I just read and enjoyed this:
Atlanta turns yellow for two weeks in April. Streets, driveways, terraces, cars—everything cakes with pollen. It’s the trees that cause the worst of it. Pine, oak, sweet gum, sycamore, mulberry, hackberry, birch, willow. Prolific itching, sneezing, and car-washing ensue.
Read “The Internet of Things You Don’t Really Need”
I just read and enjoyed this:
It wasn’t until I heard that a colleague had nuked his personal email account—on purpose, for good—that it hit me: Email is the most reviled personal technology ever.
Read “How Email Became The Most Reviled Communication Experience Ever”
I just read and enjoyed this:
Read “Life After A Total Hack”
I just read and enjoyed this:
During the brief moment the cat was in the air — and we can’t attest to this for sure, we were all very afraid — we saw the cat’s jaw seem to unhinge. And rather than just one row of teeth in its mouth, we saw at least three rows, like a shark’s.
Read “Verge Fiction: Model Organisms”
It’s been a year since I last did one of these, so I guess it’s more than due to clear out the reading list backlog:
- Anthrax has hit Glasgow: the story of a desperate hunt for its source – by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Wired UK
- Angels & Demons – On June 4, 1989, the bodies of Jo, Michelle and Christe were found floating in Tampa Bay. This is the story of the murders, their aftermath, and the handful of people who kept faith amid the unthinkable. By Thomas French, St. Petersburg Times
- Rohrer’s Blood Diamonds: Three Years, Two Publishers and a Garage Full of Games – Jason Rohrer’s struggle to bring a game about conflict diamonds to the Nintendo DS. By Chris Plante, Polygon
- Microsoft’s Lost Decade – Once upon a time, Microsoft dominated the tech industry; indeed, it was the wealthiest corporation in the world. But since 2000, as Apple, Google, and Facebook whizzed by, it has fallen flat in every arena it entered: e-books, music, search, social networking, etc., etc. Talking to former and current Microsoft executives, Kurt Eichenwald finds the fingers pointing at C.E.O. Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates’s successor, as the man who led them astray. By Kurt Eichenwald, Vanity Fair
- Memories of Kurt Gödel – by Rudy Rucker
- 25 years of HyperCard—the missing link to the Web – Before the World Wide Web did anything, HyperCard did everything. By Matthew Laser, Ars Technica
- Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS – by Chris Ziegler, The Verge
- Less Talk, More Rock – The native language of video games is neither spoken nor written. By Superbrothers, Boing Boing
- How Google Builds Its Maps—and What It Means for the Future of Everything – An exclusive look inside Ground Truth, the secretive program to build the world’s best accurate maps. By Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic
- Sex and advertising: Retail therapy – How Ernest Dichter, an acolyte of Sigmund Freud, revolutionised marketing. The Economist
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Game Studio – While we often see the evolution of artists working in old media, ever-shifting technical terrain tends to obscure videogame makers’ aesthetic trajectories. In Thatgamecompany’s pathbreaking and gorgeous games for the Playstation 3, we get the rare chance to watch these artists at work against a fixed technological backdrop. By Ian Bogost, The Atlantic
- The Curse of Cow Clicker: How a Cheeky Satire Became a Videogame Hit – by Jason Tanz, Wired
- How One Response to a Reddit Query Became a Big-Budget Flick – With just a handful of posts about a hypothetical time travel scenario, James Erwin went from web commenter to professional screenwriter. By Jason Fagone, Wired
- Can a Better Vibrator Inspire an Age of Great American Sex? – Sex toys have transformed into sophisticated and well-designed gadgets that take their inspiration from Apple not Hustler. But one company has a bigger hope: that a better machine could mean better sex for a repressed nation. By Andy Isaacson, The Atlantic
- Why Publishers Don’t Like Apps – The future of media on mobile devices isn’t with applications but with the Web. By Jason Pontin, Technology Review
- Spam-erican Apparel – Do androids dream of ironic tees? By Babak Radboy, DIS Magazine
- The Man Who Hacked Hollywood – They’ve become a part of the pop-culture landscape: sexy, private shots of celebrities (your Scarletts, your Milas) stolen from their phones and e-mail accounts. They’re also the center of an entire stealth industry. For the man recently arrested in the biggest case yet, hacking also gave him access to a trove of Hollywood’s seamiest secrets—who was sleeping together, who was closeted, who liked to sext. What the snoop didn’t realize was that he was being watched, too. By David Kushner, GQ
