Popular + Luxurious = Populuxe

Huckberry takes us on a nostalgic trip to a bygone era I fear we will never experience again. Aspiration, decency, and pride are all vanishing from America at much too rapid a pace these days, and that rate has only continue to increase in recent years; Nicholas Pell is right to be saddened by their untimely and unfortunate passing, for once our society loses these values I doubt we will ever see them come back.   

Measuring Success In Life

Colleen Kong wrote a guest post on one of the few websites I follow unrelated to technology, Financial Samurai, detailing how she measures success in her life outside of her wallet’s size, with some great advice for everyone regardless of their lot in life. I wish her the best of luck.   

Earspeakers

After Marco Arment posted his great article on fancy headphones and fussy coffee back in February, I strongly considered dropping $180 that I — to be brutally honest — didn’t have on a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-770-PRO 32ohm closed dynamic headphones. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, I still cannot say, sanity won out though, and I abstained from blowing a week’s salary on what I have no doubt would have been a fantastic listening experience. As both Linus and Marco explained though, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on great headphones just to have a good time listening to your music: take the advice of a few trustworthy people, spend within your means, sit back, and enjoy.   

Paths

I think The Typist put it best when he posted a tweet linking to this piece by Matt Gemmell, where he said, “I am wary of superlatives but @mattgemmell’s latest is the best piece of text I’ve read in the last 5 years; at least”. This truly is a phenomenal work of prose, simultaneously remarkably sad, hopeful, and intensely inspirational; better words of advice than those at the end of Matt’s article have never been said.   

OkCupid Revisited

In scene reminiscent of Steve Jobs’ dismissal from Apple at the behest of John Sculley, Brendan Eich lost his job as CEO of the Mozilla Corporation a few weeks ago over a political donation made roughly six years prior in support of California’s Proposition 8. A bill that sought to ban gay marriage in the state, it’s easy to see why Eich took such flack for that move in today’s hyper-sensitive political landscape permeated by the rantings of faux-political activists. Although a federal court ultimately struck it down as unconstitutional, the fact that his donation ultimately had no lasting effect mattered not to nearly everyone that weighed in on the controversy, and least of all to Sam Yagan. CEO of OkCupid, Sam Yagan played a key role in Eich’s ultimate impeachment by acting as one of Eich’s loudest opponents.   

Why I Rank My Friends By Income, Iq, And Hotness

Impersonal, cold, and calculating, perhaps, but pragmatic, practical, and logically sound? Yes again. Milo Yiannopoulos has a very interesting approach to relationships. And today, in an age where anything less than four digits worth of Facebook “friends” has somehow become strange, it might not be such a bad idea. Food for thought, anyway.   

The Outsider and the Creed

Turns out you are not the only one battling with a lack of conviction in your own self worth and the value of the things you create, and struggling with the fear that at any moment someone might discover that you are, in fact, the fraud you so strongly believe yourself to be. In reality, we all struggle with these complicated feelings — you, me, and I would bet anything your role model does as well. In the somber words of Raymond Reddington though, “There will be nightmares. And every day when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think about. Until one day, it will be the second thing.” Although at the time he referred to something much darker than the purely psychological impostor syndrome, his words apply here as well: these misgivings will plague you from the moment you wake up in the middle of the night to the second you fall back into a fitful sleep. Until one day, they will not.   

Detecting duplicate images using Python

Fascinating article from Silviu Tantos of Iconfinder on developing an algorithm to detect duplicate images using just a few lines of Python. Having written the back-end for this site myself, completely in Python, I plan on using some of these tactics extensively in version 1.0 to streamline and improve my process for determining when and how often to re-build this site.   

Reconciling Microsoft

Following the BUILD conference, there has been a great deal of uncharacteristically positive talk within the Apple sphere with regards to the products and services Microsoft recently unveiled there, as well as the new direction these announcements seem to indicate. In particular, Myke Hurley, Stephen Hacket, and Federico Viticci of The Prompt had an interesting discussions on these topics in the forty-second episode of their podcast, Beautiful Flower, as did John Gruber and Ed Bott in episode seventy-eight of The Talk Show, recorded live at BUILD. These two shows forced me to rethink the class of writers I follow, for I can no longer confidently state that Apple is the only company making anything interesting. So I set out to find some writers from the other side of the fence — onces not wholly focused on the iOS ecosystem, that could provide valuable insight into a company quickly regaining its relevance in today’s tech scene. Or at least, I decided to; I have yet to succeed.   

This Week in Podcasts

Unfortunately, the past week was relatively light in terms of new podcasts, and even more sparse with regards to great episodes. There are always a few, though, and this week was no different.   

