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27 Feb 08:43

Hangouts and Photos are probably going to split from Google+

by Daniel Bader

According to Sundar Pichai, the head of products at Google, hinted during an interview with Forbes that two of Google+’s best integrations, Hangouts and Photos, will continue to separate from the core social network. “I think increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications, photos and the Google+ Stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area,” he told the magazine.

While both Hangouts and Photos have separate apps on mobile, they’re inextricably linked to Google+ in the way users register for the former and navigate through the latter. Increasingly, Photos has become a product that users interact with entirely apart from Google+, and Hangouts lives, for many people, on mobile.

Google has said many times that Google+ is not only a success in terms of user interaction, but it is increasingly the backbone of the entire company, with many services, such as YouTube, dependent on the social network’s login information.

With Google I/O less than three months away, we’ll likely hear more about the future of Photos, Hangouts, and Google+, in San Francisco.

27 Feb 09:32

Performing Minor Surgery on a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

by Jeffrey Friedl
Minor Lens Surgery in Progress Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 レンズの手術、始まり点 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Minor Lens Surgery in Progress
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8

I've had my Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (seen here) for more than eight years. I don't use it all that much anymore because for the last few years I've tended to prefer faster prime lenses, but it's a great lens for many situations.

I'm pretty tough on my gear... I don't baby it, I use it, and this lens is no exception. In particular, after using it all day in heavy snow five years ago (“First Look at Snowy Shirakawago Village”), the zoom became a bit less smooth. It wasn't so bad that it was worth the bother of having it serviced, but it was a slight inconvenience I lived with for years.

Fast forward to a few months ago and it suddenly started getting stuck while zooming... I couldn't zoom out past a certain point. It was hitting a hard stop, as if a bolt had been placed to stop the zoom. The problem came and went... when it came, I found that I could usually unstick things by jiggling the lens, or turning it sideways, or something... I never knew what would get it to work, beyond “futzing with it until it zooms again”, sometimes for several minutes. It was a major inconvenience when I was shooting the big new-year's storm at 3am (“Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow”), so I knew I needed to finally get it fixed.

Thinking to bring the lens on my upcoming across-the-country RV trip, I checked Nikon's service website and found that the estimation to fix a troublesome zoom was US$800(!). This is probably for the worst-case scenario... having to replace the guts of the zoom... but mine probably needed only a little TLC. They didn't have a pricepoint listed for “a little TLC”, so I was reticent to send it in.

So, I decided to open it up and fix it myself.

Three resources really helped:

The comment by David Dietrich is painful to read because of his writing style (he comes across like a real jerk), but the information is accurate and invaluable.

In the end, what I did was quite simple...

After using an X-Acto knife to remove a thin glued-on ring that covered the edge around the end of the lens, I was left with the three exposed screws seen in the opening photo.

Removing the three screws (all while leaving the lens covered with a lens-cleaning cloth, as minor insurance) lets the filter-holder pop off, yielding six more screws:

Ready To Remove the Front Element -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Ready To Remove the Front Element

In the shot above, notice that three of the screws are recessed, while the three that are not have some kind of smudge next to them. The smudge is likely Loctite, indicating that those screws should not be removed without a very explicit need. This is where the video made a mistake, which the comment corrected.

With that understanding, I removed the three recessed screws, and the whole front-element unit popped out, leaving the hollow center of the lens open to access:

Zoom Grooves -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Zoom Grooves

I applied tiny dabs of silicone grease to the grooves.

Inner Grooves -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/125 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Inner Grooves


I would have liked to used lithium grease, but I couldn't find mine, so I went with what I had. I put the six screws and the little cover ring back, and it zoomed just fine. Not “good as new” fine — I have a feeling that lithium grease would have been better — but good enough.

27 Feb 08:31

Open Badges Community Call, Feb. 25, 2015



This week we were joined by Andrew Downes, who has been working on a prototype for an integration of Tin Can API (xAPI) and the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) alongside Ryan Smith from HT2, and the Open Badges xAPI Community of Practice

Tin Can was developed at similar time to Open Badges addressing similar areas (recording learner experiences and achievements). While there was some initial concerns about conflict or overlap, it turned out there were actually quite a few differences which made them quite complementary. Open Badges tended to be used more in academics to recognize bigger steps in the learning process, whereas Tin Can statements have been used in workforce to describe more granular steps before and after a badge is earned.

Andrew and the Open Badges xAPI Community of Practice have been working on ways these two technologies can work together, including:

  • sharing awarded badges between systems
  • localizing and sharing badge definitions between systems
  • sharing issuer metadata between systems
  • defining machine readable badge criteria and evidence
  • automatically awarding badges based on Tin Can statements
  • using a learning record store (LRS) as a backpack

Most of their work thus far has focused on using badges and Tin Can with professional bodies, but they are now moving on to organizations and accreditation bodies (see the diagram below). We look forward to hearing more from them in a few months - if you’d like to get involved in github, join xAPI Community of Practice around Open Badges:

Other updates

We were also joined on the community call this week by Dan Hickey, who is using BadgeList to issue badges in his Learning and Cognition Course, as well as working with Indiana University to install Badgesafe. His team is also collaborating with edX as part of his new project, Open Badges in edX and Beyond. 

In Louisiana, Carey Hamburg is putting together a focus group study on the use of badges in recruiting and hiring in the local oil + gas industries as part of his doctoral study. At Concentric Sky & the Oregon Center for Digital Learning, Nate Otto and the team are working on software for one user to be able to manage their own earned badges, define and issue badges to others, and understand badges that people show to them, and are making progress toward an initial release.

