Have you browsed Amazon’s “best seller” lists recently? Noticed they’re basically useless? Brent Underwood shows why there’s so much useless junk on there (tl;dr people are exploiting the system to bolster their personal brand).
A while ago, I put up a fake book on Amazon. I took a photo of my foot, uploaded to Amazon, and in a matter of hours, had achieved “№1 Best Seller” status, complete with the orange banner and everything.
How many copies did I need to sell to be able to call up my mother and celebrate my newfound authorial achievements? Three. Yes, a total of three copies to become a best-selling author. And I bought two of those copies myself!
I’ve mentioned before about how individual app subscription is becoming the norm, and how this could potentially be consumer-unfriendly. Well, Setapp have launched what could be described as “Netflix for apps”. You pay $9.99 and you get access to all of their apps. There are 61 apps right now, a handful of which I actually use on a daily basis (Marked, Numi, Pixa, Sip and Ulysses - but that last one is a big one).
This seems like a great consumer and business friendly solution. Really hope this catches on.
Jeremy Keith has written a terrific primer on the importance of embracing the web we have and designing with open standards (“material honesty”) and, more importantly, content in mind. It’s a great read, even (especially?) for non-designers.
Coincidentally, over the last week or so, I’ve been making some changes to my personal websites (here and johnke.wtf) to make them more responsive and behave nicely on different devices. So this has come along at just the right time for me.
Manton Reece wants to make a microblogging site for the open web and he’s running a Kickstarter to help fund that. I don’t know if another microblog can actually take on or even compete with Twitter (has anyone checked to see if app.net is still breathing?) but I’m supporting this because I refuse to lose hope in the idea of the open web.
Vice is getting rid of the comments from its articles
Unfortunately, website comments sections are rarely at their best. Without moderators or fancy algorithms, they are prone to anarchy. Too often they devolve into racist, misogynistic maelstroms where the loudest, most offensive, and stupidest opinions get pushed to the top and the more reasoned responses drowned out in the noise.
I predict that lots more websites will be doing the same in 2017.
There were a lot of celebrity deaths in 2016, but none hit me quite as hard as Prince. My sister was a huge Prince fan, which meant I was basically a fan from birth. If there’s one comfort to be taken from his death it’s that – more than any of the other celebrities that died – Prince was incredibly private. Secretive, almost. Which means all we’re left with is everyone else’s stories of Prince. And this is a much more beautiful way to remember him, as a series of impossible-seeming, almost contradictory legends. Like this one from Van Jones, the political activist.
Van Jones: He was very interested in the world. He wanted me to explain how the White House worked. He asked very detailed kind of foreign-policy questions. And then he’d ask, “Why doesn’t Obama just outlaw birthdays?” [laughs] I’m, like, “What?” He said, “I was hoping that Obama, as soon as he was elected, would get up and announce there’d be no more Christmas presents and no more birthdays—we’ve got too much to do.” I said, “Yeah, I don’t know if that would go over too well.”
Really cool 360˚ tour of Halley VI, which houses up to 70 research staff in the summer and 16 in the winter. Fascinating.
Cards Against Humanity are crowdfunding the digging of a huge hole in the Earth. And livestreaming it.
Why aren’t you giving all this money to charity?
Why aren’t YOU giving all this money to charity? It’s your money.
So far, people have paid almost $50,000 to dig a hole.
$20 for 151 of some of the best indie games on itch.io, with all the proceeds going to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Personal favourites: Proteus, Gone Home, Curtain (by Irish developer Dreamfeel), The Temple of No. Oh look, it’s just a great bunch of games for a really great cause. Just buy it.
I’m filing this one under “creepy shit that would make a great setup for a film”.