May 20, 2015

Repeating oneself

Warren Ellis, while writing about his speaking engagements, points out one of the reasons I’m not speaking at conferences as much anymore:

But, more to the point, I’m starting to be that guy who shows up and pretty much says the same things as last time. Sometimes by request, to be sure, but sometimes because I don’t have a lot of time and I’m still stuck on the same themes and I just end up talking about the same stuff.

May 16, 2015

May 15, 2015

This town relies on Twitter

Jun, a Spanish town of 3,500 people, is using Twitter for communication with its citizens.

The speediest time for a problem to be resolved so far is three and a half minutes, from a resident tweeting about a faulty streetlamp to it being replaced by the electrician, with a photo posted online. “The employees, whose work was previously not appreciated, now take pride in achieving their tasks,” Rodriguez Salas says. “It brings residents closer to the administration at the same time.”


May 9, 2015

Don’t forget the person driving your Uber cab

Emily Guendelsberger went undercover as an Uber driver in Philadelphia:

Driving for UberX isn’t the worst-paying job I’ve ever had. I made less scooping ice cream as a 15-year-old, if you don’t adjust for inflation. If I worked 10 hours a day, six days a week with one week off, I’d net almost $30,000 a year before taxes.

But if I wanted to net that $90,000 a year figure that so many passengers asked about, I would only have to work, let’s see …

27 hours a day, 365 days a year.

There’s been a lot of stories like this the past few months. It’s easy to take a stand for or against the likes of Uber of Lyft, but in the process you’re forgetting the people making very little money while you feel like you have “your own private driver”. As is so often the case, someone worse off is working hard, while rich assholes entrepreneurs are reaping the benefit. That doesn’t mean I think you should boycott Uber or Lyft, it just means that there’s more to these services, and the problems around them, than meets the eye.

May 7, 2015

The end of Minimal Mac

Patrick Rhone, wrapping up Minimal Mac:

This is the final post on Minimal Mac. This project contains what I believe in when it comes to a mindful and intentional approach to technology. After nearly 2,500 posts, I have nothing more to add to what has already been said. As I wrote in my book enough, saying no is actually saying yes to other things. It’s time to say “no” to this project so that I can say “yes” to others (or, in some cases, fully commit to agreements already made).

Good for you, and thanks for all the beautiful words.

May 1, 2015

How hard is it to find a dark wrist anyway

Quartz is treading on thin ice with this piece, claiming that the Apple Watch might not work as well on dark skin, as well as on tattoos.

While those with tattooed wrists may experience some issues, there’s also the possibility that the watch will not work as intended for a much larger group of potential watch buyers: those with darker skin. LeBoeuf says that green light is more likely to be absorbed by the skin of people with higher melanin content. Even if the sensors work when a person is sitting down, the darker their skin is, the less likely the sensors are to capture data when the person is moving. “The signal to noise ratio will be much lower for people having higher melanin content,” LeBoeuf says.

This is nothing but poor reporting on Quartz behalf. They claim that a person with tattoos tried the Apple Watch’s heart rate feature but it only worked one time out of five. Fine, the information about the test and the utter lack of detail aside, it’s at least something grounded in reality. The big problem is that the publication fail to do the same test on a person of dark skin, instead reporting the issue as truth. How hard is it to find a person with dark skin, really? Also, how likely is it that no one with access to the Apple Watch at Apple has dark skin? Unlikely, I’d wager, but I don’t know, nor does Quartz according to the story.

The whole piece is rubbish, built on someone saying something, rather than actual tests and reporting. Frankly, I’m surprised to see that this hasn’t been pulled altogether. Criticize all you want, point out flaws, but back it up with tests.

April 29, 2015

Continuum gives Windows 10 a shot on all screens

Gizmodo reporting on Microsoft’s Windows 10 feature Continuum:

You can use Bluetooth to run your apps on your phone, but view and use them on a nearby screen and keyboard. […] In this vision of the future your phone is, perhaps, your only device. You can pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, or screen whenever you need to—but the apps and the functionality of the software will always look the same.

The Windows 10 interface adapts to the kind of screen you’re displaying on, so small touchscreens get bigger tap areas, and so on. It’s a good idea in theory, but the risk is that everything will end up being half-baked.

April 27, 2015

Anil Dash’s Twitter followers

Anil Dash has a lot of followers on Twitter, unmerited he thinks. I’m not sure what to make of his piece on Medium’s The Message, but this was interesting, about sharing links:

Worst of all: Nobody clicks. Well, not nobody, but out of about 550,000 followers on Twitter, it’s very common for fewer than 400 of them to click on a link I share. (That’s .07%!) And yet dudes (yes, it’s always dudes) feel like they’re doing me a favor by asking. I cofounded a company that helps people understand their behavior on social networks, and looking at some of my most popular content that I’ve shared shows about 1700 people clicking on a link, in total.

Twitter rules

Twitter is great in many ways, but it’s also a place where things can get out of hand, often unnecessarily so. It’s frustrating because an overall positive experience can be dampened by people who’re just not thinking before they tweet. Then there’s the asshats, trolls, and idiots as well, obviously, but those are easy enough to manage by blocking and reporting.

Here are the Twitter rules.

  1. Be nice.
  2. Don’t put a dot in front of a reply, this making it public to all who follows you rather than just to the ones who follow both you and the person you’re talking to. Only do this if it’s a reply that’s interesting to all.
  3. Remember that 140 characters aren’t a lot of room for nuances.
  4. Don’t assume people have read all your tweets, nor that the tweets they’ve read were in chronological order. Apps and user interfaces mess with that.
  5. Give people the benefit of a doubt. Twitter is short and harsh by default.
  6. Remember that there are people behind the accounts. Act accordingly.
  7. Don’t talk to the bots. Block them.
  8. Don’t talk to trolls and people harassing you or others. Block and report them.
  9. Remember to log off, especially when things get out of hand. Hug someone you love, and forget about the soapbox for a while.

What would you like to add? Tell @tdh on Twitter, why don’t you?

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.