The Standards Working Group is continuing to make progress with the W3C credentials community group: members are putting together open badges use cases, and drafting a vocabulary that is generalizable across various high and low stakes credentials. This vocabulary will be shared with the general community soon for feedback and comment.

Opportunities to get involved

The Standards Working Group is putting together development resources to update the Mozilla validator to 1.1 and they’re looking for contributors. The group is willing to work with interns or new JS programmers as a mentorship opportunity, so if you’re interested in a little bit of Node.js contribution, get in touch with Nate Otto

Dan Hickey and his team are looking for additional collaborators on the Open Badges in Higher Ed project. Read more here and get in touch if your organization or institution is working with badges in interesting ways.

Thank you to everyone who joined us this week. Join us next Wednesday for more community project updates and announcements.

27 Feb 11:40

HP Once Wore The Revenue Crown

HP Once Wore The Revenue Crown:

Quentin Hardy on the most recent quarterly earnings by HP:

For the quarter ending Jan. 30, HP reported revenue of $26.8 billion, a fall of 5 percent from a year ago. Net earnings were $1.4 billion, down 4 percent. Using nonstandard accounting popular in the tech business, per-share earnings were 92 cents.
The revenue numbers were worse than expected in a survey of Wall Street analysts by Thomson Reuters. They thought HP’s revenue would be $27.3 billion. Per-share were 91 cents.

What’s insane isn’t HP’s poor performance, it’s that not even four years ago, HP was bringing in roughly double the revenue of Apple. HP was still the king of tech in this regard. Now Apple is doing almost three times the revenue of HP on a quarterly basis. 

With regard to earnings, Apple is roughly 13 times ahead. Yes, thirteen. With HP about to split into two separate companies, this is one of the last times such a comparison will be simple to do. And it’s crazy.

27 Feb 11:57

All change: meet the new MagPi!

by Liz Upton

Some of you may have sniffed this in the wind: there have been some changes at The MagPi, the community Raspberry Pi magazine. The MagPi has been run by volunteers, with no input from the Foundation, for the last three years. Ash Stone, Will Bell, Ian McAlpine and Aaron Shaw, who formed the core editorial team, approached us a few months ago to ask if we could help with what had become a massive monthly task; especially given that half the team has recently changed jobs or moved overseas.

We had a series of discussions, which have resulted in the relaunch of the MagPi you see today. Over the last few months we’ve been working on moving the magazine in-house here at the Foundation. There’s a lot that’s not changing: The MagPi is still your community magazine; it’s still (and always) going to be available as a free PDF download (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0); it’s still going to be full of content written by you, the community.

We don’t make any money out of doing this. Even if in the future we make physical copies available in shops, we don’t expect to break even on the magazine; but we think that offline resources like this are incredibly important for the community and aid learning, so we’re very happy to be investing in it.

Russell Barnes, who has ten years of experience editing technology magazines, has joined us as Managing Editor, and is heading up the magazine. He’s done an incredible job over the last couple of months, and I’m loving working with him. Russell says:

I’m really excited to be part of The MagPi magazine.

Like all great Raspberry Pi projects, The MagPi was created by a band of enthusiasts that met on the Raspberry Pi forum. They wanted to make a magazine for fellow geeks, and they well and truly succeeded. 

It might look a bit different, but the new MagPi is still very much a magazine for and by the Raspberry Pi community. It’s also still freely available under a Creative Commons license, so you can download the PDF edition free every issue to share and remix.

The MagPi is now a whopping 70 pages and includes a mix of news, reviews, features and tutorials for enthusiasts of all ages. Issue 31 is just a taste of what we’ve got in store. Over the coming months we’ll be showing you how the Raspberry Pi can power robots, fly to the edge of space and even cross the Atlantic!

The biggest thanks, of course, has to go to Ash, Will, Ian, Aaron and everybody else – there are dozens of you – who has worked on The MagPi since the beginning. You’ve made something absolutely remarkable, and we promise to look after The MagPi just as well as you have done.

So – want to see the new issue? Here it is! Click to find a download page.



27 Feb 12:29

"We’ve had our heads down fighting the daily fires for three years. During that time we might as well..."

“We’ve had our heads down fighting the daily fires for three years. During that time we might as well have been in Cleveland. Now we have to pop our heads up and re-connect with the Valley.”


Meg Whitman, CEO of HP, talking about why HP has been quiet (and struggling) as of late. 

As someone who is from Cleveland, I’m not sure how to take this.

27 Feb 00:00

Why Everyone Was Wrong About Net Neutrality


Tim Wu, The New Yorker, Mar 01, 2015

I will admit that I was both surprised and pleased by the decision in the United States to support net neutrality, "preserving an open Internet by prohibiting broadband providers from blocking or slowing content that flows across their pipes." In this article Tim Wu - who coined the term 'net neutrality' in the first place - explains why we were wrong to expect the decision would go the other way. But I caution against celebrations too early, and not simply because the cable and telecom companies will start court cases to overturn the ruling. The FCC has merely decided to  regulate the internet, and these regulations, over time, could erode net neutrality, condemning it to a death by a thousand cuts.

[Link] [Comment]
26 Feb 18:28

A Major Victory for the Open Web

by mitchell

We just accomplished something very important together. Today, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted for strong net neutrality protections. This happened because millions of people — including many hundreds of thousands
in Mozilla’s community — joined together as citizens of the Web to demand those strong protections.

