Newsletters Worth Reading

It's not junk mail, it just looks like it

I’m not all that fond of newsletters; they just add to the crushing pile of email I’ll never get through. For some reason I subscribe to them anyway.

I use a filter to put any email with the word Unsubscribe in its body into a folder called Mailing Lists. This, at least, keeps my newsleters out of spam and out of my Inbox. From time to time I’ll cull through the stack and find something worth reading.

Another issue complicating things is that, for security reasons, I don’t allow my email clients to render HTML or show images. Thus most newsletters look like an unintelligible bunch of cryptic nonsense. This is the start of an email I just received from Walmart

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@media screen yahoo{@media
(min-width:700px){.backgroundImage{min-width:700px!important}}}.stars{width:28%!important}.mosaic-seven{font-family:Bogle;width:320px!important}.mosaic-seven
td{font-size:0!important;padding:0!important;cursor:pointer!important}.mosaic-seven
td.text{height:150px!important;padding-left:0!important}.mosaic-seven
td.text.top{height:150px!important}.mosaic-seven .first
td.text{padding-left:20px!important}.mosaic-seven
h3{font-size:24px!important;font-weight:400!important;margin:20px

Ugh! I’m always glad when a newsletter puts a link to read on the web in the clear at the top of the message:

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View email in your browser (https://mailchi.mp/ba623677f8e3/rk0l9ast4h?e=e15d8b4016)

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Issue #489 - June 05, 2020
Double issue today because I missed yesterday's issue.

Much nicer.

This is Morning Cup of Coding (free) a nice little daily list of technical articles in all fields of software engineering from HumanReadable.io.

As you might expect, Steven Levy does put that web referral up top in his new Plaintext (paywall) newsletter from Wired. Unfortunately the letter itself is delivered in an image heavy rich text format which means it’s unreadable unless you load images. Shouldn’t a newsletter called Plaintext be written in plain text? I’m sure this isn’t Steven’s choice; it’s probably something Conde Nast does. Worse, you have to pay for Wired to get it. Despite all that, it’s well worth it.

Plaintext is a good example of why newsletters matter. It’s nothing like an article in Wired, or even an opinion piece. It’s like hearing from Levy directly and very much reflects his voice. I like that. Steven offers context, insight, and an intellectual’s perspective on tech news. This week, for example, he likened Facebook’s forbearance toward Donald Trump to Chamberlin’s appeasement at Munich. He says, “It’s time for the internet moguls to stop acting like Chamberlain —- and start channeling Churchill.”

Of course I subscribe to newsletters from my co-hosts, Paul Thurrott (subscribers only) and Stacey Higginbotham (free), and TWiT’s own upcoming shows newsletter (free).

But my post today is inspired by the news that one of the smartest people I know, Cory Doctorow, was leaving his long time ‘zine, Boing Boing. I love Cory’s insight, taste, and quirky eye, so I instantly subscribed to his daily newsletter, Plura-List (free). You can also read his links on the web at Pluralistic.net. I need my Cory fix.

I guess newsletters aren’t so bad, after all. What newsletters do you recommend? Add them to the comments below.