36: Poodle

Hi! Hello! Hello, you!
You, yes, you. Dear, lovely newsletter reader.

I forgot to take my meds this morning, so this is going to be fun.
Maciej Cegłowski gave a talk at a conference in Düsseldorf last week, which works great as an essay, too: The Internet With A Human Face.
Talking about faces that are not quite human: Google has their own self-driving car now. It looks like the cartoon version of a Smart and will probably hunt down and destroy all of us some day. But hey:

To head off any concerns of malfunctioning robots hurtling you toward imminent doom, Google has made the car look cute and cuddly from the outset.

Yepp, that’s going to help.
Ugh, writing on Medium. What a sell-out.
‘Selling Out’ Is Meaningless 

I’ll be in a weird foreign country the next couple of days, one that I never stepped foot in before, with a strange, incomprehensible language and probably no internet.1
Peace out2

  1. Nah, just kidding. There’s always roaming. And yes, I know – a prepaid SIM card might be cheaper, but not necessarily so. It’s only four days and as far as I can figure, they have the same public holiday as we have tomorrow, so acquiring one of those might be a bit of a hassle. I also don’t really plan to return to that country all that soon again. 
  2. Where’s “Toodles” on this list? 

35: Ducks

It helps immensly to listen to this weird remix of 90s hits as trap music. I am not sure what it helps with, but it does help.
Today the internet (and by internet, I mean Twitter) exploded in #YesAllWomen. #YesAllWomen? An explainer. At the same time, my Secret feed filled up with a whole bunch of “Mimimi, I can’t get a date.” messages. I can’t even.
Talking about not even being able to can anymore: I actually managed to read two whole sentences of the MRA-type Santa Barbara shooter. What a mess. The best discussion about the whole situation is (where else?) over on MetaFilter.
Speaking of MetaFilter (Yes, again. Sorry.) – there is now a fundraiser going on. It’s actually pretty interesting to see who else linked and tweeted about that, very often people I would not have taken as the typical MeFi reader.
I’d pretty much prefer if the MeFi-people would not pester Caitlin Dewey. She writes a pretty good newsletter that I enjoy a lot. That being said, “hapless gibbering app-fondling touchscreen cretin” is a pretty funny insult. Of course I immediately had to immediately turn into my twitter bio.
In news that probably surprise nobody: people are taking selfies during the coup in Thailand. Because honestly – who wouldn’t?
And finally, here are some ducklings trying to climb stairs.

Be nice.

34: Did you hear…?

1.0 Secret

Secret finally reached Germany and the first evening was huge fun. Complete with backchannel chatter about who might be behind which message.
If you care to join me and the other secret-havers: my email address is dschwind@lostfocus.de – you might want to add me to your address book before you join up. (Yes, they use the address book to connect people, which is a bit iffy.)

Related: this article by Mat Honan over on Wired: Anonymous Apps Are So Scary, They May Just Help Us Discover Ourselves
Now we only need to figure out how to become online famous with that thing.

2.0 MetaFilter

I am still bummed out about the MetaFilter story. Here is Matt Haughey on the Future of MetaFilter. It’s all rather sad.
On the Future of MetaFilter

3.0 Netflix

Apparently Netflix will come to Germany. Everybody on Twitter goes nuts. It will probably not be any better than the other local streaming services with content mostly in German and a year too late.
I am willing to be surprised, though.

It’s the middle of the week and according to my Withings app, I have reached 50% of my weight loss goal for this week. Well, that’s neat.

33: .

1.0 dot what?

This is a lot of money for a domain.

Are you crazy?!

Now we’re talking!

2.0 Filtered out

Instead of spending all this money on a stupid domain, I voluntosubscribed to MetaFilter. Because reasons. If one webpage out there deserves to be out there forever it is MetaFilter.

Honestly, I can’t even.