This is an important victory for the world’s largest public resource, the open Web. Net neutrality is a key aspect of enabling innovation from everywhere, and especially from new players and unexpected places. Net neutrality allows citizens and consumers to access new innovations and judge the merit for themselves. It allows individual citizens to make decisions, without gate-keepers who decide which possibilities can become real. Today’s net neutrality rules help us protect this open and innovative potential of the Internet.

Mozilla builds our products to put this openness and opportunity into the hands of individuals. We are organized as a non-profit so that the assets we create benefit everyone. Our products go hand-in-hand with net neutrality; they need net neutrality to bring the full potential of the Internet to all of us.

Today’s net neutrality rules are an important step in protecting opportunity for all. This victory was not inevitable. It occurred because so many people took action, so many people put their voice into the process. To each of you we say “Thank you.” Thank you for taking the time to understand the issue, for recognizing it’s important, and for taking action. Thank you for helping us build openness and opportunity into the very fabric of the Internet.

Video message from Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation

26 Feb 15:37

Survey: What Apple Watch model are you going to buy?

by Ewan

So, you’re going to have to buy an Apple Watch, right?

If you work in the mobile world, the chances are you’re going to either want to (or have to) buy one.

Whether you like the idea or not, we all have to face the reality: Apple is clearly betting big on ‘Watch’ and it behoves anyone with specific interest in the sector to buy one and experiment with it.

It’s entirely conceivable that the Watch launch will herald a completely new multi-billion dollar ecosystem almost right-away. And we all want a piece of that. Ergo we’ll all stand in line. Yes?

Even if you’re not a standard Apple-loving-slave (“oh, a new iPhone, better upgrade…”) the chances are you’ll probably be lining up to buy, if only to see what the fuss will be about.

Plus you’ll look cool. Until we find out the ‘usable’ battery life for anything other than telling the time is something like 60 minutes. Heh.

Anyway. I’d like to know your intentions.

You can’t just buy an Apple Watch. You need to choose the model. You need to decide how you’re going to define yourself against the Apple yardstick.

Screenshot 2015-02-26 15.13.56

You can choose between (in order of expected cost):

  • Watch Sport (“hundreds of pounds”)
  • Watch (“about a thousand pounds”)
  • Watch Edition (“crazy, e.g. tens of thousands of pounds”)

I’ve assumed this is accurate — I’ve used John Gruber’s Daring Fireball Watch post from last week as a guide.

All of this is of course mere speculation today.

My own view? I’ll be buying the Apple Watch Sport — e.g. the cheapest, on the basis that the only variation is how it looks.

I say that… I might find myself in the store and feel, all of a sudden, that I have to define myself with the ‘Watch’ one. I doubt I’ll be looking at the Edition any time soon.

Once you’ve chosen the model… you’ll need to select the size, too. Big (for male wrists, basically) or Small (for female wrists)?

So what about you?

Can you take 30 seconds and answer these three questions? I’ll then publish the answers in a few days. It’ll be interesting to find out what you’re all thinking.

I’ve also added a ‘why’ box in case you’d like to tell me what you’re thinking. I’ll try and quote a few in the results post.

Here’s the Survey embed or you can use this link.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

26 Feb 15:05

These are the top-25 mobile photos from Flickr in 2014

by archieflickr

At the Flickr office, one of our most fun recurring debates is whether photos on mobile devices will ever approach the quality of those taken with dedicated cameras. Because we recently gathered the top photos taken overall at Flickr in 2014, I thought it would be interesting to see what we’d find if we looked into the top mobile photos uploaded over the same period.

So…WOW. We were really impressed. The quality and diversity of images far exceeded our expectations. Some were taken with brand-new top-of-the-line smartphones, others with devices that were a few years old. Some were processed, others uploaded as-is. All were beautiful.

Most importantly, they show that all of us have the gear we need to take great photos.

Save the nature

Uploaded by Alexandr Tikki. Tikki’s striking photo received more faves than any other taken with a mobile device. iPhone 5s.

Sunday mist

Uploaded by Luca Reano. Nokia Lumia 820.


Uploaded by Samim Hasan. This was taken with a smartphone not known for its camera, the HTC Desire X. The color is outstanding.

Happy Holi Brasília - Brazil

Uploaded by Telmo Filho. iPhone 4s.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - Milano

Uploaded by Pablo Fernández. This photo, which was taken with an iPhone 4s, shows what is possible even with a slightly older smartphone.

my way

Uploaded by Luigi Ales. Taken with his Nokia Lumia 1020, it was initially hard to believe this was not a DSLR shot.

Uploaded by Betina Plate. iPhone 4s.

In pursuit of moment

Uploaded by Alexandr Tikki, his second in this series. iPhone 4s.

2000 year old door

Uploaded by William Huggins Higgins. Captured with a Samsung Note 3.

Foggy Run

Uploaded by Jeff Knobloch. Taken after a morning run with a friend, this is the sort of opportunistic photo that can only be taken with the smartphone in your pocket. Samsung Galaxy S4.

Uploaded by ~tnymo~. iPhone 6.

Sunset in Sjelborg

Uploaded by Johan Bengtsson. Samsung Galaxy S4

scooting aboot renfrew

Uploaded by Tam. iPhone 5s.

Summer's Requiem

Uploaded by Richard Smith. iPhone 5.

surfing interlude

Uploaded by Pixelmania. “sunsets & surfers. something you can always find in san diego.”

Kolob Canyon in Zion NP 20140920_151733i

Uploaded by Norm Erikson. Samsung Galaxy Light.

Agia Efimia.Kefalonia

Uploaded by Maria Tritaki. iPhone 4s.

