“Some church members said their health is in God’s hands.”

Coronavirus deniers and hoaxers persist despite dire warnings, claiming ‘it’s mass hysteria’:

Sunday unfolded with relative normalcy in tiny Wellsville, pop. 1,809, even as Franklin County officials declared a “state of local disaster” and shut the schools until March 30. Restaurants were open and the hardware parking lot was full. A nearby Dollar General had steady business, with one lone toilet paper roll left on the shelves.

Services went on as scheduled at Wellsville Baptist Church, though Pastor Bill Hendricks is trying to move the gatherings online. Hand sanitizer was placed on tables in the back, and residents jokingly tried to bump elbows rather than greet each other with hugs.

In his sermon, Hendricks said he had but one message for his flock this day — turn off the television.

“What’s being played over and over again,” he said, “is stoking fear.”

Some church members said their health is in God’s hands.

“We just need to trust the Lord to solve this,” said Ted Buckley, 73, a retired salesman. “I don’t know anybody personally with coronavirus. We shouldn’t be thrown into a state of panic because of what we hear, rather than what we see and witness.”

Religion can bring out the worst and most ignorant in people, can’t it?

But hold on, let’s get nuanced. I don’t disagree with everything this fuckwit pastor said. I do agree in limiting your exposure to media, be it social or mass. Don’t spend your entire day watching CNN, Fox, Facebook, or Twitter. The term I use for my routine is, “dip in, dip out”. I launch Twitter, I skim my feed, maybe like or reply to something, and close the browser window. I dip in and I dip out.

Now for what the rocket scientist Ted Buckley said, if anyone believes in “trusting the lord to solve this” then they need to stop using modern medicine and see how long they last. They are no longer allowed to visit pharmacies, ERs, or use bandages.

If Buckley develops throat cancer, he needs to gargle with “holy” water. Leave it in god’s hands.

“such a tool is barely in its trial stages”

Gizmodo: Google Scrambles to Make the White House Seem Competent:

Google has announced that it’s partnering with the White House to create a national coronavirus website, which is totally related to whatever the hell the administration was talking about at Friday’s press conference. There, President Donald Trump vastly oversold and misattributed an upcoming, supposedly Google-run project to build a “nationwide” coronavirus screening site to direct people to nearby “drive through” testing depending on their symptoms.

In reality—as Google clarified in a frantic tweet just hours later—such a tool is barely in its trial stages at Verily, Google’s sister-company under the Alphabet umbrella, and it will only be useful for people in the San Francisco Bay Area for the foreseeable future. It purportedly wasn’t even intended to be publically available until White House staff dropped the ball.

A person familiar with the matter told the New York Times that Verily’s pilot program (not a website—that’s still yet to be announced) is planned to launch Monday and can direct Bay Area residents exhibiting flagged symptoms to a total of three testing locations. While still absolutely commendable, don’t get me wrong, that’s still significantly different and scaled-down from what Trump and co. were selling.

Anyone who works on websites and apps knows no one, not even Google, can launch a nationwide website in few days, or a few weeks. There’s many moving parts: design, development, databases, security, redundancy, HIPAA Compliance, and testing/QA to name just a few.

Categories:

Health, Product, Web Design

“He says he quit opioids, but he clearly has other vices.”

Ashley Carman, writing for The Verge, has a fascinating profile on the man behind the crowdfunded ‘iBackpack’ project, Doug Monahan.

Amazingly, Monohan invited Carman down to where he lives in Texas so he could clear his name:

Ochs remembers in the early 2000s, when Monahan first learned about Segway tours, Monahan wanted one for a party he was hosting but was told he’d be put on a waiting list. Instead, according to Ochs, he wrote a blank check to get one delivered to his house and paid two or three times what it should have cost. “It was a disgusting display of wealth,” Ochs says.

It’s hard to picture that life when I visit Monahan’s home now.

