Weeknotes #2

Only the second edition of weeknotes, and yet the year is already 5% done. Blimey. Anyway, here’s what I got up to this week.

Firstly, the job hunt. I had a phone interview on Monday morning, which went well enough for me to be invited to a second interview. I was also asked to interview for another role I’d applied for, and so both have been scheduled around next week’s trip to Nottingham for New Adventures.

As I look to close the door on freelancing, Jon is beginning his own independent endeavour. He popped over to Brighton on Tuesday seeking my input and inspiration for his new website. Not sure how useful I was, but he went away happy, which is the main thing.

Truth be told, I was distracted by the launch of Kirby 3. A participant in the Kirby Next initiative, I’ve watched the latest version of this powerful CMS develop over the last two years, so it was great to see the project cross the finish line (although when it comes to software, the race is never over). You can learn more about the new version on the Kirby website, but suffice to say I think Bastian and his team have done a fantastic job.

On Wednesday I went to see Stan & Ollie. I loved every minute. One small scene looked like it was set in Walsall, given the destination board on a bus in the background read ‘Blakenall - Bloxwich’. Their 1953 tour included dates in nearby Birmingham and Dudley, but I’m unable to find out if they visited Walsall to promote it at all.

Having enjoyed trips to different parts of Britain last year and looking to continue that trend, Thursday saw me gad over to nearby Winchester. It’s almost too early in the year to be sightseeing, what with the cold weather and shorter days, and by the time I reached the city (after the statutory Southern delay) and spent time exploring its cathedral, it was already getting dark. Still, a welcome change of scenery and another English cathedral crossed off my list.

Towards the end of the week, the Internet worked itself up into fit of rage, this time regarding Slack’s new logo. I spent much of Friday and a good part of Saturday trying to understand why. In writing down my thoughts, I found myself challenging my assumptions regarding Pentagram’s work — turns out it’s not all bad! Blogging’s good for that sort of thing.

Between all this, I’ve been adding content to section three of Bradshaw’s Guide. All going well, I hope to launch the next iteration of the site before the summer holidays. I also added webmentions to this site, based on Max Böck’s brilliant guide and sample code. For now, I’m sticking to showing replies, and only those sent by sites that support webmentions natively (rather than use Brid.gy to find mentions on networks like Twitter). I’m also not doing any live polling, only updating replies when the site is regenerated — one step at a time.

Digest

Noteworthy articles I’ve read over the last seven days:

  • The Glorious Weirdness of Marie Kondo’s Netflix show

    I’d seen enough mentions of Tidying Up to watch the first two episodes. Not sure I need to see any more, but I thoroughly enjoyed Chris’ thoughts on the show:

    We don’t get a single shot of Kondo away from punters, not once during the whole run. They’ve wholly abandoned the usual obligatory “driving to where the punters are and talking about how excited you are to work with them” sequence. Just ditched it, so she won’t have to express any interest. Such gorgeous, overwhelming disconnect between Kondo’s detached, spiritual, already supremely ‘settled in fame’ persona and the bogshed structure of a low rent daytime show is amazing. I hate Tidying Up as I love Kondo and I love Tidying Up as I despise her.

  • Adam Curtis and Vice director Adam McKay on how Dick Cheney masterminded a rightwing revolution

    I’m looking forward to seeing Vice when it hits cinemas, so read this conversation with interest. McKay mentions that audiences seem more able to understand big narrative leaps in films than they did five years ago. Curtis reckons this is because we spend more time online where we make similar jumps all the time.

    In a related conversation, a heating engineer told me his customers increasingly expect him to provide a next-day service — even for something as complicated as diagnosing and fixing a boiler fault — and puts this down to their experience with next-day services like Amazon Prime. Which got me to thinking about all the other ways our behaviour might be changing having spent more of our life online.

  • Facebook’s ‘10 Year Challenge’ Is Just a Harmless Meme—Right?

    Kate O’Neill:

    Regardless of the origin or intent behind this meme, we must all become savvier about the data we create and share, the access we grant to it, and the implications for its use. If the context was a game that explicitly stated that it was collecting pairs of then-and-now photos for age progression research, you could choose to participate with an awareness of who was supposed to have access to the photos and for what purpose.

    The broader message, removed from the specifics of any one meme or even any one social platform, is that humans are the richest data sources for most of the technology emerging in the world. We should know this, and proceed with due diligence and sophistication.

    Facebook denies instigating this meme, but can we take their word at face value? Ten years ago maybe, but certainly not today.

  • Speaking of everyone’s favourite criminal enterprise, it’s likely 2019 will see the continued unravelling of Facebook’s operation, be it through leaks or documents released during legal proceedings. This is a particularly egregious example:

    A glimpse into the soon-to-be-released records shows Facebook’s own employees worried they were bamboozling children who racked up hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of dollars in game charges. And the company failed to provide an effective way for unsuspecting parents to dispute the massive charges, according to internal Facebook records.

    Just shut the whole God-damned circus down.