact with one another. I remember passing out on the floor of my office, waking up, opening at Mt. Dew at 6am -- and getting back to work. I spent a year working almost 15 hour days re-writing the entire code of the new website from scratch. Thousands and hundreds of thousands of lines of code. What I didn't already know, I would find in tutorials around the internet - books from the library - or friends in other forums. What wasn't already doable, but I wanted to do? I would figure out how to make it happen ... until it was right, perfect, and exactly the vision I had in my head.

I've met a lot of people over the years that want to talk about giving their all - and being willing to make sacrifices for their dreams. People looking for start-up money or advice about a new project. I can count on one hand the people I've met who were willing to actually do what they said. When it got too tough, or it wasn't easy, they packed in. You have to be willing to take yourself to a level other people just simply aren't willing to go to. Work 10x harder than anyone else ... and leave nothing to chance.

Second, I firmly believe you need to be ready to risk absolutely everything on the next thing. Don't settle. Don't be ok with whatever past successes you have found. Be willing to cannibalize your current projects with new ones. The iPhone destroyed the iPod and became arguably the most important (and profitable) gadget of all time. Do. Not. Settle. Do not get caught in a belief that you've been successful doing what thing, so you don't need to try anything else. You should be willing to take risks, play with the fire, and blow up everything that may have been working (sup cliches) -- if you firmly believe that you can do better. If you believe that you can innovate or iterate into something new and better -- do it. It's that inner belief in spite of everyone else that will power you through. The internal motivation, the inner scorecard -- mean more than the external ones. If you're doing something right, people will tell you're doing it wrong. There will be critics at every single turn and they're going to want to tell you why you'll fail, or what can't work, or why since you're doing something differently than them you are by default "wrong." In the end you've got to be able shut all of that out and focus on what it is that is a success in YOUR MIND. It doesn't matter what they see in the short term -- it matters what you see, and what you want, in the long term. It matters where your definitions are and what your scorecard looks like. Don't let some fucker convince you you're going to fail simply because they're unwilling to ever try. Be ready to play the slow hand ... nothing worth having in this life ever comes easy. It's going to take all of you, and it's going to take the mettle of your entire soul to be able to get through some things. If it was easy, everyone would do it. It's not supposed to be simple. It's not supposed to be easy.

What separates you from "everyone else" is just how far you're willing to go for your dream and vision. And to get to that point you'll need to think a lot about what you really want. I was lucky enough to figure it out relatively young. When it got to a "me or the job" bullshit from girls, I was 20 ... and it was an easy pick. I am honestly not sure if I could make the same decisions at 29 I made at 20. But my tunnel vision was in a different place at 20. I'd be in the middle of writing some portion of a code, have to go to class, and finish writing it from memory on notebook paper, before running back between classes to type it up (man, wish I had a MacBook Air or iPad in college, would have made my life so much easier).

Now, one of the main reasons I've taken a long time to ever write this is because I'm sure there's some completely healthy way to achieve your goals, be happy, and have very little stress or worry (and I bet Leo is the one writing about it) -- and with hindsight I am fairly certain we need to measure success however you want, I don't like the word for that reason; it's a personal metric, not universal. What some view as successful, I don't. What some view as failure, I see as resounding success. And how I view my life - now, tomorrow, or any time in the future - is really only important to me. To be honest, I don't really want anyone to copy me and think that will lead to happiness. It won't. Where you find happiness and therefore, where your success truly lies -- is a journey that you need to find for yourself. I am reminded of, and want to end with, quotes from two of my favorite shows that better showcase exactly how I feel on this topic, hopefully you can work out how they relate on your own -- the first up is from Louie:
"I got my reasons to live, I've worked to figure out what they are, and I'm not just handing them over to you.... If you wanna tap out 'cuz your life is shit, ya know what, it's not your life, it's life ... Life is bigger than you, if you can imagine that. Life isn't something that you possess, it's something that you take part in."
The second from Mad Men:
"People tell you who they are, but we ignore it - because we want them to be who we want them to be. You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself. When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he'll tell you how he got there. How he forgot where he was going, and that he woke up. If you listen, he'll tell you about the time he thought he was an angel or dreamt of being perfect. And then he'll smile with wisdom, content that he realized the world isn't perfect. We're flawed, because we want so much more. We're ruined, because we get these things, and wish for what we had."
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Still One Of My Favorite Songs - Well, Ever
11/15/12 at 02:29 PM by Jason Tate
Well, you're just across the street
Looks a mile to my feet
I wanna go to you
Funny how I'm nervous still
I've always been the easy kill
I guess I'll always be

Could it be that everything goes 'round by chance?
Or only one way that was always meant to be
You kill me, you always know the perfect thing to say
I know what I should do but I just can't walk away

I can picture your face well
From the bar in my hotel
I wish I'd go to you
I'll pick up put down the phone
Like your favorite Heatmeiser song goes
It's just like being alone

Oh god, please don't tell me this has been in vain
I need answers for all of the waiting I've done means
You kill me, you've got some nerve, but can't face your mistakes
I know what I should do but I just can't turn away

So go on love
Leave while there's still hope for escape
Gotta take what you can these days
There's so much ahead
So much regret
I know what you want to say
I know it but can't help feeling differently
I loved you, I should have said it
Tell me, just what has it ever meant?

