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22 Aug 10:37

What happened after I poked the Trump statue hornet’s nest

by Josh Bernoff

Friday’s post about the Donald Trump statues got quite a reaction. Surprisingly, it restored my faith in the Internet as a place for discourse. My objective was simple: get people to think twice about whether we’re ready to accept public, naked, exaggerated depictions of our political candidates as part of the dialogue. And I think … Continue reading What happened after I poked the Trump statue hornet’s nest →

The post What happened after I poked the Trump statue hornet’s nest appeared first on without bullshit.

22 Aug 12:08

The Carputer

by Alex Bate

Meet Benjamin, a trainee air traffic controller from the south-east of France.

Benjamin was bored of the simple radio setup in his Peugeot 207. Instead of investing in a new system, he decided to build a carputer using a Raspberry Pi.


Seriously, you lot: we love your imagination!

He started with a Raspberry Pi 3. As the build would require wireless connectivity to allow the screen to connect to the Pi, this model’s built-in functionality removed the need for an additional dongle. 

Benjamin invested in the X400 Expansion Board, which acts as a sound card. The board’s ability to handle a variety of voltage inputs was crucial when it came to hooking the carputer up to the car engine.

Car engine fuse box

Under the hood

As Benjamin advises, be sure to unplug the fusebox before attempting to wire anything into your car. If you don’t… well, you’ll be frazzled. It won’t be pleasant.

Though many touchscreens are available on the market, Benjamin chose to use his Samsung tablet for the carputer’s display. Using the tablet meant he was able to remove it with ease when he left the vehicle, which is a clever idea if you don’t want to leave your onboard gear vulnerable to light-fingered types while the car is unattended.

To hook the Pi up to the car’s antenna, he settled on using an RTL SDR, overcoming connection issues with an adapter to allow the car’s Fakra socket to access MCX via SMA (are you with us?). 


Fakra -> SMA -> MCX.

Benjamin set the Raspberry Pi up as a web server, enabling it as a wireless hotspot. This allows the tablet to connect wirelessly, displaying roadmaps and the media centre on his carputer dashboard, and accessing his music library via a USB flashdrive. The added benefit of using the tablet is that it includes GPS functionality: Benjamin plans to incorporate a 3G dongle to improve navigation by including real-time events such as road works and accidents.


The carputer control desk

The carputer build is a neat, clean setup, but it would be interesting to see what else could be added to increase functionality while on the road. As an aviation fanatic, Benjamin might choose to incorporate an ADS-B receiver, as demonstrated in this recent tutorial. Maybe some voice controls using Alexa? Or how about multiple tablets with the ability to access video or RetroPie, to keep his passengers entertained? What would you add?

Carputer with raspberry pi first test

For more details go to


The post The Carputer appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

22 Aug 00:00

Why On Earth Is Google Building A New Operating System From Scratch?


Jared Newman, Fast Company, Aug 24, 2016

The answer to the question is that we need lighter and more basic operating systems to provide a common computing environment for small devices and larger computers. Even the Linux kernel is overloaded with functions that single-purpose devices don't need. As well, new applications need to respond on the thousandths of a second, an an operating system with a built-in scheduler creates the possibility of lag. The new operating system being developed by Google to meet these needs is called Fuchsia and has been distributed on GitHub and Google Git. More from The Verge, CNet, Pocket Lint, Engadget.

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22 Aug 15:00

Ohrn Image — Public Art

by Ken Ohrn

Giraffes peek out of huge magnolia blossoms.  Located in the alley west of Main at 8th Avenue. Artist Ilya Viryachev says this  (video HERE).

“In Bloom: An Ode to Vancouver” is a 100-foot wide mural that was created in collaboration with The City of Vancouver and Mount Pleasant BIA, to both of whom I am extremely thankful for. I got to collaborate with the youth from the Mount Pleasant Community Centre, who worked with me on the concept in the beginning, as well as came out a number of times to help me paint the wall. The image was inspired by the beauty of Vancouver in spring when all of the magnolia trees are blooming, while chickadees are there to represent the youth.


22 Aug 15:05

Android Marshmallow is finally available to download on Rogers and Fido Galaxy S6 smartphones

by Igor Bonifacic

It’s been a long time coming, but Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge owners on Rogers and Fido can finally get their hands on Android Marshmallow.

According to several members of the Rogers Community Forum and a number of MobileSyrup readers, the update is now available to download on S6 devices bought from Rogers and Fido.

Rogers S6 Marshmallow

Android 6.0.1 adds a number of notable features to Google’s mobile OS, including a new battery saving feature called Doze. Apps permissions are also more granular — gone is Android’s old take everything or leave it approach. 6.0.1, specifically, adds a number of new emoji, including the ever important taco. Samsung users also get a more refined version of the company’s TouchWiz Android skin, which has been cleaned up and made more user friendly in its latest iteration.

The update, long overdue as it is, comes just as Android 7.0 is supposed to start filtering its way to Nexus devices.

Thank you to MobileSyrup reader Doc for the photo.

22 Aug 14:09

Here's What Happened When Conceptual Artists Released a Concept Album

by DJ Pangburn for The Creators Project

Images courtesy the artists

The Zurich and London-based new media art duo !Mediengruppe Bitnik have Random Darknet Shopper, mailed a package to Julian Assange, and glitched out the House of Electronic Arts buildingin Basel. Now they are releasing an album.Schiiwerfer, was recorded by frequent “Bitnik accomplices,” the Swiss music duo Göldin & Bit-Tuner.

Schiiwerfer is best described as a nine-track audiovisual album, with !Mediengruppe Bitnik’s Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo providing distinct web-based artworks for each of the songs. The album explores themes such as gentrification, technology, alienation, revolution and the mind-numbing effects of prescription drugs.

Göldin, a journalist and author of Delivery for Mr. Assange, tells The Creators Project that Schiiwerfer is “more or less a contemporary version of Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis,” only they are not rich like that novel’s characters. “The central idea is to capture the pretty disquieting feeling of us all falling out,” he says. “Out of the city, out of our jobs. While we drive through our glowing cities by night and by day numbing ourselves with Xanax.”

Göldin became a !Mediengruppe Bitnik member quite by accident while reporting on Opera Calling and Bit-Tuner has contributed sound for the group’s exhibitions on several occasions. Weisskopf says that Göldin and Bit-Tuner are always among the first they talk to about ideas for new works, so it was natural that this release would be collaborative.

Schiiwerfer itself grew out of a dinner in Zurich late 2015 in which the four talked about the state of the record industry. The discussion revolved around releasing music physically on CD or vinyl or on the internet, and what this all meant as far as access to culture.

“Releasing music with record labels on physical objects felt a bit as if everyone were pretending it was still 1999,” Smoljo tells The Creators Project. “We quickly came to the conclusion that we needed to find new forms, new formats for linking the music with the visuals, of creating visual worlds from music. How could we do that for a whole album, how could we do that on the net?”

“For us, the beauty of the internet was always that it is a medium which let's you share local culture with a wider, global audience,” he adds. “So we thought that the task of translating the local (Swiss German) into something which is internet accessible, browser based, a web experience as an interesting task.”

Initially, the four toyed with the idea of releasing the album on the URL — the Fuck Bitnik Label or the Fuck You Label. But, as Smoljo explains, the joke wore off the next day along with the wine. Ultimately the four decided on the audiovisual approach for Schiiwerfer, with the usual !Mediengruppe Bitnik name functioning as the label.

