June 5, 2017

Moving to Medium

Not that I write much around these parts anymore but all future writing, for the time being, will be on my Medium publication, www.dumbnonsen.se.

I’ve written extensively on my opinions of Medium and will touch on that a little more when I have the time. I am, however, super excited to see The Ringer finally moving off of Medium and partnering with Vox. Vox, along with the Outline, is a great example of what you should be doing on the web and what I was initially hoping The Ringer would do in the first place.

✖︎



March 12, 2017

Baby Driver Trailer

Tags: Movie, Trailer Permalink: Baby Driver Trailer Date: March 12, 2017 12:00

► Baby Driver - Trailer

I’ve been looking forward to this movie even before seeing this trailer. Knowing we have a new Edgar Wright film coming and that music is going to play a heavy role is really all I need to know to make this one of my most anticipated movies of the year. The trailer didn’t actually blow me away but it hasn’t taken anything away from my excitement.



February 26, 2017

Oscars 2017

Tags: Movie, Oscars, 2017 Permalink: oscars2017 Date: February 26, 2017 16:00

Oscar Predictions: 2017

I didn’t get to see nearly enough movies this year so a lot of the predictions below are pure guesses based on the movies I did see, and a lot of random guesses based on what I’ve heard and what looked the most appealing to me.

Best Picture

  • Moonlight

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Natalie Portman - Jackie

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Viola Davis - Fences

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Mahershala Ali - Moonlight

Animated Feature Film

  • Moana

Cinematography

  • Bradford Young - Arrival

Costume Design

  • Madeline Fontaine - Jackie

Directing

  • Damien Chazelle - La La Land

Film Editing

  • Tom Cross - La La Land

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Joel Harlow and Richard Alonza - Star Trek Beyond

Original Score

  • Justin Hurwitz - La La Land

Original Song

  • How Far I’ll Go” by Lin-Manuel Miranda - Moana

Production Design

  • Jess Gonchor - Hail, Caesar!

Sound Editing

  • Sylvain Bellemare - Arrival

Sound Mixing

  • Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye - Arrival

Visual Effects

  • Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon - The Jungle Book

Adapted Screenplay

  • Barry Jenkins - Moonlight

Original Screenplay

  • Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester by the Sea

Documentary

  • O.J.: Made in America

Documentary Short

  • The White Helemets

Foreign Language Film

  • A Man Called Ove

Short Film - Live Action

  • Timecode

Short Film - Animated

  • Piper


January 27, 2017

Ringing True

Permalink: ringingtrue Tags: Writing, Blog, Thoughts Date: January 27, 2017 07:30

✖︎ Ringing True

Writing about writing, or writing about Medium as a place to write has become a bit of a cliche in itself, but with the recent news that Medium laid off one-third of their staff in an effort to find a new model, the topic of Medium as a platform has roared back. I touched on it myself back when Bill Simmons announced that the Ringer would be hosted on Medium. That was also around the same time that the Awl, and a few other web publications made the switch.

Since, I wrote that, some of the issues I had with Medium were solved in terms of discoverability and actually reading different publications through their site, and more importantly, their app. Along with improving those aspects, what Medium has done best is a build a user base and a community of people that use it to write, and just as importantly, if not more, to read.

It’s hard to argue with someone like Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp, when he talks about moving his companies blog to Medium. There is a user base on Medium that just won’t stumble upon an individuals or companies blog like they would on Medium. And that’s a bid deal, without a doubt. Part of me even wonders what would happen if someone like John Gruber moved Daring Fireball to Medium1.

Design is left a bit lacking with Medium. The one thing that I took away last time sitting down and thinking about Medium was mostly centered around the design. Medium is without a doubt one of the nicer looking sites where text lives today. But if your goal is to bring all the best writers on the web to one place, you need to be able to do more than just add a logo and change the color. Since my own move from Squarespace to Blot, the design of the site has been the one thing that has been extremely lacking because I barely know any CSS.

If I were still using Squarespace, Medium would have no leg to stand on in terms of design for me. Stock Squarespace is just as nice looking as Medium with an infinite amount more customization at your fingertips, even if you don’t know any CSS. Squarespace also comes with a much higher cost, $99/year vs. free. This still isn’t enough for me to think that all sites that contain writing should look the same. It is the antithesis of Apple’s 1984 commercial and that’s just not a world I want to be in.

