Newsletter v21.08
6 min read

Newsletter v21.08

Newsletter v21.08

Photo by Lucas Benjamin on Unsplash

👋 Personal

School, what is it good for?

Last year I started a Cloud Computing Architecture Master’s degree with the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). I don’t like defining people by what bucket they fall into, but I’m in what is often called “mid career.”

I decided to get a Master's degree to better position myself for the Technical Fellowship at Boeing. The company would pay for the degree, and since I was already working with cloud at work, I didn't think the degree would be too time-consuming and would be an easy win.

To be clear, I don't think most people need a degree to be successful in tech. Unless you are interested in applying for particular research jobs, a Computer Science degree is not required for 99.9% of employees.

It's been a 🤪 week — so the newsletter is a couple of days late.

📰 News of the Week

1️⃣ NBA Top Shot Collectibles Continues Meteoric Rise With Over $50 Million In Sales In A Week


What does NFT stand for?

NFT stands for Non-fungible Token — in simplest terms, an NFT is a digital asset with verifiable ownership and scarcity (limited number of copies allowed).

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers slam dunks against the Sacramento Kings. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) GETTY IMAGES
NBA Top Shot, a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to buy and sell numbered versions of video clips of player highlights called "Moments," generated a whopping $53.9 million in sales over the past seven days, as the uber-popular digital collectibles show no signs of slowing down.

I’m on the fence about NFTs.

I understand and agree that creators must be paid for their work, and NFT proves authenticity and may be used for royalties as the asset changes ownership.

On the other hand, once an asset (think books, music, movies, …) is digitized, it is free to make copies — meaning, information (knowledge) can be shared equally with everyone in the world.

What do you think?

2️⃣ The digital afterlife industry is here to help you plan your death


Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images

🪦💰The only things for certain are death and taxes.

First, reading this article taught me a new word: Thanatechnology.

Any technology that can be used to deal with death, dying, grief, loss, and illness.

Reading the article brought up many questions

  • What happens to the deceased online assets?
  • How much data is required to build a digital persona (virtual human) of the dead?
  • Is there a product opportunity to remove me from the Internet capability?
  • What if a bad actor takes over a live stream?
  • Will attendees of a real-time online burial remain focused, or will they be distracted by notifications — is it disrespectful?
  • And many more questions.

Before COVID-19, remote attendance was offered by several funeral homes, but the need has increased since the pandemic. Once again, more of our real lives are now digital. From analog to digital — the time we spend in virtual worlds continues to rise. At what point will we spend more than 50% of our day in virtual worlds?

…the pandemic is transforming the global “death care” market, which consists of funeral, burial, and internment services and which, in 2020, was estimated to have a market size of $106.3 billion.

3️⃣ Childhood cancer survivor named 2nd crew member for all-civilian mission to space


Hayley Arceneaux in front of a SpaceX rocket. Photo: Inspiration4

Inspiration 4 is the first all-civilian mission to space.

Named in recognition of the four-person crew that will raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, this milestone represents a new era for human spaceflight and exploration.

The mission, created by Billionaire Jared Isaacman, a successful entrepreneur and accomplished aviator, will take four civilians to space. He holds several world records and co-founded Draken International. Draken has a fleet of over 70 aircraft and provides select governments Operational Readiness Training. They also perform maintenance and engineering services and Search and Rescue operations.

Even if you don’t follow the space industry, I bet you have heard of Elon Musk and SpaceX.

Inspiration 4 will be flown on Dragon Spacecraft by SpaceX.

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. — Elon Musk

The fourth seat will be a raffle ticket winner — all proceeds go to St Jude's, and donations are tax-deductible if you reside in the United States. They have raised 10.7 Million USD with a goal of 100 Million. And may the odds be ever in your favor!

Screenshot from

📱App of the Week: Ulysses

I love the Ghost platform, but web-based writing could be better. Ulysses is a powerful editor and integrates with Ghost 😀

See, I’m using it right write now!

Screenshot by Kirby Shabaga

Ulysses is available on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. You can install it from the App Store, but it's also available with a 🎁 Setapp subscription (highly recommended).

👩‍💻 Website of the Week: Center for Humane Technology


The Center for Humane Technology's mission is to "drive a comprehensive shift toward humane technology that supports our well-being, democracy, and shared information environment."

The Web is not very old. Social networks are only teenagers, and evidence has proven themselves not to be 100% positive for humanity in the last few years.

Tristan Harris co-founded the center. Tristan worked at Google and, in 2013, wrote a viral memo titled, "A Call to Minimize Distraction & Respect Users' Attention."

🎛 Gadget of the Week: reMarkable 2


Screenshot from
I am a gadget geek and an early adopter. It’s an illness that can’t be cured.

I pre-ordered reMarkable 2 last year and have been using it for a few months now.

What I like about it is the simplicity. There are zero distractions when you use it. No browser. No third-party apps. Nothing but blank pages to write on.

It's similar to drawing on paper, the display is large, and the product is light enough to add to your laptop bag. Battery life is fantastic, and it's USB-C!

🎙Podcast Episode of the Week: Planet Money: We Buy a Superhero

Planet money revives Micro-Face for the present day

Siena Mae/NPR

I love Planet Money!

I don’t listen to every episode. But the recent episodes are fun and educational — the best combination.

The third episode in the series We Buy a Superhero has the hosts speaking with the original artist's daughter who created Micro-Face, Al Ulmer.

We Buy a Superhero: Resurrection : Planet Money
We have found the perfect superhero. Now we just have to make him our own. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter <a href=“”>here</a>.

Marvel Comics has about 7,000 characters! I had no idea there were that many — they can film for centuries ;-)

You can find your own public domain comic book character and make it your own — very kewl. There are thousands of characters to choose from. Here's one list to get you started.

After weeks of searching, we have finally found the superhero for us: Micro-Face. He's an obscure Golden Age character, plucked from the depths of the public domain, wearing a mask with a built-in microphone. He's the hero that the world of podcasting needs right now.

Have a wonderful weekend and a productive week ahead.

Work hard. Have fun. Be Flexible.

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