As Bit-Tuner explains, he and Göldin created the text and music, then let Smoljo and Weisskopf take over. !Mediengruppe Bitnik then brought in Berlin-based designers Christoph Knoth and Konrad Renner (collectively Knoth-Renner), who helped give Schiiwerfer its characteristic net art and typography vibe. 

For Smoljo and Weisskopf it was important to make Göldin & Bit-Tuner’s description of exclusion accessible beyond the approximately 5 million people who speak Swiss German. This, Smoljo says, was an experience that people all over the world could share. “It was important to us that we could add our feeling of disconnectedness, disgust and alienation to the many other voices,” says Smoljo. “We started work on translating the texts, so we could combine the strong visuals of the net.release with subtitles in Swiss-German, German, and English.”

Since the subtitles would play a big role in the experience, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Knoth, and Renner focused quite a bit on the typography. They generated the font in Python, combined it with found 3D objects, discovered WebGL libraries and code pieces, then threw it all together for the nine URLs.

Smoljo says, “Sometimes the visuals focus on one sentence from the song. Sometimes they just try to cover the mood. Or play with current social trends like Tinder. Where you can swipe away and never even have to listen to the song anymore.”

Göldin and Bit-Tuner also gave Knoth and Renner Tumblr images for every song, to which they added their own materials.

“For a graphic designer it used to be one of the greatest things to design a record cover,” Knoth says. “Not anymore. Today, it's designing the album's website.”

“The time of the record store is over, the time of the CD is over,” he says. “We sit in front of our computer screens night after night and consume clips and music by Earl Sweatshirt and Amnesia Scanner and Schoolboy Q and Zombie through pumping speakers.”

Click hereto experience and download Göldin & Bit-Tuner’s Schiiwerfer, and here to see more of !Mediengruppe Bitnik’s work.


Glitch Architecture Shows How Beautiful Broken Can Be

The Bots Are Coming... to London!!!

The Microscopic Art Of Jon Hopkins' ‘Immunity’

22 Aug 09:59

Colorgorical generates color schemes for you

by Nathan Yau


Sometimes you need a color scheme quick, and ColorBrewer is typically the de facto, but it has some limitations. You can’t just choose any color you want as a starting point, and there is a set number of color schemes. Colorgorical by Connor Gramazio on the other hand lets you set parameters and color ranges, and it spits out a scheme with perceptual differences.

The interface is a bit rough, but usable enough to get some nice colors.

Tags: color

22 Aug 12:49

Things that make you go hmmm about advertising & journalism

by Helen Keegan
I'm cooking up both a longer blog post and a discussion event about ad blocking, future of advertising (which is also the future of journalism in some ways), business models to support both/either etc. I'm hoping to be able to hold the event in September. Watch this space.
In the meantime, here's some food for thought on journalism, advertising and business models
TLDR : Mother Jones', a US title, published a groundbreaking story on prisons that contributed to a change in government policy. It cost $350,000 and generated $5,000 in online ad revenue and is now looking at a donation business model.

(The irony isn't lost on me that I read the article while using an ad-blocker.)

(via rather good weekly newsletter)
22 Aug 13:14

11.7 million people tuned into The Tragically Hip’s concert on Saturday

by Ian Hardy

Saturday night was owned by The Tragically Hip.

Performing the band’s final concert of its 15 date Man Machine Poem tour, the Hip and CBC partnered to bring Canadians closer to Canada’s band for a commercial-free concert called “A National Celebration.”

Available to anyone around the world to watch via its TV, radio, online stations, iPhone and Android apps, and YouTube, viewership numbers reveal Canadians maintain intense relationship with the group.

“According to Numeris, the live, commercial-free broadcast of The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration reached 11.7 million Canadians across all CBC television, radio and digital platforms as Gord Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair and Johnny Fay played the final date of their Man Machine Poem tour at Kingston’s K-Rock Centre. The concert special was also streamed 900,000 times in Canada and around the world. The nearly three-hour Saturday evening broadcast attracted an average minute audience of 4.04 million,” stated the release.

Lead singer Gord Downie was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, specifically a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor. If you’re interested in showing support, Sunnybrook has set up the “Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research” that has a goal to invest in new drugs, surgical techniques and genetic therapies to beat “unbeatable” brain cancers.

Source CBC
22 Aug 12:00

Pajama Rich

by Moira Weigel

“I’m pajama rich,” Kanye rapped in 2010. But, by then, you didn’t have to be rich to spend your days in clothes you could have slept in. Among young, female professionals, Lululemon and its imitators were taking over. Even debt-ridden students and freelancers — or especially students and freelancers — were dressing as if they might at any minute hit the sack or hit the gym. And why not? It wasn’t as if we had fixed schedules.

The size of the market for athleisure — a coinage officially adopted into Merriam-Webster’s lexicon this April — grew five percent each year between 2009 and 2014, from $54 billion to $68 billion. The trend accounted for nearly all growth in the apparel, footwear, and accessories sector during this period. People in American cities were wearing Lululemon, Lucy, and Lorna Jane; Gap Body, Athleta, and Nike everywhere, including to the office. According to a February article in the New York Times, the market may hit $100 billion by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, sales of jeans fell six percent in 2014 alone — the most precipitous drop in more than 30 years. One Business Insider article called it the “Denim Apocalypse.”

Why have fancy workout clothes become the uniform of so many American women? Marshal Cohen, the chief apparel analyst for the market-research firm NPD Group has told reporter after reporter that the reasons are straightforward: The clothes are “comfortable” and suit “a fitness-conscious lifestyle.” But for many wearers, the athletic part of athleisure remains aspirational: Sales of yoga clothes increased 10 times as much as participation in yoga classes over the 2009 to 2014 span, according to the Wall Street Journal. Comfort is not a constant either. As Lululemon founder Chip Wilson infamously said on Bloomberg Television, “Some women’s bodies just actually don’t work in the pants.”

Athleisure offers a physical feeling that corresponds to how we are expected to feel about work, merging work and play, effort and pleasure

It is not simply ease or convenience that puts women in athleisure. The look physically connects us to an ideal. Social psychologists have coined the expression “enclothed cognition” to describe “the systematic influence that clothes have on a wearer’s psychological process.” For instance, a test subject wearing a lab coat becomes more attentive to details than someone not wearing a lab coat. Another experiment found that test subjects wearing what they were told was a “doctor’s coat” did the same, but those wearing an identical garment they had been told was a “painter’s coat” became less attentive.

Simply looking at a lab coat while performing the task had no effect.

The researchers concluded that enclothed cognition derived from two sources: the “physical experience” of wearing a garment and its “symbolic meaning.” Athleisure is trending because it offers a distinctive physical feeling that corresponds to how we are expected to feel about work in an era when “do what you love” is the conventional wisdom about careers. Lululemons announce that for their wearer, life has become frictionless. It clothes us in an ideal that merges work and play to the point where they become indistinguishable, and effort feels like pleasure.

For me, it started with a Spanx. It was the summer of 2009. I was in Minnesota, on the eve of a family wedding, and feeling unsure about my outfit.

“You have a waist from another era,” the saleslady back in New York had gushed, flattering me, when I tried on the high-waisted skirt I was planning to wear. But did I, really? What did that even mean? In the clear light of the Midwest, it looked like an optical illusion, produced by other bulges that the skirt exposed.

