March 19, 2015

You really should use DuckDuckGo

Casey Liss on using DuckDuckGo instead of Google for web search, summing it up nicely here, including the solution for those who haven’t learned how to search properly:

If I’m doing a search in DuckDuckGo and I’m not satisfied with the results, I just prefix !g to the search query, and I get the Google results I’m used to.

As an added benefit, DuckDuckGo does as much as possible to prevent your data from leaking to advertisers via Google. Instead of sending you to www.google.com, you’re sent to encrypted.google.com. This has several benefits, most notably, preventing advertisers (and destination sites) from seeing what you’ve searched for.

I agree. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for web searches, mobile and on desktop, for years. It feels good not giving all that information so readily to Google and their advertisers. There’s enough of that going around on the web as it is.

March 16, 2015

Kill one, add one

George R.R. Martin, giving writing tips and sliding into Game of Thrones show trivia:

Funnily enough, the show has been killing a number of minor characters who are still alive in the books, such as Daenerys’ two handmaidens. When I approached [the producers] about this, they explained to me that unlike my book characters, the actors expect to be paid money! Therefore, in order to introduce a new character at the start of each season, they’ve got to kill some of the old characters off.

March 14, 2015

The entrepreneurial bourbon solution

Not much new in this piece on the bourbon shortage, and the entrepreneurs who wants to change thinngs, but an interesting weekend read nonetheless:

Enter entrepreneurs with start-up spirits and a potential solution. Through a variety of unconventional aging methods, drawing on chemistry, they have already squeezed a two- to more-than-20-year process into days, weeks, and months, much to the chagrin of whiskey connoisseurs, who will tell you the secret to a refined bourbon is time. While some companies have taken age labels off their bottles to get products to market sooner (bye-bye 12-year-old premium bourbon; hello ambiguously aged premium bourbon), new distilleries are experimenting with smaller barrels and rapid oxidation.

March 10, 2015

Macbook
The Watch, the Macbook, and the rest

Apple’s event yesterday, spilling the details on the Apple Watch, and showing off the new Macbook, was interesting. Tim Cook did a great job on stage, as did the rest of Apple’s staff, but the guests all felt a bit off key. It matters little in the end. I think it was a good keynote.

Some thoughts:

  • I’m getting the Macbook. This is exactly what I want, as frequent readers know. I’m going for the more expensive model, in space gray.
  • I’m getting an Apple Watch. What can I say, I’m curious. I won’t spring for one of the more expensive ones though, most likely the larger Sport model, but I might just as well end up getting this one. I’ve got some time to decide, since it’s not launching in Sweden in phase 1. Pricing as expected, by the way. Wish I’d posted about that before the event, for some link love…
  • I already own an Apple TV, and I’m happy with it, but it needs some love. HBO Now is a big deal in the US, and it might be the final push some people need to cut the cord.
  • ResearchKit is intriguing, and I like that Apple’s open sourcing more and more stuff, although to be fair they’ve done that for quite some time. I’m optimistic, I like the sentiment, but they’ve a long way to go here.
  • 700 million iPhones are a lot of iPhones. Just wanted to remind you of that.

How about you? Tell @tdh on Twitter, if you feel like sharing your thoughts.

GigaOM halting operations

GigaOM halting operations due to lack of funds. Founder Om Malik, who’s not with the company anymore, published a short statement, where this is from:

There will be time for postmortems, but not today. Today, I want to thank all the people who make (and have helped make) Gigaom. Their role in this journey was what really made it all worth it. They are great people and they will all do great work wherever they go. I want to thank our investors who believed in the business long before it became fashionable. And most importantly, I want to thank you dear readers for coming along on this trip of a lifetime.

I briefly wrote for GigaOm back in the day. Sad to see it decline, and go. It used to be a force in the tech sphere. These days, not so much perhaps.

March 5, 2015

The $1,000 vinyl

Wired’s story about hot press vinyl is an interesting read. As always, sound quality is a complicated – and personal – topic.

“There’s actually little reason why any two discs should sound the same,” says Masterdisk’s Scott Hull. “A grading system based on the different significant factors makes sense: surface noise, relative distortion during playback, and things like skips and major pops.” Before this becomes a hot stamper endorsement, Hull lowers the boom: “Saying one disc is wrong and another is right is very controversial. Only the producer, the mastering, and cutting engineers really know what that record was supposed to sound like.”

March 1, 2015

HTC does VR headset with Valve

HTC on the Vive VR, powered by SteamVR from Valve headset:

The Vive headset was developed in conjunction with Valve, creators of such ground-breaking games as Portal and Half-Life. HTC manufactures some of the finest consumer electronics on the planet and Valve is an unrivaled architect of virtual worlds, so you know the collaboration is something special. Vive is powered by Valve’s SteamVR so plenty of games that take advantage of its capabilities will soon be available on the Steam service.

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Things Enjoyed in February 2015

These posts are meant as wrap-ups for what I’ve been up to this month, or rather, the month before. Perhaps some of these things will interest you as well? This list is for February 2015.

  • Den morronen by Thåström, on vinyl of course. It’s on Spotify if you want to listen, in Swedish.
  • Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones, because it’s been a month of a lot late night music. These are not for everyone, they’re snug on your head, almost painful to begin with, but the sound quality is amazing.
  • Tenacious D live, an all acoustic show in Stockholm. It was a good show, impressed by Jack Black and Kyle Gass rocking it so much and hard, without any breaks.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind with the version 3.0 overhaul, both playing the actual game, but also looking at Skywind, Morrowblivion, and the OpenMW project. A rabbit hole for someone like me…
  • Alto’s Adventure, the hyped and stylish iOS game. It’s fun.
  • Writing has actually been really rewarding this month. I’ve struggled for sure, being ill and whatnot, but it’s been fun. That’s not always the case, because art hurts (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), but when it works, it flows.

Previously: Things I enjoyed in January 2015.

February 28, 2015