the guardian

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #190

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Should A Robot Decide When To Kill? – The Verge. “I grew up reading Asimov‘s Laws of Robotics. Turns out that wasn’t escapism — it was just preparation. This rather chilling Verge piece on DARPA‘s autonomous soldiers paint a robotized future as inevitable. ‘Either we’re going to decide not to do this, and have an international agreement not to do it, or it’s going to happen.’ Rather than ‘A robot must not harm a human’ we get the more loophole-ready, ‘A robot must always follow a human operator’s intent, for example, while simultaneously guarding against any failure that could cause an operator to lose control.’  Yikes.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Here’s the leaked Uber email to drivers, showing it’s finally taking background checks seriously – Pando Daily. “One of the biggest economic shifts this century comes from the removal of the friction that justifies middlemen. From travel agencies to parking meters, everything’s going digital. AirBnB, Uber, Lyft, even white-label airlines are getting in on the action. The honeymoon, however, may be over. Nearly every one of them is under scrutiny for predatory pricing, liability claims, and mis-set expectations. P2P rideshare startup Lyft recently announced insurance, but the real story is Uber, which sent a letter to drivers about background checks. Up next? I’m betting it’s unionization. What’s good for the management goose is good for the employee gander.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Our quantum problem – Aeon Magazine. “The head-scratching problems with Quantum Theory.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Spotify: how a busy songwriter you’ve never heard of makes it work for him – The Guardian. “Want to hear a song about mayonnaise? Or, Brisbane? Or, door-handles? Matt Farley churns them out at an amazing pace, and puts them all on Spotify. I originally heard about Matt Farley on the podcast TLDR.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • What Brands in Sochi Are Doing for Security May Surprise You – AdWeek. “Part of the advertising business is schmoozing clients. That’s a lie. It’s a big part of every business. So, when the Olympics roll around, brands see an amazing opportunity to really work their networks and lock in some solid business opportunities while taking in the event, wining, dining and who knows what else? The problem is that some places aren’t that safe. There has been lots of concern over the safety at the winter Olympics. It’s not something you read about often, but this is what brands are doing to ensure that their guests have a blast… in a different kind of way.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Please Click On Our Website’s Banner Ads – The Onion. “This is one of those pieces that is so funny because of how true and sad it is. It’s from The Onion, so you know it’s satire of the highest form. It’s also true for just about any traditional publisher pimping for clicks, while trying to amp up their banner advertising inventory. Special thanks to Michael Lautman for shooting it my way on Twitter.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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The Blog Turns 20 This Year

Can you believe it? I had to re-read the headline a couple of times as well.

Yesterday, The Guardian posted an article titled, The blog turns 20: a conversation with three internet pioneers. It made me do a double-take. This blog, has been around for eleven years. With over 3600 posts and over 40,000 comments, it is much more than a publishing platform. It is much more than a place where I share what I am thinking about or tinkering with. It is an ongoing space where people come together to think differently about how brands can better connect with consumers. I can’t thank you enough for being here, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that blogging was invented.

Twenty years is a long time.

Brands struggle to understand digital marketing. To say that this is nothing new, is to acknowledge just how slow companies can be to adapt, and how adverse to change many people can be. You can head over to your local bookstore (if you still have one) and look at the most recent business books being published, and there will – without question – be several titles about how to get started with blogs and how important they can be to a businesses success. When I was writing the first draft of my second book, CTRL ALT Delete (which came out in the latter part of last year), I was genuinely anxious to use the word “blog” in the book. I felt like people reading it may misinterpret my use of the word and think that I was dismissing some of the newer channels, or that I had become an old man, clinging on to this thing that had lost its shiny luster and media darling position in the world. When I look at new media platforms like Huffington Post, Business Insider, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever, I just see some kind of variance on the blog. A blog – for my dollar – has simply become the catchall phrase for the ability that human beings now have to create content (in text, images, audio and video) and instantly share that with the world for free. Blogs were better defined as an online journal that enabled writers to instantly publish their content to the world for free (it could also be easily distributed through the power of RSS – a term that is also all-but-forgotten). Now, it’s not just words. It’s not just on a computer. Still, Instagram just feels like photo blogging to someone like me.