My mother pulled a flesh-colored something out of her suitcase that, she laughed, she had to “sausage herself into.”

“Spanx,” she explained.

The next morning I convinced one of my aunts to drive me to Dayton’s. The knockoff I bought fit me like a glove, but more closely than any glove I ever wore.

That night, my cousin was married, and I drank too much and danced too closely with a stranger I kept calling “Mike,” even though I knew he was called Alex. For some reason, in that state, the idea of not being able to remember the name this confident young man kept repeating struck me as funny.

As we swayed, hip to hip, I felt the cling that I now feel in most of my clothing. Held and exposed. Smoothed and protected. The sense of touch is notoriously difficult to describe — hence, begging-the-question words like mouthfeel. But the word for how my casing made me feel was optimized. I was the best lonely girl at a wedding I could be.

The physical sensation of Spanx comes from Lycra, which is another name for spandex. Like many technologies — the internet, for instance — it was a by-product of research funded by the U.S. Army in the middle of the last century. During World War II, chemists at Dupont (itself originally a gunpowder manufacturer) developed rubber-based polymers that could be used to make parachutes capable of resisting rain and heat. After the war, a chemist named Joseph Shivers found that when he took out the rubber, he could make fibers that stretched up to five times their length without losing shape. By 1962, Dupont had commercialized it under the name Fiber K, and soon manufacturers were buying miles of it to make into sportswear and girdles, swimsuits and hosiery. By 1990, spandex was one of the most profitable divisions at the company.

Maybe two years after my cousin’s wedding, my friend Mal told me about Lululemons. We were taking a yoga class at the studio she went to. I have never managed to stick with yoga for the same reason I probably should: I get too impatient. But I still wear Lululemons almost every day.

Spanx and Lululemons share a chemical formula; the spandex they both use offers flexibility to the point of being indestructible. It also embodies the dual nature of that flexibility. Spandex is an anagram of “expands,” but as much as its fibers stretch, they also compress. They offer a kind of comfort, but on the condition that you submit to having your body shaped. Rather, they ask you to commit to shaping it in a certain way.

While Spanx are a secret weapon for managing intractable body parts, Lulus put that effort on proud display, announcing that their wearer is eager to be seen as engaging in constant self-management — toning her ass and thighs and balancing work with “life.” As the “embodied cognition” people might put it, yoga pants let the entire body think that aspiration.

As the Lululemons symbolize aspiration, the spandex enforces the discipline needed to achieve it. Offering convenience, the pants also nag us to exercise. Self-exposure and self-policing meet in a feedback loop. Because these pants only “work” on a certain kind of body, wearing them reminds you to go out and get that body. They encourage you to produce yourself as the body that they ideally display.

Lululemons suggest an unfussy attitude (“Oh these? These are just gym clothes!”). At the same time, they telegraph that their wearer is driven. “I am dedicated to fitness,” they say, “and I have no time to change.” Yet, wearing these pants at midday hints that you have a flexible schedule. You do not have to go into a traditional office. Or, if you do, you do not feel any pressure to impress. You just might step out for a spinning class or a green juice.

In other words, Lululemons convey status. Like spending a fortune on nutrition, facials, and skin cream so that you can boast that you “only wear lip gloss,” wearing these pants is a form of inconspicuous consumption — particularly when you pair them, as so many women do, with an expensive handbag. In their conspicuous inconspicuousness, as well as their homogeneity, Lululemons recall the “normcore” trend of several years ago. They share the pretense of democratic-ness but leave out the irony. Athleisure humble-brags.

All over San Francisco, I see evidence that the Lululemon class has sexualized the pain involved in becoming your fittest self. The other day I saw a $60 T-shirt for sale on Polk Street. The front read: BARRE WHORE.

Before athleisure, Americans wore denim. Like spandex, denim was said to be comfortable. Like Lululemons, blue jeans crossed boundaries between work and play. Unlike athleisure, however, jeans were first made for men.

Levi Strauss, an immigrant from Bavaria who landed in San Francisco, is credited with being the first manufacturer of modern jeans. In 1873, with a tailor, he filed a patent for a denim pant with “rivets sewn in at the points of strain” — the pockets, crotch, and hip. The goal was to make pants you could wear for years — on horseback and into gold mines or, less romantically, for any sort of manual labor — without ripping them.

Jeans remained working clothes worn by factory hands until around the beginning of World War II, when the uniform was reinvented as an image. When director John Ford put John Wayne in jeans in the 1939 movie Stagecoach, it was to symbolize not drudgery, but freedom through hardship — and the kind of manliness that was supposed to have flourished there in the absence of women. (In the 1870s there were 100 men for every 38 women in California, and the gender ratio would not reach parity until 1950.)

Already in the 1880s, Walt Whitman made fun of the “down-town clerks” he saw flooding in and out of the office buildings of lower Manhattan. They were “a slender and round-shouldered generation, of minute leg, chalky face, and hollow chest.” Their clothes were especially embarrassing. They looked “trig and prim in great glow of shiny boots, clean shirts … tight pantaloons, straps, which seem coming into little fashion again, startling cravats, and hair all soaked and slickery with sickening oils.”

As Western wear, jeans represented a rejection of this white-collar emasculation. Levi’s promised that America was still a place where you could get by on your wits and that if you took risks you could turn dirt to gold. Lady Luck might favor anyone on the frontier — any white man, that is. If jeans were the sartorial symbol of equal opportunity, the democratized work wear of self-made men, racism always tainted their American dream of transcending class. Nineteenth-century satirists mocked the Chinese laborers who came to San Francisco for wearing black pajamas. The Apaches that John Wayne kills sport leather chaps.

Lulus announce someone eager to be seen as engaging in constant self-management — toning her ass and thighs and balancing work with “life.” Yoga pants let the entire body think that aspiration

Fashions changed, but the idea that white-collar work made men effeminate persisted. In the 1950s and 1960s, a growing literature on male malaise — from The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit to Revolutionary Road — attested that the kind of bootlicking required to hold down a salaried job was the opposite of independence. You put up with these humiliations only in order to support your wife and kids. Wearing jeans would never fly with a white-collar boss. A man in jeans thus revolted against domesticity and its demands. On Marlon Brando, James Dean and Elvis, jeans became that paradoxical thing: a uniform of rebellion. As fetishized consumer goods, they became part of the consumer economy — traditionally the domain of housewives and households — even as they symbolized the desire to escape it.

In this same era, women put on jeans to play with the gender expectations men hoped to shore up. A woman in denim seemed slightly cross-dressed; jeans looked like a kind of jaunty drag. Consider Marilyn Monroe in her second-to-last movie, The Misfits (1961), a Western about the end of the Western. Just as the film’s dramatic tension comes from her being unsuited for the cowboy life, the frisson of her look comes from how it combines her hyper-feminine body with manly roughness.

But the ideal female body changes as the needs of capitalism change. The full figure that Marilyn’s jeans hugged broadcast softness and fertility, a person who lived to consume and breed. The shrinking bodies of the 1970s and 1980s suggested a different aspiration: to combine the fragility associated with being female with the drive and self-control required to build a career.

Historically, in western culture, women have been seen as playing the body to the male mind. But the first generation of calorie-counting career girls hoped that they could overcome this history. Get you a body that can do both. Women’s jeans became a fixture in this period because they suited these aspirations and the idealized body that emerged with them.

