Techdown #33: Spotify et al

As a lover of music, this week's episode was a lot of fun to record. Aaron and I discuss the feature announcements that Spotify made today, as well as landscape of streaming music in general.

Heroes of the Storm Open Beta

Blizzard has been on fire lately.

I'd never played a MOBA style game before, but over the past year I've played 360 matches in Heroes (a full circle!). Matches typically last about 20 minutes, which means that I've put something like 120 hours hours into this game. I think it's safe to say that I'm addicted.

Heroes of the Storm is free to play, has a great tutorial so you don't feel lost, games are quick and exciting, it runs on both Mac and PC, and it's available to everybody and their mother starting yesterday. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Blogging Platforms

For the past year or so I've been bouncing around trying out a bunch of different blogging platforms. I'm currently rocking Squarespace, and so far I quite like it. Maybe I've found the one. Only time will tell. But I've learned a lot from trying out so many different blogging options, and wanted to share my experiences.

My ideal blogging platform does the following:

  • Looks good on desktop or mobile
  • Requires very little technical upkeep (no, I don't want to manage servers or write my own html/css/javascript)
  • Accommodates both long and short form posts

I don't feel like my these needs are anything crazy or unique, but I've actually had considerable difficulty finding something that works well for me. I've bypassed a bunch of options completely because they don't fit needs #1 and #2 up there. 



  • Beautiful, responsive design
  • Fairly high level of customization
  • Easy to eventually add portfolio section
  • Works well for either long or short form posts


  • $8/month
  • Web editor for blog posts is only so-so. Though I'm coming around on it.



  • Good, lightweight design
  • Editing and managing blog posts feels great


  • Not much design flexibility
  • Don't work well for short posts. Every blog entry, no matter how long has a "Continue" button at the bottom of it. Gross.



  • High discoverability
  • Some fun social aspects, like being able to comment on specific parts of a post
  • Good design


  • No custom URL support for everybody yet. It's being rolled out slowly now, but c'mon.
  • Social aspect is forced. So there's no way to disable, say, a list of other people's posts displaying at the bottom of one of yours.
  • No design customization
  • Doesn't work very well for short form posts.



  • Very good for short form publishing


  • Very bad for long form publishing
  • Themes are mostly terrible
  • "Unprofessional" stigma

Left Behind

My favorite FPV quadcopter video. Eventually I'd love to get to the point where I can shoot and edit something like this myself.

The Ugly American Learns Swift

If you've never seen Dan Steinberg speak in person, you're missing out. He's one of my Apple development idols. Here he is giving a great talk about embracing the essence of Swift, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce

Like a well-built home, great software focuses on giving its users hundreds of small, satisfying interactions.

I was a big fan of Hipchat before Slack hit the scene. But Slack's attention to detail really does put Hipchat to shame. I first started using Slack almost exactly a year ago, and ever since then it's been everywhere, basically. Kudos to them.

Facebook Instant Karma

In the end, all that matters is user experience. Native apps provide a better user experience on mobile than a web browser. That was true five years ago, that’s true today. And I suspect it will still be true five years from now.

Couldn't agree more.