Twenty years… and it’s just getting started.

In a world of disposable technology (both the hardware and the software), I still believe in the power of words. In a world where books are moving from bookshelves to iPhones, I still believe in words. In a world where pictures can be sent via mobile and then destroyed so that no trail ever exists, I still believe in words. This hesitancy of brands to embrace these channels are both a personal frustration to me, but have also afforded me an incredibly rich life of work that continues to keep me inspired. Still, I have a hard time believing that the concept of blogging is two decades old.

If you love to write.  

Often, people will ask why I love to blog so much and so frequently. The answer is simple: I love to write. If you love to write. If you love to share… you should be blogging. To me, the notion of blogging is still as exciting and powerful as it was over a decade ago, when I published my first post. Back then, I could not believe that this piece of software existed. I could not believe that I didn’t need anyone’s permission (be it an editor or a publication) to reach an audience. I could not believe that if my words resonated, I would be able to find my own audience and build my own community. Twenty years later, I get that same tingle – each and every day – when I lift the lid of my MacBook Air and stare at the blank screen. I don’t often know where the journey will take me, or how easily the words will flow, but I am deeply grateful and forever thankful for the pioneers who built this platform.

It’s not about me.

As I read the article in The Guardian, I started to realize that while I am thankful that I was able to find a corner of the world to share my words, that I much more grateful that I am able to read, consume and engage with the thinking of others. I have met some of my closest friends because they are bloggers. Because they share. Because they write. Because they care. These people are real. More real than the digital pixels that transform and distribute their words instantly around the world. If you look to the left of this blog post, you will see something that says, “Check Out These Blogs.” Those people are just some of the big brains that I think about, read and follow with each and every passing day. In a world without blogs, I would be waiting years or months (at best) to hopefully grab a new book from them or an extended article in a magazine or newspaper. No more. Blogs destroyed the chasm that existed between writers and their audiences, by giving them the ability to share on an ongoing basis. I marvel at that more than anything else. I hope you do as well.

Happy 20th Birthday, blog! I’m looking forward to decades more of your goodness.

Feel free to share below what blogs mean to you…

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #188

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Debunking Princeton – Facebook. “A recent Princeton study claimed Facebook would lose eighty percent of its users in the next few years. Sure, we all know the kids love their Snapchat, but that seems dubious to me. Apparently, it also seemed dubious to the whip-smart data science team at Facebook, who took them to task with this brilliant rebuttal. Oh, and based on this analysis, we’re running out of air, too.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • What are the best travel hacks? – Quora. “I spent a lot of time on the road last year. My favorite travel hack is using the ironing board as a work desk you can adjust to your perfect height in a hotel room, so you don’t destroy your back in a marathon writing session. This Quora thread is packed with gems.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Last Alan Moore Interview? – Slovobooks. Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen and a few other cult comic classics, gives a delightfully grouchy interview, which he seems to claim will be his last. In it, he pillories contemporary adults for raising kids’ entertainment from the last century (superheroes) to the center of our cultural life; attacks claims that his work is prevalent with misogynist scenes of rape and violence against women (‘prevalent’ compared to what?’ he asks, ‘Consensual sex? Non-sexual violence?’); and bridles at the idea that white men shouldn’t write characters of other races. A thoughtful and detailed piece on our art, politics, culture.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Sit Back, Relax, and Read That Long Story–on Your Phone – The Atlantic. “It’s no suprise to me (since the thing that sold me on ebooks was reading War And Peace on my iPhone), but certainly marketers and content producers should have a think about this little stat: one of Buzzfeed‘s most popular stories (Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500) is 6,000 words long. Average time spent on the article by tablet readers: 12 minutes. Phones? 25 minutes. Movies, television, books and long articles. Turns out phones are *built* for these things, no matter what David Lynch has to say about it.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Why Bitcoin Matters – The New York Times. “I get asked about Bitcoin and digital currency all of the time now. Bitcoin is sweeping pop culture like Facebook once did. I believe in the power of digital currency and the massive opportunity that lies ahead for it. Who cares? Who am I? Just some dude with a blog and an opinion. Let’s ask the experts what they think. Someone whose opinion I hold in the highest of regards would be Marc Andreessen. So, here’s what he thinks about it…” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Jerry Seinfeld on how to be funny without sex and swearing – The Guardian. “I don’t care what you do for a living, if you’re not spending your time truly honing your craft, skills and talent, they are being wasted. Someone who takes this job to a whole other level of dedication and care is Jerry Seinfeld. He’s no longer a spring chicken, but this doesn’t stop him from always having a spring in his step. This is a fabulous read that should motivate you to keep at it. Whatever your ‘it’ is.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #186