The new physique expressed the contradictory values of female passivity and masculine ambition. Jeans were ostensibly androgynous garments. This made them particularly well suited for articulating actual gender difference. The 1992 Calvin Klein spreads featuring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss highlighted how the ideals of male strength and female fragility could persist even in a presumably equal-opportunity world. The look synthesized them. Because for the vast majority of women, it would take superhero willpower to stay that thin, especially if you were also busy climbing a corporate ladder. The jeans never fit.

Of course, you don’t need to tell any woman who has ever shopped for jeans that they were not made for us. Over the past decade, we may have finally left them behind. This is our progress: In the era of Sheryl Sandberg and Hillary Clinton, we no longer live in thrall to Kate Moss waifishness. In form and in function, athleisure celebrates strong women. It was as if clothes that could stretch to fit a female figure could also make the boundaries between public and private space — between the spheres traditionally understood as male and female, as for work and for sex — more elastic.

American Apparel was the transitional brand. The porny tableaux of lithe young women in monochrome basics that started to crop up on billboards and buses from Brooklyn to Berlin were like Calvin Klein campaigns reshot as sexts. The fact that the models looked like amateurs was precisely what made them titillating. As a dude at a grad school party once put it, “An American Apparel ad promises you could get fucked anywhere. You could get fucked in your youth hostel. You could get fucked at the laundromat.” (When I told him later that I was wearing an American Apparel dress, he waved my embarrassment aside, saying, “I knew that.”)

Next came jeggings — the denim-spandex blend that became popular as American Apparel crashed and burned — and then athleisure, which took the process of “liberating” the female figure from the ill-fitting stiffness of denim to its conclusion. But this liberation is conditional. It retains the superwoman work ethic. A woman dressed in Lululemons looks like she is ready to scream with enthusiasm through a punishing exercise class and then hurry back to the office.

Even as athleisure liberates us from earlier, gender-bound modes of dress they enforce a new code of the body as a constant work in progress. The ideal contemporary subject is a person who is willing to spend all her time being productive. You have to work hard to afford Barre or spin or yoga; at the same time, these efforts energize you to return to work.

In the heyday of John Wayne jeans, the break between work and not-work was clear. Men who worked from 9 to 5 could put on jeans afterward to symbolize rebellion or, at least, their need for respite. It recharged them to return to the office the next day.

In the era of athleisure, time is more ambiguous. When the workday starts or ends, and where work happens, have become less clear. At the same time, selfhood has become an entrepreneurial project, a question of optimizing different activities. The ideal worker in this new regime is female. It is not just that women are more experienced with the kinds of service work and image and emotional work that have largely replaced manual and factory labor in the developed world. It is that women are more accustomed to balancing multiple kinds of demands.

The ideal worker in this new regime — in the era of athleisure — is female. Women are more accustomed to balancing multiple kinds of demands

In April, Beyoncé released a video to announce the release of her new athleisure line, Ivy Park. In it, she delivers a monologue over a montage of her exercise routine,explaining that the brand name comes from the park where her father used to make her exercise every morning as a child. “I remember wanting to stop, but I would push myself to keep going,” she says. “It taught me discipline.” Of course, the Ivy part comes from the name of her daughter.

In the voiceover, Beyoncé demonstrates how she shifts easily between public and private mode, between the work of work and the work of life: “There are things I’m still afraid of. When I have to conquer those things, I go back to that park. Before I hit the stage, I went back to that park. When it was time for me to give birth, I went back to that park.” The video cuts to an image of her giving Blue Ivy a piggyback ride. It’s a typically understated rebuttal to the haters who say that Beyoncé did not gestate her child. But it also suggests that the drive her father instilled in her applies equally to her work as a pop star and to the private tasks of being a mother. To compete at the top, the empowered woman must be willing to work anytime and anywhere.

“The park became my strength,” Beyoncé concludes. “The park became a state of mind. Where’s your park?”

If the default gender of athleisure is female, men seem to know what is up. “You’re in spandex country now,” an Uber driver crowed to my sister as he dropped her off in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco recently. “You bring your stretchy pants?” I have heard more than one man refer to Lululemons as “those pants that make every girl’s ass look good.” I meet a petite philosophy professor who tells me about going on a few dates with a man who asked her to start wearing Lululemons, for this reason, on date three.

The past 10 years have seen a resurgence of the ass as the key femme trait. If “Baby Got Back” came out now, it would make no sense: No magazine is telling anyone that flat butts are the thing. On the contrary: Blake Lively is quoting Sir Mix-A-Lot re: her own ass, on the red carpet at the Oscars: “LA face and an Oakland booty,” she posted on Instagram. Sir Mix-A-Lot defended her against those who criticized the post for being racially insensitive. (“I checked it out, and looked at it and I was kind of … I liked it. You know I like stuff like that,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.) “Booty celebrity” Jen Selter has earned 9.5 million followers by posting photos of her posterior. Most show her doing squats in the garment best suited to showcase them: athleisure leggings.

To look at Beyoncé after looking at, say, Kate Moss gives one hope that our culture is embracing a wider array of body types and sex symbols than it once did — and giving women more latitude in the process. The figures of Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Kim Kardashian no longer look as starved as those of Calvin Klein models. Nonetheless, they too demand discipline to maintain. A new generation of strong women are still being encouraged to direct their energies inward, to transform their bodies into fetishes. Beyoncé says she exercises two hours per day. Jennifer Lopez — whose private trainer told the press that he has never met anyone who works so hard — took out insurance on her ass. We can have a range of female bodies, so long as they are all commodities.

And, of course, so long as they are firmly located on one side of a cisgender binary. While I am writing this essay, Facebook starts showing me ads for Lululemon for men. Ironically, these ads describe the project of getting a man into exercise clothes as one more thing for women to do. The man in the ad that I see most often looks like Chris Hemsworth. In him, a Mark Wahlberg build meets long gold hair. If The Misfits posed the Woman in Jeans as a kind of drag performer, this guy is a gender-flipped Marilyn, the man who can be dragooned into buying outrageously expensive pants to maintain himself.

“We’ll help you help him,” the ad reads. “Our shorts just got the ABC (anti-ball crushing) upgrade, giving him the freedom from unnecessary adjustments.”

Markets need to expand. It makes sense that companies would want to develop a His version of the garment of choice for the ambitious and Bootylicious. But Lululemon for men has yet to catch on, and most of my male friends insist it never will. When I ask why, they are blunt: “You can’t wear those pants if you have a dick.”

21 Aug 15:23

Parnas and Software Patterns

by Eugene Wallingford

Earlier this week, I tweeted a paraphrase of David Parnas that a few people liked:

Parnas observes: "Professional Engineers rarely use 'engineer' as a verb." And it's not because they are busy 'architecting' systems.

The paraphrase comes from Parnas's On ICSE's "Most Influential" Papers, which appears in the July 1995 issue so ACM SIGSOFT's Software Engineering Notes. He wrote that paper in conjunction with his acceptance speech on receiving the Most Influential Paper award at ICSE 17. It's a good read on how the software engineering research community's influence was, at least at that time, limited to other researchers. Parnas asserts that researchers should strive to influence practitioners, the people who are actually writing software.

Why doesn't software engineering research influence practitioners? It's simple:

Computer professionals do not read our literature because it does not help them to do their job better.

