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The internet is too big
"Scale produces a vicious cycle wherein size facilitates both the problems and the "solutions."

Similarly, Twitter's userbase of hundreds of millions is what allows for the targeted, radically asymmetrical nature of harassment, where one user can be barraged by thousands of replies. The very interconnection that enables the best of the internet also helps foster its worst.

What are we to do if we want to reclaim the best of the internet while combatting its worst? While the tech giants have work to do, it seems that one way to think about this is to distinguish between the usefulness of infrastructure at scale versus the usefulness of certain networks. On one hand, it's beneficial for everyone to be potentially connected by a neutral set of wires and hardware. On the other hand, enormous, multi-billion user networks like Facebook aren't the only way we can connect.

Now that the internet is normal and accessible for billions, perhaps we need to think about the tech giants as necessary evils that kickstarted the early internet but have outlived their usefulness. In their place, imagine a set of standards — say, a calendar that anyone can access and that is interoperable with others' but doesn't require you to be on Facebook. It's an ideal of digital technology that rests on the concept that the internet is a way of connecting people but companies shouldn't entirely own the networks on which we connect.

Earlier this year, writer Max Read suggested that the best of the internet was now to be found in the group text chat. He argued that they feel so intimate and because their dynamic "occurs at human scale, with distinct reactions from a handful of friends … rather than at the alien scale of behemoth platforms." It's about finding the best of the internet without the worst — connection enabled by how large and ubiquitous the internet is, but without the internet's scale infecting how we use it on a daily basis.

It's not clear how such a change would come about. The tech giants not only wield enormous political and economic power, they have also deeply and perhaps even irrevocably integrated themselves into our lives. But as ideals go, a return to a smaller internet is one worth fighting for."
scale  navneetalang  2019  internet  web  socialmedia  facebook  twitter  youtube  interoperability  chat  maxread  size  networks  networkeffect  calendars  communication  dicsovery  intimacy  groupchat  messaging  email  online  timcarmody  robinsloan  nostalgia  humanscale  humanism  humanity 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Oh God, It's Raining Newsletters — by Craig Mod
"In truth, it’s a newsletter about the design of walking. But more broadly, launching it has given me reason to consider the state of newsletters and email, in 2019: It’s kind of amazing."



"Ownership is the critical point here. Ownership in email in the same way we own a paperback: We recognize that we (largely) control the email subscriber lists, they are portable, they are not governed by unknowable algorithmic timelines.3 And this isn’t ownership yoked to a company or piece of software operating on quarterly horizon, or even multi-year horizon, but rather to a half-century horizon. Email is a (the only?) networked publishing technology with both widespread, near universal adoption,4 and history. It is, as they say, proven."



"A lot of this newsletter writing is happening, probably, because the archives aren’t great. Tenuousness unlocks the mind, loosens tone. But the archival reality might be just the opposite of that common perception: These newsletters are the most backed up pieces of writing in history, copies in millions of inboxes, on millions of hard drives and servers, far more than any blog post. More robust than an Internet Archive container. LOCKSS to the max. These might be the most durable copies yet of ourselves. They’re everywhere but privately so, hidden, piggybacking on the most accessible, oldest networked publishing platform in the world. QWERTYUIOP indeed."
carigmod  newsletters  2019  email  internet  web  online  publishing  walking  substack  buttondown  tinyletter  mailchimp  memberful  naas  instagram  facebook  socialmedia  blogs  blogging  self-publishing  selfpublishing  intimacy  ownership 
february 2019 by robertogreco
The Creative Independent: Jonas Mekas on documenting your life
"Were you ever interested in writing a straightforward memoir about your life?

I don’t have time for that. There are fragments of that in this book, but I think my films are my biography. There are bits and fragments of my personal life in all of my films, so maybe someday I’ll put them together and that will be my autobiography."



"People talk a lot about your films, but you have a poetry practice as well.

Occasionally I still write poems. It comes from a different part of me. When you write, of course it comes from your mind, into your fingers, and finally reaches the paper. With a camera, of course there is also the mind but it’s in front of the lens, what the lens can catch. It’s got nothing to do with the past, but only the image itself. It’s there right now. When you write, you could write about what you thought 30 years ago, where you went yesterday, or what you want for the future. Not so with the film. Film is now.

Are most of your decisions intuitive? Is it a question of just feeling when something is right or when it isn’t?

I don’t feel it necessarily, but it’s like I am forced—like I have to take my camera and film, though I don’t know why. It’s not me who decides. I feel that I have to take the camera and film. That is what’s happening. It’s not a calculated kind of thing. The same when I write. It’s not calculated. Not planned at all. It just happens. My filmmaking doesn’t cost money and doesn’t take time. Because one can always afford to film 10 seconds in one day or shoot one roll of film in a month. It’s not that complicated. I always had a job of one kind of other to support myself because I had to live, I had to eat, and I had to film.

How do you feel about art schools? Is being an artist something that can be taught?

I never wanted to make art. I would not listen to anybody telling me how to do it. No, nobody can teach you to do it your way. You have to discover by doing it. That’s the only way. It’s only by doing that you discover what you still need, what you don’t know, and what you still have to learn. Maybe some technical things you have to learn for what you really want to do, but you don’t know when you begin. You don’t know what you want to do. Only when you begin doing do you discover which direction you’re going and what you may need on the journey that you’re traveling. But you don’t know at the beginning.

That’s why I omitted film schools. Why learn everything? You may not need any of it. Or while you begin the travel of the filmmaker’s journey, maybe you discover that you need to know more about lighting, for instance. Maybe what you are doing needs lighting. You want to do something more artificial, kind of made up, so then you study lights, you study lenses, you study whatever you feel you don’t know and you need. When you make a narrative film, a big movie with actors and scripts, you need all that, but when you just try to sing, you don’t need anything. You just sing by yourself with your camera or with your voice or you dance. On one side it is being a part of the Balanchine, on the other side it is someone dancing in the street for money. I’m the one who dances in the street for money and nobody throws me pennies. Actually, I get a few pennies… but that’s about it.

You’ve made lots of different kinds of films over many years. Did you always feel like you were still learning, still figuring it out as your went along?

Not necessarily. I would act stupid sometimes when people used to see me with my Bolex recording some random moment. They’d say, “What is this?” I’d say, “Oh nothing, it’s not serious.” I would hide from Maya Deren. I never wanted her to see me filming because she would say, “But this is not serious. You need a script!” Then I’d say, “Oh, I’m just fooling. I’m just starting to learn,” but it was just an excuse that I was giving, that I’m trying to learn. I always knew that this was more or less the materials I’d always be using. I was actually filming. There is not much to learn in this kind of cinema, other than how to turn on a camera. What you learn, you discover as you go. What you are really learning is how to open yourself to all the possibilities. How to be very, very, very open to the moment and permitting the muse to come in and dictate. In other words, the real work you are doing is on yourself."



"You are a kind of master archivist. I’m looking around this space—which is packed with stuff, but it all appears to be pretty meticulously organized. How important is it to not only document your work, but to also be a steward of your own archives.

You have to. For me there is constantly somebody who wants to see something in the archives, so I have to deal with it. I cannot neglect them. These are my babies. I have to take care of them. I learned very early that it’s very important to keep careful indexes of everything so that it helps you to find things easily when it’s needed. For example, I have thousands of audio cassettes, in addition to all the visual materials. I have a very careful index of every cassette. I know what’s on it. You tell me the name of the person or the period and I will immediately, within two or three minutes, be able to retrieve it. People come here and look around and say, “Oh, how can you find anything in this place?” No, I find it very easily.

I always carry a camera with me in order to capture or record a couple images and sometimes conversations. Evenings, parties, dinners, meetings, friends. Now, it’s all on video, but back when I was using the Bolex camera, I always had a Sony tape recorder in my pocket—a tiny Sony and that picked up sounds. I have a lot of those from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s. Hundreds and hundreds. I have books which are numbered, each page has written down what’s on each numbered cassette. I don’t index everything, that would be impossible, but approximation is enough. I advise everyone to do this. Record things. Keep an index. It’s very important."



"Aside from all of those projects, do you still have a sort of day-to-day creative practice?

I never needed a creative practice. I don’t believe in creativity. I just do things. I grew up on a farm where we made things, grew things. They just grow and you plant the seeds and then they grow. I just keep making things, doing things. Has nothing to do with creativity. I don’t need creativity."



"And the last remaining company that still made VCRs recently went out of business.

So, all of this new technology, it’s okay for now… but it’s very temporary. You could almost look at it from a spiritual angle. All technology is temporary. Everything falls to dust anyway. And yet, you keep making things."
jonasmekas  2017  film  filmmaking  poetry  documentation  archives  collage  books  writing  creativity  howwewrite  biography  autobiography  art  work  labor  technology  video  vcrs  temporary  ephemeral  ephemerality  making  howwework  howwemake  journals  email  everyday 
january 2019 by robertogreco
The 'Future Book' Is Here, but It's Not What We Expected | WIRED
"THE FUTURE BOOK was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very environment into its story—the name of the coffee shop you were sitting at, your best friend’s birthday. It would be sly, maybe a little creepy. Definitely programmable. Ulysses would extend indefinitely in any direction you wanted to explore; just tap and some unique, mega-mind-blowing sui generis path of Joycean machine-learned words would wend itself out before your very eyes.

Prognostications about how technology would affect the form of paper books have been with us for centuries. Each new medium was poised to deform or murder the book: newspapers, photography, radio, movies, television, videogames, the internet.

Some viewed the intersection of books and technology more positively: In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote in The Atlantic: “Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

Researcher Alan Kay created a cardboard prototype of a tablet-like device in 1968. He called it the "Dynabook," saying, “We created a new kind of medium for boosting human thought, for amplifying human intellectual endeavor. We thought it could be as significant as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press 500 years ago.”

In the 1990s, Future Bookism hit a kind of beautiful fever pitch. We were so close. Brown University professor Robert Coover, in a 1992 New York Times op-ed titled “The End of Books,” wrote of the future of writing: “Fluidity, contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day, and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.” And then, more broadly: “The print medium is a doomed and outdated technology, a mere curiosity of bygone days destined soon to be consigned forever to those dusty unattended museums we now call libraries.”

Normal books? Bo-ring. Future Books? Awesome—indeterminate—and we were almost there! The Voyager Company built its "expanded books" platform on Hypercard, launching with three titles at MacWorld 1992. Microsoft launched Encarta on CD-ROM.

But … by the mid-2000s, there still were no real digital books. The Rocket eBook was too little, too early. Sony launched the eink-based Librie platform in 2004 to little uptake. Interactive CD-ROMs had dropped off the map. We had Wikipedia, blogs, and the internet, but the mythological Future Book—some electric slab that would somehow both be like and not like the quartos of yore—had yet to materialize. Peter Meirs, head of technology at Time, hedged his bets perfectly, proclaiming: “Ultimately, there will be some sort of device!”

And then there was. Several devices, actually. The iPhone launched in June 2007, the Kindle that November. Then, in 2010, the iPad arrived. High-resolution screens were suddenly in everyone’s hands and bags. And for a brief moment during the early 2010s, it seemed like it might finally be here: the glorious Future Book."



"Yet here’s the surprise: We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice. Instead, technology changed everything that enables a book, fomenting a quiet revolution. Funding, printing, fulfillment, community-building—everything leading up to and supporting a book has shifted meaningfully, even if the containers haven’t. Perhaps the form and interactivity of what we consider a “standard book” will change in the future, as screens become as cheap and durable as paper. But the books made today, held in our hands, digital or print, are Future Books, unfuturistic and inert may they seem."

[sections on self-publishing, crowdfunding, email newsletters, social media, audiobooks and podcasts, etc.]



"It turns out smartphones aren’t the best digital book reading devices (too many seductions, real-time travesties, notifications just behind the words), but they make excellent audiobook players, stowed away in pockets while commuting. Top-tier podcasts like Serial, S-Town, and Homecoming have normalized listening to audio or (nonfiction) booklike productions on smartphones."



"Last August, a box arrived on my doorstep that seemed to embody the apotheosis of contemporary publishing. The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition was published via a crowdfunding campaign. The edition includes a book of images, three records, and a small poster packaged in an exquisite box set with supplementary online material. When I held it, I didn’t think about how futuristic it felt, nor did I lament the lack of digital paper or interactivity. I thought: What a strange miracle to be able to publish an object like this today. Something independently produced, complex and beautiful, with foil stamping and thick pages, full-color, in multiple volumes, made into a box set, with an accompanying record and other shimmering artifacts, for a weirdly niche audience, funded by geeks like me who are turned on by the romance of space.

We have arrived to the once imagined Future Book in piecemeal truths.

Moving images were often espoused to be a core part of our Future Book. While rarely found inside of an iBooks or Kindle book, they are here. If you want to learn the ukulele, you don’t search Amazon for a Kindle how-to book, you go to YouTube and binge on hours of lessons, stopping when you need to, rewinding as necessary, learning at your own pace.

Vannevar Bush's “Memex” essentially described Wikipedia built into a desk.

The "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is an iPhone.

In The Book of Sand, Borges wrote of an infinite book: "It was then that the stranger told me: 'Study the page well. You will never see it again.'" Describing in many ways what it feels like to browse the internet or peek at Twitter.

Our Future Book is composed of email, tweets, YouTube videos, mailing lists, crowdfunding campaigns, PDF to .mobi converters, Amazon warehouses, and a surge of hyper-affordable offset printers in places like Hong Kong.

For a “book” is just the endpoint of a latticework of complex infrastructure, made increasingly accessible. Even if the endpoint stays stubbornly the same—either as an unchanging Kindle edition or simple paperback—the universe that produces, breathes life into, and supports books is changing in positive, inclusive ways, year by year. The Future Book is here and continues to evolve. You’re holding it. It’s exciting. It’s boring. It’s more important than it has ever been.

But temper some of those flight-of-fancy expectations. In many ways, it’s still a potato."
craigmod  ebooks  reading  howweread  2018  kindle  eink  print  publishing  selfpublishing  blurb  lulu  amazon  ibooks  apple  digital  bookfuturism  hypertext  hypercard  history  vannevarbush  borges  twitter  animation  video  newsletters  email  pdf  mobi  epub  infrastructure  systems  economics  goldenrecord  voyager  audio  audiobooks  smarthphones  connectivity  ereaders  podcasts  socialmedia  kevinkelly  benthompson  robinsloan  mailchimp  timbuktulabs  elenafavilli  francescacavallo  jackcheng  funding  kickstarter  crowdfunding  blogs  blogging  wikipedia  internet  web  online  writing  howwewrite  self-publishing  youtube 
january 2019 by robertogreco
How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation
[some follow-up notes here:
https://annehelen.substack.com/p/how-millennials-grew-up-and-burned
https://annehelen.substack.com/p/its-that-simple ]

[See also:

“Here’s What “Millennial Burnout” Is Like For 16 Different People: “My grandmother was a teacher and her mother was a slave. I was born burned out.””
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/millennial-burnout-perspectives

“This Is What Black Burnout Feels Like: If the American dream isn’t possible for upwardly mobile white people anymore, then what am I even striving for?”
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tianaclarkpoet/millennial-burnout-black-women-self-care-anxiety-depression

“Millennials Don’t Have a Monopoly on Burnout: This is a societal scourge, not a generational one. So how can we solve it?”
https://newrepublic.com/article/152872/millennials-dont-monopoly-burnout ]

"We didn’t try to break the system, since that’s not how we’d been raised. We tried to win it.

I never thought the system was equitable. I knew it was winnable for only a small few. I just believed I could continue to optimize myself to become one of them. And it’s taken me years to understand the true ramifications of that mindset. I’d worked hard in college, but as an old millennial, the expectations for labor were tempered. We liked to say we worked hard, played hard — and there were clear boundaries around each of those activities. Grad school, then, is where I learned to work like a millennial, which is to say, all the time. My new watchword was “Everything that’s good is bad, everything that’s bad is good”: Things that should’ve felt good (leisure, not working) felt bad because I felt guilty for not working; things that should’ve felt “bad” (working all the time) felt good because I was doing what I thought I should and needed to be doing in order to succeed."



