There but for the grace of God go all of us:
Email… is a horror story…. [I]t’s so easy to get into the habit of letting your inbox be your to-do list, and then what you have is a world-writeable to-do list with no editable hierarchy… [and] every attempt to winnow or organize it becomes a traumatic encounter with all your worst recent omissions. It’s a bad relationship to develop with your work. David Allen’s Getting Things Done describes the problem brilliantly. Unfortunately, as with many other reforming visionaries (Marx, Jesus, Bill James), GTD’s prescriptions are less obviously doable than the diagnosis is acute.
So here I am… unhappily conscious of how much of my working life has lately consisted of running in a circle while dragging one wing…. I’ve seen other[s]… get into this kind of slough-of-despond. I’ve even seen them emerge from it; I’m just a little unclear about how…. I’ve contributed to the problem with conscious choices of my own…. I certainly could have been more disciplined. As a rule, we dig ourselves into holes with a teaspoon, not a steam shovel…
Technology defeats the do not call list: I've been getting repeated calls from 459-121-8344. There are web reports on this number, it's supposedly a telemarketer scam.
AT&T will block this number -- for about $6 a month. I tried reporting it as a violation of the do-not-call registry but of course 459 isn't a real area code (it's spoofed). So it can't be reported.
Google Voice will block these numbers.
I suppose if the problem continues I'll have to port my mobile number to GV.
Eschaton: I think the aspect of the "government invented the internet" which isn't emphasized enough is that it isn't just some random fluke that it was born out of various public and publicly financed entities. A private company would not have created it. Before the internet (or www, depending on precisely what we're talking about) we had various pre-internets, which were all cool enough in their own way and offered various applications, information, and services to people. In some ways the were superior to the internet of old, but they weren't the "informtaion superhighway" which we could all just hook into any way we wanted. It wasn't so much the technology, though it was that too, it was the idea, and it isn't an idea a for-profit company would have pursued in nearly the same way.
In some ways we're seeing the return to the pre-internet version, though the actual internet still exists. Facebook polices content, and people expect them to for reasons I can't fathom…
Robert J. Birgeneau Chancellor
We are writing to inform you, in advance of a public announcement to be released tomorrow morning, that UC Berkeley will be joining edX, the Harvard and MIT not-for-profit online learning collaborative. We have successfully negotiated a partnership with edX which is very favorable for Berkeley.
We have spent considerable time deciding the best direction for Berkeley for open courseware. I (Chancellor Robert Birgeneau) have been in conversation for the last year with former Provost and now President of MIT, Rafael Reif, as well as more recently with Harvard President Drew Faust. Our own faculty, especially in EECS, have been actively engaged with their colleagues at MIT and Harvard. We share edX commitment to a not-for-profit and open-platform model and are excited at the possibility of providing courses and new open source software to the partnership.
Two Berkeley classes will be offered on edX this fall and we will collaborate on the development of the technology platform. Participation by our faculty in edX is totally voluntary, and while we encourage faculty who want to have courses on-line on edX, this will be completely up to them. edX is open to anyone and free, and online learners who demonstrate mastery of the subject can earn a certificate of completion for which initially there will be no charge.
Participation in mass open online courses (MOOCs) is only one of many initiatives in on-line education that we are - or expect to be- undertaking as we continue to develop our aspirations and strategies for on-line education at Berkeley. Our partnership with edX is fully aligned with the Principles of UC Berkeley's Online Education Strategy and our commitment to access and excellence. It is exemplary of how our relatively new process for advancing on-line education can work. The initial impetus came from faculty working on open-source technology and developing courses. The central administration worked quickly and in consultation with Academic Senate leadership, taking into account important broader campus-wide issues, to bring this partnership to fruition. The edX partnership serves our public mission of distributing higher education more broadly, while at the same time enriching the quality of campus-based education by helping us improve research on how students learn and how technology can transform learning.
This announcement is embargoed until 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 24, 2012 Pacific Time. Please do not share it until the embargo lifts. A press announcement will take place at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time. The press release and FAQ will be made available on the NewsCenter tomorrow.
This seems pretty evil to me:
Sparrow — Get mail done: We're excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google! We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience. Now we're joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.
We’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback and allowed us to build a better mail application. While we’ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users.
We had an amazing ride and can't thank you enough.
Full speed ahead!
Dom Leca, CEO Sparrow
Get your plugins under control, Google!
Ars Technica tells us that the Nexus 7 comes pre-loaded with Esquire, Popular Science, Swann's Way, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
There's a very good joke in there somewhere, if only I can find it...