In a section called "We are talking to ourselves", Parnas explains why the software engineering literature fails to connect with people who write software:

Most of our papers are written in the tradition of science, not engineering. We write up the results of our research for readers who are also researchers, not for practitioners. We base our papers on previous work done by other researchers, and often ignore current practical problems. In many other engineering fields, the results of research are reported in "How to" papers. Our papers are "This is what I did" papers. We describe our work, how our work differs from other people's work, what we will do next, etc. This is quite appropriate for papers directed to other researchers, but it is not what is needed in papers that are intended to influence practitioners. Practitioners are far more interested in being told the basic assumptions behind the work, than in knowing how this work differs from the work by the author's cohorts in the research game.

Around the time Parnas wrote this article and gave his acceptance speech at ICSE 17, the Pattern Languages of Programs conferences were taking off, with a similar motivation: to create a literature by and for software practitioners. Patterns describe how to create programs in practical terms. They describe techniques, but also the context in which they work, the forces that make them more and less applicable, and the patterns you can use to address the issues that arise after you the technique. The community encouraged writing in a straightforward style, using the vocabulary of professional developers.

At the early PLoP conferences, you could feel the tension between practitioners and academics, some of which grew out of the academic style of writing and the traditions of the scientific literature. I had to learn a lot about how to write for an audience of software developers. Fortunately, the people in the PLoP community took the time to help me get better. I have fond memories of receiving feedback from Frank Buschman, Peter Sommerlad, Ralph Johnson, Ward Cunningham, Kyle Brown, Ken, Auer, and many others. The feedback wasn't always easy to internalize -- it's hard to change! -- but it was necessary.

I'm not sure that an appreciably larger number of academics in software engineering and computer science more broadly write for the wider community of software practitioners these days than when Parnas made his remarks. There are certainly more venues available to us from patterns-related conferences, separate tracks at conferences like SPLASH, and blogs. Unfortunately, the academic reward structure isn't always friendly to this kind of writing, especially early in one's career. Some universities have begun to open up their definition of scholarship, though, which creates new opportunities.

At their best, software patterns are exactly what Parnas calls for: creating a how-to literature aimed at practitioners. Researchers and practitioners can both participate in this endeavor.

21 Aug 19:23

‘Open office concepts are the too of Satan’ is perhaps a bit...

‘Open office concepts are the too of Satan’ is perhaps a bit strong.

21 Aug 19:37

IoT Tech Expo: John Deere, on leading the way in agriculture by utilising IoT technologies - IoT - Internet of Things

IoT Tech Expo: John Deere, on leading the way in agriculture by utilising IoT technologies - IoT - Internet of Things:


Of all the industries that push the buttons of IoT, agriculture is one of the most interesting – and most frequently written about. A study released by Lux Research earlier this month found that the ‘Internet of Agricultural Things’ market features a wide cast of players, from behemoths to startups, and despite the nascent nature of certain projects, the opportunity for reducing costs and improving efficiencies is vast.

21 Aug 19:43

mapsontheweb: Areas of the former Soviet space with large...


Areas of the former Soviet space with large ethnic Russian populations.

What’s after Crimea? Ukraine? Belarus? Who would fight for Kazahkstan?

21 Aug 19:26

The Mark IIIs are here! via...

by illustratedvancouver
21 Aug 22:26

intentionally blurry chinatown added as a favorite.

by tristan29photography
tristan29photography added this as a favorite.

intentionally blurry chinatown

21 Aug 00:41

Twitter Favorites: [c_9] The Hip are hugely meaningful for one segment of Canada, but not other segments at all. Interesting to think about.

Cameron MacLeod @c_9
The Hip are hugely meaningful for one segment of Canada, but not other segments at all. Interesting to think about.…
21 Aug 03:01

Twitter Favorites: [shaash79] The feeling you get when you hold an entire country in the palm of your hand, while it holds you gently in its arms.

Karen Holyk @shaash79
The feeling you get when you hold an entire country in the palm of your hand, while it holds you gently in its arms.
21 Aug 03:20

Twitter Favorites: [jbenton] Easiest Order of Canada decision ever.

Joshua Benton @jbenton
Easiest Order of Canada decision ever.
21 Aug 04:52

Twitter Favorites: [stateofthecity] One thing Twitter changed is that now we can all hear those people who refuse for the pettiest of reasons to just let a moment be a moment.

Brian F. Kelcey @stateofthecity
One thing Twitter changed is that now we can all hear those people who refuse for the pettiest of reasons to just let a moment be a moment.
21 Aug 15:21

Twitter Favorites: [rodneytown] The nationalism surrounding the final Hip show made some people uncomfortable. This nationalism is an expression of an old anxiety.

R. @rodneytown
The nationalism surrounding the final Hip show made some people uncomfortable. This nationalism is an expression of an old anxiety.
21 Aug 18:12

Twitter Favorites: [StayWokeBot] @sillygwailo You tell the story that must be told and you do it your own way, the world needs you to tell the truth, you embody Ava Duvernay

Stay Woke Bot @StayWokeBot
@sillygwailo You tell the story that must be told and you do it your own way, the world needs you to tell the truth, you embody Ava Duvernay
21 Aug 20:14

Twitter Favorites: [Planta] As much as I enjoy Trader Joe's there's something really culty about it.

Joseph Planta @Planta
As much as I enjoy Trader Joe's there's something really culty about it.
21 Aug 22:56

More Notes on Vesper

This is the first time I’ve ever shut down an app. In the past I’ve sold my apps (MarsEdit, TapLynx, Glassboard, NetNewsWire) — and two of those are still going. (I’m writing this post — like all my posts — in MarsEdit.)

* * *

We never debated about providing an Export feature — not only was it the obvious right thing to do, it was a feature we’d planned to do regardless.

Initially I thought we’d do it as a web app. You’d kick off an export, then the web app would create a zip file and send you email later so you could download it.

We didn’t do it this way because it sounded like a real pain to write, and, more importantly, it didn’t do anything for people who didn’t use syncing.

The iOS document provider feature — which was introduced after Vesper shipped (it was originally an iOS 6 app) — was just what we needed. It meant we could write the notes and pictures as files in a folder, and then a document provider could upload those files to iCloud Drive, Dropbox, or wherever.

Perfect. It works whether you’re syncing or not — it has nothing to do with syncing.

And it will continue to work even after sync shuts down. It will continue to work as long as you have the app on your device.

* * *

We decided to make it so that new users can’t sign up for syncing, since it’s going away. And, since a new user can’t sync, we can’t really ask them to pay for the app, either — so we made it free.

Consider the alternative: we allow new sync users, and we continue to charge for the app. Some people would buy it the same day we shut down syncing. That’s not good.

Since it’s free, it will probably get more downloads in the next few weeks than it’s had in its entire life.

* * *

Some people have asked that we make it open source. The request is getting serious consideration, but I can’t make any promises.

The code is all Objective-C. It’s an iOS 6 app with just enough changes to keep it working on iOS 7 and beyond. It knows nothing about size classes, presentation controllers, and so on. Doesn’t even use auto layout. It’s not an example of how you’d write an app these days.

* * *

Belief inside Q Branch: if we had started with a Mac app rather than an iOS app, Vesper would have been much more successful. That wasn’t clear at the time we started, though (Dec. 2012).

* * *

This is the last app on the App Store where I wrote all (or almost all) of the code. Odds are excellent that there will never be another app written largely by me on any app store.

(Yes, my day-job-apps are on the app stores, but they’re written by a team.)

