Shared posts

03 Apr 05:33

With Golf Digest, Conde Nast tees up first of several consumer marketing efforts

by Max Willens

Condé Nast said it would launch multiple consumer revenue projects this year to diversify its revenue streams. Its first swing at one, Golf Digest All Access, which launched April 2, offers more than 200 instructional videos, live and interactive coaching clinics, plus a print subscription to Golf Digest, for $9.99 per month or $100 per year.

All Access was two years in the making and fits Condé Nast’s overall strategy for pursuing consumer revenue, where each title is responsible for growing this business, be it through paywalls like The New Yorker’s and Wired’s, content or commerce. In typical Condé Nast fashion, the corporate office is mostly hands-off, though centralized digital strategy, consumer marketing and product development teams all pitch in.

“The ideas will come out of the brands,” chief digital officer Fred Santarpia said. “The folks that are living and breathing the brand every day almost always have the best ideas of what’s going to resonate.”

Chris Reynolds, Golf Digest’s digital gm, said All Access was shaped by the fact that instructional content attracts the most engaged readers. Seventy percent of the site’s audience reads at least some instructional content, but the most engaged audience members would look at it four to five times every month.

Some of that content is free to visitors. But last year, Golf Digest began selling instructional video courses a la carte for $10 apiece. The first course, “12 Days to Better Golf,” was released in April 2017. Since then, Golf Digest has developed almost 60 classes, and it’s sold individual courses to 10,000 customers. Reynolds said Golf Digest is raising the price of individual classes, eventually to $24.99.

Golf Digest priced All Access lower than the courses to encourage people to subscribe, which drives recurring revenue. The low price point was meant to make it easy for people to subscribe and for Golf Digest to later add on and charge for other services, such as exclusive photos or tee times.

Golf Digest also opted for a subscription model based on a 2017 survey of amateur golfers that found that 75 percent of respondents said they did not have a favorite golf instruction subscription; the company with the highest share, Revolution Golf, had just 5 percent of the market.

Santarpia said whatever progress All Access makes will be shared across Condé Nast titles.

“We’re going to be tracking what the conversion rate is against those loyal users,” Santarpia said. “We’re going to try and superserve them, and white-glove it. It’s not about broadening it out to a mass product.”

The post With Golf Digest, Conde Nast tees up first of several consumer marketing efforts appeared first on Digiday.

28 Mar 07:41

The Most Powerful Mac Is 6 Years Old and Not Sold By Apple

by Jason Koebler

For many pro applications, the most powerful Mac computer you can buy today is not the $5,000 iMac Pro. The best Mac you can buy today is not new and not even sold by Apple—it’s six years old and is sold by a third-party company in Denmark.

There is a small but growing community of creative professionals—video editors, audio engineers, software developers, 3D modelers, and graphic artists—who are modifying their circa 2009-2012 Mac Pros to be even more powerful than the ones Apple sells today. Because those computers can use top-of-the-line graphics cards that aren't compatible with the iMac Pro or the 2013-and-onward Mac Pro, these modded computers are crushing the benchmarks of even brand new new computers.

The Mac Pro 4.1 and 5.1 are known in the community as the “cheese grater” Mac Pro towers. These are the last highly upgradeable and modifiable desktop computer that Apple sold before moving to the much-maligned “black trash can” design that is sold today and hasn’t changed significantly since 2013. Upgraded versions of the 4.1 and 5.1 are, in many cases, the fastest Apple computers you can buy today.

People are putting new CPUs, RAM, SSDs, and modern graphics cards in the cheese grater Macs that are, in many cases, superior to what you can buy from Apple today. The Facebook group Mac Pro Upgrade is filled with people scooping up old Mac Pros from eBay and Craigslist and modifying the hell out of them.

“We’re using the skeleton of the machine,” Gianluca Mazzarolo, owner of the Denmark-based Big Little Frank, which makes custom Mac Pros for creative professionals, told me on the phone. “With CPUs, nothing drastic has happened in [the last 3-4 years]. To do what a lot of pros want, you just need a good GPU. We’ve found a way to put two good ones in old Macs. For some things, it’s better than any Mac offered at the moment.”

"We’re helping the company close this huge stopgap between 2013 and whenever they introduce the new Mac Pro"

There are pitfalls: Installing new CPUs sometimes involves “delidding” a processor, which means removing a shield from it to make it compatible with the 4.1 or 5.1. Certain newer components are not compatible because drivers don’t exist. The lack of Thunderbolt ports makes doing this a nonstarter for certain people. Mazzarolo also has had to find a way to reroute the Mac Pro’s power supply to directly power electricity-intensive modern GPUs (as designed, the power is routed—and limited—by the computer’s motherboard.)

Image: Big Little Frank

But many of these potential problems have been completely solved by the community. Like the Hackintosh community, the Facebook group has a running list of compatible and incompatible parts, shares written and video tutorials about upgrading the computers, and has even found a way to upgrade the Mac Pro 4.1 into the Mac Pro 5.1 with a firmware update. As an end-around the lack of Thunderbolt Port, people are using 10 Gb/s ethernet connections to directly connect their computers to massive hard drives that store media.

Big Little Frank’s business is aimed at the “pro” community who feels like Apple let them down by killing the upgradeability of the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro.

“It feels completely ridiculous to be doing this. You cannot go to and find a computer better than these,” Mazzarolo said. “I think a lot of people in this group see upgrading the Mac Pro as a cheaper way to get a functional Mac. But I don’t think the point is really the essence. The essence is people wanted more powerful Macs and Apple didn’t give it to them, so we are.”

Various people have been experimenting with their own DIY Mac Pro upgrades, and lots of YouTubers are sharing methods for upgrading the computers.

Mazzarolo is right that there is a wide sect of Apple’s customer base is upset with the fact that it hasn’t updated the Mac Pro since 2013, and new MacBook Pros are both unupgradeable and have only USB-C ports to expand with. Last year, Apple went on a press tour to let the pro community know that the Mac Pro is not dead—but a new model hasn’t yet been announced. In response to this gap in the market, the Hackintosh community has thrived and the Mac Pro Upgrade community has risen.

There are a few reasons why older Mac Pros can become so powerful:

  • Even though cutting-edge CPUs don’t work with them (the drivers often don’t exist, and in some cases the six-year-old motherboard can’t handle them), the Mac Pro 5.1 was designed to accommodate up to 12 cores: “Even though a single core isn’t fast, imagine having 12 of them for video editing and audio—those cores together are faster than my brand-new MacBook,” Mazzarolo said. The new iMac Pro can have up to 18 cores; new MacBook Pros max out at four cores.
  • The 5.1 can take a whopping 128 GB of RAM, which is equal to what a fully upgraded iMac Pro can take and double what Apple says the trash can Mac Pro maxes out at (it’s worth noting that the RAM used in newer Mac computers is usually faster)
  • The 5.1 can be modified to use modern SSDs, which Mazzarolo said are in some cases faster than the ones used in the new iMac Pro
  • The 5.1 can use almost any brand-new graphics card from most manufacturers, which is the main reason why a fully souped-up, old Mac Pro can outperform new computers. “With some rendering engines, the AMD cards that Apple uses [in new Mac Pros] don’t even work,” he said. “In general, even mid-level graphics cards we put in are as fast as those in the iMac Pro. We can put in better cards and we can put in two of those.”

On the Facebook group, Mazzarolo posted benchmarks of one of his custom-built rigs playing 5K, 6K and 8K RED RAW video clips against current-model Apple computers. A new, 15-inch MacBook pro and a recent “trash can” Mac Pro weren’t capable of playing the video at more than 8 frames-per-second. His custom-built model was able to get 24 fps in each case.

Image: Mazzarolo

To be clear, even the most highly modified Mac Pro 5.1 will not be able to outperform newer computers in many day-to-day tasks. These modified computers are specifically made for video editing, graphic design, and audio recording and editing, and many of Mazzarolo’s clients work in those industries. I’ve seen people trying to play brand new video games on some of these older machines, for instance, and they have had wildly unpredictable results.

Mazzarolo also knows that his line of work won’t exist forever. His machines vary in price from $1,500 up to $9,000 (which includes separate external hardware for specific clients.) He tells clients that his computers will likely be competitive for another couple years, and that it will no longer make sense for him to modify these computers in about a year and a half as CPU and RAM technology in stock computers improves to the point where the components that are still compatible with old Mac Pros can no longer compete.

He, like everyone else in the pro world, is anxiously waiting for Apple to announce new Mac Pros. Until they come out, he says he’s doing Apple a favor by keeping people from switching to PC in the meantime.

“We’re helping the company close this huge stopgap between 2013 and whenever they introduce the new Mac Pro,” he said. “That’s a gap that pisses a lot of people off.”

28 Mar 07:22

Fight back against Facebook overcollection with EFF's free Privacy Badger plugin

by Cory Doctorow

Privacy Badger is EFF's free privacy plugin; it blocks trackers and ads from companies that practice "non-consensual tracking," in which your browser's "do not track" instructions are not honored. (more…)

28 Mar 06:54

The Atlantic explains why it hired a columnist who wants a quarter of American women put to death

by Rob Beschizza

Last week, The Atlantic hired Kevin Williamson, a conservative famous for his flamboyant bigotry, a flair most famously exhibited when he wrote that women who have abortions should be hanged along with their nurses and doctors.

Online outrage was immediate, drawing attention to his other greatest hits: transgender women commit genital mutilation and are “effigies” of women; rape accusers should be publicly named; the poor are lazy and their communities should be abandoned; and a comically fabulated account of meeting a black child he compared to a primate and described as "three fifths" of a Snoop Dog. The Atlantic itself described him as "gratuitously nasty" way back in the mists of 2016.

"These are not views one would typically associate with the Atlantic," wrote Jordan Weissman at Slate. Sarah Jones, at The New Republic, wrote that it marks the mainstreaming of the reactionary right.

What I noticed, though, was the general assumption that The Atlantic's current brass simply didn't know about the things he'd written. Williamson deleted his Twitter account, after all, as if to hide his past from his new editors. (Compare to the New York Times, which recently hired a columnist only to fire her hours later over tweets it claimed it had never seen.)

But I had a hunch: I thought (and said as much) that Williamson was hired explicitly because of what he had written about women, black kids and the poor. To well-off center-leaning liberals, Williamson is the perfect post-Trump conservative: superficially literary, ostentatiously nasty, profoundly disgusted by the weak, yet (and this is super-duper important) opposed to the current president.

Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg explained today why he hired Williamson. Nailed it! Not only was Goldberg and The Atlantic aware of Williamson's writing, they love it: "I recognized the power, contrariness, wit, and smart construction of many of his pieces. I also found him to be ideologically interesting". Moreover, Goldberg was party to Williamson deleting his Twitter account, to ease his transition from the reactionary right to columnist at a liberal-ish magazine.

A couple of months ago, in one of our conversations, I mentioned some of his more controversial tweets, and in the course of that conversation, he himself came to the conclusion that Twitter was a bad place for him to be, and he spiked his account. I took this to be a positive development and a sign of growth.

Goldberg's rationale also makes clear something else, though: they (rather sanctimoniously) think that Williamson has "grown" beyond his National Review persona, and that his willingless to do so is part of why they hired him.

I don’t think that taking a person’s worst tweets, or assertions, in isolation is the best journalistic practice, I have read most, or much, of what he has written; some of his critics have not done the same. I would also prefer, all things being equal, to give people second chances and the opportunity to change.

Emphasis mine. This is the most revealing thing in all this. Goldberg implies that the things Williamson wrote were a kind of ideological clothing, flourishes that say nothing sincere about the man. His attitude will change as easily as a pair of socks--at least when the right foot is put forward under their masthead.

In other words, they simply don't take what Williamson has said seriously.

A conservative (I can't remember who--if you know, tell me) recently wrote something very insightful about (I think) liberals. Liberals, he wrote, tend to think conservatives and Christians don't really believe what they say. They assume it's all posture and imposture in pursuit of politics. They constantly call conservatives "trolls". As I recall, the author proposed that this is a projection, a tell, revealing the feckless, floating indifference to morality at the left-end of America's political mainstream.

Goldberg's explanation for hiring Williamson seems the perfect illustration of this.

Frankly, I'm with the unnamed conservative of my memory (or perhaps imagination). Williamson's beliefs are not a pair of rhetorical socks. I accept that the things Williamson has said are the things that Williamson believes. I suspect that his enmity toward women and minorities runs cold and deep. Goldberg should think seriously about such people who read and work at The Atlantic, left to quietly wonder where Williamson keeps his rope.

