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

02024Q2 REYKJAVIK: With an early Easter behind us, we've got some exciting projects in the pipeline as we head into the summer months.

Q1 Writing

The start of the year is always bustling with activity! In Q1, we published three articles and seven weeknotes, and maintained our newsletter schedule with one full ◍ Quarternotes issue per quarter and one ⪮ Good Morning episode each month.

Omnibus 02023

02023 TIL

Backups 2.0 DAS Edition

⪮ Good Morning Newsletter Season 3

s03e01: Flags, Music and Symbolism

s03e02: Dragons!

s03e03: Martian News

📰 https://optional.is/newsletter/
🗓 https://optional.is/required/category/weeknotes
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WWW Proposal in Word 4.0

A photocopy of the original WWW proposal given to us by Robert Cailliau, written by Tim Berners-Lee with his manager Mike Sendall's infamous note "vague, but exciting".

Recently, John Graham-Cumming documented his efforts to convert the original WWW proposal, written on a Mac in Microsoft Word 4.0, into a format compatible with modern software that looked the same. (Spoiler, he got close enough)

He published a short write-up on his steps and what worked and what didn't.

It goes to show how quickly digital files can 'rot' when the software (or image format) used is no longer supported.

We've been to CERN twice for some digital archaeology focusing on emulating the first two Web browsers.

You can read about how we rebuilt the Line Mode Browser here:

🥽 Spatial Computing

For a potential upcoming project, we had the opportunity to play around with the new Apple Vision Pro headset. There is a lot good and a lot bad about this device, but if we shift our focus away from the hardware and look into what it means to 'compute spatially', is it really the future?

In science fiction films like Minority Report, characters are depicted waving their hands to manipulate virtual windows. That's just not practical for anything more than a short period of time!

The Vision Pro's eye tracking and simple pinch-to-click is very fast, accurate and by no means exhausting to use. But these input features don't constitute 'spacial computing'. They are merely new ways of interacting with a GUI. With the right sensors, you could achieve the same interactions on a computer.

Spatial computing is volumetric, making use of the area beyond a flat 2D screen. Other Virtual Reality (VR) devices are great at putting you at the center of a virtual world. You move, it moves, so you really feel like you are surrounded and immersed.

The Vision Pro is different, it is much more like the Spectacles by Snap Inc. Your data, apps and more are layered onto the existing world in Augmented Reality (AR). They stay where you left them, they are the inverse of a Spime. Rather than being a physical thing with internet smarts, they are a virtual thing that quasi-exists in the real world.

The Vision Pro is still in its very early days. Even though the software needs updating, the hardware is heavy and expensive, it holds a lot of promise. Rather than complaining about it today, let's envision where it can take us in five years. That's much more exciting!

🍠♨️🍅🤑 Making money from bi-products

We are fascinated by innovative ideas that are outside of the norm, especially when a waste from your process turns out to be just as profitable as the product itself.

In the UK, British Sugar dominates around two-thirds of all the country's sugar production. Operating within a highly regulated and controlled market, pricing structures leave little room for profit margins, emphasizing the importance of operational efficiencies. At some point those processes were so streamlined there was no room to squeeze profits.

Then someone suggested that all the hot air from the sugar making process be collected and pumped into a neighboring greenhouse.

And that's how in 02006, British Sugar's flagship beet factory in West Norfolk became the country's tomato capital!

Think about your "waste" products - they could help you diversify and might turn out to be more lucrative than you think.

🏢 🕰 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

Good Morning

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

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Adventure Mazes! You can now order paperback books of our mazes. Join our monthly maze mailing list and enjoy the side quests.

Triagemail: Get unread email under control. An iOS app to check any email account. With only 4 options, get through all your unread email fast so you never miss anything important. $1.99 on the App Store.

Newsletters. An iOS app to help you read newsletters like this one in a collected and threaded format. Free for a limited time on the App Store.

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

Prototypes to Products.

(optional.is) works with teams to realize their ideas. From workshops to prototypes to products, we're there to help. With over 10+ years experience working with small to enterprise companies, we have a unique perspective on what's possible.

Contact us and say hello. 👋🏻