32: Everybody Got Their Something

1.0 Summer

Hey, it’s Monday again! That means we’ve just had a weekend and at least here, it was probably the first real summer weekend. So of course I had to (start) with my summer-is-here media consumption rituals:

  1. Read The Beach – which is a lot better than the movie. Of course I did see the movie before reading the novel, so yes, I do have Virginie Ledoyen in my head cinema when he talks about Françoise.
  2. (Now this one is a lot more embarrassing.) Watch Blue Crush with the actresses’ commentary. I bought the DVD on a lark from a bargain bin a couple of years ago and for some reason the commentary is really pretty funny. Plus, you know – there being attractive young ladies in bathing suits with Hawaii as a backdrop doesn’t hurt.

2.0 Distraction

Apparently I have a lawn. I keep forgetting about it, because it’s too far away from the house to still get WiFi and is therefore not really useful for me at all. That doesn’t change the fact that it needs mowing and if I wouldn’t have been reminded that I do have a lawn, I would have forgotten about that, too.
So on Saturday, I mowed the lawn.

I will not pretend I enjoyed it. But I did hate it a tiny bit less than I thought I would, thanks to the magic of podcasts.
In fact, a lot of stuff I used to hate becomes bearable thanks to the magic of podcasts.

While this might be a good thing in aggregate, it might also be a bit of a problem: I hardly do anything anymore without making sure I am distracted by some kind of media. I listen to podcasts when I walk to town or when I clean the house and if I’m not doing that, then more often than not I am listening to some music. And while I sometimes to wander around without any real purpose behind it besides “being outside and moving,” it is never without something to keep my mind occupied. Apparently I am not the only person with that problem: The slow death of purposeless walking

People should go out and walk free of distractions, says Nicholson. “I do think there is something about walking mindfully. To actually be there and be in the moment and concentrate on what you are doing.”
And this means no music, no podcasts, no audiobooks. It might also mean going out alone.
CS Lewis thought that even talking could spoil the walk. “The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.”

I don’t know, but for me that sounds kind of scary.

Now for something completely different – I am looking for some good travel blogs, what are your favorites? Just reply with URLs, you don’t need to be nice about it. (Even though it’s nice to be nice.)

31: My Inner Pilkington

1.0 Travel

I like to tell myself that I enjoy traveling. When I am bored, which happens a lot less than one might think, I like to daydream about being one of those people who have their work (and play) here today and somewhere else tomorrow. I read a whole lot of travel blogs and have been to a bunch of countries, too.

Sometimes I wonder, though. In me there are two souls, alas, and their
division tears my life in two. (Not much tearing, really, but as we Bildungsbürger learn, it’s never a bad idea to quote Goethe.) Because a lot of those things I read about “life on the road” sound incredibly dreadful to me. (Especially the whole ‘interacting with people’ part. I can be a bit of a curmudgeon that way.)

But maybe that’s just because I still have to conquer the idea of traveling on my own. Now those who know me might wonder: “But, wait… didn’t he fly around a lot on his own?” and yes, I did. But I was always visiting someone – and while probably not staying or spending all the time with them, it gave me a bit of an anchor at that destination.
But yes, indeed, I really do like flying by myself. Because that combines three things I quite like: doing nothing, being by myself and yet, doing something with a purpose.

2.0 Links!

2.1 Chickens!

Remember Poultry Internet Touching? Now there is this.

2.2 Edit.

Webster’s Dictionary defines Shit Writing Syndrome as “a disorder that turns one’s writing to shit, for example, by causing one to quote this dictionary when describing the disorder.”

This does not sound familiar at all. I doubt I’ll ever get that guy’s treatment for that syndome, though: How Writing for the TV Show “Community” Cured Me.

Yes, the Stromae concert was very good, thanks for asking. And stepping on my stupid internet scale is still terrible, but this looks like a nice and steady improvement:

(Y-axis conveniently cut out of the picture. Because vanity.)
Have a nice weekend!

30: Crane Jackson's Fountain Street Theatre

1.0 The Beard

Let me tell you a little secret: that thing starts to annoy me. But it is part of an important(!) experiment. I made that pact with myself: if nobody mentions the beard all week, I will shave it off on Sunday.
I usually know on Monday that I will keep it for at least another week.

Because I am slightly annoyed, I thought I made it easier for Team No-Beard: I will shave it off on Sunday if I don’t hear a “He, he, you look like one of those taliban!”-“jokes.”
Now I usually know by Tuesday.

