Category Archives: Asides

Little things worth saving.

This post from Marco Arment, about a less-than-stellar experience his grandparents had at an Apple Store, is such an important lesson to learn:

 It wouldn’t be the first time a technology expert lacked empathy for a customer, or made bad assumptions about what would be fast and easy for the customer to do on his own — especially when deciding to perform an easy, predictable, cure-all “restore”.

Reminds me of something I wrote earlier this year about asking questions and avoiding assumptions. Spending the time to do something right matters much more than doing it quickly.

Not sure when they launched but the topic pages that Evening Edition added are interesting. Syria’s one example I dug up. They seek to answer three questions: What’s happening? Why you should know about this? and What now?

At the bottom there’s then a list of related stories sorted chronologically. Cool to see some real-world experimentation with explainers. It’s probably a lot of editorial work to craft those summaries but the payoff is worth it, I think.

Cami wrote a really nice post about WordCamp Portland:

The past years there has always been some knowledge to glean. Some lesson to learn. Some new person to meet and relate to. And it has always been WordCamp. And it has always been special. But this year for some reason it was magical again, fresh and new and full of community and hope just as it was the first year Portland held a WordCamp.

Having been a part of the organizing team I was really proud of how yesterday went. We had about 250 attendees, lots of BBQ, beer, great conversation, and a keynote from Matt.

Matt Pearson got a really great shot of the swag too.

Everyone I talked with said they loved the event. WordCamps are certainly a lot of work; seeing everyone have a great day, learn new things, and meet new people was so rewarding, though.

I’m really excited to see Reeder 3 go live tonight in the App Store. Shawn Blanc and Ben Brooks wrote great reviews of it. I just set it up on my iPhone to sync with my Fever install. No more Google Reader. Pretty slick update to an already great app.

Tap Left Margin -> Next Page; my favorite feature of the iPad. This means I can comfortably read while drinking tea and not worry about which hand holds my iPad.

The majority of the time I’m reading a book I just want to go forward. It always felt clumsy to swipe with my left thumb. Advancing with just a tap means the device never breaks my flow.

We need to reinvent the article. Sean Blanda illustrates that it’s time to rethink not just the article but how information is published on the web. I agree. My favorite narratives are those that answer long, winding questions by telling a story. They are more akin to a short book than a news story. This recent New Yorker piece is 50 pages and over 20,000 words when I drop it in to Pages.app. I loved that article, but defaulting to the same mental model and design presentation for a few hundred word piece about NFL draft trades is ludicrous.

Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses. Particularly this quote:

The college has also charged 27 other members of SAE, stemming from events in the 2011 pledge term. While the other students all categorically deny doing anything illegal, the information that Lohse provided to Dartmouth officials may directly implicate him in hazing. As a result, Lohse – the only student to come forward voluntarily – may be the only student who is ultimately punished.

Also, see “Allegations of hazing leveled against TKE initiation practices” and Daniel’s post. I have an idea for an enterprising reporter: take a deep look at fraternity abuse reports like this and answer:

  • What percentage are followed up on by news organizations, particularly college newspapers, after the initial report?
  • What percentage result in concrete action undertaken by college administrations?
  • In how many cases is the student who reported the offense the one who takes the brunt of post-publication attacks?
  • How frequently are reports the second, third, etc. time allegations have been made against a specific fraternity?

There are more questions that would be interesting but the above would be a start.