- Google Now: behind the predictive future of search – How Google learned to un-fragment itself and create the next big thing. By Dieter Bohn, The Verge
- The Hazards of Duke – A now infamous powerpoint presentation exposes a lot about men, women, sex, and alcohol—and about how universities are letting their female students down. By Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic
- End Game: Inside the Destruction of Curt Schillings’ 38 Studios – Curt Schilling set out to build the greatest video-game company the world had ever seen, and to get rich — Bill Gates rich — doing it. Instead, the whole thing exploded in his face. Drawing on exclusive interviews with the Red Sox legend and his former employees, Jason Schwartz takes us inside the chaos, arrogance, and mistakes that led to the destruction of 38 Studios and the loss of $75 million in taxpayer money. By Jason Schwartz, Boston Magazine
- How the Internet gets inside us – Books explaining why books no longer matter come in many flavors. By Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
- Revisiting Windows 1.0: how Microsoft’s first desktop gracefully failed – 1985 is calling, and it has some lessons for Windows 8. By Sean Hollister, The Verge
- Value of Windowing is Questioned – by Erik Sandberg-Diment, The New York Times
- Digital apocalypse: living through the death of virtual worlds – From ‘City of Heroes’ to ‘Glitch,’ what it’s like for the plug to be pulled from your massive online world. By Noah Davis, The Verge
- How emoji conquered the world – The story of the smiley face from the man who invented it. By Jeff Blagdon, The Verge
- Johann Sebastian Joust: Making A Video Game Without Video – by Chris Plante, Polygon
- The City By The Bay – Examining the stealth genre’s depictions of society and culture, as seen through the stark, shadowy lens of The Maltese Falcon. By James Patton, Sneaky Bastards
- The Verge Interview: Ambient Devices CEO Pritesh Gandhi on ‘glanceable’ data – 11 years on, the MIT Media Lab brainchild is finding its way. By Chris Ziegler, The Verge
- Inside TED: the smartest bubble in the world – A week-long journey into a temporary utopia. By Joshua Topolsky, The Verge
- Crashing Through Manhattan In The Fake Google Driverless Car – by Adrian Chen, Gizmodo
- The Distro Interview: Microsoft Principal Researcher Bill Buxton – by Donald Melanson, Engadget
- The Artist Who Talks With the Fishes – by Jonah Weiner, The New York Times
The bulging backlog in Instapaper tells me it’s been a while since i’ve done one of these. Herein, a collection of articles and posts that i particularly enjoyed reading over the past six months, in no particular order:
- 3D Printing, Teleporters and Wishes: Anil Dash lays out a possible future for 3D printing, touching on the metaphors we might come to adopt around the technology.
- The Queens of Montague Street: Nancy Rommelmann reminiscing about her teenage years in Brooklyn Heights in the 70s. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be available online for free any longer, but can be purchased as a Kindle Single.
- All the Single Ladies: The decline of males, consequent lack of marriageable men and the end of traditional marriage as society’s highest partnership ideal.
- Why William Gibson Distrusts Aging Futurists’ Nostalgia: William Gibson talks about his (then new) book Distrust That Particular Flavor, a collection of non-fiction essays and writings collected over a period of more than twenty years.
- Trials and Errors: Why Science Is Failing Us: Despite the sensationalist title, an interesting look at the limitations of reductionism.
- Made Better in Japan: Japan is creating the highest quality in originally foreign wares – American Denim, French cuisine, Italian Espresso.
- How I Helped Destroy Star Wars Galaxies: “The game that I loved so much, I helped to destroy.”
- How to Say I Love You 100 different ways. Paul Ford is great.
- Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto: A detailed and measured look at Android 4.0’s new system font Roboto by Glenn Fleishman.
- The Incident Report. Or, The Time I Broke It: Yeah, i’m not going to try and summarize this one.
- The Grammar of Happiness: An Interview with Daniel Everett: An interview with the preeminent, yet controversial expert on the Pirahã language.