I’m working on new stuff from Ranchero Software. I had planned two apps, but I think it’s going to be just one, just because two takes too much time. So I picked the one I’m more passionate about.

It’s a Mac app, because I’m a Mac developer at heart, and it won’t be on the Mac App Store because I prefer the freedom of shipping instantly, without any large corporation’s bureaucracy slowing things down and holding veto power.

And then that will be my app. The thing I work on for the next 10 or so years, until I retire. That’s the plan. (To be clear, though, I don’t plan to leave my day job, which I love.)

When will it ship? I don’t have a date. I don’t know.

22 Aug 00:41

Skytrain construction, 1982, via David Banks on FB.The FB...

by illustratedvancouver

Skytrain construction, 1982, via David Banks on FB.

The FB posting stated they were of Terminal Avenue from May, July, September 1982; wikipedia states construction of the initial demonstration line began in the summer of 1983 with Main Street Station and Terminal Ave guideway, but David points out construction started March 1, 1982.
Lots more images at VanArchives too!

(images are lightly colour corrected)

22 Aug 03:32

My prediction: Immersive real-time VR in Olympic closing ceremonies in 8 years

by Mark Watson, author and consultant
My wife and I are watching the closing ceremonies right now. Great visual effects that will be even better with immersive virtual reality. I expect that in 8 years we will have the option of being able to change our point of view from the stands to down on the central floor in a complete immersive VR experience with 3D sound and head tracking.

I haven't worked in VR in almost 20 years when I helped found the virtual reality systems division at SAIC (where I handled 3D sound with head related transfer functions, motion, haptics, and some graphics) and then a year later did a virtual reality project for Disney while working at Angel Studios. Even if I don't work in VR anymore I am a huge fan and I have high expectations for what is to come in user experience.
21 Aug 21:23

The Half-Life of Joy

by rands

I am bad at finishing.

Many of my pieces I write start out like the morning when I began this article: an early morning caffeination session where I’m bouncing aimlessly around the Internet when I discover a thought. An exciting thought appears out of nowhere and not only is it intriguing, but I can instantly see how that thought could be expanded and built into an article.

The majority of the time I find whatever pen or keyboard is nearby and pound out 100+ words as quickly as I can. The majority of the time I will never finish the piece. The Rands slush pile is deep with half-started ideas, and while a slush pile is a point of pride for me, I’m certain there are great half-written pieces that I will never finish.

The thought that started this piece was this image of a graph that helped explained the reasons I am bad at finishing, and it looks like this:


The horizontal axis is elapsed time; the vertical is joy. Elapsed time is the current amount of time spent on the the piece. Joy is how much I love the work at this particular point in time. There are four distinct states within this graph:

Peak Joy. Ohmigosh. Ohmigosh. Ohmigosh. Such a good idea. Must write it down somewhere quickly because this idea is precious, it’s unique, and if I don’t write it down quickly, it will vanish from the universe forever. This is a steep and satisfying part of the graph, but it quickly bends into our next phase.

Building Depth, Giving Shape. The reality is after capturing the original joyful thought that I only have 10 to 20% of the piece. I usually have a bit of the middle, but no beginning or end. Sometimes the thought is the title, often not. The second most important phase of writing this piece is when I’m building a form for the thought – I’m giving it shape. While the joy per second is decreasing over time, I still have a head full of residual energy from the first phase. The words are still pouring out of my fingers, and it’s in this phase that I discover whether or not the original thought has depth.

This phase is also the one where most pieces die. It has to do with the slope of the curve. I always start building depth full of vim and vigor, but after I’ve written a couple of hundred words, how am I feeling? How much of that original energy still exists in my head? Is the original idea still producing additional smaller supporting exciting ideas? Do I feel I have more to say? How close to done do I feel?

My sense of the current half-life of joy regarding this new piece determines whether or not I’m incentivized to finish. What I’ve learned in the past decade of writing is that even with 1000+ words written, I’m not even 50% done, and if the joy isn’t there, I won’t finish. I’ll explain.

The Slog. The good news about entering the Slog is that I’ve entered this phase. The Slog is the part of writing where I believe I am filling in the unimportant parts. The bones – the depth – of the piece are written, and I’m filling in the gaps with obvious connective tissue, so the piece makes sense. Boring.

The Slog is an essential part of finishing a piece, and while the joy per second is lower, the work here can result in new original work within the piece. For example, while I had a good idea about what to call each phase of the graph before I started writing, I didn’t find the final title until I was slogging through the words.1

The slope of the curve doesn’t change much during the Slog. If I’ve started the Slog, it means that I’ve decided there is enough potential in the piece that I’m willing to slog through the middle and perhaps begin the laborious process of finishing.

The Endless Finish. The reasons I am bad at finishing have evolved. When I started regularly blogging, I was bad at finishing because I simply didn’t do it. The third edition of Managing Humans was just published, and I am still rewriting and finishing chapters in that book that I firmly believed were done years ago.

Getting through the Slog is work, and Old Rands used to believe the reward for getting through that phase was hitting the publish button. This practice resulted in poorly written half-thoughts littered with grammar and spelling errors. Thanks to the hard work of a great many individuals who have helped edit pieces I’ve discovered the last 10% of the work is the difference between a good and a great piece.

This leads to the current reason I’m bad at finishing. Take a look at that graph again.


While you should be suspect of this graph because it is solely drawn to support this article, what I’ve learned in the past decade of writing is, “When you think you’re done writing a piece, you’re only 50% done.” It’s that math that I’m weighing as I finish adding depth. Do I see enough value in a piece that I’m willing to double the amount of time I’ve already spent on a piece to finish it?

On Finishing

Whether it’s writing an article or building a feature in software, the work of finishing is both the most important and the least interesting. My early reluctance to engage with an editor is the same gripe engineers have with building unit test, fixing bugs, and documenting their code. We told ourselves the same story, It works… it’s good enough, but what we were really saying was, the interesting work is done.

If you’re shooting for good enough, not finishing is a great strategy. If you’re shooting for great, then you need to finish. You need to find an editor or a code reviewer who will take the time to rigorously critique your work. You need to listen carefully to that critique and not react with emotion, but understanding. It’s that understanding that will give you a better picture of your strengths and weaknesses so that next time around you’re aware of where you are likely to make mistakes or become lazy. Repeated useful critiques are how you become better at your craft.

The time spent finishing feels intolerable because it’s the hardest work. Joy can sustain you through the hard work of finishing, but here’s the secret: there’s a whole other source of satisfaction that arrives when the results of your hard work are appreciated by your audience…

Therein lies the real joy.

  1. Fun fact: this piece was originally called “The Creative Curve.” 
22 Aug 06:53

Cyanogen – Call for vultures.

by windsorr

Reply to this post

RFM AvatarSmall






Software asset worth buying from a dying Cyanogen. 

