Shared posts

24 Oct 11:18

LG will leave modular design behind with the G5’s successor

by Rob Attrell

Back in the spring of 2016, things were looking up for the potential future of modular smartphones. The promise of clipping a great camera onto your phone, or slipping on a powerful set of speakers when needed, resulted in some people getting excited about the release of the LG G5 and the pre-release modular Project Ara smartphone from Google.

By this fall, however, much of that potential seems to be completely forgotten, with Project Ara canned over the summer, and the LG G5 failing to impress consumers in the way LG had hoped. This week, a report has surfaced saying that plans for the successor to the G5 do not include modular components. The report notes a number of issues, including low sales volumes, smaller production yields, and the complication of requiring multiple separate purchases confusing consumers.

The Moto Z and Moto Z Play, also released this year, is now the best hope for the future full of modular smartphones, but given the relative failure of the other phones in this market, it remains to be seen if Lenovo’s Moto line can succeed where others failed. Given newer smartphones such as the iPhone have even gone so far as to include dual cameras, the simplicity of that setup trumps other factors like a higher cost for building in those components.

Related: LG G5 review: An imperfect start to LG’s modular future

21 Oct 16:02

Twitter Favorites: [skeskali] Why Mariah Is Luke Cage’s Secret Weapon -- Vulture

Cecily Walker
21 Oct 16:41

Twitter Favorites: [Sean_YYZ] Icelandic immigrants came here to help build the railway, but 13 youth died in the awful government-provided accommodations.

Sean Marshall @Sean_YYZ
Icelandic immigrants came here to help build the railway, but 13 youth died in the awful government-provided accommodations.
21 Oct 22:21

Twitter Favorites: [Sean_YYZ] Gravenhurst also lost passenger train service on September 28, 2012.

Sean Marshall @Sean_YYZ
Gravenhurst also lost passenger train service on September 28, 2012.
24 Oct 06:30

Boxing Against A Tidal Wave

by Richard Millington

You can’t knock out a tidal wave. You might land with a few good jabs, but the tide of water will eventually crush you (and you will look silly).

A common question in our community is can forums survive?

A better question might be should forums survive?

When social media platforms make it easier and more fun to have a discussion, what is the point of forum-based communities? Many forums (and similar types of communities) are up against tidal waves from both sides.

From one side discussions around shared passions which might have taken place in a forum now take place on Facebook (or Reddit or other large platforms). These keep us in-flow with our existing habits. We don’t have to remember to go elsewhere each day. The platforms are often better too.

From the other side, it’s simply easier to Google an answer to a question rather than ask other people. If you need facts, Google is your answer. Worse yet, perhaps, Google is only going to get better.

You could try to build higher walls around your community and make it better, but you’re in the same boat as the independent video store when Blockbuster came to town (and blockbuster when Netflix appeared).

Don’t fight against the tidal wave, figure out how to swim with it. That means two relatively clear options:

1) Move to popular platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc..). Many online comment sections have already done this. You can keep most of your members but lose a lot of control (and existing content/advertising revenue).

2) Play to a forum’s strengths. Focus on deeper discussions around answers you can’t find on Google. You will have far fewer people (more lurkers) but far better quality discussions. You get to focus on creating an asset. A lot of customer service channels fall into this bucket.

3) Get exclusive. Focus on an exclusive feeling of being a part of something different and less mainstream. Hide your content from search and tell those who don’t meet your criteria to go to social media to chat. You will have fewer people, but a strong sense of community and a decent level of discussions.

This isn’t a new dilemma. Independent book stores, groceries, record labels, and many, many, more faced this same dilemma. The biggest mistake is to fight against a tidal wave. Make a decisive decision and push it all the way.

23 Oct 19:00

Message Processing Styles

Recently I’m thinking about how we process messages in networked software.

Consider this Java snippet, for example.

boolean isPassNode(final JsonNode node) {
  if (node.isObject()) {
    final JsonNode child = node.get(Constants.TYPE_FIELD);
    if (child != null) {
      if (child.isTextual()) {
        return Constants.PASS_TYPE.equals(child.asText());
  return false;

Which asks: Is this a JSON object with a top-level “Type” field whose value is the string “Pass”?

Is this a sane thing to want to do? And if so, what’s a good way to do it?

In an ideal world…

You’d never need to go fishing around through fields like this. In fact, you’d never have to think about “messages”, you’d just write methods and they’d get called, maybe across the network, with the expected argument types. Or, you’d call strongly-typed functions and if they’re somewhere else, your infrastructure would take care of the required message wrangling.

If that’s your world, you can stop reading now. Among other things, you probably shouldn’t be using JSON (see below).

