How The Phoblographer lost 4,000 Facebook followers in 24 hours: the story of their Facebook hack →

November 13, 2014 |

Chris Gampat:

“Hey Jules, So I was trying to verify our Facebook page, and during the process it kicked all of my email addresses off as an Admin. Can you make me an Admin again. It looks like someone else took it over.”

“Oh man, sure. I’ll call you back.”

That’s how it started–the longest 24 hours of my career as the Editor in Chief of the Phoblographer began with simply trying to get our page verified.

“I’m not an admin either.” stated Managing Editor Julius Motal to me as chills went up my spine, the adrenaline kicked in, and the stress began to take a hold of me on Sunday November 9th at 7pm NYC time.

It’s been a rough week for The Phoblographer.

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Cycling Without Age in YOUR City →

November 13, 2014 |

Speaking of bicycle culture by design, Mikael Colville-Andersen tells us the story of Ole Kassow and his wonderful Cycling Without Age project:

Watch this TED x talk. It is inspiring. It is moving. It is important. Watch it and share it.

Not just because it’s about bikes but because it is about caring for our elderly, rebuilding a volunteer-minded society and it is about how individuals with passion and vision can change things. Change things quickly, effectively and massively.

I know this individual. I work three metres from him every day. Ole Kassow is his name.

Humanity at its best.

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The Floating Basket Homes of Iraq: A Paradise almost Lost to Saddam →

November 13, 2014 |

Messy Nessy:

It was Iraq’s ‘Garden of Eden’; unique wetlands in southern Iraq where a people known as the Ma’dan, or ‘Arabs of the marsh’, lived in a Mesopotamian Venice, characterised by beautifully elaborate floating houses made entirely of reeds harvested from the open water.

Incredibly beautiful images and a sad, sad story:

During the 1991 uprisings in Iraq, Saddam Hussein drained the unique wetlands of southern Iraq as a punishment to the marsh arabs who had backed the uprising and allegedly given refuge to militiamen the government regarded as terrorists.

The Iraqi government aggressively revived a 1970s irrigation project that had initially been abandoned after it began to disrupt the flow of water to the marshes. Very quickly, their food source was eliminated, their villages were attached and burnt down and their lush paradise systematically converted into a desert. What little water remained was reportedly poisoned.

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9 Things Drivers Need to Stop Saying in the Bikes vs. Cars Debate | Wired →

November 13, 2014 |

They’re all excellent points. For example, number 2 (roads are designed for cars):

So I looked into it and, as it turns out, roads have been around for many thousands of years. And for much of that time, they’ve carried a wide variety of things: feet, carts, horses, wagons, streetcars, buses, bikes, and automobiles. It’s only in the last six or seven decades that we’ve decided cars should get priority.

The roads don’t control us, we control them. We can design them to carry whatever types of traffic we feel are useful, and provide for safe and convenient passage of those different modes (…).

But for so many years, we’ve auto-oriented our roads and put every single other mode of travel at a disadvantage. More troublingly, we’ve auto-oriented our minds, making it hard to imagine that things could ever be any different.

A healthy urban bicycle culture doesn’t happen by magic; it happens by design.

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One Star Reviews Flood 'Monument Valley' Following Paid Expansion Release →

November 13, 2014 |

Eli Hodapp, TouchArcade:

I don’t know how many of those angry single star iTunes reviewers read TouchArcade… But, seriously guys? It seems like the hive mind of the App Store is continually pushing developers in to this unrealistic corner of demanding absolutely everything but not being willing to pay anything. The fact of the matter is Monument Valley is an amazing game, made by real artists, working in a real studio, getting paid real salaries, with real families they go home to and support. They’re selling their game for a total of six bucks if you buy both the game itself and the expansion. I don’t fully understand what happened to get us on this horrible Biff with the almanac timeline of Earth where this kind of thing is unacceptable to iOS gamers.

The seemingly capricious nature of App Store reviews is what scares me the most about developing for iOS (or Android, for that matter). The fact that a bunch of entitled idiots can spark a chain reaction and absolutely destroy your sales — and your livelihood — overnight is completely unacceptable. What a shame.

Much respect to the guys at TouchArcade for bringing this up.

This is not unique to the US App Store, by the way. 1-star reviews complaining solely about the price of the expansion pack are showing up in Spain’s App Store as well. The game had 499 reviews and a 4.5-star rating before, and is now down to 3 stars in the current version. That’s the difference between success and obscurity in the App Store.

The bigger problem is that this happens every day, and yet we almost never even notice. Not every developer has a TouchArcade to defend her.

Don’t be cheap. Making good, quality apps costs money, and developers deserve to be paid for their hard work. If we refuse to pay even two bucks for a quality game, then we’re condemning ourselves to a grim future for iOS apps. If developers can’t afford to do this for a living, the diversity and quality of the App Store catalog will only suffer as a result, and that’s bad for everyone.

I don’t play many games on my iOS devices, but I just bought Monument Valley and, after playing through the first five levels, gave it a well-deserved 5-star rating and a glowing review. It’s a beautiful, engaging game with amazing scenarios and extremely clever mechanics. Well-worth the asking price in my book.

Via Daring Fireball.

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Writer Emergency Pack →

November 12, 2014 |

What a fantastic idea for a Kickstarter project. It’s a beautiful deck of cards with helpful tips for writers who are stuck.

Via John Gruber, who adds:

Nicely illustrated and designed (including excellent use of Univers). It’s a Kickstarter campaign that aimed small and has exploded way past their original goal. But the coolest thing is they’re donating packs of the cards to youth writing programs, and the more decks they sell, the cheaper each deck becomes to produce, and the more they’ll have to donate.

If you do any type of long-form writing regularly, either professionally or as a hobby, this is well worth your consideration.

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The $9 Billion Witness →

November 11, 2014 |

Rolling Stone profiles Alayne Fleischmann, the woman who was forced to keep JPMorgan Chase’s dirtiest secrets for over eight years:

Six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it’s not exactly news that the country’s biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That’s why the more important part of Fleischmann’s story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her.

She was blocked at every turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up. “Every time I had a chance to talk, something always got in the way,” Fleischmann says.

Via The Loop.

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