My First Amazon Order

While Amazon Prime Day turned out to be a bit of a disappointment (at least I saved money by not buying anything), The Verge took the opportunity to reminisce about their first Amazon orders, which got me digging in my account history as well:

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 10.48.05

Almost 13 years ago, and those DVDs are still in my living room. Looking through the comments at The Verge, it seems that 2002 makes me an early-ish adopter, didn’t expect that.

Marco Arment on the new Macbook

Marco Arment reviews the new Macbook and doesn’t like it:

I hate typing on it, I hate the trackpad, it’s slower than I expected, the screen is noticeably blurry from non-native scaling to get reasonable screen space, and I don’t even find it very comfortable to use in my lap because it’s too small.

I hate returning things, but I’m returning this.

He reaches a worrisome conclusion that I agree with:

Rather than make really great products that are mostly thin, they now make really thin products that are mostly great.

Notes on the Surrender at Menlo Park

John Herrman digs into the announcement of Facebook Instant with some interesting observations, like this:

Now that we can see Instant in action, we can more clearly see what constitutes a publication on a Facebook-centric internet. A Facebook publication is… a brand? A “vertical?” It doesn’t own its distribution, it doesn’t meaningfully control its sources of revenue. It has no “design” outside of its individual articles. It is composed entirely of its content, as represented to Facebook users by Facebook.

And this:

The history of software and web platforms is instructive here: Platforms grow by incorporating the labor of users and partners; they tend, over time, to regard the presence of the partners as an inefficiency. Twitter asks developers to make a bunch of apps using its data, so people make a bunch of mobile apps, then Twitter notices that these apps are actually very important to Twitter, and so Twitter buys one of the apps and takes steps to expel all the other apps, rendering the job of “Twitter app developer” more or less obsolete.

The whole thing is worth a read if you are even mildly curious about online media trends.

It has been interesting to observe reactions to Facebook Instant among media outlets, as they are of course immediately affected. The common sentiment seems to be cautious pessimism with a tinge of envy among those not included in the initial roll-out.

Facebook Paper as Exploratory Technology

Cox says Paper contained the seeds of what became instant articles. “Pixar spends a lot of time building these short films where they can develop technology that they can then apply to their longer films,” he says. “For us, Paper was like a short film that let us explore a lot of things without the constraint of, a billion people need to be able to use this.”

Facebook's instant articles arrive to speed up the News Feed | The Verge

How Pretentious is Your Favorite Movie?

The Prentious-O-Meter determines the pretentiousness of movies by comparing critics reviews with public ratings of movies. Mass market means that critics didn’t like it, but audiences did. Pretentious means that critics loved it, but the public didn’t.

Looking at my three favorite movies (off the top of my head: Pulp Fiction, Casablanca and Blade Runner), my taste is more pretentious than I would have imagined.

‘Yoga Pants are Ruining Women’

This interview with Fran Lebowitz is all around great, but the part about men wearing shorts is my favorite:

I have to say that one of the biggest changes in my lifetime, is the phenomenon of men wearing shorts. Men never wore shorts when I was young. There are few things I would rather see less, to tell you the truth. I’d just as soon see someone coming toward me with a hand grenade. This is one of the worst changes, by far. It’s disgusting. To have to sit next to grown men on the subway in the summer, and they’re wearing shorts? It’s repulsive. They look ridiculous, like children, and I can’t take them seriously.

Apple Watch Reading

apple-watch

The Apple Watch launched almost two weeks ago, and brought with it the expected deluge of news, reviews and opinion pieces. A few articles and videos that stood out to me:

The Verge published a beautifully designed, extensive review that I didn’t bother to read – instead I watched their excellent video review. The bit at 3:12 gives a good impression why the Apple Watch probably isn’t a more social, less isolating technology:

John Gruber also posted an interesting review, describing his experiences on a more personal level than you would normally find on a tech blog. As a watch wearer he isn’t impressed with the Apple Watch’s capabilities for telling time, but considers the taptic engine and the new ways of communication enabled by that tactility a breakthrough feature.

Finally, my favorite piece was written by Jason Kottke, who didn’t actually review the watch, but makes this pertinent observation:

In the entire history of the world, if you make it easier for people to do something compelling, people don’t do that thing less: they’ll do it more. If you give people more food, they eat it. If you make it easier to get credit, people will use it. If you add another two lanes to a traffic-clogged highway, you get a larger traffic-clogged highway. And if you put a device on their wrist that makes it easier to communicate with friends, guess what? They’re going to use the shit out of it, potentially way more than they ever used their phones.

So much for the promise of Apple Watch unshackling us from the tyranny of notifications and distractions.

Seeing The Matrix for the First Time in 2015

Some interesting thoughts and observations, such as

I like that the year 1999 was posited as the peak of human civilization in the world of the movie. I think there are probably a lot of people alive today who still believe 1999 was the peak of human civilization. I almost believe it myself, some days.

I guess I could easily believe that 1999 was the peak of human civilization on a day when I forget that iPhones, Netflix and pervasive broadband connectivity weren’t yet around back then.