It’s not mine. Maybe because I mostly work on infrastructure? I’m regularly dealing with byte blobs arriving over the Internet that are alleged to be JSON and are expected to contain certain name/value field patterns. Those patterns represent types in the minds of their creators and I need to feed part or all of the payload to strongly-typed functions at my end. But this is the Internet, so who knows what those blobs really hold?

JSON, you say?

For low-rent interop, sure. But if both ends of the spectrum know exactly what the bits on the wire represent, you have lots of probably-better choices: ProtoBufs, Amazon Ion, Cap’n Proto, FlatBuffers, SBE, probably more. (For the purposes of this note, I didn’t research which are actively maintained, nor any comparative benchmarks.) These things might serialize/deserialize measurably faster and that might matter to your app performance. They have richer type systems than JSON (admittedly a low bar), which quite likely will help. And they’re almost certainly more compact on the wire, which is always a good thing.

Me, my day-job is heterogeneous distributed infrastructure and, well, that means a lot of JSON. (But maybe soon some Amazon Ion (mentioned above) and/or CBOR).

What are messages?

Sometimes they’re a number or a string; sometimes a little package of numbers and strings; sometimes deeply-nested document-flavored things.

Sometimes they represent business transactions, sometimes database records, sometimes ledger entries, sometimes cloud infrastructure events; and that’s obviously not all.

Internet messaging lessons

These are just some things experience has convinced me are usually true:

  1. When you send a message across the Internet, you can’t control how it’ll be interpreted or used.

  2. When you receive a message from the Internet, you can’t assume that the sender was sane or that it follows any implicit or explicit schema.

  3. Some message transports distinguish between “message body” and “message metadata”, but that distinction is bullshit; by which I mean rarely of practical use.

  4. Unfortunately, messaging compute time is intrinsically O(N) in the number of messages. Suck it up, deal with it, and go looking for grungy low-level optimizations, not elegant sublinear algorithms.


By which I mean “Object-JSON Mapping”, in the spirit of ORM. I’ve always disliked ORM; for some reason I always end up feeling like I’m struggling against the mapper, rather than working with it.

When you’re in Programming Language X and look up “JSON handling in X”, they assume that OJM is what you want, and proudly show how easy it is.

The idea is, you have a class (or prototype, or struct, or whatever) declaration, and the JSON is just a serialization. So you can interchange between messages and objects automagically, right? That’s what Java’s ObjectMapper, just to give one example, is about.

And over in GoLang territory, there’s json.Unmarshal(b, &m), and I quote: “If b contains valid JSON that fits in m, after the call err will be nil and the data from b will have been stored in the struct m”. That is, as long as all your JSON field names have initial capitals. But hey, check out JSON, interfaces, and go generate by Francesc Campoy Flores, which turns json.Unmarshal’s object-mapping dials up to 11.

Message probing

Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve basically never found OJM very useful.

Thus we return to the code at the top of this page. It’s the kind of thing you do in infrastructure software; peek into a message and figure out what it is so you can route it, or log it, or index it, or apply security protocols to part of the content, or set off a loud urgent alarm.

Or, maybe, just maybe, load it into a native object and pass the whole thing to some method; but usually not.

Typically, you have to do these things a very large number of times per second.

The problem here is that when you’re building infrastructure you’re usually using a statically-typed language, which will have a severe impedance mismatch with JSON’s happy-go-lucky attitude: the structure of the data is the structure given by the characters in the JSON text, which is definitely neither known nor deducible at compile time.

Fortunately, the tools often aren’t bad. In Java, Jackson will construct a JsonNode tree for you at acceptable speed and you can poke around as illustrated above, or even deploy jayway JsonPath to good effect.

Of course Java’s not the only infrastructure-building choice. It looks like both Swift and Rust provide straightforward ways to look at ad-hoc JSON through a statically-typed lens.

Go, on the other hand, does not make this easy; you have to construct a twisty maze of little interface{} and type-assertion logic, producing code that in my experience is pretty opaque.

Dynamic languages?

Well, of course. In Ruby and Python, poking around inside weakly-understood data structures is the most natural thing in the world, and the impedance mismatch with JSON is barely visible. And of course we all know what the J and S in JSON stand for.

But we mostly don’t use those for infrastructure.


Marrying messages and objects is cool, I suppose. But next time you design a new language, make it easy to hook up with Internet messages and get to know them the way they really are, before you commit to marriage.