"The social media feed — and Instagram in particular — is thus evidence of the fruits of hard, rewarding labor and the labor itself. The photos and videos that induce the most jealousy are those that suggest a perfect equilibrium (work hard, play hard!) has been reached. But of course, for most of us, it hasn’t. Posting on social media, after all, is a means of narrativizing our own lives: What we’re telling ourselves our lives are like. And when we don’t feel the satisfaction that we’ve been told we should receive from a good job that’s “fulfilling,” balanced with a personal life that’s equally so, the best way to convince yourself you’re feeling it is to illustrate it for others.

For many millennials, a social media presence — on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter — has also become an integral part of obtaining and maintaining a job. The “purest” example is the social media influencer, whose entire income source is performing and mediating the self online. But social media is also the means through which many “knowledge workers” — that is, workers who handle, process, or make meaning of information — market and brand themselves. Journalists use Twitter to learn about other stories, but they also use it to develop a personal brand and following that can be leveraged; people use LinkedIn not just for résumés and networking, but to post articles that attest to their personality (their brand!) as a manager or entrepreneur. Millennials aren’t the only ones who do this, but we’re the ones who perfected and thus set the standards for those who do.

“Branding” is a fitting word for this work, as it underlines what the millennial self becomes: a product. And as in childhood, the work of optimizing that brand blurs whatever boundaries remained between work and play. There is no “off the clock” when at all hours you could be documenting your on-brand experiences or tweeting your on-brand observations. The rise of smartphones makes these behaviors frictionless and thus more pervasive, more standardized. In the early days of Facebook, you had to take pictures with your digital camera, upload them to your computer, and post them in albums. Now, your phone is a sophisticated camera, always ready to document every component of your life — in easily manipulated photos, in short video bursts, in constant updates to Instagram Stories — and to facilitate the labor of performing the self for public consumption.

But the phone is also, and just as essentially, a tether to the “real” workplace. Email and Slack make it so that employees are always accessible, always able to labor, even after they’ve left the physical workplace and the traditional 9-to-5 boundaries of paid labor. Attempts to discourage working “off the clock” misfire, as millennials read them not as permission to stop working, but a means to further distinguish themselves by being available anyway.

“We are encouraged to strategize and scheme to find places, times, and roles where we can be effectively put to work,” Harris, the Kids These Days author, writes. “Efficiency is our existential purpose, and we are a generation of finely honed tools, crafted from embryos to be lean, mean production machines.”

But as sociologist Arne L. Kalleberg points out, that efficiency was supposed to give us more job security, more pay, perhaps even more leisure. In short, better jobs.

Yet the more work we do, the more efficient we’ve proven ourselves to be, the worse our jobs become: lower pay, worse benefits, less job security. Our efficiency hasn’t bucked wage stagnation; our steadfastness hasn’t made us more valuable. If anything, our commitment to work, no matter how exploitative, has simply encouraged and facilitated our exploitation. We put up with companies treating us poorly because we don’t see another option. We don’t quit. We internalize that we’re not striving hard enough. And we get a second gig."



"That’s one of the most ineffable and frustrating expressions of burnout: It takes things that should be enjoyable and flattens them into a list of tasks, intermingled with other obligations that should either be easily or dutifully completed. The end result is that everything, from wedding celebrations to registering to vote, becomes tinged with resentment and anxiety and avoidance. Maybe my inability to get the knives sharpened is less about being lazy and more about being too good, for too long, at being a millennial.

That’s one of the most ineffable and frustrating expressions of burnout: It takes things that should be enjoyable and flattens them into a list of tasks, intermingled with other obligations that should either be easily or dutifully completed. The end result is that everything, from wedding celebrations to registering to vote, becomes tinged with resentment and anxiety and avoidance. Maybe my inability to get the knives sharpened is less about being lazy and more about being too good, for too long, at being a millennial."



"In his writing about burnout, the psychoanalyst Cohen describes a client who came to him with extreme burnout: He was the quintessential millennial child, optimized for perfect performance, which paid off when he got his job as a high-powered finance banker. He’d done everything right, and was continuing to do everything right in his job. One morning, he woke up, turned off his alarm, rolled over, and refused to go to work. He never went to work again. He was “intrigued to find the termination of his employment didn’t bother him.”

In the movie version of this story, this man moves to an island to rediscover the good life, or figures out he loves woodworking and opens a shop. But that’s the sort of fantasy solution that makes millennial burnout so pervasive. You don’t fix burnout by going on vacation. You don’t fix it through “life hacks,” like inbox zero, or by using a meditation app for five minutes in the morning, or doing Sunday meal prep for the entire family, or starting a bullet journal. You don’t fix it by reading a book on how to “unfu*k yourself.” You don’t fix it with vacation, or an adult coloring book, or “anxiety baking,” or the Pomodoro Technique, or overnight fucking oats.

The problem with holistic, all-consuming burnout is that there’s no solution to it. You can’t optimize it to make it end faster. You can’t see it coming like a cold and start taking the burnout-prevention version of Airborne. The best way to treat it is to first acknowledge it for what it is — not a passing ailment, but a chronic disease — and to understand its roots and its parameters. That’s why people I talked to felt such relief reading the “mental load” cartoon, and why reading Harris’s book felt so cathartic for me: They don’t excuse why we behave and feel the way we do. They just describe those feelings and behaviors — and the larger systems of capitalism and patriarchy that contribute to them — accurately.

To describe millennial burnout accurately is to acknowledge the multiplicity of our lived reality — that we’re not just high school graduates, or parents, or knowledge workers, but all of the above — while recognizing our status quo. We’re deeply in debt, working more hours and more jobs for less pay and less security, struggling to achieve the same standards of living as our parents, operating in psychological and physical precariousness, all while being told that if we just work harder, meritocracy will prevail, and we’ll begin thriving. The carrot dangling in front of us is the dream that the to-do list will end, or at least become far more manageable.

But individual action isn’t enough. Personal choices alone won’t keep the planet from dying, or get Facebook to quit violating our privacy. To do that, you need paradigm-shifting change. Which helps explain why so many millennials increasingly identify with democratic socialism and are embracing unions: We are beginning to understand what ails us, and it’s not something an oxygen facial or a treadmill desk can fix.

Until or in lieu of a … [more]
capitalism  neoliberalism  millennials  burnout  chores  work  parenting  2019  annehelenpetersen  cv  society  us  performance  meritocracy  inequality  competition  labor  leisure  perfectionism  success  schooliness  helicopterparenting  children  academia  economics  genx  genz  generations  generationx  socialmedia  instagram  balance  life  living  gigeconomy  passion  self-care  self-optimization  exhaustion  anxiety  decisionmaking  congnitiveload  insecurity  precarity  poverty  steadiness  laziness  procrastination  helicopterparents  work-lifebalance  canon  malcolmharris  joshcohen  hustling  hustle  overwork  arnekalleberg  efficiency  productivity  workplace  email  adulting  personalbranding  linkedin  facebook  consumption  homelessness  context  behavior 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Buttondown ["The easiest way to run your newsletter."]
"I've been writing newsletters for years but struggled with the friction and unpleasantries of other tools.

Each time I wanted to send out a new email, I had to do so much stuff:

• Had to manually convert my Markdown (and make sure the HTML that got spat out was kosher)
• Had to manually check all of my images and links to make sure nothing was broken
• Had to send it at exactly the right time (after sending myself a dozen test emails, of course)
• Other stuff I'm probably mentally blocking out due to sheer annoyance

It was the worst! I got sick of doing all of that, and all of the hassles stopped me from doing the fun part: writing a great newsletter.

I wanted a simple, pleasant tool that took all of that annoying stuff off my plate. So I built Buttondown.

Buttondown stays out of your way and handles the annoying stuff so you don't have to. You probably have your own place where you like to write — I like iA Writer, personally — so Buttondown lets the word processors handle the word processing.

If you just want a place where you can copy and paste some Markdown or HTML, send it to a bunch of people, and be on your merry way, confident that it looks good and nothing explodes — this is the solution for you.

Buttondown is designed with one guiding principle above all others: it should be easy to send great emails. That's why we support Markdown, image uploads, link checking, and more all out of the box.

Whether you're building up an email list for your new startup or just growing an audience for your writing, the best part of a newsletter is that your content ends up in the inboxes that matter. Buttondown makes it easy for you to track who's reading your emails with tags, analytics, and visualizations.

Buttondown's focus is on ease of use and pleasantness over richness: if you need heavy automation or complex layouts, this is probably not the tool for you! And that's okay: I designed Buttondown specifically for the folks like myself, who want an elegant interface that makes running a newsletter feel more like play than like work.

Buttondown supports embedding your subscription widget in publications like Medium and Wordpress, making it easy for your readers to subscribe quickly and making it easy for you to grow your reach."
onlinetoolkit  newsetters  email 
november 2018 by robertogreco
James Bridle on New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future - YouTube
"As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world.

In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle surveys the history of art, technology, and information systems, and reveals the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime."
quantification  computationalthinking  systems  modeling  bigdata  data  jamesbridle  2018  technology  software  systemsthinking  bias  ai  artificialintelligent  objectivity  inequality  equality  enlightenment  science  complexity  democracy  information  unschooling  deschooling  art  computation  computing  machinelearning  internet  email  web  online  colonialism  decolonization  infrastructure  power  imperialism  deportation  migration  chemtrails  folkliterature  storytelling  conspiracytheories  narrative  populism  politics  confusion  simplification  globalization  global  process  facts  problemsolving  violence  trust  authority  control  newdarkage  darkage  understanding  thinking  howwethink  collapse 
september 2018 by robertogreco
how to do nothing – Jenny Odell – Medium
[video: https://vimeo.com/232544904 ]

"What I would do there is nothing. I’d just sit there. And although I felt a bit guilty about how incongruous it seemed — beautiful garden versus terrifying world — it really did feel necessary, like a survival tactic. I found this necessity of doing nothing so perfectly articulated in a passage from Gilles Deleuze in Negotiations:
…we’re riddled with pointless talk, insane quantities of words and images. Stupidity’s never blind or mute. So it’s not a problem of getting people to express themselves but of providing little gaps of solitude and silence in which they might eventually find something to say. Repressive forces don’t stop people expressing themselves but rather force them to express themselves; what a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, and ever rarer, thing that might be worth saying. (emphasis mine)

He wrote that in 1985, but the sentiment is something I think we can all identify with right now, almost to a degree that’s painful. The function of nothing here, of saying nothing, is that it’s a precursor to something, to having something to say. “Nothing” is neither a luxury nor a waste of time, but rather a necessary part of meaningful thought and speech."



"In The Bureau of Suspended Objects, a project I did while in residence at Recology SF (otherwise known as the dump), I spent three months photographing, cataloguing and researching the origins of 200 objects. I presented them as browsable archive in which people could scan the objects’ tags and learn about the manufacturing, material, and corporate histories of the objects.

One woman at the Recology opening was very confused and said, “Wait… so did you actually make anything? Or did you just put things on shelves?” (Yes, I just put things on shelves.)"



"That’s an intellectual reason for making nothing, but I think that in my cases, it’s something simpler than that. Yes, the BYTE images speak in interesting and inadvertent ways about some of the more sinister aspects of technology, but I also just really love them.

This love of one’s subject is something I’m provisionally calling the observational eros. The observational eros is an emotional fascination with one’s subject that is so strong it overpowers the desire to make anything new. It’s pretty well summed up in the introduction of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, where he describes the patience and care involved in close observation of one’s specimens:
When you collect marine animals there are certain flat worms so delicate that they are almost impossible to capture whole, for they break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade and then lift them gently into your bottle of sea water. And perhaps that might be the way to write this book — to open the page and let the stories crawl in by themselves.

The subject of observation is so precious and fragile that it risks breaking under even the weight of observation. As an artist, I fear the breaking and tattering of my specimens under my touch, and so with everything I’ve ever “made,” without even thinking about it, I’ve tried to keep a very light touch.

It may not surprise you to know, then, that my favorite movies tend to be documentaries, and that one of my favorite public art pieces was done by the documentary filmmaker, Eleanor Coppola. In 1973, she carried out a public art project called Windows, which materially speaking consisted only of a map with a list of locations in San Francisco.

The map reads, “Eleanor Coppola has designated a number of windows in all parts of San Francisco as visual landmarks. Her purpose in this project is to bring to the attention of the whole community, art that exists in its own context, where it is found, without being altered or removed to a gallery situation.” I like to consider this piece in contrast with how we normally experience public art, which is some giant steel thing that looks like it landed in a corporate plaza from outer space.

Coppola instead casts a subtle frame over the whole of the city itself as a work of art, a light but meaningful touch that recognizes art that exists where it already is."



"What amazed me about birdwatching was the way it changed the granularity of my perception, which was pretty “low res” to begin with. At first, I just noticed birdsong more. Of course it had been there all along, but now that I was paying attention to it, I realized that it was almost everywhere, all day, all the time. In particular I can’t imagine how I went most of my life so far without noticing scrub jays, which are incredibly loud and sound like this:

[video]

And then, one by one, I started learning other songs and being able to associate each of them with a bird, so that now when I walk into the the rose garden, I inadvertently acknowledge them in my head as though they were people: hi raven, robin, song sparrow, chickadee, goldfinch, towhee, hawk, nuthatch, and so on. The diversification (in my attention) of what was previously “bird sounds” into discrete sounds that carry meaning is something I can only compare to the moment that I realized that my mom spoke three languages, not two.

My mom has only ever spoken English to me, and for a very long time, I assumed that whenever my mom was speaking to another Filipino person, that she was speaking Tagalog. I didn’t really have a good reason for thinking this other than that I knew she did speak Tagalog and it sort of all sounded like Tagalog to me. But my mom was actually only sometimes speaking Tagalog, and other times speaking Ilonggo, which is a completely different language that is specific to where she’s from in the Philippines.

The languages are not the same, i.e. one is not simply a dialect of the other; in fact, the Philippines is full of language groups that, according to my mom, have so little in common that speakers would not be able to understand each other, and Tagalog is only one.

This type of embarrassing discovery, in which something you thought was one thing is actually two things, and each of those two things is actually ten things, seems not only naturally cumulative but also a simple function of the duration and quality of one’s attention. With effort, we can become attuned to things, able to pick up and then hopefully differentiate finer and finer frequencies each time.

What these moments of stopping to listen have in common with those labyrinthine spaces is that they all initially enact some kind of removal from the sphere of familiarity. Even if brief or momentary, they are retreats, and like longer retreats, they affect the way we see everyday life when we do come back to it."



"Even the labyrinths I mentioned, by their very shape, collect our attention into these small circular spaces. When Rebecca Solnit, in her book Wanderlust, wrote about walking in the labyrinth inside the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, she said, “The circuit was so absorbing I lost sight of the people nearby and hardly heard the sound of the traffic and the bells for six o’clock.”

In the case of Deep Listening, although in theory it can be practiced anywhere at any time, it’s telling that there have also been Deep Listening retreats. And Turrell’s Sky Pesher not only removes the context from around the sky, but removes you from your surroundings (and in some ways, from the context of your life — given its underground, tomblike quality)."



"My dad said that leaving the confined context of a job made him understand himself not in relation to that world, but just to the world, and forever after that, things that happened at work only seemed like one small part of something much larger. It reminds me of how John Muir described himself not as a naturalist but as a “poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist etc. etc.”, or of how Pauline Oliveros described herself in 1974: “Pauline Oliveros is a two legged human being, female, lesbian, musician, and composer among other things which contribute to her identity. She is herself and lives with her partner, along with assorted poultry, dogs, cats, rabbits and tropical hermit crabs.” Incidentally, this has encouraged me to maybe change my bio to: “Jenny Odell is an artist, professor, thinker, walker, sleeper, eater, and amateur birdnoticer.”

