My stage name is less about withholding parts of myself or maintaining privacy than it is a symbol of the idea that I am more than just my job or any other isolated slice of my identity.
Maybe it would be easier to navigate the dissolving boundaries between public and private spaces if we all had a variety of names with which to signal the aspects of ourselves currently on display. And maybe we should remember that our first glimpse of a person is just one small piece of who they really are.
I came across this op-ed a while back, and it’s been in the front of my mind for a while now. I really love Stoya’s viewpoints on privacy. She’s thinking really far ahead, and might be onto something valuable here. Holding onto a single name is pretty archaic (not to mention difficult to do effortlessly across the ever-more crowded digital landscape) nowadays isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have contextual aliases available to users everywhere?
A public alias. A private alias. A work alias. An expressive alias. A commenting alias. Each username, an extension of our whole-self. Each one signaling a segment of digital and personal self. I think this would be a remarkable addition to a product like Twitter.
“Over the last two years, we’ve shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius,” said Ben Gross, Genius’s chief strategy officer, in an email message. The company said it used a watermarking system in its lyrics that embedded patterns in the formatting of apostrophes. Genius said it found more than 100 examples of songs on Google that came from its site.
Starting around 2016, Genius made a subtle change to some of the songs on its website, alternating the lyrics’ apostrophes between straight and curly single-quote marks in exactly the same sequence for every song. When the two types of apostrophes were converted to the dots and dashes used in Morse code, they spelled out the words “Red Handed.”
This is a pretty egregious report if you ask me. Also, it’s a really badass way of catching Google redhanded. Love that.
Google just loves to get down-and-dirty, and equally so, loves to play coy in these kinds of scenarios. Google was lifting content verbatim (through a third-party or not). Gave the stolen content search prominence. To top it off, — genius.com lyrics, links to the artist, and god-forbid, links to the actual song were seemingly buried.
Everyone knows people don’t like to scroll in search results. It’s tiresome and takes time. Precious time. Getting relevant search results to users as fast as possible is the name of the game for Google — but at what cost? Why is Google regurgitating crawled content as their own?
It also means Google is directing a smaller share of those queries to other sites. In March, 62% of mobile searches on Google didn’t result in a user clicking through to another website, according to the web-analytics firm Jumpshot Inc.
Apparently, it’s in their absolute best interest to not send you to a search result anymore. My thought process is, if you search for X at google.com for 20 seconds, then later begin a search for Y, you no longer have to “go back” to begin the search process over again. You can just re-open your last window and start searching again. Which, I get it — but I’m searching for something. Please give it to me. I don’t want Google’s remixed results (or any AMP content for that matter), I want a damn link.
The longer Google can keep you on-site, the higher probability you may be served an ad, or click through a privacy-violating vortex. Genius might not have a solid case against Google, especially considering the lyrics in dispute are owned by artists and/or record labels. But that’s not the point here — the point is we now have a record of Google actively lying about sourcing crawled content, claiming it as their own, and actively promoting in search results over websites.
If this pattern holds, the web will become a grim, cold place. A place of unconnected nodes, where good ideas, and links go to die because Google doesn’t give a shit what we want. Don’t get me wrong. Google makes some insanely great products. Search and display ads are their bread-and-butter, so why on Earth is Ben Gomes mucking up search like this? Something tells me, this isn’t coincidence. Ever since Giannandrea departed, stories like this have become more and more frequent. Something is going on at The Googleplex.
Whatastory. Now, I’m a born-and-bred Texan. I may live in New York City (for now), so the Empire State may have my taxes — but the Lone Star State has my heart. Always has, always will. Despite the troubling past and problematic heroes (and if you have the stamina to stand up to Republicans occasionally), Texas can be a fantastic, magical and oh-so affordable place to call home. So pardon me swimming through some backstory here, while I work up to the big reveal.
