January 29, 2016

RE:THORD is back this Sunday

Just a quick notice that RE:THORD, my irregular newsletter, is back again this Sunday. If you’re not a subscriber and don’t want to miss out, make sure you sign up here post-haste.

January 21, 2016

Write in silence, fellow authors

Delilah S. Dawson, being wise again, this time about authors and hawking books on social media:

And that’s what a lot of social media by authors is starting to look like, to feel like: being smacked in the face, repeatedly, by hundreds of fish. Being pushed. Being assaulted and yelled at and chased. Being manipulated and prodded and possibly tricked.

That’s not how you earn readers and friends. Literature is not a #teamfollowback sport.

Internet, meet common sense

This should be common sense, but looking at my Facebook feed, it clearly isn’t…

So what can you do about it? If you see a headline about someone dying young or in a shocking way, check and double-check it before you share it. If you see a headline claiming that a high-profile death is a hoax, check and double-check it before you share it.

  • Ashen Sky - A Novella

    Life is hard for Dirk, who’s stumbling through the wasteland. Out here, far from his family, Dirk makes acquaintances that lead him upon a path he didn’t know he yearned for.

    Read more →

January 18, 2016

Netflix to combat unblockers

Netflix, telling the world that you can’t circumvent regional programming for much longer:

Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.

Region locking of all kinds is utterly stupid and should be ended. Alas, the licensing world doesn’t work that way. Too much money in play, and no real incentive, at least not until global streaming services have power enough to push back.

January 11, 2016

Screens are stealing the conversation

Stop googling, let’s talk, published late September last year:

Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. People keep the conversation on topics where they won’t mind being interrupted. They don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us.

I think this is true. If there’s a TV in the room, my eyes will be drawn to it. That, however, doesn’t mean that there’s no room for phones, or any screen really, in everyday life. Moderation is key, as with so many things.

January 3, 2016

Reset

Wil Wheaton, hitting a little too close to home in his reset piece, writes this:

Going all the way back to last August, I swore that I’d take more time away from other things to focus on writing and taking the pages and pages of story ideas I have in my little notebook and turning them into actual stories. The thing is, when I took that time off, my health and mana were so depleted, I couldn’t find it in myself to do the work. Every few months, I’d take a week or two off, and instead of writing like I wanted to, I’d play video games and do nothing else, because I was just so goddamn tired. Then I would look up, realize a couple of weeks had passed, I hadn’t done anything, and I needed to get back to “real” work. I would feel frustrated and empty, and the whole cycle would start all over again.

It’s just a coincidence I’m posting this so close to the new year, promise!

December 24, 2015

Everything Apple in 2015

9to5mac doing what an Apple blog should, listing everything Apple released in 2015 year by year.

[…] 2015 has been one where Apple has truly released new products all across the year. So many, in fact, that it’s probably difficult to recall every single new hardware and software product without referencing the history books. Starting with the X released in X to the X released in X, we’ll take a retrospective look at everything new that came out of Apple this year and what to expect in 2016.

December 16, 2015

Bucket ad blockers

Digiday on Dennis Digital’s take on ad blocking:

It has now split ad-blocker users into three buckets: “zealots” whom publishers will never win over, “privacy protectors” who are wary of being tracked in general, and finally those concerned with the speed of the Web and data usage.

A representative for Dennis Digital also said they’d yet to see any real mobil ad apocalypse, but points out that it could change. Don’t worry, it will.

December 15, 2015

Intolerant discourse

Sundar Pichai:

And it’s not just about opportunity. The open-mindedness, tolerance, and acceptance of new Americans is one of the country’s greatest strengths and most defining characteristics. And that is no coincidence — America, after all, was and is a country of immigrants.

That is why it’s so disheartening to see the intolerant discourse playing out in the news these days — statements that our country would be a better place without the voices, ideas and the contributions of certain groups of people, based solely on where they come from, or their religion.

December 13, 2015

Distracted by the internet

Tony Schwartz, writing about distraction and the internet:

Beyond spending too much time on the Internet and a diminishing attention span, I wasn’t eating the right foods. I drank way too much diet soda. I was having a second cocktail at night too frequently. I was no longer exercising every day, as I had nearly all my life.

In response, I created an irrationally ambitious plan. For the next 30 days, I would attempt to right these behaviors, and several others, all at once. It was a fit of grandiosity. I recommend precisely the opposite approach every day to clients. But I rationalized that no one is more committed to self-improvement than I am. These behaviors are all related. I can do it.