3. the precarity of nothing

There’s an obvious critique of all of this, and that’s that it comes from a place of privilege. I can go to the rose garden, or stare into trees all day, because I have a teaching job that only requires me to be somewhere two days a week, not to mention a whole set of other privileges. Part of the reason my dad could take that time off was that on some level, he had enough reason to think he could get another job. It’s possible to understand the practice of doing nothing solely as a self-indulgent luxury, the equivalent of taking a mental health day if you’re lucky enough to work at a place that has those.

But here I come back to Deleuze’s “right to say nothing,” and although we can definitely say that this right is variously accessible or even inaccessible for some, I believe that it is indeed a right. For example, the push for an 8-hour workday in 1886 called for “8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest, and 8 hours of what we will.” I’m struck by the quality of things that associated with the category “What we Will”: rest, thought, flowers, sunshine.

These are bodily, human things, and this bodily-ness is something I will come back to. When Samuel Gompers, who led the labor group that organized this particular iteration of the 8-hour movement, was asked, “What does labor want?” he responded, “It wants the earth and the fullness thereof.” And to me it seems significant that it’s not 8 hours of, say, “leisure” or “… [more]
jennyodell  idleness  nothing  art  eyeo2017  photoshop  specimens  care  richardprince  gillesdeleuze  recology  internetarchive  sanfrancisco  eleanorcoppola  2017  1973  maps  mapping  scottpolach  jamesturrell  architecture  design  structure  labyrinths  oakland  juliamorgan  chapelofthechimes  paulineoliveros  ucsd  1970s  deeplisening  listening  birds  birdwatching  birding  noticing  classideas  observation  perception  time  gracecathedral  deeplistening  johncage  gordonhempton  silence  maintenance  conviviality  technology  bodies  landscape  ordinary  everyday  cyclicality  cycles  1969  mierleladermanukeles  sensitivity  senses  multispecies  canon  productivity  presence  connectivity  conversation  audrelorde  gabriellemoss  fomo  nomo  nosmo  davidabram  becominganimal  animals  nature  ravens  corvids  crows  bluejays  pets  human-animalrelations  human-animalelationships  herons  dissent  rowe  caliressler  jodythompson  francoberardi  fiverr  popos  publicspace  blackmirror  anthonyantonellis  facebook  socialmedia  email  wpa  history  bayarea  crowdcontrol  mikedavis  cityofquartz  er 
july 2017 by robertogreco
All That Multitasking is Harming, Not Helping Your Productivity. Here’s Why. | KQED Future of You | KQED Science
"How the Digital Age Zaps Productivity

I visited Gazzaley in his UCSF laboratory, Neuroscape, to learn more about the science of distraction. Gazzaley pulled up, on a TV screen, a 3-D image of a brain, created from an MRI Scan. He pointed to different sections to explain what’s going on when our attention flits between tasks.

“The prefrontal cortex is the area most challenged,” Gazzely says. “And then visual areas, auditory areas, and the hippocampus — these networks are really what’s challenged when we are constantly switching between multiple tasks that our technological world might throw at us.”

When you engage in one task at a time, the prefrontal cortex works in harmony with other parts of the brain, but when you toss in another task it forces the left and right sides of the brain to work independently. The process of splitting our attention usually leads to mistakes.

In other words, each time our eyes glance away from our computer monitor to sneak a peak at a text message, the brain takes in new information, which reduces our primary focus. We think the mind can juggle two or three activities successfully at once, but Gazzaley says we woefully overestimate our ability to multitask.

“An example is when you attempt to check your email while on a conference call,” says Gazzaley. “The act of doing that makes it so incredibly obvious how you can’t really parallel process two attention-demanding tasks. You either have to catch up and ask what happened in the conversation, or you have to read over the email before you send it — if you’re wise!”

Answering an Email Takes A Lot Longer Than You Think

Gazzaley stresses that our tendency to respond immediately to emails and texts hinders high-level thinking. If you’re working on a project and you stop to answer an email, the research shows, it will take you nearly a half-hour to get back on task.

“When a focused stream of thought is interrupted it needs to be reset,” explains Gazzaley. “You can’t just press a button and switch back to it. You have to re-engage those thought processes, and recreate all the elements of what you were engaged in. That takes time, and frequently one interruption leads to another.”

In other words, repetitively switching tasks lowers performance and productivity because your brain can only fully and efficiently focus on one thing at a time.

Plus, mounting evidence shows that multitasking could impair the brain’s cognitive abilities. Stanford researchers studied the minds of people who regularly engage in several digital communication streams at once. They found that high-tech jugglers struggle to pay attention, recall information, or complete one task at a time.

“When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal,” says Stanford neuroscientist Anthony Wagner. “That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.”

The researchers are still studying what’s causing multitaskers to perform poorly on cognitive tests. It could be that they are born with an inability to concentrate, or digital distractions are taking a toll. In any case, the researchers believe the minds of multitaskers are not performing optimally.

And the habit of multitasking could lower your score on an IQ test, according to researchers at the University of London.

Creating Digital Boundaries

But don’t worry. Gazzaley says. It’s not about opting out of technology. In fact, there’s a time and place for multitasking. If you’re in the midst of a mundane task that just has to get done, it’s probably not detrimental to have your phone nearby or a bunch of tabs open. The distractions may reduce boredom and help you stay engaged. But if you’re finishing a business plan, or a high-level writing project, then it’s a good idea to set yourself up to stay focused."
multitasking  cognition  collaboration  email  organization  productivity  2016  adamgazzaley  larryrosen 
october 2016 by robertogreco
Superhuman
[via: "Venture capitalists are betting millions that this email service is better than Gmail"
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/50-million-stealth-startup-wants-000000120.html ]
superhuman  email 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Walled Gardens & Escape Routes | Kneeling Bus
"Slack and Snapchat are two of the platforms that best embody the current technological moment, the fastest recent gainers in Silicon Valley’s constant campaign to build apps we put on our home screens and not only use constantly but freely give our locations, identities, relationships, and precious attention. One of those products is for work and one is for play; both reflect values and aesthetics that, if not new, at least differ in clear ways from those of email, Facebook, and Twitter—the avatars of comparable moments in the recent past.

Recently I compared Twitter to a shrinking city—slowly bleeding users and struggling to produce revenue but a kind of home to many, infrastructure worth preserving, a commons. Now that Pokemon Go has mapped the digital universe onto meatspace more literally, I’ll follow suit and extend that same “city” metaphor to the rest of the internet.

I’m kidding about the Pokemon part (only not really), but the internet has nearly completed one major stage of its life, evolving from a mechanism for sharing webpages between computers into a series of variously porous platforms that are owned or about to be owned by massive companies who have divided up the available digital real estate and found (or failed to find) distinct revenue-generating schemes within each platform’s confines, optimizing life inside to extract revenue (or failing to do so). The app is a manifestation of this maturing structure, each app a gateway to one of these walled gardens and a point of contact with a single company’s business model—far from the messy chaos of the earlier web. So much urban space has been similarly carved up.

If Twitter is a shrinking city, then Slack or Snapchat are exploding fringe suburbs at the height of a housing bubble, laying miles of cul-de-sac and water pipe in advance of the frantic growth that will soon fill in all the space. The problem with my spatial metaphor here is that neither Slack nor Snapchat feels like a “city” in its structure, while Twitter and Facebook do by comparison. I never thought I’d say this, but Twitter and Instagram are legible (if decentralized): follower counts, likes, or retweets signal a loosely quantifiable importance, the linear feed is easy enough to follow, and everything is basically open by default (private accounts go against the grain of Twitter). Traditional social media by now has become a set of tools for attaining a global if personally-tailored perspective on current events and culture.

Slack and Snapchat are quite different, streams of ephemeral and illegible content. Both intentionally restrict your perspective to the immediate here and now. We don’t navigate them so much as we surf them. They’re less rationally-organized, mapped cities than the postmodern spaces that fascinated Frederic Jameson and Reyner Banham: Bonaventure Hotels or freeway cloverleafs, with their own semantic systems—Deleuzian smooth space. Nobody knows one’s position within these universes, just the context their immediate environment affords. Facebook, by comparison, feels like a high modernist panopticon where everyone sees and knows a bit too much.

Like cities, digital platforms have populations that ebb and flow. The history of urbanization is a story of slow, large-scale, irreversible migrations. It’s hard to relocate human settlements. The redistributions of the digital era happen more rapidly but are less absolute: If you have 16 waking hours of daily attention to give, you don’t need to shift it all from Facebook to Snapchat but whatever you do shift can move instantly.

The forces that propel migrations from city to city to suburb and back to city were frequently economic (if not political). Most apps and websites cost nothing to inhabit and yield little economic opportunity for their users. If large groups are not abandoning Twitter or Facebook for anything to do with money, what are they looking for?"



"If we’ve learned anything from recent technology, we can expect Slack and Snapchat to reveal their own serious flaws over time as users accumulate, behaviors solidify, and opportunists learn to exploit their structure. Right now most of the world is still trying to understand what they are. When the time comes—and hopefully we’ll recognize it early enough—we can break camp and go looking for our next temporary outpost."
walledgadens  web  online  internet  2016  snapchat  slack  darknet  darkweb  instagram  twitter  legibility  drewaustin  fredericjameon  reynerbanham  email  venkateshrao  benbashe  identity  communication  openweb  facebook  texting  sms  flowlaminar 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Deciphering Glyph :: Email Isn’t The Thing You’re Bad At
"We’re In This Together, Me Especially

A lot of guidance about what to do with your email addresses email overload as a personal problem. Over the years of developing my tips and tricks for dealing with it, I certainly saw it that way. But lately, I’m starting to see that it has pernicious social effects.

If you have 24,000 messages in your Inbox, that means you aren’t keeping track or setting priorities on which tasks you want to complete. But just because you’re not setting those priorities, that doesn’t mean nobody is. It means you are letting availability heuristic - whatever is “latest and loudest” - govern access to your attention, and therefore your time. By doing this, you are rewarding people (or #brands) who contact you repeatedly, over inappropriate channels, and generally try to flood your attention with their priorities instead of your own. This, in turn, creates a culture where it is considered reasonable and appropriate to assume that you need to do that in order to get someone’s attention.

Since we live in the era of subtext and implication, I should explicitly say that I’m not describing any specific work environment or community. I used to have an email startup, and so I thought about this stuff very heavily for almost a decade. I have seen email habits at dozens of companies, and I help people in the open source community with their email on a regular basis. So I’m not throwing shade: almost everybody is terrible at this.

And that is the one way that email, in the sense of the tools and programs we use to process it, is at fault: technology has made it easier and easier to ask people to do more and more things, without giving us better tools or training to deal with the increasingly huge array of demands on our time. It’s easier than ever to say “hey could you do this for me” and harder than ever to just say “no, too busy”.

Mostly, though, I want you to know that this isn’t just about you any more. It’s about someone much more important than you: me. I’m tired of sending reply after reply to people asking to “just circle back” or asking if I’ve seen their email. Yes, I’ve seen your email. I have a long backlog of tasks, and, like anyone, I have trouble managing them and getting them all done4, and I frequently have to decide that certain things are just not important enough to do. Sometimes it takes me a couple of weeks to get to a message. Sometimes I never do. But, it’s impossible to be mad at somebody for “just checking in” for the fourth time when this is probably the only possible way they ever manage to get anyone else to do anything.

I don’t want to end on a downer here, though. And I don’t have a book to sell you which will solve all your productivity problems. I know that if I lay out some incredibly elaborate system all at once, it’ll seem overwhelming. I know that if I point you at some amazing gadget that helps you keep track of what you want to do, you’ll either balk at the price or get lost fiddling with all its knobs and buttons and not getting a lot of benefit out of it. So if I’m describing a problem that you have here, here’s what I want you to do.

Step zero is setting aside some time. This will probably take you a few hours, but trust me; they will be well-spent."
email  2016  productivity  gtd  advice 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Slack, I’m Breaking Up with You — Better People — Medium
"You’re actually making it HARDER to have a conversation

Back before we met, I had two primary modes of digitally communicating with people:

1. Real Time
Some of the digital platforms I used were inherently “real time” (phone, Skype, IRC, Google Hangouts, etc.), where there was a built-in expectation of an immediate, rapid-fire conversation wherein everyone involved was more or less fully-present and participating.

2. Asynchronous
Conversely, there were other platforms that were inherently asynchronous (email, voicemail, iMessage, Twitter DMs, etc.), where there was no expectation of an immediate response, and people tended to send cogent feedback in their own time.

Then you came along, and rocked everyone’s world by introducing a conversational melting pot that is neither fully real time, nor fully asynchronous. You’re somewhere in between:

You’re asynchronish.

At first I thought this sounded delightful — it would be the best of both worlds! I was always free to drop someone a line, and if they were feeling chatty, a full-fledged conversation could simply spring up, with no need to switch platforms.

After getting to know you better, though, I’ve found that your “asynchronish” side is less impressive than I first thought. It leads to everyone having half-conversations all day long, with people frequently rotating through one slow-drip discussion after another, never needing to officially check out because “hey! it’s asynchronous!”"



"You’re turning my workdays into one long Franken-meeting

I think you and I can both agree that meetings are kind of the worst. And, on the surface, you do totally obviate the need for a ton of them. I can definitely think of many times in which a quick Slack whip-around has saved me from all kinds of interpersonal tedium. So thank you for that.

However, I’m wondering what the cost of it is. Specifically, I wonder if conducting business in an asynchronish environment simply turns every minute into an opportunity for conversation, essentially “meeting-izing” the entire workday."



"I belong to roughly 10 different Slack teams. People are very used to messaging me (directly or publicly) whether I’m online or not, so there’s a heavy social expectation for me to keep those conversational plates spinning on an ongoing basis, even if I’m signed out of all your clients.

I really don’t want to leave the people I care about hanging, but I haven’t seen any native way to let them know I may be gone for a while, and to perhaps try me elsewhere. This all seems a bit possessive on your part, whether you meant it to be or not — how do I take a vacation without taking you with me? How would you help me if I wound up in the hospital?

For better or for worse, you’ve gone from a novelty to a supernova in the blink of an eye. It’s only been two years, and many already act as if it’s impossible to remember what life was like before you came along."



"The question isn’t quality of design; you are stunningly well-designed in supporting the human tendencies you’re set up to support. I’m just not sure that those tendencies are ones I really want more of in my life right now. It seems that everyone’s social habits around using you are lagging pretty far behind your marvelous technical advancements."
slack  asynchronous  messaging  email  meetings  2016  asynchronish  work  productivity  conversation  samuelhulick  cabelsasser  jasonfried  joshpigford  chat 
march 2016 by robertogreco
What Will Replace Email? - The Atlantic
"Email, ughhhh. There is too much of it, and the wrong kind of it, from the wrong people. When people aren’t hating their inboxes out loud, they are quietly emailing to say that they’re sorry for replying so late, and for all the typos, and for missing your earlier note, and for forgetting to turn off auto-reply, and for sending this from their mobile device, and for writing too long, and for bothering you at all.

For an activity that’s so mundane, email seems to be infused with an extraordinary amount of dread and guilt. Several studies have linked frequent email-checking with higher levels of anxiety. One study found that constant email-checkers also had heart activity that suggested higher levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress—until they were banned from their inboxes.

In the mobile Internet age, checking email is simultaneously a nervous tic and, for many workers, a tether to the office. A person’s email inbox is where forgotten passwords are revived; where mass-mailings are collected; and where pumpkin-pie recipes, toddler photos, and absurd one-liners are shared. The inbox, then, is a place of convergence: for junk, for work, for advertising, and still sometimes for informal, intimate correspondence. Email works just the way it’s supposed to, and better than it used to, but people seem to hate it more than ever.

Over the course of about half a century, email went from being obscure and specialized, to mega-popular and beloved, to derided and barely tolerated. With email’s reputation now cratering, service providers offer tools to help you hit “inbox zero,” while startups promise to kill email altogether. It’s even become fashionable in tech circles to brag about how little a person uses email anymore.

