Feed, page 6

  1. What the Theranos Documentary Misses
    newrepublic.com

    Avi Asher-Schapiro makes some good points about The Inventor that I failed to consider:

    Missing from the film, however, is any sustained effort to understand how Theranos interacted with the larger economic and social forces that nurtured it. In the hands of Gibney, the rise and fall of Theranos is reduced to a sort of personality puzzle, driven by the banal questions like: What was Elizabeth Holmes thinking? Is she a liar? How could seemingly competent investors be so misled?

    That’s a shame, because the story of Theranos is so much more than that. At its root, it’s a parable that cuts to the central dysfunctions in the American economic and political order, one that should dismantle our notions of meritocracy and put a strict limit on our forbearance for elites. It illuminates how the rich and well connected occupy different strata of life, enjoy a completely different set of opportunities from the rest of us, experience a different kind of justice, and are so often immune from consequences. Though the film gives some glimpses of these dynamics, they are always in the background, shadowed by other far less compelling narrative impulses.

  2. Dev perception
    adactio.com

    Jeremy Keith:

    It’s relatively easy to write and speak about new technologies. You’re excited about them, and there’s probably an eager audience who can learn from what you have to say.

    It’s trickier to write something insightful about a tried and trusted (perhaps even boring) technology that’s been around for a while. You could maybe write little tips and tricks, but I bet your inner critic would tell you that nobody’s interested in hearing about that old tech. It’s boring.

    The result is that what’s being written about is not a reflection of what’s being widely used.

  3. Stuffing the Front End
    bridgestew.com

    Bridget Stewart:

    How many features are built-in to a framework or library that your app doesn’t need yet (and may never need)? How much can you hold back from the package you send to the web? How dependent are these modules and bits of code on one another? To me, that sounds like a lot of analysis up front to pick apart a tool before I even write a single line of code to be truly productive. It is also the antithesis of Progressive Enhancement, which strives to start with the bare minimum necessary to make it work and build up from there.

  4. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

    Film, 2019

    Watched 24 March 2019

    “You want it to be true so badly, and even for me, I was working with these devices every single day, and she could still kind of convince me. When I think back on those conversations, I just think, how did she do that?”

    I had only a surface-level understanding of the Theranos story, so to me the subject matter was absolutely gripping. The idea behind the company was so good, so elegant, that you do just want it to be true.

    As a documentary, it’s articulate and well-framed, but also somewhat bland and needlessly repetitive. Alex Gibney’s films, when they really click for me (this one and Going Clear most of all), seem to do so largely despite his direction, not because of it.

  5. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

    Film, 2005

    Watched 16 March 2019

    I knew nothing about Enron before watching this, and I came in expecting explosive revelations. But the most shocking aspect here is just how little I was shocked by the whole scandal. We truly are living in a golden age of grifting. Things like this are now, if not normal, expected.

  6. Grifters Gone Wild
    nytimes.com

    More on scammers, by Maureen Dowd:

    As Maria Konnikova wrote in her book, “The Confidence Game,” “The whirlwind advance of technology heralds a new golden age of the grift. Cons thrive in times of transition and fast change” when we are losing the old ways and open to the unexpected.

    We are easy marks for faux Nigerian princes now, when chaos rules, the American identity wobbles, and technology is transforming our lives in awe-inspiring and awful ways.

    See also, on Wired: Nigerian Email Scammers Are More Effective Than Ever.

  7. Scammers: They’re Just Like Us
    buzzfeednews.com

    Prompted by the college admissions bribery scandal in the US, the hosts of Do By Friday had an interesting discussion about grifting on a recent episode of the podcast. This article by Tom Gara was mentioned by Max Temkin and caught my attention:

    We are living in a golden age of grifting. For an ambitious scammer in 2018, this is like being a sculptor in 1500s Florence — every major force at play in our world is like a wind at your back. In politics, a team of all-star grifters now runs the United States, and their fake-it-till-you-make-it ethos bleeds into everything it touches and elevates aspirational young con artists into national figures. Technology now allows you to create and maintain an entirely constructed identity, giving you not just the tools to manipulate your image and massage the truth of your everyday life, but also an audience hungry to consume that image and believe in it.