Nothing about his current living situation seems enviable, except for maybe his 2005 red Mercedes 500SL. His one-level Houston house smells like cigarettes. He says he quit opioids, but he clearly has other vices. He keeps margarita mix and wine in bulk. He pours one glass of wine while I’m there but then leaves it somewhere and pours another. I can’t tell if he has a bad memory or just can’t be bothered to fetch his glass. An ashtray sits next to his dozen or so computers, which he owns so he can “communicate with the world.” (Monahan mentions he used the dark web to purchase drugs in the past.)

Monohan sounds like a textbook con man.

“Congratulations, kids.”

Via CNN: Marie Osmond isn’t leaving her money to her children:

Marie Osmond says none of the money she’s made over her lifetime will be left to her children.

The 60-year-old performer appeared on “The Talk” recently, where she explained that leaving her kids a fortune would be a “great disservice” to them, and that they need to make their own money.

“I’m not leaving any money to my children. Congratulations, kids,” Osmond said, adding, “My husband and I decided that you do a great disservice to your children to just hand them a fortune because you take away the one most important gift you can give your children, and that’s the ability to work.”

I’m sure Marie’s kids were very thankful when they found out about this wonderful fucking news.

Categories:

Finance

Icons

Windows 10 Icons

Windows 10 Icons

Looking at the evolution of the Mail icon, it appears this is the first version of Windows to not feature shitty icons.

Every version of Windows prior to 10 had icons that looked like they were bought for a dollar from a stock image site, lacking any taste or sophistication.

Categories:

Image, Interface

Solid State Watch

Currently on Kickstarter:

Solid State Watch is a Casio F-91W movement permanently cast into a transparent resin case. It’s in there forever. No buttons, no functions, no light, fully waterproof and no changing that 10 year battery.
It just tells time.

Solid State Watch

I love the idea, but as my friend Jory pointed out, the $160 price tag is hefty as shit considering you can buy a Casio F-91W for $11.

At the time of this posting, they have 308 backers who have contributed over $50,000 towards their $8,000 goal, so clearly there’s a market for this watch.

I can’t help but wonder when the project creators are going to grow tired of resin-coating and vacuum-sealing 300+ watches by hand? I think I’d grow annoyed after making ten.

Categories:

Crowdfunding, Product

WXOU Radio Bar

Katherine Lewin, writing for The Infatuation, on WXOU Radio Bar:

This is as straightforward a bar as you’ll find in the city. DGAF attitude, dad rock, and beers & well drinks are the key components here – it’s all familiar, and that’s a good thing. It’s the perfect place to take a break from the routinely expensive, sceney, and packed bars that you keep going back to. You’ll leave wishing you had this place on your corner.

It doesn’t matter that I lived in New York for 12 years. There will always be bars I haven’t visited. This is one of them, and it looks great.

“we will end up creating a dystopic information environment”

David Kaye, writing for The LA Review of Books on, The Digital Deluge and the Age of AI:

The public’s impression of AI is that it is machines taking over, but — for now, for the foreseeable future, and certainly in content moderation — it is really human programming and the leveraging of that power, which is a massive one for corporations. The machines have a lot of difficulty with text, with all the variations of satire and irony and misdirection and colloquial choppiness that is natural to language. They have difficulty with human difference and have facilitated the upholding of race, gender, and other kinds of biases to negative effect. Even worse, as the scholar Safiya Noble argues in her book Algorithms of Oppression, “racism and sexism are part of the architecture and language of technology.” And all of this is not merely because they are machines and “cannot know” in the sense of human intelligence. It is also because they are human-driven.

We often do not know the answers about meaning, at least not on a first review. The programmers have biases, and those who create rules for the programmers have biases, sometimes baked-in biases having to do with gender, race, politics, and much else of consequence. Exacerbating these substantive problems, AI’s operations are opaque to most users and present serious challenges to the transparency of speech regulation and moderation.

When systems scale, shit gets crazy.

“the first at a major tech company to unionize”

The Verge: Kickstarter employees vote to unionize:

Kickstarter employees voted to unionize today with 46 people voting for the union and 37 against. The decision makes Kickstarter employees the first at a major tech company to unionize. The employees are represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), and the unit is made up of 85 engineers, directors, analysts, designers, coordinators, and customer support specialists.