Cape Cod : Aurora

Uploaded by Chris Suefert. This beautiful capture of the Aurora Borealis from Cape Cod demonstrates the low-light performance of his iPhone 5.


Uploaded by Luigi Ales. Ale’s Lumia 1020 again exhibiting incredible detail.

Foggy Foggy Night

Uploaded by Rodger Sharp. Taken with an iPhone 6 Plus.

720 - Frühlingsfest 2014

Uploaded by Christophe Cymbalisty. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

Uploaded by Near the Lighthouse. iPhone 5.

La conquista del universo !!!

Uploaded by Xiomara Martinez. Samsung Galaxy S5.

November hike (iphonography)(explored!)

Uploaded by Kiljano. iPhone 5.

Snowflake Macro (iPhone & Olloclip)

Uploaded by Jessica Dyer. Dyer attached Olloclip 21x macro lens to her iPhone 5 to capture this image.

27 Feb 00:28

Senior Firefox Community Support Lead – it’s you we’re looking for!

by Roland

[Cross posting from my Mozilla blog.]

There was some confusion! To be 100% clear this job can be anywhere there’s an awesome internet connection. No need to be in the Bay Area. My apologies!

Lionel Richie - Hello?

  • Ever loved a piece of software so much that you learned everything you
    could about it and helped others with it?
  • Ever coordinated an online community? Especially one around supporting users?
  • Ever measured and tweaked a website’s content so that more folks could find it and learn from it?

Got 2 out of 3 of the above?

Then work with me (since Firefox works
closely with my area: Firefox for Android and in the future iOS via cloud services
like Sync) and the rest of my colleagues on the fab
Mozilla User Success team (especially my fantastic Firefox savvy colleagues over at User Advocacy).

And super extra bonus: you’ll also work with our
fantastic community like all Mozilla employees AND Firefox product
management, marketing and engineering.

Questions? Email me rtanglao AT or click on the Senior Firefox Community Support Lead link and start the process of applying!

(flickr photo credit: rubbertoe)

27 Feb 03:03

Maybe The Best Way To Change the World Is To Start a Company

by jbat

The post Maybe The Best Way To Change the World Is To Start a Company appeared first on John Battelle's Search Blog.



(imageThis piece from Smithsonian caught my eye today – Young People Mistrust Government So Much They Aren’t Running for Office. It covers a Rutgers professor who studies millennial attitudes towards politics, and concludes that the much-scrutinized generation abhors politics – logging a ten point decrease in sentiment toward government in just the past decade or so.

But I have a different take on why our recent college and high school graduates aren’t opting for politics, and it has to do with a far more positive reason: This is the first generation to come of age in an era where “entrepreneur” is not only a viable career option, it’s actually a compelling one.

I’ve never had a real job I didn’t make myself – back when I was starting out some 25+ years ago, the only path that seemed to make sense for me was joining a startup (job #1), or making one myself (jobs #2-7). I started out well before the Internet, and before the 1990s boom which brought the idea of a college-dropout CEO to the fore of our cultural conscience. Sure, we had Bill Gates, but he was a complete outlier, not a demarcation of a trend, as Zuckerberg became during the Web 2 era.

Back in the early 1990s, my friends and family struggled to understand what it was I was doing with my life. It was as if I had some kind of undiagnosed disease – I was addicted to risk, and clearly allergic to “real work.”

But think of the options a smart kid has coming out of college these days. Not only has company creation become mainstream and entirely acceptable, we’ve built scores of institutions that teach and enable company creation – from Babson to Slack to Y Combinator. I recently met with Sam Altman, CEO of YC, who told me his company receives more applications to his program each year than Stanford does. How many apps does Stanford get? About 40,000!

Cynicism aside, the main reason anyone wants to get into politics is to make positive change in the world. And I believe thoughtful young people are taking a hard look at our major change-making institutions – government, religion, education, and corporations – and they’re deciding that the best way to have an impact is to start a company (or join one). And more and more, those companies are focused on creating positive change in the world. To which I can only say: Right on!

The post Maybe The Best Way To Change the World Is To Start a Company appeared first on John Battelle's Search Blog.

26 Feb 16:11

chrome-plated teeth of my enemies

by Michael Sippey

Brilliant usesthis from Casper Kelly

Continue reading on Medium »

26 Feb 17:59

Ray Spaxman: On Precedent

by pricetags

One of the trickiest things to watch out for if you are in charge of approving development in a city, is precedent.