2.0 The Internet

It might be no surprise that I really like the internet. On some days, it really delivers, though. I give you: yesterday evening! (If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably seen most of it already.)
Deep Sea Fauna… With Googly Eyes. Vous êtes des pros. PornBurger. Trick Global. (Yes, two videos by the same group of people. So what.) Nobody likes the president of France. Not played, yet, but I like the idea: Make it rain – The Love of Money.

Tonight I’ll go to see Stromae live, so that should be good.
Take care, y’all.

29: Which Emails?

1.0 Forgotten

No, this is not about that court decision regarding Google nor is it about the news stories from last week.1
This morning I realised2 that I immediately forget anything that I don’t write down, complete with a reminder and/or an entry in my calendar. (Yes, I know – nothing new for listeners of Back to Work.)

This can be a problem, because quite often I tend to forget (hah!) to create a reminder or a calendar entry. And this is a problem that can only be solved with something called “discipline” – a concept that people tell me about and that I only vaguely understand.
So I guess I’ll be okay with sometimes learning that I have an appointment later in the week that I made half a year ago. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Well, actually, stop the shrugging right there – it is something I was really good at and lost due to my sudden overreliance on “the cloud” – so it should be possible to retrain myself.
Or (warning, community manager power trick!) what do you folks think? Have any good ideas on how to handle reminders and remembering these things?

2.0 Links!

2.1 iMessage

So, if you changed from an iOS device to a non-iOS device, things get ugly with your text messages.

2.2 Generations

There is now the ‘pay-as-you-live’ generation and the satori generation and never forget about the millenials.
It’s fascinating, really.

2.3 Privilege

An interview with Peggy McIntosh, the person who coined the sociological term “privilege” and who is very apparently a lot smarter (and kinder) than those kids over on Tumblr. (But then she has the privilege of being a nice old lady, so that’s that.)

I had enough sleep last night, yet I am extremely tired today. Something must be done about this.
Have a nice day… I think it’s Wednesday?

  1. Seriously, what did we care about last week? 
  2. Probably again. I have forgotten. 

Who's there?

1.0 Follow-Up

Remember 26: Infinite Improbability? Well, imagine my joy/horror when Jason Seifer started to quote and comment on it in the latest episode of IRL Talk.

2.0 Waves of Addiction

Just one more round…

I don’t know how and why it happened, but Civilization got me again. Instead of doing something useful, I was playing Civ V all weekend. Again.
And then there is going to be a new one soon, which is exciting – I mean, just look at that trailer!

3.0 Apps!

I just bought two iPhone apps just because they were in the Mac Power Users shownotes:

I haven’t listened to the episode, yet and I just looked around the apps a bit – they both seem pretty and they seem to be doing something well that I’d want them to do.

As usual: take care, people.

Poultry Internet Touching

No numbers today. They are silly anyway, should I get rid of them?
So, yesterday a friend of mine posted the title of a highly fascinating scientific paper to Facebook: “A mobile pet wearable computer and mixed reality system for human–poultry interaction through the internet” – if you want to read it, you can buy it from Springer or download it from Researchgate. Or even better, you can watch the video, which has a chicken in a virtual reality suit.

It increases the poultry pleasure… in a scientific way.

(If you want to see other cocks experiencing virtual reality, there is always this blog.)
I don’t think Werner Herzog would approve.
Now that we all had a hearty laugh (Hehe, chickens in virtual reality suits are funny!) and suspected it has to be a student prank, let’s realize that this research has been done roughly ten years ago and that

“Poultry Internet” was one of the pioneering works on virtual reality communication between humans and animals.

Says Wikipedia on Mr Cheok’s biography page, so it must be right. In fact, reading that bio and following a couple of links, it is obvious that this guy is doing really important work, that will probably influence our perception of reality in the future.
Plus, it is probably safe to say that once we’re completely decked out in internet-connected sensors, (“wearables” ugh) our pets are next. I’m already sure that strapping a cheap Android device with a data plan to a dog might not be such a bad idea – if the dog runs away, as they apparently tend to do, it should be possible to just look at an app with a map and see where they are.

Take care, y’all.