A busy week for me, travelling to San Francisco and the Valley, as well as reviewing the iPhone 6S on the launch day. I also suggested that Sam Smith should sing the Bond theme for the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. The latter was before I heard it… it’s like Kevin McClory thought he could do a sensitive John Barry song and nobody had the heart to tell him.
Right, on with the links.
Slacking At XOXO
I missed out in the raffle for tickets for this year’s XOXO conference in Portland this year (which would have meant even more travelling), but I’ve still been keeping half an eye on the reports and videos that have been posted online. One that offers something new not just for conferences but any other major event is Slack. Set up as a team collaboration app, but it turns out it’s a great back-channel tool as well. Casey Newton writes up his experience:
Just as South By Southwest became famous toward the end of the last decade for the way it propelled social apps into the mainstream, there was talk this weekend that XOXO might serve the same function for Slack. As Rex Sorgatz, a longtime blogger and conference attendee, put it:
Slack : XOXO 2015 :: Twitter : SXSW 2007
Would You Write Your Own Obituary As A Bodice Ripper?
Jackie Collins died earlier this month, and in the coverage that followed, one writer noted that she had penned her own autobiography to be released after her death. THe kiss’n’tell book many were expecting of her life will be her final parting shot at the establishment,
I do have one question though. Her obituary, published in The Economist, follows her written style just as much as her novels did. I wonder if she penned this as well?
Yet this was still not why she was the most potent and dangerous person in the room. She was a writer.
Over the years, quietly and intently, she had watched what the denizens of Hollywood were doing, and listened to what they were saying. Who had ditched whom. Who was eyeing up whom. Who had slept with whom, and full details. From her corner table at Spago’s, or half-hidden by a drape in a nightclub, or under the dryer at Riley’s hair salon, she would gather every last crumb of gossip and rush to the powder room to write it down. She turned it into sizzling novels in which, every six pages or so, enormous erections burst out of jeans, French lace panties were torn off and groans of delight rang through the palm-fringed Hollywood air.
There were 32 books in all, with titles like “The Stud”, “The Bitch”, “Lethal Seduction” and “Hollywood Divorces”. She had sold half a billion of them worldwide. Anyone she met might turn up there. Stars would beg her not to put them in her stories, and she would tell them they were there, toned down, already. Hard luck.
It’s LIke Radio But It Can Make You Rich
Joey Keeton writes up his experience at the recent Podcast Movement convention, highlighting a huge volume of ‘get rich quick’ offers and ‘fast routes to stardom and success’ in podcasting. The worrying thing is how much this could have been a review of some of the early podcast conventions in 2005:
Nobody wants to hear that success is impossible to see coming; they want the Plans, the Secrets, the Keys, and this struggle to crack the code of success proves, in a way, podcasting’s strength and staying power as a medium. It’s the old Hollywood dream, that legend of a handful of people making it big, that inspires millions of people to try their luck at making it, too—and ultimately coming nowhere close. When a new industry inherits that legend, people will flock to it with promises that their advice and services will help you get there, and the prices they charge are simply Smart Investments for anybody looking to prove how serious they are at succeeding.
With the rise of podcasting conventions, endless hosting services, and services so useless that their utility needs to be explained by a sales rep multiple times, a new industry is forming below the actual podcasting one: It’s a predatory industry, and it operates on the principle that, if you charge people a lot of money for something, they’ll think it’s necessary to cement their commitment to a craft that, odds-wise, they’ll most likely never get anywhere with.
Ten years ago we had ‘give up your day job’, and it looks like nothing has changed in the industry built up around podcasting. Such a shame (and this is a good point to throw in David Jackson’s ‘Why Podshow Failed‘ retrospective).
Who Loves A Hufflepuff?
A solid argument from David Sims in The Atlantic this week about Hufflepuff, the Hogwarts house for, well, “Everybody else”. While he never quite writes it, it’s clear that Hufflepuff is the wizarding world’s reflection of socialism.
The Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore’s eulogy for Diggory is one of Rowling’s better pieces of writing in the entire series. “Cedric Diggory was, as you all know, exceptionally hard working, infinitely fair-minded, and most importantly a fierce, fierce friend,” he says, lionizing every quality Hufflepuff House members could brag about, but of course, never would. In the series’s climactic battle with Voldemort, Hufflepuff is the house with the most students (outside of Harry’s own) taking part, though Rowling takes pains to note that they did so not for personal glory, but for the greater good.
When You Have A Bomb, All It Wants To Do Is Explode
Google survives on ad revenue. Apple survives on hardware margins. So why shouldn’t Apple – in good old capitalist America – look to weaken Google by making the addition of third-party ad-blockers to iOS as easy as an API call? Why indeed. Jason Calacanis looks at Tim Cook’s version of Steve Jobs’ eternal quest:
Is it moral for Apple to screw publishers? Wow, that’s a big question, but in a nutshell, this is business and it’s not personal. Apple wants to make consumers buy iPhones and use them and blocking ads will help them beat Android.
Apple’s highest moral commitment is to users – not publishers. So, although Apple covets content creators, it doesn’t put their need to make a few shekles above a user’s ability to enjoy the experience of the iPhone.
Apple really wants publishers to charge for content and take 30% through the App store and their marketplaces. People who work at Apple are rich, so they don’t really get the concept of not being able to afford to pay for content.
…So killing advertising not only crushes Google, it also could flip many publishers from ad-driven models to subscriptions … in Apple’s App store. Oh yeah, Apple launched a News App as part of iOS 9, too.
That’s interesting timing.
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
If you know baseball, that’s enough. If you don’t, then you should know Yogi Berra was one of the best. Not just at the game, but at being human. There’s buckets of tributes out there, but The New York Times is probably the best place to start for everyone:
The Mets team he inherited, however, faltered, finishing third, and for most of the 1973 season they were worse. In mid-August, the Mets were well under .500 and in sixth place when Berra supposedly uttered perhaps the most famous Yogi-ism of all.
“It ain’t over till it’s over,” he said (or words to that effect), and lo and behold, the Mets got hot, squeaking by the Cardinals to win the National League’s Eastern Division title.
This Week’s Long Read: The Destruction of Denmark Street
Mick Brown explores the rich history of London’s Denmark Street in musical culture, and the horror of the impending Disneyfication.
Brick dust and the clamour of heavy building equipment now fill the air. Less than 50 yards away the land has been laid waste to make way for the Crossrail development, scheduled to open in 2018. Part of a conservation area with a number of listed buildings, the fabric of Denmark Street itself is to be preserved; the developers have made assurances that existing music businesses will be retained, and the street’s musical heritage respected. But campaigners and tenants talk darkly of the prospect of Denmark Street being “Disneyfied” into a characterless tourist destination – another of London’s endangered neighbourhoods.
‘Trivial Posts’ is a mostly weekly series of posts that brings together interesting posts, ideas, video clips, essays, images, and anything else that catches my eye on the Internet. Read it online, or subscribe to the email newsletter version here.