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • When tech culture and urbanism collide – Ascent Stage. “This year’s International Startup Festival‘s theme is, The City and the Startup, and we’ve been looking for relevant content. This piece by John Tolva argues that tech companies are bad urbanists, and that the old myth of a company ‘started in a garage’ suggests a suburban bias, even as tech titans live in cities like San Francisco.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World – A Sheep No More. “I’m a visual thinker, so I love maps. And here’s a great resource: forty maps of the world that help you understand a variety of topics. Knowing where Google street view is available tells you a lot about the world’s economies; seeing the only 22 countries that Britain didn’t invade reminds us of how far the empire once reached; and so on.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • The Darkest Place on the Internet Isn’t Just for Criminals – Wired. “Now that we know that everything we do on the internet is watched by government spies as well as the all-knowing eyes of Google and Amazon, it might be time to start taking privacy seriously.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • A Glimpse Into The Future of NPR, From It’s First-Ever Creative Director – Fast Company. “I’m a bit of a ‘radio’ junkie, or anyway, an ‘audio’ junkie, since I do almost all my listening to podcasts these days (using the Stitcher app, mostly). It turns out that most of the ‘podcasts’ I love are public radio shows from around the world: BBC, Australia Radio National, and NPR. And most of the best stuff these days is coming from National Public Radio, NPR. In the early days of podcasting, NPR really jumped in with two feet. They have continued to build not just an impressive network of ‘radio’ shows, but a lot of stuff tailored to modern, web-connected podcasty listeners: shows like This American Life, RadioLab, On The Media, Bullseye, and 99% Invisible. What’s in store for NPR in the next few years? Read about its new Creative Director, Liz Danzico, and what she’s got in mind for our ears. (As a sad sidenote, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, once a source of much tasty audio, has declined to the point that it is hardly recognizable).” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • How to Build a Productive Tech Economy – The Atlantic. The Atlantic has an amazing online property called, The Atlantic Cities, that focuses on urban centers and the evolving world and the cities that we live in. This article by Richard Florida (who is the author of The Rise Of The Creative Class, along with many others) looks at cities and their real abilities to turn themselves into a technology hub. We often head mayors and other leaders talk about the need for their cities ad states to become ‘the next Silicon Valley.’ Well, Florida has some data and thoughts on what is (and what is not) possible…” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • TED isn’t a recipe for ‘civilisational disaster’ – The Guardian. “There is a very persuasive TEDx talk that is making the rounds titled, New perspectives – what’s wrong with TED talks?, that is also an article in The Guardian titled, We Need To Talk About TED, by Benjamin Bratton. I can understand Bratton (and others) perspective, but I just don’t agree with it. The fact is that I have been going to TED for many years and believe (without sounding all snooty about it), that it’s hard to understand what the event is like until you attend it. I often tell people that the TED Talks (which is what everyone talks about online and watches) account for, probably, five percent of the whole TED experience. It’s easy to sit back, watch an 18-minute talk and wonder what that is going to do to truly change the world or solve some of our very real problems, but I thought that TED’s curator, Chris Anderson, did a great job of trying to explain to the masses what the conference is really about. For my dollar, no other event has inspired me more. From business success to community involvement and more, I learn so much at each event that I can’t imagine having a successful year with TED not being a part of it.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #183

