So, let’s try something new again for the past week’s readings:
New York Times writes about the need for some people to be alone when they work, despite not necessarily being introverts. I agree with this, a lot. (Joel Spolsky at Fog Creek agrees so much everybody has their own office after they moved to a new space.) The perfect place to work might turn out to be in your own office in the middle of nature.
Paul Graham calls the particular phenomenon of not wanting to tackle the hard stuff as a hacker or entrepreneur, schlep blindness. And his company, Y Combinator, published a list in 2008 on ideas for startups they would like to fund that holds up incredibly well.
And you know, like, it ain’t all that bad, you know, when, like you talk like that all the time. It turns out using binding words like that creates empathy.
Speaking of emphatic behavior:
On January 11 it will have been a decade since the first of the men we once called “the worst of the worst” were brought to Guantánamo Bay.
Happy birthday Shut down the hellhole. 10 years is more than enough.
Lots of interesting stuff is happening with Apple. They opened a couple of stores in China (and people went nuts), and they joined the Fair Labor Association, all in one article. They also released iBooks Author with the craziest EULA ever. People who weighed in on that were John Gruber, Dan Wineman, Gruber again and Ed Bott, who knows a lot about EULAs, as well as a lot of people on Twitter.
(Sometimes I feel arguing on Twitter is like doing surgery while wearing boxing gloves. It has to be swift and precise, but ends up being generalizing and messy.)
There was also a fantastic piece of reporting from New York Times on why Apple gets their products manufactored in China:
“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”
The speed and agility of mass-scale production is unprecendented, and can’t be done anywhere else. And yes, it hurts the American middle class who used to have jobs at plants like these. “Apple, America and a squeezed middle class” is this week’s by far best long-form article.
In geo-political news, “The Israeli-based company G-Max Security makes a “buried cable intrusion detection sensor” that is “totally concealed and operates effectively under any type of surface,” from open fields and highways to mountains, snow, and ice.” Security geotextile is the word we’re looking for.
If you’re working with internet-stuff and like to draw something up quickly in HTML and CSS, Twitter’s Bootstrap is pretty fucking cool. It helps me turn Fireworks comps into a clickable prototype in literally a day. Mark Otto from Twitter wrote a bit about how it came to be, and what to expect from the next edition.
Design (Big-D) is having the time of its life, and is more sought after than ever before. Cameron Koczon thinks there should be more startups founded by designers, though. Wander is one such startup.
Want to brew a great cup of coffee? Stumptown has the ultimate guide to espresso, french press and whatever else will give you the daily fix.
Here’s some trivia for ya: Stanley Kubrick invented the modern Box Office Report. How about that.
Steam multiplied muscle, but computers multiply thought
— Sinclair did some nice advertising in the 80s.
Everybody was shocked when MPAA turned out to be condescending assholes completely out of touch with the real world. But, someone like Kim Dotcom, the CEO of MegaUpload, (Alicia Keys’ husband, Swizz Beatz was only negotiating to become CEO) who I’m sure would say he’s on the other side of MPAA, didn’t look too good either when he was arrested in a safe room with a shotgun (but the guy looked swag on photos, I must say). And then Anonymous went ballistic and took down DoJ, RIAA, MPAA and Universal Music. All the while, no one thought about those who actually had legitimate content stored on MegaUpload (yes, they do exist).
Jonathan Coulton is, by the way, still waiting for the money to roll in any minute now.
(And let’s not kid ourselves, as Marco Arment argues, SOPA’s gonna happen at some point, it’s just going to be named something else and passed on a day when we’re not looking.)
Speaking of dicks, this kind of behavior still makes me sad:
“You, guy,” he said to my boyfriend across the table. “It’s not fair. You bring this girl here. It’s not fair.” We asked why not. “Because all women who come to conferences should be available,” he replied.
Because US politics isn’t nearly fucked up enough, Stephen Colbert is dragging its lifeless corpse through the streets for everyone to mock.
My knee hurts from running, so I started reading about how to run better. Everyone talks about how going barefoot is sooo good for you, but I’m not doing that just yet (though the arguments for doing so are indeed pretty convincing), although going minimal looks tempting.
Bob Ryskamp has a great story from when he got a little too good at improv debating:
The most interesting thing I learned from my impromptou experience was the power of nonsense spoken with conviction. I found that with just 5-10 unique stories or data points on a category (e.g. “transportation”), I could string together a compelling argument for almost any question. It wasn’t important that I believed what I was saying, or even that my arguments were consistent across questions. In fact, I would frequently use a single anecdote or data point multiple times in a single day to argue completely opposite things–and as the judges were different for each question, my shifting opinions were no problem.
Oh, and lastly, don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
That’s it with the readings for this week. Don’t forget to follow along on reading.am/marks.
Here’s a playlist with all my favorite videos from the past week. I didn’t watch that many movies, but a lot of stuff on YouTube that had piled up: