Feb 6, 2017
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!
Jan 26, 2017
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.
Jan 5, 2017
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.
Jan 2, 2017
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.
Dec 20, 2016
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.
Dec 8, 2016
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.”
Dec 1, 2016
Really cool 360˚ tour of Halley VI, which houses up to 70 research staff in the summer and 16 in the winter. Fascinating.
Nov 25, 2016
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.
Nov 23, 2016
$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.
Nov 2, 2016
I’m filing this one under “creepy shit that would make a great setup for a film”.
Sep 20, 2016
The Ringer nails it:
Here is an abridged list of things that Joseph Gordon-Levitt almost, but not quite, sounds like in Oliver Stone’s Snowden, out last week:
- Three kids stacked on top of each other inside of a trench coat
- The moment in a 2000s comedy when the third male lead realizes he’s been shot with a tranquilizer gun
- A prank caller whose heart just isn’t in it
- Someone Shailene Woodley would waste her early 20s on
- A short story where an old frog teaches a young frog how to build a boat, and then dies
- An outtake from a YouTube review of the iPhone voice changer app
- Edward Snowden
Jun 9, 2016
It seems like we’re moving to the world where app subscription models are the norm and I’m worried about what this means for the future of some of my favourite apps. In December, YNAB announced it was moving to a web-based, subscription model. In January, it was forced to change its strategy a little in the face of a severely negative response.
But the Sketch model seems like a pretty great compromise. Buy a license and you’ll receive a year’s worth of free upgrades. After that, no more upgrades (besides bug-fix upgrades) but your software will continue to work. This seems like a really clever and consumer-friendly way of addressing this problem.
May 27, 2016
Tony Zhou (of the excellent Every Frame a Painting) takes a look at the difference between the US and UK trailers for the new Ghostbusters and how a few frames can make all the difference between a joke that hits and a joke that lands.
May 24, 2016
Boston.com’s interview with Lacey Noonan, self-publishing superstar and author of niche erotica like I Don’t Care If My Best Friend’s Mom is a Sasquatch, She’s Hot and I’m Taking a Shower With Her Because It’s the New Millennium and its sequel I Don’t Care if My Sasquatch Lover Says the World is Exploding, She’s Hot But I Play Bass and There’s Nothing Hotter Right Now Than Rap-Rock Because It’s the New Millennium.
BDC: Do your friends and family know you write these novels, or is it private? You mention your husband in your bio, Does he know?
Lacey: My husband knows. Some friends know. That’s about it. He actually helped with some of the finer football details in the Gronkalish book. But I am the heat commander. I control the boners.
This lady is amazing.
Mar 7, 2016
Pippin Barr’s note-perfect recreation of The Shining as an 8-bit game.
Feb 16, 2016
Cheap, easy to use, surprisingly decent resolution. I think I’m going to be picking one up myself. For my kid, of course.
Feb 15, 2016
I’ve never seen an AMA go so badly that the celebrity answered nothing and deleted their reddit account. Example question:
Are you the same guy that started a charity for his country then stole that money?
Feb 9, 2016
The Witness is a frustrating game. Not just because the puzzles are hard, but because the game demands so much of your time (I’ve spent hours on individual puzzles) and because the world hints at so much but appears to deliver (from where I’m standing, at least) so little apart from more puzzles for you to bash your head against. So it’s nice to step back and just appreciate the beauty of the world they created.
Dec 1, 2015
Long one, but completely worth your time. The point SecretGamerGrrl makes about the shared language of hate groups nails what I found so troubling about the recent anti-feminist posts by Scott Adams and Eric S. Raymond. It’s easy to dismiss them and say that we should just expect these kinds of posts from white, cis, middle-age men, but it shows that they’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from something really dangerous.
Oct 15, 2015
The producers of Homeland hired a bunch of street artists to graffiti the sets, to make it seem ‘authentic’. The artists used the opportunity to write a load of anti-Homeland slogans in Arabic and no-one noticed. Just wonderful.