- Teller Reveals His Secrets: “[A] few principles magicians employ when they want to alter your perceptions.”
- Where’s _why? Annie Lowrey tracks down Ruby hacker legend _why the lucky stiff, who very suddenly (and supposedly voluntarily) disappeared almost two years ago.
- Make Your Thing: 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success: Jesse Thorn shares his secrets for success.
- Exclusive: a behind-the-scenes look at Facebook release engineering: Did you know that the entire Facebook application is (or at least was) compiled into a 1.5GB single binary executable? Neither did i.
- Yahoo! Patent Thoughts: Russell Beattie shares his thoughts on Yahoo weaponizing its patent portfolio. For an additional perspective, Andy Baio shared his own sentiments in this piece for Wired.
- Tyler Brûlé: the man who sold the world: “What about Scandinavia? After all, Monocle is forever claiming Copenhagen or Helsinki is the best place in the world to live. Brûlé looks aghast, revealing the conflict between aesthete and businessman. “The Scandis are a bit too socialist.” He swings his hand around the office. “Everything in this room is from Scandinavia, but the maternity leave would kill us.” So Copenhagen may be the best place to live in Brûlé’s world, but it is no place to run a business.”
- The frequent fliers who flew too much: I had no idea that something like unlimited first-class life-time travel tickets ever existed. Seems like a real bargain at its initial $250.000 price.
- How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet: What a waste of potential.
- SF, big ideas, ideology: what is to be done? “[T]oday you don’t need to read SF to get a sense of wonder high: you can just browse “New Scientist”. We’re living in the frickin’ 21st century. […] Seriously: to the extent that mainstream literary fiction is about the perfect microscopic anatomization of everyday mundane life, a true and accurate mainstream literary novel today ought to read like a masterpiece of cyberpunk dystopian SF.”
- Popular Writers: A Stephen King interview. By Neil Gaiman.
- Why Elites Fail: ““Who says meritocracy says oligarchy.” See also Institutions and Privilege: “Meritocracy is a paradoxical thing, best pursued obliquely.”
- Game of Thrones and the Good Ruler complex: “As well as being mightily entertaining, Game of Thrones is racist rape-culture Disneyland with Dragons.” That sums it up pretty well.
- Such a Long Journey – An Interview with Kevin Kelly
I won’t explain why this took so long, but let’s just say i’m in the process of catching up with lots of stuff i wanted to post here but never came around to.
First step: Catching up on The Reading List, a (supposedly) monthly collection of articles i particularly enjoyed reading that month. Except this time around, it’s stuff i particularly enjoyed reading in the second half of 2011:
It’s time for another reading list, so here’s some stuff i particularly enjoyed reading in June:
- Amanda Hocking, Storyseller: The New York Times profiles self-publishing, best-selling author Amanda Hocking.
- Windows 8 for software developers: the Longhorn dream reborn? Ars Technica takes a look at what Windows 8 has in store for developers and the fate of Microsoft technologies such as .NET and Silverlight.
- A form of augmented reality: Another interesting response to that Kevin Slavin talk.
- In a new world of informational abundance, content curation is a new kind of authorship: Maria Popova on the growing role and importance of curation. Snip: “While “old media” fought against the scarcity of information, new media are fighting the overabundance of information.“
- AOL Hell: An AOL Content Slave Speaks Out. What it’s like to write for an AOL weblog. Makes me almost feel bad about reading Engadget.
- The Earth Is Full: This one drew criticism on Twitter when it made the rounds some time ago, but i kinda like these fatalistic doomsday scenarios to drive your thoughts out of your comfort zone. Snip: “How many people […] lie on their death bed and say, ‘I wish I had worked harder or built more shareholder value’.“
- Ass, and You Shall Receive: Underground Lap-Dance Club Exposed! Yes, apparently such things exist. The New York Observer investigates dutifully.
- Meet Amazon.com’s first employee: Shel Kaphan. GeekWire interviews Amazon’s first employee.
- How I Failed, Failed, and Finally Succeeded at Learning How to Code: How Project Euler succeeds at teaching programming.
- Poking at Cow Clicker: Edge magazine profiles Ian Bogost’s Facebook game Cow Clicker.
- I Was There When Acid House Hit London and This Is How It Felt: Slightly before my time, which makes it all the more interesting.
- Bad Job Market: Why the Media Is Always Wrong About the Value of a College Degree
- Google Chrome – Why I Hate It And Continue To Use It: I’ve never managed to use Chrome for more than a few hours before switching back to Safari as my default browser.
- Genevieve Bell, Intel anthropologist – 10 visions of the future: Pocket Lint (who knew they’re still around) interviews Genevieve Bell. Some great soundbites in there.
- Cranking: Fantastic essay by Merlin Mann.
- On the Floor Laughing: Traders Are Having a New Kind of Fun: Articles like this one illustrate how fancy buzzwords like gamification change the media coverage and our perception of the world around us. Suddenly everything around us is a bloody game. Interesting article nonetheless – i wouldn’t have thought that a trader’s workspace costs $200k per year in upkeep.
- My Month With the Nexus S: Chris Clark reviews the Nexus S. Snip: “If the Nexus S were my first smartphone, having used only candybar feature phones before it, I’d probably love it.” That’s what many iPhone users say after trying Android…
Here’s the stuff i particularly enjoyed reading over the last month:
- Is Sugar Toxic? – NYTimes.com: In case you didn’t know, too much sugar is really bad for your health.
- The Sharing Economy: Fast Company on how the internet opens up new possibilities for sharing resources.
- Exit interview: Jaiku’s Jyri Engeström: Some great insight into what happens to your startup once you flip the company.
- John Maeda Mulls RISD’s Backlash Against His Cyber-Style Leadership
- The Updated Book off Jobs: Great profile of Steve Jobs by Time magazine from 1983. See also: Playboy interview with Steve Jobs from 1984.
- Nuclear waste: Keep out – for 100,000 years: How can you design a site to keep people out for the next 100,000 years?
- Innovation by Death: A Theory: Scott Berkun theorizes that the old guard needs to (literally) die out before change can happen.
- What We Can Learn from The Daily
- Sony, it’s time to act like Sony again: Paul Miller misses the old Sony and wishes for a comeback.
- The last post: Derek K. Miller passed away May 3, 2011. This is his last post.
- My Column on Columns: Khoi Vinh thinks you shouldn’t layout text in columns on screens. I tend to agree. See also: Scroll or Card?
- Pedestrian: Paul Mison on not driving in London and San Francisco.
- How to Get a Real Education: How Scott Adams learnt to run a business in college.
- Liveable v lovable: The Financial Times thinks that most livable city rankings lack validity, probably because US cities aren’t doing so well in these rankings.
- How Google controls Android: digging deep into the Skyhook filings: Nilay Patel digs deep into the Skyhook Wireless court filings against Google. I wonder what happened to the don’t be evil mantra?
- The Class That Built Apps, and Fortunes: The New York Times reports about a Stanford class that built Facebook apps with great success.
- Persuasive Games: Exploitationware: Ian Bogost would like to reframe gamification as exploitationware. Best of luck to him.
- What Books Will Become: Kevin Kelly ponders the future of books. I found his observation that the definition of a book is shifting from physical container to something defined by its structure and content highly astute.
- The “book” is dead: More thoughts on the future of books by Mark Pilgrim.
- The Really Smart Phone: The WSJ explains what you can learn about people from their phones. Undoubtedly triggered by the iPhone location kerfuffle, this article goes deeper than focusing on this single incident.
- A Sit-Down With Joichi Ito, The Drop-Out VC Leading MIT’s Media Lab by Co.Design
- And I Should Know: Roseanne Barr reflects on her experiences in the TV business.
- Keys to the cloud castle: Glenn Fleishman discusses privacy and security aspects in cloud storage in layman’s terms.
- Disposable Worlds And Imagining Brink 2
- One Experiment, Four Theories: Nice essay about Portal and Portal 2.
- Makers and Takers: Matt Gemmell on the value of ideas and execution.
Because it’s easter holidays, meaning that publishing is slower while people have more time to read, here’s another reading list with some of the things i’ve enjoyed reading over the last few weeks that i haven’t posted here so far: