100 Years Later, Antarctic Explorers' Huts Look Frozen in Time →

February 17, 2015 |

Fascinating story by Christine Dell’Amore for National Geographic, on how conservators of the Antarctic Heritage Trust restored four portable wooden huts to their original 1917 condition:

The buildings include Shackleton’s 33-foot-long (10-meter-long) Nimrod hut on Cape Royds, where workers unearthed a stash of whiskey [sic] and brandy, libations that fortified the men during the 1907 Nimrod expedition. Another, the Terra Nova hut on Cape Evans, was the largest Antarctic building of its time at 50 feet (15 meters) long. It contained a never-before-seen handwritten notebook of George Murray Levick, a member of Scott’s 1910-13 Terra Nova expedition.

Well, obviously. How somebody could survive in the South Pole without a steady supply of whisky is, frankly, beyond me.

Via Messy Nessy.

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Marco Arment on the likely future of blogs →

February 17, 2015 |

Marco Arment:

Mine’s been clearly flat and slowly declining — the first time the trend has ever gone down — even in periods where I write a lot. I’ve talked to some friends who have seen similar plateaus and declines over the same period, also for the first time. Inbound links from bigger sites also aren’t worth as much as they used to be, suggesting that even big sites are struggling to maintain and grow their traffic.

Nobody’s really talking about it, but I suspect this is a wider trend: blogs aren’t dying, but they are significantly declining. 2015 might be a rough year.

I, too, am sensing this trend, and I’ll be perfectly honest: it scares the crap out of me.

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Dustin Curtis on technology as a fashion accessory →

February 17, 2015 |

Dustin Curtis makes an interesting observation on how some technologies grow to become personality-defined choices once they mature:

I think the same thing is happening right now in the computer and mobile devices industry. Computers and phones have historically been sold based on performance, screen size, and battery life. The slow march of technological progress through the 1990s and 2000s was obvious to anyone who knows the word “megahertz”. But in the past couple of years, I think we have finally reached the 1945 equivalent in automobiles: all devices sold today can do everything any reasonable customer would want. The computer is now feature-complete. Almost all model segmentation is now based on the personality of the customer.

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Jony Ive and the Future of Apple →

February 16, 2015 |

My apologies, because everybody you know on the Internet has probably also linked to this fantastic profile of Jony Ive by Ian Parker for The New Yorker, but I simply couldn’t let it pass.

More than any particulars about Ive’s work (of which the piece, unsurprisingly, reveals very little), what I find fascinating is Ive’s depiction of his personal friendship and professional relationship with Steve Jobs:

The Wired article appeared that June. The next month, Jobs, who had left Apple twelve years earlier, and gone on to launch Pixar and NeXT, returned as Apple’s C.E.O., supplanting Gilbert Amelio. Jobs and Ive had an intense first meeting. Ive said, “I can’t really remember that happening really ever before, meeting somebody when it’s just like that”—he snapped his fingers. “It was the most bizarre thing, where we were both perhaps a little—a little bit odd. We weren’t used to clicking.”

And later:

At Jobs’s memorial, which was held on the lawn at Infinite Loop, Ive said, “Steve used to say to me—and he used to say this a lot—‘Hey, Jony, here’s a dopey idea.’ And sometimes they were: really dopey. Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room, and they left us both completely silent. Bold, crazy, magnificent ideas. Or quiet, simple ones which, in their subtlety, their detail, they were utterly profound.” Ive said to me, “I couldn’t be more mindful of him. How could I not, given our personal relationship, and given that I’m still designing in the same place, at the same table, where I spent the last fifteen years with him sat next to me?”

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Today is International Verify Your Backups Day →

February 13, 2015 |

Adam C. Engst:

The best defense against entropy is a good backup strategy. To quote a long-ago ad campaign from backup software maker Dantz Development, “To go forward, you must back up.”

But as those of us who have had to rely on our backups in the past know, the act of backing up is only the first small step in the full equation — it’s being able to restore that really matters.

I fully endorse this newly-minted tradition.

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‘Tokyo: The Peculiar Traveler’ by Alex Cornell →

February 13, 2015 |

I recently discovered Alex Cornell thanks to Daring Fireball, and I’m just blown away by his talent as a filmmaker. A few months ago he went to Tokyo and this is the result:

If this video doesn’t make you want to jump into a plane right now, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

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The Onion reviews ‘50 Shades of Grey’ →

February 12, 2015 |

Peter Rosenthal, head film critic for The Onion:

Today I’ll be looking at 50 Shades of Grey, the hotly anticipated film adaptation of E.L. James’s erotic romance novel, and a watershed cinematic event where, for the very first time, audiences get to see a big-budget Hollywood movie show the kind of sex that regular, everyday Americans enjoy behind closed doors, with all the whippings, bondage, harnesses and pain play that ordinary people can relate to.

Sounds about right.

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Brianna Wu is risking her life standing up to Gamergate →

February 12, 2015 |

Brianna Wu:

I have a folder on my hard drive with letters from dozens and dozens of women who’ve abandoned their dream of becoming game developers due to Gamergate, some as young as 12.

You’d hope that the gaming press would provide some sort of check on the unrelenting sexism in the game business, but the truth is, they’re complicit in creating our Gamebro culture. One of our largest gaming sites, IGN, has written one single, weak article addressing Gamergate where they don’t even mention it by name. I wish I could say I was surprised, but this is the site that advertises itself as “broverload.”

All this horror begs the question — what can be done?

It boggles my mind how some jerks can publicly threaten and harass innocent women and get away with it. Something needs to change.

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Jon Stewart’s big announcement →

February 11, 2015 |

Sarah Larson, writing for The New Yorker, on the news that Jon Stewart dropped like a bomb on his unsuspecting audience last night:

At the end of last night’s episode, after a thoughtful conversation with Axelrod—“The book’s title insinuates your hope: the fact that, even spending time in Washington, you really sort of believe in the process,” a sentiment that could apply to him, too—he made his announcement. “In my heart, I know that it is time for someone else” to have the opportunity to host the show, he said, to cries of horror. (There were more of these on “The Nightly Show” and “At Midnight,” afterward; people sounded like they’d been stabbed.) But Stewart wouldn’t have it. “Bup! Ba-dap-bap!” he said, waving his arms in protest. His fans quieted down. He explained a bit more, and said, “I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television every day. I’m going to miss being here every day.” He spoke admiringly of his writers and other co-workers, and said, “I love them and respect them so much.” He shook his head and smacked the desk with his palm, briskly, full of emotion he was trying to keep under control.

Jon Stewart is one of the greatest TV presenters of our time, and The Daily Show has left a profound imprint in our collective consciousness under his tenure. I love that he’s doing things his own way up to the very end. Much respect.

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