It seems fair, don’t you agree, that if you approve a form of development for one person you would want to let another person in similar circumstances have the same right to that form of development? One of the reasons we have zoning bylaws and development guidelines is to let everyone know what the community believes is a fair way to guide change in the city. A Zoning Bylaw that is clear and fairly implemented helps to provide reliability and confidence about what might happen in your neighbourhood. It also helps to provide certainty and confidence to those who serve our communities by developing the buildings that accommodate growth and change. (I wanted to describe developers as I see them.)
So every time you approve something that is a change from what has previously been approvable through existing regulations you might be setting a precedent. You will want to be careful to ensure that it is not a form of development that you would want to proliferate around the city.
An historic example of this that is worth reminding ourselves about is billboards. During the 60’s and 70’s as billboards began to appear, they became a sort of precedent and eventually grew in such numbers that they became a blight on the city. So much so that the community sought improved control over them. Our first major sign bylaw was produced in the 70’s and, with numerous upgrades has served us pretty well.
I note that City Council is planning a major overhaul of the bylaw and one hopes they will take urban design into account as well as the dollars that might accrue to various parties. Part of the sign bylaw controls the type of signs that are permitted on tall buildings. This is because the community said it did not want the downtown and other high rise areas to become a sea of flashing advertising signs competing to be bigger, brighter and more sparkling than their neighbours.
 You may recall my Feb 8th piece about the  proposed Telus sign: “A suspended, back-projected billboard hanging 200 feet up on the west facade of the new Telus building.  It will provide us all with lovely coloured light displays of art, community programming and Telus marketing.” Just what we need to provide us with improved liveability and citizen “engagement”’
I sincerely hope that this will not become another precedent-setting proposal from Telus. They succeeded in their first one (or two) of getting approval from City Hall to build out over the Seymour and Richard Street right of ways. The building is emerging as an interesting and competent piece of architecture. Notice how much larger in scale and visually imposing it is than anything else Downtown. You can see how Telus may be proud of its new head office. It has a feeling of grandeur and expansiveness about it (especially across the flanking streets!) that invokes the idea that it is probably the most important building downtown. Its principal occupants must be very important to the community to affect this level of grandeur.
We want some buildings to stand out where they warrant special forms of development and perhaps a special zoning. We want to acknowledge and celebrate some buildings for their significance in our community. Public buildings like City Hall, our Civic Art Gallery, our Museum, our main Concert Hall and so on. ( Dare I say our urbanarium?) Today, as you move around the city, wonder about how we are expressing our most important buildings and places. City’s that have a rich “sense of place” are those which have been able to order the form of the city to express the things they are proudest of, the things they admire most. This is another area where urban design can reinforce our connection to community.

26 Feb 18:43

WhatsApp Web goes live for Firefox and Opera users

by Jane McEntegart

Back in January, WhatsApp users got a nice surprise when the service pushed out a version of desktop-based WhatsApp for Android. It wasn’t quite the desktop WhatsApp we’d been hoping for (it still relies on your phone to send the messages) but it did offer liberation from the small touchscreens on which we were used to tapping away.

When WhatsApp Web launched, it was Chrome-only. If that excluded you from its use for some reason, today brings yet more good news: WhatsApp Web is now available for Firefox and Opera users. The news was confirmed with a quick tweet and a screenshot of all three supported browser logos inside the WhatsApp Web interface.

Unfortunately, the questions of iOS support remains unanswered. WhatsApp said last month that “Apple platform limitations” were holding back WhatsApp Web for iPhone users. The company has yet to offer any update on what those platform limitations might be and how it plans to get around them (or if it plans to get around them).

Still, the appearance of WhatsApp Web goes hand-in-hand with the IM services’s ever expanding list of features. The company last week flicked the switch on a calling functionality within its app. Activations seem to have stopped for now and no official announcement has been made about the feature so far.

26 Feb 18:39

Why Evidence Doesn't Change Someone's Mind

by Richard Millington

Imagine a friend reads an article which uses scientific references to prove that vaccinations might be linked to autism. 

He doesn't have a scientific background to critically examine the evidence, so he adopts the belief and finds others that feel the same. The belief becomes core to their group identity. The more he advocate in favour of this belief, the more heavily he is accepted as a member of the group. He feel united in a common cause. He's in the powerful numerical minority. 

Let's call this group the believers

Now an opposing group highlights evidence that disproves their beliefs. Let's call this group the non-believers

To accept this evidence, the believers would have to reject the social group which gives them their own identity. That's not going to happen. Instead, the believers challenge the evidence. They look for any perceived error they can hide behind. They refuse to accept any evidence that changes their world view.

If they were to change their view, they would neither be welcomed into the opposition group and rejected from their own group. Worse still, any believer would have to endure the humiliation of backtracking on their often stated opinion.

Sure enough, the evidence becomes irrefutable. The believers still don't wish to lose their identity. They take a different approach. They claim a conspiracy! (it's impossible to prove there isn't a conspiracy).

It sounds maddening, but from an evolutionary psychology perspective, it's quite logical. Historically, we don't survive well when we're alone. We want to be in groups. To be in groups we need to show we're a reliable member. Sustaining group beliefs is how we do that.

3 years after President Obama released his birth certificate, 15% know for sure he was born outside the USA. 

So why bother even trying to confront these groups? 

Because 52% believed he was born outside the USA in 2010. 

You can't change someone's views by presenting evidence. You can however do three things. 

1) You can create personal doubt. When the issue dies down, someone might quietly change their mind. 

2) You can present a different identity they can join. This identity isn't based on the typical believers/non-believers divide. Find a new paradigm to unite the group.

3) You can stop new members joining. Every new group needs a replenishment of members to survive. You can create that. 

Always allow every member to express a relevant, legal, opinion. Never allow that opinion to pass unchallenged. 

26 Feb 16:37

Stating the Obvious

by rands

Michael Sippey on Medium:

“The fundamental unit of the blog is not the blog post. The fundamental unit of the blog is the stream.”

Also, Sippey is blogging on Stating the Obvious. His original blog with the same name was a major inspiration for Rands in Repose.


26 Feb 16:27

Scaling Docker with Swarm

by Rui Carmo
Click on the image to zoom in

Let’s see how this goes. I’m very curious as to how their network management works.

26 Feb 20:40

An important day for the Internet

by Doug Belshaw

As I’ve just been explaining to my son, when he’s my age and looks back at the history of the Internet, 26 February 2015 will be seen as a very important day.

Why? The Mozilla blog summarises it well:

We just accomplished something very important together. Today, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted for strong net neutrality protections. This happened because millions of people — including many hundreds of thousands in Mozilla’s community — joined together as citizens of the Web to demand those strong protections.