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Autonomous Vehicles and the Labor Question – Taming The American Idol. “Stories of self-driving cars, or flaming batteries, grab headlines. But if you look at the long-term impact of autonomous transportation, it becomes a jobs question. Pushed into the limelight by Amazon‘s announcement of drone-delivered packages, this is a topic that, much as steam power did, will galvanize unions and make us reconsider the boundaries of work. When we had steam power, we got the weekend and the end of child labor. What will automated logistics yield, and how much fighting will happen beforehand?” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Thailand: Videos of police and anti-government protesters clashing – Asian Correspondent. “While we’re on the subject of drones, it’s fair to say that when it comes to revolutions in big squares, Twitter is so 2011. No, the new tech for protesters and uprisings is aerial drones that show the battlefield, helping protesters thwart the authorities and show the world the lobbing of tear gas. Exhibit A: protests in Thailand.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Pirate Bay switches address for the sixth time this year – The Guardian. “The ongoing battle between big media companies and various file sharing/streaming/unauthorized copyright infringing entities continues to be a fascinating case of the ponderous legal apparatus chasing the nimble motivated techie. The Pirate Bay is the best-known torrent site – where visitors can find links that let them download all sorts of things – most of it infringing copyright – from peer-to-peer networks. Legal pressure has meant that The Pirate Bay has had to change its domain name multiple times. This finally got so annoying to The Pirate Bay that they have built a new kind of browser, based on peer-to-peer technology, that will ‘enable users to store and share files without requiring a central hosting, eliminating the need for a domain name.’  This technology, if it works, is a fundamental reshaping of how the web currently operates. Time, as they say, will tell how successful the pirates are at keeping the legal system at bay.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Is It Already Too Late to Stop the NSA? – The American Prospect. “After Mitch’s David Simon link last week, here’s another one to add to the Christmas cheer (1984 version): has the power of the NSA grown so great, and the distance between the people and our governments grown so large, that we just can’t do anything about the NSA?” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Google’s Robot Army – The New Yorker. “I have become very fascinated with robotics, wearable technology and the Internet of things. So much so, that over a year ago, I started a new blog (on Tumblr) called, We, Robots. The main area of interest for me is not in how robots and this physical technology with automate our lives, but rather how this technology will augment the work that we do. And, if you check out We, Robots, you will see so many instances where technology and robots are helping humans be so much better at the work that they do. While everyone is spending their time and attention thinking about Amazon and drones, they may not have realized that Google has been on an acquisition tear by scooping up close to ten of the major robotics companies out there… and there is no sign of them slowing down. While this may seem curious to some, it seems obvious to me. If we have the Internet and connectivity everywhere (think Web, Android, driver-less cars, Google Glass and more), why wouldn’t we have robots as an important part of lives as well? Google has the war-chest to make an early run at this for market dominance, and that’s what they’re doing.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Negative Emotions Are Key to Well-Being – Scientific American. “Not to be a downer, but as everyone preps for the holiday season, it’s not all about joy and cheer. This time of year, people get stressed out and depressed… a lot. If fact, if someone is prone to be more anxious or depressed, these holiday seasons are prime time to get pushed further along the downward spiral. Whether you are dealing with negative emotions or know someone who does, the medical community is making significant strides in this space. Guess what? Telling someone to ‘cheer up!,’ ‘get over it!,’ or ‘just try to enjoy yourself,’ is probably the wrong strategy. What we’re learning is that negative emotions are important to our well-being. They help us create balance and get us off the treadmill of constantly battling to be ‘happy’.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #182