27 Mar 06:41

ICE uses Facebook's backend to hunt immigrants, with help from Palantir

by Cory Doctorow

Public records requests have shown that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- who have continued and intensified Obama's program of mass deportations and separation of families under Trump -- uses Facebook's logs, merged with logs from cellular carriers and analyzed by software from Palantir (Peter Thiel's police-state arms-dealer) to track immigrants. (more…)

22 Mar 12:22

Facebook för närvarande

by Hexmaster
Det har sagts om och om igen: Gör inte skojiga tester på Facebook. För när du klickar in dig för att få reda på vilken Game of Thrones-karaktär du är, hur du ser ut om 50 år, "9 av 10 kan inte lösa detta [busenkla] problem" osv. så ger du de som ligger bakom rätt att använda de uppgifter som Facebook har om dig – och om dina vänner.

Måtte det sista börja sjunka in nu. Tillsammans med en hel del annat, som är för stort och komplext för en enkel bloggpost, så har det inneburit det största avbräcket hittills för världens viktigaste företag. Och det syftar inte på att de tappat en halv biljon (över 500 miljarder kronor) i börsvärde på ett par dagar utan förtroende.

Den bästa sammanfattningen jag hittills sett är, inte helt oväntat, den på Wikipedia:
In 2018, whistleblowers revealed that personal information from over 50 million Facebook users was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm that worked for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. The data was collected using an app created by Global Science Research. While approximate 270,000 people volunteered to use the app, Facebook's API also permitted data collection from the friends of app users. When the information was first reported Facebook tried to downplay the significance of the breach, and attempted to suggest that the stolen data was no longer available to Cambridge Analytica. However, with increasing scrutiny, Facebook issued a statement expressing alarm and suspended Cambridge Analytica, while review of documents and interviews with former Facebook employees suggested that Cambridge Analytica was still in possession of the data.
Appen ifråga "harvested Facebook data using a personality app under the guise of academic research". Kanske någon billig hittepå-psykologi à la Thomas Erikson?

Därtill har Facebook inte betett sig särskilt vuxet, för att uttrycka det milt:
According to The Guardian reporter Carole Cadwalladr who broke the story, both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica threatened to sue the newspaper if it published the story and continually tried to prevent its publication. After the story was published anyway, Facebook claimed that it had been "lied to". Cadwalladr said that Facebook was trying to shift the blame onto a third party. Nick Thompson of Wired and CBS News pointed out that Cambridge Analytica obtained all the personal data without to having "breach" Facebook, and that "It didn't work because somebody hacked in and broke stuff, it worked because Facebook has built the craziest most invasive advertising model in the history of the world and someone took advantage of it."
 - Wikipedia: Facebook#Cambridge Analytica breach (mina markeringar)

Gissningsvis kommer detta inte att innebära något större tapp räknat i användare. Men det är ju inte dem som Facebook tjänar pengar på. Måhända de kommer att få något svårare att få uppmärksamhet från annonsörer i den seriösare delen av det spektrat. Och ännu svårare att sälja in prylar som den så kallade Facebook-pixeln, "ett analysverktyg som hjälper dig mäta hur effektiva dina annonser är genom att tolka åtgärderna personer utför på din webbplats".

20 Mar 07:51

Why We're Not Calling the Cambridge Analytica Story a 'Data Breach'

by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai

On Saturday, an investigation by The New York Times, the Guardian, and its sister publication The Observer revealed that the data analytics firm that helped the Donald Trump presidential campaign had harvested the Facebook data of more than 50 million people in an effort to profile users and eventually target them with political ads.

In 2014, a researcher collected the data through an app that asked users to take a personality test for academic research purposes. Around 270,000 people agreed to have their data collected through the test, which its creator, Aleksandr Kogan, defined as “a very standard vanilla Facebook app.” But thanks to Facebook’s terms of service and its API at the time, the app was also able to collect data of their friends. This gave the researcher, who later handed the data to Cambridge Analytica, the raw information of more than 50 million people, according to the reports, which were largely based on the account of a former Cambridge Analytica data scientist.

The Observer called it one of Facebook’s “biggest ever data breaches.” The Times only referred to the incident as a “breach” once, using the term “leak” throughout the rest of the article. We at Motherboard believe the use of the expression “data breach” in this case is incorrect and may be confusing to readers.

As the news spread and echoed online, several websites and other publications called it a data breach. Many security experts and researchers—and Facebook itself—believe this is the wrong expression to refer to what happened here.

“It is incorrect to call this a ‘breach’ under any reasonable definition of the term,” Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos wrote in a deleted tweet.

Facebook’s vice president and deputy general counsel Paul Grewal wrote that “the claim that this is a data breach is completely false,” because the researcher who made the app obtained the data from “users who chose to sign up to his app, and everyone involved gave their consent.”

Got a tip? You can contact this reporter securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at, or email

Saying that “everyone involved” consented seems misleading, given that only around 270,000 out of the 50 million people who got their data harvested reportedly signed up for the app. The others probably had no idea this app even existed. And since Facebook changes its privacy settings so frequently, we also don't know if the people who agreed to use the app fully understood what kind of data they were giving up. And no one at the time knew the data would later be handed out to a shadowy data analytics firm hired by the Trump campaign.

While we understand why some are describing the data Kogan handed to Cambridge Analytica as a breach, based on what’s been reported so far, we believe that describing this incident as a breach would, at least at the moment, mislead our readers.

We’ve been regularly covering data breaches for years. No one hacked into Facebook’s servers exploiting a bug, like hackers did when they stole the personal data of more than 140 million people from Equifax. No one tricked Facebook users into giving away their passwords and then stole their data, like Russian hackers did when they broke into the email accounts of John Podesta and others through phishing emails.

In 2014, when Kogan collected the data of 50 million people, he was playing by the rules. At the time, Facebook allowed third party apps to collect not only the data of the people who consented to giving it up, but also their friends’ data. The company later shut down this functionality.

Facebook says the data was misused because Kogan told Facebook he would use it only for academic research. But that might be the only anomalous thing about this case.

Facebook obviously doesn't want the public to think it suffered a massive security breach, like Yahoo did in 2013 and 2014. We agree not because we want to minimize the significance of the Cambridge Analytica story, but because the real story is far more troubling: This data collection was par for the course. In other words, it was a feature, not a bug. And while the process that Kogan exploited is no longer allowed, Facebook still collects—and then sells—massive amounts of data on its users.

As Zeynep Tufekci, the author of Twitter And Tear Gas, put it, Facebook’s vehement defense that this was not a data breach is itself actually a damning statement of what’s wrong with Facebook, and Silicon Valley’s ad industry in general.

“If your business is building a massive surveillance machinery, the data will eventually be used & misused,” Tufekci, a University of North Carolina professor who studies the social impact of technology, wrote on Twitter. “There is no informed consent because it's not possible to reasonably inform or consent.”

Facebook’s security team, Tufekci concluded, can’t mitigate the company’s business model, which is predicated on collecting as much of our data, and our friend’s data, as possible.

We can condemn the misuse of this data, and Facebook’s data collection practices, without calling it a data breach, a term that may confuse readers and distract them from what we believe is the real problem here: Silicon Valley giants have built massive data collection machines with almost no guardrails on how they are used.

Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.

19 Mar 10:58

Clearchannel took over America's local radio, Bain Capital took over Clearchannel, Clearchannel went bankrupt

by Cory Doctorow

As I've written, the demise of newsmedia can't be blamed on tech -- rather, it was the combination of technology and deregulated, neoliberal capitalism, which saw media companies merged and acquired, vertically and horizontally integrated, with quality lowered, staff outsourced and assets stripped, leaving them vulnerable to technological shocks, after all their in-house experts were turned into contractors who drifted away, their physical plant sold and leased back, their war-chests drained by vulture capitalists who loaded them up with debt that acted like a millstone around their necks as they strove to maneuver their way out of their economic conundrum. (more…)

14 Mar 07:30

Photographs from a faded Japanese city

by Lee

Despite its massive population and expensive land prices, Tokyo is home to a surprising number of shuttered, as well as often dilapidated shops and houses. An aspect of the city that I personally find fascinating, and as such I’ve started to document it on my Portfolio site, plus almost exclusively on Instagram.

Travel outside Tokyo, however, and the number of such structures is absolutely staggering. A situation brought about by the combination of an ageing population and urban migration. Huge, previously unseen societal shifts that are understandably having a devastating impact on the country’s landscape, resulting in a growing list of towns and cities that are little more than crumbling reminders of better, much busier days.

A fate that has befallen large parts of Fuji city featured below. An area that, as its name perhaps suggests, sits at the foot of Japan’s most iconic mountain. But while it still shares the same name as its majestic neighbour, it no longer boasts much of its beauty.

scenes from a faded Japanese city

scenes from a faded Japanese city

scenes from a faded Japanese city

scenes from a faded Japanese city

scenes from a faded Japanese city

scenes from a faded Japanese city

Yet despite the shutters and the general sense of sadness, there are still pockets of colour to be found.

scenes from a faded Japanese city

scenes from a faded Japanese city

Plus, and perhaps more importantly, colourful people.

scenes from a faded Japanese city

06 Mar 08:01

Varför äldre svälter

by Hexmaster
Äldrevården i Sverige har så stora problem att liv är i fara. Det menar Yngve Gustafson, professor i geriatrik.
– Vi vet att mer än hälften av de gamla på svenska äldreboenden är undernärda. Det betyder att 15.000 personer i äldrevården svälter ihjäl.
- Expert: 15.000 äldre riskerar svälta ihjäl, SVT 20 augusti 2014
- Många ringer mig om att deras anhöriga svälter ihjäl. Vissa av de drabbade har bara några veckor kvar i livet och är intorkade av undernäring. [säger Yngve Gustafson, professor i geriatrik]
- Professor larmar: 75 000 svenskar svälter, Aftonbladet 18 november 2016
I Sverige finns idag cirka 253 000 äldre över 65 år med hemtjänst, korttidsboende eller särskilt boende, enligt Socialstyrelsens statistikdatabas som berör all äldreomsorg i hela landet. Av dessa är i genomsnitt 15,6 procent undernärda, vilket motsvarar 39 500 äldre. Ytterligare 117 500 (46,4%) riskerar att bli undernärda.
- 40 000 undernärda inom äldreomsorgen, SvD 17 april 2017

Nu är detta en komplex fråga som avgjort ligger utanför undertecknads kompetens (varför jag, som vanligt, är mer än tacksam för korrigeringar och klargöranden). Men den inkompetensen delar jag med bra många som när de sprider nyheter som dessa är tvärsäkra på att svälten inom äldreomsorgen skulle bero på resursbrist: Att de äldre får för lite mat, punkt slut. Och det är helt enkelt fel.

Några snabbkollar bland folk som kan ämnet ger bland annat vid handen att
  • Ju äldre vi blir, desto sämre aptit får vi.
  • Sjukdomar (cancer, demens...) och smärta kan försämra aptiten ytterligare.
  • Läkemedel försämrar den ännu mer igen.
  • Det blir svårare att tugga och svälja.
  • Smak och lukt (som ju hänger intimt ihop) försämras; att maten var godare förr är ett mycket vanligt klagomål hos äldre som i och för sig är sant för deras del, eftersom de kände smaken bättre när de var yngre.
En punkt förtjänar att lyftas extra, nämligen den som har en direkt koppling till återkommande rubriker där anhöriga ska ha "svultit ihjäl"; för hur ofta förväxlas orsak och verkan?
Nedsatt aptit är mycket vanligt hos döende människor.
- Läkemedelsboken: Palliativ vård [vård i livets slutskede], Läkemedelsverket

Problemet är ett faktum. Men insatta debattörer förefaller att vara överens om att det inte beror på hur mycket mat som serveras, utan på vilken mat som serveras:
Äldre personer behöver smakrikare mat för att äta tillräckligt mycket. Det räcker inte med att krydda extra, utan det är de rena smakerna som är viktiga. Man kan till exempel hacka eller riva maten för att få fram smak och lukt bättre – för då äter vi mer.
- Karin Wendin, professor i mat- och måltidskunskap vid Högskolan Kristianstad: Därför tappar äldre aptiten, Forskning & Framsteg 11 juni 2005

Tillägg:  Den viktigaste resursen över huvud taget utgörs förvisso av tid, tid för personalen att ta hand om brukarna, såväl i samband med måltider som allt annat. Inte tu tal om den saken. Den psykosociala biten har också betydelse på så sätt att många äter bättre i sällskap än ensamma och sådant kan också kopplas till resurser som hemtjänst eller äldreboende.

05 Mar 07:39

Bill Gates har fel om produktivitet

by Jonas Söderström

Nix, Bill Gates; produktiviteten decelererar, alltså saktar in. Det är inte så att den ”fortsätter att accelerera” (”continue to accelerate”), som Gates påstår i en intervju i Guardian (28 feb 2018).
bill gates tar fel om produktivitet

”Automation has been driving productivity ever since the industrial revolution including things like tractors and garment making, Gates said.” Och det är – eller rättare sagt, var – korrekt: för traktorer och vävstolar.

”With software this will continue to accelerate” fortsatte han. Men den branta produktivitetstillväxten bröts redan på 1970-talet. Och de senaste åren har den varit minimal och till och med i vissa fall negativ (det vill säga, det går långsammare och är dyrare att tillverka en viss vara än året innan). Och det borde stå rätt klart för vem som helst som följer med på ekonomisidorna:
tidningsrubriker om minskad produktivitetstillväxt
Rubrikerna ovan är från USA och Storbritannien. Som synes är är produktivitetstillväxt nära noll – till och med negativ, det vill säga minskad effektivitet i vissa fall – något som diskuteras en hel del. Här hemma, not so much. Men fenomenet gäller hela västvärlden:
diagram över produktivitet 1960-2015

Varför är detta viktigt? Tja, av flera skäl. Produktivitetstillväxt är det vår framtid hänger på; hela vårt ekonomiska system är uppbyggt på att vi ska ha råd att göra mer saker i framtiden, till exempel betala pensioner. Och vi måste hitta effektivare och produktivare sätt att skapa hållbara varor och tjänster. (Icke-ekologiska lösningar är ofta ”effektiva” i en snäv ekonomisk mening – som jordbruk med stor monokultur, t ex).

Men ur vår synpunkt här är det viktigt, för påståendet att ”produktiviteten ökar” är ett mantra för att dagens digitala system levererar tillräcklig nytta. Men det gör de inte. Produktivitetstillväxten sjunker trots att hela vår värld domineras allt mer av ”software”. Eller, faktiskt, just därför.

Det här är något jag pratat om i flera år, under rubriken peak it. Här är ett kort filmat föredrag Tänk om IT slutar leverera värde?; här ett på engelska Peak IT and complexity: Keynote at Trondheim Developer Conference.

I korthet: att

är tre viktiga faktorer som håller ner produktiviteten. Men teknologi-fundamentalisterna håller gärna fram sina Moore-kurvor och fiktiva diagram över ”ökat värde”. Och politiker gapar och säger ”la-la-la digitalisering”.

Varje falskt påstående om värdet av digitala tjänster gör det svårare att peka på att de faktiskt behöver fixas.

Diagrammet ovan från Following the Trend: Tracking GDP when Long-Run Growth is Uncertain. Juan Antolin-Diaz, Thomas Drechsel, Ivan Petrella

01 Mar 07:07

Äntligen! Ett riskbedömningsverktyg för digital arbetsmiljö

by Jonas Söderström

Här på bloggen, och ute på föreläsningar, har jag oftast haft anledning att ”rasa” mot arbetslivets skitsystem. ;)
Men nu finns det – som omväxling – något att fästa ett visst hopp vid.

Verktyget Inför rätt IT, som jag varit med och tagit fram, är ett viktigt första steg för att skapa bättre digital arbetsmiljö.

* * *

På senare tid har jag ibland, smått desperat, inlett mina föreläsningar med den här bilden:

Hur svårt ska det vara, liksom? Uppenbarligen ganska svårt …

Men under fjolåret (2017) arbetade jag tillsammans med arbetsmiljöorganisationen Prevent för att ta fram ett verktyg för att minimera riskerna med när digitala lösningar upphandlas och utvecklas. Resultatet blev checklistor inom sammanlagt åtta områden, som det gäller att checka av. Det är frågor som

  • Har vi testat den föreslagna lösningen?
  • Har vi säkrat att införandet sker vid en bra tidpunkt?
  • Har ledningen förstått vikten av användbara system?

Det är faktiskt lag på att man ska göra riskbedömningar inför förändringar av arbetsmiljön. För alla andra branscher och verksamheter finns det sådana verktyg och checklistor sedan länge: om man ska skaffa en ny bandsåg eller betongblandare, nya kontorsstolar eller kanyler, kollar man om dessa kan innebära någon typ av arbetsmiljörisk. Men alla sådana rutiner har saknats helt för it och digitala system.

Sedan oktober i fjol finns verktyget live i en första version: Inför rätt IT.

I jobbet att ta fram verktyget utgick vi ifrån de checklistor som min kollega på inUse, Sara Lerén, tagit fram för Göteborgs stad.
Men utöver checklistor innehåller Inför rätt IT också en faktadel, som beskriver problem och tänkbara lösningar på ett kortfattat sätt. Dessutom finns ett antal scenarier där det är tänkt att människor ska känna igen sig, och kunna kan hämta argument.
Ett kallas ”Jag är IT-projektledare, ska jag behöva tänka på en massa arbetsmiljökrav?”. Och scenariet förklarar i korthet: Japp, det säger lagen. Ett annat är ”Vi i ledningen har förstått att vi borde ta tag i IT-arbetsmiljön … men hur gör vi?”.

Scenario för projektledare

Det har i och för sig funnits samlingar av riktilinjer eller råd om hur man skapar bättre it-system även tidigare. Men två saker gör det här initiativet unikt.

För det första, kopplingen till lagen. Att vi kan peka på att usla digitala system faktiskt inte är tillåtna, enligt arbetsmiljölagen. Det ger nya muskler till kraven – och framför allt till dem som ska använda det.

Och det är det andra: att det här verktyget blir tillgängligt för en hel kår av människor som redan jobbar med arbetsmiljö – landets alla skydds- och arbetsmiljöombud. Digital arbetsmiljö och krav på bättre it kommer in i ett sammanhang där man är van att ställa krav, där det finns ett etablerat arbetssätt, och klara mandat. I alla fall som huvudsak.

Visserligen är arbetsmiljöarbetet inte överallt så väloljat och väletablerat som man skulle önska. Men med det här verktyget har vi alla fall har bättre förutsättningar än någonsin tidigare att få resultat.

Det finns två stora utmaningar framöver. Den första är att få in digital arbetsmiljö i de grundläggande utbildningarna av skydds- och arbetsmiljöombud. Det skulle ge dem bättre förutsättningar att använda verktyget.
Det saknas helt idag. Finns inte med över huvud taget.

När jag själv gick en sådan grundläggande utbildning drabbades typiskt nog kursledaren av att hennes dator inte kunde spela upp filmen hon skulle visa. Märkbart stressad över att vi satt 30 elever och väntade på att hon skulle få igång den stönade hon ”så här är det hela tiden”…

Den andra utmaningen är att klara ut vem som i varje givet fall ska ta bollen när man identifierat problemen. Om en fläkt krånglar eller belysningen är dålig brukar det vara rätt klart vem som har ansvaret för att fixa det. Men om det är lönesystemet? Är det IT? Ekonomiavdelningen? Upphandlingsavdelningen? Här finns det inga klara rutiner.
Verktyget är en första version, och inte på något sätt perfekt. Prevent ägs av gemensamt av arbetsgivare och fack i den privata sektorn; det betyder att innehållet har vissa element av kompromiss.

En sak som olyckligtvis prioriterades bort – av ytterst oklara skäl – var ett material om vikten att sätta konkreta effektmål för en digital satsning. Problem och risker kan ju egentligen bara värderas i förhållande till de nyttor och möjligheter som ett verktyg också skapar.

Förhoppningsvis kan vi rätta till det i kommande versioner.

Men vi har ändå gjort något världsunikt. En pionjärinsats att vara stolt över.

Fotnot: I arbetsgruppen ingick även professorerna Bengt Sandblad från Uppsala och Anna-Lisa Osvalder från Chalmers. Projektledare var Fredrik Beskow från Prevent.

27 Feb 08:19

Putting Your Phone in Grayscale Mode to Reduce the Urge to Use It

by John Gruber

Nellie Bowles, writing for The New York Times last month:

I’ve gone gray, and it’s great.

In an effort to break my smartphone addiction, I’ve joined a small group of people turning their phone screens to grayscale — cutting out the colors and going with a range of shades from white to black. First popularized by the tech ethicist Tristan Harris, the goal of sticking to shades of gray is to make the glittering screen a little less stimulating.

I’ve been gray for a couple days, and it’s remarkable how well it has eased my twitchy phone checking, suggesting that one way to break phone attachment may be to, essentially, make my phone a little worse. We’re simple animals, excited by bright colors, it turns out.

On the iPhone, you can manage this in the Display Accommodations section with General → Accessibility in Settings. The easiest way to use it is to enable “Color Filters” as the Triple-Click accessibility shortcut, all the way down at the very bottom of the Accessibility section. Then you can just triple-click the side button to toggle it.

I tried this while hanging out with some friends over Super Bowl weekend. They liked it more than I did. I can definitely see how this reduces the urge to turn to your phone the moment you’re bored, but to me it’s so unpalatable that I find it hard to use the phone. Your mileage may vary.

23 Feb 08:34

From cyber-libertarianism to national-populism (The many faces of fascism, part 1)

by rasmus

At this year’s Transmediale in Berlin, I did not only give a brief talk about how money is failing, but also was part of a panel titled The many faces of fascism” together with Ewa Majewska and Alex Foti, moderated by Diana McCarthy, at February 1. It was very well attended and some asked me to publish my introductory talk, which I will now do, in two parts.
The second part will go straight at the question of how to understand contemporary fascism. This first part is more of a reflection connecting the topic to the political situation in Sweden, and to the media activist scene to which Transmediale has a long-standing connection.

Part 1

Ten years ago, exactly on this day – the 1st of February, 2008 – I sat on this same stage. It was my first time at Transmediale, and I talked about The Pirate Bay: the famous bittorrent tracker and symbol of file-sharing culture, that had just been indicted by the Swedish state for assisting copyright infringement. I guess that I did somehow represent The Pirate Bay, although I was not directly involved in it. Rather I was part of the group that had started it, and we cooperated in internet activism, sometimes using the frontpage of The Pirate Bay to draw attention to campaigns and pranks. Our identity was that of radical leftists, and we kept a distance to the Pirate Party with its mixture of left-libertarians and right-libertarians. When it came to defending a free and open internet, however, we certainly saw a natural alliance between all kinds of libertarian forces. (Call it cyber-libertarian if you wish.)
We were all opposed to the authoritarians, those who wanted to take control also over flow of information, and to stifle alternative media. We could clearly see this authoritarianism represented by George W Bush and his neoconservatives, by Vladimir Putin and his friend Silvio Berlusconi, by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to just mention a few.
We resisted the attempts of these authoritarian leaders to shut down the digital infrastructure for free and decentralized communications. In that particular context of internet politics, issues rarely had an obvious relation to nationalism or fascism. As it appeared, the national-populists and the fascists did just represent a more extreme version of authoritarianism. And they had not yet entered the Swedish parliament.

That was 10 years ago. Things have changed, for sure.

Last month I visited the website of The Pirate Bay as I wanted to download some tv series episode. I don’t go there very often nowadays, and I must be careful to close the tab immediately; otherwise a javascript will hijack the processing power of my computer to mine some cryptocurrency. Let me add that I don’t know who runs The Pirate Bay anymore. I guess it has fewer visitors than before, but its frontpage has still a significant outreach. So this time I stopped to look at it. Just like in the pranks we used to do, the ordinary logo was exchanged for another image.
It sure looked like a prank, featuring the image of a guy surrounded by a pentagram plus some Hebrew letters. I clicked on it and was filled with disgust as I arrived at a Youtube video. Then guy had his own talkshow centered on national-populist and anti-feminist propaganda, featuring some of the usual alt-right codes. Apparently that is also how to read the Hebrew letters, serving no purpose except that of being open to interpretation as either antisemitic or filosemitic.
The young youtuber, who also declared himself to be a nihilist, looked like the stereotypical hacker guy, precisely the kind that you would previously find in the Pirate Party. He turns out to be a minor star in Sweden’s national-populist counter-culture, using his own immigrant background to accentuate an outsider perspective on a country supposedly taken over by a crazy elite of feminists, who are somehow using immigration to further their own economic interest, at the expense of ordinary working-class Swedes. Paradoxically, he poses as a warrior, talking about class and speaking out for social justice, while at the same time preaching resistance to the so-called “social justice warriors”. Another part of his message is a fierce critique of social media companies like Google and Facebook for, as he claims, designing algorithms that systematically downrate those who dare telling the truth. He finally puts his hope to another youtuber, namely Pewdiepie who have many more followers and who has supposedly been “redpilled”. (This may allude to his antisemitic jokes, his anti-feminist rants, or to something else.) If only Pewdiepie will speak out for the Sweden Democrats before the elections in September, there will be a chance to save Sweden. This was the final point made in the video officially endorsed by The Pirate Bay.

Seeing how The Pirate Bay has now transformed into a propaganda outlet for the Sweden Democrats was a bit shocking in itself, but maybe more noteworthy was how nobody in Sweden really seemed to note it. So many things are moving to the right at the moment. The Pirate Bay, while still used, is not longer considered to be politically interesting. It is associated with the politics of the left/right libertarian alliance of the 00s, which disbanded in the 10s.
After all, there has already been examples of high-profile cyberlibertarians, in Sweden and elsewhere, turning towards the populist right. The list includes the founder of the Pirate Party who was right-wing all along, but at some point decided for a change of alliance. Instead of a libertarian alliance between left and right, a new right-wing alliance was formed between libertarians and national-conservatives.

We were certainly naive, but such a transformation we could not have imagined ten years ago. But in between came Wikileaks and the whole disaster around the person of Julian Assange, who accused Sweden of being “the Saudi Arabia of feminism”. At this point, some male cyber-libertarians were drewn towards a more explicit anti-feminism.

There are numerous parallels outside of Sweden. I could mention the Netherlands, where the whole leadership of the Pirate Party quit to join Thierry Baudet’s new fascist party.
Here in Germany, the leader of AfD’s parliamentary group is invited as a keynote speaker at a large business convention for the blockchain and cryptocurrency community. At the same time, identitarian fascists are reenacting the rhetoric about Stasi 2.0 that used to be a signature of the Pirate Party. Today it seems to be the right-wing that talks most loudly about about “internet freedom”, as they protest new laws that promise protection against hate speech on social media.

To be continued in part 2.

22 Feb 13:00

Orsakar lungcancer rökning?

by Hexmaster
Ronald Fisher (1890-1962) var ett självständigt, egensinnigt geni. Han är 1900-talets viktigaste namn inom statistiken. Han utvecklade randomiserade kontrollerade studier, idag en självklar hörnsten i alla vetenskaper där de kan tillämpas. Han studerade ingående problemet med att skilja på kausalitet och korrelation; när kan vi dra slutsatsen att företeelsen A orsakar B, eller att A inte orsakar B?

Ett fall där A bevisligen orsakar B är så omsorgsfullt och gediget demonstrerat sedan så länge att det känns lite egendomligt att det alls ifrågasatts. Men en av de första studier där sambandet mellan rökning och lungcancer påvisades publicerades 1950 i den synnerligen ansedda British Medical Journal. I den studerades över 1400 patienter där hälften hade lungcancer (som hade ökat dramatiskt de senaste decennierna), hälften inte. Alla möjliga faktorer kartlades för att försöka hitta den som orsakade cancern. Resultatet var tydligt men inte helt avgörande. Men det fick stöd av den ena studien efter den andra, över hela världen. 1957 slog redaktionen på BMJ och landets medicinska forskningsråd fast att "the most reasonable interpretation of this evidence is that the relationship is one of direct cause and effect": rökning orsakar cancer.

De fick, givetvis, mothugg. Vi vet att tobaksbranschen tidigt mobiliserade mot forskningen. Ett tyngre namn utgjordes av en genial statistiker som ingående studerat problemet med att skilja på faktiska och skenbara orsaker. Fisher sade inte att slutsatsen behövde vara fel i sig, men att man ännu inte hade tillräckligt mycket data för att kunna dra den.

En av Fishers hypoteser är riktigt "fin": Ponera att lungcancer kan ta lång tid på sig att utvecklas, kanske flera decennier. Och under denna tid ger upphov till en lätt retning, ett undermedvetet obehag i lungorna. Tänk vidare att detta obehag mildras av tobaksrök. De framtida patienterna skulle få ett röksug som de inte riktigt vet orsaken till ... Voilá: Lungcancer orsakar rökning!

Det där låter ju absolut helstolligt. Men hur stolligt är det egentligen? Var går gränsen mellan rimliga och orimliga hypoteser?

Man har funderat på hur Fisher egentligen resonerade. Styrdes han av politiska åsikter? Eller var han kanske köpt, mer eller mindre, av tobaksindustrin? Men även om han fick medel från dem för att studera huruvida rökning och lungcancer har genetiska orsaker, så behöver man inte studera honom länge för att inse att han var alldeles för egensinnig för att låta sig lockas av pengar eller inflytande. Själv lutar jag åt att han är ännu ett exempel på hur folk som blivit tillräckligt vana vid att ha rätt utvecklar en sorts undermedveten immunitet mot att på allvar ifrågasätta sig själva.

Ronald Fisher fortsatte livet ut med att hålla fast vid tanken på att rökning inte orsakar lungcancer liksom att röka pipa.

Artikeln jag använt som huvudkälla avrundas med ett citat av en av forskarna bakom 1950 års studie. I ett tal inför Royal Society of Medicine gick han igenom hur man avgör om A orsakar B eller inte, vilka kriterier som är viktigare än andra ... Men även den grundläggande vetenskapliga principen att varje slutsats är provisorisk. Att man alltid ska vara redo att ändra sig innebär dock inte att man kan tillbringa resten av livet med att samla in data; eller så lång tid som behövs för att få "rätt" resultat, kantänka.
All scientific work is incomplete – whether it be observational or experimental. All scientific work is liable to be upset or modified by advancing knowledge. That does not confer upon us a freedom to ignore the knowledge we already have, or to postpone the action that it appears to demand at a given time.
- Austin Bradford Hill (1965)

Ben Christopher, Why the Father of Modern Statistics Didn’t Believe Smoking Caused Cancer, Priceonomics 21 september 2016
Wikipedia: Ronald Fisher
22 Feb 07:39

Som Wikipedia fast på blockkedjan? Varsågod, en kvarts miljard

by rasmus

Oj, vad tydligt det just blev att finns ett överflöd av pengar, i full färd att blåsa upp ännu en präktig it-bubbla. Denna gång är det inte genom att addera domännamn eller portaler till saker som de ska bli till guld, utan genom att addera blockkedjor.

Smaka på den här: “Svenskens Wikipediautmanare tar in en kvarts miljard“. Jajamensan, nu ska Wikipedia “utmanas” av ett kommersiellt alternativ: Everipedia. Hurdå utmana? Genom att flytta till blockkedjan såklart! Investerarna bultar redan på dörren, bönar och ber om att få kasta in sina sedelbuntar. Riktiga dollar, väl att märka. Medan skribenter ska lockas att till medverkan genom att få betalt i en egen kryptovaluta “och ju mer det växer så kan man se att värdet av att äga dessa tokens bara blir större på sikt”.

Bakom investeringen på en kvarts miljard kronor står finansmannen Mike Novogratz som uppenbarligen är helt galen i kryptovalutor. Investeringen verkar inte direkt grunda sig i en kalkyl över framtidens efterfrågan på encyklopedier, om man säger så. Det viktiga är att Everipedia tänker “flytta till blockkedjan” i sommar.

Hittills har Everipedia inte ha gjort mycket mer än att kopiera hela Wikipedia. Det tillåter förvisso Creative Commons-licensen, som dock är av typen share-alike. Det betyder att Everipedia i sin tur måste tillåta kopiering av artiklarna, i den mån de använder material från Wikipedia. Det ser onekligen ut som att Everipedia bryter mot licensen, för även om det finns en liten CC-logga i sidfoten, så framgår det inte tydligt på sidorna vilken licens som gäller.
Enligt användarvillkoren hävdar Everipedia ensamrätt på sitt innehåll “except that the foregoing does not apply to /…/ content that was directly imported to the Service from” (för då gäller share-alike). Men det är knappast uppenbart vilket innehåll direktimporterat från Wikipedia. Närmare bestämt är det svårt att hitta något som inte är det.

Blockkedjan är ju idag lite vad fria licenser var för tolv år sedan. Då var många övertygade om att Wikipedia var prototyp för framtiden – en roll som nu har övertagits av Bitcoin. Skillnaden är att det finns mycket, mycket mer pengar i techbranschen nu. Så mycket att någon kastar en kvarts miljard på detta skämt, grundad av ett par dudes i Los Angeles.
En av dem kallas Tedde. Han är 22 år, uppvuxen i Jönköping och presenteras i Breitbart(!) som “high school dropout and professional gamer”. Därtill är han CEO för Everipedia. Han kanske kan förklara vad ett uppslagsverk har på blockkedjan att göra?

Theodor Forselius ser ett antal fördelar. Bland annat att nätverket decentraliseras och skyddas från censur.
”En positiv bieffekt av att använda peer-to-peer-teknologi är att det blir otroligt svårt för länder som i dagsläget blockerar bland annat Wikipedia att censurera innehållet”, säger han och syftar på att informationen inte kommer att lagras på någon enskild server utan istället fördelas mellan användarna.

Jag är inte helt övertygad om att detta skulle förändra någonting, jämfört med att exempelvis använda Tor. Eller om att censur är det främsta problem som vår tids encyklopeder ställs inför.

Vad övrigt som Everipedia kan utlova, är en befrielse från Wikipedias relevanskriterier (principen om notability). Här får man skriva om allt. Inte minst om sig själv. Alla är ju i någon mån kändisar på internet. Så varför får inte alla bli omskrivna på Wikipedia? Ungefär så resonerar Everipedia, och det verkar även vara på den vägen som de fick pengar. Från en investerare som var bitter över att Wikipedia inte ansåg honom vara tillräckligt berömd för att ägnas en egen artikel. Efter att han hållt en föreläsning kom några killar fram till honom och visade att han minsann hade en egen artikel på deras “Wikipedia-utmanare” – och så hoppade han genast i båten.

Hur tänkte då Everipedia tjäna pengar? Den frågan har jag inte ens sett ställas i intervjuer. Det säger en del om vilken bubbla projektet rör sig i.

16 Feb 07:36

Så minns jag prins Henrik

by fthunholm

Den rödkindade prins Henrik af Danmark har lämnat oss. Han var en högljudd men munter gamäng, mer dansk än många danskar, så fransk han var. Han var poet och konstnär och misshandlade sina barn med den principfasta glädjelöshet som bara ett äkta psyko klarar av. Sonen Fredrik vittnade om övergreppen på föräldrarnas silverbröllop: ”Pappa, man säger att den man älskar, agar man. Vi tvivlade aldrig på din kärlek.”

Tiden som han inte la på att misshandla sina barn, ägnade han gärna på bitterhet. Han var bitter över att inte bli kung när han gifte sig med drottningen. Han var bitter över att sonen, kronprins Frederik, stod över honom i rang, hur mycket stryk han än fick. Sa jag att han var poet? Och konstnär? ETT BULLRIGT SKRATT återkommer i många omdömen. HAHAHAHAHA!

Jag minns inte prins Henrik alls. Men när man läser om honom dagarna efter hans död, framträder en ganska tydlig bild av en reaktionär idiot med grandios självbild. (Poet? En definitionsfråga, I guess. Jyllands Posten konstaterar att han ”skriver dikter som imiterar dikter” och kallar det ”iögonfallande banalt”.)

Är det smaklöst av mig att skriva så här, om någon som nyss lämnat ett helt folk av rökande öldrickare i sorg? Eller är det kanske snarare smaklöst av svenska medier att oreflekterat beskriva Henrik som typ en härlig, ständigt ropande, konstnärlig livsnjutare?

Jenny Axelsson i Aftonbladet återger ett av sina egna möten med honom: ”Hans avslappnade stil var befriande och det fanns inget av den där distansen som man ofta märker när man träffar kungligheter”. Hon skriver, imponerat, om en prins som pratade med journalisterna (som han själv bjudit till sitt slott i Frankrike). Barnmisshandeln omnämns av henne som ”en gammaldags syn på uppfostran”.

Det är med hovjournalistik som med lumpen. De som vill ägna sig åt det, är undantagslöst de som är sämst lämpade för det.

Bonus: Hur andra skulle beskrivits av pressen efter sin död, om de bara varit kungliga:

En välkänd hbtq-profil. Alltid nyfiken på ungdomar och hela tiden fördomsfritt vidgande sina kulinariska ramar. (Jeffrey Dahmer)

Den stilige georgiske skomakarsonen som gjorde politisk kometkarriär. Ett spontant yrväder med buskig mustasch och pliriga ögon. (Stalin)

Han älskade människor, i synnerhet sin syster. Men han var också djurälskare nog att utse sin häst till det krävande jobbet som konsul. (Caligula)


07 Feb 06:49

Spotify och börskraschen

by rasmus

På hemvägen från Berlin snappar jag upp spridda rubriker om börsras. Från att ha varit rätt slut, känner jag mig plötsligt lite piggare. Klart att krascher kittlar.