Net Neutrality can be a difficult thing to understand and, especially if you’re not based in the USA, it can feel like something that doesn’t affect you. However, it is extremely important, and it impacts everyone.

Last year we put together a Webmaker training module on Net Neutrality. I’d like to think it helped towards what was achieved today. As Mitchell Baker stated, this victory was far from inevitable, and the success will benefit all of humankind.

It’s worth finding out more about Net Neutrality, for the next time it’s threatened. Forewarned is forearmed.

Image CC BY Kendrick Erickson

26 Feb 15:47

Capture iPhone Calls Using Audio Hijack

by Paul Kafasis

Audio Hijack IconMany users of the new Audio Hijack 3 have asked about recording phone calls from their iPhone. If you’re using Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and iOS 8.1, it’s easy to record these calls with Audio Hijack.

Thanks to a new feature called Phone Relay1, you can use your Mac as the receiver for making and receiving phone calls. That can be handy on its own, but adding Audio Hijack makes it even better. By setting FaceTime as the source in Audio Hijack, you can record those calls for later reference!2 Have a look:

Audio Hijack Capturing FaceTime
Audio Hijack recording a Phone Relay call via FaceTime

In-Depth Explanation

If you set up your pipeline as above, you’ll be in great shape. Some explanation of just what the pipeline is doing may be helpful though.

This setup began with the “Voice Chat” template, found in Audio Hijack’s Template Chooser (just select “New Session” to get it). We set the Application Block’s source to FaceTime, as that’s the source through which Phone Relay routes audio. The audio then flows through VU meters before branching off. At the top, the audio is simply recorded to MP3 (you can of course change the recording format and other settings).

The bottom portion of the chain is the audio you’ll hear through your headphones, and Audio Hijack makes some adjustments to optimize this. The Channels block duplicates the right channel, which contains the remote audio, so you’ll hear the other party and not your own voice. The Volume block then overdrives their audio – this is done to overcome a “feature” of Mac OS X, where FaceTime lowers other volumes on the system, including Audio Hijack’s audio.3

Make It Go

Once you’ve got your Session setup, just hit the Record button in the lower left, then make your call in FaceTime, or just pass it over from the iPhone. You’ll see it recorded, just as desired!

Many people have asked about recording iPhone calls, so we’re certainly glad to show how it’s done. If you don’t have Audio Hijack yet, just download the latest from our site and get recording!


  1. 9to5Mac has a great overview of Phone Relay.

  2. People are sometimes unclear on the legality of call recording, but in most places it is entirely legal. In the United States, you’re always allowed to record your own calls, though you may also be required to inform the other parties on the line that you’re recording, and obtain their consent. You’ll want to research the laws in your area and consult a lawyer if necessary.

  3. See “Why is the audio so quiet when I capture FaceTime?” in our Knowledge Base for more details. We’re hoping to find a workaround for this, but for now, the Volume Overdrive functionality should suffice.

26 Feb 21:01

by jared madsen

Check out this Blogger's Review of her MADSEN bike!

26 Feb 22:31

How much sharing goes on in the “sharing economy”?

by Alex

Read the original post at How much sharing goes on in the “sharing economy”?.

How much of the sharing economy really involves sharing?

It’s a question that came up first thing today at the Collaborative Economy Conference, and it’s a question that came up in a number of responses to my recent post on picking the winners and losers of the sharing economy.

What we call these new forms of economic activity really matters, because we risk diluting the social impetus towards real sharing — a norm that helps build social capital — when we use the term “sharing” to describe everything from Airbnb to Car2Go. Sharing, properly understood, is a very specific and consequential form of economic activity:  ”the act and process of distributing what is ours to others for their use as well as the act and process of receiving something from others for our use“.

For much of human history, this form of economic activity was actually the norm, as much agricultural production depended on the “commons”, grazing land that could be used by any member of the community. It was only with the 18-century advent of Enclosures Acts that we moved away from the commons and towards a model in which private ownership of assets and production became the new norm. As has been widely documented, this shift has had enormous consequences for wealth distribution and social capital — consequences that we obscure when we use the term “sharing” to describe businesses that lack any component of common ownership or resource sharing.

That said, there is an underlying intuition driving this usage: the intuition that there is something important, new and different about the wide range of apps and web services that make it possible for consumers to buy and sell to one another, access rather than buy what they need, and get both goods and services on an on-demand basis. That’s why I like the term “collaborative economy”, which acknowledges the existence of a larger phenomenon without (inaccurately) describing it all as sharing.

But there’s a reason the terminology is still in play: different terms feel more accurate, depending on which kinds of activity you’re discussing, and which characteristics of the collaborative economy you’re trying to highlight.

For the past year, I’ve been playing with various ways of plotting the collaborative economy as a 2×2 (of course!), which is an approach that can help us think systematically about the commonalities and differences among different collaborative economy business models. Mapping the collaborative economy as a 2×2 also helps us use the right terminology for this phenomenon, so we don’t categorize all of it as sharing.

Jeremiah Owyang, my collaborator on the Crowd Companies/Vision Critical report Sharing is the Buying, usefully relies on the terms “provider” and “partaker” to distinguish between roles that we’d previously have conceived as “seller” and “buyer” — terms that are often inaccurate when we’re talking about the collaborative economy. Mapping the collaborative economy according to these two dimensions helps us differentiate among different types of collaborative economy enterprises, and lets us more accurately use terms like “sharing economy” or “on-demand economy” to refer to particular kinds of transactions.