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Meet The ‘Assassination Market’ Creator Who’s Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins – Forbes. “The only way this headline could sound more like a cyberpunk novel is if assassins were required to use 3D printed swords with nano-sharp edges.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Pantene Breaks Down Every Sexist Workplace Stereotype in One Ad – Time. “I just came back from the Lean Startup conference, run by Sarah Milstein and Eric Ries. It was an excellent event, in part because they really focused on diversity. The speakers ranged in color, gender, and age, far from the usual lineup at conferences. There’s a great write-up of how they did it, too In this ad spot, Pantene pokes fun at how common workplace stereotypes are; it’s eye-opening and really well done.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Die, Selfish Gene, Die – Aeon Magazine. “Did you know that grasshoppers (quiet, solitary, peaceful eaters) are actually the *same animal* as locusts (noisy, swarming, voracious)? In times of scarcity, certain species of grasshoppers transform into locusts, changing not just their behavior, but also their physical attributes: their legs and wings get shorter, their color changes, even their brains change, growing to manage the more social interactions of a locust horde. This phase change is the result of what scientists call ‘gene expression’ – the genes themselves don’t change, but the way they express themselves – how they shape the animal and its behavior – does. Genetics, it turns out, is more complicated than we thought, and much of what we learned in biology class is wrong.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • David, Grostern & Lozeau: Imagining Montreal As A City-State – National Post. “This one is for the locals. I love Montreal. It’s an amazing city. Speaking personally, I came out of the uncertainties of the mid-nineties (when Quebec voters narrowly defeated a referendum to separate from Canada) with a sense of growing optimism about Montreal, and I moved back here (from NYC) in 2002. Montreal seemed on the rise: a city increasingly comfortable in two languages, well-positioned to bridge Europe and North America as a nexus of trade and culture, had plenty of natural resources (including a plentiful supply of hydro-electricity) keeping the province wealthy, more universities per capita than any other city in Canada, and a kind of off-center political climate that made things exciting. But my optimism over the last decade, and especially the past few years, is waning. Quebec seems increasingly isolationist, and keeps implementing (or threatening to implement) policies that will chip away at Quebec’s ability to compete in the world, not to mention its global reputation. Defending language and culture are surely important, but if these defenses result in a decline in Quebec’s vibrancy and wealth – then we all need to ask ourselves some questions. Maybe the solution is for Montreal to go it alone?” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Jony Ive’s Secret Coffee Ritual – The Blog Of Tim Ferriss. “I know how much Alistair likes someone who is dedicated to the point of obsession about a topic. I also know how much more Alistair likes it when that passion is on something obscure or weird. Well, this one may just take the cake. Listen, I love a great cafe au lait as much as the next person and there is nothing quite as amazing as a killer cup of java meshed with great conversation and ideation, but this is taking things to a whole other level. If I’m not mistaken, Apple may be able to create these products that fascinate humanity because the design team is caffeinated unlike any other human being on the planet. If they care this much about the coffee, it’s no wonder that their hardware is so glaringly gorgeous.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’ – The Guardian. “If you live in the United States or visit it on a more frequent basis, it’s hard not to read this piece by David Simon and not be moved. Most people know Simon as the creator of the amazing TV series, The Wire. If you do some quick searches of him on YouTube, you will also discover someone who frequently gives speeches on the state of our states. In this piece, you’ll get a vibe for the kind of presentations he gives and how he will (hopefully) get you thinking very differently about the rich and the poor, and about capitalism and social impact. Powerful, powerful stuff.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #174