23 Oct 17:44

Snapshots from France

by michaelkluckner

Pictures of the self-driving free bus that runs around the Confluence district in Lyon…



It putters along the quiet roadway at a speed slightly faster than a wheelchair, making just one turn, and occasionally slamming on its brakes if a pedestrian ambles into its path…


… and has a minder, who also keeps statistics of the passengers. Confluence is the former industrial district in Lyon on the narrow strip of land where the Rhone and Saone rivers meet. It’s rather suburban or “office park” compared with other places in Lyon, and has some dramatic buildings…



Lyon itself is quite flat, with the exception of the Croix-Russes district on the north bank of the Saone, and is dotted with docking stations for the public bike-rent system (Confluence is at the bottom left of the map) …


In Paris, we walked the Promenade Plantée, also known as the Coulée Verte, from Bastille all the way southeasterly to the Bois de Vincennes, about 5 km. Inaugurated in 1993, it is much older and much less well-known than NYC’s HighLine, but an incredible respite from the noise and bustle of Parisian streets…


French towns and cities are still wrestling, if that’s the right word, with the problem of dog shit all over the streets …


… but Paris is much cleaner than it used to be. “Le slalom sur les crottes” is fading into memory.


…and Uber is trying to lure people out of the crowded Metro with the promise, ha ha, that they can smoothly make their way through the uncrowded Paris streets. Ads like this were posted in many Metro stations.

One final shot (only the French would do this, peut-être?) – the terminus of the RER at Paris-CDG. The functioning escalator is descending, forcing passengers to haul their bags up the staircase!


23 Oct 19:29

Comment about nine dishes ist weg

by mlfot

mlfot has posted a comment:

Thanks again for all the adding to CRWDP!

Have (re)tagged for the pool-index :-)

nine dishes ist weg

23 Oct 09:01

Apple Adds ARM Support to macOS Sierra Kernel

by Rui Carmo

I’ve been wondering when this would happen, since now that Apple does their own fabbing and that their A-series is nearly as speedy as Intel chips (from a user perspective — there’s no way a current ARM CPU can beat the top-line i7 chips yet), moving the Mac to ARM and regaining full control of their platform is starting to be feasible.

The scary bit is that it may well explain a lot of the hardware delays, as well as mean the end of the Mac as a fully agnostic development platform — so here’s hoping they won’t switch wholesale.

23 Oct 18:06

Doc Searls – The problem for people isn’t advertising, and the problem for advertising isn’t blocking

by D'Arcy Norman

Doc Searls, writing on Medium1 about some important projects to help pull the balance of power on the internet back to the individuals that make it awesome in the first place.

There’s a new sheriff on the Net, and it’s the individual. Who isn’t a “user,” by the way. Or a “consumer.” With new terms of our own, we’re the first party. The companies we deal with are second parties. Meaning that they are the users, and the consumers, of our legal “content.” And they’ll like it too, because we actually want to do good business with good companies, and are glad to make deals that work for both parties. Those include expressions of true loyalty, rather than the coerced kind we get from every “loyalty” card we carry in our purses and wallets.

When we are the first parties, we also get scale. Imagine changing your terms, your contact info, or your last name, for every company you deal with — and doing that in one move. That can only happen when you are the first party.

Source: The problem for people isn’t advertising, and the problem for advertising isn’t blocking. – Medium

  1. I had somehow unsubscribed to his Harvard blog, so hadn’t seen this. Until he cross-posted on Medium. Oops. Resubscribed.
24 Oct 03:35

Reading and writing for our peers

by Jon Udell

The story Jan Dawson tells in The De-Democratization of Online Publishing is familiar to me. Like him, I was thrilled to be part of the birth of personal publishing in the mid-1990s. By 2001 my RSS feedreader was delivering a healthy mix of professional and amateur sources. Through the lens of my RSS reader, stories in the New York Times were no more or less important than blog posts from my peers in the tech blogosophere, And because RSS was such a simple format, there was no technical barrier to entry. It was a golden era of media democratization not seen before or since.

As Dawson rightly points out, new formats from Google (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and Facebook (Instant Articles) are “de-democratizing” online publishing by upping the ante. These new formats require skills and tooling not readily available to amateurs. That means, he says, that “we’re effectively turning back the clock to a pre-web world in which the only publishers that mattered were large publishers and it was all but impossible to be read if you didn’t work for one of them.”

Let’s unpack that. When I worked for a commercial publisher in 2003, my charter was to bring its audience to the web and establish blogging as a new way to engage with that audience. But my situation was atypical. Most of the bloggers I read weren’t, like me, working for employers in the business of manufacturing audiences. They were narrating their work and conserving keystrokes. Were they impossible to read? On the contrary, if you shared enough interests in common it was impossible not to read them.

When publishers were the machines that manufactured audiences and connected advertisers to them, you were unlikely to be read widely. Those odds don’t change when Google and Facebook become the publishers; only the gatekeepers do. But when publishing is personal and social, that doesn’t matter.

One of the bloggers I met long ago, Lucas Gonze, is a programmer and a musician who curates and performs 19th-century parlour music. He reminded me that before the advent of recording and mass distribution, music wasn’t performed by a small class of professionals for large audiences. People gathered around the piano in the parlour to play and sing.

Personal online publishing once felt like that. I don’t know if it will again, but the barrier isn’t technical. The tools invented then still exist and they work just fine. The only question is whether we’ll rekindle our enthusiasm for reading and writing for our peers.