Email wasn’t always like this. We weren’t always like this. What happened?"



"Email’s endurance isn’t just luck. It has improved, too. Spam filters work really, really well. And many providers offer email services that are both free and eminently usable. Gmail will divvy up the marketing from the news headlines from the messages from your brother-in-law. It also recently unveiled a smart auto-reply feature, a time-saver designed to guess how you might want to respond to an email. Early iterations of the service were inappropriately affectionate: When the machine wasn't sure how to sign off, it would default with “I love you,” a detail that’s perhaps sweet enough to make even the steeliest email-haters soften.

Filtering and predictive-response features hint at what email could become in the future, especially as communications continue to splinter off onto other platforms like Slack, Facebook, the forthcoming Google chat app, and text messaging. “Email has had a similar evolution as snail mail,” said Michael Heyward, the CEO of Whisper, a social network where people can communicate anonymously. “Both started off as a primary means of communication that people were excited about, and now, you mainly see spam—bills, marketing promotions—and occasionally, an important piece of information will come through.”

So there’s incentive for service providers to make receiving email more efficient—not just sorting out the junk messages, but using machine learning to determine which messages are highest priority. Not that it’s an easy task. Hundreds of billions of emails are sent each day, amounting to some 75 trillion emails per year. Three years from now, that number is expected to go up to 90 trillion annually, according to several estimates.

White-collar workers check their inboxes an average of 77 times a day, according to research by Gloria Mark, an informatics professor at the University of California, Irvine. (If that sounds low to you, she found some workers check email far more frequently, up to 343 times a day or more.) The more time people spend focused on email, Mark has found, the less happy and productive they are.

“Email has evolved into a weird medium of communication where the best thing you can do is destroy it quickly, as if every email were a rabid bat attacking your face,” Paul Ford wrote last year. “Yet even the tragically email-burdened still have a weird love for this particular rabid, face-attacking bat.”

That love may not be all that weird, though—especially as email’s competitors, with push notifications, become more annoying. Email works. It’s open. It’s lovely on mobile. And as other forms of communication theoretically lighten the burden email places on people, perhaps it will become more tolerable again. The guilt people often associate with email is, after all, not technological. (Remember, telephone answering machines produced a similar wave of “paranoia and guilt” when the devices were new, according to a 1979 New York Times article.) “That has to be a human feature,” said Tomlinson, the man who sent the first email. “Email does not produce guilt.”

“It may be called something else, it may be embedded within some other app. We may even abandon the protocols. But I don’t think it's going away,” he said. “Email is always going to have a place.”"
2016  email  adriennelafrance  technology  web  internet  online 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Brendan Dawes - Six Monkeys
"Six Monkeys — commissioned by Mailchimp — explores our interactions with email through physical Internet connected objects.

Email is often thought of with negative connotations; overflowing inboxes, strategies on how to get to inbox zero, dealing with the constant barrage of spam whilst each week seemingly giving rise to a new start-up that will promise to tame the evils of email.

There is however another side. Email is a ubiquitous, easy to understand system, working across any platform that can deliver not just the unwanted and the unloved but often the exact opposite; messages from friends, exciting opportunities, memories of trips taken and a million other things. It may not be perfect, but what is? It's flawed yet it's also beautiful.

Six Monkeys is a series of six connected objects that look at how we might change our relationship to email by changing the surrounding context of how we interact with it. By placing email within our everyday physical spaces it may get us to look at the familiarity of email in a new light; we may even learn to love it again.

Each object is named after a famous Chimpanzee used in linguistic research."

[via: http://interconnected.org/home/2015/10/13/art_x_tech ]
brendandawes  email  iot  internetofthings  2014 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Tomtown ( 8 Oct., 2015, at Interconnected)
"The web is busy now. No bad thing. But much too busy to have a single place to gather my friends around photos, another around status updates, etc. I used to have one community online, and now I've got a hundred. And while I can shard them by app (business on LinkedIn, family on Facebook, my global village on Twitter), it's a lot of effort to maintain that. And it doesn't make any sense.

Until:

Tom Coates invited me to join a little community of his in Slack. There are a handful of people there, some old friends, some new friends, all in this group messaging thingy.

There's a space where articles written or edited by members automatically show up. I like that.

I caught myself thinking: It'd be nice to have Last.FM here too, and Dopplr. Nothing that requires much effort. Let's also pull in Instagram. Automatic stuff so I can see what people are doing, and people can see what I'm doing. Just for this group. Back to those original intentions. Ambient awareness, togetherness.

Nobody says very much. Sometimes there's a flurry of chat.

It's small, human-scale. Maybe it's time to bring all these ambient awareness tools back, shared inside Slack instances this time.

You know what, it's cosy. I've been missing this. A neighbourhood."
2015  mattwebb  ambientawareness  ambient  community  culture  presentationofself  twitter  flickr  slack  tomcoates  email  neighborhoods  scale  groups  groupsize  glancing  jaiku  dopplr  im  instantmessenger  last.fm  openplans  offices  attention  socialmedia  noise 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The Terror of the Archive | Hazlitt
"The digitally inflected individual is often not quite an individual, not quite alone. Our past selves seem to be suspended around us like ghostly, shimmering holograms, versions of who we were lingering like memories made manifest in digital, diaphanous bodies. For me, many of those past selves are people I would like to put behind me—that same person who idly signed up for Ashley Madison is someone who hurt others by being careless and self-involved. Now, over a decade on, I’m left wondering to what extent that avatar of my past still stands for or defines me—of the statute of limitations on past wrongs. Though we’ve always been an accumulation of our past acts, now that digital can splay out our many, often contradictory selves in such an obvious fashion, judging who we are has become more fraught and complicated than ever. How, I wonder, do we ethically evaluate ourselves when the conflation of past and present has made things so murky?

*

Sometimes, I aimlessly trawl through old and present email accounts, and it turns out I am often inadvertently mining for awfulness. In one instance—in a Hotmail account I named after my love for The Simpsons—I find myself angrily and thoughtlessly shoving off a woman’s renewed affection because I am, I tell her, “sick of this.” I reassure myself that I am not that person anymore—that I now have the awareness and the humility to not react that way. Most days, looking at how I’ve grown since then, I almost believe this is true.

Yet, to be human is to constantly make mistakes and, as a result, we often hurt others, if not through our acts then certainly our inaction. There is for each of us, if we are honest, a steady stream of things we could have done differently or better: could have stopped to offer a hand; could have asked why that person on the subway was crying; could have been kinder, better, could have taken that leap. But, we say, we are only who we are.

We joke about the horror of having our Google searches publicized, or our Twitter DMs revealed, but in truth, we know the mere existence of such a digital database makes it likely that something will emerge from the murky space in which digital functions as a canvas for our fantasies or guilt.

That is how we justify ourselves. Our sense of who we are is subject to a kind of recency bias, and a confirmation bias, too—a selection of memories from the recent past that conform to the fantasy of the self as we wish it to be. Yet the slow accretion of selective acts that forms our self-image is also largely an illusion—a convenient curation of happenings that flatters our ego, our desire to believe we are slowly getting better. As it turns out, grace and forgiveness aren’t the purview of some supernatural being, but temporality—the simple erasure of thought and feeling that comes from the forward passage of time."



"The line between evasiveness and forgiveness, cowardice and grace, is thin, often difficult to locate, but absolutely vital. It seems, though, that our ethical structures may slowly be slipping out of step with our subjectivities. If we have abandoned the clean but totalitarian simplicity of Kant’s categorical imperative, instead embracing that postmodern cliché of a fluid morality, we still cling to the idea that the self being morally judged is a singular ethical entity, either good or bad. It’s common on social media, for example, for someone to be dismissed permanently for one transgression—some comedian or actor who is good at race but bad at gender (or vice versa) to be moved from the accepted pile to the trash heap. If our concept of morality is fluid, our idea of moral judgment is not similarly so.

That notion of self assumes morality is accretive and cumulative: that we can get better over time, but nevertheless remain a sum of the things we’ve done. Obviously, for the Bill Cosbys or Jian Ghomeshis or Jared Fogles of the world, this is fine. In those cases, it is the repetition of heinous, predatory behaviour over time that makes forgiveness almost impossible—the fact that there is no distance between past and present is precisely the point. For most of us, though, that simple idea of identity assumes that selves are singular, totalized things, coherent entities with neat boundaries and linear histories that arrived here in the present as complete. Even if that ever were true, what digitality helps lay bare is that who we are is actually a multiplicity, a conglomeration of acts, often contradictory, that slips backward and forward and sideways through time incessantly."



"Is the difficulty of digitality for our ethics, then, not the multiplicity of the person judged, but our Janus-faced relation to the icebergs of our psyches—the fact that our various avatars are actually interfaces for our subconscious, exploratory mechanisms for what we cannot admit to others or ourselves?

Freud said that we endlessly repeat past hurts, forever re-enacting the same patterns in a futile attempt to patch the un-healable wound. This, more than anything, is the terror of the personal, digital archive: not that it reveals some awful act from the past, some old self that no longer stands for us, but that it reminds us that who we are is in fact a repetition, a cycle, a circular relation of multiple selves to multiple injuries. It’s the self as a bundle of trauma, forever acting out the same tropes in the hopes that we might one day change.

What I would like to tell you is that I am a better man now than when, years ago, I tried my best to hide from the world and myself. In many ways that is true. Yet, all those years ago, what dragged me out of my depressive spiral was meeting someone—a beautiful, kind, warm person with whom, a decade later, I would repeat similar mistakes. I was callous again: took her for granted, pushed her away when I wanted to, and couldn’t take responsibility for either my or her emotions. Now, when a piece of the past pushes its way through the ether to remind me of who I was or am, I can try to push it down—but in a quiet moment, I might be struck by the terror that some darker, more cowardly part of me is still too close for comfort, still there inside me. The hologram of my past self, its face a distorted, shadowy reflection of me with large, dark eyes, is my mirror, my muse. And any judgment of my character depends not on whether I, in some simple sense, am still that person, but whether I—whether we, multiple and overlapped—can reckon with, can meet and return the gaze of the ghosts of our past."
navneetalang  archives  internet  memory  grace  forgiveness  circulation  change  past  present  mistakes  ashleymadison  twitter  email  privacy  facebook  socialmedia  dropbox  google  secrets  instagram  self  ethics  morality  judgement  identity 
september 2015 by robertogreco
This is What Happened When an Australian City Gave Trees Email Addresses | Smart News | Smithsonian
"Trees get fan mail and even write back to Melburnian residents"

"They provide shade, air to breathe, and an undeniable sense of grandeur. But would you ever write a letter to the tree? Officials in Melbourne, Australia have discovered that for many, the answer is a resounding yes — The Guardian’s Oliver Milman reports that when they rolled out a program that assigned email addresses to trees in a bid to help identify damage and issues, they discovered that city residents preferred to write them love letters instead.

The city is calling it “an unintended but positive consequence” of their attempt to help citizens track tree damage. On their urban forest data site, Melbourne assigned ID numbers and email addresses to each of the city’s trees so it would be easier to catch and rehabilitate damaged trees.

Then the emails began to arrive. Milman writes that instead of damage reports, people began to write fan mail to trees, complimenting their looks and leaves and telling tales of how they’d helped them survive during inclement weather. Some trees even write back.

The effort is part of a larger initiative to protect Melbourne’s 70,000 city-owned trees from drought and decline. But it turns out that Melburnians have always been arboreal enthusiasts: the city council notes that in the 1880s, residents wrote begging for the planting of blue gum eucalyptus trees to “absorb bad gasses” emanating from a nearby manure depot."

[See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/07/when-you-give-a-tree-an-email-address/398210/ ]
australia  trees  internetofthings  email  2015  melbourne  plants  multispecies  iot 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Avidly / How Email Ruined My Life
"It is not surprising that this self-perpetuating mode of interaction comes alongside a proliferation of (self-)assessment and (self-)documentation—talking about what you will, have, or are doing instead of just doing it. Thus the ability to communicate about everything, at all times, seems to have come with the attendant requirements that we accompany every action with a qualitative and quantitative discourse about that action. Inside and in addition to this vast circularity are all those things that one’s job actually entails on a practical, daily basis: all the small questions, all the little tasks that need to be accomplished to make sure a class gets scheduled, a course description is revised, or a grade gets changed. Given how few academic organizations have well-functioning automatic systems that might allow these elements to be managed simply, and that my own university seems especially committed to individually hand-cranking every single gear involved in its operation on an ad hoc basis, most elements of my job mean that emails need to be sent to other people.

Once I send an email, I can do nothing further until someone sends an email back, and thus in a sense, sending that email became a task in itself, a task now completed. More and more it is just a game of hot potato with everyone supposedly moving the task forward by getting it off their desk and onto someone else’s, via email. Every node in this network are themselves fighting to keep up with all their emails, in the back and forth required before anything can actually be done. The irony of the incredible speed of digital mediation is thus that it often results in an intractable slowness in accomplishing simple tasks. (My solution has been to return to the telephone, which easily reduces any 10-email exchange into a 2-minute conversation. Sidenote: I never answer my own phone.)

In case it isn’t already clear, such an onslaught of emails, and the pressure of immediacy exerted sometimes explicitly but mostly by the character of the media, means that we no longer get to leave work (or school, or our friends or our partners). We are always at work, even during time off. The joy of turning on our vacation auto-reply messages is cursory, for even as we cite the “limited access” we will have to email (in, like, Vancouver), we know that we can and will check it. And of course we know that everyone else knows that it’s a lie. Even if we really do take time away from email, making ourselves unavailable (not looking at email, not answering our texts) does not mean email has not been sent to us and is not waiting for us. And we know it, with virtually every fiber of our being. Our practical unavailability does not mitigate our affective understanding that if we ignore email too long, not only will work pile up, but there will be emotional consequences. I can feel the brewing hostility of the email senders: irritated, anxious, angry, disappointed. Even if I start to relax on one level, on another my own anxiety, irritation, and guilt begin to grow. Email doesn’t go away. It’s never over. It’s the fucking digital Babadook, a relentless, reflexive reminder of the unfathomable mass underlying every small transaction of information."
email  toread  via:shannon_mattern  labor  productivity  catherinezimmer 
july 2015 by robertogreco
What I learned by asking 100 school kids about the future of work
"In May this year I gave a different style of presentation at an Ignite event in San Francisco to the ones I normally do. As an analyst and someone who gets excited by telling stories about the possibilities of technology I do a fair bit of research and digging around, but I needed something different. Simply regurgitating the same facts and numbers over and over in meme fashion that we read every week wasn’t enough.

So I went back to school. Literally.

I approached the head teacher of a local primary school and asked her help, I needed to find out from the kids what they expect their future to look like when they enter the business world. She graciously agreed and roped in the other teachers to coordinate. Bear in mind we’re talking a vast age range here, from 5 to 11-year-olds, girls and boys. I really didn’t have any expectations, save for feedback like ‘flying cars’, ‘moon based offices’, like a cross between the Jetsons and Star Trek.

What I got back was so grounded and well thought out its made me challenge just how we seem to approach our own thinking about the future.

I, robot
Kids love robots but there wasn’t a hint of Optimus Prime anywhere. They wanted helpers in the office, assistants to help them achieve their work in a more productive way. They expect things like virtual assistants that we are learning to live with in Cortana and Google to be completely woven into the fabric of business, ambiently aware of our needs and not explicitly called into action. They understood that robots have a purpose and they should be part of the process, not extraneous to it.

What, no PC and Pa$$w0rd5?
There was no mention of the humble PC. In fact, if it has a surface, kids expect to be able to interact with it, be it a table, wall, window. Everything was game. Virtual reality and holography were key to how kids today expect to conduct business tomorrow. Not only that, the notion of passworded security didn’t even feature. Everything was passively tied to a user’s biometrics, whether fingerprint, facial or voice recognition, security and privacy was again an ambient process that wasn’t explicitly invoked.

Children value the idea of privacy long before they understand the full implications of it.

I don’t want e-mail
What child does? These were no exception. They valued multi-video collaboration and mobile working above traditional methods we use today. Kids collaborate using Google Hangouts and Skype to complete their homework assignments — at the age of 11. Yet in an office environment we still find it rare to conduct business this way. Kids won’t when they enter the business world, they expect it as a minimum.

Change the emotion of work
Perhaps the best conclusion from the entries was that children expect work to have an emotional connection, not be a hard, grey environment they spend the vast majority of their lives in. The whole office is expected to be crowdshaped according to the moods from the workers, in real-time. Colours, visuals, smells, sounds.

It’s not a bad idea, and beat the ubiquitous bean bag and pinball machine afterthought some companies subscribe to.

Another brick in the wall?
This became the title of the presentation, which you can find on my Slideshare account and also can view the Ignite talk from the MemSQL HQ. After reading 100+ golden nuggets of inspiration four things became clear:

1. We are ignoring a key generation in understanding what they want us to build for the future, and not everything they suggest is far-fetched. Millennials are the wrong people we should be talking to if we want to stay ahead of the game.

2. We are guilty of not taking the business and IT world into the classroom earlier. We surround ourselves in stats and scores to affirm our position around STEM education, genders in classrooms, and wait for the policymakers to change things. We should be the ones to change things.

3. We need more -eers. There has been an overt focus on developers. Indeed most curriculums are looking into computer science and programming to be part of the education system because of the shortfall in skills predicted. But we need to think broader than this. We need more engineers, imagineers, creationeers. People who can create, build and program. If we truly are entering an age where 50 billion devices will connect and talk across the Internet then who is going to build and maintain them all? A developer can’t, but an engineer can.

4. It was the girls who gave the most detailed feedback in the entries I received. Stop creating pie charts about girls leaving STEM subjects and just talk to them.

Kids want to learn about business, IT, and STEM subjects faster than we are prepared to keep up with because we’re so preoccupied about creating a future we want to see, but will never inhabit by the time it’s built.

So, my advice. This year go back to school. Search out the golden nuggets that are hidden in the classrooms across your countries. Talk to the real generation we should be building a future for.

You might learn something."
2015  theopriestley  children  wrok  future  via:willrichardson  education  email  robots  automation  work  labor  fulfillment  collaboration  videoconferencing  computing  technology 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The "Best" E-mail Signature Is Actually the Worst - Bloomberg Business
"So if not best, then what?
Nothing. Don’t sign off at all. With the rise of Slack and other office chatting software, e-mail has begun functioning more like instant messaging anyway. “Texting has made e-mail even more informal than it is,” Pachter says. In conversations with people we know, complimentary closings have started to disappear. Tacking a best onto the end of an e-mail can read as archaic, like a mom-style voice mail. Signoffs interrupt the flow of a conversation, anyway, and that’s what e-mail is. “When you put the closing, it feels disingenuous or self-conscious each time,” Danzico argues. “It’s not reflective of the normal way we have conversation.” She ends all her e-mails, including professional ones, with the period on the last sentence—no signoff, no name, just a blank white screen."
email  etiquette  writing  conventions  2015 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Automate emotional labor in Gmail messages. [emotional-labor.email]
"emotional-labor.email
Automate emotional labor in Gmail messages.

Lighten up your email with the Emotional Labor extension. Works on any email sent through Gmail.

First write an email. Then click the smiley face to brighten up the tone of the email before sending."

[Describes in this post:
https://medium.com/message/canned-email-eb6f4ba843d9

"I feel more acutely aware of the strain of feigned enthusiasm when I am writing email. I guess it is not much different than day to day interactions like answering “things are going good” when asked, when actually things are not so great. But some email correspondence feels like a race to collect and dispense exclamation marks and xoxos. As if we could cash them all in for prizes upon achieving — Darth Vader voice, flashlight under chin — inbox zero.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Xoxooxoxooxooxoooooooooxooxoxoxooxoxo!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Xoxooxoxooxooxoooooooooxooxoxoxooxoxo!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Xoxooxoxooxooxoooooooooxooxoxoxooxoxo!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Xoxooxoxooxooxoooooooooxooxoxoxooxoxo!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Xoxooxoxooxooxoooooooooxooxoxoxooxoxo!!!!!!!!!!!

That paragraph I just wrote appears more cynical than I intended. But that’s my point. It is hard to communicate in words. It is work. What was once the concern of professional writers is now a burden we all share, as we communicate all day long over email and texts.

We might garnish our messages with emoticons and emojis like strewing garland and bunting to demonstrate emotion. Sometimes that comes out naturally. But that fake smile, “yeah, things are going good,” way of deflecting attention, and containing unhappiness, plays out differently in written correspondence. When I attempt to display an emotion I don’t actually feel over email, I fret over sounding insincere or abrupt or otherwise upsetting someone unintentionally.

That’s why I made this: the Emotional Labor email extension. Install it in Chrome, then click on the smiley face after composing an email in Gmail to brighten up the mood of the letter. It replaces serious words with playful ones, swaps out periods for exclamation marks, and a adds cheerful introductory text.

Everyone has a story you tell again and again. But you alter it a bit upon each re-telling don’t you? You edit it for length, you play up certain details depending upon company. Customer service is where that line blurs. It can be impossible to tell whether a voice on the phone is automated or a real person speaking committedly to a script.

I was inspired to create the extension after many futile attempts to start using canned responses. “Canned responses” — email written in advance to send again and again — is a common bullet point on content listicles suggesting ways someone might improve their productivity. Canned responses are kind of like a one-on-one FAQ. If people often ask directions to your office, you can write a canned response to send rather than writing the directions out over and over. Or, if you are a vendor that often receives the same question from customers, you can send a canned response with the answer instead of cutting-and-pasting again and again. I have a few shortcuts for texting on my phone (autocorrect “OMW” to “On my way!” has saved me precious seconds when I’ve needed to remove my gloves to text someone in the cold.) But I never found a reason to use canned answers. Nothing in my life is structured for its use.

The Emotional Labor extension is also a response to an app released last year: Romantimatic. It automates sending texts like “I love you” and other sweet nothings to a person’s love interest. While canned answers were developed for professional use, the Romantimatic app less ambiguously demonstrates where credence to authenticity should outweigh urgency and obligation. One of the suggested messages to send is “I can’t get you off my mind,” which is ridiculously untrue if this app is in use.

The Emotional Labor email extension looks fake. That’s the point. I wanted to reveal my exhaustion, my fatigue in needing to attend to so much correspondence. Until there is an emoticon for “Things are kind of not great but I don’t want to disturb you let’s just pretend things are fine,” that’s the grey area where this project resides. I made this to reveal the friction in my indecisiveness — how many xs do I normally sign off — one, two, three?

Perhaps it may be of some use!!!! Or, at the very least, I hope you find it amusing!!!!!

XOXO"]
extensions  gmail  email  joannemcneil  writing  communication  2015  tone  correspondence  automation  emotions  emotionallabor  cannedresponses  productivity 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Trees Returning Emails | Urban Forest Strategy - Broadsheet Melbourne - Broadsheet
"Did you know that you can email every single tree in the City of Melbourne – and they’ll write back?

Right now, you can log onto the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Visual map and email any tree you’d like within the council’s boundaries.

Yep, all 60,000 of them.

Each tree has a unique ID number and, theoretically speaking, each tree will get back to you. But don’t picture an elm sitting down in a special tree-friendly computer cafe – it’ll be council staff answering your messages (so behave, now).

“Some said we were wasting money, but the trees were always going to have individual ID numbers anyway. So it was only logical we’d assign the ID numbers to an email which connects these trees to the community,” says Melbourne city councillor, Arron Wood.

So far the messages have ranged from piss takes to genuine expressions of devotion. So, if you’ve ever used a tree to prop yourself up with on a night out, the world’s most liveable city is now giving you the chance to apologise the morning after.

The idea came about through the council’s Urban Forest Strategy, which was launched in 2007. It wants to make Melbourne a city within a forest. But converting this plan into action won’t be measured by a few emails. That’s just a way to get the public on board.

Melbourne is currently in the midst of a change that will affect most of the city’s streets, parks, and gardens. Emailing our trees is one way the council is trying to communicate this fundamental shift to all Melburnians."

[See also: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/29/city-of-melbourne-prepares-to-see-some-emails-lovely-as-its-trees ]
trees  melbourne  internetofthings  iot  data  cities  environment  plants  natue  email 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Wire
"It’s beautiful.
Visually rich, clean, and elegant, Wire delivers a communication experience like no other. Write, talk, share pictures, music and video with people on phones, tablets and desktops — Wire is thoughtfully designed. For your every thought.

It’s pure.
With Wire you can easily move from messages and pictures to HD voice. Wire’s pristine audio quality makes it feel as if the people you are speaking to are right there with you.

It’s happening.
Photos on Wire display beautifully inline, SoundCloud music and YouTube videos blend nicely with text and pictures. So you can share your nicest moments, in the moment.

It’s everywhere.
Phone, desktop or tablet — Wire goes where you go. Wire for browsers will be available soon.

It’s on.
Wire is perfect for staying connected with any group. Create a conversation, name it as you wish, and add people — your groups will be taking off whether they’re about work, family or fun. Oh, and Wire groups are full democracy."

[via: http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/02/skype-co-founder-backs-wire-a-new-communications-app-launching-today-on-ios-android-and-mac/ ]
communication  applications  android  iphone  ios  skype  qik  janusfriis  chat  texting  telephony  conversation  groupchat  2014  multimedia  voice  slack  email  ios8  osx  mac  messaging 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Brave New Phone Call — Backchannel — Medium
"Ray Ozzie’s new app Talko hopes to give people their voices back"



"While Talko offers a number of compelling features, one in particular is destined for controversy: it stores all conversations by default. Unless you are being bugged by the FBI, the spoken words of a phone call have always disappeared as soon as the sound subsided. In that sense, traditional telephony is more ephemeral than Snapchat. But Talko calls are persistently available, like email or texts."
talko  communication  phones  email  chat  applications  ios  rayozzie  2014  conversation  texting  telephony  voicemail  slack 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Every Email Is a Ghost Story - The Awl
"The truth is that we are surrounded by digital ghosts, easily conjured. The notion that people, especially younger people, are vulnerable to bad digital decision-making has risen to the level of public policy—Europe recently enacted a “right to be forgotten” law that has Google excising unpleasant links from individual search histories. But the idea that some indeterminate past self can fly out of nowhere is disconcerting beyond, say, a prospective employer seeing an embarrassing picture. Self-respect, to paraphrase Joan Didion, isn’t about the public face of things—it concerns a “private reconciliation.” Locked in my college email box were drafts and funny notes but also a trove of strange saved messages. They were emails that I had written and for some reason—sentimentality, pride—felt compelled to save. Most were unsent. They were, I think, an attempt at love letters."
ghosts  email  history  technology  memory  2014  time  digital  search  reyhanharmanci  via:alexismadrigal 
november 2014 by robertogreco
A leaky rocketship / Snarkmarket
"Joining this blog was one of the most important things that ever happened to me, and that’s another way in which I can judge somewhat objectively how important it is been. In November 2008, I was on the academic job market, getting ready to interview for a few tenure-track jobs and postdoctoral fellowships, and it was weird — it was a time when people, smart people, influential people still said “you shouldn’t have a blog, you shouldn’t be on twitter, if you do these things, you should do them under pseudonyms, and if anyone asks you about it, you shouldn’t tell them, because if you blog, and it’s known that you write a blog, online, people are going to wonder whether or not you’re really serious about your work, and you just don’t want to give them any extra ammunition to wonder anything about you.”

I didn’t care. I had been waiting for one or two years, ever since Robin had suggested that maybe Snarkmarket would add a few writers and maybe I might be one of them, I think when we were on our way to the bathroom at the Museum of Modern Art on a random visit, and I was just super hungry to be handed the key to this place where I’ve been reading and writing comments since before I knew what a blog really was.

Is that still a thing, people getting excited about being able to be part of a blog? I didn’t think so, but then I became part of Paul Ford’s tilde.club and saw people falling over themselves to get an invite to SSH into a UNIX server, just to be a part of something, just to have a chance to put up some silly, low bandwidth, conceptually clever websites and chat with strangers using the UNIX terminal. It’s not like being one of the cool kids who’s in on a private beta for the latest and greatest smartphone app, where your enjoyment is really about being separate from the people who aren’t included, and the expected attitude is a kind of jaded, privileged disinterest: it’s more like getting a chance to play with the neighbor kid’s Lego set, and he has all the Legos.

Robin and Matt had crazy good Legos. I didn’t get that academic job, but I was able to take their Legos and build my way into a job writing for Wired, of all places, 30 years old and I’d never been a journalist except by osmosis and imposture here at Snarkmarket, and now I get paid every month to write for Wired, how does that happen except that this place was an extra scaffolding for all of us, for me in grad school, for Matt at newspapers across the country, for Robin at Gore TV/Current TV/Twitter, to build careers that weren’t possible for people who didn’t have that beautiful Lego scaffolding to support them (I’m wearing a sling on my arm right now with straps that wrap around my body to hold my arm in place, and a screw and washer to hold my shoulder bone together, my upper arm bone really, plus my rotator cuff, plus hold massive tendons, plus I’m thinking about those times that I would walk from my apartment in Columbus Circle down Broadway to Four Times Square in Manhattan to go to work at wired, wired isn’t there anymore, Condé Nast just moved in to one World Trade Center today, all the way downtown, but the scaffolding in Manhattan that is just constant, that is the only thing that allows the city to remake itself day after day month after month year after year, so this scaffolding metaphor is really doing something for me, plus Legos, well, Legos that just came from before, so what can I tell you, roll with it).

I don’t work at Wired, Robin doesn’t work at Twitter, Matt is at NPR, and we are where we are because of the things that we did but also because of this place. Ars Technica ran a story about it being 10 years since EPIC 2014 – I could paste the link [http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/11/epic-2014-recalling-a-decade-old-imagining-of-the-tech-driven-media-future/ ] and maybe that would be the bloggy thing to do, but you’re big boys and girls, you can Google it after you finish reading this — and there’s great interviews in there with Robin and Matt about how they made the video, and some specific names of wars and companies aside, were basically right about how technology companies were going to take the distribution and interpretation of the news away from both traditional journalism companies and the emerging open standards of the World Wide Web. I mean, isn’t that a hell of a thing, to see the future and put it in a flash movie? Anything was possible in 2004, especially if that anything Looked like a future that was vaguely uncomfortable but not so bad, really.

I turned 35 today, and I don’t really have a lot of deep thoughts about my own life or career or where I am in it. I’ve had those on other birthdays, and I’ve had them on many days in the not too distant past. Today, though, I’ve mostly felt warm and embraced by the people all around me, in my home, across the country, on the telephone, connected to me by the mails, whose books I read (and whose books publishers send to my house, my friends are writing books and their publishers send them free to my house, that’s almost as amazing as a machine that I can control that lets me read new things all day), and who were connected to me by the Internet: on twitter or Facebook, on Slack or email, by text message or text messaging’s many, many hypostases, all around me, as real to me as anyone I’ve ever imagined or read or touched, all of them, all of them warm and kind and gracious and curious about me and how I’m doing, what I’m up to, what I’m thinking, what I want to do this week or next month or when I get a chance to read that thing they sent me. it is as real to me as that invented community at the end of epic 2015 [http://epic.makingithappen.co.uk or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQDBhg60UNI ], that brilliant coda that people almost always forget, and I don’t know why because it’s actually a better prediction of our future-come-present than anything in the first video, but maybe it’s not about the New York Times, it’s just about a beautiful day outside, a traffic accident, an open door, Matt’s beautiful voice when he narrates that photograph, beckoning you to come outside to look, LOOK.

