Friday, January 25, 2013

Anti-Apple Anger

I've noticed a very clear trend among tech sites I read: Android fans are unusually quick to fill the comment box with rage on articles that mention anything positive about Apple or its products. The reverse — Apple fans leaving angry comments on pro-Android articles — is almost completely absent from the sites I've seen, including sites like The Verge that have many readers in both camps.

Marco Arment on anti-Apple anger. I've seen this, as well. When I got my Thunderbolt Display at work, one of my colleagues looked at it and said he didn't have a problem with it, but that “there are some haters in this company.” At first, I had no idea what he meant. Now I think I'm starting to understand.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Facebook Graph Search

Rough Type on Facebook graph search.

Search companies in the past usually tried to choose uncorrupted signals as the criteria for their rankings. They wanted to give good, objective results in order to attract users. The corruption of the signals came later, after it became clear that the search results had commercial value. Facebook is taking a different tack. It's starting with a signal—Likes—that is already corrupted, that in fact has always been corrupted. People routinely Like a thing not because they actually like it, not because they have (to use a favorite Facebook word) any real affiliation with it, but because they've been, in one way or another, bribed to Like it.


If you can't read that, it says: "You must like The New Yorker to read the full text." And some 17,000 Facebookers dutifully clicked the Like button. Jonathan Franzen must have been thrilled to see his essay used as a worm to bait a rusty Facebook hook.

Friday, January 18, 2013

You Say Party

Canadian band You Say Party just released this new single. It is about former band member, drummer Devon Clifford, who died on stage, causing the band to change their name from “You Say Party! We Say Die!”

from Wikipedia:

On April 16, 2010, just after the band had just finished touring the U.S. and Western Canada, drummer Devon Clifford collapsed on stage during the band’s set at The Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver. He died on April 18, reportly as a result of complications arisen from a sudden brain hemorrhage. They were slated to begin a European tour later in the month in support of XXXX, starting in Germany in April and ending in Mallorca, Spain, in June.

The band subsequently announced that they were officially dropping “We Say Die” from their name, “out of respect for [Clifford] and the evolution of life”.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Office Superhero

It’s a widely held assumption that superheroes wear uniforms to disguise their identities1. However, Chris Gonzales writes over at Unretrofied about uniforms being important to our working mindset.

Everyone wants to be a superhero. It’s only natural. That’s why comic books have such staying power: they give us a glimpse into people we could never be with qualities we don’t have. We’re not perfect. We’re not the strongest person in the universe. We probably don’t have such a strong moral compass, either. There’s always one qualm people have about superheroes, however:

Why do they wear such silly costumes?

Most workers put on a uniform before heading to their job. Most of those uniforms are not spandex tights. Why would Bruce Wayne, a billionaire heir traumatized from the loss of his parents, wear a silly Bat costume to fight crime? The answer’s pretty simple, actually: he doesn’t feel like Bruce Wayne when he puts it on.

I’ve often through the same thing, mostly in the context of school uniforms. I never went to a school that required uniforms, though I feel like it would have been beneficial if I did for several reasons:

  • I wouldn’t have worried about what I was going to wear (this particularly comes up in high school, when I was mostly focused on wearing the right skateboarding atire and band t-shirts to show my allegiences).
  • Maybe, just maybe, I would have been in the mindset to get work done. Not to talk to my friends, not to daydream, but to do schoolwork.

Having said all that, I had only thought about applying this mentality to work, but never done anything about it. I work at a software company, and the dress code is casual. I usually don’t have a problem focusing on work when I’m in the office wearing jeans and a polo, but it might be nice to have a physical reminder of what I’m there to do. Maybe then I could be the office superhero.2

  1. Except for, maybe, Clark Kent. Unlike in movies like She’s All That, where nerds become cool when they remove them, the glasses don’t make that much of a difference.  ↩

  2. Note, I said superhero, not firefighter.  ↩

Creativity In Tech Blogging

Two of my favorite writers, +Federico Viticci and +Brett Terpstra talk about creativity in tech blogging.

More Reasons to Quit Instagram

There are more reasons to quit Instagram than just the fear that they will be selling your photos to advertisers. From the Egg Freckles post What I Left Behind in 2012:

I know Instagram won’t be selling my photos to advertisers, but by introducing advertising on Instagram their intentions are clear. I was never meant to be their customer. Only their product. Starting in 2013 I only want to support companies that are proud to have me as a customer. Instagram may be a slick app for taking photos, applying filters, and sharing pictures with friends, but their are better ways to do all three on my iPhone. By not limiting myself to Instagram I have more options. My favorite filters won’t suddenly disappear. I can share my photos on And I can still follow all of my friends photos by visiting their public Instagram profile pages, or by clicking the links they post. As Instagram’s popularity increases more of the photos in its collection will be of blond teenage girls, fingernail polish, and guys with their shirts off. These are photos I don’t need to see, and the reasons why I won’t be missing Instagram on my Home Screen in 2013.

I personally thought about quitting after it became clear the service was no longer social-network neutral when it dropped support for Twitter Cards. I’m a sucker for being able to view images inline with a Twitter post, and not having to go out of my Twitter client to the web, which I now have to do to view Instagram photos.

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