23 Oct 20:08

Told you so

by russell davies
23 Oct 03:15

Reclaiming subscriptions and access to information

by D'Arcy Norman

After deactivating my twitter and facebook accounts (again. again.) I was struck that most people don’t seem to subscribe to RSS feeds anymore, relying on twitter and facebook for notification when content is published. Which means, on the one hand, I’ve muted myself because many people will no longer know when I post something (which may be for the better). On the other hand (actually, I guess it’s the same hand…), it means that many people have completely abdicated control for their information to companies and their opaque/secret/unknown algorithms.

Platforms like twitter and facebook aren’t the same as subscribing to an RSS feed. They tweak what you see. They adjust the order. They hide things or emphasize things. They are not in the information sharing business. They are in the advertising business, which means their number 1 priority is making sure you click on their links and stay on their platform for as long as possible. So, they play with the information streams to do that, rather than just giving you the raw information from feeds you thought you subscribed to.

End rant.

So. If you’re interested in reclaiming some sense of control over what information you access, RSS is still a thing. There are a whole bunch of applications of various types that you can use to subscribe to the raw RSS feeds from any site that still generates them (over 25% of the web is published on WordPress, which still generates RSS feeds wonderfully, and most other platforms do it at some level).

I still use Shaun Inman’s fantastic self-hosted Fever˚ RSS aggregator to read 1011 feeds every day. I use Reeder on macOS and iOS as well, as it can connect to a self-hosted Fever˚ server for syncing.

There are 220 other alternatives to Google Reader listed on AlternativeTo. Many are free. Many are trivial to set up and use. There really is no reason not to manage your own subscriptions.


23 Oct 03:26

Instapaper Liked: Why Alfre Woodard’s Mariah Is Luke Cage’s Secret Weapon

Photo-Illustration: Vulture In a throwaway moment on Netflix’s Luke Cage, Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes insultingly calls his cousin “Black Mariah.” It took me…
23 Oct 06:42

Schiaparelli is Gone. Smashed on the surface of Mars

by Bob King
mkalus shared this story from Universe Today.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site before and after the lander arrived. The images have a resolution of 6 meters per pixel and shows two new features on the surface when compared to an image from the same camera taken in May this year. The black dot appears to be the lander impact site and the smaller white dot below the paw-shaped cluster of craters, the parachute. Credit: NASA

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site before and after the lander arrived. The images have a resolution of 6 meters per pixel and shows two new features on the surface when compared to an image from the same camera taken in May this year. The black dot appears to be the lander impact site and the smaller white dot below the paw-shaped cluster of craters, the parachute. Credit: NASA

Instead of a controlled descent to the surface using its thrusters, ESA’s Schiaparelli lander hit the ground hard and may very well have exploded on impact.  NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter then-and-now photos of the landing site have identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed connected to the ill-fated lander.

Schiaparelli entered the martian atmosphere at 10:42 a.m. EDT (14:42 GMT) on October 19 and began a 6-minute descent to the surface, but contact was lost shortly before expected touchdown seconds after the parachute and back cover were discarded. One day later, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took photos of the expected touchdown site as part of a planned imaging run.

The landing site is shown within the Schiaparelli landing ellipse (top) along with before and after images below. Copyright Main image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, Arizona State University; inserts: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The landing site is shown within the Schiaparelli landing ellipse (top) along with before and after images below. Copyright Main image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, Arizona State University; inserts: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

One of the features is bright and can be associated with the 39-foot-wide (12-meter) diameter parachute used in the second stage of Schiaparelli’s descent. The parachute and the associated back shield were released from Schiaparelli prior to the final phase, during which its nine thrusters should have slowed it to a standstill just above the surface.

The other new feature is a fuzzy dark patch or crater roughly 50 x 130 feet (15 x 40 meters) across and about 0.6 miles (1 km) north of the parachute. It’s believed to be the impact crater created by of the Schiaparelli module following a much longer free fall than planned after the thrusters were switched off prematurely.

Artist's concept of Schiaparelli deploying its parachute. The parachute may also have played a role in the crash. It may have deployed too soon, causing the thrusters to fire up too soon and run out of fuel. Or the thrusters may have simply cut out after firing. Credit: ESA

Artist’s concept of Schiaparelli deploying its parachute. The parachute may also have played a role in the crash. It may have deployed too soon, causing the thrusters to fire too soon. The thrusters may also have simply cut out too soon after firing. Credit: ESA

Mission control estimates that Schiaparelli dropped from between 1.2 and 2.5 miles (2 and 4 km) altitude, striking the Martian surface at more great speed, in excess of  therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 186 miles an hour (300 km/h). The dark spot is either disturbed surface material or it could also be due to the lander exploding on impact, since its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full. ESA cautions that these findings are still preliminary.

