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Friday Links, Week 118

This week, we are doing great progress on a bunch of new features that are not ready for prime time yet, but we figured we would leave you a little something for the weekend anyway.

Actually, that is not entirely true. We did ship a little something: a small change to how notifications work:

No new notifications!

We filtered out unread notifications from the Notifications popover, so you can get “inbox zero”.

New t-shirts

We have just received our new t-shirts, and they look great! If you want one, let us know on Twitter:

On to the weekend reads:

Pixel Perfect: The Story of eBoy

Those of us who have been on the internet long enough to remember screeching modem sounds and how nice pixel fonts looked at 9pt, we probably also looked at what eBoy did and wondered “how can you even do that?”

Yet to most, the men behind the pixels remain anonymous. They’ve done only a few interviews over the years, preferring to focus attention on their work rather than their personal lives. Their paths have been circuitous and at times tumultuous, but they found a unique equilibrium as eBoy, creating an 8-bit universe where ordered linearity coexists with joy and imagination. Outside their studio, things are gray and uncertain. Inside their world, they’re pretty close to perfect.

The Untold Story Of Larry Page’s Incredible Comeback

Business Insider published a long article on Larry Page and his history as founder and CEO of Google, and while it is a little long in the tooth here and there, it includes nuggets like these product visions from way back:

One day in late 1998, Google’s first HR boss, Heather Cairns, walked into the company’s garage office and caught Larry Page and Sergey Brin playing with Legos.

“What the hell are you doing?” Cairns asked, in her brassy but congenial way. The contraption on the table in front of Page had robot arms with rubber wheels at the end of them.

“We’re trying to figure out how to turn a page of a book without a human hand,” Page explained. “Someday we’re going to put every publication in the world on the Internet so everybody has access to it.”

Do not miss the story about guessing GMail’s loading time, or how they “prototyped” Street View.

Gorillaz’s Damon Albarn on Tech Anxiety and the Magic of Partnerships

Everyday Robots, both the track and the whole album, deals with the gadgets we have and use today. Writing interesting songs about that is incredibly hard, so Wired interviewed Damon Albarn about it:

WIRED: There are songs on this album, especially the title track, that address social media and the ubiquity of iPhones. What’s the key to addressing contemporary issues in a way that doesn’t sound too on the nose?

Albarn: It is absolutely, for me, the hardest thing to get right. Just making sure that I’m striking the right balance. I want to talk about these things that exist in our modern world and that I know other people have feelings about and can relate to, but I also want to make sure that the song is not at all trite.

There are a lot of similarities between making a product and making an album, so Albarn’s thoughts on producers as editors are really interesting too.

50 Cent Is My Life Coach

This article is the biggest surprise of the year:

50 Cent thinks for a minute. Actually, he says, my girlfriend—the one I just mentioned, the one I’d just moved in with? 50 Cent would like her to make a vision board, too. Then we’re going to compare. “Take things out of your folder and things out of her folder to create a folder that has everything,” he says. “Now the vision board is no longer your personal vision board for yourself: It’s a joint board.” That joint board will represent what we have in common. It will be a monument to our love.

We could quote the whole thing, but you should really read it this weekend.

It just might change your life.

About the author
Mark Jensen is a product designer and code enthusiast who runs to eat.
You can follow him on Twitter or his blog.