|Bret Wallin||Dec 7, 2019|
Ok let’s get this out of the way - what a terrible title for a such an insanely beautiful essay. I cried! And we’ll get to that! But first I refuse to believe CJ Hauser picked this headline out herself. It brings me no joy to report an SEO-chasing villain is on the loose at The Guardian and that they must be brought to naming-convention-justice.
Second - if CJ Hauser rings a bell - it’s because she wrote The Crane Wife over the summer. Early subscribers would have read her Paris Review piece here all the way back in #0001. Where we first meet the author:
Ten days after I called off my engagement I was supposed to go on a scientific expedition to study the whooping crane on the gulf coast of Texas. Surely, I will cancel this trip, I thought, as I shopped for nylon hiking pants that zipped off at the knee. Surely, a person who calls off a wedding is meant to be sitting sadly at home, reflecting on the enormity of what has transpired and not doing whatever it is I am about to be doing that requires a pair of plastic clogs with drainage holes. Surely, I thought, as I tried on a very large and floppy hat featuring a pull cord that fastened beneath my chin, it would be wrong to even be wearing a hat that looks like this when something in my life has gone so terribly wrong.
Ten days earlier I had cried and I had yelled and I had packed up my dog and driven away from the upstate New York house with two willow trees I had bought with my fiancé.
Ten days later and I didn’t want to do anything I was supposed to do.
It is unbelievable to me that we now get a second feature this morning.
I did not intend to be single in the rural village where I live. I’d moved there with my fiance after taking a good job at the local university. We’d bought a house with room enough for children. Then the wedding was off and I found myself single in a town where the non-student population is 1,236 people. I briefly considered flirting with the cute local bartender, the cute local mailman – then realised the foolishness of limiting my ability to do things such as get mail or get drunk in a town with only 1,235 other adults. For the first time in my life, I decided to date online.
Folks, we have a Crane Wife aftermath on our hands. It is crackling and alive - Turing tests, potatoes, Deep Blue chess matches, the Velveteen Rabbit, genuine human connection described in the way you feel but rarely rarely rarely encounter.
I took our dog for a long walk this morning, walked in the door to start a shower, and dumbly clicked the link while brushing my teeth. I would suggest perhaps finding a more fitting locale but hey I suppose this finds you where it finds you.
✈️🚃🚗 Emotional Baggage
This post dominated our work slack all week (a generally bright & affirming space!) primarily because it turns out Away Luggage maintains a work slack (and consequently, workplace) from Hell.
If you‘ve ever worked a customer support role and been bruised by a system that’s not been actively concerned for you…. this is THAT amplified in ways that are practically unimaginable. The kind of article you click, can’t look away from, and alternatively loathe/love. One coworker DM’d this week “this story has me sweating” and I believed her.
Also - bravo to The Verge for (a) posting such a thoroughly researched and darkly entertaining investigation while (b) publishing a follow-up titled Here’s the Leaked Memo in Which Away Tells Employees Not to Fav The Verge’s Investigation.
🐙🦑🦐🦞🦀🐡🐠🐟🐬🐳🐋🦈 Deep Sea
Deep Sea is the latest project from Neal Agarwal - a self-proclaimed creative coder trying to make the web more fun.
And the aforementioned:
I forget who said so on my TL but the gist of the review was “what a nice time on the Internet.” I personally doubted - clicked anyways - and am happy to report my error. A nice five minutes out of your day.
😳 Beautiful Machine TBH
15 years from now, when we are all wearing Augmented Reality glasses or contacts or whatever - we’ll think about how inevitable the technology was. Why carry around a glass slab of information in your pocket when you can project the same information onto anything. TV makers are going to go out of business. Why would I buy a television when someone’s AR OS will let me project a screen on anything I’m looking at. How bare are we going to let our homes become? What will be the digital/physical split?
All interesting questions, for sure - but oh man the growing pains are rough. Magic Leap released their Magic Leap One: Creator Edition last year. As far as a technology equivalent… Facebook is selling a slew of Oculus face masks that surround you in a virtual world. Snapchat is selling Spectacles that record editable 3D videos from your perspective. Microsoft is selling a work-oriented HoloLens that - while limited - can overlay what you’re actually looking with digital information. Magic Leap is that, just without the built-in brand following.
With that said, this report from The Information that Magic Leap expected to sell 100K of their first-ever headset and have instead… sold six thousand units is nuts (!!!) in so many ways.
Where to start - well look, first a caveat. This is a company valued at 6 billion dollars. I am a human with generally-non-business interests valued at not that. So grain of salt etc etc etc. OTOH - on what planet (!!!??!!) - did my dear friends at Magic Leap expect hundreds of thousands of people to drop this sort of fun money:
I mean totally - I am nearly the target market here but without remotely the disposable income to throw $2,295 (hahahahahaha) at a company’s first ever hardware project. Especially after having skimmed the reviews that all hinted the technology was Not Quite There But Promising. I mean, not quite there but promising AR in 2019 is great! But short of Blockbuster returning to my neighborhood with rentable weekend consoles (a seriously underrated late 90s highlight), who is going to trust-fall their bank account into one of these?
To acknowledge - am I still jealous of the six thousand humans with one of these in their living room? Yes I am. Do I wish I was watching basketball sitting on my couch like a bug-eyed Kelly Olynyk? YES OF COURSE.
I guess I’m just saying - well, Magic Leap - keep on it. I’m sorry that you’re currently down 94K sets. I’m glad you’re making them. If you release something more accessible (hi hello) or wanna open retail stores to showcase your technology (hi hello) or purchase the entirety of Blockbuster to introduce these glasses through a rental business (COOL), I’m here for it.
For now, though - probably time to leave the apartment and start the weekend. Thanks for reading! 👋