Sunday, October 3rd, 2021
What a great piece on the dysfunctionality of online advertising at the now-defunct The Correspondent, “The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising”  by Jesse Frederik and Maurits Martijn.
Picture this. Luigi’s Pizzeria hires three teenagers to hand out coupons to passersby. After a few weeks of flyering, one of the three turns out to be a marketing genius. Customers keep showing up with coupons distributed by this particular kid. The other two can’t make any sense of it: how does he do it? When they ask him, he explains: “I stand in the waiting area of the pizzeria.”
Sunday, September 12th, 2021
Gordon Brander thinks seriously about the Web vis-a-vis mobile.
By now, the web’s network advantage had evaporated. The iPhone’s native apps were internet apps, sandboxed, and talking HTTP, just like a web app. The iPhone was designed for a world that included the web. The web was not designed for a world that included the iPhone.
Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
I wanted a way in Apple Mail to list all emails from VIPs to which I’ve not yet replied. After googling, I found a nice solution at MakeUseOf: “4 Mac Mail Productivity Tips All Professionals Must Know” (2019).
So I made a Smart Mailbox “VIP Unreplied” with all the following rules:
- Sender is VIP
- Message was not replied to
does not containdonotreply
- Message is not in mailbox “Already Replied”
And in the “Already Replied” Smart Mailbox:
- Message has flag: Green
This second one because sometimes a message is handled in some other way than a reply or doesn’t need one.
Monday, July 19th, 2021
I think the author’s almost actually serious in his call to ditch HTML for PDF:
PDFs are page-oriented. This is another fundamental freedom – toknow unambiguously which part of the document you are looking at.Compare to infinite-scroll HTML pages which are disorienting bydesign. This may sound trivial, but seriously: with infinite scrolling,you are fundamentally not in control of the reading experience.
Ha, since he posted the mainfesto as an actual PDF, when I copied that quote it pasted full of triple-spaces and some non-spaces, which I’ve kept for effect — so much for that! Still, the author does bring up many important issues.
Tuesday, July 13th, 2021
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days
I transcribed more of this book than any other, quoting these great guys who’ve been there and done that; it’s one for dipping in to when seeking inspiration.
The author — wife and Y Combinator partner to Paul Graham — gets out the way as much as possible and lets these guys speak; think Studs Terkel but only with hugely successful tech people.
Friday, July 9th, 2021
A reminder of the marvel and fragility of the Web by Jonathan Zittrain, law professor and computer science professor at Harvard, and a co-founder of its Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
Thursday, July 1st, 2021
What a sinking feeling, reading the announcement that Marginal Revolution is launching on Facebook’s Substack ripoff Bulletin”:https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/06/a-more-than-marginal-boost-for-marginal-revolution.html (I get a blank screen in Firefox, and naturally there’s no RSS feed). It’s interesting that trillion-dollar Facebook feels so threatened by Substack.
Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine
Antonio Garcia Martinez
As author Antonio García Martínez battles away as an eager newcomer at Facebook, his account jolts one awake to the somewhat forgotten power of literature: we are reminded that what will survive these times will likely not be the mammoth trillion dollar company but instead this book.
And shame on Apple, caving to those who campaigned to have Martinez fired recently from his new job there because of some gross and silly yet heartfelt generalization in the book of San Francisco womenfolk; such philistine snowflakes do little more than buttress his point, as well as forcing our author to remain up on these more commanding if perhaps less remunerative cultural heights.
Friday, June 25th, 2021
I just logged on to Facebook for the first time in a while for a few minutes. This piece, full of zingers, captures the feeling of sickly irritation well.
[Facebook] exists as a weird kind of social museum, where I exist as an observer watching people I knew 5, 10, 15 years ago grow up, get married, have children, all the while saying nothing in the silence. Intersperse the family announcements with memes and ads and other nonsense, and my newsfeed is nothing but a wasteland, a place I’ll find maybe one relevant, engaging update from someone I know for every fifty I couldn’t care less about.
To be fair, I have a friend who finds his Facebook feed uplifting and enjoyable.
Saturday, June 5th, 2021
We are so used to saying “The internet changed everything” that we have forgotten it changed everything.
Peggy Noonan, What Drives Conspiracism
Monday, May 10th, 2021
Elle Griffin is serializing her novel on Substack and here lists others also publishing fiction on the platform.
Thursday, April 29th, 2021
A bit mindblowing: put the browser itself in the cloud: Mighty [Hacker News discussion].
Thursday, March 11th, 2021
By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s effect on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.
Friday, November 27th, 2020
Wednesday, November 18th, 2020
“Indie developers need protection from monopolistic and anti-competitive practices from larger players in the market through strong government regulation, not a discount on their first $1m in sales.” “Apple’s 15% Deflection Tactic” by John Luxford.
Tuesday, November 17th, 2020
Saturday, November 14th, 2020
Friday, November 13th, 2020
Amusing comments at Marginal Revolution on Matthew Yglesias’s migration to Substack.
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
The iPhone matters more than anything … it is the foundation of modern life.
Ben Johnson, “Apple, Epic, and the App Store”
Sunday, July 5th, 2020
Poolside.FM, the lovely Mac throwback to 1997.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
technovelgy.com, where science meets fiction, and a glorious taste of the old web.