Something went wrong with Schiaparelli's one or more sets of thrusters during the descent. Credit: ESA

Something went wrong with Schiaparelli’s one or more sets of thrusters during the descent, causing the lander to crash on the surface at high speed. Credit: ESA

Since the module’s descent trajectory was observed from three different locations, the teams are confident that they will be able to reconstruct the chain of events with great accuracy. Exactly what happened to cause the thrusters to shut down prematurely isn’t yet known.

The post Schiaparelli is Gone. Smashed on the surface of Mars Mars. appeared first on Universe Today.

22 Oct 17:32

Taking Sides

by Matt

From Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Price acceptance speech in 1986:

And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remain silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.

23 Oct 08:07

Boy Photographer Seeks Danger as Others Flee - Lo Manh Hung, Story of the Youngest Photo Journalist in South Vietnam

by Vin Ng (
mkalus shared this story from vintage everyday.

18 Feb 1968, Saigon; Vietnam - Young Lo Manh Hung wanders among a group of refugees in Saigon February 18th looking for picture possibilities. At the age of 12, he's probably the youngest photo journalist in South Vietnam. For two years now he has been helping his father, a veteran freelance photographer, cover the dramatic and sometimes violent events of this war torn city. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

One of the most unusual sights in a city overflowing with strange sights is the slight figure of a 12 year old Vietnamese boy darting into the street battles, scrambling across the rubble, deliberately heading for trouble.

While other youngsters flee danger, he looks for it. He is a professional photographer and he has a thick stack of published pictures to prove it.

Not much taller than four feet and only a smidgin over 60 pounds, bright eyed Lo Manh Hung wears his cameras like a badge.

He has been taking pictures professionally more than two years, since his locally wellknown father, Lo Vinh, was injured covering street riotting and needed help in his work.

With the father, who is 58 years old, the pair form a team boasting Saigon’s oldest and youngest working photographers. The father, a cameraman for 44 years, was born in North Vietnam, studied art and literature at a French university, but turned to his hobby of photography for income when times got tough.

For years he traveled, taking pictures throughout Indochina, and didn’t marry until he was 43. A few months later he and his bride fled the Communists in the North and came to Saigon.

Lo Manh Hung and his father arise everyday at 5am. To be early on the job and usually don’t finish until after 9pm.That’s 365 days a year, the father sighs.

In less hectic times, the pair scoot about the city on a motorbike to cover official government affairs, weddings, airport arrivals, parties, fires, whatever may make news.

Lo Manh Hung helps with the film processing and printing, then turns messenger salesman, pedding fresh prints to local newspapers and foreign news agencies.

See more »
23 Oct 03:08

Review | Nosedive (Black Mirror, Season 3, Episode 1)

by Rex Hammock

Nosedive, the first episode of the third season of Black Mirror, pushed (shipped?) last night by Netflix, fits into an emerging science fiction genre one might call, “dystopian social media fiction.” While it’s billed as a satire, it’s not “the Onion” parody type of satire, but the Jonathan Swift stinging satire that’s uncomfortable to watch.

You can easily connect the dots from Cory Doctorow’s 2003 novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (with its reputation-based currency, whuffie) to Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel, The Circle (my review) to Nosedive.

While I’ll skip any possible spoilers, I do recommend watching Nosedive. A bit long and didactic (as this genre can easily slide into), there’s a discomforting truth captured in the episode.

22 Oct 19:00

Competence and Creating Conditions that Minimize Mistakes

by Eugene Wallingford

I enjoyed this interview with Atul Gawande by Ezra Klein. When talking about making mistakes, Gawande notes that humans have enough knowledge to cut way down on errors in many disciplines, but we do not always use that knowledge effectively. Mistakes come naturally from the environments in which we work:

We're all set up for failure under the conditions of complexity.

Mistakes are often more a matter of discipline and attention to detail than a matter of knowledge or understanding. Klein captures the essence of Gawande's lesson in one of his questions:

We have this idea that competence is not making mistakes and getting everything right. [But really...] Competence is knowing you will make mistakes and setting up a context that will help reduce the possibility of error but also help deal with the aftermath of error.

In my experience, this is a hard lesson for computer science students to grok. It's okay to make mistakes, but create conditions where you make as few as possible and in which you can recognize and deal with the mistakes as quickly as possible. High-discipline practices such as test-first and pair programming, version control, and automated builds make a lot more sense when you see them from this perspective.

23 Oct 17:01

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Phonemes

mkalus shared this story from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Time for me to lock in the erotic linguistics audience.

New comic!
Today's News:


23 Oct 12:57

Deepak Malhotra, How to Build an Exit Ramp for Trump Supporters

Deepak Malhotra, How to Build an Exit Ramp for Trump Supporters:

If you want people to change course, you have to create an “exit ramp” for them.  This entails creating the space and safety they need to acknowledge and pursue a better way forward.  Here’s how you might go about doing that when the situation is emotionally or ideologically charged.