The Snarkmatrix Is infinite, the stark matrix is everywhere, the start matrix can touchdown at any point in these electronic channels and reconstitute itself, extending perpetually outward into the entire world of media and ideas and editors who are trying to understand what will happen next, and teenage kids who are trying to figure out how what they’re doing maps in any way at all to this strange, established world of culture, to writers who are anxious for any sense of community, any place to decompress between the often hostile worlds of social media and professional correspondence. People want a place, a third place, and blogs are a great form of that place, even when they’re not blogs. (I’m subblogging now. This is what it’s come to. But I think most of you feel me.)"
2014  snarkmarket  epic2014  epic2015  timcarmody  robinsloan  mattthomas  blog  blogging  writing  scaffolding  lego  snarkmatrix  looking  seeing  observing  sharing  conversation  howwelearn  howwethink  howwewrite  history  future  making  culturecreation  media  journalism  slack  email  im  twitter  facebook  socialmedia 
november 2014 by robertogreco
chat
"Email your friends copying go@chat.cc to create a private chat on the web"
chat  web  onlinetoolkit  online  privacy  email  messaging 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Orange Crate Art: How to e-mail a professor
"I've read enough e-mails to know that many college students could benefit from some guidelines for writing an e-mail to a professor. Here they are:

Write from your college or university e-mail account. That immediately lets your professor see that your e-mail is legitimate and not spam. The cryptic or cutesy or salacious personal e-mail address that might be okay when you send an e-mail to a friend is not appropriate when you're writing to a professor.

Include the course number in your subject line. "Question about 3009 assignment" is clear and sounds genuine, while "a question" looks like spam. "Question about English assignment" or "question about assignment," without identifying the class you're in, may leave your professor with the chore of figuring that out. For someone teaching large lecture classes, that might mean reading through hundreds of names on rosters. But even for a professor with smaller classes, it's a drag to get an e-mail that merely says "I'm in your English class and need the assignment." All your English professor's classes are English classes; she or he still needs to know which one is yours.

Consider, in light of this advice, the following examples:
An e-mail from "qtpie2005" with the subject line "question."
An e-mail from a university account with the subject line "question about English 2011 essay."

Which one looks legitimate? Which one looks like spam?

Think about what you're saying. Most students are not accustomed to writing to their professors. Here are some ways to do it well:

Choose an appropriate greeting. "Hi/Hello Professor [Blank]" is always appropriate. Substitute "Dear" and you've ended up writing a letter; leave out "Hi" and your tone is too brusque.

Avoid rote apologies for missing class. Most professors are tired of hearing those standard apologies and acts of contrition. If you missed class because of some especially serious or sad circumstances, it might be better to mention that in person than in an e-mail.

Ask politely. "Could you e-mail me the page numbers for the next reading? Thanks!" is a lot better than "I need the assignment."

Proofread what you've written. You want your e-mail to show you in the best possible light.

Sign with your full name, course number, and meeting time.

Maggie Simpson
English 3703, MWF 10:00

Signing is an obvious courtesy, and it eliminates the need for stilted self-identification ("I am a student in your such-and-such class").
One don't, and one last do:

Don't send unexpected attachments. It's bad form. Attaching an essay with a request that your professor look it over is very bad form. Arrange to meet your professor during office hours or by appointment instead. It's especially bad form to send an e-mail that says "I won't be in class today," with a paper or some other coursework attached. Think about it: Your professor is supposed to print out your essay because you're not coming to class?

When you get a reply, say thanks. Just hit Reply and say "Thanks," or a little bit more if that's appropriate. The old subject line (which will now have a "Re:" in front) will make the context clear. I don't think that you need to include a greeting with a short reply, at least not if you refer to your professor in your reply. And you don't need to identify yourself by course number and meeting time again.

Many e-mail messages end up never reaching their intended recipients, for reasons of human and technological error, so it's always appropriate to acknowledge that someone's message got through. It's also plain courtesy to say thanks. (Your professor will remember it too.) When you reply, you should delete almost everything of your professor's reply (quoting everything is rarely appropriate in e-mail). Leave just enough to make the original context clear.

So what would a good e-mail to a professor look like?
Hi Professor Leddy,

I'm working on my essay on William Carlos Williams and I'm not sure what to make of the last stanza of "Spring and All." I'm stuck trying to figure out what "It" is. Do you have a suggestion? Thanks!
Maggie Simpson
Eng 3703, MWF 10:00

And a subsequent note of thanks:
> "It" is most likely spring, or life itself. But have you
> looked up "quicken"? That'll probably make
> "It" much clearer.

It sure did. Thanks for your help, Professor.

Maggie Simpson"
email  howto  writing  college  professors  via:matthomas  2005  michaelleddy 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet - The Atlantic
"You can't kill email! It's the cockroach of the Internet, and I mean that as a compliment. This resilience is a good thing.

"There isn't much to sending or receiving email and that's sort of the point," observed Aaron Straup Cope, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum's Senior Engineer in Digital and Emerging Media. "The next time someone tells you email is 'dead,' try to imagine the cost of investing in their solution or the cost of giving up all the flexibility that email affords." 

Email is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, email represents a different model from the closed ecosystems we see proliferating across our computers and devices. 

Email is a refugee from the open, interoperable, less-controlled "web we lost." It's an exciting landscape of freedom amidst the walled gardens of social networking and messaging services.

Yes, email is exciting. Get excited!

* * *

For all the changes occurring around email, the experience of email itself has been transformed, too. Email is not dying, but it is being unbundled.

Because it developed early in the history of the commercial Internet, email served as a support structure for many other developments in the web's history. This has kept email vitally important, but the downside is that the average inbox in the second decade of the century had become clogged with cruft. Too many tasks were bolted on to email's simple protocols.

Looking back on these transitional years from the 2020s, email will appear to people as a grab bag of mismatched services.

Email was a newsfeed. …

Email was one's passport and identity. …

Email was the primary means of direct social communication on the Internet. …

Email was a digital package-delivery service. After FTP faded from popularity, but before Dropbox and Google Drive, email was the primary way to ship heavy digital documents around the Internet. The attachment was a key productivity tool for just about everyone, and it's hard to imagine an Internet without the ability to quickly append documents to a message. Needless to say, email is a less than ideal transmission or storage medium, relative to the new services.

Email was the primary mode of networked work communication. …

The metaphor of electronic mail never fully fit how people use e-mail. But, now, perhaps it might. Email could become a home for the kinds of communications that come in the mail: letters from actual people, bills, personalized advertisements, and periodicals.

* * *

Looking at this list of email's many current uses, it is obvious that some of these tasks will leave its domain. Each person will get to choose whether they use email as their primary identity on the web. Work and simple social messaging will keep moving to other platforms, too. The same will be true of digital delivery, where many cloud-based solutions have already proved superior.

So, what will be left of the inbox, then?

I contend email might actually become what we thought it was: an electronic letter-writing platform.

My colleague Ian Bogost pointed out to me that we've used the metaphor of the mail to describe the kind of communication that goes on through these servers. But, in reality, email did not replace letters, but all classes of communications: phone calls, in-person encounters, memos, marketing pleas, etc.

This change might be accelerated by services like Gmail's Priority Inbox, which sorts mail neatly (and automatically) into categories, or Unroll.me, which allows users to bundle incoming impersonal communications like newsletters and commercial offers into one easy custom publication.

That is to say, our inboxes are getting smarter and smarter. Serious tools are being built to help us direct and manage what was once just a chronological flow, which people dammed with inadequate organization systems hoping to survive the flood. (Remember all the folders in desktop email clients!)

It's worth noting that spam, which once threatened to overrun our inboxes, has been made invisible by more sophisticated email filtering. I received hundreds of spam emails yesterday, and yet I didn't see a single one because Gmail and my Atlantic email filtered them all neatly out of my main inbox. At the same time, the culture of botty spam spread to every other corner of the Internet. I see spam comments on every website and spam Facebook pages and spam Twitter accounts every day.

Email has gotten much smarter and easier to use, while retaining its ubiquity and interoperability. But there is no one company promoting Email (TM), so those changes have gone relatively unremarked upon.



And one last thing ... This isn't something the originators of email ever could have imagined, but: Email does mobile really well.



Email—yes, email—is one way forward for a less commercial, less centralized web, and the best thing is, this beautiful cockroach of a social network is already living in all of our homes.

Now, all we have to do is convince the kids that the real rebellion against the pressures of social media isn't to escape to the ephemerality of Snapchat, but to retreat to the private, relaxed confines of their email inboxes."
email  cv  openweb  internet  web  2014  alexismadrigal  online  networks  networkedcommunication  communication  onlinetoolkit  mobile  spam  history  future  smtp  decentralization  decentralized  open  interoperability  webwelost  aaronstraupcope  ianbogost 
august 2014 by robertogreco
6, 19: Favorites
"One of my favorite things on the web is favorites. Twitter, of course, but also bookmarks on Pinboard and everything else. I like browsing my own every few months. On Flickr – photos I starred because they remind me of a place. Because of a place I was reading about. Of a food I was reading about. Only because of the caption. Only despite the caption. Things by friends that I starred long before they were friends or I even recognized their names. Good examples of techniques I’ve doodled with – kite aerial photography, cyanotype, infrared, slitscan, …. Stars meaning “listen, I see what you were going for”. Stars on pictures of children I babysat. Stars meaning “yes, you caught what that friend looks like”. On photos of wonderful memories. On photos of me goofing with friends. On events I wish I’d been at. On friends doing brave, difficult, or beautiful things. On niche celebrities – just Bruno Latour or Robert Bringhurst being a person. Tricky satellite images starred as a kind of solidarity. This photo. Things starred because they exemplify something I dislike. Undistinguished snapshots of things I feel strongly about. A famous harbor seal, now passed, whom I hung out with sometimes. Things I starred as a side channel while conversing with their taker. Awfully clichéed shots for reasons other than the cliché. Photos, especially, that surprised me – that used a technique I dislike or a subject that bores me in a way that held my attention. And this is just Flickr, where I’m not particularly active or fast to star – my Twitter favorites are full of star-to-thank, star-to-bookmark, ….

(My one rule for starring things on Flickr is: it should be difficult to work out anything about my sexuality from my favorites page. Likewise: when considering whether to follow a stranger, I check their favorites. Certain kinds of creepth show up there before anywhere else.)

But of course better than my own favorites are my friends’ favorites. There’s a distinct and powerful joy in finding that a new friend long ago starred something that I did too. It’s such a splash: You noticed that one! But that’s only a small part of it. Mostly, for me, the fun is in scrolling past things that they care about more than I do, the things they starred as thanks, their cousin’s Etsy pictures, a whole series of something that they starred every single one of, not impatient, just moving along, but sometimes finding big troves of the most amazing stuff, things I never imagined, whole genres and esthetics that they must have obsessed over for a week, inside jokes, people they’re trying to help, parts of the world I’d never heard of, ambiguous things where I can’t tell at all how it’s being taken, new social vocabularies, communities whose names I knew but which I’d never seen in action.

Sometimes for me favorites are about the difficulty of defining what’s good. Sometimes it’s more just a worn-out metaphor but one I like: surfing."



"I’m at the edge of an important subculture that seems badly over-yelled and under-discussed. Hyperloop is too often either the tragic hero idea, martyred by a public that lacks imagination anymore, or the so-awful-we-don’t-even-have-to-discuss-why idea, and too rarely an “okay, let’s think about what this tells us about where we are today, beyond any eye-rolling” idea.

Regarding SV as a homogenous, historyless alien colony is useless whether you love it or hate it, and indeed is one of the reasons people think they need to choose between loving it or hating it.

[Deleted sentence: The greatest minds of my generation are repeating “The greatest minds of my generation are working on ways to make people click ads” like it’s clever.]

I’m reminded of an essay that @debcha mentioned in reply to the newsletter before last(?), The Distress of the Privileged. It connects with my tired argument that if you want to dismantle something, vigorously othering it is probably counterproductive. Cultivating precisely the empathy that it hasn’t earned tends to work because you learn where to put the knife. I think this holds whether the other is a small-time criminal, MRAs as a group, an invading nation – it’s scale-invariant. Treating people as people is not the same as complicity in their reprehensible decisions. It helps you stop them. “It’s not my responsibility to understand, it’s their responsibility to stop, and I’ll make them if I have to” is of course always valid response to injury, never to be silenced or scolded. But as a long-term strategy against something bigger than you are? It lacks. Or so I think, from a pretty insular point of view.

(Cf., for a very clear e.g., the appalling idea in recent American historiography/pedagogy that the Montgomery bus boycott was one cool lady’s random impulse rather than a brilliantly strategized campaign. It’s almost like the status quo has an interest in downplaying the value of careful tactics and solidarity, and likes to valorize exactly the kind of awful one-passionate-hero narrative that’s Ommatokoita’ed onto the eyes of our culture.)

Okay, one more angle on this and then I’ll stop: treating worrying companies (and agencies, and nonprofits) as pathological humans is something to be done carefully, not by default. They are at least as different from people as dogs are, and maybe as different as whales. I think a scary amount of work diverts its own force by uncritically accepting the identity metaphor, the #brand, of what it’s trying to attack. (There is certainly work that does it critically, for example @lifewinning’s astrological readings of surveillance agencies.) (This is connected to the above in that assholes, by making you treat them as assholes, can distract you from more effective methods of dispatching them.)"
favorites  email  charlieloyd  favoriting  flickr  stellar.io  twitter  pinboard  bookmarks  bookmarking  communication  2014  empathy  complexity  subcultures  privilege  siliconvalley  faving 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Inbox - The next-generation email platform
"Introducing the Inbox REST API

Inbox provides simple REST APIs for accessing, modifying, and sending mail stored on existing providers like Gmail or Microsoft Exchange. You can use it to build custom filters, access attachments, create drafts, and more. All API responses are UTF-8 encoded JSON objects, so you don't need to think about MIME or obscure character encodings again. It's the easiest way to work with email data.

For more details, see the full Inbox REST API Documentation and check out the JavaScript SDK and iOS SDK.

Starting the Inbox Sync Engine

The core of Inbox is an open source sync engine that integrates with existing email services like Gmail, and exposes a beautiful, modern REST API. We're pleased to announce that beginning today, you can download the Inbox engine, sync an account, and begin building on top of Inbox in your local development environment.

Visit the Installation docs for more information about setting up the Inbox Sync Engine, and getting started with the iOS and Javascript SDKs.

Looking toward the future

In the coming months, we will release a hosted version of Inbox that allows you to deploy applications without configuring and scaling your own infrastructure. As we bring more providers to Inbox, including custom IMAP servers and legacy Microsoft Exchange deployments, your apps will “just work”. It's our goal to provide a uniform API to email so you can focus on building great software.

If you'd like to be part of this project, please get in touch . Our company mission is to build elegant products for large complex systems, and we are actively hiring engineers and designers at our office in San Francisco. We also welcome bug reports and patches to help improve the platform for everyone.

If you have questions or comments, we'd love to hear them. Feel free to email us at hello@inboxapp.com. This is the first step toward a bright future for email apps across all providers. We can't wait to see what you do with these tools."

[via: http://www.ovenell-carter.com/mobiles/cool-new-email-api-from-google-now-inbox/ ]
email  api  inbox  inboxapp 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Twitter / tcarmody: baby, tonight I'm writing you ...
"baby, tonight I'm writing you an email newsletter
with an audience of one"

Preceded by https://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/476208961595510785 :
"All of my emails are newsletters"
audiencesofone  timcarmody  email  newsletters  2014 
june 2014 by robertogreco
“Students will tweet for help... and expect an immediate response” - Contemplative Computing
"When I was working on my dissertation I spent a week at Exeter University. It’s a lovely place, I think-- I really saw nothing other than the library, though I did briefly visit the cathedral (I was still jet-lagged and so have almost no memory of it). But according to vice-chancellor Steve Smith, for undergraduates today, email is dead:
“There is no point in emailing students any more," he told The Times. "They get in touch with us by social media, especially Twitter, and we’ve had to employ people to reply that way.

“We have a round-the-clock team of press officers and graduates savvy with social media.