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Tech reporting edition:
Mashable was decent, adding some original reporting… Gizmodo only cites The Verge…
The Register rewrote… BGR gave TNW credit for the list… ZDNet copied a lot: http://www.zdnet.com/ios-mac-app-st…
Mac Rumors, good… 9to5 Mac, decent linking but copied most of my post, including the whole list…
PCMag's rewrite, including some false statements, and citing The Next Web for my app list that they copied…
The Next Web's rewrite… Love the "We're getting word..." app list, copied verbatim from my post. I'm getting word.
AppAdvice, citing The Verge as the source instead of my post… TechMeme cites The Verge as root…
Time for rewrite bingo! CNET's rewrite, not too bad… The Verge's post, better…
Up to 73 known-corrupted apps. Had to make the list multicolumn.
@gregtitus @danielpunkass @chartier It affected both iOS 5 and iOS 6 users for me.
Two days after… and I'm sure seeing the bad side of this.
@technorav I know they were definitely OTA-corrupted, and if you downloaded in iTunes, it often showed the 832x errors or crashed.
I'll repeat my warning to developers: if you can help it, DO NOT release app updates today. The corruption is widespread and ongoing.
Sarah Kliff @sarahkliff:
Story in tmw's @washingtonpost - SCOTUSBlog is a small website w a big goal: Be first to report the health care ruling. http://wapo.st/KEHdQJ
J. Bradford DeLong @delong
What are the chances that SCOTUSblog will crash tomorrow morning?
Sarah Kliff @sarahkliff
@delong I'd guess low - they've spent $25k getting extra server space - but would definitely expect the actual SCOTUS site to go down.
When the event was over, I was really looking forward to when my appointment would come around. I had about an hour wait…. [W]e were allowed to go through in groups of about eight…. “Hands-on” was used in plenty of headlines, and that irked me, because I know we weren’t given any real hands-on with the device at all. That is, unless you believe holding an iPad or a Kindle Fire that’s not turned on is “hands-on.” That’s pretty much what it was like with Surface….
[T]he Microsoft guys were rambling on about all the awesome stuff that makes these keyboards work as well — if not better — than a real keyboard…. I wanted to try one of the damn things. You know, like hook it up to a Surface and see it for myself…. I asked one of the Microsoft guys if we could try the keyboard with the Surface he was holding, one that wasn’t on. Nope. Why not? He just kind of shrugged and said he didn’t know….
After seven minutes (according to the time stamps between my photos), we were moved to the next station, where the innards of the Surface were spread-out…. What I did care about was that this station had a keyboard hooked up to a Surface. Of course, the Surface wasn’t actually on. But at least I could get a sense of what it was like to open it….
[A]s the last group of the day, there was absolutely no one behind us. That meant, oh — yeah, there was no reason to rush us other than to keep our time as limited with the Surface — well parts of Surface — as possible.
No matter. At the last table were live, working units. As with the previous tables, this station had two Microsoft guys behind it…. That’s not a journalist holding Surface. It’s one of the Microsoft guys. They’d swing them around with a pretty picture on the front, I guess so we’d go “ooh” and “ahh.” If we were lucky, we were allowed to hold one for a few seconds. But if you tried to do anything with it, bang, it was gone.
Believe me, I know. I tried…. I brought up the Start screen by hitting the Windows button on the front of the tablet, hit Desktop to get to the Windows 8 desktop, did a long press guessing that would bring up the Screen Resolution setting and it did — at which point, the unit was literally jerked out of my hands…. I don’t think Microsoft guy number one quite knew what I was doing (you know, trying to actually use the damn computer the way I’d use a computer), so Microsoft guy number two didn’t catch on that by no means should I be allowed to hold one of these devices again. After more begging — “please can I hold it please please please can I hold it” — I got another maybe 10 seconds to repeat what I did before. That got the unit jerked away again, with a “Nice trick” remark.
Nice trick? No, you know what’s a nice trick? Bringing out devices that no one can actually use. I know they work. I could see that one of the Microsoft guys was all logged into his. But why not let us actually use them, especially when you’ve made us wait from 10 to 60 minutes specifically, as we were told, so we’d all have some close-up time with Surface?…
[T]o me the distinguishing point of Surface is Windows 8 itself, the fact that unlike the iPad, it looks to be a proper desktop computer tucked into a tablet. Can I really take one of these on the road, use it like a tablet, then plug back in at home or elsewhere to external monitors or keyboard to use like a desktop? I see some awesome in that….