Eftersom jag genast ska återuppta skrivandet på vår kommande bok Den svenska enhörningen ställer jag mig givetvis frågan om vad börsraset, om det skulle fortsätta, kan betyda för Spotify, som ju väntas gå till börsen inom några månader. En gång i tiden, hösten 2008, hade de enorm tur med tajmningen – då lyckades man sluta sitt första avtal om att få in riskkapital precis innan det globala finanssystemet hamnade i fritt fall. Kommer de ha samma tur denna gång?

Breakit uppger att Spotifys börsnotering nu är i allvarlig fara och att de kan tvingas dra tillbaka den noteringsansökan som skickats till NYSE, eller åtminstone skjuta upp noteringen ytterligare. (Jag börjar känna mig allt mer trygg med att vår bok hinner ut först – det känns bra!)

Till saken hör flera skeenden som tycks försätta Spotify i en särskilt utsatt position:

  • Netflix-aktien har fallit rejält, och det i en hela vecka, om än från en hög nivå. Det råder inga tvivel om att många investerare sneglar på Netflix när de ska avgöra om det är värt att riskera pengar på Spotify.
  • Myndigheterna i USA har beslutat om en kraftig höjning av ersättningarna till låtskrivare och musikförlag från streamingtjänster som Spotify. (Till skillnad från i Sverige där dessa ersättningar sätts i förhandling mellan Spotify och Stim, som har ensamrätt att säga ja eller nej till att licensiera musiken, tillämpar USA ett system med statlig skiljedom, mindre liberalt och mer korporativt.) Dagens ersättning på 10,5 % av intäkterna ska trappas upp med en procentenhet per år till 15,1 %. Det lär knappast göra det lättare för Spotify att vända förlustsiffrorna.
    I bakgrunden spökar också den pågående rättssaken om musikersättningar.
  • Ytterligare en jobbig nyhet är den om att Apple Music växer snabbare än Spotify i USA, räknat i antalet betalande prenumeranter, och kommer att gå om i sommar om alla kurvor fortsätter peka dit de pekar. Dock finns det goda skäl att ta statistiken med en nypa salt och flera olika sätt att mäta framgång. Spotify kommer nu säkert att försöka rikta uppmärksamhet mot andra mått.

Nu handlar allt om att staka upp den framgångsberättelse som får investerare att bibehålla tron på ett företag vars officiella värdering har fördubblats på ett år.

I förlängningen verkar Spotifys börsintroduktion kunna få efterverkningar på hela tech-sektorn. På så vis kan det bli ett mer spännande år. Som jag tidigare skrev förhoppningsfullt, om möjligheten att tänka sig ett annat internet än det som styrs av några få monopol:

Affärsmodeller måste gå upp i rök, börsvärden måste raderas, sociala nätverk slitas i spillror.

02 Feb 07:05

Flipboard cozies up to Facebook-weary publishers

by Max Willens

Now, it’s time for Flipboard’s charm offensive with publishers. This week, the mobile reading app rolled out full-page print ads in newspapers, including the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, and sites, including Axios, Vanity Fair and The Hollywood Reporter, just as publishers are increasingly seeking ways to replace their Facebook referral traffic.

Mike McCue, Flipboard’s founder and CEO, said discussions of a campaign began late last spring and that the timing of the launch is unrelated to Facebook’s announced plans to cut the amount of news people see in its news feed. Still, the campaign comes after a year when Flipboard worked with publishers on reporter-curated newsletters, grew its editorial and curation team and laid the groundwork to help publishers monetize their video inside Flipboard. It added more than 100 non-U.S. publishers to its roster of 4,000.

It’s also backing away from a fast-loading mobile article format, similar to Facebook Instant Articles, which it debuted before mobile-optimized sites were common. In response to publisher feedback, it’s no longer stressing the format, instead allowing publishers to use Flipboard as a source of referral traffic, provided their sites are mobile-optimized.

The effect has been dramatic in some cases. The Next Web was publishing all its content on Flipboard using its proprietary format and started using it for referral traffic in November. After the switch, Flipboard immediately leapfrogged Facebook, where The Next Web has over 1 million fans, and Twitter (1.85 million followers) to become its top source of social teferral traffic, despite the fact that The Next Web has just over 181,000 followers on Flipboard.

Mobile referral traffic from Flipboard is up over 350 percent since May, according to Parsely, albeit from a small base compared to Google and Facebook. Google and Facebook still dominate mobile referral traffic by a big margin, and Flipboard is a distant fourth after Twitter, according to Parsely.

“It’s become a sleeper hit,” said Jess Barron, vp and gm of, which joined Flipboard six months ago. “Every publisher is looking for the next big thing to provide us that regular infusion of traffic.”

Flipboard is not in the same weight class as Facebook or Google. It claims a monthly active user base of 100 million, less than 5 percent of Facebook’s 2.1 billion. And its audience doesn’t skew heavily toward a particular age group — its audience is equal parts millennial, Gen X and older.

A still from Flipboard’s digital brand campaign, which launched this week.

But unlike Facebook, which is trying to become a native video platform and a commerce marketplace and a global ad platform (as well as a place for friends and family), Flipboard’s raison d’être is simple and publisher-friendly: Deliver brand-safe publisher content to its users.

Publishers just need a functioning RSS feed of their content to be distributed on Flipboard. But this past year, Flipboard began collaborating more closely with publishers on content packages that appeared both on Flipboard and in newsletters. NBC News, for example, created a package around the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency; The Wall Street Journal created a package on the state of women in the workplace.

Those efforts continue in 2018. For the Golden Globes, for example, E! curated coverage of the event that Flipboard put on its homepage.

Publishers, which have often complained that other platforms from Facebook to Pinterest haven’t been helpful solving their problems, will take any platform love they get these days.

“They’re incredibly responsive,” said Janaki Challa, who heads audience development at The Daily Beast, which gets more traffic from Flipboard than Facebook. (She wouldn’t give numbers.) “It can be hit or miss with other partners, but with them, it’s been a relatively easy relationship.”

Update: An earlier version of this story said Flipboard was The Next Web’s top source of referral traffic. It is its top source of social referral traffic.

The post Flipboard cozies up to Facebook-weary publishers appeared first on Digiday.

01 Feb 08:14

Things are going so well we’re doing a hiring freeze

by DHH

Business has never been better at Basecamp. Despite all the competition, all the noise, and all the changes since we launched 14 years ago, 2017 was the year we earned the most revenue ever.

While that alone is cause for some celebration, it’s hardly the most important thing for Jason and I, as the business owners. Sure, it’s nice to see numbers tick ever higher, but we passed enough many years ago. What matters far more than big numbers for us today is how the business feels.

And it’s really never felt better, in almost all the ways. Basecamp the product is the best its ever been. Tens of thousands of new businesses and teams continue to sign up every month. We keep hearing from customers about the profound changes to their organization, productivity, communication, and even sanity that Basecamp helps them realize. It’s deeply rewarding.

We’ve also kept up with our founding mission to out-teach and out-share rather than out-spend the competition.

Since shortly after the launch of Basecamp, we’ve been stewarding the Ruby on Rails movement. The latest major release has a brand new framework, Active Storage, that was extracted from Basecamp 3. So too was the last major new framework in Rails, Action Cable. And now we’ve shared our entire two-pack punch to front-end development with Stimulus and Turbolinks.

Jason and I are finishing our fourth book, extracted from the lessons running Basecamp. It’s called The Calm Company and will be released this year. And after a lovely run with The Distance podcast, we’ve launched a REWORK podcast to share ever more of our lessons and perspectives.

So. Things are good. Really good, actually. Which invariably invites the question I get asked so often: WHAT’S NEXT?! Which is really a question of WHAT’S MORE? What else are you going to do in addition to all the shit you’re already doing? It’s so ingrained in our entrepreneurial culture that you must always be on a conquest. Once a set of territories have been subdued, you’re honor-bound to push further north.

Thanks, but no thanks. Basecamp has never sought to conquer the world or the markets. We do not have to win a total victory from a total assault to be fulfilled. Which partly stems from the fact that we aren’t beholden to financiers, partly because the satisfaction of running Basecamp comes more from doing the work, less from owning the work.

It’s this focus on the satisfaction of doing the actual work that’s been driving our outlook since the inception of Basecamp. How can we structure the business in such a way that Jason and I are able to spend the bulk of our time doing our favorite things? Designing. Programming. Writing.

That’s harder than it sounds. The momentum of growth assumes control of the ship quickly, if you don’t dare wrestle back the wheel. It’s so easy to just go with the flow. Of course we’re going to hire more people! Of course we’re going to spend more money! Of course we’re going to build more features! Of course we’re…

Before you know it there’s no longer time to do your favorite things. Now all the things that simply have to be done fill first your weeks, then your months, and then finally the whole year. I keep the parable of the fisher man in my mind often not to forget this boiling pot.

At just around 50 people and no full-time managers, it feels like we’re just at this crucial break in the waves at Basecamp now. On the other side, the tide will pull us out further and further out to sea. And maybe there are ever-greater riches to be found out there, but we’d be lost and adrift. If we dare resist the pull, we can stay anchored and connected.

So we’ve decided to dare. To resist. And thus, in our celebration of BEST EVAH, we’re taking the unusual step to drop that anchor and freeze all hiring at Basecamp¹.

“Wait, what?”, I can imagine a few puzzled minds thinking. Hiring freezes are usually for companies that are struggling. Trying desperately to cut costs to stay afloat. And here we are, doing better than ever, pulling that same move? Yes.

We’ve always been great fans of constraints, and capping the headcount in the face of growth is perhaps the biggest constraint of all. Especially because we’re not at all about running faster. Squeezing out more productivity from fewer hands. Quite the contrary.

The constraint of having the same team means that you also only get to do the same amount of work. But you don’t have to do the same actual work, you can do different work. You can judo the work. You can say no to more work. You can focus on more effective work.

That’s the kind of environment that excites me.

¹ The sole exception may be support, which is the only department that doesn’t yield well to just “do less”. If there are more customers and they need help, you gotta help them. But we’re working on making sure that they both need less help and that we don’t take on excessive amounts of new customers.

Things are going so well we’re doing a hiring freeze was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

26 Jan 12:43

How to Write a Blog Post

Randomly think of a thing. Let it bump around your head a bit. If the bumping gets too loud, start writing the words with the nearest writing device. See how far you get. The more words usually mean a higher degree of personal interest. Stop when it suits you.

Wait for time to pass and see if the bumping sound returns. Reread what you’ve written so far and find if it inspires you. Yes? Write as much as you can. No? Stop writing and wait for more bumping.

Repeat until it starts to feel done in your head. If it’s handwritten, type it into a computing device. When you are close to done, print it out on paper. Sit somewhere else with your favorite pen and edit your work harshly. If this piece is important, let someone else edit harshly.

Transfer all of your edits into your piece. Enter your writing into your favorite publishing platform. Proof your final piece once more. Use Grammarly because the Internet is a cruel copy editor. Hit publish and tell yourself you don’t need validation. Wait for validation and once more wait until you randomly think of a thing.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

26 Jan 07:52

Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov’s most memorable games

by Jason Kottke

In this video from the New Yorker, chess granmaster Garry Kasparov talks through his four most memorable chess games: two against Anatoly Karpov, one against Viswanathan Anand, and the final game in his rematch against Deep Blue, in which he gets wrong-footed by a move that the computer didn’t know how to make. Even if you’re not a huge fan of chess, it’s instructive to hear Kasparov talk about the importance of what’s happening not on the board — things like body language and confidence.

See also Scrabble pros recount their best and worst plays.

Tags: chess   games   Garry Kasparov   video
26 Jan 07:39

Reblog, Or: Little Radio Stations In The Night

by Warren Ellis

On my newsletter last weekend, I wrote this:

Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to go full-bore blog again, like in the old days. Twitter’s only real use is as a notification system, after all, so you’d just pump out post links to it from your blog.  You know, the way people used to, when having a place for your own voice and your own thoughts was a good thing.

When I was in the swing of it, way back when, it was like the world’s most minimalist radio station. A Station Ident post to start the day, a Night Music or Closedown post at the end of the day, littered with whatever strangeness and wonder passed my screen in between.

I miss that long moment when the web seemed full of people doing the same thing, or thinking in public.  It happens in the Republic Of Newsletters, now. But it was nice to have all those little radio stations broadcasting in the night.

Yesterday, Reza Negarestani emerged with a website called Toy Philosophy, whose first post was entitled Returning to the Age of Blogging.

Now, my RSS feeds never went quiet.  I linked to a friend’s blog post the other day and he told me half the reason he posted it was to see if anyone was still using RSS!

I’ve seen the idea circulating for a while: come off the streams, own your own platform for your own voice and your own complete statements.  It seems like a reactionary step, from some angles. But maybe that great river, The Conversation, was, like every river followed to its source, a dead end. The resurgence of the Republic Of Newsletters may be one aspect of a return to the ocean, dotted with little pirate radio stations broadcasting through the night again.


25 Jan 14:25

We Lost Ursula K. Le Guin When We Needed Her Most

by Claire L. Evans

Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018. I have been dreading the day. Because Ursula had been growing older, stubbornly, inexorably, she was bound to leave us eventually, and because we always seem to lose our heroes when we need them most. And so we lost Ursula.

She started writing as a child, taught to read at five by her older brother, Ted, and began submitting her poems and short stories for publication in her twenties, although not systematically, not until she was thirty, at which point the rejection slips came back hand over fist. Her early work, bursting out of the gate with a romanticism that ebbed with age, didn’t quite resonate with the editors of science fiction magazines. But her maturity coincided with the first stirrings of the genre’s “New Age,” that cultural moment in which the early successes of science fiction—the tales of serialized space adventure Ursula herself grew up reading—fractured, along with the larger American id, into a morass of experimental forays into the cosmic and psychedelic mind.

It suited Ursula, who would forever be fascinated by the interior lives of her characters, even as their stories unfolded in lands populated by roving dragons, androgyne aliens, or dense and ancient forests. Always forests. Her characters were rarely far from a tree; Ursula thought of herself as the most “arboreal” of the science fiction writers, writing that “we all have forests in our minds. Forests unexplained, unending. Each of us gets lost in the forest, every night, alone.”

I can’t help but think that her fascination with trees was as much Jungian as it was due to the life she made, with her husband and three children, in Portland, Oregon, where I also grew up. There is a knottiness to our forests that takes root in the imagination. As a child, I’d sit in the back seat of my parents’ car, as we drove those one-lane roads that slice through the woods, mentally launching myself, like an arrow, straight into the loamy darkness of the trees, dreaming that they might envelop me completely. In her novels, I always relive that hypnotic pull into the forest; I hear the siren song of deep time, the time of the trees, as they grow silently among us. She wrote a story once about a single oak tree on State Highway 18, in Oregon: how its sole job was too loom and disappear, loom and disappear, marking our movements across the world. That’s empathy, a superhuman kind.

Ursula came up with the greatest of the New Wavers—Octavia Butler, J.G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, James Tiptree, Jr.—but she was never wholly of her generation, either, anchored as she was in her own deeply complete moral universe (when I think of Ursula, I think often of a pure-hearted child standing bravely on her own two feet). She was a Taoist, and published her own English version of the Tao Te Ching, a book she was grateful to have discovered at a young age, through her anthropologist father, because it meant she was able to live with it her whole life.

She was also an anarchist, and not in the Anarchist Cookbook sense, what she called “bomb-in-the-pocket stuff,” too easily confused with terrorism. Hers was more pure, rooted in a strong sense of collaboration and mutual support. She read and admired pacifist writers like Peter Kropotkin and Paul Goodman, comparing them to her beloved Lao Tzu. “Anarchism’s principal target is the authoritarian state,” she wrote, and “its principal moral-practical theme is cooperation.” She went all in on this idealism, as she went all in for beauty. For her, these things were never mutually exclusive. They were kin. In the preface to her Tao Te Ching, she wrote, explicitly, that “in poetry, beauty is no ornament; it is the meaning. It is the truth.”

Her novels and stories spoke with the breath of these politics, a graceful and humanist blend of lyrical environmentalism, feminism, and anticapitalism. The only good thing about a money economy, she believed, was that being paid meant her work would circulate, that it would be read—the central pursuit of a writer. She was never afraid to stick to her guns on any issue of principle. Asked to blurb an all-male anthology in 1987, she shot back a searing letter that regularly makes the rounds on social media every time it is re-discovered. Like a boss, she was civil but unflinching: “gentlemen,” she wrote, “I just don’t belong here.” But her most essential statements were embedded deeper, in the literature, in worlds she built from the ground up on principles worth dying for: the anarcho-syndicalist world of Anarres, where even the language has no possessives, or the forest planet of Athshe, where the natives live in a dream-time, in harmony with the trees, or among the Gethenians, a civilization of androgynes, where gender carries no influence in the relations between beings.

"I want them to be read, I want them to be argued about, I want people to cry over them, I want unreadable dissertations written about them, I want people to get angry with them, I want people to love them"

Ursula didn’t often write hard science fiction, what she called “wiring-diagram” stories. Hers was a wider realm, a map of mists and mystics and cold-bright cities under alien moons, populated by wounded races, lost utopias, and creatures beyond time. Unlike other writers of her generation who sidestepped the isolating confines of genre—her good friend, Margaret Atwood, has largely escaped being called a science fiction writer despite being one—she owned the moniker of science fiction, discussing it frequently, looking it over, bending it however she pleased. She also wrote fantasies, poems, songs, and “psychomyths,” which took place “outside of time,” in a realm “without spatial or temporal limits at all.”

Years ago, as a cub reporter, I had the great fortune of interviewing Ursula. She was, at the time, mounting formidable opposition to the Google Books Settlement, a agreement which granted Google permission to circumvent existing US copyright law and scan the world’s print libraries, using a new revenue system designed to compensate authors and publishers for the use of their copyrighted books. Ursula, forever speaking truth to power, had rallied a coalition of 367 of her peers to petition against the tech giant’s “opt-out” policy. She saw the whole thing as an end-run around copyright, although Google justified it as a way of making “orphaned” books—those books whose copyright holders were difficult, if not impossible, to track down—available to the public.

In that spirit, I asked Ursula what she wanted to see happen to her books after she died. I’ll never forget what she said. I’ll share it with you now, as a reminder of how we are supposed to grieve her, even if we can’t read through the tears:

“I want them to be available, I want cheap paper editions of them, I want them to be continuously downloaded in forty different languages, I want them to be read, I want them to be argued about, I want people to cry over them, I want unreadable dissertations written about them, I want people to get angry with them, I want people to love them.”

Ursula, we will.

Claire L. Evans is a cofounder of Motherboard's science fiction imprint, Terraform. She is the author of "Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet," and lead singer of the pop group YACHT.

24 Jan 11:34

Timothy Leary’s Great-ish Escape

by Ken Goffman

An interview with Steven L. Davis, co-author of The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD.

On September 13, 1970, Timothy Leary escaped from a low security California prison by pulling himself on a high wire over a 12 foot chain linked fence topped with barbed wire. He was ferreted underground by the radical Weather Underground who helped him escape America. He ended up in Algeria with an exiled chapter of the Black Panther Party lead by Eldridge Cleaver.

All MONDO readers probably know this, but I thought I’d set the scene a bit.

While I was a participant in the late 1960s counterculture — to the extent that a high school student in a smallish town could be — I wasn’t particularly obsessed with Leary. I enjoyed reading his occasional piece in the underground press, but Abbie Hoffman was more my thing. Until the escape. After that, I developed a lifelong interest in his action adventure episode and how it impacted on his philosophical ideas.

That’s why I was excited to learn of the publication of The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD  by Bill Minutaglio and Steve Davis.  The book doesn’t disappoint. The narrative is in present tense and fast forward. It’s a ripping yarn that bounces back and forth between Leary’s life on the lam and President Richard Nixon’s own personal delirium as he copes with the Vietnam war, extreme rebellion in the streets of America and his own obsession with capturing Leary. 

For those MONDO readers, who have followed Leary’s philosophical musings over the years, this period is kind of the last phase of Tim’s cosmic hippieishness. He comes across as deep into  mysticism; consulting the i Ching and the Tarot for strategic decisions and so forth. In some ways, his intellectual credibility would rely on things he wrote before this time and after it. And yet, I think he gained a lot, in terms of sophistication and insight from the experience, that showed up in his later writing.

I interviewed Steve Davis about the book via email

R.U. Sirius

Timothy and Rosemary Leary in disguise, leaving “Amerika”

R.U. There are a number of things that are illuminated for Leary fanatics (as many Mondo readers are) by your book. One of them is the degree to which many of the ultra-radicals of that crazy period in the early 1970s were not really Tim’s friends. Particularly the lawyer, Michael Kennedy. What can you tell us about this “alliance”?

Steve Davis: Well, you can see this alliance of “dope and dynamite,” as Michael Kennedy enjoyed calling it, play out throughout the book. In some sense both Tim and the radical left were using each other for their own purposes. For Tim, of course, the revolutionary outlaws provided the means for his escape from prison – something he wanted desperately. But then of course once he climbed over the prison fence he entered a blind maze of new prisons – and as you say, these people did not have Timothy Leary’s best interests in mind, from the Weather Undeground demanding his rhetorical fealty to their vision of a violent revolution to Eldridge Cleaver and the Black Panthers demanding that Tim renounce LSD and join them in calling for Death to the Fascists. On and on it went. Tim had to keep shape-shifting to save his own skin. He basically became a pawn of both the far left and the far right (Nixon and his cronies) during this era – and of course when everything ended and he looked back on it, he realized that the law-and-order struggles between the far left and the far right were two sides of the same coin. I think the experience made him suspicious of any alliance after that. Hell, it would do the same to any of us!

R.U. There’s the scene in which the radical lawyer visits him in exile while Tim is desperate for help and the lawyer basically presents him with the bill. I know that Tim always resented having his family home in Berkeley taken to pay the legal fees.

Tim was in an incredibly vulnerable position at the time of this visit – he was sitting in a Swiss jail awaiting possible extradition to the U.S. (not to give too much of the plot away, but, yeah, he manages to slip away from this particular snare – with an outpouring of help from writers and thinkers and thousands of regular folks all over the world.) And so, here’s Tim, in a dungeon, really, feeling nearly certain that any day he’ll be sent back to the US in chains.

To set the scene a little bit further, let’s note that Tim had earlier been trapped in Algeria, for months, with an increasingly ominous-sounding Eldridge Cleaver, yet Kennedy had completely ignored Tim’s increasingly desperate appeals for help. But now that he’s in a Swiss jail, Kennedy sends his partner, Joe Rhine, to Switzerland. But the visit had nothing to do with providing aid. Rhine was there for two reasons: one was to check up on Tim and make sure he wasn’t blabbing to people – especially the FBI – or cutting any deals by revealing that Kennedy had helped orchestrate his escape from prison. And then the second reason, as you allude to in your question, was to basically strip Tim financially. We weren’t privy to the accounting records held by Kennedy’s law firm, but from our perspective, Tim had a damn good reason to feel that he’d been screwed over financially by Kennedy. He shouldn’t have had to surrender his home.

Eldridge, Timothy and Abbie

But let’s be honest and think more broadly about where the blame really lies: Tim’s home in Berkeley had been paid off. He left his adult children in charge – they were able to rent the home out and all they had to do was dedicate a portion of the collected rent to pay the taxes. Not a complicated setup, but for whatever reason, Tim’s kids proved incapable of handling that. And that’s really how the house got lost – because when it went into arrears for taxes, Kennedy had to step in and make those payments – and that’s what put Tim in a vulnerable position with Kennedy. So, you can blame Kennedy, and it’s easy to do, but we should also be thinking about Tim’s kids – and maybe his parenting.

Tim, of course, was happiest when he could just live and think and not have to worry about hustling money or paying bills. Come to think of it, that scenario sounds pretty damn appealing to many of us. 

R.U.: I wonder what younger people make of that period in the early ‘70s (that were formative for me). The passion people felt about ending the war seems sort of sadly archaic.  And the whole “let’s overthrow the government asap” thing has mainly shifted from left to right. How does that all speak to our time?

SD: I was born in 1963 and came of age in the 1970s and always felt like I’d just missed out on one of the greatest, most exciting time periods in American history. And that’s actually true. But I’ve come to agree with those who define the “Sixties” as the period from 1963-1974 or thereabouts. From the JFK assassination to Watergate. So in a sense, this early 70s story is really a continuation of the Sixties.

But I know what you mean about the passion for ending the war feeling sadly archaic. I was talking with a Sixties writer I admire who’s written two of the best, but overlooked, counterculture novels: Edwin “Bud” Shrake, author of Strange Peaches– about a dopesmoking antihero in Dallas at the time of the JFK assassination and Blessed McGill – a fine peyote-tinged historical novel that is the first “Absurdist Western.” Anyway, Shrake and I were talking about why people weren’t rioting in the streets at the beginning of GW Bush’s Iraq war, and he pointed out that, if we still had the draft, people damn sure well would be rioting.