The control of the design is one thing, but the control over the actual written word is a completely different thing. I struggle with this a little bit because there is nothing stopping you from writing in something like the iOS app Drafts before posting to Medium, Twitter, etc. Save everything as a .txt file for all I care. You can still post to various places without losing every word you have ever written if that is actually your worry. However, I do still see the other side that says leaving that control to other services is problematic. I don’t know if I can put it in words very well, but it’s a combination of everything that is being talked about, both on the positive and negative sides of Medium. This is one of the reasons I find Manton Reece’s Mirco.blog project so appealing and also while I currently keep the home base of my writing here, through Blot, which is all based on .txt files that I manage through Dropbox and Ulysses.

In the end, I’m honestly just curious if Bill Simmons would consider The Ringer a success at this point. They still have their ad network across the publication from Miller Lite to State Farm but I’m curious if the metrics have gotten to a place that warrants large advertisers to want to keep coming back. Based on the recommendation and response numbers it seems a little lackluster but I also realize that is only the tip of the iceberg. On top of that, I’d say the podcast network they have put together does seem to be doing pretty well. This is all based on what I see from afar as someone who thoroughly enjoys both the written words and podcasts that The Ringer has been churning out. In the end, I still wish they would have done something more innovative with their site a la The Outline.


  1. It would never happen because of his obsessive control over things like fonts but it is still worth pondering.



January 26, 2017

Top Ten Movies 2016

Tags: Movie, 2016, Top Ten Permalink: toptenmovies2016 Date: January 26, 2017 21:48

✖︎ Top Ten Movies - 2016

Right off the bat I want to point out all the movies that I did not have a chance to see yet. Honestly, my top ten makes the year in film seem a bit lackluster compared to previous years but I’m hoping as I get a chance to see more that might change.

Haven’t Seen

• Moonlight • Captain Fantastic • Hell or High Water • Silence • Green Room • Don’t Think Twice • Arrival • The Handmaiden • Midnight Special

Top Ten

10. Kubo and the Two Strings

  • This seemed to be the year of animation for me, starting with Kubo. I have one more in my top ten and Zootopia just missed it for me. The stop-motion animation in this just fascinates me to endless delights. I might have even included this if the story didn’t stick with me but the little things they were able to do with the stop-motion to add to the story blew me away.

9. Doctor Strange

  • One of the biggest takeaways I had with Doctor Strange was the final fight with the villain. It was handled so differently than any other summer action blockbuster, making it really standout. There are some issues that come across with a lot of the Marvel movies feeling repetitive and making Stephen Strange pretty much the same character as Tony Stark only accentuates that. I still enjoyed it in the end, it doesn’t hurt that Doctor Strange has been one of my favorite Marvel characters as an avid comic reader.

8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • I understand a lot of the complaints with this film but I’m still having a blast getting to see new Star Wars movies that I give some of the issues a pass. The diversity and the cast overall was great and the way they made the fault in the Death Star from the original trilogy a sensible plot line really worked.

7. Moana

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda is well on his way to capturing the elusive EGOT and the jobs he has been getting in the last year or so from this to the Kingkiller Chronicles to Mary Poppins are well deserved. I know other people besides him were critical in the music and obviously the rest of the film, but the music in this was stellar and I’m just super excited to see Hamilton in Chicago next month.

6. Deadpool

  • As a Deadpool comic fan, I thought they hit this out of the park and I’m not sure there is much else they could have done to make it any better. They played with the fourth wall perfectly and it was just a great time at the theatre that it deserves some recognition for successfully doing something different and really standing out in a class of it’s own when compared to other super hero movies.

5. The Nice Guys

  • I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It thought there was pretty good chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe and the feel and general style of Shane Black movies really sticks with me even though they are probably more reminiscent to a time that I wasn’t even around during.

