With the launch of Kottke.org in 1998, Jason Kottke helped create a blogging style — a one or two line introduction followed by an excerpt, video, or interesting link — that's shown remarkable staying power over the past fifteen years. (See Tim Carmody on Kottke "link, pull, response" approach). Aside from blogging and working as a developer in New York City, he's also known for creating the Silkscreen typeface and designing the Gawker logo. He's recently been working on Stellar.io, a web app that aggregates the best of Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and Vimeo. Jason spared a few moments of his time to answer some of our pressing questions on apps, technology, design, and how it feels to be internet old. Follow him on Twitter at @jkottke.
What's a regular day in the life of Jason Kottke?
I am not at all a morning person, but most days I'm up before 7am because, you know, two kids under five. I make breakfast & lunch for them, kiss everyone goodbye and then I'm off to the office (I have a desk at Buzzfeed...I cannot get anything done when working from home). Then it's eight more-or-less solid hours of ass-in-chair because surprisingly, that's the way stuff gets done. Home at 5:15 or so for family dinner at 6. After getting the kids off to bed, I usually unwind with some TV or a movie or more work.
What's your online reading setup look like these days? RSS? Twitter? Multiple devices?
For discovery, Twitter and Stellar. No RSS...stopped doing that a few months ago and I feel like it dramatically improved my success rate in finding interesting things (although the addition of Stellar has helped with that too). For reading long stuff, Instapaper.
How's it feel to be internet old?
Sometimes it feels as though I've overstayed my welcome at a party. Like really overstayed. Like the hosts come out of their bedroom the next morning and there I am at the kitchen table eating breakfast and asking when they'll be home for dinner overstayed.
Mac or PC (and all-time favorite computer, make and model)?
Mac all the way these days. The best computer is the one I have now (MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Blah Blah) but my favorite computers were my Packard Bell 486/66MHz (which I developed my first web sites on) and my first iBook (which totally transformed how I worked and used computers).
Who (or what) are you most excited about on the web these days?
Nothing big, just little gems here and there. Haven't fallen in love with anything on the web in awhile. Or if I have, it has a primarily mobile component (Foursquare, Instagram, etc).
What's your primary browser?
Firefox, I guess. I keep that, Safari, and Chrome running all the time...Safari is my blogging browser, Firefox is for development, and Chrome is for fun. Now that I think about it, using three browsers all the time sounds pretty ridiculous.
What phone do you use?
What writers do you try to read every day?
I don't read anyone consistently aside from Gruber. I see and read so much stuff that even with great engaging writers, there's a sameness to much of their work that doesn't interest me...until they really knock something out of the park, and then I'll hear about it from someone I follow on Twitter or Stellar.
You wrote a post about David Foster Wallace's idea of the Decider a few years ago
It's much easier to find interesting things to read and look at online than it used to be...the web is now largely filters on top of filters on top of filters. So I don't have to sift through as much stuff as I used to. But also around the time I posted that link, I got much better at blogging. I don't know if the 10,000 hours thing kicked in or what, but when used to take me 6-8 hours to do now takes me 2-3 hours.
What books are you reading now?
Just started The Information by James Gleick but I don't know if I'll get past the Kindle sample. With blogging, programming, and spending time with my family, there's not much brainpower left over for reading books these days. I somehow powered through Isaacson's Steve Jobs bio but the last book I finished before that was probably a year ago. A few 50%-90% reads though: 1493, The Pale King, Gotham. Oh, I just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my son, does that count?
Print or ebook?
Mostly ebook...the Kindle app on the iPad and iPhone.
The annual handcrafted blog redesign! Is it dead with with the Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook [insert media-curation tool here] powerhouse?
Probably. It'll be like letterpress, kept alive by a few aficionados. That said, I am trying to redesign my blog right now...
Where's Stellar going next?
I have no idea. I have a list of things I want to implement, but it's just me — I split time between it and kottke.org — and I'm not really a programmer, so it's slow-going.
What are your top five most-used apps, any platform?
Twitter (iOS and web), TextMate, Stellar, iTunes, and I don't even know what the fifth one would be. Foursquare? Terminal? Pretty boring.
How do you stay focused?
Becoming a father helped because, priorities! Plus, I really like what I do. And I long-ago learned the value of unplugging and doing one thing at a time. Oh, and I almost completely ignore my email now.
What was the best movie you saw in 2011?
I am not current on movies. (Did I mention two kids under five?) Midnight in Paris was delightful. I don't think I got around to watching True Grit until mid last year...great film. Senna is an under-rated gem...I watched it a few months ago and still think about it almost daily. I saw Tron: Legacy in early 2011 at an IMAX and it was very nearly a religious experience for me...I could have watched the lightcycle race for hours on end. As long as Daft Punk keeps making two-hour music videos, I'll keep seeing them.
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