On the provider axis I distinguish between enterprises in which goods or services are centrally produced or owned (typically by a single company), and those in which goods or services are produced or owned by individuals. Note that this axis does not speak distribution: often, the value of a collaborative economy service is in centralizing the distribution of services and goods that are produced or owned by many different people. Note also that even goods that had an original, centralized producer (like a Patagonia jacket) may then be owned and sold in a decentralized way (like Patagonia Worn Wear).

On the partaker axis I distinguish between enterprises that allow people to buy goods and services, and those that allow people to access (borrow or rent) goods and services.

Provider mode



Partaker mode

The conventional economy

Whole Foods
The Pirate Store
Taxi companies

The peer economy

Kitchen Surfing
Blue Apron
Patagonia Worn Wear



The on-demand economy

Hotel Tonight
Rent the Runway

The sharing economy

The Vancouver Tool Library
New York Public Library
Bay Area Bike Share

There are a few notable wrinkles in this model.

First, it’s a lot harder to categorize businesses that provide services than businesses that provide products, and a lot of businesses actually include both a product and service component: when you’re taking a ride with Uber, you’re buying a service (a ride) but you’re also borrowing a product (a car). When you rent a room on Airbnb, you’re borrowing a product (a home) but you’re also typically buying a service (the work of cleaning up that home). For the purposes of categorizing different businesses, it’s helpful to think about whether the offering is primarily a product, or primarily a service. If the value of what you’re getting is mostly constituted by labour, rather than mostly constituted by capital (physical goods), I consider it a service…so you are buying a service, rather than borrowing a product.

Second, it’s a little tricky to categorize community-owned operations like traditional public libraries, or emergent services like tool libraries or bike shares. While these could be considered centrally-owned resources that would therefore land in the “on-demand economy” quadrant, treating these as on-demand services would deny the very important distinction between public and private ownership.

For those of us who care about preserving the cultural norm of sharing, the precision of this model allows us to retain the idea of sharing as a form of economic activity that involves either communally owned resources and/or providing community access to privately owned goods. Even if you don’t have a strong political or social commitment to community ownership or access, using the term “sharing economy” in this precise way can be helpful: indeed, if your political values lean more towards an emphasis on entrepreneurship and business growth, separating out community-owned assets gives you a way of quantifying and promoting those collaborative economy activities that grow private wealth.

But this 2×2 isn’t meant to imply a value judgement. The sharing economy isn’t the “best” part of the collaborative economy, or even the part with the greatest social or environmental impact. On-demand businesses can play a valuable role in reducing overall resource consumption, encouraging the production of goods that are more durable, and broadening access to resources people and businesses need. Peer-to-peer businesses create new forms of employment and economic opportunity, and can reduce the environmental footprint of consumption by supporting local economies and artisanal production. Even the conventional economy should not be considered the enemy: old-school bricks and mortar stores may not seem super sexy, but I’ll bet each and every one of us regularly buys food, clothing or other goods from small stores that are valuable members of our local economies and communities.

In fact, the great value of this kind of 2×2 isn’t (just) in allowing us to share a common language or preserve the social and political value of sharing. Mapping the different business models that flourish in the collaborative economy allows us to identify the wide range of ways that both startups and established companies can organize their collaborative economy offerings, and to spot market gaps where a new enterprise could flourish.

Is the on-demand market for high-end fashion fairly saturated? Think about opportunities to offer high-end fashion on a peer-to-peer or sharing model. Are there already plenty of players in sharing space? Then look for ways to sell space on a peer-to-peer basis, or to rent it an on-demand by building up a stock of centrally owned offices or apartments.

Whatever your interest in the collaborative economy — as participant, as observer, as would-be entrepreneur — it’s in your interest to talk about different entreprises and business models in the most accurate way possible. Best of all, if we’re all speaking the same language, we can have the kind of crucial conversations that will help us build this new area of the economy together.

Read more about better living with social media by visiting Love your life online

26 Feb 20:00

The Photographic Journal Interview (Excerpt) – Eduardo Torres

by thephotographicjournal

What do you look for in someone to photograph?

I’m interested in lines and shapes, in expressions, in the subtle difference of the little details… freckles, eyes, lips – the type of skin.

I don’t think I look for it before the shoot. I look for it as I shoot. I’m interested in the way they are when they are intimate. Honestly intimate. Like with someone they love, that moment they give a loving look. I think I’m interested in knowing how they love, truly love…

How would one experience them visually if they were in love with you? I’m not entirely sure that that’s the case. But I think there may be some part of it that’s along those lines.


How do you go about eliciting that? Do you find it requires a lot of direction on your part?

I actually try to not direct the models. I’m still quite shy around them. I do tell them to not pose for me. I tell them to do whatever they want to get comfortable – to enjoy being there.

We talk about small things but I rarely tell them to adopt any one position or any one expression. I will sometimes ask them to imagine I’m their partner, to look at me honestly as if I were them. Lovingly.

But I doubt that works!

[both laugh]



The best moments are when they are in their heads, thinking about whatever they are thinking, communicating that which I have no idea about with their eyes. That sometimes doesn’t work with some people, but that’s okay. I love it when it does work, when the person just goes off into their own world.



Do you try to guide the conversation in any way? Is the conversation important when shooting?

The whole interaction from the start is key. It is very much all about the process of getting to know each other, and becoming really comfortable around each other. It’s almost always a great chemistry from the start. And we do get to know each other as we go along, more and more.

I don’t think I have a plan about how I’m going to guide the conversation, but it definitely is important, and I’m happy for it to happen naturally. The conversation is honest and it guides the whole process.