Windows 8 is different, unique, seems to offer some compelling features…. At the SXSW conference in March, Microsoft had a non-Surface Windows 8 tablet out in its booth. It was fascinating to see a tablet with a real file system…. It’s a pity Microsoft didn’t have enough faith in Surface to let the journalists there actually have the hands-on that we wanted…
This is a milestone of some sort:
Reality Distortion Field: Farhad Manjoo of Slate:
Microsoft Surface: I love the Surface….
I was allowed to spend only about 90 seconds with Microsoft’s new tablet device….
I was only permitted to touch the device while the machine was powered off….
They didn’t let me actually use the new tablet….
Microsoft won’t tell us its price…. We don’t know when it will go on sale…. [W]e don’t know if the tablet’s build quality will hold up….
I’m already deeply smitten….
Microsoft has clearly spent a lot of time making this thing look and feel just right….
If it works well, the keyboard—which I got to inspect at great length but not actually type on—is going to be the Surface’s killer attraction….
At long last, the PC industry has some real hardware competition. And whether the Surface wins or loses, Microsoft is finally in the game.
But, Farhad, if the keyboard worked well, they would have let you type on it. The keyboard doesn't work well, yet.
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
These are the ads Facebook is serving me right now. This, my friends, is the next-generation hyper-targeted marketing platform which makes Facebook worth $100 billion.
Or, you know, not.
Everything you read on the internet you read as if somebody came into your house and said it directly to your face, in a rather loud voice. But they did not write it that way…
Adam Kotsko: A phenomenology of online a----les: With practical tips: It is a well-known fact that online forums tend to produce bitter fights more often than in-person discussions do. Someone who would never dream of yelling and name-calling in person may easily become very combative online--and interestingly, this often happens in response to perceived offence from others, giving the combatant a feeling of aggrieved self-righteousness that renders all their invective totally justified.
Why is this so common in online forums? I would contend that this problem is a direct result of the immediate experience of the internet. We all tend to experience the online space as an intimate and personal one…. Meanwhile, even as we are experiencing everything as taking place within our most intimate personal space, the personhood of the other is stripped down to bare text…. When people have this gut reaction, it is not necessarily because they are bad people or impatient or overly touchy…. I don't think people can control their gut reactions, or at least it takes a long time to change them. What they can do, however, is to become aware of those gut reactions and introduce some kind of lag time so that they are not responding out of those gut reactions…. Hence I propose that if we feel angry or aggrieved by a blog post or comment, we should take a break and do some push-ups before responding…. I bet we will all add years to our life…
…Tcl/Tk 8.5.5 installs and plays well with R on the MacMini running OS X 10.6.8, but barfs and hangs--sending two of the four processor cores into active catatonia--on the MacBookAir running OS 10.7.4, I would be very grateful…
Daily Kos: 10 years. 10 freakin' years: Exactly 10 years ago, I wrote my first tentative words on a site I called "Daily Kos" until I could think of a better name (which obviously never happened). People love to quote those words, even though they make me cringe for some reason. Heck, everything I wrote in those days makes me cringe.
I was but a wee thing—30 years old. Having survived the dot.com crash, barely, I had a good job working with great people, and living in the best place on earth with my young wife. I still didn't have kids, which was crucial, because this site wouldn't exist if I had kids back then.
I tested the concept of Daily Kos two weeks before the site officially launched. I created a blogspot site and seeded it with some content to see if blogging was up my alley. It wasn't the first time I had blogged—I started my blogging career writing the "Hispanic Latino News Service" while in law school (1996-99), before blogging tools automated the whole process. I would spend four hours every day formatting the HTML for each update and manually transferring the previous day's content into the archives. (Michael D dug that stuff up last year.) It was blogging before blogging officially existed.
Anyway, after a couple of days of testing the waters on that blogspot site, I decided that yes, this was something I wanted to seriously do, so I secured the domain name and set up my Movable Type site. It was exciting! Sure, I had no readers, but I never thought I'd have any readers, so that was okay. Each new visitor to the site was a surprise and a delight! It's much easier to do this blogging thing if you set your expectations way low, and back then there was no such thing as a popular blogger, so only an idiot would expect much of anything.
I worked surreptitiously back then. "Kos" was as much an Army nickname as a way to keep my boss from knowing I was working on this site on company time. I was good at my job and worked efficiently, so it was never a problem for my employer. And even later, when I told him what I was doing, his only request was that I be discreet about it so my coworkers wouldn't get the wrong idea. Did I mention I worked with great people?
So I spent time working on Daily Kos at work, and then I spent time working at it from home after work, which proved that in addition to a great employer, I also had a great (and very patient) wife. Those were simpler web times, so I could handle much of the backend of the site, and I loved to tweak and tweak some more.
