I like to think I know my coffee. Guided by my brother's expertise, I've learnt to tell Ethiopian beans from Costa Rican, dark roasts from light, and how to adjust my grind coarser or finer for a better cup. And I've become an insufferable snob in the process. So from the dumb human cognitive bias department, comes a fascinating article on the nuances of wine tasting and the external factors that influence our perceptions of a wine's quality, equally applicable to coffee.
Typography: Trade Gothic animated by Markus Feder
In a fun side project, designer and animator Markus Feder animated the alphabet, each letter appearing from nothing in its own cel-animated transition. Feder has also generously made the source files available for anyone interested in how he made the animations.
Graphic design: Generic and overused logos
Graphic designer Giovanni Tondini has assembled a collection of overdone logo design tropes, like blobby connected molecule dots, person-as-tree-trunk, and others. It's not to say any of these ideas are objectively bad – a sound creative strategy will determine their appropriateness – but it's a good reminder for designers not to fall back on lazy solutions, and for clients not to settle for default design.
App: Overcast podcast app
Marco Arment has released a new app so his fans can listen to him yammering with John Siracusa and that other guy, and it's a great app. The headline features – smart speed and voice boost – are easily worth the in-app purchase, and they're presented in a smart, considered interface. I've stuck with Instacast for years, but Overcast has now taken its place in my iPhone's dock. Get it on the App Store, or read Federico Viticci's lengthy review if you're unsure.
Reading: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
This week I had a couple too many late nights reading Lauren Beukes' nightmarish new book, Broken Monsters. I don't like to compare books directly, but if you've read Moxyland, Zoo City and The Shining Girls, you'll recognise the themes and settings Beukes explores so well in her earlier books. It's a creepy, fast, disturbing and smart story about people battling to deal with a shifting, crumbling world, all wrapped up in a gruesome serial killer chase. And just as you think you know where it's leading, Beukes cranks up the craziness for a frightening finale. Bonus link: Lauren Beukes reads a zombie short story written in 10 minutes in 5FM's studio.