I can't help it baby, this is who I am
Sorry, but I can't just go turn off how I feel
You kill me, you build me up, but just to watch me break
I know what I should do but I just can't walk away

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Stuff Worth Reading: November 15th, 2012
11/15/12 at 02:13 PM by Jason Tate
Ok, here are some of the stories worth sharing from the past day or two. And, with that - I'm also recommending you find a way to watch "The Men Who Built America" from the History Channel. I know, it's supper nerdy history stuff - but it's also very good, and definitely worth watching. Inspring and well done. You can find the showtimes/videos on their website.

Evernote 5 Shows Up for Mac
It’s a pretty drastic redesign, and one that focuses intently to navigation. Evernote already has many of the features that were re-crafted today, like multiple Notebooks (both shared and private), tag search, and a left-hand organization bar.

Personally, like the iOS updates, I really like it. One of my most used apps on the phone/computer - and I'm a fan. - JT
Aaron Sorkin's Jobs' Biopic Details
Speaking from The Daily Beast's Hero Summit, Sorkin disclosed that the entire movie "is going to be 3 scenes, and take place in real-time." Further, each of the three 30-minute scenes will take place backstage before a major product launch.

There's no way I won't love this. Sorkin? Jobs? Yeah, I'm in. - JT
Guy Fieri's New Restaurant Gets Shit Canned
Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? If you hadn’t come up with the recipe yourself, would you ever guess that the shiny tissue of breading that exudes grease onto the plate contains either pretzels or smoked almonds? Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?

Holy shit is that a bad review. I think I'll pass. - JT
Why Doesn't MTV Play Music Videos?!



Spotify is having a good 2012.
The situation still sounds painful, but it’s not bad at all. The record labels are happy with Spotify’s progress so far because internal data has shown that it is growing the digital music market, not cannibalizing sales on iTunes and other competitors, according to sources. The service has stayed so popular with users, meanwhile, that churn is nearly zero.
The Talk Show With Looper Director Rian Johnson
The Talk Show is one of the view Podcasts I listen to -- and "Looper" was one of the best movies of the year. Definitely worth a listen. - JT
Anthony Bourdain: FIGHTING MAD
All of us on the show would have preferred to go out on a high note—and we tried to do that as best we could, turning in a strong , final season that we are very proud of. We wanted to go leaving a lot of great shows—and nothing but good memories and good will behind.

But things just didn’t turn out that way.
Krugman: Hawks and Hypocrites
This wouldn’t be hard if they had been making a more honest case on the budget: the truth is that deficits are actually a good thing when the economy is deeply depressed, so deficit reduction should wait until the economy is stronger. As John Maynard Keynes said three-quarters of a century ago, “The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity.” But since the deficit scolds have in fact been demanding that we make deficits the priority even when the economy is depressed, they can’t go there.
The Best Polls (and Worst) of 2012
A number of polling firms that conduct their surveys online had strong results. Some telephone polls also did well. But others, especially those that called only landlines or took other methodological shortcuts, performed poorly.

Silver's book is the next one I read. - JT
This Graph Should Trouble You
In other words, you're not imagining it: This economic recovery has been a big disappointment relative to what the United States has usually experienced after a recession. Growth has been 9 percent below what was seen in past recoveries on average in its first three years. The CBO report tries to disentangle where that underperformance is coming from and its answer is deeply unsettling: The U.S. economy just isn't as good at growing as it used to be.

From the 47% to the Gifts': Mitt Romney's Ugly Vision of Politics
When Romney thinks he's behind closed doors and he's just telling other people like him how politics really works, the picture he paints is so ugly as to be bordering on dystopic. It's not just about class, but about worth, and legitimacy. His voters are worth something to the economy -- they're producers -- and they respond to legitimate appeals about how to best manage the country. The Democrats' voters are drags on the economy -- moochers -- and they respond to crass pay-offs.
Tags: linked list
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More Recommendations and Nerdy Stuff
11/14/12 at 10:52 AM by Jason Tate
After using TextExpander for about three weeks, I've got enough of it under my belt to say that it's the latest addition to my "can't live without it apps" --- pretty invaluable tool for using shortcuts to fill in frequently used text phrases. For example, I can type ";ap" and it'll immediately change to www.absolutepunk.net, something I type all the damn time during the day. I'm still figuring out all the different things I can use this for - and I'm sure it'll grow with me the more I use it and find use cases. Probably already paid for itself with how much I use it. Check it out here.

