Sep 19, 2014

filtered, week of sep 15 2014

I’m going to continue to muck with the format of this thing. Let’s try this on for size: 10+1. Ten good things and a kicker. Because it’s Friday.

  1. Thursday morning’s rain. The sound of it woke me up at 5am, my wife about a half hour later. “What’s that noise?” she asked. It felt great to run in, walk in, see on the sidewalks, smell in the air… Finally.
  2. Nick Sweeney on watches, where he gives a fantastically abbreviated history of wrist technology products over the past 100 years (“The 1970s was a decade of genuine transition for the watch industry, where radical styling accompanied rapid changes to the production process, electronics companies momentarily asserted their superiority to traditional manufacturers, and where customers accepted very clear compromises in order to strap the future to their wrists”) and uses it to deliver a crushing critique of Apple’s product and design strategy. No more spoilers; go read it.
  3. Tim Maly on experiencing context collapse at XOXO. “This is an era of networked wealth, going to scale, first mover advantage, positive feedback loops, virtuous cycles, high concentration, and high disparity. These are some of the intolerable conditions of the time we call (with subversive hope) Late Capitalism.” Tim’s next paragraph is a single word: “We,” complete with scare quotes. Which is perfect. The punctuation matters, because it’s very difficult to draw accurate boundaries around the first person plural. Especially when it comes to the definition of “creators.”
  4. Nicola Twilley on the taste of spoons. “[Zoe Laughlin] had volunteers lining up to suck on a set of seven spoons that were identical in shape and size, but plated with different metals.” Surprise! Golden spoons taste best. Speaking of which…
  5. Notch says goodbye to all that. “Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for all that.” I don’t know him from Adam, but there’s sadness and confusion and more than a little bit of regret weaved through his post, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Minecraft now being part of Microsoft. Not quite the typical incredible journey.
  6. Erotic poetry built from iPhone 6 reviews. Lots of “big hand” jokes, but by Wednesday morning (after the Tuesday night embargo-lift), the not-so-little corner of the Internet obsessed with the 6 needed this. Thank you, Verge. I keep waiting for Kevin Fanning to pull out all the stops and write product reviews disguised as celeb fiction; because the world deserves to know whether Jennifer Love Hewitt is getting a 6 or a 6 Plus…and how it fits in her hands. (Wow, that came out creepier than intended, but yeah.)
  7. Early Clues Universal API. Warning: inside baseball rabbit hole, to metaphor mix. “The Universal API is open and available to all entities in all realities. Even if an entity’s current reality ‘doesn’t support’ or actively blocks the Universal API, the Universal API still supports that entity.” Because even if it’s fake, it’s real.
  8. Back to school night, eighth grade science class. Where the teacher explained that the curriculum this year wasn’t about knowledge (“which they can find all sorts of places”) but about process. They’ll be focused on improving their understanding and execution of the scientific method: how to form hypotheses, design experiments to test them, evaluate their results, understand where error comes from and share what they’ve learned with their classmates. “In this class FAIL spells First Attempt at Learning.”
  9. The bios of this year’s MacArthur fellows. I’ve been ignoring the voice inside my head that says “YOU’VE CLEARLY FAILED IN LIFE” while reading their bios and watching their videos. My favorite so far is historian of science and technology Pamela O. Long whose 2001 book Openness, Secrecy, Authorshipillustrates the complex relationship between authorship and the ownership of intellectual property; the act of authorship simultaneously makes information public — at least to those with access to the text — and asserts the author’s ownership of that information.” Not quite iPhone review fanfic, but it’ll do.
  10. Six Colors. Jason Snell was the editor of Macworld, and with the recent IDG bloodletting has struck out on his own. He’s smart, funny, a great writer and a true Apple nerd. Have high hopes for this.

And…the kicker. Spend three minutes watching the Ikepod Hourglass being made. It’s like a golden spoon for time.

Have a great weekend. Send me ideas, leave me notes, whatever.