Ten years later, things are quite a bit different. This whole blogging medium has become more institutionalized—the most successful bloggers either getting sucked up by bigger media outlets, or growing into significant media operations of their own. The lone individual blogger is rare these days, and even rarer is the new voice emerging from the blogosphere. That makes me sad.
On the other hand, Daily Kos now has 21 full-time employees and several more contractors, and I have the resources to strengthen a platform that has amazingly given voice to hundreds of thousands of people. I wouldn't have even dreamed that 10 years ago.
I started Daily Kos for me. As an American, I felt betrayed by the Bush Administration. I was angry at a complicit and cowed media. I felt isolated and angry that my country was going to hell, and that the so-called liberals in the traditional media (coughJoe Klein*cough*) were cheering it along. This site was, for me, therapy. It was an outlet for my frustrations. It was never supposed to be anything more.
What I quickly discovered was that I wasn't alone. That there were others like you who felt the same. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. While I was a lone voice in the wilderness, you guys turned the site into a chorus. And trust me, you sing better than me ... so phew!
So thanks for being here, and staying here, and helping build this place. These have been the fastest 10 years of my life. But no matter how much we've accomplished, we're still just getting started.
Check below the fold for the site's evolution over the last 10 years…
With 80 gigabytes of disk space free, this is not a message that Microsoft Word should ever be giving me--especially as it then gives me no options but to kill and restart the program, losing everything done since the last save:
Frantically taking screenshots with Skitch of every page that I have changed before I euthanize Microsoft Word is no way to live…
The Feedback Firehose: Julian Sanchez notes that any "commenter on politics or public affairs whose audience reaches a certain size gets a level of feedback—via email, Twitter, blog posts and comments—that would have been unthinkable for any but the few most prominent public intellectuals a generation ago." Er, yes. You should check out our in-tray. His worry about this development:
Tom The Dancing Bug Blog: Today, I’m starting a new phase in my little weekly comic strip, Tom the Dancing Bug. It’s an experiment that I hope will both make the strip more sustainable, and make the relationship between myself and my readers more direct.
B&N teams up with MSFT: If you’d told me that B&N and MSFT had teamed up back in 2002 I would have thought ‘how Orwellian,’ and yet in this picture, they’re both the underdogs. But this will give Microsoft things to offer as it tries to come out with a tablet soon. And while I’m not the world’s biggest Microsoft fan, I do love competition…
I now want to read one such after looking at this from xkcd:
But Google is so, so, so, so terribly ill-equipped to direct me to any such in any intelligent way…
Thoughts on consistency in tablet news apps | Mssv: A few months ago, I finally had what I’d been dreaming of for years – digital delivery of every single magazine and newspaper I read…. I was free and the iPad did it all…. Of course… completely different method[s] of operation and user interface that conspires to frustrate me in big ways and small. Before a recent trip abroad I… synced everything, but The Atlantic proved too wily… when I tried to read the magazine while offline, it sniffily informed me that another update was required. Thanks for nothing…. I shall refrain from going too much into The Atlantic app’s failings… magazine pages as images that are just-about-but-not-quite readable without zooming in; the practically non-existent navigation; the weird text-only mode….
This Cambrian explosion of interfaces that touchscreens have ushered in is exhilarating in the truest sense; I’m pleased to see new ideas flourish, but I’m frankly tired at having to keep track of so many different UI conventions….
[This,] I believe, has made so many people enamoured of iOS. We might complain about how the home screen and its grid of apps is getting rather long in the tooth, but at least you know how it works….
The same reason lies behind why people like ‘personal newspapers’ like Flipboard, Zite, and arguably Instapaper (along with their earlier incarnations, RSS readers); these apps make the reading experience consistent across every blog and newspaper and magazine, and just make things easier to read, even if they don’t actually have best-of-class UX. They also download stuff faster and provide a one-stop shop. I could frankly care less about the social stuff, it’s just the convenience that’s important…
Low-Tech Cyclist writes:
Grasping reality: What's happened to your blog, Brad? Why are there just snippets on the front page now?
A number of blogs, from Firedoglake to Ezra Klein, have shifted over to this format where (at least for me) there isn't enough of any post on the front page to draw me in and make me want to keep reading, and after awhile, without making a conscious decision about it, I stop going there.
(In the case of FDL, I hear that was no great loss. But it was weird to realize the other day that I hadn't been to Ezra's blog in months, when I'd once checked him out a few times a day.)
I sincerely hope you go back to your old format, where a short-to-medium length post would be entirely on the front page, and enough of a long post would be on the front page to decide whether it was worth reading the rest.
The belief (which may well be false) is that regulars who would like the old weblog format have predominantly shifted to reading via rss reader and are accessing
And the "winner" is the expected, but richly deserving, Tom Friedman!
