For a couple years now (2010 and 2012) I have made a resolution to only listen to music released in that year. That is, I only listened to music that was new and had been released in that year. This does not include re-masters or re-releases. I even avoided compilations.

The first year I stuck to the rule pretty closely. But my wife, annoyed at having to YET AGAIN listen to Four Tet for the 100th time in 2010, asked that on the weekends and when I was at home to play something we both liked on the speakers. So in 2012 I did that a few times.

But every Tuesday when new music is released, I would make a giant playlist of albums and burn through them. My week was spent filtering out the best from that week and then adding them on Rdio (or outright buying them).

The project does exactly what I want it to do, it keeps me from wallowing in the old standbys (Bad Brains, Pixies, Ramones, Pavement, The Misfits, The Thermals, Jawbreaker, 70’s Reggae…) and get put a little off-balance by new music. I still find myself gravitating towards the heavier punk-like guitar driven stuff, but I try to listen to most genres (I did go through phases of top 40, rap and hip-hop, ska, and alternative/indie in the 80’s and 90’s after all, so I have a bit of knowledge there).

This year I want to do something different. This year I want to pick a year from the last 30 years of music and only listen to music from that year.

And I thought it’d be fun if you picked it for me. As usual you can follow along on my profile:

So please help me choose the year I should restrict my music listening to.

Oh look, a very nice article on the New York Times about Briam Lam’s The Wirecutter.

(I rarely do this, but: I was all over that last year!)

What Will Ad Tech Look Like Without Cookies?” This is a very interesting question raised on PandoDaily. I think a lot about ad serving and ad tech so this kind of stuff is always interesting to me.

It reminded me of a trick that people already do to create zombie cookies that rise from the dead even after you think you’ve deleted your cookies.

The ETag is part of the HTTP spec that provides a mechanism for cache validation. When you request a resource (image, css, html) from a site some servers provide an ETag string in the headers. Your browser will make a note of the string and the next time your browser requests that file from the servers it will send the previously attached ETag string along with the request.

If the ETag string you send, and the ETag string the server has in memory for that file are the same, the server tells your browser the file hasn’t changed and does’t waste bandwidth sending you another file. Just use the one you have.

The ETag string can be anything. And ad companies use this fact to identify you by sending you ETag strings that are linked to a cookie they gave you in the past. So you delete all your cookies but your browser sends the ETag along with some ad serving .js file and bam, your old cookie is back.

I did a large amount of my Christmas shopping before our yearly vacation this year. And one thing I tried to do was order from places that weren’t Amazon. I did order a few things from Amazon, but I made an effort to search other places first.

I don’t particularly mind Amazon—I just think it’s fun to try and support other businesses and manufacturers on the web. Cool?

  1. Jetpens Jetpens has a huge selection of pens and reviews. Only recently after taking a new job that required a bit more sketching and writing did I start really getting particular about which pens I used regularly. In addition to some inexpensive yet durable traveling pens, Jetpens also carries gorgeous mechanical pencils, pencil cases and bags, paper and blank books and assorted office (drool…) supplies.
  2. Adafruit I have to admit I didn’t really appreciate the maker movement until this year. I saw a MakerBot churning away at XOXO and it sparked something in my brain. Then Chris Anderson’s Makers: The New Industrial Revolution was released and now I am irretrievably hooked on the subject. I have a Twine, a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino, and way too many ideas of stuff I want to make. It feels just like 1998 did for me when the web was this massive, exploding software playground. I don’t think I actually bought gifts from here, but if you are buying gifts for me…hinthint.
  3. Tonx If you don’t have a Tonx subscription and you love coffee you are missing out on an amazing service. Every two weeks a new, freshly roasted batch sourced from some place in the world is shipped to your door. Included is a small card describing your coffee’s flavors as well as a bit about the place it came from. EVERYONE who loves coffee would appreciate this service.
  4. Dodocase Two things I want you to know about Dodocase: a couple weeks after my iPad case arrived I dropped and broke the corner. The case is partly made of bamboo and that corner just snapped clean off. Pretty clearly my fault, but I did tweet at them that it had happened in case this was abnormal and they immediately sent me a replacement. I wasn’t expecting it but now I want to recommend them to anyone looking for the type of case Dodocase makes.

    The second thing is that if you have a Kindle Paperwhite you really have to get the Dodocase for it. It sticks onto the case with tape, which one wouldn’t think is going to be very sturdy, but now after a couple months with it, I think I love my Paperwhite twice as much with the case. Tablet and phone cases are a pretty personal thing, and I don’t know if a Dodocase makes a good gift for someone not expecting it, but if you know someone wants that Moleskine-like look and feel I highly recommend it.
  5. 20x200 Affordable art shipped to your door. I heard Jen Bekman speak at XOXO about the art world’s reluctance to provide the ability to shop by category, price, and color. 20x200 is such a great story about taking an idea, routing around the naysayers, and putting in front of customers. We own a few prints from 20x200 and they are prints I surely would not have thought to buy without finding them on 20x200.
  6. Killscreen Magazine Know someone really into video games? No, I mean REALLY into video games? Get them a subscription to Killscreen magazine. I receive the paper edition, but it looks like they have ebooks now.
  7. Assorted things I like: this Maker’s Notebook lays flat, has page numbers and a header on each page you can fill out about which project the page is about. Distance Magazine: “smart essays about design and technology.” TopatoCo! Diesel Sweeties Store!