Let’s Talk About the 5C

Continuing to riff on Brian Hall’s recent piece for Tech.pinions, Panic Inside Apple and Cheers for Satya, that I linked to in my last post, I want to spend some time talking about another topic of his article: the iPhone 5C. Lately there seems to have been a great deal of talk about the 5C as a failed product that missed the target Apple set out for it by a gross and (apparently) indicative-of-impending-doom margin. I could not disagree more, though; and in fact, I would go so far as to say that every piece painting such a bleak picture belies the author’s fundamental misunderstanding of exactly what the 5C was and was not created for.   

noWatch

I’m going to violate my cardinal rule of not using a pull-quote for this article by Brian S. Hall, for to simply point you at his recent piece for Tech.pinions and expect you to grasp the pertinent thread out of the three near-disparate topics within would be a fool’s errand. Although ostensibly about Microsoft, more accurately yet another critique of the 5C, and with a tired subtext of the usual “Apple is doomed”, I see no other recourse but to hand you the appropriate portion on a silver platter. From Panic Inside Apple and Cheers for Satya, then:   

A Brief Naval-Gaze

Turns out, vanity searches pay off: earlier this evening, my girlfriend pointed an article out to me of particular interest. Writing for Fast Company Labs, Jenna Kagel published Inside One Blogger’s Plan To Make Money Without Hideous Ads on January seventh of this year, where she recounted my plans to take this site from a cost center to a profitable enterprise detailed in Doing Monetization Well. To me, to have a site so popular and widely-respected as Fast Company post an article about something I wrote and posted to my site, that’s just awesome; so very cool.   

Custom Homescreen Icons with Pythonista

This is so cool. Back when I used to write exclusively on my iPad, I nearly did this so that I could copy a finished article to my clipboard, and then simply tap on a home screen icon to publish it using Pythonista rather than opening the app as an intermediary step between creation and pushing it up to my server. Then I got my MacBook Pro, though, and it became my primary writing device. I doubt this will remain the case forever, so I plan on keeping this one in my back pocket.   

Bitcoin Is Pointless as a Currency, But It Could Change the World Anyway

Despite it’s oxymoron of a title, this is a great piece by Felix Martin for Wired drawing some interesting parallels between Bitcoin and the monetary system of sixteenth-century Europe. Bitcoin has enjoyed a great deal of support up until now, but the jury is still out as to whether it will turn in to a viable, stable currency or go down in history as a somewhat lengthy flash in the pan. Hopefully, though, for the reasons Felix laid out in his conclusion, Bitcoin will.   

The Culture of Shut Up

Fantastic article by Jon Lovett at The Atlantic, where he writs about the power of free speech particularly with regards to internet culture. In my mind, these two issues have collided and come to a head recently with the resignation of Mozilla’s CEO Brendan Eich: given the political nature of the reasons Eich lost his job, I have seen a great number of people on both sides of the issue speak up, out, and often vilify each other. And that’s not helping anyone at all.   

The Failures of Technology(?)

After I posted A Question of Value the other day, where I talked about some important questions to ask when evaluating the plausibility of a smart watch as a viable future device category, Linus Edwards sent me a link to a very interesting and thought-provoking piece of his from July of 2013 titled Where Did The Time Go? The Failures Of Technology. Part of the reason I found it so noteworthy, though, is because I disagree with it so strongly: I disagree with his statement that “In terms of design, most computing devices, programs, operating systems, and websites are not designed to simplify people’s lives, but rather make people more and more reliant on those computing devices, programs, operating systems, and websites.” He lumped all these very different mediums together and categorically condemned all of them for the more pronounced shortcoming of one or two, a process that I feel he used to form the erroneous conclusion that he then wrote his article in service of.   

And Today, the Irony was Palpable

Merlin Mann once said that when he was seventeen years old, he felt his sole job in the world was to expose all hypocrisy. At the time, at seventeen myself, I laughed; however, a couple of years later the same thing has become true of myself: very few things annoy me as much as hypocrisy these days, and the very closely-related phenomenon of the double standard drives me insane. Today, in a fantastically ironic turn of events that came to my attention through an article on SFGate, UnCrunched discovered that OkCupid’s CEO, Sam Yagan — one of the most vocal critics of Brendan Eich — once supported a congressman known for his huge opposition of anything to do with homosexuals. The same man who played such a pivotal role in the ruin of Brendan Eich’s career, claiming that his support of California’s Proposition 8 nearly a decade ago made him an abhorrent individual unfit to lead Mozilla, supported a congressional candidate that goes even farther than Proposition 8 did. Absolutely incredible.   

Narrative over Facts

Last week Ben Thompson recommended that anyone who enjoyed his three-part series on the future of news and newspapers check out Nieman Journalism Lab’s latest report on the state of news media in 2014. For anyone interested, here’s the link: New technology, new money, new newsrooms, old questions: The State of the News Media in 2014; at the time, I was: I promptly saved the essay to Instapaper and eagerly awaited reading it. However, a little more than a week later, I got through the first two paragraphs before completely losing interest. Yet, ten days prior I read more than three thousand words on this subject, spread across three different articles. What changed?   

How You, I, and Everyone are Still Getting the Top 1 Percent All Wrong

I don’t agree with the constant vilification of America’s top 1%. Some call them “captains of industry”, others have much more choice combinations of nouns and verbs to describe the small subset of Americans that earn substantially more than everyone else — the constantly marginalized 99% — as if they somehow did not deserve their hard-won success. This article from The Atlantic does not go as far to dispel that ridiculous notion as its title — doctored above, originally “How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 Percent All Wrong” — might lead everyone to believe, but I guess it’s a step in the right direction.   

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