- Sofa — Apple TV is slowly becoming my hub to collect and queue TV and movies to watch, but there’s still a need to create multiple watchlists, track other media types (podcasts, books, music, apps, etc.), and look back on what I consumed. Sofa handles this all with intuitive and flexible iPhone & iPad apps.
- Things — The to-do app that runs my life. It’s everywhere I need it (iPhone/iPad/desktop/watch/Siri) and beautifully designed.
- Apple Books — Still giving it a proper run after many years of using Kindle, but I’m liking the Reading Goals feature.
- Ivory — After saying goodbye to Twitter and switching to Mastodon, Ivory was the natural choice after being a longtime subscriber to Tweetbot. The polished experience is exactly what’d you’d expect from Tapbots.
I got into the habit of playing games on a daily basis sometime last year. I look forward to it every morning and it gives me a mental boost.
- Immaculate Grid — I don’t play this daily any more, but for a couple months I was obsessed. Me and a couple friends would geek out in an Immaculate Grid war room I built in Google Sheets and try to come up with “sicko” rarity scores.
- Connections — Played this pretty much every day for the past 6 months. Me and a friend also play a game within the game to try and solve it in order of hardest to easiest groups.
- Apple News+ Crosswords — Also play these every day. There’s a regular and a mini, and they’re more accessible than the NY Times (deliberately — Apple News proudly claimed they “eliminate the opaque and coded language often seen in crossword clues”) so I can usually knock them both out in under 15 mins.
- Puzzmo — Cool new puzzle platform with unique games. I play the crossword daily, which has more of a taste of the “coded language” not as prevalent in Apple News+ puzzles (but still usually solvable in 10 minutes or so).
- Unsolved Case Files — These challenging murder mystery games have become our family’s go-to activity for vacations. We did one on a trip with extended family a couple summers ago, and it was all we could talk or think about for the 2 days it took us to solve it.
The lack of a commute has severely limited the amount of time available to listen to podcasts, but I make time for these.
- Armchair Anonymous — Everyone has at least one great story to tell. This weekly episode that’s part of Armchair Expert features listeners anonymously calling in and telling their most profane, disgusting, and hilarious personal stories.
- If Books Could Kill — Michael and Peter hilariously and thoroughly debunk bestselling pop culture books like “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” and “The 4 Hour Workweek”.
- Design Details — Brian and Marshall go deep on relevant UI/UX topics, and the One Cool Thing segment is always worth it (it’s where I first heard about the Sofa app).
- Layout — I’m bummed that I was late to the game on Kevin and Rafa’s fantastic discussions on all things design, but glad I got to catch it for a while before they retired the show back in July. Also totally worth it for their recommendations.
- Sleep Baseball — What a fantastic concept — fake old timey baseball broadcasting as a sleep aid, or more succinctly “baseball radio ASMR” as they call it. Great writeup at the New Yorker with all the inside baseball.
There were a handful of shows from last year that were uncontroversially great — Succession, The Bear, The Last of Us, Barry, Ted Lasso, The White Lotus, etc. I loved those, but also enjoyed a few that may be less broadly known.
- Stolen Youth: Inside the Cult at Sarah Lawrence — It’s mind-blowing what people will do when they’re under the influence of a high-control individual.
- American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing — I remember how big of a story this was when it happened, but retelling it 10 years later really brings into focus how traumatic the events were.
- The Diplomat — Took a few episodes to get into it, but once it got going it was hilarious and thrilling.
- Dave — This show came out of nowhere, and I binged the heck out of it.
- Shrinking — A little too irreverent at times, but overall it struck a good balance of comedy and earnestness. Jessica Williams is fantastic.
- Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan — The first season was it’s high point, but nonetheless still a fun, fast-paced action series.
- Jury Duty — Fun concept, pretty amazing they were able to pull it off.
- How To with John Wilson — You never know where each episode will lead, but there are some truly heartfelt moments of genuine human connection in most episodes.
- The Leftovers — I started this years ago and didn’t get through the first couple episodes. Not sure why it captured me this time, but I suspect it’s much more relatable in a post-COVID world.
- The Fall of the House of Usher — Visually beautiful, and does a great job creating a cohesive story out of many different Poe references.
I’m not a big movie watcher, so I’m usually late to the party on the crop of good movies any given year.
- Everything Everywhere All at Once — What a ride — sprawling, ambitious, and utterly enjoyable.
- Bullet Train — Just a good old-fashioned “bunch of hitmen all trying to get the same thing” romp.
- Nope — My favorite Jordan Peele movie. When they discover proof of how the UFO/alien conceals itself, I literally said “Holy shit!” out loud.
- The Thing — Had never seen this — the effects are stunning for a 40+ year old movie.
- Get Out — Finally completed the Jordan Peele trifecta.
- Narrow Head — I’d never even heard of these guys until I saw them at a small place in Highland Park in June. Blew my face off, reminded me of Helmet and Deftones. Six months later, they’re the #2 artist in my Apple Music Replay.
- M83 — I thought I knew who M83 was (“car commercial band”, some would say), and headed out to see them in LA in October not expecting much. Turns out they have some epic, heavier songs and also ended up near the top of my Replay.
- Taylor Swift — My daughter scored tickets to one of the shows at SoFi, and it was nothing short of a religious experience. Maybe the most wholesome thing I’ve ever seen.
- U2 — Saw them at The Sphere in Las Vegas. Words can’t convey how immersive the video experience inside is, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
- Death Cab for Cutie / The Postal Service — Saw the 20th anniversary tour at the Hollywood Bowl. Death Cab opened wearing all black and played from Transatlanticism, then Postal Service came out wearing all white and played from Give Up.
Blogs & newsletters
- FanGraphs — Consistently pumps out fascinating baseball analysis. Somewhere on my long list of future side projects is a quiz game where you’re shown 4 FanGraphs article titles and you have to pick the one written by Michael Baumann.
- Dense Discovery — My favorite newsletter, DD consistently surfaces apps, articles, and books I don’t read about elsewhere.
- Mike Masnick — His articles at Techdirt during the upheaval at Twitter were essential reading.
- Daring Fireball — Gruber continues to be the go-to for all things Apple-related, and he always connects his writing back to the bigger picture in tech.
- Tom MacWright — I love Tom’s pragmatic, thoughtful insights on not just trends in tech, but the lived experience of building products as well.
- r/baseball — The perfect complement to FanGraphs, I love dropping in to see what the common folk are talking about in the world of baseball. Every now and then something magical happens like the guy who drew Mike Trout every day during the 2021–2022 lockout.