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Inside 23AndMe Founder Anne Wojcicki’s $99 DNA Revolution – Fast Company. “A few years ago, I interviewed Anne Wojcicki about her fledgling startup. We bonded over the fact that neither of us had cavities until relatively late in life. I’m a user of the service, and a few months later, I filled out a 23andMe survey on whether I had cavities, helping the company point scientists at genes that might be tied to tooth decay. Later, with the arrival of my daughter, we sequenced her, my wife, and my mother. The results were amazing (and possibly life-saving.) I wrote about it, and got some grief for my actions. It reminded me of just how controversial this stuff is. Now, Fast Company‘s Elizabeth Murphy has updated things, and it’s a good read. 23andMe could save your life, and permanently change medicine. Which means it’s a pretty polarizing subject.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Hackers Meet Biology: Bio-Renaissance or the Makings of a Killer? – Casey Research. “Now, let’s talk about biohacking. What happens when try-it-and-see’ Maker mentality hits Silicon Valley’s can-do attitude? Plenty. It’s either the new frontier, or the first pages of a Michael Crichton novel, depending on who you ask. In this Casey Research piece by Doug Hornig — with a foreword by chief analyst, Alex Daley — you’ll learn more than you thought you needed to know. A friend of mine whose wife has made more synthetic biology investments than anyone right now bemoans the fact that investors think biohacking is just ‘wet software’, cautioning that DNA is vastly different and we stretch such analogies as ‘coding life’ beyond their breaking point. Read, and be a little afraid.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Why mathematicians make great comedy writers – Chortle. “Apparently The Simpsons writing team has been filled with mathematicians from the beginning of the show. Simon Singh explores the relationship between Simpson giggle and complex math. r d r r.”  (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Why Can’t a Congressman Be More Like a Mayor? – Bloomberg. “Well, the US government shutdown is over. As a columnist for the Globe & Mail quipped: ‘That was fun! Let’s do it again in the New Year.’ Margaret Carlson muses on the distance between congressmen and reality, and why a city’s government could never get away with the kind of behavior we’ve seen in Washington.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Snapchat admits to handing unopened ‘snaps’ to US law enforcement – The Guardian. “24 hours a day. Seven days a week. 365 days a year. They are watching you. We want to think that we have a semblance of privacy. We don’t. Everything we do is being being transmitted and stored somewhere, right? I find it amazingly fascinating that companies like Google and Facebook take so much heat from the public whenever they attempt to update or address their terms of service, and yet this craziness over at Snapchat was hardly a ripple in the zeitgeist. I thought that snaps weren’t stored anywhere and that the people behind Snapchat didn’t have access to these pictures. That’s not true. I never believed that. Now, it’s clear that the content we’re pumping through Snapchat is accessible – in some way, shape or form… and it’s accessible to the government too.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook – The Huffington Post. “There are days that I wish I had the courage to delete my Facebook account. The truth is that I don’t know how to best use it and I wind up seeing things from people I like… and it winds up making me like them a whole lot less. I hate judging people. I hate gossiping. It feels like this is all that Facebook is for me. I’m not sure why. A close friend sent me this link in relation to a mutual friend and how they poorly manage their Facebook page (you’ll understand it more when you read this article). The truth is, I see of lot of myself in these examples and… it really does sicken me.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #172

