“The future is not the opposite of the past”

One of the things I try to show my students is that historical grounding does not exclude being contemporary. The future is not the opposite of the past. It’s easy to think that, because language sets it up that way: Day is the opposite of night, up is the opposite of down, and therefore the future must be the opposite of the past. But it doesn’t actually work like that.
—Tobias Frere-Jones, Surface Magazine No. 109
via The Made Shop

Fuck the NYC Police

NY Post: Arrests plummet 66% with NYPD in virtual work stoppage:

It’s not a slowdown — it’s a virtual work stoppage.

NYPD traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent following the execution of two cops — as officers feel betrayed by the mayor and fear for their safety, The Post has learned.

The dramatic drop comes as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio plan to hold an emergency summit on Tuesday with the heads of the five police unions to try to close the widening rift between cops and the administration.
Putting the lives of the public in danger because of something the mayor said.
They should be ashamed of themselves.

A Lot of Fumes in 2014

In 2014 I published 25 episodes of my podcast—Weekly Exhaust—with the help of my friend and grump-ass co-host, Bryan Larrick. Sure it’s just 2 guys in their late 30s yapping about bullshit, but there was also a lot of editing, promoting, tweeting and writing involved with WE when each episode got pushed to iTunes. I’ve loved Howard Stern since high school but now I have a new respect for him. Talking for one hour isn’t easy, I can’t imagine four.
Thanks Bryan and thanks to our 150+ monthly subscribers.
Life is all about perseverance. If you spend a long enough time pretending to be the thing you want to be, you eventually become it (otherwise known as faking it until you make it).
We might eventually become a real talk show, but until then…
Well, until then you can give us a listen and if you like Weekly Exhaust, you should rate us on iTunes.
Until we get a sponsor, I’ll like to plug Bryan’s novel, Impact Winter, which I read and really liked. You can grab it for $3.99 on Amazon.

Steve Wozniak in 1984 on the “Hacker Ethic”

I stumbled upon a great interview with Steve Wozniak on the Merv Griffin Show back in 1984. My favorite part is around the 3:30 minute mark where Woz talks about how hackers have certain ethics around how and what they hack and that it’s impossible for kids to hack into large institutions.

“There’s this big, huge myth that got evolved about hackers with personal computers being so smart that somehow they can invade computers that have valuable and vital information but it’s a total lie and a myth and there are no valuable and vital information sources that are really ever tampered with. You won’t even find a thousand dollars worth of finds in the whole history of this country because all these kids just get onto public accounts, they play but they’re very cautious. It’s a hacker ethic. They do not destroy anything and they do not have access to any sort of military computers. They’re all protected by the proper keys which are called passwords. It’s a big myth we’ve built up and it’s interesting to have this intrigue in our heads and think that the kids are the sort of people who rip off billions of dollars by embezzling…but an accountant always had a key to the vault and now he’s got the password to the computer.”
Woz really was (is) too nice a guy. I can’t help but think about how different Woz is to Jobs. I guess that’s what made them a great team in the early days of Apple.


Headline at The Verge: Almost every single Xbox executive we profiled in this video last year has left the company
It’s no secret I dislike everything Microsoft does (save for hardware, ironically). This is partly because I don’t think they understand making consumer electronics, partly because I don’t think they understand selling consumer electronics and partly because I think it’s quite possible (likely?) they’ll abandon it like they’ve done with the Zune, PlayForSure and many other initiatives. Oh,and despite efforts in recent years, I still agree they have no taste.
The XBox is no exception. It’s far from leading a “revolution” in the living room and Kinect has proven to be a flop. Turns out people don’t want to flail their arms and legs around in their living room, they just want to sit the fuck down and relax. To be clear: I feel the same way about the Playstation and Nintendo Wii/Wii U being “living room devices”. They’re not.
Let’s also not forget XBox brings in chump change for Microsoft relative to Windows, Office and Enterprise.

Weekly Exhaust, Ep. 25 – I’ve Never Had to Upgrade My Rolling Pin

This week Michael and Bryan discuss the holidays with family, Bryan’s holiday power outage, old tech versus new tech, NYC’s Blackout of ’03, the short life of an iPad, how Amazon has been treating authors, technology continuing to phase out human jobs, bad physics in the Avengers, the movie The Interview, regimes threatened by information, South Park, Stephen Colbert and Bryan’s car find on EBay.
Weekly Exhaust – Episode 25 (subscribe on iTunes)

Real Art is Transformation

Some people cover songs by other musicians and others transform the song into something completely new and different, yet also recognizable to the original. Joe Cocker did this with his version of the Beatles’ ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ he performed at Woodstock in 1969.
When I watch the video of Cocker I can feel the energy he put into it. He discarded the elements of the Beatles original version and supplanted them with pieces of his own identity and emotions. It’s a powerful performance.
Real art is transformation.

The Fucking Fold

Design Agency Huge did research on scrolling:

We wanted to know how page design impacts these user behaviors and to what extent visual cues help users scroll below the fold.

To find out, we conducted user testing with 48 participants over 3 days. We did so using unmoderated remote testing to see how this less conventional methodology would compare to mediated testing, our usual approach.
Spoiler: Everyone scrolls.
I’ve been designing websites for 15 years and I’m fucking sick of the fucking “fold”.
I can’t want until “the fold” becomes a non-issue and we can stop talking about it.

Weeding the Garden

Instagram makes teens and celebrities angry by killing millions of spambots:

A crackdown on spam Instagram accounts has triggered a cataclysm in the world of low-grade social media celebrities. The event, which began today after the photo-sharing service made good on its promise to start deleting millions of fake accounts, has been dubbed the “Instagram Rapture” after the follower counts of apparently popular Instagrammers were savaged. Rapper Tyga saw his followers drop from 5.5 million to 2.2 million, while Ma$e committed Instagram’s version of seppuku, deleting his account after freefalling from 1.6 million followers to around 100,000.
Where’s the fucking problem?

Weekly Exhaust Ep. 24: It Smelled Like 1995

This week Michael and Bryan discuss dog-sitting, picking up poo, changes in San Francisco, McLaren, the high cost of attending an F1 race, Michael’s horrible first two Lyft rides, basement rock performances with a 12-pack of Modelo, dive bars, movie theatres, the movie Whiplash, discipline in college and alcoholic writers. This episode opens with the exhaust from a modified Studebaker.
Weekly Exhaust – Episode 24 (subscribe on iTunes)