April 23, 2015

WordPress 4.2 is available now

WordPress 4.2 was released tonight, and it’s another solid release from the team. It includes a new PressThis bookmarklet, better (but not automatic) plugin updates, support for more character sets, and some other minor additions. I’ve been using the 4.2 branch for some time, and it’s stable enough for me. Also, rest assured that the security patch from 4.1.2 is in 4.2 as well, so there’s no reason to hold out on this update.

April 20, 2015

Now anyone can DM you (if you let them)

Twitter opens up DMs for everyone, eliminating the need for mutual following.

Previously, if you wanted to send a Direct Message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavor, you’d have to ask them to follow you first. With today’s changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive Direct Messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers.

Don’t worry, it’s opt-in. If you don’t enable this, you won’t get spammed by anyone that you’re not already following.

April 18, 2015

First matters little

Tim Cook nails it, in an interview with Fast Company:

We weren’t first on the MP3 player; we weren’t first on the tablet; we weren’t first on the smartphone. But we were arguably the first modern smartphone, and we will be the first modern smartwatch—the first one that matters.

First only matters if that’s your dominant feature.

April 14, 2015

What’s wrong with journalists

Travis Loose, writing on Medium, under the Society For Professional Journalists banner:

Citizen journalists are springing up everywhere, and in some cases they’re skewing the definition of what actually makes a journalist, which is no good for a number of obvious reasons.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t spent the past four years of my life accruing $40,000 in student loan debt just so I could compete against some blogger with zero journalistic training who Snapchats stories and calls it photojournalism, or posts grammatically atrocious, subjective columns on Medium and calls it reporting.

Hang on now, your point is that because you spent time and money you didn’t have, you shouldn’t be competing with people who didn’t? That’s not just whiny, that’s downright stupid. There is absolutely nothing to gain by bashing citizen journalism, bloggers, or whatever you want to call people who add to the debate, the reporting, and to journalism. If you spent all that time and money wisely, you’d surely realize that you’re not only well equipped to meet reality as it is (as opposed to what you might think it should be), as well as understand that you don’t know everything.

The linked piece ends by declaring it is, in fact, what journalism is now. I’m sure you all are capable of coming up with a snarky comeback to that on your own.

April 13, 2015

Apple Watch and Macbook status report

Since so many of you are asking… I haven’t ordered an Apple Watch because it’s not out in Sweden yet, nor have I ordered the new Macbook, which officially launched on Friday last week (but never was in stock as far as I can tell). I intend to pick up both (black Sport, space gray 512 GB Macbook) when they’re available, but I’m in no real hurry. Gone are the days when new technology defines me. A lot of people would do well to dwell on that, I think.

April 12, 2015

The PC market is shrinking

The PC market, as in typical computers mostly running Windows, is shrinking, and it’s the big companies’s fault. Engadget channels IDC and Gartner:

Both Gartner and IDC estimate that the computer market shrank between 5.2 to 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, in part because many companies stopped upgrading from Windows XP. Simply put, many of the businesses that wanted to modernize already have – they’re not propping up the market like they were for a good chunk of 2014.

No surprises there. Most traditional computers today are more than capable for most tasks, so why would the vast Office-running majority upgrade anyway? Add the tablets to that equation, and it’s hard to be surprised.

Fantasy is still a stigma to some

Critically acclaimed novelist Kazuo Ishiguru speaking to Wired about writing fantasy:

“People are perfectly entitled to read my book and say they don’t like it,” he says in Episode 145 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “But if they’re saying, ‘I’m not going to read your book, despite having liked your previous books, because I hear there are ogres in it,’ well, that just seems to me classic prejudice.”

My piece Fantasy Confession springs to mind.

April 4, 2015

iPad turns five

The iPad was announced five years (and a day) ago, and that obviously sparked a bunch of features. In no particular order, some stories:

I can always apologize tomorrow

The music has stopped for tonight. My wonderful P5 headphones are lying beside me, but I think the warm bed is a better choice past 1AM. It’s what I tell myself, after whisky and a relaxed evening.

I’ve spent the evening reading and contemplating, with a few short discussions on Twitter to break up the longer and heavier pieces that were sitting in my Instapaper queue. It’s a nice way to spend an evening, I enjoy it, and always wonder why I don’t do it more often. The answer to that is obvious, of course: It’s not productive.

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Monica Gallagher screws the outlines

That title might’ve come out wrong… Anyway, writers (and people who’d like to be writers) like to read (and write, it seems) about their craft. If there’s a general consensus today, it is that you have to sit down and outline, which obviously might or might not work for you. It’s not the way it is for Monica Gallagher, who writes on Chuck Wendig’s blog:

One thing I’ve always super struggled with when I’m writing is having no idea how this durn story is gonna end. I used to think writing was all about a pretty, sequential outline that your characters magically flowed through in a linear fashion, exactly how you intended them to. I’ve tried to write that way, and it’s bored the potatoes out of me and everyone within a 50 foot radius. What I do like about writing, what keeps me going, is daydreaming about characters and the scenes and interactions they get involved in. I used to think this was must be the wrong way to do it – that’s just a big ol’ mish-mash that doesn’t go anywhere. But if you trust in the scenes, and minimally nudge your characters as you listen to them, they’ll get to an end.