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Survivorship Bias – You Are Not So Smart. “We humans are daft, making all kinds of mistakes from the data around us. David McRaney has made a career of reminding us of this, and his post on how easily we misread the information around us is fascinating and funny.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption – Harvard Business Review. “A few decades ago, the legal profession underwent a big shift away from law firms and towards corporate counsel, with independent firms handling specialized tasks like discovery. Now, say Clay Christensen and his colleagues, consulting companies are in the middle of a similar shift, and should learn from their predecessors. Must-read for anyone offering advice to others for a living.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • In praise of Richard Stallman, GNU’s open sourcerer – The Guardian. “Thirty years ago, one of my heroes launched the most spectacular rearguard action against a prevailing view of ‘intellectual property’: the free software movement. Hardly a ‘hippies-only’ movement, free software underpins much of the tech infrastructure of the world, and forms the building blocks of modern (Web) technology development.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Giant hornet attacks in China leave at least 41 dead, 1,600 injured – National Post. “Run for your lives.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Why We Cry on Planes – The Atlantic.Scooter Braun is the guy who discovered Justin Bieber. Now, he’s widely recognized as one of the hottest music managers, and he’s an active investor in startups. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him and interviewing him live on stage. Prior to our first meeting, I decided to watch the Justin Bieber documentary, Never Say Never, on my flight over to see him. I cried like a baby (ok, a few tears here and there). I often find myself getting all teary-eyed while watching emotional movie moments on a plane. The thing is, I am not much of a crier at all. I figured it was from being away from my family that got me all emotional. It turns out that it could be something that much more. All of that to say: avoid sitting next to me on a flight if the sight of a grown man crying is too much for you.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Cell Phone Libraries Offer Books To Every Ugandan Home And School – PSFK. “Here’s what we know about our world: education is one of the key answers to ending poverty. Getting people access to books is not easy. Especially in the more remote parts of the world. We also know that there are more people on earth with mobile subscriptions than those with access to safe drinking water. So, why not give everyone with a mobile device access to books? A simple and genius solution. Sure, not everyone has a mobile device, but we’re starting to see these devices show up in the most rural and poorest parts of the world. Let’s hope we can close the gap on the last mile, and then shorten the chasm between the haves and the have-nots.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #171

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • Transforming the Old Bay Bridge Into a Park for Adventure Tourists – Gizmodo. “I was in Oakland the weekend they switched the bridge over. After years of engineering, the earthquake-weakened Bay Bridge was replaced by a shiny new successor. Google was updating Maps in real time as the connections were made. It was a much-needed upgrade to a vibrant economic hub. But what to do with what was left? I immediately thought of William Gibson‘s Virtual Light, in which one of the Bay Area’s bridges is transformed into an aerial shanty-town. Turns out I wasn’t the only one.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Box – Vimeo. “Projection mapping is pretty cool. I saw Amon Tobin‘s ISAM at Brooklyn’s Masonic Temple, and it blew my mind. It’s light and illusion as performance art, making depth appear and vanish where it shouldn’t, couldn’t possibly be. Well, someone’s taken that to the next level, merging projection mapping with robot-controlled screens that move with impossible smoothness and precision. This video is mind-bending, and remember: it’s all done with a real camera. No CGI. Wow.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis – IPCC. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is releasing it’s 5th assessment of the science of climate change, an update six years in the making. We’re six years further down the path of climate change, six years further down the path of doing nothing about it. Six years further down the path of the anti-climate lobby eating the pliable media for lunch with their skillful balderdash. Read the report here.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media – The Guardian. Seymour Hersh is a crotchety, uncompromising hero, an investigative journalist without peer. He broke Mai Lai, Abu Grhaib, and is the best writer on US military and foreign policy I know of. I’ve been wondering where he is, what with Iran and Syria and Egypt and and and. Turns out he’s taking a break from reporting, to write a book. Along the way he has a suggestion for saving news media: fire 90% of the editors in the world.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Lucasfilm shows off the future of filmmaking? Scenes get rendered out in real time, removing the need for post-production – That Video Site. “Without question, this is one of the coolest things I have seen in the past long while. Let’s put aside the fact that I am a massive Star Wars nerd, and that I am constantly fascinated with the integration of technology and movies. This is, simply, leaps and bounds ahead of anything we have seen in movie production in the past long while. It also opens up so many opportunities. I just can’t wait to see what the output of this will be. Watch… and be amazed.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • 19 Reasons We Should All Start Writing Letters Again – Buzzfeed. “I live a dual life. On one hand, I love all things digital. I read books on my iPhone via the Kindle or Kobo app. I send most of my message via email or text. I write, construct and share the vast majority of my content via digital channels. On the other hand, I can’t walk by a book store, magazine store or stationary store without walking on. I love looking at books, magazines, journals and writing instruments. I have drawers full of pens, notepads and more. I’m not a hoarder – by any stretch of the imagination – but I do love me some traditional pen and paper. I read this blog post… and I wanted to write you a note. Of course, I caved and went digital.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

