The Copenhagen Wheel | Superpedestrian →

December 09, 2013 |

The Copenhagen Wheel basically substitutes your rear bicycle wheel and transforms any regular bicycle into an e-bike.

Riders are given a boost as they pedal by measuring their effort, instead of using a throttle. This preserves the normal biking experience while enabling riders to bike faster, farther, and easier.

Awesome. I’m not particularly interested into this whole e-bike thing, but if you’re in the market for one, this is definitely worth a look.

Via The Loop.

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Thanks for the tip, I’ll get it on Amazon →

December 02, 2013 |


Independent booksellers have taken a lot of body blows in the last two decades—from the coming of superstores such as Indigo, through the real behemoth on the block, Amazon, to ebooks—to the extent that some indie stores in the U.S. have donation jars beside their cash registers. But nothing has gutted the indies, emotionally as well as financially, as the practice known as “showrooming.” Prospective buyers come into bookshops, wander the stacks, peruse the artful displays and even—unkindest cut of all—seek the advice of staff. Then they leave, those who bother to do so first, and order the books they want online, where prices can be up to 50 per cent cheaper. “That is so hard for us to take,” says Eleanor LeFave, owner of Mabel’s Fables children’s bookstore in Toronto, “especially the abuse of our staff’s time and expertise.”

This has been happening to all sorts of small retailers for years, and it’s getting worse. Unfortunately, as long as there are massive online stores out there, it’s going to be difficult to stop it. No small shop can compete with say, Amazon on price, or even convenience now that free 2-day shipping is common practice.

However, they can compete on something else: the guy at your local shop knows his stuff, and more importantly, he knows you. He knows what you like, what you don’t, and he can recommend things based on your personal preferences much more accurately than Amazon ever will. That’s why it hurts these small shops so bad when you go around, ask questions, make up your mind… and then buy the stuff online. It’s just mean.

The example that hits closest to home are local bicycle shops. It’s great that you get to know the staff, talk to them about bicycles and share some good times. They’re usually extremely nice and friendly people, always ready to help out with anything you need. I would never buy a new bicycle online, because it’s not just a good deal I’m after. It’s not just an economic transaction, but the birth of a potentially great relationship. Which is awesome.

Via The Loop.

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Penny Arcade’s Insultingly Horrible Job →

November 27, 2013 |

Marco Arment, on a terrible job offer from Penny Arcade:

This is everything wrong with tech-startup culture, unreasonable expectations, and workaholism in one job posting, by a company with a massive audience that probably contains a very high percentage of young software developers.

It’s absolutely shameful. The notion that if you want to have a cool job you must be ready to give up your personal life, your health and your firstborn son is something generally accepted as fact in the tech industry. That somehow the sacrifice is worth it in the end. Well, it’s not. Ever. I don’t care if you work for Apple, Google, or whatever.

Self-respect is the most basic requisite to do great work in any environment. If you don’t value your effort and protect your personal life, nobody else will do it for you. I like Marco’s take on this:

Yes, there are other employers this bad (and worse) in the industry, but you don’t have to work for them. There are a lot of better options, especially if you satisfy even half of Penny Arcade’s requirements — and a healthy work-life balance is a basic requirement, like your paycheck, that you shouldn’t tolerate losing for any employer.


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How money can buy happiness, wine edition →

November 08, 2013 |

Felix Salmon:

What’s more, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on first-growth Bordeaux for this to work. You just need to spend a little bit more than you normally do — enough that you consider it to be a _special_ bottle of wine. That’s it! When you sit down and pop it open, probably with people you love, in pleasant surroundings, everything is set for a very happy outcome.

Small pleasures. That’s what life is all about.

Via Daring Fireball.

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Fear →

October 29, 2013 |

Matt Gemmell takes a huge load off the chest. I won’t spoil it, because such an intimate, personal story deserves your full attention. Just a tidbit:

I had some panic attacks too, during the height of it all. If you’ve had one – a real, proper, actual fireworks-show of a panic attack – then, well… you know. That’s _got_ to be what dying feels like.

Much respect, Matt. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

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About that Reality Distortion Field... →

October 24, 2013 |

Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft, writing on The Official Microsoft Blog:

So, when I see Apple drop the price of their struggling, lightweight productivity apps, I don’t see a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch up.

In other news, the iPhone is just an attempt to play catch up to BlackBerry.

Why do they let these people write on the Internet? Don’t they know anyone can actually read these posts? Someone at Microsoft needs to get their house in order, now.

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When you strike at a king, you must kill him

October 23, 2013

...The Game...

Yesterday, October 22, Apple held a special event to announce significant updates in their lineup of software, hardware and services, and unveil what they have lined up for the holiday season.

They have been busy.

Practically everything was upgraded, and some new products were introduced as well. Each announcement deserves praise in its own right, but it’s only by looking at the whole picture that the tremendous scope of yesterday’s event becomes obvious.

I’m sure the new MacBook Pros, the completely redesigned Mac Pro, the new iPad Air and the iPad mini with a Retina Display will all be incredibly popular. This coming holiday quarter is probably going to be the best ever for the company, and that’s saying a lot. But I think these new products distract attention from something else that happened yesterday with the potential to be huge for the company.