Publishing is not evolving. Publishing is going away. Because the word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done. In ye olden times of 1997… privacy was the default setting. We had a class of people called publishers because it took special professional skill to make words and images visible to the public. Now it doesn’t…. It takes a Wordpress install. The question isn’t what happens to publishing — the entire category has been evacuated. The question is, what are the parent professions needed around writing? Publishing isn’t one of them. Editing, we need, desperately. Fact-checking, we need. For some kinds of long-form texts, we need designers….
The inadmissible assumptions: Underlying all debate on the future of the internet are a constellation of unspoken assumptions. These include:
a) Advertising is socially neutral or good,
b) Internet content provision on the internet is therefore best funded by selling eyeballs to advertisers,
c) Most people just want to consume content the way they used to consume TV or movies, and it's socially acceptable to orient the internet around this model (call it the broadcasting fallacy),
d) We can be trusted; it's Big Government/Big Corporations/Foreign Governments/Weird Religious Nutters/Those crazy guys with the opposite politics to me who can't be trusted.
I would be smarter if I read more Unfogged comment threads...
Courtesy of an unknown lurker informing the Mineshaft that "Graeber, on Twitter, sourced [his] Apple claim to his memory of a lecture by Richard Wolff", and of bjk commenting on More on Graeber, I am led to the… unusual opinions… of neo-Althusserian structuralist Richard D. Wolff:
Economic Crisis from a Socialist Perspective: Beginnings for the "reform plus" strategy: The contradictions of capitalism offer us partial yet useful examples of the democratization of enterprise advocated by this “reform plus” agenda. One of these, recurring in California for decades, can illustrate our argument.
"Here’s the power of the machine: that having broken arithmetic down into tiny idiot steps, it can then execute those steps at inhuman speed, forever. Or until a vacuum tube blows."
--Francis Spufford, Red Plenty
Not an April Fool: There is an app…. [C]omputer journalist John Brownlee wrote an essay…. First, a quote from John's essay….
"Girls Around Me" is a standard geolocation based maps app, similar to any other app that attempts to alert you to things of interest in your immediate vicinity…. [O]n the bottom left is a button that allows you to specify between whether you're interested in women, men or both. It's when you push the radar button… Girls Around Me went into radar mode, and after just a few seconds, the map around us was filled with pictures of girls who were in the neighborhood. Since I was showing off the app on a Saturday night, there were dozens of girls out on the town in our local area…
Now, here's the point. What "Girls Around Me" does is simple: it looks up your GPS location, then queries Facebook and FourSquare for people matching a simple search criterion (are they female?) who have checked in (or been checked in by their friends) in your vicinity. It then makes it really easy to pull up their publicly visible information--stuff such as age, occupation, favourite sports, what school they attended, and so on…. [Y]ou don't need a special purpose tool like "Girls Around Me" to do this, if you have a reasonably powerful Facebook query tool and know how to use it. I can't stress this strongly enough: the problem was not invented by SMS Services O.o.o. of Russia, who wrote the app. And banning the app will not make the problem go away.
What "Girls Around Me" does is make clear just how useless Facebook's security settings are…. [O]rdinary people are not all Bruce Schneier. Ordinary people with Facebook accounts tend to over-share… our social instincts encourage us to share information with everyone we can see, and to discount abstractions (such as the possibility that software bots thousands of miles away might be harvesting the photographs and information we put online in order to better target advertisements at us—or worse).
The problem is this: all social networks run on the principle that if you're not paying for the product, you are the product…. There's no point marketing bacon to Jews or Muslims, so religion is relevant. There's no point marketing turkey to vegans or wheat products to coeliacs, so dietary preferences and medical conditions are relevant. If a user is a member of a subculture associated with a distinctive clothing fashion, that information is relevant to garment vendors. And so on. So Facebook, Orkut, G+ and so on all attempt to induce their users to maximize their self-disclosure and to tie their accounts to as many useful third-party information sources as possible.
You may have noticed that Facebook provides privacy controls…. [But] it is not in Facebook's commercial interest to promote the use of privacy controls…. Moreover we are actively discouraged from maintaining any separation of spheres of identity…. Real human beings live complex lives in which they occupy different roles which are exposed to different people….
Look at Iran and imagine an app written for the Basij to make it easy to identify dissidents and form ad-hoc goon squads to proactively hunt them down….
But as I said earlier, the app is not the problem. The problem is the deployment by profit-oriented corporations of behavioural psychology techniques to induce people to over-share information which can then be aggregated and disclosed to third parties for targeted marketing purposes.