“Students will tweet for help if something has gone wrong, or a prospective student will tweet a question about the requirements for a course and expect an immediate response.”

Though I understand the consumerist logic behind this policy, I think this is the wrong way to respond. For all its having become less like a landscaped library and more like a mall with a really big bookstore, the university should still be a place where, among other things, you step outside your previous boundaries, and become a more sophisticated reader. Email isn’t that hard; but catering to the idea that it is, or that an institution should bend to suit your preferences and impatience, probably won’t teach good things in the long run."
alexsoojung-kimpang  2014  email  teaching  communication  consumerism  highered  highereducation  socialmedia  twitter 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Secrets, lies and Snowden's email: why I was forced to shut down Lavabit | Comment is free | theguardian.com
"For the first time, the founder of an encrypted email startup that was supposed to insure privacy for all reveals how the FBI and the US legal system made sure we don't have the right to much privacy in the first place"



"The problem here is technological: until any communication has been decrypted and the contents parsed, it is currently impossible for a surveillance device to determine which network connections belong to any given suspect. The government argued that, since the "inspection" of the data was to be carried out by a machine, they were exempt from the normal search-and-seizure protections of the Fourth Amendment.

More importantly for my case, the prosecution also argued that my users had no expectation of privacy, even though the service I provided – encryption – is designed for users' privacy.

If my experience serves any purpose, it is to illustrate what most already know: courts must not be allowed to consider matters of great importance under the shroud of secrecy, lest we find ourselves summarily deprived of meaningful due process. If we allow our government to continue operating in secret, it is only a matter of time before you or a loved one find yourself in a position like I did – standing in a secret courtroom, alone, and without any of the meaningful protections that were always supposed to be the people's defense against an abuse of the state's power."
email  encryption  government  privacy  lavabit  2013  2014  ladarlevison  edwardsnowden  surveillance  law  legal  secrecy  justice 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The State of the Internet Is… Not Good? - AtlanticLIVE - The Atlantic
"[Q:] How does The Awl approach that with trying to expand its reach and trying to engage with an audience?

[A:] I don’t actually know. I feel like I have aged out of this a little bit, which is weird. All things new go to the young, which is true and not true. I feel like I’m a Web 1.0 native, and now there are Web 4.0 natives, and they live a little differently than I do.

But we don’t do much. From a business perspective, half of the internet is fake traffic, and fake everything, and that’s fine. But from a personal perspective, people still recommend and share and talk about things that they really like in email and IM. So we want to give people things that they really like and enjoy, but also things they maybe didn’t think they would like and enjoy, because I feel like unexpectedness is a big, wonderful component of the internet. Things that make you say, “I did not know that,” or “I did not know I wanted to know that,” or “maybe I still don’t want to know that.”

[Q:] So I stalked you on Twitter, for full disclosure, and I noticed that you use it more for personal stuff as opposed to corporate stuff.

[A:] I barely use it at all. And you know why? Because once people have come for you on Twitter, you’re sort of done. It’s like, all right, this isn’t my fun place. I keep my Tumblr really isolated – it’s my fun place. It’s just pictures of shit that I like –

[Q:] Pictures of your cat.

[A:] A lot of them. And I don’t care what anybody thinks about it; it’s for me, and that’s it. And with Twitter, you can’t really live like that, because it’s interactive, and there’s people there. And there’s people you know, and people you don’t know, and people connected further and further, which is strange. And it’s also sort of… it’s a challenge.

I just don’t know where this ends. I would say I’m slightly concerned about where this is all going.

[Q:] It seems like the internet is a thing that you were really into when it was Web 1.0 or Web 2.0, and now you’ve found that real life-online balance that a lot of people struggle to find.

[A:] Yeah, I think the internet gets less alluring in a couple of ways over time, probably. Really, the internet is very alluring; I spend a lot of time on the internet. We all do, right? And it’s great. I mean, honestly, it’s great. I’ve also really noticed – and this is very tangential – I’ve noticed that with friends, email is dying. There’s more and more email, but there’s less and less friends, it’s less and less personal.

I didn’t like email that much, but now I feel like the way I felt when letter-writing died. I used to write people long emails. Then I wrote people short emails. And now I don’t know if I even really write people emails at all.

[Q:] So you just gchat instead?

[A:] I feel like my gchat is dying too. I feel like even at work people don’t answer my emails. They answer me 48 hours later, and I’m like, “We’re planning a meeting, what is going on?” But they don’t care. Email is just a. an annoyance, b. inefficient, c. it’s not people’s first inclination to use on their phone.

[Q:] What do you think is the next step?

[A:] I think it’s going to be some horrible Tinder/Instagram hybrid, where we direct message each other.

[Q:] Through pictures?

[A:] Through pictures, through pictograms.

[Q:] Like selfies that we take?

[A:] Videogram selfies. It’s going to be amazing. Or terrible.

Most of us don’t even need computers anymore. Unless you’re writing a story or a blog, where you do need a computer… we just need our phones. Maybe we’ll just sext each other.

[Q:] Is that your corporate plan?

[A:] That’s my corporate plan. Sexting is the future. I’m sorry that we had to have this conversation. Now I’m depressed."
2014  choiresicha  internet  web  twitter  email  tumblr  online  gchat  rss  communication  videograms  tinder  video  images  howwecommunicate 
may 2014 by robertogreco
FiveThirtyEight | Sending Email Via Carrier Pigeon
"Either we’d need to start sending fewer emails, or else the Earth would need to be inhabited by 243 times more pigeons than humans to cope with an Internet failure. Of course, if the apocalypse does come, our emailing needs might change. Those TPS reports might not be a top priority."
email  math  mathematics  statistics  technology  data  pigeons  monachalabi 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Unroll.me
"After you sign up, see a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want."
email  tools 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Bat, Bean, Beam: Sixteen tales of information technology in education, 1991-2013
"1.
It was not compulsory. My father, a technician and audio engineer, belonged to an Apple Computer Users’ Group and read print publications – magazines – about computing. The resource closet adjacent to his workroom was stocked floor to ceiling with used audiocassettes, loosely classified by course code."



"4.
It was not compulsory. The new students used it differently; those who came from abroad were willing to spend their home currency on things teachers considered wasteful and expensive, like international mobile phone calls.

One student faced off a test supervisor in mutual bewilderment after he left the room to take a business call and was not allowed back in. "



"8.
It was obligatory. A widespread rumour was that a colleague whose role was made redundant had been targeted because of a refusal to use email, or any technology other than the photocopier.

Another colleague brought long handwritten essays to meetings from which to read counterarguments to whatever was under discussion. There was only ever one copy available."



"12.
It was fragmentary. A student, young and perpetually dazed, came into the office to ask for weeks-old course materials, explanations of content, assignment extensions. Haven’t you read the weekly emails on what you have to do? I asked. Oh, I don’t really check my email, said the student. Too many messages."



"14.
It was breaking into bits, even while it was new.

You can give course notices on your phone.

I only use my phone for emergencies, like in the earthquake.

The hard shell of the open laptop, raised like a drawbridge to deflect, to disconnect.

I don’t want to put a comment in the learning forum because it might be wrong and then I’ll feel dumb.

Is this for homeworks, teacher, on the Internet? Will you give us a grade?"



"16.
It was breaking into bits, even while it was new.

The contact hours in the classroom and the sporadic access in between, the logs that show who has completed the readings and who is offline.

The copyright notices at the photocopier and the ghost-stacks of extracts that chafe at the ten percent limit.

The professional futurists whose utopias will not be mocked, except through the limits of budget proposals.

The noise, the compliance, the surveillance.

The light in the cracks."
edtech  meganclayton  2013  technology  education  schools  teaching  email  mobile  phones  surveillance  compliance  control  bureaucracy  professionaldevelopment  change  computing  computers  internet  web  twitter 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Free Fax • Free Internet Faxing
"Send a fax for free to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada [from email]"
business  free  internet  tools  onlinetoolkit  fax  email  via:maxfenton 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Feed My Inbox
"FeedMyInbox delivers real-time RSS updates to your email. You can subscribe to all of your favorite feeds and receive daily or real-time updates in your email."
rss  email  subscriptions  tcsnmy  onlinetoolkit 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web Wrong - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic
"tl;dr version

1. The sharing you see on sites like Facebook and Twitter is the tip of the 'social' iceberg. We are impressed by its scale because it's easy to measure.

2. But most sharing is done via dark social means like email and IM that are difficult to measure.

3. According to new data on many media sites, 69% of social referrals came from dark social. 20% came from Facebook.

4. Facebook and Twitter do shift the paradigm from private sharing to public publishing. They structure, archive, and monetize your publications."
icq  usenet  online  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  joshschwartz  theunseenmass  theunseen  darknet  stumbleupon  digg  ycombinator  reddit  twitter  facebook  im  email  sharing  social  history  web  socialmedia  2012  alexismadrigal  sarkmatter  darksocial  from delicious
october 2012 by robertogreco
>You Are Standing in a Dark Cave: Robin Sloan and Charles Yu in Conversation - The Barnes & Noble Review
"I think you're onto something when you say first person is "the native mode of the early 21st century" although I would qualify that by saying that is much more true of writers who are just starting out or close to it, and less true for writers who have been writing since the last millennium. No doubt it has something to do with email and Twitter, as you point out, and also Facebook and video games and all of this first-person writing. Of course, people have always navigated the world in first-person – but I think the difference now is that everyone wants to be a protagonist. And if you're living in the U.S., and relatively comfortable, you have the means and opportunity to do so, to construct reality so that you're at the center of it."

"I'm actually optimistic about mass protagonization. One of the virtues of writing in first-person for an audience, even a very small one, is that it forces you to actually decide what you think."

[And so much more…]
edg  text-basedgames  text-basedadventures  srg  if  metafiction  garyshteyngart  howfictionworks  freeindindirectstyle  thinking  thinkingbywriting  games  gaming  videogames  jameswood  mrpenumbra  facebook  twitter  email  digitalage  empathy  2012  firstperson  writing  charlesyu  robinsloan  interactivefiction 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Email stress test: Experiment unplugs workers for 5 days - latimes.com
"What are the long-term health effects of the heart changes you saw?

A number of studies have talked about the detrimental effects of stress in the workplace. Our study shows that people experience more stress when they have email.

Another interesting thing is what people did to communicate without email. Nearly all participants reported getting up out of their office and walking around a lot more. They interacted with people face to face, and they reported it as a benefit. They enjoyed it. That sounds like it's healthier too.

What else did you find?

People reported that they were more productive. They said they were able to focus on tasks longer. That was borne out by the data. …

What would it take for people to change their email habits?

Quitting really has to be a collective effort. It can't just be an individual that unplugs.

I think the organization has to play a role."
gloriamark  2012  health  productivity  stress  work  email  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
A High Line For Me, Not You | pith.org
"a real New Yorker will seek out those moments when this city peels back its exterior (gritty, shiny, whatever phase it happens to be going through at the time) and reveals just a little bit of itself just to you"

"To live in New York is to be constantly bombarded by every possible kind of stimulation at every possible moment of the day. Or rather, it can be. To truly live in New York is to find your own pace, to understand that you can not possibly experience every facet of the city, ever, and to pick and choose those things that make you happy."

"My father often writes emails like this, often sans punctuation or capitalization. It’s quite nice, actually. It’s like I have a constant portal open to his consciousness all day through my inbox."
noise  happiness  pace  via:blech  email  parenting  cities  jessechan-norris  2012  nyc  highline 
september 2012 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Sketchbook: Print-on-demand work-in-progress
"The fact that things could be emailed, which is a prerequisite, also meant they were too easy to ignore. By making something easy to disseminate via email, you were also placing it in a fast-flowing stream of other objects… 

We wanted to exploit the fertile middle ground of “work in progress” with something that was a little more engaging, that would pull focus onto the discussions at hand, yet not so over-produced that the thing couldn’t iterate or evolve. Something that could be thrown around in a workshop—literally!—accessed in linear or non-linear fashion, carry visual and textual information, carried on the person, or remain guiltily within sight on someone’s desk. Something physical and digital' which might have an allure over simply digital, at least at the form of artifacts.

In other words, a small book. So a simple InDesign template later, and a not-quite-so-simple PDF upload a little later, a bunch of A5 books emerged via Lulu’s print-on-demand (POD) service."

[See also: http://www.helsinkidesignlab.org/blog/helsinki-street-eats-and-hacking-lulu ]
workinprogress  communication  email  oma  documentation  process  craigmod  printondemand  low2no  amazon  layout  jamesgoggiin  magcloud  dearlulu  helsinkidesignlab  sitra  newspaperclub  blurb  lulu  projectideas  glvo  books  indesign  pdf  printing  2012  selfpublishing  self-publishing  cityofsound  danhill  unbook  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
BUS YOUR OWN TRAY — On the Virtue of Brevity in Email
"Long emails are, more frequently than not, the worst. When you send someone an email, you make a demand on their time. If you use more words than necessary, you waste their time. Sure we’re talking maybe a fraction of a minute, but given the number of emails the average person sends in a day those fractions add up pretty quick.

This conflicts with an older style of correspondence that associated pleasantries with tact. Tactful emails now are efficient, and pleasantries are a waste. People accustomed to pleasantries see their absence as rude, or a sign of being cross. They infer a tone that isn’t there, while people accustomed to brevity know how difficult it can be to ascertain tone from an email.

The efficient emailer often has to conform to the old style to assuage hurt feelings. This is just as terrible as the other thing, because it requires the sender to waste time and energy creating more words than necessary…"
etiquette  norms  texting  twitter  change  cultureshifts  brevity  2012  adamlisagor  siri  communication  email  ericspiegelman  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
FreedomBox Foundation
"What is FreedomBox?

Email and telecommunications that protects privacy and resists eavesdropping

A publishing platform that resists oppression and censorship.

An organizing tool for democratic activists in hostile regimes.

An emergency communication network in times of crisis.

FreedomBox will put in people's own hands and under their own control encrypted voice and text communication, anonymous publishing, social networking, media sharing, and (micro)blogging.

Much of the software already exists: onion routing, encryption, virtual private networks, etc. There are tiny, low-watt computers known as "plug servers" to run this software. The hard parts is integrating that technology, distributing it, and making it easy to use without expertise. The harder part is to decentralize it so users have no need to rely on and trust centralized infrastructure."
decentralized  decentralizedcomputing  decentralization  infrastructure  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  mediasharing  encryption  eavesdropping  telecommunications  email  oppression  censorship  microblogging  publishing  ebenmoglen  activism  hardware  technology  linux  security  freedom  privacy  opensource  software  freedombox  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Scheduled sending and email reminders | Boomerang for Gmail
"Schedule an email to be sent later. Easy email reminders.
Boomerang for Gmail is a Firefox / Chrome plugin that lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages."
scheduling  productivity  firefox  chrome  plugins  email  gmail  extensions  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
The Listserve Hopes To Revitalize The Quality Of Online Conversation Through The Oldest Online Social Network -- Email | TechPresident
"…five students at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program…intriguing class project/online social interaction experiment The Listserve, in which one person is chosen by lottery, & given the platform & opportunity to speak to a mass audience through e-mail in a one-shot deal…

"This project is about context, it’s about medium, it’s about messing with the dials, & pushing up the scale, & having this very free-flowing conversation."

