week of may 4 2015

  1. Bill Simmons leaves ESPN, and Twitter blows up wondering where he’s headed next. Will it be Buzzfeed? Will it be Vox? My bet is that he’s feeling burned from the Grantland experience under the ESPN/Disney umbrella, and will want to do it on his own. He can raise the $, and it opens up lots of opportunities for not doing the normal thing (*cough*build a website*cough*). My joke on Twitter was only half-kidding: “Imagine the #mediatwitter firestorm if Bill Simmons announces he’s joining Facebook to create the next mobile-only sports network.” Of course, he doesn’t need to join Facebook to do that; they’ll give him the < 8 second load times he needs, and share the ad revenue with him. Speaking of which…
  2. Andrew Weissman: No Stack Startup. “The No Stack Startup thus does not attempt to recreate a user experience, instead relying on other UX that are good enough, and getting better. This obviously inverts the notion of user experience and even design.” See Vine stars, YouTube stars, Casey Neistat on Snapchat, publishers on Medium…and what I’m sure will be a bunch of upstart media companies doing things exclusively on Facebook.
  3. Here’s a no-stack “startup” I’d love to see come back to life: Tay Text, “the keyboard app that lets Taylor do the talking for you.” It burned brightly, but briefly: the app is currently unavailable in the app store. “Thanks for all the interest in TayText!! We are in licensing discussions and very hopeful that we can bring it back to you soon!” Lawyers gonna lawyer.
  4. The no-stack art gallery: Papa John’s Projects, an online art space that is only on Facebook. “Papa Johns Projects is the brainchild of artist Hugo Montoya. He hands the admin controls of the page over to a different artist for a set period of time, usually one to a couple of days. Selected artists can post text, photos, links or videos — which are then delivered, like so much pizza, to the news feeds of the page’s subscribers.”
  5. Via Om, How Vine Changed Our Minds, on Dazed. “Vine seems almost as if it had been invented, absurdly enough, the better to help us to satirise our own short attention-spans in blog-posts and opinion columns. The kids today, it is possible to argue, are braindead and cannot absorb their news unless it comes in smartphone-friendly bursts of six seconds: never mind that the newspaper headline — whose purpose is surely a similarly loud, unrefined and fleeting grab for attention — has been in use as a method of spreading news to the easily-distracted reader since the late nineteenth century.”
  6. Pentametron, the Twitter bot I’m still obsessed with, and won’t shut up about. (For background, Pentametron constantly scours Twitter for tweets in iambic pentameter, finds a pair that rhymes, and then RTs the pair in quick succession.) It’s filtered this week because I’ve finally decided how to read the couplets: in chronological order. Which means that you have to read them bottoms up in the reverse-chron land of timelines, but it’s the order in which the words were birthed into the world, and discovered by the bot. The paired couplet I’m reading as I write this paragraph: “I’m so excited for the color run / You can’t reverse a bullet from a gun.” Please note: everyone who reads them in reverse-chron order is now officially on notice.
  7. Frida Kahlo’s prosthetic leg, and other items of clothing. “After Frida Kahlo died in 1954, her husband Diego Rivera shut her belongings in a bathroom at their Mexico City home, the Blue House — then demanded it be locked until 15 years after his death.”
  8. Jason Hirschorn is an excellent subtweeter. “Best practices for Periscope, rule #37: Don’t Periscope your landing in a private plane.”
  9. This interview with Sherry Turkle, about her latest book Alone Together. “My studies of funerals are hilarious. Everybody’s texting. When I ask them about it, they say, ‘Yeah, I do it during the boring bits.’ So that’s the question: what does it mean as a society that we are there for the boring bits?Emphasis mine.
  10. Wired In, a Kickstarter project to produce a sign for your desk that lights up and says “Wired In.” It has Bluetooth and USB and is Arduino-based so that you can control it from your phone, or an app on your desktop, or a command in Slack. Just to be clear, to make sure we’re all on the same page: this is a light-up sign for your desk, that you connect and control from your computer, to signal to your coworkers that you are too busy to talk to them, with a line from a movie about…oh, never mind.
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jesus. fucking. christ.

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