Yesterday, Apple decided to kill Microsoft.

I know, it seems strange to think of Microsoft in this context. When Apple ended the famous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ad campaign, they shifted their focus and moved on, and they practically stopped referencing Microsoft altogether. Instead of promoting Apple products as being better than Microsoft’s, they decided to simply promote them as something else entirely. The original iPad perfectly embodied this change of attitude. It was the beginning of the “Post-PC era” and Microsoft was no longer relevant.

What was different then, during yesterday’s keynote? Well, for all their talk, for the past few years Apple has avoided a direct confrontation with Microsoft. The thing about Microsoft is, they may not be a credible threat in the Post-PC era, but they remain the dominant player in the traditional PC industry. Until now, Apple’s strategy was to end this dominance with their Post-PC devices: the iPhone, and specially the iPad, have become mature enough to serve as a primary computer for many, many people. Apple has been playing to their strengths, trying to cannibalize the PC industry, and the results have been remarkable.

On the other hand, Microsoft is struggling to gain momentum in the Post-PC world. They are still holding on to their two main businesses to maintain profitability: Windows and Office. Even though they’re not growing anymore, the enterprise market and the traditional consumer PC market are still huge. This is where Microsoft rules as undisputed king (at least in terms of market share). Yesterday, Apple decided to attack them on their home turf.

Think about it for a moment: iLife and iWork are now free with every new Mac and iOS device. OS X is now free, not only for every new Mac, but also retroactively for every Mac that supports it, going back as far as 2007. Apple just commoditized Microsoft’s two main businesses, and they’re not even breaking a sweat.

At a consumer level, this move gives people another great reason to buy a Mac instead of a PC. If you factor in the cost of the Windows and Office licenses (including future versions), the price difference between similarly specced Macs and PCs is going to be significantly reduced. Not to mention all of the great features that are Mac-only, like the Retina Display or the great battery life under OS X. The Mac has been a better computer for years, but now, it may even be cheaper in some cases.

For the enterprise and for small businesses, the implications are equally huge. Free OS updates across the board means everyone gets to be on the latest version, which should make life a lot easier for IT departments, and the ease of use and installation should greatly reduce support needs. This is going to be a big factor whenever a company plans to invest in new computers for its employees, because the potential for saving money down the road is huge. Free productivity software that works across all devices (desktop, laptop and mobile) with 100% compatibility is the holy grail in the enterprise world. Soon, people could be sending Pages documents instead of Word files, simply because it will be the file format that you are 100% sure you can read and edit on all your devices.

Of course, this has been years in the making for Apple. Like a great chess player, they have been laying the groundwork for a long time, they’re now simply revealing their big move to the enemy. By building an impressive ecosystem and tying everything together in a way that only Apple can, they have put themselves in a great position to take down the Windows empire once and for all. The fact that they make their profit from selling hardware means they can afford to give the software away for free, which leaves Microsoft with no possible answer. Well, other than to start making their own PC hardware on a massive scale, of course. Good luck with that.

It’s obviously too soon to tell if this means checkmate in the long run, but Apple certainly shot to kill yesterday: If I were working at Microsoft, I would be scared shitless right now.

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1st Fully Bionic Man Walks, Talks and Breathes. Or, Skynet is here and we're all pretty much fucked | LiveScience →

October 22, 2013 |

1st fully bionic man

He walks, he talks and he has a beating heart, but hes not human — he’s the worlds first fully bionic man. Like Frankenstein’s monster, cobbled together from a hodgepodge of body parts, the bionic man is an amalgam of the most advanced human prostheses — from robotic limbs to artificial organs to a blood-pumping circulatory system.

See? I told you. I fucking told you. Skynet is here. Now what do we do?

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GoDaddy acquires (mt) Media Temple →

October 15, 2013 |

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — October 15, 2013 — GoDaddy, the Web’s largest platform for small businesses, has acquired mt Media Temple, a Los Angeles-based Web hosting and cloud services company focused on the creative class of digital designers, developers, entrepreneurs and innovators. The two companies will continue to operate independently. The strategic acquisition provides GoDaddy with direct access to Media Temple’s hosting gurus, who will share knowledge and insight on how GoDaddy can better serve Web professionals and developers. GoDaddy provides scale and investment for mt to accelerate its growth and further expand internationally.

That’s unexpected. I don’t know why, but I have a weird feeling about this. Whenever a big acquisition like this happens, the buying company always has nothing but the best intentions for the other one, but things can change very quickly once a few months go by.

Maybe I’m being over critical of this whole thing. Perhaps the most appropriate reaction would be to congratulate the folks at Media Temple for a job well done. This could certainly end up being amazing for them in the long run. However, to be honest, as a customer I don’t like the fact that Media Temple is no longer an independent company.

Analog Senses is hosted by Media Temple. My personal site (in Spanish) is, too. I hope things don’t change much, but I’ll have to think about a backup strategy, just in case things don’t go entirely according to plan.

We’ll see.

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