Inter-Knot of Things 

John Gruber quotes this rather eloquent paragraph from Benedict Evans’s 16 Mobile Theses:

Our grandparents could have told you how many electric motors they owned - there was one in the car, one in the fridge and so on, and they owned maybe a dozen. In the same way, we know roughly how many devices we own with a network connection, and, again, our children won’t. Many of those use cases will seem silly to us, just as our grandparents would laugh at the idea of a button to lower a car window, but the sheer range and cheapness of sensors and components, mostly coming out of the smartphone supply chain, will make them ubiquitous and invisible - we’ll forget about them just as we’ve forgotten about electric motors.

It’s a nice vision for the future and perhaps fairly insightful as well. But as long as the Internet of Things relies on increasingly restrictive and proprietary APIs and hardware which must utilize them, I see no reason to be overly optimistic on the time table for our connected utopia. On the flip side, well-crafted and open APIs won’t preclude the construction of a nightmare surveillance state or slow increasing economic inequality. In fact, better technologies might only serve to grease our decent into one hell or another.

We have much work to do before we can laugh at ourselves for (not) forgetting how “smart” our devices have become.

Glassboard Vs Slack 

Brent Simmons on “Group Communication App Models:”

[Slack] may be the proof that there’s just one model that clicks for people doing group communication: chat. Chronological order. Real-time. Small, one-sentence-sized message-entry box at the bottom.

I don’t mean that Slack’s success is inevitable because of its model — but I believe that that model may be necessary. Had Slack worked like Glassboard, or like my hypothetical Twitter-like Glassboard, it would not have succeeded. (Is my theory.)

In other words, people like chat, and everything else is too much trouble and not enough fun.

I don’t see as much tension in these two models as Brent does. In fact, I tried to push Justin into giving Glassboard both of these modes so a user could swap between the river and a simple thread as needed.

“Unfortunately, I majored in accounting in college. I should have majored in weather,” he said. “So every morning, I do the temperature dance outside in my underwear and pray that it gets cold.”

Stuart Greenberg, on the difficulty of selling winter coats during a warm winter

G.O.P. Gun Nuts 

Matt Haughey can’t stop/won’t stop photoshopping dildos into pictures of Republicans who are trying to look tough as they hold guns:

Yes, it’s very juvenile, and I know it’s fairly pointless, but I wanted to rob the original images of any power they hold by making the same subjects appear ridiculous when the photos were altered. That’s all there is to it.

The strangest reaction to me is when someone finds these images “hateful”. I’ve seen the word pop up a few times in responses, and it really throws me how something as harmless as a dildo crudely added to an image is seen as hateful, as if the original photo of someone proudly displaying a weapon capable of ending anyone’s life instantly is instead seen as righteous. That right there? That is a set of priorities that are fucked up, full stop.

Mike Huckabee and his  GOP Dildo

I support Matt Haughey’s efforts. It’s a great project for an important cause and I helped him source a few photos early on. I look forward to a time when there are no more photos left for him to ‘shop.

You should follow Matt on Twitter or at gop dildo dot tumblr dot com.

Adding a Voice 

Mark Zuckerberg (via The New York Times):

“As a Jew,” he wrote, “my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone.

“If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.”

Okay, maybe Zuckerberg isn’t so bad.

Blanding Toward Corporate Culture 

Bret Easton Ellis on “Living in the Cult of Likability” for The New York Times:

The reputation economy depends on everyone maintaining a reverentially conservative, imminently practical attitude: Keep your mouth shut and your skirt long, be modest and don’t have an opinion. The reputation economy is yet another example of the blanding of culture, and yet the enforcing of groupthink has only increased anxiety and paranoia, because the people who embrace the reputation economy are, of course, the most scared. What happens if they lose what has become their most valuable asset? The embrace of the reputation economy is an ominous reminder of how economically desperate people are and that the only tools they have to raise themselves up the economic ladder are their sparklingly upbeat reputations — which only adds to their ceaseless worry over their need to be liked.

I have this constant fear I got onto [Batman] too early. As a comic book writer, I’m a baby. I’m maybe five years old? Literally. Grant took on the character when he was Grant Morrison. He had done amazing things with All-Star Superman, New X-Men, right and left. Frank [Miller] had done amazing things with Daredevil. … I was talking about this with Neil Gaiman at a Vertigo gathering, and it’s pretty funny. We were at dinner and then he asked me how I was doing with Batman. I told him about “Super Heavy” and that I was nervous. He stopped me and said, “Scott, you’re worried that you’re not good enough,” which I replied that I was. “Soon,” he said, “you’ll be worried because you used to be better.”

It’s just a hill – up the bad side, down the bad side.

Scott Synder

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