Google Nik Collection

Google has dropped the price for the versatile Nik Collection from $500 to free. It consists of a couple of different applications which can be used together with Lightroom or Photoshot, and the Silver Efex Pro package is probably their most famous, producing stunning black and white photos.

Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.

Starting March 24, 2016, the latest Nik Collection will be freely available to download: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. If you purchased the Nik Collection in 2016, you will receive a full refund, which we’ll automatically issue back to you in the coming days.

We’re excited to bring the powerful photo editing tools once only used by professionals to even more people now.

I just can’t stop wondering that happens next. Either it’s a move to attract more users to the apps, or they could be on the verge of killing off the software.

If you’re into photography, definitely download it and start tinkering with your photos.

Source: Google Nik Collection

Buffer Ditching the Office Completely

Buffer have shut down their office in favor of just doing remote work.

How do we work now? Pretty much the same way we did before: All around the world, from homes, coffee shops and coworking spaces. Those in San Francisco who worked in the office now have moved into coworking spaces, which Buffer pays for as part of our team perks. We’ve also opened up some discussion about paying for a monthly coffee shop allowance for teammates who prefer that environment to a true coworking space.

If there is a remote working culture and that there are tool and practices that support this kind of work, it’s probably a lot better letting everyone decide where they feel the most productive. Just cramming all employees together in an open office space for the sake of control1 just isn’t necessary anymore.

Source: We’re Ditching the Office Completely: Here’s Why


  1. With control, I mean the illusion of control. Is it worth sacrificing productivity for local presence? 

On corporate culture

The Culture Deck is a great article on corporate culture and why you need a minister of culture at your workplace.

How people work is as important as what they do.

Also:

Culture isn’t about what gets done, it’s about how and why things get done.

iOS 9.3 Preview

It seems that Apple will release their own implementation of f.flux as part of iOS 9.3. All I can say is finally! I have been using f.flux on my Macs for ages and looking at the iPhone after having used the Mac screen during the evening feels terrible.

Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings. Pleasant dreams.

Source: iOS 9.3 Preview

The five keys to a successful Google team

An interesting read from Google on The five keys to a successful Google team, which can be applied to any startup employee.

Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions. So much for that magical algorithm.

We learned that there are five key dynamics that set successful teams apart from other teams at Google:

  1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
  2. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
  3. Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
  4. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
  5. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?

Do your own work first

Andrew Merle writes about how to make sure that your projects are progressing, instead of just focusing on the urgent but not so important tasks.

I stopped checking my email first thing in the morning several years ago after reading Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. He said that one simple change would be a life-changer, and it has been for me.

The reason why it works is because it enables proactive work first, reactive work second.

Even when we have clear top priorities for the day, checking email first thing can easily derail those plans by compelling us to react and respond to other people’s “urgent” needs. And before you know it, the day has been totally eaten up, and our energy drained, before we can get started on our own projects.

This made me think about the daily review in GTD, and that instead of doing it first thing in the morning, do it by the end of the day instead. By then, you usually know what to focus on during the next day, and deciding there and then removes the friction of getting started early the next day.

via Why You Should Do Your Work First, Others’ Work Second

Uninterruptible programming

Being a developer, or doing anything creative, usually requires being “in the zone”. Being interrupted usually makes one drop right out of that sweet zone of productivity, and it usually takes a lot of time getting back.

uninterruptible programming is an interesting post dealing with how to handle this situation by constantly keeping the current state, and is exemplified by a filesystem journal.

The way it works is simple. When you want to do a disk operation, first, you write down in a special place (called a journal) what you are going to do, at a high level. “I’m going to delete this directory and all its files.” Then, you go through the steps of actually doing that. Finally, you record in your journal that’s what you did.

Now when power is interrupted during a disk operation you simply look at the journal and you can complete any operations that were in-flight at the time of the interruption. For example if the journal says “Delete X folder” and you see it still exists, now you delete it. It’s eventually consistent, even in the face of power interruptions, assuming that the intent hits the journal. And since journaling a high-level operation is a lot faster than actually doing it, chances are you’ll die doing the operation, not doing the journal.

Sounds simple enough, but instead of relying on a physical notebook, I would use Evernote, since I already use that for everything remotely considered reference material.

The best PGP tutorial for Mac OS X

PGP is a popular1 way to send secure messages. It is however quite difficult to get started and to know what everything means. Since most people aren’t cryptography experts, it’s hard to get going and use it every day.

The best PGP tutorial for Mac OS X is a tutorial to change the technical hurdle required to get started, and makes encrypting and decrypting messages super simple.

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  1. I use the term “popular” loosely here, since although it’s quite popular in the tech crowd, its quirky setup and confusing usage has made it less appealing for “normal” people.