  1. Don’t force them to defend their beliefs. Whether you’re having drinks at a bar or scrolling through your Facebook feed, when you come across someone whose views you find abhorrent or absurd, it’s tempting to engage them in a debate.  After all, it seems like a reasonable way to get someone to change their mind. The problem is, when you tell people they are wrong, stupid, immoral or irrational, they simply dig in and get more entrenched in their views.  This is because no matter how confident you are that they are misguided, they will always be able to find at least one line of defense.  All they need is one reason that you might be wrong, one weakness in your argument, or one factor that supports their position—and then they can claim it is the most important factor in the entire debate.  When your “discussion” is over, they are more firmly committed to their position than they were before.
  2. Provide information, and then give them time. When dealing with someone who passionately disagrees with you, a more effective approach than debating is to provide information without demanding anything in return.  You might say (or post on Facebook) something along the lines of: “That’s interesting.  Here’s some information I came across. You might find it useful given your interest in this topic.”  Or, “when you get a chance, I’d appreciate you taking a look at this.” You’ve done about as much as you can for now.  If they can consider what you’ve said without carrying the additional burden of having to agree with you, it is more likely it sinks in a little bit.  This is why, over weeks and months, polls do change.  Trump has lost ground as additional information about his behavior and temperament and weak grasp of issues has come to light.  But the change doesn’t tend to happen during a heated argument.  It doesn’t happen immediately.
  3. Don’t fight bias with bias. If you do end up debating an issue, protect your legitimacy at all cost.  If they are making a completely one-sided argument with selective (or misleading) evidence, don’t retaliate with a similarly biased or flawed argument to defend yourself.    If there is some merit to their argument, acknowledge it.  If you fight fire with fire, it will cost you the one thing you can’t afford to lose if you want to one day change their mind: their belief about your integrity.  They will not acknowledge or thank you for your even-handedness at the time they’re arguing with you, but they will remember and appreciate it later, behind closed doors.  And that’s where change happens.
  4. Don’t force them to choose between their idea and yours. “Clinton is better than Trump” is not an argument that is going to win the day with someone who has been a long-time supporter of Trump, or someone who has learned to hate Clinton.  Once disillusioned, as a number of Trump supporters are becoming, they are much more likely to vote for a third party, or not vote at all, than to completely switch their allegiance and vote for Clinton.  More generally, you will be much more effective if you encourage people to reconsider their perspective without saying that this requires them to adopt yours.  
  5. Help them save face. Just because you’ve finally convinced someone that they were wrong, or that they should reconsider their point of view, doesn’t mean they will actually change course.  People won’t change their behavior if they can’t find a way to do it without losing face.  The question we often fail to ask is: have we made it safe for them to change course?  How will they change their mind without looking like they have been foolish or naïve?  If you can’t find a way for them to change their attitude or actions without being able to save face, you still have a problem.
  6. Give them the cover they need. Often what’s required is some change in the situation—however small or symbolic—that allows them to say, “That’s why I changed my mind.”  For example, a former Trump supporter who is looking to abandon Trump might find the excuse they need to do so after a poor debate performance (“It showed me he is not prepared for the job”), a new allegation of sexual assault (“It’s now too many for them to have all been made up”), or a recent Trump attack on other Republicans (“Going after Paul Ryan shows that he really isn’t a conservative”).  For most people, these events are just “one more thing” that happened, but don’t underestimate the powerful role they can play in helping people who, while finally mentally ready to change their position, are worried about how to take the last, decisive step.
  7. Let them in. If they fear you will punish them the moment they change their mind, they will stick to their guns until the bitter end.  This punishment takes many forms, from taunts of “I told you so” to being labeled “a flip-flopper” to still being treated like an outsider or lesser member of the team by those who were “on the right side all along.” This is a grave mistake.  If you want someone to stop clinging to a failing course of action or a bad idea, you will do yourself a huge favor if you reward rather than punish them for admitting they were wrong. You can’t ask them to leave the comfort of their own tribe and then abandon them once they do.  You have to let them in and give them the respect they want and need just as much as you.

We’ll need a big tent if we are going to reach out to the wildest fringes of Trump support.

22 Oct 15:41

Action Items in Google Docs

by Stowe Boyd

Google Docs now supports Action Items, a specialized sort of comment that is indicated by an @mention and leads to various new use cases.

Continue reading on The Messengers »

22 Oct 17:22

"Technology is the answer. But what was the question?"

“Technology is the answer. But what was the question?”