Box from Bot & Dolly on Vimeo.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #168

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

Tags:

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #167

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

Tags:

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #163

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

Tags:

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #157

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • The Tulipomania – Project Gutenberg. “I’m always looking for interesting historical content. This is no exception–a book on the madness of crowds from Charles Mackay. It explains a number of popular delusions, so I’ve made this link point to one in particular, on the great tulip mania. But it’s chock-full of interesting stories, and because it’s told in a long-gone age itself, is doubly interesting. Also, I win the Most Obscure Link This Week award automatically.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere – Kieran Healy. “There’s been a lot written in the past couple of weeks about data, privacy, and wiretapping. This was my favorite piece. It re-imagines the British trying to catch Revere using only his social graph. Had they access to the rebel’s contacts, it would have been an easy matter to thwart the US independence. That it’s written in the language of the time makes it all the juicer.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • What happened when I started a feminist society at school – The Guardian. “This past year has seen a lot to make you think that something is very wrong with how Western society, boys, men (and even other women) treat women: the Steubenville rape case, Nigella Lawson, the pillorying Sheryl Sandberg was subjected to for her book, Lean In. The things themselves are bad enough, but what’s shocked me is the reactions and commentary around these events. Here’s more bad news, from a teen girl in England who tried to start a Feminist Society at her school.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • This Is What Happens When Publishers Invest In Long Stories – Fast Company. “The magazine Fast Company has been experimenting with something one of their writers calls a ‘slow live blog.’ When a story breaks they make a ‘stub,’ a URL with the basic information. But then they keep building on the story, adding new information, more context, links and updates, all in the same place. Analytics show: people love it. As I’ve written before here: long-form has a shining future.”  (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Profits Without Production – The New York Times. “Think about this piece of data: When GM was in its prime (1950 – 1960), its value came from its production capabilities. With hundreds of factories, they employed about one percent of the total nonfarm workforce. Compare that to Apple today. As one of the highest valued companies in America, they employ 0.05% of the American workforce. On top of that, their cost of production has no significant link to what they charge for their products and services. Basically, they charge what the market will bear. Think that changes our world of economics and policy? Paul Krugman does.” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Whatever Happened To Terence Trent D’Arby?  – The New Yorker. “I often find myself deep down the rabbit hole on YouTube. I’m a child of the eighties and I have what can only be described as a ‘guilty pleasure’ eclectic taste is cheeseball pop and hair metal. I’m not asking for forgiveness. On those rabbit hole runs on YouTube, I’ll find myself spending hours watching recent video clips of Level 42 playing some random Yugoslavian music festival (I made up the Yugoslavian part, but the rest is true). I also happen to love bands that only had a few big hits, but decades later are still peeling them off for audiences, simply because they love making music. It was hard not to know the name Terence Trent D’Arby back then. The word was that he would be the next James Brown or Prince… or both combined. It never happened. And here’s why. I also concede that Terence Trent D’Arby is not as obscure as Alistair’s The Tulipomania, but it’s close.” (Mitch for Hugh). 

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.

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Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #148

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitori…

The Merits Of "Like" When It Comes To Real Relationships In Marketing

Episode #350 of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to.

Welcome to episode #350 of Six Pixels Of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast. There’s a new book in town about marketing, advertising and …

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #143

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth:…

Ads Worth Spreading 2013

It is one of my favorite initiatives.

TED has been working hard to acknowledge TV ads that are "ideas worth spreading." When I hear people say that they hate advertising, I don’t believe them. People hate BAD advertising and, unfortunately, …

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #129

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwid…

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #123

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwid…

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #109

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwid…

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #91

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwid…