Bluey Is the Best Kids’ Show of Our Time →

I sometimes half-joke that I really hate the Dad in Bluey because he's always so fuckin perfect and he makes me feel like a bad parent but the truth is that I've learned a lot about being a better parent from watching Bluey. The fact that it's a genuinely delightful show is just a happy bonus.

Addison Rae, Bella Poarch, Charli D’Amelio, and the blandness of TikTok’s biggest stars - Vox →

What I’m talking about here is “straight TikTok,” the side of the app that can be described as “pretty people filming themselves being pretty.” On straight TikTok, you can be an okay dancer with an expressive face, and one year later, you get a beauty brand, a publicist-concocted friendship with a Kardashian, and the starring role in the gender-swapped Netflix adaptation of She’s All That.

TikTok has been one of the highlights of 2020 for me and one of the things that kept me from Twitter-doomscrolling myself into an early grave. But this is a fairly spot-on evaluation - it's interesting to see who bubbles to the top on that stupid clock app and I wonder how much of this is an algorithm thing and how much of this is just the mediocrity of aggregated opinions.

Kindle Lock Screen can now display book covers

The Verge:

Amazon Kindle owners can now set the lockscreen image to the cover of the book they’re reading. The long overdue Display Cover feature, first spotted by Engadget, was previously only available after jailbreaking your device (and a popular motivator to do so). Amazon says that it works with “most books, magazines, comics, and Manga.”

I'm not sure what the hold-up was -- some kind of competitor's patent or just laziness or whatever -- but as someone who has been waiting for this feature for over 10 years now, I'd just like to say: fuckin FINALLY.

I've been reading a lot more books over the last couple of months. Physical books, I mean. I think this is partly A) coming out of baby/pandemic brain-fog and B) I'd forgotten how lovely it is to hold a physical book. Every time you see your book, every time you open it, every time you turn a page with it, you increase your connection to it. A well-beaten book is a well-loved book that's been with you for a while.

Opening the Kindle and seeing a generic screen saver gives you absolutely nothing. It's not cementing my relationship to the form or the content. This isn't helped by the fact that the Kindle turns on immediately drops you where you left off with no indication of whether you're near the end of the book or just getting started. Like getting dropped in an unfamiliar place with no map. You just have to keep going forward and eventually you'll reach somewhere. It's a handy feature, for sure, but my dumb lizard-brain gets something from the physicality of being able to feel where I am in a book. The Kindle's attempt to address this -- putting the % completed in the corner just fills me with anxiety. Kind of like the inverse of watching a phone battery percentage trickling down, why amn't I making progress in this goddamn book?!

Spotify completely changed my connection to music (I could probably tell you the name of every song on every album I've physically owned - these days I couldn't even describe the cover of albums I love that I've only listened to on Spotify), the Kindle changed my connection to the books I read. It's not unusual for me to finish a book and not be able to tell you the name of the author. Hopefully for the sake of my already-overflowing bookshelves, this will draw me back to the Kindle as a device for reading again and my physical to-read pile (here's a photo from last month - yikes) won't grow any more.

75 Artists, 7 Questions, One Very Bad Year - The New York Times →

Trent Reznor, answering the question of what art he's turned to during the lockdown:

I’ve stumbled into the world of YouTube tutorials for various bits of musical gear. I’ve really found some comfort in curling up with a nice long video of someone demonstrating an obscure guitar pedal or synth at length. I’m usually watching and forgetting all information simultaneously but it feels like some kind of accomplishment.

Same, Trent. Same.

The Princess Bride: Home Movie →

A bunch of celebrities remade The Princess Bride while in lockdown. Adorably handmade and 100% better than the cover of Imagine, I promise you.

Halt and Catch Fire Syllabus - Halt and Catch Fire Syllabus →

This site features a curriculum developed around the television series, Halt and Catch Fire (2014-2017), a fictional narrative about people working in tech during the 1980s-1990s.

I can think of few TV shows that deserve a syllabus like this. I can't wait to dive into it.

Billie Eilish: Same Interview, The Fourth Year →

For the last four years, Vanity Fair have been doing an interview with Billy Eilish where they ask her the same questions each year year. They first caught her in 2017, right before she blew up, so it's amazing to watch the changes as she's become one of the biggest pop stars in the world.

Laura Hudson live-tweets her readthrough of Ready Player Two →

A hilarious thread from someone who hated the first book as much as I did. But what's with the random, selective takedowns of pictures of her highlighted passages from the book? Who is the copyright holder in cases where it's a photo of a book that only contains whole passages from other, better things?

Orthographic media →

Robin Sloan:

Browsing Twitter the other day, I once again found myself sucked into a far-off event that truly does not matter, and it occurred to me that social media is an orthographic camera.

This has been stuck in my brain since Robin mentioned it because I think he's hit the nail right on the head. I look at my Twitter timeline and see jokes and breakfast updates and outrage given the same space and importance as world-changing news events. No wonder we're all so exhausted.

An AI generated blog made it to the top of Hacker News →

My (least?) favourite part of this story is that some people noticed it might have been written by an AI because there was nothing substantial being said and it was pure regurgitation and these people got downvoted for being rude.

A perfect encapsulation of the Internet in 2020.