- Cedric Price
22 Oct 22:00

Unimplemented one-handed keyboard discovered inside iOS codebase

by Igor Bonifacic

Apple has sold a 5.5-inch device since the end of 2014, but even after two years, the company has yet to add a one-handed typing mode to iOS to help small-handed users type on its biggest smartphone.

What makes that decision even more interesting is the fact that, according to code discovered by developer Steve Troughton-Smith, the framework to support a one-handed keyboard has been present in iOS since 2014.

iOS keyboard

Troughton-Smith found the relevant code in a simulator, the Xcode tool iOS developers use to test and debug their apps prior to loading them onto an actual device. When the feature is working, the one-handed mode can be activated by swiping from either the left or right side of the keyboard. Once activated, it makes the letter keys smaller, and adds a number of shortcuts for functionality like copy and paste.

It’s unclear why Apple has yet to fully implement the keyboard, especially considering it looks mostly finished and functional.

Below is a video of the keyboard in action — albeit controlled using a mouse.

Troughton-Smith has provided code for other developers to implement the feature within a jailbroken environment.

22 Oct 16:31

Audrey Watters – Attending to the Digital

by D'Arcy Norman

The transcript from a presentation by Audrey Watters at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. She was invited to talk about digital discourse as part of their launch of a domain-of-ones-own initiative. What a fantastic way to launch such a thing1. Read the entire thing.

Building on Postman, Chaucer, Caulfield. Nice.

In part, I find that those who want to dismiss such a thing as “digital distraction” tend to minimize the very real impact that new technologies do have on what we see, what we pay attention to. It’s right there in that phrase – “pay attention.” Attention has costs. It is a resource – one involving time and energy, a resource of which we only have a limited amount. Attention has become a commodity, with different companies and technologies bidding for a piece of it.

Audrey also touches on “reclaiming the web” – pointing out, rightly, that reclaiming isn’t about nostalgia or romanticizing a pristine past. It’s about reclaiming a voice. Restoring some of the individual control that has been so thoroughly trampled by large corporate platforms that have claimed to own so much of modern communication.

I want to turn here, to close, to the second part of my title – a phrase I haven’t referred to yet: “reclaiming the Web.” I want to invoke the speaker’s prerogative to change the title of my talk here as I come to its conclusion. I’ve used the word “reclaim” a lot in my work. I’ve done so in part because the word does mean to bring back. Reclamation is to reassert, to protest, to heal, to restore. But again, I don’t really believe the tale that the Web was once something pristine that we must rescue and convert from wasteland. Yes, we need to engage in a reclamation. But it’s not the Web per se that we must rebuild. It’s broader and deeper than that. Broader and deeper than technology. Broader and deeper than “the digital.”

If there’s something to reclaim – or for many voices, to get to claim for the very first time – it is public discourse. It is, I hope, one that rests on a technological commons. I think we start towards that commons by thinking very carefully, by thinking very slowly and deeply, by cultivating very lovingly our spaces and places and own domains.

Source: Attending to the Digital

  1. I’ve got to find a way to bring her to UCalgary…
22 Oct 16:40

Mike Caulfield – Internet of Broken Things

by D'Arcy Norman

When it comes to security, where will this sea of abandoned devices get security patches from? Who will write them, and how will they get paid?Like Ward, I worry that it’s not just an internet of things, but a proprietary mess of interdependent services built on the shifting sands of unstable business models. Unless we develop standards and protocols that reduce that proprietary interdependency we’re eventually going to have a lot bigger problem on our hands than Twitter outages.

Source: Internet of Broken Things | Hapgood

22 Oct 16:32

Stephen Pratt thinks companies will soon have Chief AI Officers

by Stowe Boyd

At a recent The Information summit event, Stephen Pratt of suggests we’ll soon see CAIO as a work title:

Continue reading on The Messengers »

22 Oct 11:58

new-aesthetic: Hacked Cameras, DVRs Powered Today’s Massive...


Hacked Cameras, DVRs Powered Today’s Massive Internet Outage — Krebs on Security

A massive and sustained Internet attack that has caused outages and network congestion today for a large number of Web sites was launched with the help of hacked “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices, such as CCTV video cameras and digital video recorders, new data suggests.

Earlier today cyber criminals began training their attack cannons on Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company that provides critical technology services to some of the Internet’s top destinations. The attack began creating problems for Internet users reaching an array of sites, including Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify and Netflix.

According to researchers at security firm Flashpoint, today’s attack was launched at least in part by a Mirai-based botnet. Allison Nixon, director of research at Flashpoint, said the botnet used in today’s ongoing attack is built on the backs of hacked IoT devices — mainly compromised digital video recorders (DVRs) and IP cameras made by a Chinese hi-tech company called XiongMai Technologies. The components that XiongMai makes are sold downstream to vendors who then use it in their own products.

“It’s remarkable that virtually an entire company’s product line has just been turned into a botnet that is now attacking the United States,” Nixon said

And of course you wonder if that was the plan all along.

