Microblogging AKA Tumblr AKA Twitter

In 2007, CNet reviewed the then new “microblogging” service, Tumblr:

Tumblr blogging service, which launched last month, gives people the chance to publish brief or full-length, media-rich posts using their browser or mobile phone. It’s a happy medium between a tidbit posting service, such as Twitter, and a full-fledged blogging tool, such as WordPress or Blogger. Tumblr is aimed at folks who feel they may not have enough content or time to write a full blog, yet still want to write and share links and media.

After today’s announcement, Twitter is sounding a lot more like Tumblr.

Twitter Becomes Less Twittery

Twitter is increasing their character limit from 140 to 280:

We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

Huh? The 140-character limit is what makes Twitter unique. What’s next, increasing the limit to 560 characters? Then 1120? Pretty soon Twitter will be able to pivot into a blogging platform like it was 2003 again. Yeah!

Forcing constraints on a situation can lead to more creative solutions.

I’ve heard many comedians say they love using Twitter as a “testing ground” for new material because a) they can get reactions from people immediately and b) it forces them to be economical with their choice of words.

I think this move will water down the Twitter experience.

Those Poor, Poor Men

Over at The New York Times, Nellie Bowles wrote a piece on the backlash that is growing against the women in tech movement:

Their complaints flow on Reddit forums, on video game message boards, on private Facebook pages and across Twitter. They argue for everything from male separatism to an end to gender diversity efforts.

Silicon Valley has for years accommodated a fringe element of men who say women are ruining the tech world.

Now, as the nation’s technology capital — long identified as one of the more hostile work environments for women — reels from a series of high-profile sexual harassment and discrimination scandals, these conversations are gaining broader traction.

If men are in such a bad position in Silicon Valley, what sort of position are women and minorities in? Give me a break.

“What Google did was wake up sectors of society that weren’t into these issues before,” said Paul Elam, who runs A Voice for Men, a men’s rights group. He said his organization had seen more interest from people in Silicon Valley.

Men’s rights groups? Douchebag tech bros in Silly Valley have lost their minds.

I moved to California in 2012 with my wife, after living in Manhattan for about 10 years. One of the things I miss most about NYC is the diversity — not just of races, but of everything. In New York everyone worked in different industries, looked different, talked with different accents and in different languages, ate different foods, and listened to different types of music.

Out here in San Francisco (where I live) and Sunnyvale (where I work) it’s way more homogenous. Guys look like me: white dudes with glasses, and do what I do: work for web design and tech companies. This doesn’t appeal to me. I have no interest in hanging out with versions of myself all the time.

Maybe it’s time to move.

“When you realize you just don’t need something anymore, there is little desire to buy another.”

Hodinkee’s Ben Clymer reviewed the Apple Watch Series 3 (via Daring Fireball):

Will anyone be trading in their Lange Double-Split for an Apple Watch? Certainly not. But, will the average Lange owner buy an Apple Watch, wear it on the weekends, and then, after a great workout with it, decide to leave it on next for a vacation to the beach, and then maybe on casual Friday to the office? It’s possible. Apple products have a way of making someone not want to live without them…So while certainly not direct competition for haute horology watchmaking right now, the Apple Watch is absolutely competition for the real estate of the wrist, and years down the road, it could spell trouble for traditional watches even at a high level. When you realize you just don’t need something anymore, there is little desire to buy another. At the lower end, I believe the Apple Watch is a serious threat to those less faithful wearers of analog watches.

He’s right. Apple Watch will not replace high-end, analog watches, but it is a threat to a portion of the analog watch market.

Just the fact that Apple Watch is being seriously reviewed on watch enthusiast sites like Hodinkee is confirmation of Apple having encroached on the territory of old school watch makers.

“It takes courage to rob a bank too.”

John Gruber responds to Marco Arment’s view that it took Apple courage to embrace the “notch” on the iPhone X:

Marco Arment:

Apple just completely changed the fundamental shape of the most important, most successful, and most recognizable tech product that the world has ever seen.

