"Activist Engineering"

Matthew Bischoff:

We’re better than this. As software engineers and designers, we’re in the room when decisions are shaped, and the only ones who have the power to actually execute them. It’s our responsibility not to forsake the people who trust the apps we make with our silence. To stand up and refuse to implement unethical systems and dark patterns. And even more, to educate stakeholders on the real human costs of their business decisions: the time, attention, money, and trust of their customers.

A new Finer Things in Tech, more posts, and a way you can help

Finer Things in Tech should look a little different today, starting with the URL. I’m going back to basics, writing more, reviving the podcast, and introducing a way to support my work and the authors I commission. Let’s get started.

More Finer Things

Finer Things in Tech has always been about quick, bite-sized tips that help you get more out of your tech and apps. Last year, I introduced long-form articles from myself and smart industry folks, and they’ve been a big hit. Now I want more of both, and I’m taking a cue from my former boss Jason Snell to include “bigger than a tweet” pieces. I’m also going to try some link posts, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it all.

I want more tips and long-form articles, and I want to explore our relationship with tech, the industry’s culture, and how we can improve it all. The short-form podcast will return soon, I want to pay more smart people to write about the finer things in tech, and that’s where you come in.

How you can help

I’ve never done something like this before, which is a great reason to try it: today I’m launching a Patreon where you can support my work and help me pay writers. You can contribute as little as $1 per month or as much as you want. I’ll use this money to pay for the site and commission as many articles and tips as I can.

The Patreon doesn’t have any tiers or stretch goals yet, but I’ve certainly thought about them. It depends on how this goes, but all sorts of things are on the table: removing the one ad from the site, a process for requesting authors and articles, maybe even a mobile magazine, and more.

If you value Finer Things in Tech, I would deeply appreciate your support to help make it even better.

Details and thanks

To answer some inevitable questions:

Yes, Finer Things in Tech now runs on Squarespace 7

I know I threw in the towel on Squarespace two years ago, but it and its iOS apps have come a long way. I started using it again recently for a neighborhood project and, combined with my long-time frustration with WordPress and its hosting (yes, an article is coming about that), it felt like the right time. Squarespace removes many of the website management frustrations for me so I can focus on what matters—writing, podcasting (soon!), and finding more people to write about the finer things in tech.

Yes, all old links should redirect

Squarespace has some great domain and URL redirect tools for muggles like me (but if you see something, say something). In short, all old links to something like:


will transparently redirect to their new home at:


Feeds should automatically redirect as well. But if you’ve never subscribed or just want to make sure, you can check out all main section and topic feeds on the Follow page, as well as social and newsletter options.


I have to make a huge shout out to Conrad O’Connell at 91digital for help with getting all the necessary redirects in place. I also thank Alex Knight at FeedPress for a lot of help in jumping through some hoops with feed redirects and custom hostnames.

Of course, I thank you as well for reading and all the support, links, and feedback. I love doing this, and I want to bring you much more Finer Things in Tech.

Please update your Finer Things in Tech RSS feeds—they’re moving!

I’m putting Finer Things in Tech through a CMS overhaul, and one of the big changes is the RSS feeds. Of course, I’ll explain more once I’m all done, but the short is that WordPress, and WordPress hosting, is too difficult and costly to be done well for my needs.

I know I threw in the towel on Squarespace a couple years ago, but it’s come a long way since then. I am moving both my persona site and Finer Things in Tech back to it.

Here are the new feeds for all the main Finer Things in Tech sections, and I’ll do my best to redirect old feeds. The new feeds are platform-agnostic, so even if Squarespace implodes some day and I need to move the site, I hopefully won’t have to put you through this again.

Be sure to (re-)subscribe, tell all your friends, and hell, maybe even tap a few friendly strangers on the shoulder and share the wonder of Finer Things in Tech.

Thanks for reading.

The Evernote Web Clipper can now clip Gmail threads

Evernote Web Clipper, the browser extension for Evernote, can now clip entire threads from Gmail or even individual messages. The note created from this even includes a link to open the Gmail thread in your browser.

Introducing Finer Things in Tech Newsletters

I have some great stuff coming to Finer Things in Tech, and this is a small first step. Over the years, a growing number of readers have asked for a way to get Finer Tech posts by email. Today, I am happy to check this off the to-do list.
The initial batch of Finer Things in Tech Newsletters are available below. They collect the week’s posts for their respective category and deliver their headlines and excerpts to your inbox every Friday morning. Note that the Weekly Report newsletter is the equivalent of The Firehose feed from the Follow page of social and RSS links—every post across the whole site.

Feel free to sign up for one or all lists and let me know what you think in the comments or directly. I’d love to hear your thoughts on everything, including the best time you’d like these in your inbox and whether you want more granular options for sub-category topics like iOS 7, iPad apps, or productivity. I am also considering other options like daily and immediate newsletters, as well as full-text-and-photo options for a small membership fee. Told you some great stuff is coming. 😉

Thanks for reading and, now, subscribing.

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Xbox One: Setup Internet Explorer, Do Not Track is enabled by default

Xbox One IE setup Do Not Track by default
I wanted to try web browsing on my new Xbox One, and this brief setup process for Internet Explorer (natch) had Do Not Track enabled by default. The ‘Send my personal browsing history to Microsoft’ option was also disabled by default. Good on ya, Microsoft.

Yes, I’m trying Xbox One posts on Finer Things in Tech, there’s some really good stuff here. If you like these, please like and share this post. If you think Xbox One should get its own category, let me know on @FinerPC, @FinerTech, or via email.

How to automatically save screenshots to Dropbox, share links

Dropbox icon WindowsIf you have Dropbox installed on a Windows PC and use the “Print Screen” key, a pop-up window will give you the option to automatically save all screenshots to to your Dropbox folder.
In addition, pressing CNTRL+PrtScn will save the screenshot to Dropbox and paste a link to your clipboard for easy sharing!

[thanks Brian!]

Outlook.com has a new email “sweep” feature that’s pretty smart

Outlook.com recently added a new “sweep” option that lets you select one message, then automatically move or delete all messages from that message sender. You can also schedule sweeps or, of course, create more complex rules based on other criteria.

Start8 brings the Start Menu back to Windows 8, makes it better

If you’re not a fan of the “metro” interface on Windows 8, Start8 from Stardock is the first thing you might want to install. It brings back the Windows-7-style Star Menu, lets you pin apps to said menu, and you can boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop.

Thanks David Sheeks!

10 New Features in Windows 8.1 Preview that saved my Surface RT – Scott Hanselman

Windows 8.1 previewMicrosoft released a preview of Windows 8.1 anyone can download, and Scott Hanselman has already rounded up 10 new features in Windows 8.1 Preview that saved his Surface RT. There’s a lot to digest in this major update, so Hanselman’s post is a good a place as any to start.