4. La La Land

  • This was the movie I had the most trouble with as I turned it over in my head after seeing it. I was super excited for it and enjoyed 90% of it more than almost any other movie but there were three parts that brought it down a notch for me. There is one part where there is a general lull that seems to stay passed its welcome, another where a somewhat irrational argument occurs solely in order to serve the plot rather than feel essential and realistic within the story, and lastly the final montage could have been completely removed. I loved the ending but the montage scene they drop in just didn’t sit right with me.

3. Sing Street

  • Movies with a lot of music are my exact wheel house. I thought John Carney’s last film Begin Again was extremely underrated and Carney just topped that with Sing Street. It’s essentially a coming of age story around a boy in Ireland as he forms a band to impress a girl in the 80′s. Again, the 80′s aren’t really a time I have any fondness for but I loved this nonetheless.

2. 10 Cloverfield Lane

  • As as big Totally Rad Show fan I was super excited to see Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut and it did not disappoint for me. I never actually saw the original Cloverfield movie but I had the general idea of what that was and the ties to it were super subtle (based on my limited knowledge). The movie as a whole was a master lesson in tension and John Goodman deserves an Oscar for supporting actor after this performance.

1. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

  • Just go see this if you haven’t yet. Written and directed by Taika Waititi who also wrote and directed What We Do In The Shadows, which was fantastic. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a completely different film but was also so much more enjoyable for myself. Taika makes you care about each character and feel the stakes as you go on a whirlwind adventure with them. The characters sometimes make poor decisions but they still feel sensible as they try to fight their way to survive in the wilderness.

Honorable Mentions

• Captain America: Civil War • Zootopia • Swiss Army Man • Hail, Caesar!

Favorite Scores

Since music is such an important aspect in movies for me I wanted to lay out my favorite scores because there was some really great film music this year.

  1. Swiss Army Man
  2. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  3. Moana
  4. Westworld
  5. Kubo and the Two Strings
  6. La La Land
  7. Patriots Day


January 11, 2017

MiniVan Programming

Tags: Keyboard, How-To Permalink: minivanprogramming Date: January 11, 2017 13:00

✖︎ MiniVan Programming Guide -for Mac

I recently received a MiniVan Mechanical Keyboard and since it was only my second mechanical keyboard and first that needed to be programmed through a computer, I struggled a lot to figure out how all the steps actually translated into what I needed to do. I apparently wasn’t the only person as Ben Brooks spoke about his troubles and I offered some assistance knowing how frustrating it can be if you just misunderstand a single step in what is provided by The Van Keyboards programming guide. I decided to put something together that goes into a little more detail than those tweets so hopefully anyone can do it without too much trouble.

Steps:

  1. The first thing you should do is download CrossPack. Download the most recent driver and follow the installation instructions just like you would have with any Mac application from the web.
  2. After that you will want to download dfu programmer.
  3. Then, in terminal, you need to navigate to that folder. The easiest way to do this is to place the dfu folder you just got from the download and place that on the desktop. In order to save some time and follow the next steps exactly, change the name of the folder to: dfu
  4. In terminal, type out: cd ~/Desktop/dfu
  5. Press enter
  6. Now that you have navigated to the dfu folder execute the installation by typing: ./install_dfu_programmer.sh
  7. Press enter
  8. Then you will be prompted for your login password, type that in and press enter. Next, press q’ to exit the manual.
  9. Now you can use the GUI provided by the Van Keyboards here to setup the various layers however you would like.
  10. Once you are happy with your setup, click the Make .hex!” button and drag that over to your desktop as well.
  11. Rename the file: keyboard.hex
    • This step isn’t necessary but will allow you to follow the steps under 13 exactly.
  12. Now we will go back to Terminal, and navigate to the desktop by typing: cd ~/Desktop
  13. On your MiniVan keyboard, you will need to press the reset button found on the underside. This can be found through the opening underneath the L SHIFT.
  14. Now we will type out the following commands each followed by the enter key in terminal:
    • sudo dfu-programmer atmega32u4 erase
    • sudo dfu-programmer atmega32u4 flash keyboard.hex
    • sudo dfu-programmer atmega32u4 start
  15. You are all set. If you have any issues let me know on twitter @kevinkortum.

This is just a simplified, and compiled version of what can be seen here and here.