Do you think this kind of process is something of an attempt to capture what you weren’t able to find when you were younger and more shy?

I think there may be parts of it that are related to that. In the sense that I am getting to study what it is that I find so intriguing and mysterious in them.
Sometimes it’s a lot more abstract then that. I want to see what expressions look like, and how they can be conveyed naturally and convincingly. I want to be able to look at a certain photograph and recognize a feeling, an emotion, that I’ve experienced before in intimacy. I don’t necessarily think I will ever actually achieve that, but I think that’s part of the drive too.



‘The impossible quest,’ one of our interviewees called it. What would you like people to take away from your photos, what do you want them to see?

This is a hard thing for me. I’m not entirely sure that I know. Bloomington is a small town, so people that I run into on the street are always very kind about my work. I’m always surprise to hear them talk about it – to hear the things they see.

I would be lying if I said I really thought in much depth about what they would make of it. I find it very daunting and intimidating. I often am even nervous to hear exactly what it is that they saw when they looked. I do this because I can’t help but do it. I really want to create something that speaks to the way I see beauty. But I don’t know that I want anything else out of anyone.

I think there are themes of naturalness, messiness, rawness, intimacy, and minimalism that I am inevitably putting forth. But I don’t think people necessarily see that always. And as I said before, I really don’t have a message with my photography. There’s nothing I’m trying to say to anyone. If anything, I would want the exploration to be the message itself.

I like the idea of each photograph speaking for itself, for whatever it is that it was, without a designer.


Keep reading the complete interview on The Photographic Journal.

26 Feb 16:56

Firefox 36 SUMO Day this Thursday, February 26

by Madalina

Firefox 36 was just released so it’s the perfect time to organize a new SUMO day! We’ll be answering questions in the support forum and helping each other in #sumo on IRC from 9am to 5pm PST (UTC -8).

Join us, create an account and then take some time  to help with unanswered questions. Please check the etherpad for additional tips. Also don’t forget to check the Firefox 36 release status thread for the latest issues and bugs. We’re expecting a high number of questions this Thursday and our goal is to respond to each and ever one of them, so please try to answer as many questions as you can throughout the day.

Let’s do it!

24 Feb 22:46

Instapaper Liked: Mythbusters: Bike Vancouver Edition

by Chris & Melissa Bruntlett As Vancouverites enjoy an unseasonably mild and pleasant February, it becomes increasingly apparent that spring is just around the…
25 Feb 23:31

Twitter Favorites: [danudey] Stephen Harper tells parents they should vaccinate, mathematical proof that, given enough decimal places, he's not technically 100% evil.

Wile E. Cyrus @danudey
Stephen Harper tells parents they should vaccinate, mathematical proof that, given enough decimal places, he's not technically 100% evil.
26 Feb 19:04

Twitter Favorites: [erasing] When people say "blogging is dead" they really mean "being a popular blogger is dead"

Scott David Herman @erasing
When people say "blogging is dead" they really mean "being a popular blogger is dead"
27 Feb 00:54

42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade – Year of the Ram 2015

by ahamedia
1 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 2 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 3 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 4 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 5 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 6 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 7 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 8 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 9 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 10 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 11 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 12 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 13 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 14 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 15 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 16 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 17 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 18 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 19 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 20 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 21 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 22 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 23 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 24 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 25 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 26 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 27 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 28 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 29 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 30 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 31 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 32 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 33 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 34 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 35 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015 36 AHA MEDIA at 42nd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade 2015
26 Feb 21:17

Net Neutrality Win

by Matt

A lot of the tech news I’ve linked here has been a bit of a downer, but today we can celebrate: FCC votes for net neutrality, a ban on paid fast lanes, and Title II. This is not an outcome I would have bet on a year ago.

26 Feb 21:34


Were software engineer a profession like doctor or lawyer, we’d have a strong and binding set of ethics.

I note that the ACM publishes a code of ethics. Here’s the first one:

  1. PUBLIC - Software engineers shall act consistently with the public interest.

Nowhere in the short list, or in the elaboration below, are the words “spy” or “monitor.” You could argue that you don’t need to call out those, because acting “consistently with the public interest” is enough.

But I think we’re at the point — between the NSA, draconian workplace monitoring systems, social network data collection, and malware — that calling out spying and monitoring specifically as unethical is warranted.

After all, you can argue that spying is necessary for national security, which is clearly in the public interest. And you can argue that workplace monitoring is either neutral (employers are within their rights to know what employees are doing with what resources) or a public good (more productivity is good for the economy).

But these are wrong.

Defining the lines gets interesting, though. Lots of apps collect crash logs and transmit them to the developers. Presumably there is some place where the user agreed to this collection. But is this monitoring? No. But defining things so that we can tell the difference, and so that the definition can handle scenarios not yet invented, could be tricky.

(Consent isn’t always enough. You may have to consent to workplace monitoring as a condition of employment. This isn’t, in many cases, a fair situation — not when you need a job to pay the bills.)

Another case: is it wrong to write code to spy on people who are actively planning to kill other people? Eeeesh. I would think not. But then how does the engineer assure that this is the only way that code would be used?

Assuming we could define things — a big assumption — then the value to society would be this: engineers would have the support of society when they refuse to do something that’s wrong. Right now they just lose their jobs.

But imagine if they could say, “No. I won’t. That violates the software engineering code of ethics,” and it would have the same weight as a doctor or lawyer refusing to act unethically.

And imagine if there were consequences when they didn’t refuse.