And that made me realize that one of the great “triumphs” of the 1960s – ending military conscription – actually is a great failure, for three reasons: 1) we still have a draft, only it’s an unacknowledged economic draft – poor people have to “volunteer” for the military in order to gain opportunity. 2) as imperfect as the draft was, it threw different segments of society together and forced them to live together. Which moderates extremes. We’ve lost that. 3) finally, when you have an unpopular war and you’re in danger of being drafted to fight for it, you’re damn well going to protest in the streets. We’re not doing that now because it’s “the other” who is fighting those unpopular wars for us – people who have no choice because they have no other opportunities. When you think about all this, it makes you really question what the Sixties accomplished, and whether the bulk of the benefits went to the privileged, educated classes.

One last thing while I’m ranting about this – why don’t we have a constitutional amendment: any politician who votes in favor of military action must send their immediate family members to fight on the front lines. Let those fuckers fight the wars they’re voting for.

R.U. The other thing that I think many of us didn’t quite believe when Timothy alluded to it was the degree to which Richard Nixon was engaged in his persecution and capture.  Tim was apparently near the top of Dick’s list.

SD: Yeah, when you hear Nixon and his aides in the White House chanting Leary’s name and Nixon bellowing “We have room in the prisons for him” that definitely proves Tim’s point about being persecuted. Actually, when we began writing this book we didn’t know any of that. I was simply drawn to this story because I liked learning about Tim and knew that this episode of his prison breakout and life on the lam was damn interesting, but very little had ever been written about it. I mean, it has surreal absurd nightmare/adventure written all over it. And with Tim’s archive now available to researchers, we figured we could get close to the story.

I’d seen some of the same things you mention here – this idea that Nixon had described Tim as “the most dangerous man in America” – which Nixon apparently enjoyed calling other people as well, most notably Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers. But it wasn’t until we got into the archival research – along with the FBI and CIA and State Department files we were able to gain access to – not to mention the Oval Office recordings, were we able to really piece together and then understand the extent of Nixon’s Leary obsessions.

The amount of energy Nixon’s Administration invested on recapturing Leary – who was originally arrested on a minor marijuana possession charge – is stunning. You had Nixon sending his Attorney General over to Switzerland to strong-arm the Swiss into giving Leary up. You had the Secretary of State pressuring the Algerians – to the exclusion of other important diplomatic priorities in that country. In Afghanistan, a pivotal nation on the front lines of the Cold War, you had Nixon’s people gambling with our fragile diplomacy there in order to force an illegal rendition of Leary. A few months later, Afghanistan’s government collapsed. The abuse of power by Nixon and those who worked for him is unnerving – and even more so when you realize that, truthfully, Tim Leary was probably just one of probably hundreds of people Nixon was going after. Leary, for example, was never on Nixon’s “Enemies List.”

RU: At first Nixon’s animus towards Tim seemed strategic but after awhile he was really angry at Tim for not getting caught.

SD: For Nixon, like Trump (sorry, couldn’t resist) everything was personal. Honestly, I don’t think that Nixon had that much of a sense of who Leary was for the most part. He just knew him as this ex-professor, longhaired druggie-degenerate peddling LSD. But Nixon probably wouldn’t have recognized Tim if Leary had walked into the Oval Office and handed him a tab of Orange Sunshine and told the president it was a miracle cure for alcoholism.

Clearly, what really bothered Nixon was his government’s inability to deliver results, to bring him the head of Timothy Leary. It began with J. Edgar Hoover assuring everyone, “We’ll have him in ten days.” And as the Leary chase stretched across entire continents, and Tim left a trail of frustrated FBI, CIA, and State Department people behind, you can practically see Nixon growing more and more angry – just as he was in every other facet of his life at that time. This was, after all, a president who’s first reaction to thinking that the Democrats have stashed incriminating files about him at the Brookings Institution is to immediately order his aides, “Goddamn it, get in and get those files. I want it implemented on a thievery basis…You’re to break into the place—blow the safe and get it.” When you’re dealing with a madman like that, and you’ve got Timothy Leary hopscotching his way across the world, you bet Nixon kept upping the ante trying to capture him. Putting that five million dollar bail on Tim’s head felt more like a bounty.

R.U.: How would you account for him taking so much more acid the more desperate his situation became? Most of us would do the opposite, I would think.

SD: I’m not sure I have a good answer for that, but I can take a crack at it. Let’s say that Tim became really adept at managing the LSD experience, even controlling it; perhaps better than anyone else could. Given that, let’s say that Tim came to rely on the insights, on the perceptions, that he experienced while doing LSD – because he felt that those perceptions lifted him to a higher cosmic understanding than he’d had previously. And at some point, that became his dominant way of viewing the world – it led him to great thoughts and ideas.

Nothing wrong with that, right? Except that, Tim also built up a huge tolerance to LSD and so kept having to take more of it to keep pushing the edge. And while he’s busy assembling his view of humanity based on a cosmic viewpoint, he loses sight of the ground-level political intrigues that ended up threatening so much of his personal well-being.

I think Eldridge Cleaver, who was crazy in many ways but also very smart and perceptive, had a good handle on this when he noted of both Tim and Rosemary: “We’ve noticed that they’re very dangerous people because whatever the use of LSD has done to their brains, one thing that it’s very clearly done is destroyed their ability to make judgments, particularly in the area of security.” In other words, peace, love, and understanding only works if everyone else is playing that game.

RU: This is such an action adventure story, One would love to view Tim, in this situation, as a dashing romantic competent outlaw. Well he was dashing and romantic… but not altogether great at stealth and cunning.

SD:Ha, ha, yes, that’s true. It was Eldridge Cleaver who pointed that out in Algeria. If you think about Cleaver, who had a reputation as the toughest, meanest Panther – and who organized a secret mission for Tim Leary to take a trip, incognito, through the Middle East into the PLO war zone – and Leary shows up at the airport with a button on his cap that says “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out,” you can get a sense of Tim’s inability to engage in subterfuge – and how frustrating that was to Cleaver and others on the militant left. The truth about Tim is that he was not made to live underground – he couldn’t stay there. He managed to surface several times and, in that dashing romantic way of his, he was able to continually elude Nixon’s minions. Until, of course, the time he didn’t.

RU: So if there’s a movie (and I think there has to be), who would you have play Tim?

SD: I don’t know Hollywood very well. My wife says Owen Wilson. Who do you think?

The post Timothy Leary’s Great-ish Escape appeared first on Mondo 2000.

19 Jan 13:28

You don’t have to take every handout or jump through every loophole

by DHH
You don’t have to agree with Uncle Sam on how he conducts all of his affairs to accept that “starving the beast” isn’t a path that leads anywhere good long term.

Basecamp used to take two common business deductions called the domestic manufacturing credit (§199) and the Research & Development credit. Both of these tax credits were substantial, both were recommended by esteemed accounting firms with entire departments dedicated to their exploitation, and both were total fucking bullshit.

So we stopped taking them. (You should have seen the faces of our new accountants as we told them this 😂).

Supposedly these credits are there to encourage American companies to spend on R&D and to keep manufacturing jobs in the country, but give me a break. I’d wager that the vast majority of companies that accept these tax handouts do not base their decisions about how much to spend on R&D or whether to hire domestically on these credits in the least. It’s just free money.

Now the conventional wisdom goes that companies have a fiduciary duty to squeeze, pull, and bend the tax code until it submits to the minimal possible effective rate. That executives and accountants simply must exploit every loophole and take every handout. Then celebrate when they score undue deduction after undue deduction with ever more lavish bonuses and payouts.

Fuck that.

Now, I’m not saying that you should voluntarily just send a bigger check to the IRS than your nominal rate requires. Or that there aren’t reasonable deductions that perhaps make sense and encourage good behavior in circumstances. But I am saying you’re allowed to read the intent of the law, not just the letter of it. That beating the system with the IRS as your opponent is a dismal and dark assessment of a companies role in the larger society.

You can absolutely chose not to partake in these schemes. But first you have to break out of the paradigm that has most executives and accountants treat loophole exploitation as the default strategy.

The scandal isn’t what’s illegal but what’s legal. Don’t be so scandalous.

It’s time to reimagine capitalism. It doesn’t have to be at war with doing what’s good for society. To pay workers better, to pay its fair share of taxes, to be contend with enough. You can do all this and still take a profit.

You don’t have to take every handout or jump through every loophole was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

16 Jan 14:22

Hypokondrisk inne- och utelista

by Hexmaster
Den här intervjun är inte pinfärsk men det spelar ingen roll, tvärtom. Vilka exempel på falska diagnoser (ett bättre begrepp än det rätt hemska "inbillningssjukor", då symptomen ofta är nog så verkliga) räknar den skeptiske läkaren upp?
– Amalgamsjuka, elallergi, kronisk borrelia till exempel. Trötta binjurar är inte heller någon sjukdom som vi vanliga läkare tycker existerar.
- Läkaren Mats Reimer i Läkare varnar: Felaktiga råd sprids på nätet, SVT 9 september 2015

Få se:
  • Ute Det är länge sedan amalgamsjuka var inne och det lär bli ännu mer bortglömt för varje år.
  • Ute Elalleri har fortfarande sina anhängare men börjar också att kännas passé.
  • Inne – Kronisk borrelia är betydligt hetare än de två ovan.
  • Inne – Trötta binjurar är det senaste tillskottet på listan, det minst kända och därmed minst utslitna.
För även i hypokondrins värld gäller att det som ska vara inne varken får vara för okänt eller känt, liksom att inget är så ute som det som verkligen varit inne ett längre tag.

15 Jan 11:08

Foreclosing on the future of the book

by Tim Carmody

Microsoft Reader Ad - 1999.jpg

At Wired, my old colleague David Pierce writes about a topic near and dear to my heart: Amazon’s Kindle, and its effects on how we buy and read books:

For a decade, Amazon’s relentlessly offered new ways for people to read books. But even as platforms change, books haven’t, and the incompatibility is beginning to show. Phones and tablets contain nothing of what makes a paperback wonderful. They’re full of distractions, eye-wrecking backlights, and batteries that die in a few hours. They also open up massive new opportunities. On a tablet, books don’t have to consist only of hundreds of pages set in a row. They can be easily navigable, endlessly searchable, and constantly updated. They can use images, video, even games to augment the experience….

The next phase for the digital book seems likely to not resemble print at all. Instead, the next step is for authors, publishers, and readers to take advantage of all the tools now at their disposal and figure out how to reinvent longform reading. Just as filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh are experimenting with what it means to make a “movie” that’s really an app on a totally interactive device with a smaller screen, Amazon and the book world are beginning to figure out what’s possible when you’re not dealing with paper anymore.

Except… not really.

Very few people have held out more hope for the digital transformation of the book than me. I used to run a website called Bookfuturism. I wrote, at length, in The Atlantic, at Wired, at The Verge, at any magazine or website that would have me, about the possibility of a new reading avant-garde. And it just never happened. For reasons.

For one thing, almost every kind of forward-looking reading technology can be put to more lucrative uses than making e-books. Facebook will buy your company. Google will buy your company. Some games publisher will buy your company. You will not be making books any more. You will be making something else. It might be cool! But it won’t be books.

Second, and more importantly, the main way that the Kindle and other digital devices have transformed books is to make them as liquid as possible. By liquid, I mean, they take the shape of their container, rather than dictating the container’s shape. You need a single book to read in much the same way on a Kindle as on an iPhone, a full-sized tablet, a PC, and on whatever device you’re using to read your audiobook. Plus, you know-printed books, which are still huge. And part of the value of the digital book is that it’s a reasonable facsimile of the printed book.

While all of these devices are more multimedia-capable than an analog printed book, the differences between their capabilities is vast, and designing around those differences is no easy task. So Amazon has done what I think any of us might do given those requirements, and basically de-formed the book, deemphasizing page design and anything else that might not cross over to devices with different screen sizes, media capabilities, and affordances.

Getting wild with digital design in 2018 means getting wild in 2018 with responsive design that’s agnostic to the kind of device you’re rocking. That’s doable, probably, but it’s really, really hard.

“If Amazon wanted to, it could with a single act bring a new form of book into being,” Pierce writes. It’s true that Amazon is probably the only company that could do so. But it has good reasons, not least the overall conservative nature of the book market writ large, to move exceedingly slowly.

Every generation deserves to have its own dreams for the future of the book dashed against the wall. For reference, here is a timeline Microsoft-nice, safe, Word-and-Office Microsoft!-put forward back in 1999.

2003- eBook devices weigh less than a pound and run for eight hours on a charge. Costs run from $99 for a simple black and white device to about $899 for the most powerful, color magazine-sized machine.