  • Although, Cyanogen appears to be on its last legs, I think that the software asset that it has developed remains the best alternative to Google Android that is available.
  • The latest twist in the sorry tale of Cyanogen is the claim that management miss-represented its user numbers to its investors when it raised $85m in March 2015.
  • At the time of the fund raising a number of 25m tracked users was used that went hand in hand with an estimate that there were around 50m active users of the software overall.
  • Cyanogen OS has some excellent privacy features that make it impossible to track a device should they be enabled which gave rise to the estimate of another 25m users that the company could not see.
  • Unfortunately, it appears that the current number of active users is closer to 2m rather than 25m with the commercial version (used by handset makers) registering around 4m (The Information).
  • I suspect that the accusation of miss-representation is without merit and that the reality is that through poor strategy and execution, the user number has fallen of a cliff in the last 12 months.
  • Cyanogen began life as the anti-Google Android offering but quickly changed direction when it realised that to get volume, it had to be compliant with Google’s standards.
  • This was when the code split into CyanogenMod (not compliant partly maintained by the community) and Cyanogen OS (compliant and managed by the company).
  • Cyanogen OS was given to handset makers to create devices and deals stuck with service providers such as Microsoft (Office 365) for a share of service revenues generated.
  • I have long believed that this business model was doomed to failure (see here) which combined with very poor execution led to no revenue generation and the need for yet another shift in strategy.
  • RFM research indicates that the current plan is to cease development of the OS entirely and instead concentrate on providing hardware makers with custom implementations of the Android code.
  • In effect, Cyanogen will become just another body shop with very little to distinguish it from the many competitors that already exist in both India and China.
  • Cyanogen’s list of departed clients is long and includes Oppo (currently 2 the Chinese market), Micromax and many others who have since returned to stock Android.
  • I think that these clients left Cyanogen not because of the product, but due to the way that they were managed by the company which is what I think prompted the precipitous decline in user numbers.
  • RFM research indicates that one of Cyanogen’s last clients, Wileyfox which is currently front and centre on Cyanogen’s website, is also moving back to standard Android.
  • This leaves Cyanogen with no way for its commercial product to make it to market ending any hope (forlorn in my opinion) that it would ever generate any revenues.
  • I do not think that Cyanogen’s last gasp strategy to become a body shop will work because it’s a commoditised business where there is brutal price competition.
  • This is a very disappointing outcome because I have long held the opinion that Cyanogen OS is an excellent implementation of Android.
  • Furthermore, in its recent iterations of the code it has enabled the kind of data sharing that I think is required for an ecosystem to take its functionality to the next level.
  • Consequently, Cyanogen OS is an excellent option for any ecosystem that needs to have control of its user experience, be able to evolve it, deploy its services and set them as default.
  • RFM research (see here) indicates that this is what the Chinese ecosystems need to do to evolve into full ecosystems with a complete set of Digital Life services.
  • Outside of Alibaba (with YunOS and Meizu) and Xiaomi, the other ecosystems are at a very early stage and I think that acquiring the Cyanogen OS would give them a rapid leg up in the race.
  • Furthermore, I think that any other player is that is thinking of trying to break free from Google in Android in emerging markets should also be interested in acquiring this asset.
  • The proceeds from the sale could give Cyanogen some more runway to get this new strategy off the ground even though I suspect that it will never take-off.
  • I see one of the BATmen as the most likely buyer.
22 Aug 06:46

Returning to Kyoto, to Hot Summer Cycling and Destroying my iPhone

by Jeffrey Friedl
Ascending Through Layers with an isolated cloudburst in the background -- Monroeville, Ohio, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Ascending Through Layers
with an isolated cloudburst in the background

I'm back in Kyoto, after spending the better part of a month with my folks in Ohio. Mom continues to recover from her February stroke. I snapped a few photos out the window as we crossed The States on the Cleveland → San Francisco flight.

Splash of Sun -- Bellevue, Ohio, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Splash of Sun

An hour later crusing along well above the clouds, I noticed another plane keeping pace with us in the far distance (just a tiny speck, dead center in this next photo).

Traveling Companion the tiny speck in the center of the frame is another plane -- West Liberty, Iowa, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/125 sec, f/14, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Traveling Companion
the tiny speck in the center of the frame is another plane

Not quite the closeup view from eight years ago. 🙂

Still There an hour and a half later.... or maybe it's a different plane -- Woodrow, Colorado, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/11, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Still There
an hour and a half later.... or maybe it's a different plane
Bleak new Bishop, California -- Bishop, California, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48mm — 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
new Bishop, California
Contorted Canals one wonders about all the factors that contribute to such a herky -jerky path -- Patterson, California, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 60mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Contorted Canals
one wonders about all the factors that contribute to such a herky-jerky path
Spacious Property not many homes in this part of Tracy, California -- Tracy, California, United States -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Spacious Property
not many homes in this part of Tracy, California

I arrived back home in Kyoto last Wednesday evening, and slept well the first night. Jetlag has been much less of a problem lately. It used to crush me for weeks after returning. Looking back at my blog, it turns out that I have two blog posts entitled “The Mystery of Jetlag”, one 10 years ago and another four years ago. Lately it's been so much better... maybe my current higher level of fitness helps? Still a mystery.

The next morning, I thought I should do some exercise to truly wake myself up, so I went on a bike ride. It took a while to get everything set up, so I didn't get started until 9am. Kyoto is hot and humid in the summer, and it was 28°C (82F) by the time I left.

Hot in Ohara crappy iPhone camera doesn't do the scene justice -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/2000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Hot in Ohara
crappy iPhone camera doesn't do the scene justice

The ride went well at first and despite not trying all that hard, I got PRs on the first climb, so I guess my fitness level hadn't dropped too much in the month away. I went into the mountains of Shiga Prefecture to a big climb (5km @ 8.4%) on an isolated, little-used road I've been wanting to try...

Heading In temperature now 35°C (95F) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/1200 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading In
temperature now 35°C (95F)

While on this climb I was suddenly overcome with deep fatigue. I think it was jetlag and not heat or The Bonk (lack of calories). I literally lay down in the middle of the road and closed my eyes for a while.

Fellow Traveler -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/40 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Fellow Traveler

Rejuvenated after a 20-minute rest, I finished the climb at a leisurely pace, eventually just missing the worst time recorded for the segment. 🙂

The little guy in the previous photo was just the start of the most “nature” I'd seen on a ride... I was continually joined by some critter or another.... snakes, crickets, deer, small lizards (salamanders?), butterflies, toads. Typing it out like this, the list doesn't seem that impressive so perhaps I'm forgetting the bulk of it, but I had a sense of amazement during the ride about how much wildlife I encountered.

Nice Views that break down to a blotchy mess with the heat, humidity, and tiny iPhone camera sensor -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/2200 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Nice Views
that break down to a blotchy mess with the heat, humidity, and tiny iPhone camera sensor

The long steep descent down the other side was fun, and made me happy that I had not tried to climb it, for I felt it must be much harder than the side I'd actually done. Part way down, I came across this Buddha statue:

Big Buddha I realized then that this was the difficult “ Buddha road ” I'd heard about -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Buddha
I realized then that this was the difficult “Buddha road” I'd heard about
Exiting the Forest into the rice fields (near these fields from nine years ago) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/1250 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Exiting the Forest
into the rice fields (near these fields from nine years ago)

As I descended into a village on the exposed road, the temperature climbed from the 27° it had been in the forest, up to 39° on the exposed open road. (From 81F to 102F.) It was hot.

I somehow had the idea that I should go ahead and retrace my steps back up the mountain, doing the climb that I was so fearful about on the way down. So, after buying 1.5L of water at a vending machine, I did exactly that, heading up and then repeating the descent right back down to the same vending machine (where I stocked up on another 1.5L).

The second descent was faster than the first because I didn't stop for photos, but otherwise it was pretty mild, so I was surprised to find that I got the KOM on the descent. Anyway, I felt satisfied that I'd not shied away from the tough climb after the first thought of dreading it.