That’s courage.

It is. But as I wrote when Phil Schiller used the word to explain why they removed the headphone jack last year, that took courage too. It takes courage to rob a bank too. The objection people had to calling the removal of the headphone jack “courage” is based on the notion that courage is always noble. You can despise the notch and/or think it’s the stupidest thing Apple has ever done, but still acknowledge that it took courage to embrace it.

My objection (again, after admittedly only spending 10-15 minutes with an iPhone X in hand) remains that Apple could embrace the notch on the lock and home screens, allowing for this new iconic silhouette, without embracing it all the time.

Gruber is on point with regard to things that take courage to do, but he’s off on wanting Apple to embrace the notch sometimes.

Apple isn’t embracing the notch sometimes. That’s not Apple’s modus operandi. When they make a decision on something, they go all in. Gruber wants iPhone X to wear concealer and fake eyelashes when it goes out in public and iPhone X is all, “Oh no, child! This is how I look! Love me the way I am!”

I’ll say it again. I’ll keep saying it until I’m dead: look long-term. No one has an iPhone X yet. Everyone who has an opinion has either never used an iPhone X (like me) or only used it for a brief period of time (as Gruber himself openly admits).

Humans are reactionary animals and reacting to the short-term is the default for us in life, investing, planning, everything.

It’s possible I’m wrong, but let’s regroup in a year.

We’ll really know for certain if Apple made the right move if Samsung apes the notch on their next Galaxy phone.

Remapping Samsung’s Shitty Features, Denied

Sammobile has a headline that caught my eye: ‘Samsung has a legitimate reason to block Bixby button remapping, whether we like it or not’

This headline is interesting because it highlights a big difference between iOS and Android users: Android users expect to be able to make hacks around crappy features like Samsung’s Bixby and the dedicated Bixby button.

I wrote about how half-baked Bixby was when it debuted a few months ago.

The iPhone X Notch Will Be Forgotten

Over at The Verge, Vlad Savov examines the ‘notch’ at the top of the new iPhone X:

Draw me an iPhone.

The lines may be squiggly, the rounded corners imperfect, but almost everyone you pose this challenge to will present you with the shape of a rectangle containing another rectangle sat atop a circle. The iPhone’s silhouette is the most iconic outline in all of modern technology, recognized by even diehard Android fanboys and featured on the side of “Made for iPhone” accessory boxes around the world. It’s a brand and a logo in its own right.

Now, after 10 years of the home button and big bezels, Apple is giving us something new. The notch. The monobrow. The annoying black protrusion getting in the way of your photos and videos. However you choose to see the black cutout housing sensors at the top of the new iPhone X, you will most definitely see it. And Apple wants it that way.

Like most humans on planet Earth, I had a knee-jerk, negative reaction to the notch/unibrow at the top of the iPhone X the other day.

But as I’ve sat with my thoughts and let them marinate, I’ve gathered a more holistic view on the unibrow. I agree with what former Windows Division President, Steven Sinofsky, said on Twitter:

We’re all going to be ok, people. The reason why I think we’ll be ok is because it dawned on me that the majority of apps I use daily on my iPhone, I use in portrait mode. I check email in portrait mode. I browse the web in portrait mode. I read books in portrait mode. I play music in portrait mode. I use Maps and Waze in my car with my iPhone mounted in portrait mode. Instagram is portrait-only.

Youtube is the only app I use in landscape mode.

I’m willing to bet this is the case for most iPhone users (I have no data on this, just a guess). Video is the most obvious and most nasty exception, but I noticed in a demo yesterday that as is the case now, you double-tap a video you’re watch to toggle between a letter-boxed, scaled down video, and one that fills the entire screen. When a video is viewed uncropped in letterbox mode, the notch goes away.

Games are the other case where the notch would be most annoying. I wonder if game creators will factor this into updates of their games and work around it.