  8. Bumblebee

    Film, 2018

    Watched 22 March 2019

    Bad in all the wrong ways, trading the gaudy excess and over-the-top action for faux sentimentality and the least genuine attempt at ’80s nostalgia I’ve ever seen.

    Particularly insulting is the score, constantly trying to trick you into thinking you’re watching a cute Disney moment, except it’s an ugly robot trying to sit on a sofa and almost crushing a dog.

    Turns out only Michael Bay can make Transformers movies because he is an auteur. Bring back the breakneck-pace kinetic editing and the pyramids exploding and the robots peeing on each other.

  9. Donut County

    Videogame, 2018

    Played on Switch 21 March 2019

    Is this a dig at Silicon Valley techbros? I love it. Reminded me of an old New Yorker cartoon:

    “Yes, the planet got destroyed. But for a beautiful moment in time we created a lot of value for shareholders.”

    Short and sweet, full of personality. The kind of game that makes me want to make games.

  10. Regarding the Thoughtful Cultivation of the Archived Internet
    kottke.org

    Prompted by an excellent Kurzgesagt video on the subject, Jason Kottke reflects on what to do with old blog posts that don’t quite pass muster anymore:

    But so anyway, I don’t know what to do about those old problematic posts. Tim Berners-Lee’s idea that cool URIs don’t change is almost part of my DNA at this point, so deleting them seems wrong. Approximately no one ever reads any post on this site that’s more than a few years old, but is that an argument for or against deleting them? (If a tree falls in the woods, etc…) Should I delete but leave a note they were deleted? Should I leave the original posts but append updates citing my current displeasure? Or like Mister Rogers used to do, should I rewrite the posts to bring them more into line with my current thinking? Is the kottke.org archive trapped in amber, a record of what I’ve written when I wrote it, or is it a living, breathing thing that thrives on activity? Is it more like a book or a performance?

    This is an issue I struggle with, too. I no longer agree with some of my older film reviews, and some even contain mistakes. Should I delete them? Do I need to rewatch the films and write new reviews?

    I might implement something I’ve seen in other blogs: a notice on old posts saying something to the effect of “this post is old, I might not agree with it anymore.”

  11. Homework I Gave Web Designers
    cloudfour.com

    Tyler Sticka:

    When everyone finished translating articles to semantic, accessible HTML, I let them in on a secret: This was still design. While we hadn’t yet incorporated color, typography or composition, we had made decisions about prioritization, hierarchy, information architecture and user experience. And those decisions would be the most resilient… accessible to virtually any visitor, not just those blessed few with perfect vision, hearing and mobility. The web was the only medium that offered designers the chance to craft one work for such a varied landscape with so few gatekeepers.

  12. I ruin developers’ lives with my code reviews and I’m sorry
    m.habr.com

    Philipp Ranzhin:

    I was mad that, while I spent my nights learning F#, my daughter started calling everyone around “fathers”. And this guy, instead of getting better at his job, went home to his children. And I wanted to punish him.

    Because I do code review for self-identification. I don’t give a toss about the project or the code. I’m simply a madman who’s allowed to hurt people. I’m a psychopath with a licence to kill. An alpha male with a huge stick.

    When I realized that, I felt ashamed of myself.

  13. Elle

    Film, 2016

    Watched 27 February 2019

    Verhoeven hasn’t lost his touch for twisting the knife, but I don’t see the point in this one — either I don’t like it or I just plain don’t get it. And what happened to the cat?

  14. Managing Flow and Rhythm with CSS Custom Properties
    24ways.org

    Andy Bell suggests using CSS Custom Properties together with Heydon Pickering’s lobotomized owl selector to manage vertical spacing. It’s an elegant solution that works well with the cascade:

    .flow {
      --flow-space: 1em;
    }  
    
    .flow > * + * { 
      margin-top: var(--flow-space);
    }
    

    I’ve been experimenting with old-school margin collapsing for vertical rhythm this past year, in Cobalt. I’m a proponent of spacing being an inherent property that exists by default instead of something that has to be explicitly added. But margin collapsing doesn’t really play well with Grid layout (until we get something like margin-trim), so I might give this method a try.