Later while coasting downhill after a milder climb, the TiGRA Sport bicycle iPhone mount that I spoke so highly of last year failed at a mild bump, and my iPhone 6+ hit the pavement at 44kph...

Death of my iPhone Courtesy of a TiGRA Sport mount that failed -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
map & image datanearby photos
Death of my iPhone
Courtesy of a TiGRA Sport mount that failed
Predictable Result -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro — 1/500 sec, f/9, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Predictable Result
The Culprit two teeth failed and another is in the process... seems like a simple case of plastic fatigue )-: -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Nikon D4 + Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro — 1/500 sec, f/4.8, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
The Culprit
two teeth failed and another is in the process... seems like a simple case of plastic fatigue )-:

The action shot above is a screen capture from the video from the bike rear camera. The road was mildly bumpy, but nothing enough to make me think it was one particular jolt that the TiGRA mount failed on. Rather, I'm guessing it was just accumulated fatigue that just happened to cross the line at that time.

I found the smashed phone right away, but despite searching for 15 minutes along both sides of the road, I couldn't find the case. One side of the road dropped off steeply and was overgrown with tall weeds, so I figured it must have slid somewhere in there. Until I saw the video (after returning home), I had assumed the case separated from the phone on impact with the road, but the video shows the light plastic case sailing away on its own. It probably went way off into the high grass.

(Armed with new info from the video, I returned two days later to search again, but 15 minutes struggling in the overgrown embankment yielded only cuts and bug bites..)

Sigh. I'll have to ask TiGRA Sport about this.

Dejected, I continued home. There wasn't much tree cover for quite a while, and though the 35° (95F) temperature wasn't so bad, the direct sun was brutal and I was quickly drained. The final climb that stood between me and a cool shower at home should have taken 15 minutes, but I was wiped out, so stopped for long periods when I could find shade. In the end it took an hour. This wasn't jetlag... just heat and lack of fitness.

I was happy to find that the phone still actually worked, so I could download the photos and make a backup. The tracklogs weren't complete though, so I was happy that the new Garmin Edge 820 cycling computer I was using for the first time (having just acquired it in The States) had recorded the ride fully. Longtime readers of my blog know that Garmin has earned a passionate hatred over the years, so I was expecting the worst with my first real cycling computer, but everything seemed to work out fine. For now.

The next day I swapped my broken phone (and ¥42,000... about $400) for a new phone.

The day after that I set out on a ride more or less in reverse of the first. I left earlier in the day, before it got too hot, so I felt really good on the initial climbs.

I returned to the tragic scene of my iPhone death and dug through the overgrowth for 15 minutes, but still couldn't find the case.

I intended to go to the same big mountain I'd done twice the other day, but this time via an alternate approach that seemed appealing on the map. I'd used a mapping site to route me there, following on the non-map on my Garmin 820. (I've not yet put Japanese maps on it.)

Heading Toward The Mountains -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/3000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Toward The Mountains

I had to pass through a little village to get there, and was surprised when the route brought me up a back alley with a ridiculous 20+% slope, followed by a flat section, then another milder (but still ridiculously steep) slope:

This is The Mild Portion -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Cycliq Fly12 — map & image datanearby photos
This is The Mild Portion

Later on a whim, I made a Strava segment for this little stretch of road, “Brutal Kamioogi Shortcut”, and found that I wasn't the only person to have taken it.

Overall, the little stretch averages 18.9% for 200m.

Something felt oddly familiar about it, but I didn't pay much attention to it until I got home and looked at the map. Strava uses OpenStreetMap data, and the data in this area was pathetic, so I updated it:

As I do with many roads where I ride, I used detailed survey data from the Japanese government to guide the updates. They tend to be very precise, which is how I like my maps and my Strava segments.

While working on that update, I realized that I'd actually been on that exact steep route before, as a passenger in a car, during the winter (with snow!), on the way to “Filming a TV Segment about Mochi and Shiga”. Small world.

The main road continued up toward the mountains, but without tree cover it was hot, so I stopped by a roadside culvert to cool down by dipping a towel into the cool water, and squeezing it over my head...

Cooling Off frame grab from the bike's front-facing camera -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
Cycliq Fly12 — map & image datanearby photos
Cooling Off
frame grab from the bike's front-facing camera

A little later, just as the road enters the forest, there was a little waterfall and pond.

Oasis in the Heat -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/15 sec, f/2.2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Oasis in the Heat

I stopped to put my whole body under the tiny waterfall of very cold water. It was freezing and wonderful; it felt like this.

The road pitched up steeply from here, though now mostly under tree cover. After a long while, it turned to mild gravel, then disappointingly, increasingly rough gravel.

Mild Gravel -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/350 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Mild Gravel

I had hoped it would be all paved, but it was gravely enough that I don't think I'd like to do it again on a road bike. I views I was rewarded with, though, were lovely.

near Kaji Pass (梶峠) -- Kaji Pass (梶峠) -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl,
iPhone 6+ — 1/1600 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
near Kaji Pass (梶峠)

Even though I stopped often for photos or to cool down, I still got the #4 spot overall on that 4.5km 9% climb. (Shhhh, don't tell anyone that there were only five registered attempts 😉 )

After descending a bit it connected to that “Buddha Road” climb I'd been proud of attempting two days prior. It connected after the worst of the climb, so the remaining 2.5km at “only” 7.4% felt almost flat. I was feeling much better this day, so my time was ⅔ that of the earlier attempt.

So, I'm happy to be back home and that my fitness level didn't drop too much. Kyoto is hot hot hot, though, and I've a lot of work and tidying to catch up on, so I'll probably not get out too much in the next weeks, but we'll see. Maybe some early morning rides, and heat-of-the-day getting-stuff-done in the comfort of home's air conditioning.

22 Aug 08:16

Activity Alone Isn’t Enough To Justify An Online Community

by Richard Millington

Several organisations let go of multiple community staff members (and friends) in the past three weeks.

Each organisation had previously claimed the community was successful and very important to them. So, what gives?

Two things. First, just because your boss or CEO says they believe in the importance of community, doesn’t mean they do. At least not enough. Community activity is often several layers removed from clear value.

It’s no surprise the most thriving categories of branded communities are those closest to clear value (customer service, employee knowledge sharing, and emotional support).

Second there is a difference between a positive ROI and a positive enough ROI. A positive ROI is >0%. But a positive ROI alone isn’t enough when the budget axe falls. You need an ROI that trumps other departments (HR, sales, customer loyalty etc..) or the axe falls upon you.

Community staff are let go because the community isn’t generating value or the value isn’t believed.

Your biggest priority today is to identify and spend time with each stakeholder to identify what they wish to see from the community. What would make your boss’ boss job easier or make her look good? Stay close and communicate with stakeholders every week. Mapping out stakeholder objectives is critical (and will never be on your job description). This process builds stronger, useful, relationships too.

Second, influence the community behavior towards those objectives. Lots of activity and lots of members isn’t enough to justify value anymore. You need to influence the community towards specific behaviors that matter. Directly connect what stakeholders want (innovative ideas, greater retention, self-identifying leads) to behavior members need to perform.

So begin today mapping out stakeholder objectives and directly connect them to member behavior. Make sure stakeholders also make this connection.

Getting internal buy-in isn’t your boss saying the community is doing well. It’s you getting more resources and surviving budget cuts. Harsh, but true.