Time for another collection of links, stories, and images that caught my eye in the last week. Being the reveal week for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (next week is ‘review’ week where hand-picked publications get an early look at the handsets along with Apple’s ‘reviewer guide’ PDF; and the week after that is launch week), I’ve been busy on all things Apple over on my Forbes column, but let’s not talk about the iPhone any more. What else has happened?
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I Am Not A GIF
A quickie to start the links this week, as the BBC dives into its picture archive for the fiftieth anniversary of The Prisoner. Exquisite.
How Amazon Is ‘Helping’ FedEx and UPS
If there’s not enough delivery capacity, most companies would order more. What if there is no more? If you’re Amazon, you build out your own distribution network while reminding your delivery partners around the world that this isn’t a play to take their business, just to help them at peak times. Devin Leonard takes time to look at Amazon’s intentions to deliver everything as quickly as possible:
Two months after the Ohio announcement, Amazon leased 20 more jets from Atlas Air, an air cargo company based in Purchase, N.Y. Amazon has also purchased 4,000 truck trailers. Meanwhile, a company subsidiary in China has obtained a freight-forwarding license that analysts say enables it to sell space on container ships traveling between Asia and the U.S. and Europe. In short, Amazon is becoming a kind of e-commerce Walmart with a FedEx attached.
And The Open Source Votes Go To…
It’s always fun to see where open source software turns up, and just how prevalent it has become. I’m not au fait with software used in television production (ask me about radio instead), so the anniversary of the on-screen graphic tool CasparCG introduces me to the package that has made many graphics that I love.
Jonas is the main person behind CasparCG, the open source professional graphics and video playout software developed by Swedish public broadcaster SVT. This year, a decade after its conception, CasparCG was used for the Eurovision Song Contest graphics, including all of the animated votes counting.
CasparCG performed flawlessly, answering the first question people always ask about open source: “Is it really fit for broadcast?” Since May 2016 the answer is: “Yes, although it has not been proven with a live audience larger than 204 million yet.”
Hiring The Best People For The Job
Microsoft’s program to challenge how it recruits neurodiverse employees and integrate them into the company featured in Fast Company this month. Vauhini Vara’s article is a detailed in-depth look at the process through the experience of one candidate. Quite simply, lets have more of this sort of attitude from employers.
The program, which began in May 2015, does away with the typical interview approach, instead inviting candidates to hang out on campus for two weeks and work on projects while being observed and casually meeting managers who might be interested in hiring them. Only at the end of this stage do more formal interviews take place.
…What’s unorthodox about this, of course, isn’t just its setup. It also represents a novel, and potentially fraught, expansion of the idea of diversity. The impulse to hire more autistic employees is based on the same premise as hiring, say, women and people of color: Doing so not only welcomes in a wider range of creative and analytical talent, but brings more varied perspectives into an organization, and makes for a workforce that better reflects the general population of customers.
When a ‘Metacritc 45’ reads like a 75
Sometimes published games get very good scores. Other times the games get a poor score. Behind every game is a team that worked hard for years to provide a commercial flop. Their stories are gathered together by Luke Winkle on Vice to find out how developers live with average games. Infinite Crisis is the hook here, but look beyond that one title to the humans behind the title:
“You only get to see the stuff that comes out and gets a bad score,” continues Day. “The people who work in the industry get to see a whole lot more that never sees the light of day. This isn’t just in video games – all across the tech industry people are working on things that get cancelled. You work on stuff for a long time, you pour your heart and soul in it, and when it gets shuttered it’s devastating. It’s a terrible, terrible feeling.”
Many years ago, my daily writing wasn’t on Forbes but on the ‘All About’ websites, which at the time was the number one website for Nokia and Symbian smartphones. That was ‘the first break’ in terms of getting regular paid employment, and a piece of my heart will always be there. It was the brainchild of Rafe Blandford, and while he remains modest about it, he talks about how it started, how it dominated, how it fell away, and what he did next with his life on the 361 Degrees podcast.
What I’ve Been Up To
Apart from the aforementioned smartphone stories, notable moments include a guide to visiting Kyiv for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest (it was announced as the winner of Ukraine’s bidding process on Friday) and appearing on Al Jazeera to talk about Samsung’s exploding batteries in the Galaxy Note 7.
Next week I’ll be attending the Next Radio conference (on Monday 19th September) in London. Get in touch if you’d like to meet up or talk technology while I’m in the capital. I’m also planning to attend the Web Summit (Lisbon 7-10 November) and SXSW (Austin, 10-20 March)
‘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.