22 Oct 11:49

Logitech K780 :: What a keyboard

by Volker Weber


This is one of the rare moments where I meet a product that checks out in every single aspect. The K780 is a desktop keyboard, that can hold up your tablet or smartphone. It's a full featured six row keyboard with numeric keypad. Zero compromises.


The most important trick is the Bluetooth switcher. You pair it with three devices at a time simply by holding down one of those numbers for three seconds. Once you paired your devices you just hit the corresponding key and it connects.


It is quiet, substantial and heavy. Not meant to travel with you in your bag. But it is going to live on my table for the indefinite future. Editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award. Probably the biggest there ever was.

K780 works with Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android and iOS. On MacOS and Windows you can download Logitech Options to customize the keyboard to your needs. It uses Bluetooth Smart for very low energy consumption and runs on two small batteries. If your Mac or PC does not have Bluetooth Smart you can use the included pre-paired USB dongle.


Last but not least, the materials are fantastic. Matte black with white accents. It sits on a grey plate that also builds up the hump which keeps your tablet or smartphone upright. Since the keyboard is heavy, there is no wiggle. It's all around solid.

In the past, Logitech has been a provider of inexpensive computer peripherals, but the last three products I have been using point into a very different direction. Both the Logi Base as well as the Logi Create are very well thought out and provide a quality experience day in and day out. And this keyboard continues on the same path.

More >

22 Oct 05:47

Telling tales about my autistic son

by Alex

“How does Peanut feel about you writing about him?”

It’s a question a number of people have asked me in the week since I published my open letter to the police officers who helped us during a recent meltdown. In that letter I shared a very personal moment in my life as the mother of an autistic 10-year-old?—?and thus, in the life of my son.

I write a lot about parenting, and particularly, about my research into how families navigate the digital world. But there’s a big difference between writing about parenting in general terms, or even sharing a few anecdotes about my own kids, and writing about the intense challenges of parenting an autistic child. My parenting journey regularly includes days that would probably count as other people’s Worst Parenting Day Ever, so telling the true story of this adventure means giving people an inside look at very private moments.

But the response to the story I shared last week made me realize why it’s important to tell that story. I’ve heard from people who say that they’ll now have a different view on the child who is melting down in public, and of the parent struggling desperately to contain that meltdown. I’ve heard from the parents of other special needs kids who experience similar struggles, and find it comforting to know they’re not alone. And I’ve heard from autistic adults, and the parents of autistic kids, who have given me useful feedback that’s going to affect my own parenting choices.

All those voices have mingled with the voice in my head that’s been telling me to share our experience of raising an utterly exceptional child. That voice has only grown louder as I’ve done more speaking about raising kids in a digital world, because I’ve seen how many families’ screen conflicts are intensified by their own kids’ special needs. It’s grown louder as friends with younger kids have started to encounter challenges similar to our own, and have asked me how we’ve survived the journey.

Most of all, it’s been amplified by my own continuing struggle: now that I realize I’m running a marathon, not a sprint, I know I can only make it to the finish line by letting my words light the way. I’m a writer who lives on the social web, and I think my way through things by writing and talking about them online.
For a long time, that didn’t seem like a good enough reason to write my son’s story, even if it was the only way I could write my own. But as a dear friend once pointed out: if writing about Peanut is what gives me the ability to do what I need to do for him, then it’s worth it.

That’s why I feel ready to try a new experiment: creating a new Medium publication. It’s a way of gathering together a few of the pieces I’ve written over the years, describing the experience of raising an exceptionally gifted, autistic boy. And it’s a way of committing myself to writing more of those stories going forward, so that our experience can reach and help other people who are struggling. Not just special needs parents, or even parents in general, but anyone whose life isn’t going according to plan, and who needs to figure out a way to live with whatever curve ball the universe has thrown their way.

“We can help other people?”

It was an idea that delighted Peanut himself when I told him about the online reaction to our police encounter. He’s got his share of obstacles, but he’s also a very lucky boy, as I pointed out: he’s white, he’s male, and he’s got privileged parents who know something about how to communicate online. We are in a position to put our challenges and experiences in service to other people?—?including those for whom similar challenges may be fatal.

The goal of service isn’t enough to magically erase the contradictions and complexities that come from publicly sharing the private struggles of the very child I need to help most. I’m going to be careful to run each story past my husband, who already acts as Peanut’s in-house privacy advocate, since neither Peanut nor his sister would or should read everything I write. There are some areas that will stay off-limits, like amusing bathroom stories or things he’s told me in confidence. Whatever I write, I want to be sure I’m writing from a place of love and respect for my son, and not in a moment of anger.

And of course, nothing that could identify our little guy by name or face. That’s why I’ll keep using his online handle, and why I’m naming this project accordingly: The Peanut Diaries.