Mike Monteiro has also been an advocate of organizing unions, specifically for designers.

Categories:

Career

I haven’t seen a compelling argument for why a mobile computer with a folding screen is better than one without a folding screen.

Android pocket computer manufacturers can’t hold back their excitement over folding screens. Samsung was so excited, it aired a Galaxy Z Flip commercial during the Super Bowl before it even announced the phone.

Motorola has taken the nostalgic angle with folding screens and reintroduced the RAZR. I remember when the original RAZR debuted in 2004. There was a ton of buzz surrounding it and its ~$350 pricetag (a hefty price for a folding phone at the time).

I know fashion moves in cycles, and old things become new again, but I’m not convinced the kids today are both nostolgic for a folding phone and really want a touchscreen that folds.

As far as other 40-somethings like me, I don’t see anyone rushing out to get either of these devices. After watching MKBHD’s unboxing and review video for the new RAZR, it’s clear Motorola put nostallgia and form ahead of function, doing everything they could to keep the same shape as the original RAZR in order to create a subpar device compared to other Android mobile computers.

I like seeing gadget experiments, but I haven’t seen a compelling argument for why a mobile computer with a folding screen is better than one without a folding screen. Just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done.

Not the Descendants of Cellular Phones

Geoffrey Fowler, in an article written for the Washington Post, considers the $1,000 to $1,400 price range of Samsung’s new Galaxy phones as, “hard to justify as much more than a luxury.”

John Gruber responds:

This is the same nonsense we hear about Apple’s phones, post-iPhone X. Yes, phones that cost $1,000 or more are expensive. Yes, that’s outside the budget for most people. But why in the world would anyone argue this is ”hard to justify”? Phones are, for most people, the most-used computing device in their lives. They are also their primary — usually only — camera. A good camera alone used to cost $500-600.

Gruber is correct, but there’s another problem I haven’t seen anyone address that’s been bothering me for quite some time, and that is: these are not phones, they’re pocket computers (feel free to come up with a better name).

If you look at a Galaxy S20 or an iPhone 11 Pro as the descendants of cellular phones, then, yes these are very expensive phones.

Now, on the other hand if you look at these as what they are: the evolution of computers, miniaturized, with the ability to shoot video, watch video, shoot photos, edit photos, map your trips via GPS, browse the Internet, send & receive email, send & receive text messages, read books, listen to music & podcasts, and maybe occasionally make & receive phone calls (to name just a few), then their price tags don’t seem that outlandish (whether or not most people take advantage of all these capabilities is another story).

As George Carlin said:

Because we do think in language. And so the quality of our thoughts and ideas can only be as good as the quality of our language.

They’re pocket computers, not phones.

Categories:

Product, Technology

The Age of Productivity

AgencySpy: A Survey Reveals That Agencies Are Getting Through Less Than 2 Hours of Deep Work per Day:

According to research from Float (a work planning platform … nifty that they did this research to sell a few subscriptions), agency people are getting less than two hours of what’s called “deep work” done per day. Defined, “deep work” is what it sounds like, focusing on work without interruption.

Over 100 respondents from around the world weighed in on the issues they face in getting any work done. Almost 60% claimed that they get two hours or less of uninterrupted work done per day, while 27% noted that they can get four hours of quiet work time. It also seems that larger agencies (with 50+ employees) bear the brunt of interruptions, with over 60% saying that they get through two hours or less of meaningful work. Smaller agencies (less than 30 employees) appear to be able to make it through four hours.

Those “innovative” open-floor plans are the best.

Essential Shuts Down

From The Verge:

Essential is shutting down less than three years after the startup unveiled its first smartphone. The company’s only complete product, the Essential Phone, sold poorly and received mixed reviews. A follow-up phone was canceled, and a number of other promised devices — like a smart home assistant and operating system — never materialized.

I can’t say I didn’t see this coming.

Categories:

Product, Technology