2005- eBook title and ePeriodical sales top $1 billion. Many serial publications are given away free with advertising support that now also totals more than $1 billion. An estimated 250 million people regularly read books and newspapers on their PCs, laptops, and palm machines.

2006- eNewstands (kiosks) proliferate on street corners, airports, etc. As usual, airlines offer customers old magazines on the flight, but the magazines are now downloaded to eBook devices.

2009- Several top authors now publish directly to their audiences, many of whom subscribe to their favorite authors rather than buy book-by-book. Some authors join genre cooperatives, in which they hold an ownership stake, to cover the costs of marketing, handle group advertising sales and sell “ancillary” (that is, non-electronic) rights, including “paper rights.” Major publishing houses survive and prosper by offering authors editing and marketing services, rather than arranging for book printing. Printing firms diversify into eBook preparation and converting old paper titles to electronic formats.

2011- Advances in non-volatile chip storage, including Hitachi’s Single Electron terabit chip, allow eBooks to store 4 million books - more than many university libraries - or every newspaper ever printed in America.

2012- The pulp industry mounts its pro-paper “Real Books” ad campaign, featuring a friendly logger who urges consumers to “Buy the real thing - real books printed on real paper.”

2018- In common parlance, eBook titles are simply called “books.” The old kinds are increasingly called “paper books.”

2020- Ninety percent of all titles are now sold in electronic rather than paper form. Webster alters its First Definition of “book” to mean, “a substantial piece of writing commonly displayed on a computer or other personal viewing device.”.

The technology has never been the issue. The willingness of big players in the industry to move quickly has never been the issue. I never thought Kindles were going to be wildly experimental, but I thought they might start doing everything that text does, or that paper does. But people don’t really want to even do Sudoku on their Kindles. What they seem to want to do is read (and in some cases, listen to) books. Books, and the enormous and enormously complex interconnected nature of the book market and book readership, seem to be the issue. You just can’t make that barge turn on a hairpin.

(Thanks to John Overholt and Catablogger for a photo of the Microsoft ad.)

Tags: Amazon   books   David Pierce   publishing
15 Jan 09:35

Peter Valdes-Dapena Reviews the Tesla Model 3

by John Gruber

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a review for CNN, the video seems like the “real” review, and the written article seems like an afterthought extracted from the video review. He makes three main points:

  1. The car drives and performs well, about how you’d expect given Tesla’s reputation.

  2. It’s expensive for what you get compared to other cars in this price range — but this point seems hard to quantify, because none of those other cars have Tesla’s excellent electric drive train.

  3. Having almost all of the controls, including things like controlling the air vents, go through the touchscreen is not a good design. He writes:

    To do almost anything, from adjusting the mirrors to tweaking the car’s speed while driving in Autopilot, I had to use the screen. There are two unmarked knobs on the steering that are involved in various functions but, before you can use the knobs, you have to poke around on the big screen first. It’s annoying and most people will hate it. More importantly, it’s terribly distracting.

I feel like #3 is by far the most interesting point, but Valdes-Dapena seems ill-equipped to make it. He just says it’s very annoying, rather than explaining or illustrating why it’s annoying. Perhaps because he’s used to writing about cars, not about user interfaces?

I’ve long been frustrated by the fact that car reviews seldom devote attention or expertise to the design of the controls of the car. They matter a lot to me (shocker, I know), but I think they matter a lot to everyone, whether they think about control design consciously or not. The Model 3’s touchscreen centric design is so radical, it deserves a thorough review of its own.

11 Jan 12:15

Kassetthouse 2017

by rasmus

För ett drygt år sedan la jag upp en lista med 12 riktigt bra kassetter som släpptes under 2016, mer eller mindre möjliga att trycka in under etiketten “kassetthouse”. Nu är det dags igen.

Vi säger “house” mest av bekvämlighetsskäl. Något som överlappar såväl med techno och acid som med vissa former av disco och funk, liksom alltsammans i olika grad kan glida in mot ambient. Ingen kan överblicka allt, men kassettformatets materialitet gör att det ändå går att skymta vissa väggar och tänka sig ett rum, där en handfull kassettbolag verkar befinna sig särskilt centralt. Här kan vi notera en förlust: 1080p från Vancouver, som stod för några av 2016 års bästa släpp, tystnade plötsligt och har inte märkts av under hela 2017. Däremot fortsätter 100% Silk (Los Angeles) att imponera, gång på gång, medan Seagrave (London) har ökat tempot på sina släpp med lite mer abstrakt musik och i den brittiska scenen måste jag även nämna de färgglada släppen från Acid Waxa (Newcastle).
För att inte glömma alla de artister som släpper på egen hand, oftast via Bandcamp (vars centrala betydelse som nod kanske är en akilleshäl för hela kassettscenen). Där går nästan alla släpp att hitta även i digital version. (Huruvida musiken finns på typ Spotify orkar väl inte jag kolla upp. Kanske gör den det.)

Min princip för den här listan är att bara ta med kassetter som jag själv faktiskt har köpt (innan de oftast små upplagorna tagit slut). Så löste jag överblicksproblemet. Här listar jag dem, 22 stycken, i alfabetisk ordning. Jag tänker försöka undvika att beskriva hur musiken låter eftersom jag just nu inte orkar med inflationen av subgenrer och de förutsägbara motreaktioner som sedan kommer som ett brev på posten.

* * *

A Thousand Mouths ‎– A Thousand Mouths (Lamour)

Lagom tills att träden tappade sina löv släppte Gävlebolaget Lamour den här mycket höstiga C40-kassetten med två spår på ena sidan och ett på den andra. Analoga klanger som rör sig mellan acid och ambient. Bakom artistnamnet står malmöiten Anders Walldén.
A Thousand Mouths by A Thousand Mouths

AIWA – Recent Ups and Downs (Seagrave)
Flera helkvällar i höstas snurrade den här kassetten varv efter varv i min bandare. Lajos Nádházi från Budapest (och som väl hör till samma scen som S Olbricht) beskriver själv sin musik som “fusion funk hardware jamz”.
Recent Ups and Downs by A I W A

Birdy Earns ‎– Nachtangst (Seagrave)
Ännu ett släpp från Seagrave som är svårt att placera i ett fack, utöver att det ligger i linje med Seagraves övriga utgivning. Erinrar kanske lite mer om tidigt 2000-tal, på ett lekfullt sätt.
Nachtangst by Birdy Earns

Deeper Kenz – Deeper Kenz (100% Silk)
Bland de mest dansanta släppen i årets lista. Direkt från norra Philadelphia. Den här låten kanske ni känner igen från TMP #002:
Deeper Kenz by Deeper Kenz

DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ – Makin’ Magick
Kanske något att antingen älska eller hata. De som slentriangnäller på lo-fi har verkligen fått en krok att hugga på. Själv älskar jag DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ, vem som än döljer sig bakom det underbart fåniga artistnamnet, som får den musikaliskt närbesläktade DJ Seinfeld att blekna. Alldeles oavsett alla samplingar från tv-serien, så är det här musik som gör mig glad. Punkt. Dessutom kom den hem till mig i form av en skrikrosa dubbelkassett. Vill ha mer.
Makin' Magick by DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ

Fennec – One Night Could Change Your Life
Till skillnad från ovanstående kan detta inte anklagas för ironi. Fennecs samplingsspäckade house är på samma gång lekfull och oerhört varm och känslomättad. De långa tacklistorna känns också befriande ocreddiga. Den här gången får vi en givande bakgrundsbeskrivning. Fennec är tydligen från den amerikanska Mellanvästern, långt från storstädernas klubbkultur. I stället sprider sig dansmusiken via intima fester i människors egna källare. Den här kassetten är ett försök att skildra periferins värme. Upplagan är fortfarande inte slutsåld!
One Night Could Change Your Life by Fennec

French 79 – Olympic
Mina barn gillar den här kassetten mycket. Men jag är inte heller själv helt osvag för dess varma syntpop med vokala inslag. Utgivet på Data Airlines som annars mest är en institution inom chiptune (och t.ex. har gett ut en rad släpp med svenska Dubmood, som vissa av er säkert minns från Piratbyråntiden).
Olympic by French 79

Inner Self ‎– O​.​E. Outside Experience (100% Silk)
New York-producenten Andrew Stefano rör sig mellan deep house och elektronisk jazz, så visst, kalla det gärna fusion. Även detta är en kassett som med sina varma syntklanger envisats med att spelas varv efter varv på kvällarna hemma hos mig.
O.E. Outside Experience by Inner Self

Iku Sakan – Human Wave Music (Natural Sciences)
Japansk ambient. Fuktig och metallisk.
Human Wave Music by Iku Sakan

ISSHU – Bloc (Seagrave)
16 korta spår med dekonstruerad dansmusik. Bra introduktion till Seagraves estetik. Ännu inte slutsåld!
Bloc by ISSHU

Jjakub – Entry Level (Seagrave)
“Techno reduced down to a ultra-potent soup”, skrev någon. Ungefär så. Nyfiken på vart detta ska ta vägen.
Entry Level by Jjakub

Khotin ‎– New Tab
Ljud som jag fortfarande förknippar med försommaren. Khotin från Vancouver har tidigare mest gjort dansmusik, men detta är någonting annat, mestadels renodlad ambient, känslosamt med lite samplade röster. (Men missa ändå inte föregående årets vinyl Baikal Acid, kanske ett av de sista släpp som gjordes på 1080p.)
New Tab by Khotin

Lesinge – Slide Blinders (Acid Waxa)
Acid som från och till erinrar ordentligt om de släpp som Richard D. James i början av seklet släppte under artistnamnet Analord, men också om Ceephax. Alltsammans levererat i ett mycket snyggt omslag signerat Broshuda.
Slide Blinders by Lesinge

Michael Claus – Memory Protect (100 % Silk)
Introvert och samtidigt drivig techno/house. Skulle kunna vara 2017 års bästa släpp från 100% Silk.
Memory Protect by Michael Claus

Minimal Violence – Live at the Pickle Factory (Lobster Theremin)
Ett set med mörk acid och synkoperad techno, inspelat i somras på en klubb i östra London. Årets enda kassettsläpp från Lobster Theremin som annars ger ut mycket av den allra bästa dansmusiken i vår tid. (Hoppa gärna till 4.40 i klippet.)

MONO.1 (Modularfield/Noorden)
Inspelade livesessioner med olika artister knutna till de två Köln-etiketterna. Stilarna växlar lite för fort för att jag ska hinna med och visst blir det ganska ojämnt, men särskilt på B-sidan finns ett par riktigt bra passager.
MONO.1 by Modularfield x Noorden

PKU! – Veggie
Vet inte vad detta är för Stockholmare men deras musik är rolig! Fullt av samplingar, även från gamla svenska filmer. “Det måste ju funnits nån kvinna som gjorde nånting bra under första världskriget” kan vara årets låttitel. Upplagan om 20 kassetter än ännu inte slutsåld!
Veggie by PKU!

Replica – Gold
Londonproducenten beskriver sin kassett som “en dekonstruktion av housegenren”. En utsökt liten resa.
Gold by Replica

Roy of the Ravers – Acid Royale (Acid Waxa)
Lekfull acid från Newcastle.
Acid Royale by Roy Of The Ravers

Åmnfx ‎– Moscow Beat (100 % Silk)
Rysk producent som genom sitt sätt att abstrahera för tankarna till mycket av vad som under året utgavs på Seagrave.
Moscow Beat by åmnfx

V/A – Sensate Silk (100% Silk)
Brukar inte köpa samlingskassetter, men har ändå svårt att inte köpa allt från 100% Silk och den här var ingen besvikelse. En rad bra bidrag från nya och okända producenter, men en av dem sticker ut – berlinaren Westcoast Goddess (som just har släppt sin första vinyl på stockholmska Omena).
Sensate Silk by 100% Silk

V/A – Volna 1 (Volna)
Rysk kassetthouse har en särskilt plats i mitt hjärta och det verkar hända mycket på den fronten nu. Vad som i väst kallas för “low-fi house” verkar ryssarna helt enkelt kalla “raw” och öppna för en större bredd av influenser från hiphop, r’n’b och techno – utan gränser för hur opolerad ljudbilden kan bli. Underbart. Mitt intryck är att detta är något som rör sig utanför de allra största städerna i Ryssland. Den här kassetten anlände till mig från en avsändaradress i Nizjnij Novgorod. Räkna med att höra mer från den ryska kassetthousescenen under 2018, inte minst sedan nu ett amerikanskt bolag släppt samlingskassetten “Dirty tapes from Russia, vol. II“.