Issue 76
  1. A charging pad for mobile devices
  2. The compact guide to email marketing
  3. Version 2 of the popular tripod mount
  4. A shared, digital whiteboard
  5. A beautiful, flexible shelving system
  6. A handy little screen recorder

Hi everyone!

[Warning: I'm gonna use this intro to today's issue to dumb some thoughts on you. Sorry, but I just need to get this off my chest.]

This week's motivational quote (see at the bottom) is such a fitting and urgently needed piece of advice for this day and age.

To be honest, yesterday I felt quite depressed after reading some really dire articles about where this planet is headed. Talking to friends and family in Germany didn't help either. There, like almost everywhere right now, the media is riling everyone up about how unsafe Europe has become. (Because it's about how safe we feel, not how safe it actually is, of course.) 

Even my mum, who is often quick to jump on the 'Everything is horrible!' bandwagon, told me after the Munich attacks: "I had to turn off the TV. Every channel was reporting live, competing against each other for the highest number of casualties. It was repulsive."

For months now, I've been trying to make my mum realise that she's never lived in a safer period. I did a bit of googly digging and then sent her some (German) articles from reputable sources that put the news coverage in perspective. And I think she found some solace in that, at least for the time being.

To me it kinda showed how many of her generation depend on traditional media outlets to stay in the loop (in her case one newspaper and a couple of TV stations). Compare that to how I consume news: there's been links to at least 30 different media outlets in the last 2 hours of my Twitter stream. My Pocket reading list has currently 19 articles lined up, only six from the same sources (Medium, The Atlantic). Sure, I live in an echo chamber of sorts too, but when it comes to finding facts, stats and analysis, the diverse range of sources the web offers beats any one newspaper or TV station. I jump not only from one source to another, but also between types of media – podcasts, streaming radio, articles, videos. My experience of the news and how the media responds to news is completely different to many other folks who aren't necessarily glued to the screen eight hours a day. 

My mum has a fairly liberal, progressive worldview in many ways, which is surprising given the fact that she reads a fairly conservative, local newspaper and has many very conservative friends and family members. Though, I think she's a very typical consumer of mainstream news. Like most of my small-town family, she forms her opinions (and fears) by consuming what is served to her in the most convenient and accessible way: the paper during breakfast and the eight-o-clock news after dinner.

I might be wrong, but I feel that many of the people who vote in extreme ways, who want to vent their frustration in the next election, fall into the above category of news consumers.

In order for people like my mum to feel less fearful and more hopeful (and vote accordingly), we need to become active campaigners for a more balanced, diverse, and thoughtful consumption of news. We need to calmly remind them that the business of news is booming when everyone competes for the most outrageous statement and the most terrifying headline.

Your parents might be more 'connected' to online news than my mum, but I'm sure all of us have a family member that's currently disgruntled and fearful, willing to vote for anything as long as it means change. Talk to them, ask them about their fears, and remind them that every news item has an agenda. There is no 'neutral' news reporting, especially not in times when fear sells like hotcakes. 


Thanks to Chad for sending in the photo of his lovely office.


This Weekʼs Line-Up

A charging pad for mobile devices

Energysquare is a new generation of wireless chargers that allows you to charge multiple devices at the same speed as classic chargers by placing it on an thin pad. No induction, no electromagnetic waves – it's using a small conductive sticker on the back to charge. Pretty smart. (Successfully funded on Kickstarter.)

The compact guide to email marketing

I rarely feature non-app products here, but this guide to email marketing by Campaign Monitor is extremely insightful and should be on the reading list of anyone who sends out regular newsletters. (Disclosure: Campaign Monitor is a supporter of this newsletter.)

Version 2 of the popular tripod mount

Studio Neat's story has been told in a previous issue of Offscreen. I really like their approach to staying small and sustainable, putting a lot of thought into each product release. Now Glif 2.0 is on its way: this completely redesigned version of the Glif holds your smartphone securely in portrait or landscape with a quick release lever. (Currently funding on Kickstarter.)

A shared, digital whiteboard

Mural works like a whiteboard. Attach sticky notes, drawings, images, and other brainstorming material, then share it in real-time with your team. It comes with some useful collaborative features like voting on particular assets.

A beautiful, flexible shelving system

The Sticotti Bookshelf is a modular and sustainably-made, wooden shelving system that you can reconfigure any way you like without any nails or screws. It's a beautiful project that I'd love to support – if just my apartment walls weren't made out of papier-mâché. (Currently funding on Kickstarter.)

A handy little screen recorder

Seamlessly record your Mac's screen, microphone and camera, then edit your recordings and share them as movie or animated GIF/PNG.

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
— Nelson Mandela