Paul Williams Avatar
Paul Williams
he/him
Steakhouses and dive bars are the vibe. Also: kayaking, literature, cinema, gardening, drinking, eating, coffee rituals, and a never-ending curiosity. Head of solutions growth strategy at Publicis Groupe by day.
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Paul Williams
@paulw

The people have been talking about Gabriel Smith’s Brat, and after picking it up at a local bookstore on our first day of vacation in Burlington, 30 pages in, I will admit that the people are right — this is a wickedly good new voice in literature. 📚

Book Calle Brat with blue text and deer in headlight on cover resting on plaid black and white blanket
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Paul Williams
@paulw

This guy, absolute connoisseur of north Minnesota/Wisconsin dive bars. A pleasure bumping into his retrospective series of essays, and this one about south Superior’s Ray Bar and tap puppets, is just 🤌.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Ambitious collaboration of companies using “luminescent pigments [from FibreTrace’s tech] into raw cotton when ginning”, whereupon “scanning a pigment, it can be tracked throughout the supply chain, identified and verified on-site”. Love to see this supply chain innovation approach.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Om’s great suggestion for Apple resonates on a number of levels — donate to national park preservation as a backbone to copies of macOS installs (since they keep naming versions after California landmarks and to amplify their sustainability efforts). Win win.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Very pleased to see Christina Nguyen win Best Midwest Chef at the James Beard Awards last night. The other nominees were equally as great, but she’s been up for several years and it’s such a well-deserved win for her restaurant, Hai Hai, a Southeast Asian gem in northeast Minneapolis.

Sign outside Hai Hai yellow building reading Living the Hai Life
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Paul Williams
@paulw

Nothing quite stirs an emotional energy like waltzing into your local bagel shop with “Never Gonna Give You Up” greeting you on the speakers.

Interior of a bagel shop with rows of baked goods and menus on chalkboards above
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Paul Williams
@paulw

This MagSafe, slide-out Nintendo DS-like iPhone game controller is brilliantly conceived, and one of those things you wish you would have thought of first. Best wishes to Josh King in building this out at scale — smart kid! He also built a nice site for it, where you can sign-up to preorder.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@Miraz These new ones have magnetic/Qi charging now? That's pretty nice, actually. I keep arguing with myself on whether to get an ereader or stick to physical books. The traveling/minimal bag footprint is the main argument I have for an ereader. Hope you enjoy the new one!

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Good to hear the use of QR code scanning for restaurant menus is reversing. This has been an insufferable practice that leaves dining too transactional, diluting the experience of interaction with the environment and server.

A Mexican food menu featuring tacos and a QR code on a wood table
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Paul Williams
@paulw

There seems to be a changing tide to hustle culture — whether it’s the folks I follow getting more mature, or acknowledgement of irrational societal pressures — and a reckoning with slowing down, mitigating distractions, and re-balancing life. Tracy Durnell has a good list in which to adhere.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Kino was released today as a 1.0 — a powerful, fun new video recording app from Lux, the makers of the Halide photography app. Immediate download for me, foremost to just check out their neat intro-to-the-app brochure. Secondly, to record my dog, who just sat there on the couch blinking at me.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@ayjay also, doesn’t anyone share accounts with their spouse or partner? We do, and it is increasingly impossible to do this. I get everyone should have separate accounts but we use the same stuff (Amazon, delivery apps, streaming, etc.), and it’s annoying to have to ping each other codes or FaceIDs to sign in.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@jtr this is such a disappointing path so many have taken. Especially with journalism, which is already in dire straits. Many already pay them for providing the value we need. Let others read! Or sure, let us read first and then decide three thirds of the way through an article. Anything but the intrusiveness immediately.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

As an admitted bandwagoner, it’s been an absolute pleasure watching the Minnesota Timberwolves navigate through the NBA playoffs.

A menagerie of Minnesota Timberwolves images
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Paul Williams
@paulw

Love this quest to make a mass-manufactured paper bottle (alc bev brands Diagro and Pernod Richard, along with CPG giant P&G, lead the way). Biggest hurdles have been shedding a plastic lining, leaks and retaining carbonation, and weight issues during transportation.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@otaviocc Oh I hear you. Always coming across amazing stationary and not having enough to actually put into them once acquired... how do we solve for this conundrum.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Worthwhile, fun article on the very talented actress Sarah Paulson, whose performance in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story as lead prosecutor comes to mind as most memorable next to her work in AHS. It’s unfortunate I’m not near Broadway to see her award-nominated play.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Love that this is the example of how LLMs working together as teams, called multi-agent systems (mas), hallucinate in an altogether nuttier level.

Screenshot of article quote that states: “There are downsides. llms sometimes have a propensity for inventing wildly illogical solutions to their tasks and, in a multi-agent system, these hallucinations can cascade through the whole team. In the bomb-defusing exercise run by darpa, for example, at one stage an agent proposed looking for bombs that were already defused instead of finding active bombs and then defusing them.”
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Paul Williams
@paulw

I just received the email about Five Dials closing shop after a wonderful 16-year run. It’s been a great digital literary magazine, curating a variety of writers for travelogues, reporting, interviews, and stories. Luckily, they posted their entire archive for perusing.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Jason Fried is finding his niche with the Once software` portfolio that 37signals is building out. This recent post of his exemplifies the catalyst for them to do it, to the backdrop of horribly over-priced parking software:

[bad, overpriced software] is a deep well that keeps on providing.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

Declaring it here: Dragon Quest IX has the best battle music in the series.

