April 22, 2014

Memories of Steve

Ken and I hadn’t seen Bud in months, not since Eazel shut down, so were all making guesses about the reason for his visit. Tiring of the conjecture, I finally just stood up, cupped my hands and called out to him.

“Hey, Bud! Come over and see your old pals when you’re done to talking to that guy.” Bud looked up — slight pause — and “that guy” turned around to stare at me.

Source: Don Melton.

April 21, 2014

How Hollywood Killed Death

Blur your eyes, and they might have all been the same tedious, manipulative movie. I felt nothing watching these characters disappear off-screen, hurtling toward whatever lies beyond. I’m no sociopath. The problem is that death at the movies has died. The movie industry has corrupted one of cinema’s — if not all of fiction’s — most emotionally taxing moments into hollow formula, the kind of thing that passes in the blink of a plot point leading to a literal, if not figurative, explosive finale that takes up half the budget. Considering this, it’s odd that death’s killer is the new, risk-averse economic logic of Hollywood.

Source: NYTimes.com.

April 21, 2014

Censorship by the Batra Brigade

Batra and I are talking past one another, playing two different games with the textual evidence. But he thinks there is only one game, and is determined to keep me off my own field. To debate a book you disagree with is what scholarship is about. To ban or burn a book you regard as blasphemous is what fascist bigotry is about.

Source: The New York Review of Books.

April 14, 2014

Apple is not here to entertain you

The mindset of the financial industry. If I told you that your company was going to be comfortably profitable for the next 20 years, you’d probably feel relieved that you could pay for your kids’ college tuition and plan for retirement. But finance types don’t think that way. I’m wary of going down a rabbit hole here, so let me boil it down to this: Financial types want to see growth. Static (albeit massively profitable) companies are boring.

I don’t want to argue about what this says about our global financial system—chase that rabbit if you want—but to point out that when you see tech stocks react in bizarre ways (like dropping in value when a company announces record profits or sales), it’s because what you consider success often isn’t what Wall Street considers success. (It’s also because Wall Street trades in futures, not in gold stars for past accomplishments.)

More than about Apple, this excerpt is instrumental in understanding why you should never play the individual stock market game. Unless you’ve insider information, which by the way is illegal.

Source: Macworld.

April 4, 2014

The Woman Behind Apple’s First Icons

Susan Kare “was the type of kid who always loved art.” As a child, she lost herself in drawings, paintings, and crafts; as a young woman, she dove into art history and dreamed of being a world-renowned fine artist.

But when a chance encounter in 1982 reconnected her with an old friend and Apple employee, Kare found herself working in a different medium, with a much smaller canvas — about 1,024 pixels. Equipped with few computer skills and lacking any prior experience with digital design, Kare proceeded to revolutionize pixel art.

Source: Priceonomics.

March 30, 2014

This is a Generic Brand Video

[Source: Adweek]

March 25, 2014

Was Robert Hooke really the greatest asshole in the history of science?

Robert Hooke discovered the cell, established experimentation as crucial to scientific research, and did pioneering work in optics, gravitation, paleontology, architecture, and more. Yet history dismissed and forgot him… all because he pissed off Isaac Newton, probably the most revered scientist who ever lived.

Source: iO9.

March 11, 2014

Moral Line of No Return

Has India become so desperate for rapid economic growth, so blinded by the promise of prosperity, that she has forgotten basic humanity? It seems that, in the race towards higher GDP, the majority of India is willing to inject itself with the steroids of bigotry or ruthlessness. Ethics be damned.

Imagine if there was little or falling economic growth in the near future. Now what are you left with?

Source: Quartz.

February 26, 2014

The Internet is fucked

American politicians love to stand on the edges of important problems by insisting that the market will find a solution. And that’s mostly right; we don’t need the government meddling in places where smart companies can create their own answers. But you can’t depend on the market to do anything when the market doesn’t exist. “We can either have competition, which would solve a lot of these problems, or we can have regulation,” says Aaron. “What Comcast is trying is to have neither.” It’s insanity, and we keep lying to ourselves about it. It’s time to start thinking about ways to actually do something.

Source: The Verge.

February 24, 2014

5 reasons why you shouldn’t work too hard

The image that stands out most in my mind during the broadcast of the 2014 Winter Olympics? The Cadillac commercial with a boxy, middle-aged white guy in a fancy house striding purposefully from his luxurious swimming pool to his $75,000 luxury Cadillac ELR parked out front while extolling the virtues of hard work, American style.
“Why do we work so hard? For stuff?” actor Neal McDonough asks in the commercial that has been playing without cease. “Other countries work. They stroll home. They stop by a café. They take the entire month of August off. “Off,” he says again, to reinforce the point.

Source: WaPo.

February 21, 2014

The Empathy Vacuum

They judge us by our failures and not our desire to improve. They judge us by our tools and not what we can accomplish with them. They judge us by their own standards, without a breath given to the possibility that a different perspective might exist.

Which is pretty much the Internet in a nutshell, isn’t it? Exposed to the entire spectrum of human enthusiasms, it’s basically impossible not to judge. Our empathy overloads and gives up and we sit, staring at the screen aghast, that somebody, somewhere might actually believe that what they’re doing is OK, is acceptable, is even appropriate.

Source: An Entirely Other Day.

February 18, 2014

Satya Nadella: Only In America?

Satya Nadella was trained and mentored by American executives who looked past — in fact, ignored — the passport of his country of origin. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, who know a thing or two and have jointly run Microsoft for 40 years, have turned over their company to an immigrant.

Source: Words.

February 16, 2014

A Case Against Bitcoin

Bitcoin — like meritocracy, communism, and misandry — is a nice idea, but it will never be implemented in a way that could possible make it useful or replace the current currencies.

Source: Medium.

February 15, 2014

What can the first version of Google, Facebook, YouTube and more teach us about starting small

To give us a little insight into just how simple some of the today’s juggernaut web companies were when they started out, I thought it would be fun to do some time traveling in the Wayback Machine. Design can’t tell us everything about what’s happening behind the scenes at a company, but it’s one way to visualize the progress of a product or service over time. Plus, each of these companies’ founders have some useful advice on why they started small and how it helped them grow into the successes they are today.

Source: The Buffer Blog.

February 14, 2014

A Godless Congregation

Atheists don’t live their lives tormented by the absence of a man in the sky with a beard – and most of us, if I may use the collective noun for non-stamp collectors with little else in common, aren’t even militant about our atheism. Why, then, are atheists held in such poor regard by believers everywhere?

One possible reason is that this has nothing to do with religion per se, and more to do with how we construct our identities with the belief systems we follow. Liberals abhor conservatives and vice versa, and clashes of ideology can get deeply personal. Perhaps it is the same with believers and nonbelievers. Every atheist is, in a sense, a personified slap on the face of all believers, a walking, talking reminder of their weakness and their delusions. It is natural to react viscerally to this, is it not?

Source: India Uncut.