Sunday, May 24th, 2020
An anonymous employee beneficiary of Twitter’s IPO: “I think a lot of [people in Silicon Valley] care about basic income for everyone, because we’ve lived with it ourselves.”
Tuesday, March 10th, 2020
“More news, less junk. Faster.” Brent Simmons has just released the free and open source RSS reader NetNewsWire app for iOS. This may well be a visible dent in the universe.
In an interview with Kelly Gulmont on MacObserver, he says in an interview that one of the things he’s most proud of is that search is really fast (in a 20-minute podcast, this, remarkably, is the only bit of substance; I won’t be listening again).
There’s a review up at MacStories, “NetNewsWire for iOS and iPadOS Review: The Perfect Complement to the App’s macOS Counterpart” while Cult of Mac has “NetNewsWire is reborn on iOS”. Also 9to5Mac.
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Monday, January 27th, 2020
Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
Matt Layman’s handy Failed SaaS Postmortem — too much tech tinkering; I need to take heed. Plus it’s great he’s getting right back in the saddle.
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
“Please just leave me alone when I cross streets.” Richard Stallman’s terms of service for speaking engagements come to light [via The Register] surrounding his forced terminations. A couple of observations: for 66 his skin looks amazingly moist and smooth, like a healthy 25-year-old’s, which perhaps says something about his lifestyle and choices. And his exactingness regarding these terms is both ridiculous and admirable; few things are more important than knowing who we are and what we want and expressing these clearly.
Saturday, June 8th, 2019
Monday, March 11th, 2019
Putting the ack! in acquihire: Our Incredible Journey.
Tuesday, October 16th, 2018
Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Now that’s a web site: New York City tree map — every last one, including street view, species, diameter. [via Kottke]
Monday, October 8th, 2018
Saturday, September 29th, 2018
Tim Berners-Lee announces his startup Inrupt to support and popularize Solid, a platform to enable people to regain control of their own data.
Tuesday, September 4th, 2018
I miss the days of forums, when any issue about a product was discussed on its own site and nowhere else. I do believe issues are better resolved online with posts, not chats.
Inappropriate use of chat software erodes mental health, at least, mine. Here’s a fun articulate essay on why the author hates Slack (and you should too).
And Slack is proprietory. I just scrolled up and was stopped and told I need a paid plan! And Discord: why?! Trendiness happens.
Thursday, August 30th, 2018
“Breaking Smart” by Venkatesh Rao. This is the first collection, “Software is Eating the World”, inspired by a residency at Andreessen/Horowitz.
Friday, August 24th, 2018
“Modelling Process Intensive Scenarios for the Smart City” [PDF]. In this paper by professors at the computer science department at the University of Camerino in Italy, the authors discuss BPMN (and bpFM, which I’d never heard of before) in the context of municipal services, specifically bike-sharing.
Sunday, August 5th, 2018
Why does tech have so many political problems? A list of 17 answers by Tyler Cowen. I love the phrase “Robespierrean social justice terror”.
Friday, July 20th, 2018
We have a bunch of companies that are comprised of a sales department and a tech department, because every other job has been outsourced to a website run by another company composed of a sales department and a tech department.
Peter Welch, “How to Worry Less About Being a Bad Programmer”
Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
A German court has issues the first GDPR ruling, reports The National Law Review. It concerns ICANN, the American non-profit that oversees the global WHOIS database of registered internet domain names, and German registrar EPAG.
Tuesday, June 19th, 2018
Tyler Cowen: Why read news?
If you follow the news, you will work at it every day, more or less. Better those compound returns than to do something else once every three months and a half.
Tuesday, June 12th, 2018
Internet Trends 2018 — all the stats. A presentation by Mary Meeker.
Saturday, May 5th, 2018
I keep referring back to this article by Kyle Chayka — beautifully and ironically illustrated by Daniel Hertzberg — and in a nice homologue I keep forgetting the term it coins, airspace:
It’s the realm of coffee shops, bars, startup offices, and co-live / work spaces that share the same hallmarks everywhere you go: a profusion of symbols of comfort and quality, at least to a certain connoisseurial mindset. Minimalist furniture. Craft beer and avocado toast. Reclaimed wood. Industrial lighting. Cortados. Fast internet. The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless, a value that Silicon Valley prizes.
The title says it’s sterile but is it? The word never appears within the article. Isn’t airspace more a vocabulary? Here in Brighton there are nasty pastiches of it (Tortilla: Real Californian Burritos and Tacos), lovely expressions (Gails Bakery) and sophisticated extensions (Smallbatch Coffee).
Thursday, May 3rd, 2018
Ben Thompson concisely contrasts Amazon and Apple. “I’m not sure that Amazon will beat Apple to $1 trillion, but they surely have the best shot at two.”
Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
Jaron Lanier on social media: “We got into this by trying to be socialist and libertarian at the same time, and getting the worst of both worlds … we have to choose.”
Saturday, April 21st, 2018
We have entered an uncanny valley of algorithmic culture. I believe it’s still easy to step out of, but even easier not to. And maybe it’s merely a speeding up of how things have always worked.
Friday, April 20th, 2018
Friday, April 13th, 2018
Brian X. Chen, technology writer at The New York Times, checks what data Facebook and Google have on him and provides links to do your own. “Be warned,” he concludes. “Once you see the vast amount of data that has been collected about you, you won’t be able to unsee it.”
Google for instance, keeps a record of every time you open an app on an Android phone, Facebook of whom you unfriended when.