I've also started using Tweetbot as my Mac twitter client, and it's everything the official Twitter client should have been. It's great, can't recommend it enough.

Also, I have finally started using Chrome as my full time web browser. I've always used it for testing and random browsing, but had been using Firefox for most of my day to day stuff (for a variety of nerdy reasons), however, it's gotten to the point where I need to be able to see the web as most of our visitors are viewing this website, and Chrome is the #1 way people view AP.net -- and, after about a month of using it full time, it's a better browser. Sync works better. It's faster. It's cleaner. And it handles pages better. Once I got it customized to my liking ... I would estimate it probably makes my workflow 5% faster on a day to day basis. That adds up.

Note: Here's my full list of apps (Mac/iOS) I use frequently.

Just started reading the new book by Robert Greene, called "Mastery." If you've followed my blog writing for a while, you know I've sung the praises of Greene's books for a long time -- and I'm really excited to see where this one goes. I put the book I was currently reading on hold until I finish this one -- that's how ready I was for this one. Um, so yeah - definitely check out his other books if you're looking for something new to read (non-fiction), I feel like they should be required reading in business schools.
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Stuff Worth Reading: November 9th, 2012
11/09/12 at 11:33 AM by Jason Tate
It's been a while since I rounded-up a bunch of things I thought were worth reading. Now seems as good as time as ever to bring it back and highlight some of the stuff around the internet I think deserves your attention. I'll start out slow ... and probably pick back up to including more and more links when I do this. Just got to get back into the habit of starring things I read.

Lakers Fire Mike Brown
Honestly I love watching the Lakers struggle. - JT
The Honor System
Stealing magic has become a commonplace crime. Teller, a man of infinite delicacy and deceit, decided to do something about it.
Mapping Racist Tweets
Pathetic. - JT
Twitter Adding Filters for Photos
I think what bothers me about this is the focus on filters. If Twitter wanted to make it easier to post photos as tweets, and improve the presentation of inline photos in your tweet stream, that I could see. But adding filters to the Twitter mobile apps seems like a complete distraction, a sign that they’ve been afflicted with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-itis.
Let’s Not Make a Deal
In saying this, I don’t mean to minimize the very real economic dangers posed by the so-called fiscal cliff that is looming at the end of this year if the two parties can’t reach a deal. Both the Bush-era tax cuts and the Obama administration’s payroll tax cut are set to expire, even as automatic spending cuts in defense and elsewhere kick in thanks to the deal struck after the 2011 confrontation over the debt ceiling. And the looming combination of tax increases and spending cuts looks easily large enough to push America back into recession.

Why? Because Republicans are trying, for the third time since he took office, to use economic blackmail to achieve a goal they lack the votes to achieve through the normal legislative process. In particular, they want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, even though the nation can’t afford to make those tax cuts permanent and the public believes that taxes on the rich should go up — and they’re threatening to block any deal on anything else unless they get their way. So they are, in effect, threatening to tank the economy unless their demands are met.
Warmer still: Extreme climate predictions appear most accurate, report says.
"Climate scientists agree the Earth will be hotter by the end of the century, but their simulations don't agree on how much. Now a study suggests the gloomier predictions may be closer to the markThat means the world could be in for a devastating increase of about eight degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, resulting in drastically higher seas, disappearing coastlines and more severe droughts, floods and other destructive weather."
Adviser: Romney "shellshocked" by loss
Interesting nugget: State polls showed Romney winning big among independents. Historically, any candidate polling that well among independents wins. But as it turned out, many of those independents were former Republicans who now self-identify as independents. The state polls weren't oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans - there just weren't as many Republicans this time because they were calling themselves independents.
CBO: Letting upper-income tax cuts expire would barely hurt economy
The Congressional Budget Office warned again in a report released Thursday that the U.S. economy could get slammed back into recession, with unemployment hitting 9.1 percent by the end of next year, if President Obama and Congress don't act to avert the fiscal cliff.

But there were other interesting nuggets in the report, as well. In particular, the CBO gave its most detailed look at how the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts would affect the economy. Apparently, it would do little harm, the numbers show.
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Great Albums Out This Week
10/22/12 at 07:58 AM by Jason Tate
The new Further Seems Forever and P.O.S. albums hit stores today. I definitely recommend both of these, and if you haven't checked them out yet, you should probably just go do that right now. So ... with that ... both are on amazon (FSF and POS), get, listen, enjoy.
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