Scene from the Nintendo DS game Dragon Quest IX depicting a split screen with the upper one of the hero character attacking a slime, the lower one the stats of the battle
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Paul Williams
@paulw

Zippers Deserve a Holiday defiantsloth.com
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Paul Williams
@paulw

The absolute disregard of reasonable proportions in the wedge salad at Manny’s Steakhouse is perfection.

A wedge salad with an absurd amount of thick cut bacon bits next to a water glass and martini.
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Paul Williams
@paulw

@joelhamill I agree with this notion. Keep the good architecture going. We all like it, we use it. Keep Micro.blog light on its feet, keep streamlining it, keep iterating where it makes sense.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

8BitDo Micro Controller is a Super Portable Wonder A small rectangular controller in a shade of purple-blue sitting on a dark wooden surface defiantsloth.com
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Paul Williams
@paulw

Every time I land…. feeling in good hands with Delta. Something about this airline is reassuring from take off to deboarding.

A Delta plane docked with bridge at an airport during sunset.
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Paul Williams
@paulw

A warm day here in St. Paul to kick off the weekend. Enjoyed a scooter ride up and into Como Park, a walk through the Japanese garden, and some book reading under park trees. Perfect afternoon.

Manicured Japanese garden with rocks, water, and trees.
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Paul Williams
@paulw

@darby3 I had to re-read this twice before it sunk in, but crazy to acknowledge that album is 20 years old. It literally represented my driving soundtrack back in the day (aka, 2 months ago).

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Paul Williams
@paulw

The Atlas Ankle Sock Review - Simply the Best, Probably defiantsloth.com
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Paul Williams
@paulw

Jemima Kelly has an invigorating opinion piece pondering where all the admirable, virtuous role models have gone.

As the west has moved away from ethical outlooks that focus on virtue and towards a utilitarianism that emphasises the outcomes of our actions rather than the content of our characters, we are less inclined to look for exemplars of virtuousness to emulate.

Absolutely on point. There’s a generational opportunity to fill the gap here, and it’s something we can all rally in contributing towards.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@otaviocc This is really nice. I’m still a text guy no matter how many times I get linked to YouTube videos. Would be equally awesome to see this for podcasts.

How do you like Matter? I used it years ago, before trying Omnivore, and stuck with it mostly due to its uncluttered, breezy design.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

This is an absolutely bonkers story detailing how a man named Mickey Barreto stayed in the New Yorker hotel for five years, paying just one night’s rate. You know, every once in a while, the NY Times nails a tale like this.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@brian_wolf Hope you enjoyed!

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@pgkr thank you for this marvelous fact (and news to me as well!)

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@mikehaynes 🫡

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@pimoore Ha, oh I hope we get to drink both. While we are rarely driven to solve these problems far enough ahead of time, I have hope that under duress, innovation will happen and we’ll ward off coffee and drinking water extinction for at least a hundred more years…

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@canion This made me laugh. And also reminded me of the time I wasted watching this a few years ago.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@jacks Looking forward to watching it tonight! Their past series have been good, so fingers crossed they pull it off. Dog fights in the air seem like a sure bet.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@jtr Appreciate the on-the-ground feedback here. I'm in Minneapolis, and while probably not seeing the same price trending you are, it's gotten more expensive to eat out, and we're seeing a major splintering of fine dining and fast-casual happening to just about all restaurants where it's hardly worth it to go to middling restaurants in the middle.

I definitely agree with you on the small print. The type is getting infuriatingly tinier, and given a typically low-lit backdrop in most restaurants (which I tend to prefer), the user experience of the menu is getting far worse. At least the paper menu is finally back. I loathed using QR codes and using my phone at the dinner table. I like eating out to escape the trappings of screen overload and distractions at home.

Ha, at any rate, thanks for your comment -- hope you continue to enjoy eating out!

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@mikehaynes This is great! Another good curated directory is ooh.directory. Not quite the emphasis on a search engine for the indie web, like you're suggesting, but it's another good site for discovery.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@bjhess An excellent update to an excellent, lasting app. Looking forward to using this!

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@miljko totally agree. Love that RSS is being talked about again, but how can you not mention NNW…

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@moonmehta Keep preaching! RSS is the most clutch way to engage with the internet and in particular, writers and journalists.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@jacks Really bizarre play by Apple. Killers of the Flower Moon is a free stream (and so was Coda), but perhaps they’re struggling with some of the big films they’ve released in theaters first due to licensing agreements or something with other joint studios (like Ridley Scott’s production arm)? I was hoping to stream Napoleon on an upcoming flight… guess not.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@patrickrhone Agreed. Curious to see what these are, considering 37signals has productivity, mail, and now calendar under subscription SaaS. I could see a number of other Internet utilities and tools being built under the Once umbrella, if they go after territories like RSS readers, bookmarking services, file transfer management, SSH clients, etc.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@otaviocc Down to the bone, the sustainable way 🫡

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@maique Excellent, excellent show.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@miljko Absolutely agree! This was a pleasure to watch. I downloaded for a flight on a whim a couple weeks ago, and blew through the whole thing in two days. Love your call-out of Fantastic Planet -- both of these have indelibly left a mark in my memory — they have those images that just seep into your subconscious and probably will forever resurface on occasion.

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@numericcitizen Nicely done! I love Craft for work/brain dumping. Looking forward to reviewing the requests that gather here (and perhaps dropping some of my own)

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Paul Williams
@paulw

@lmika Would love to hear how this goes! I unfortunately work in a heavy PPT organization and likely wouldn't get away with using iA Presenter (the templates... alas). But it looks like a great application and I've used their iA Writer for years.