Hello, this is the (optional.is) quarterly newsletter. Mostly the thoughts of Brian Suda.

02023Q1 REYKJAVIK: We're through the shortest day of the year and we're getting a tiny bit more sunlight each day. Last quarter was quiet: no travel or major deadlines.

Idle hands are the devil's workshop

When given time, we dabble! Exploring where technology rubs up against reality, we've prototyped many different ideas over the years. Recently it's been exploring digital photography, but we've always held a soft spot for puzzles and games. Now that we've germinated some ideas, we are ready to share: Camera Apps and Mazes.

Camera Apps

Output from two of our prototype camera apps.

We enjoy exploring iPhone photography and have been pushing what is possible using a digital camera. We wanted to explore technology to try to create images that you could never create in the same way with analog film.

The first experimental camera app creates collages of photos from the past. Using the video camera, this app is constantly saving a few seconds' worth of temporary frames anytime while the app is open. When the shutter is pressed, the app reaches into the past to capture the moments leading up to the click.

Building on this idea, the second experimental camera app also uses the video buffer, but constantly overlays the images onto itself. Applying Layer Blending modes of "Darkening" or "Lightening", the darker or lighter pixel contrast of the two images is saved. The effect is very similar to a long open shutter, but it avoids over-exposure and blurring.

We've been experimenting with these camera apps ourselves and exploring the abilities unique to digital photography.

If you're interested in testing, just reply and we can get you set up on TestFlight.

Programmatic Mazes

Programmatically generated maze with items, monsters, and quests.

This idea started on simple graph paper, creating mazes with a dash of inspiration from video games. A traditional maze's only goal is to get from the entrance to the exit. We added an extra layer of complexity. The exit is only accessible by strategically collecting items to avoid traps and unlock doors.

We moved from paper prototypes to code. That allowed us to iterate faster on various shapes, sizes and types of mazes, from small booklets to competitive posters! After receiving some great feedback and we're considering ways of selling unique, programmatically generated, downloadable digital mazes.

Like all our internal projects, we develop ideas into prototypes and then into products.

Q4 Writing

We published 3 articles in Q4. Here they are in case you missed them:

Yankee Candles Levels of Abstraction:

HALT Addiction Relapse:

Color Name Abstractions:

🗓 All Weeknotes are collected together here:

We also managed to publish fairly regular fortnightly weeknotes: Week #607, 608, 609, Week #610-#611, Week #612-613, Week #614-#615, The Mark of the Beast, Week #616 and Week #617-618 before we took off for the Holiday Season.

📰 All newsletters are also archived online. If you ever miss something, you can read about it here:

We did well getting the ⪮ Good Morning newsletter out on a monthly basis: s01e10, s01e11 and s0e12 all are available online to read.

⪮ Good Morning: Season 2

A year's worth of ⪮ Good Morning newsletter screenshots.

Last year, each month we sent out an episode of ⪮ Good Morning. We've taken our experience and feedback and folded it into a season 2.

Instead of 1 picture, 2 thoughts, and 3 links, we're moving to an intro and 4 links.

The lines between our 2 thoughts and 3 links were blurring. Our links had long commentary and our thoughts had supporting links. Season 2 is going to streamline that content.

If you're already subscribed, tell a friend. If not, join today. All the links are interesting and not self-promotional.

🗒🧨 Notes for 02023

When we look ahead at the next twelve months. Two big projects are looming large that we weren't able to discuss in 02022. One should be available in a few months (then we can talk about it) and the other is starting to rumble again.

In the meantime, we continue with clients and projects in 🇮🇸 Iceland, 🇦🇺 Australia, 🇺🇸 US and 🌐 elsewhere.

We have at least one, maybe two to three, bigger projects on the horizon. We know it's difficult to coördinate big decisions during the holiday season. Now that 02023 is in full swing, we look forward to focusing on Q1.

🏢 🕰 Office Hours

Over the last year, we’ve made use of people’s gracious open office hours. We’ve booked sessions with people we admire and had some amazing and informative chats.

Our open office hours are:

Hopefully, we’ll be able to reconnect with more old friends, meet new folks, and have more interesting and engaging conversations.

🗓 Book a time to chat


Print ready A0 02023 wall calendar PDF. An open-source project to download and print at a local print shop yourself. Get organized and start planning.

Red Days: Holiday Countdown. This is a free app to countdown to the next public holiday. Available for iOS and Apple Watch.

😀📅 Emoji Calendar. This is a free app to countdown to the next holiday with simple two-glyph emojis. Available for iOS and Apple Watch.

Good Morning

We publish a second newsletter. Monthly episodes, 4 links, all interesting stuff, no self-promotion.

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