I respect that Apple doesn’t shy away from the unibrow. They don’t try to downplay it. Even in the iconography for iPhone X they depict the unibrow. They could have easily advised designers and developers to hide it by blacking out the whole horizontal space at the top of the screen but they didn’t.

I Like Jews, Personally

Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’:

Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you.

Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”

To test if these ad categories were real, we paid $30 to target those groups with three “promoted posts” — in which a ProPublica article or post was displayed in their news feeds. Facebook approved all three ads within 15 minutes.

As if I needed another reason to stay off Facebook.

Here at Daily Exhaust I can guarantee you’ll find no Jew-hating, or hating of people of any other religion or race.

You will, though, find Microsoft-bashing.

iPhone X Has a Unibrow

Yesterday was Apple’s Keynote where they unveiled the ‘all screen’ iPhone X.

They also posted an instructional video on how to design for the iPhone X, and it’s unibrow.

I would love to know what level of rage Jony Ive is feeling about this:

I understand the unibrow is there because it houses all the of the fancy facial recognition sensors and phone speaker. I also understand having an edge-to-edge screen has become table stakes, but that indent is like a huge itch I can’t scratch.

I’m sure there are dozens of physical prototypes Apple designers created where there isn’t a unibrow and I’m curious how and why this version of the iPhone X beat out the others.

If you can’t codify your thoughts, you can’t do anything.

Over at The New York Times, Dana Goldstein looks into the reasons why kids can’t write:

There is a notable shortage of high-quality research on the teaching of writing, but studies that do exist point toward a few concrete strategies that help students perform better on writing tests. First, children need to learn how to transcribe both by hand and through typing on a computer. Teachers report that many students who can produce reams of text on their cellphones are unable to work effectively at a laptop, desktop or even in a paper notebook because they’ve become so anchored to the small mobile screen. Quick communication on a smartphone almost requires writers to eschew rules of grammar and punctuation, exactly the opposite of what is wanted on the page.

Before writing paragraphs — which is often now part of the kindergarten curriculum — children do need to practice writing great sentences. At every level, students benefit from clear feedback on their writing, and from seeing and trying to imitate what successful writing looks like, the so-called text models. Some of the touchy-feel stuff matters, too. Students with higher confidence in their writing ability perform better.

I believe writing is one of the foundational tools for many fields, whether you’re building a car or designing a mobile application. As a graphic designer I’ve come to value writing skills more and more each year and it’s one of the goals I’ve had maintaining this blog for over 11 years. If you can’t codify your thoughts, you can’t do anything.

I’d like to think there’s multiple approaches to improving kids’ writing skills (I’ve taught students at the university level but I’m in no way trained in the methods to teach writing).

If I had teach kids how to write tomorrow (hypothetically), I’d probably start with a recontexualized version of Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers.

Haim in Oakland

Last night my wife and I saw the band Haim perform at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. The girls (all three are sisters) in the band put on a great a show.

They released a video a few months ago for ‘Want You Back’, the first track off their new album, Something to Tell You. I’ve watched it a dozen times. I find it mesmerizing.

They shut down Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles for a few hours (their home city). The final video is one, continuous shot, but it took a total of 15 takes to nail it.

Age and Creativity

Alison Gopnik and Tom Griffiths on age and creativity:

Why does creativity generally tend to decline as we age? One reason may be that as we grow older, we know more. That’s mostly an advantage, of course. But it also may lead us to ignore evidence that contradicts what we already think. We become too set in our ways to change.

Relatedly, the explanation may have to do with a tension between two kinds of thinking: what computer scientists call exploration and exploitation. When we face a new problem, we adults usually exploit the knowledge about the world we have acquired so far. We try to quickly find a pretty good solution that is close to the solutions we already have. On the other hand, exploration — trying something new — may lead us to a more unusual idea, a less obvious solution, a new piece of knowledge. But it may also mean that we waste time considering crazy possibilities that will never work, something both preschoolers and teenagers have been known to do.

Note to self: more exploring what I don’t know, less exploiting what I do know.