Yet at the same time, it's going to be a very controlled conversation because only one person gets to post a day, & the goal is to get the self-selected readers to actually sit back, read & absorb the text from a stranger w/ whom they have nothing in common…

…there is no topic. Also, unlike regular community e-mail mailing lists, subscribers can't respond directly. The students have designed it so that readers have to respond elsewhere…the focus of the project is on the individual…"
communication  scale  audience  individuals  via:taryn  listserve  experiments  online  conversation  massaudience  commenting  socialobjects  2012  clayshirky  email  thelistserve  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Carnivore
Carnivore is a Processing library that allows you to perform surveillance on data networks. Carnivore listens to all Internet traffic (email, web surfing, etc.) on a specific local network. Using Processing you are able to animate, diagnose, or interpret the network traffic in any way you wish.
network  processing  security  software  visualization  via:stml  datanetworks  data  networks  networktraffic  surveillance  traffic  web  online  email  localnetworks 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Jen Bekman: Observer Media: Design Observer
"Jen Bekman is a New York City gallerist, entrepreneur and writer. After building a successful internet career with companies including New York Online, Netscape, Disney and Meetup, Jen turned her internet experience and fresh perspective on to the art world. She is the founder of Jen Bekman Projects which encompasses three ventures: her eponymous gallery in NYC, Hey, Hot Shot!, a photography competition, and the pioneering e-commerce fine art print site, 20x200. 20x200's launch was entirely bootstrapped, and it quickly grew into a profitable, million dollar business. Jen was named one of Forbes.com’s Top Ten Female Entrepreneurs to Watch, as well as Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology."
dotcomboom  learning  education  affordability  nyc  galleries  community  accessibility  entrepreneurship  adhd  add  dropouts  glvo  art  design  email  web  online  jenbekman  via:litherland  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Claire Warwick's Blog: Inaugural lecture
"One of the great assets of the digital, and what it encourages and enables is multiple voices entering into a dialogue and creating new knowledge out of conversation and discussion."

"I was lucky enough to be taught by some of the greatest international authorities yet it was never assumed that their voice in the conversation was necessarily more important than mine. Far more important than who was talking was the quality of thought expressed and the nature of knowledge that emerged from the dialogue, and I think that's quite right."

"DH is…a collaborative field. We have to learn to work together and understand the different languages that are spoken by different partners in the dialogue: geeks, humanities scholars, information professionals, technical support people & indeed the public. In that sense, therefore, the voice of the DH scholar is of use as an interpreter between different languages & cultures. But interpreters cannot, but the nature of their job, exist in isolation."
information  mediadiversity  communication  diversity  complexity  email  affordances  gender  curating  curations  digitaldiversity  publicengagement  blogging  blogs  mentorships  mentoring  community  collaboration  socialmedia  facebook  twitter  socialization  media  context  understanding  meaningmaking  meaning  makingmeaning  hierarchy  dialogue  dialog  knowledge  lectures  2012  digital  discussion  conversation  learning  digitalhumanities  ethnography  education  teaching  academia  clairewarwick  mentorship  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
An eightfold path of Sylvianess - Bobulate
"4. Talk to everybody. All the time. About everything.
In the last three years, I have 1,200 emails from Sylvia. And half of those emails are her telling me about some other conversation she’s having – something fascinating she learned, someone she went to lunch with, someone I should look up. She was at the center of this constant circle of communication. And that was not only a very canny business strategy, but it was also a source of personal power: The power to transform people’s lives, and transform not just the lives of people she knew, but the lives of people who experienced the world she made.

I’m really trying hard to figure out: how do you be like Sylvia in that way, really embrace all the people around you?"
lizdanzico  inspiration  love  conversation  listening  understanding  interestedness  communication  email  people  sylviaharris  cv  toaspireto  sharing  learning  2011  life  living  glvo  work  meaningmaking  food  interested  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Google’s Chief Works to Trim a Bloated Ship - NYTimes.com
"Larry Page, Google’s chief executive, so hates wasting time at meetings that he once dumped his secretary to avoid being scheduled for them. He does not much like e-mail either — even his own Gmail — saying the tedious back-and-forth takes too long to solve problems…

Larry is [now] much more willing to make an O.K. decision and make it now, rather than a perfect decision later…

began requiring senior executives to show up at headquarters for an informal face-to-face meeting at least once a week to plow through decisions…forced him [Salar Kamangar] and another executive to settle a dispute in person that they had been waging over e-mail…"
meetings  larrypage  google  email  problemsolving  conversation  resolution  2011  efficiency  iteration  facetoface  cv  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
elearnspace › A few simple tools I want edu-startups to build [Quote is just one of three tools discussed]
"Geoloqi for curriculum…it combines your location with information layers. For example, if you activate the Wikipedia layer, you’ll receive updates when you are in a vicinity of a site based on a wikipedia article. One of the challenges with traditional classroom learners is the extreme disconnect between courses and concepts. Efforts to connect across subject silos are minimal. However, connections between ideas and concepts amplifies the value of individual elements. If I’m taking a course in political history, receiving in-context links and texts when I’m near an important historical site would be helpful in my learning. Mobile devices are critical in blurring boundaries: virtual/physical worlds, formal/informal learning."
georgesiemens  stephendownes  geoloqi  geolocation  rss  email  grsshopper  visualization  2011  informallearning  learning  education  patternrecognition  sensemaking  connections  place  meaning  mobilelearning  atemporality  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  wikipedia  media  context  location  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Why I do not want to work at Google
"I believe that warehouse-scale client-server computing will, in the end, undermine the kind of democratic freedom of communication that we need to deal with today’s global menaces. It’s more practical than peer-to-peer computing at the moment, but that pendulum has swung back & forth several times over the decades…The proper response to the current impracticality of decentralized computing is not to sigh and build centralized systems. The proper response is to build the systems to *make decentralized computing practical again*.

Google is not institutionally opposed to this; they’ve funded substantial and important work on it. Nevertheless, because of their overall orientation toward centralized solutions with undemocratically-imposed policies, I believe working there would be a further distraction from that goal. Worse, with every advance that companies like Google and Apple make, the higher is the bar that decentralized systems must leap to achieve real adoption."

[via: http://www.odonnellweb.com/2011/08/is-google-becoming-the-next-iteration-of-aol/ ]
internet  web  media  google  peertopeer  p2p  decentralization  democracy  freedom  computing  decentralizedcomputing  kragenjaviersitaker  email  gmail  spam  control  2011  google+  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Minimal Business Card Design | Boris Smus
"Rather than having each field separately labeled, I tried to uncover as much information as possible within my email address. Hidden inside are my first name, last name, website, and twitter account! Here’s a minimal design concept that tries to break it down."
businesscards  minimalism  twitter  email  urls  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Composition 1.01: How a Tool Everyone Has Could Change Education - James Somers - Technology - The Atlantic
"Whatever you produce joins dozens of other efforts in a stack whose growing thickness doesn't exactly thrill your professor. But still he'll soldier on and read, and maybe re-read, and mark up and grade each one. Along the way he might leave short contextual notes in the margin; he might write one long critique at the end; he might do both; or he might do neither and let your grade do all the talking.

Trouble is, no matter how detailed and incisive the feedback, by the time it gets back to you it's already too late -- and, in a way, too early. Too late because your paper has already been written, and what you really needed help with was its composition, with the micromechanics of style, with all the small decisions that led you to say whatever it is you said. And too early because even if the professor's ex post pointers make every bit of sense, a whole month might go by before you next get to use them.

This is not the way to develop a complicated skill."
email  writing  teaching  education  practice  feedback  composition  2011  jamesomers  dialogue  learning  kandersericsson  malcolmgladwell  dialog  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Save Our Inboxes! Adopt the Email Charter!
"We're drowning in email. And the many hours we spend on it are generating ever more work for our friends and colleagues. We can reverse this "spiral only by mutual agreement. Hence this Charter..."
culture  writing  business  communication  email  emailcharter  2011  brevity  etiquette  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Should I Change My Password?
"ShouldIChangeMyPassword.com has been created to help the average person check if their password(s) may have been compromised and need to be changed.

This site uses a number of databases that have been released by hackers to the public. No passwords are stored in the ShouldIChangeMyPassword.com database.

This website is made available as a public service. Please help me maintain it by donating."
via:thelibrarianedge  internet  online  web  privacy  security  passwords  email  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Errol Morris: Did My Brother Invent E-Mail With Tom Van Vleck? - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com
"MIT’s Compatible Time Sharing System, or CTSS, was one of the first operating systems to utilize “time-sharing,” which allowed many people to use a single mainframe computer simultaneously. Users accessed the computer at remote terminals — modified electric typewriters — that sent input to the computer and printed output on paper as the user typed code. In early 1965, two programmers, Tom Van Vleck and Noel Morris, wanted to send each other electronic messages, and created the e-mail program MAIL. To get a sense of what it felt like to use this early version of e-mail, try the programming game below. Your terminal will type lines of the actual CTSS MAIL code, with missing segments indicated by a blank. Use the clues to fill in the blanks and complete the lines of code. Then, using the MAIL program you just wrote, send a message to yourself or to a friend."
mit  email  history  ctss  compatibletimesharingsystem  errolmorris  noelmorris  tomvanvleck  2011  communication 
june 2011 by robertogreco
The invention of social computing
"As is the case with many of his movies, Morris uses the story of a key or unique individual to paint a broader picture; in this instance, as the story of his brother's involvement with an early email system unfolds, we also learn about the beginnings of social computing…

It seems completely nutty to me that people using computers together -- which is probably 100% of what people use computers for today (email, Twitter, Facebook, IM, etc.) -- was an accidental byproduct of a system designed to let a lot of people use the same computer separately. Just goes to show, technology and invention works in unexpected ways sometimes...and just as "nature finds a way" in Jurassic Park, "social finds a way" with technology."
kottke  errolmorris  socialcomputing  email  ctss  arpa  darpa  technology  social  2011  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
ifttt
"ifttt puts the internet to work for you by creating tasks that fit this simple structure:

ifthisthenthat

Think of all the things you could do if you were able to define any task as: when something happens (this) then do something else (that).

The (this) part of a task is called a Trigger (). Some example triggers are "if I'm tagged in a photo on Facebook" or "if I tweet on twitter."

The (that) part of a task is called an action (). Some example actions are "then send me a text message" or "then create a status message on Facebook."

Triggers and Actions come from Channels. Channels are the unique services and devices you use everyday, activated specifically for you. Some example channels:"
ifttt  internet  web  social  management  tools  tasks  automation  twitter  facebook  del.icio.us  email  phones  weather  onlinetoolkit  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Time's Inverted Index (Ftrain.com)
"I was biasing the results by using full-text search to explore my email…The pattern-seeking engine in my brain would fire on all cylinders & make a story of the searches, creating an unintentional email-chrestomathy, a greatest-hits collection of ideas I’d had around a single word or phrase…I thought I was doing history in a mirror, but because the emails were pure matches for key terms, devoid of all but a little context, I fell for the historical fallacy, which is when, as John Dewey described it, somewhat impenetrably:

"A set of considerations which hold good only because of a completed process, is read into the content of the process which conditions this completed result. A state of things characterizing an outcome is regarded as a true description of the events which led up to this outcome; when, as a matter of fact, if this outcome had already been in existence, there would have been no necessity for the process."

That is, I had lost sight of time…"
culture  internet  history  identity  data  email  search  change  paulford  johndewey  time  perspective  process  bias  olderself  youngerself  2011  fallacies  fallacy  future  past  present  hope  hopefulness  familiarity  forcedfamiliarity  memory  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Don’t Call Me, I Won’t Call You - NYTimes.com
"Phone calls are rude. Intrusive. Awkward. “Thank you for noticing something that millions of people have failed to notice since the invention of the telephone until just now,” Judith Martin, a k a Miss Manners, said by way of opening our phone conversation. “I’ve been hammering away at this for decades. The telephone has a very rude propensity to interrupt people.”

Though the beast has been somewhat tamed by voice mail and caller ID, the phone caller still insists, Ms. Martin explained, “that we should drop whatever we’re doing and listen to me.”"
email  culture  society  communication  voicemail  phones  etiquette  change  2011  pamelapaul  phonecalls  sms  texting  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
How Modern Life Is Like a Zombie Onslaught - NYTimes.com
"Every zombie war is a war of attrition. It’s always a numbers game. And it’s more repetitive than complex. In other words, zombie killing is philosophically similar to reading and deleting 400 work e-mails on a Monday morning or filling out paperwork that only generates more paperwork, or following Twitter gossip out of obligation, or performing tedious tasks in which the only true risk is being consumed by the avalanche. The principal downside to any zombie attack is that the zombies will never stop coming; the principal downside to life is that you will be never be finished with whatever it is you do.

The Internet reminds of us this every day."
infooverload  flow  internet  web  online  modernlife  cv  tv  television  twitter  email  paperwork  feeds  2010  chuckklosterman  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
YouTube - Yelp (With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg) narrated by Peter Coyote
"Shabbat is a very old idea -- 5000 years old. Just take a break one day a week. I desperately needed a "technology shabbat." Recently addicted to tweeting, I became that person I hated who pulled out her iPhone while actually talking to someone -- sneaking email fixes in bathroom stalls. It was getting ugly.

Sophocles once said, "nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse," and this couldn't be more true of technology.

My husband (artist & robotics professor Ken Goldberg) and I were thinking about the "curse" part. We both love technology and have devoted our careers to experimenting with it, but could we unplug for one day a week? So Ken and I decided to try to truly power down one day a week. Inspired by this concept, we reworked Ginsberg's "Howl," into "Yelp." Then I made a little film about it and Peter Coyote lent his great voice."
technology  culture  internet  addiction  email  google  twitter  allenginsberg  howl  im  attention  present  beingpresent  focus  unplug  unplugging  rss  facebook  internetsabbaticals  web  online  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
Rapportive
"Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox."
gmail  social  plugin  firefox  chrome  safari  email  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
John Kestner : Supermechanical objects : Tableau physical email
"Remember when we made a connection by handing someone a photo? As our social circle spreads across a wider geographic area, we look for ways to share experiences. Technology has reconnected us to some extent, but we fiddle with too many cables and menus, and those individual connections get drowned out.

Tableau acts as a bridge between users of physical and digital media, taking the best parts of both. It's a nightstand that quietly drops photos it sees on its Twitter feed into its drawer, for the owner to discover. Images of things placed in the drawer are posted to its account as well.

Tableau is an anti-computer experience. A softly glowing knob that almost imperceptibly shifts color invites interaction without demanding it. The trappings of electronics are removed except for a vestigial cable knob for the paper tray. The nightstand drawer becomes a natural interface to a complex computing task, which now fits into the flow of life."
furniture  design  email  inspiration  twitter  papernet  printing  slow  post-digital  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Summify
"Summify automatically identifies the most important news stories for you across all of your social networks and tells why they are important, so you can read what really matters.

Summify gets better and better as you follow or subscribe to more and more sources!"
aggregator  summify  rss  twitter  facebook  email  news  reader  tools  googlereader  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
The curious history of chain letters. - By Paul Collins - Slate Magazine
"Unlike the unfortunate Zorin Barrachilli, the chain letter lives on. If that 1974 sample from an online archive of chain letters sounds familiar, it's probably thanks to generations of e-mail and photocopying. But the real origin of the letter wasn't the Netherlands: Like any truly great crooked scheme, it began in Chicago.

It was there in 1888 that one of the earliest known chain letters came from a Methodist academy for women missionaries. Up to its eyes in debt, that summer the Chicago Training School hit upon the notion of the "peripatetic contribution box"—a missive which, in one founder's words, suggested that "each one receiving the letter would send us a dime and make three copies of the letter asking three friends to do the same thing."

The chain letter had been born."
culture  gullibility  psychology  chainletters  peripatetic  contribution  box  email  spam  letters  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Instapaper Inventor Links Inattentive Reading to Information Obesity | Gadget Lab | Wired.com
"“People love information,” Arment said. “Right now in our society, we have an obesity epidemic. Because for the first time in history, we have access to food whenever we want, we don’t know how to control ourselves. I think we have the exact same problem with information.”…

Instapaper, like Twitter, also shows the continuing versatility and relevance of text in a multimedia age: “It’s a very flexible and pliable medium. You can skim or search. You can copy and paste. You can read at your own speed. It’s simple and cheap to produce and store and share. That’s what gives it its power. Even when you bring media into a high-computing era, you can still do a lot more and more easily with text than you can with video or audio or software.”
attention  information  instapaper  timcarmody  text  marcoarment  twitter  infooverload  reading  email  dropbox  storage  synchronization  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
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