Issue 14

Welcome to a previous issue of The Journal. To get the latest issue delivered to your inbox, once a month, sign up for the newsletter here.

Hello friends,
The Journal podcast is back!

Two new episodes are waiting for you:
1. Ryan Hoover — Founder of Product Hunt
2. Gary Vaynerchuk — Founder of VaynerMedia and motivational Instagram star

Get the podcasts here.

Have a great month,

I’m building a meditation app — see how the app is made and join our private group

Eight years ago, I lived a block from the San Francisco Zen Center. This is where I received my first formal training session in Zen.

I’ve been practicing on and off since then. But over the last year, I’ve gone a lot deeper, and have created a daily ritual.

Why practice?

For me, my mind is always on, jumping around frantically. In and out of work issues, worrying about the future, or trying to get to that next “thing” (in the future) that will make me happy.

Over the last 6-months, I’ve starting to notice subtle changes. I find myself operating more in the here and now, enjoying deeper conversations with friends, and relearning how to be content without the need of external stimulation (e.g. constantly checking my phone, drinking too much alcohol, or watching television). It’s a way to take pause and exhale with purpose. Softening the nerves and soul.

Kevin, the guru?

Not even close. I’m by no means perfect. This is a lifetime journey that I have only just begun. I’m going to be leaning on many experts in this field to help shape the direction and content of the app we’re building.

Aren’t there a lot of great apps already?

Yes, with Headspace and Calm being two of my favorites.

Every app I’ve used has a different mixture of features and training methods. I always encourage people to try a few of them until they find the right fit.

Our app will also have its own unique take, and we’ve also identified a handful of new ideas that we haven’t seen built in any of the existing apps on the market. These should be fun to explore. My view is that the more high-quality meditation apps that exist in this space, the better.

Join the app creation process (we’ve never done this before)!

We’ve decided to share with you the entire development process. You’ll see the initial wireframes, naming process, design iterations, development tradeoffs (what to include/exclude for v1.0), etc. — a full behind the scenes look into our app development process.

We plan on releasing a video each week documenting and sharing the latest. You’ll also be included on the initial beta(s) of the app. I hope you’ll join us for this next adventure.

Join the private Facebook group

Video: Would you jump? Jumping from a 10 meters diving platform for the first time

A really fun video to watch. 67 deathly frightened people are paid to jump from a 10 meter diving platform for the first time.

“Our objective in making this film was something of a psychology experiment: We sought to capture people facing a difficult situation, to make a portrait of humans in doubt…Through an online advertisement, we found 67 people who had never been on a 10-meter (about 33 feet) diving tower before, and had never jumped from that high. We paid each of them the equivalent of about $30 to participate.”

Ten meter tower (Video: 16:12)

I’m loving the iPhone 7 Plus portrait mode

For my 40th birthday trip to Japan (two weeks ago), I wanted to take a high-end camera to better document the adventure.

I had considered renting a Leica Q, but I wanted less fuss and more portability. I remembered a couple friends had said great things about the iPhone 7 Plus, in particular, it’s “portrait mode.” So I decided to take a closer look.

Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus automatically creates a depth-of-field effect that keeps the foreground sharp while blurring the background (as you can see in the picture I took above). This effect, also known as bokeh, was previously reserved for DSLR cameras. The iPhone 7 Plus uses its dual-camera system and machine learning to produce the effect.

I decided to purchase the iPhone 7 Plus for the trip, and I have to say, the results were outstanding for this early beta feature.

Check out the Japan pics here (all taken with the iPhone 7 Plus)

Aluminum laptop camera cover for privacy

I just watched the Snowden movie on a flight to San Francisco. The movie is decent (perfect to kill time on a flight), but more importantly, it served as a reminder that governments (and hackers) around the world have access to exploits that can be used against us at any time.

(For the non-geeks out there, exploits are unpatched holes in software that allow the bad guys in. These holes can exist in your computers, phones, cameras, smart TVs, etc. Basically, anything that is connected to the internet.)

One particular device I look to secure is my laptop camera. Should this become compromised a would-be hacker could view and record video from this device. A camera cover doesn’t prevent the audio from being recorded, but it does block the video.

I’ve owned a few plastic camera covers in the past, but recently found a new cover from STEAGLE that I love. It’s thin (.8mm) and made of aluminum.

STEAGLE Aluminum Privacy Cover ($11.99)

Video: The technology behind Planet Earth II

“Planet Earth was the first natural history documentary to be filmed in high definition, and now a decade later improved technology has made it possible to capture further details, from elusive animal behaviors to previously inaccessible remote landscapes.”

The tech behind Planet Earth II (Video: 8:37)

The best lounging pants I’ve ever found

Sweats have always been my go-to house lounge pants. Until I discovered Robies. These are the most comfortable lounging (/pajamas) pants I’ve ever put on. The outside is a waffle cone mesh, and the inside is lined with ultra-soft jersey cotton. They are like wearing a robe. They are expensive, but damn comfy.

Robies lounge pants ($86)


“Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavor to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility of the meaning of such a comparison.”

~Albert Einstein, 1938

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Kevin Rose

Builder. Meditator. Husband of @summertomato, father to Zelda & Toaster.