[…] Texans see themselves as a distillation of the best qualities of America: friendly, confident, hardworking, patriotic, neurosis-free. Outsiders see us as the nation’s id, a place where rambunctious and disavowed impulses run wild. Texans, it is thought, mindlessly celebrate individualism, and view government as a kind of kryptonite that weakens the entrepreneurial muscles. We’re reputed to be braggarts; careless with money and our personal lives; a little gullible, but dangerous if crossed; insecure, but obsessed with power and prestige.
Power and prestige indeed — Fast-food restaurateurs frequently come to Texas to wade in the tepid waters of the nation’s id if you will. Open a shop in Texas, and it does well — chances are, you will do well just about anywhere.
Texas has it all. From Five Guys to Fuzzy’s. We have Del Tacos (god knows why), food trucks, and oh so many Chipotle’s. Texas has In-n-Out’s and then there’s the Braums, Kincaids and Juicy’s. Not to mention a constant fierce rivalry between Shake Shack and our hero, Whataburger. And boy-howdy, lemme tell ya about the Jalapeño Tree and Bernie. The highway culture in Texas is a fertile breeding ground for all sorts of varying opinions on fast food. From Uvalde to Amarillo, every Texan has a contrarian favorite. But every true Texan can probably agree, Whataburger is a prized possession. Seriously. Couples may get married at McDonald’s locations in Hong Kong, but you can be damn sure Texans get married at Whataburger:
Whataburger fans have had Whataburgers sent to them out-of-state via Federal Express, twenty-four couples were married at a Whataburger restaurant on Valentine’s Day in 1996, and in 1999 the STS-93 crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia requested Whataburger cookies on board for their July mission. The Seventy-seventh Texas Legislature officially recognized what customers have known for more than 50 years: Whataburger is a state treasure. On April 9, 2001, Rep. Jaime Capelo, (D-Corpus Christi), announced his resolution to recognize the Texas-based hamburger chain as a Texas Treasure.
The merchant bank [BDT Capital Partners] that’s taking over the majority stake in Whataburger was founded by one of Warren Buffett’s favorite investors.
The founding Dobson family will keep a minority position on the board, while Whataburger’s Chief Financial Officer Ed Nelson will become president of the orange-and-white burger chain. The company’s headquarters will remain in San Antonio.
Not much is known about BDT Capital Partners. Despite dealing with billions of dollars, the company doesn’t have a website and rarely makes headlines.
However, the company continues to grow under its founder, Byron Trott, who has been publicly praised by Warren Buffett in the past.
Sign me the hell up. This is fantastic news for Whataburger. They’ve outgrown their spurs, many times over, and I have confidence that Trott and BDT Capital will take good care of Whataburger. I would love to see a Whataburger location open up in Brooklyn or Manhattan in my lifetime. That would be just so glorious.
I saw those familiar words. Set “National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior” — style. I wondered if it actually was a typeface or “font” that anyone could download and use? Do park rangers have this as a typeface on their computers to set in their word docs, pdfs and power point slides?
I had a sketchbook with me and took some rubbings of the letterforms and asked my friend Miles Barger, the Visual Information Specialist for Rocky, if he had the typeface. He asked the sign shop. No one has it? Turns out it isn’t a typeface at all but a system of paths, points and curves that a router follows.
The router’s “bit” follows the path and gives the letters its stroke weight or thickness only when engraving a sign.
It doesn’t really exist as a typeface unless a sign is made.
So my design colleague, Andrea Herstowski, students Chloe Hubler and Jenny O’Grady, NPS Ranger Miles Barger and myself decided to make this router typeface a thing.
Our National Parks belong to the people, so this typeface should too.
It’s kind of mind-blowing that the National Park service doesn’t have it’s own typeface. I love that most of these parks probably made their signage on-site with whatever tools they have on hand. Which, is probably, a drill press table.
Jeremy Shellhorn, the lead of this project, runs the Designing Outside Studio whose mission is help design students “think and make more creatively”:
Our studio loves to be outdoors, out of the classroom and into natural places that challenge us to design, think and make in new ways. We realize the design process is a powerful tool for making things better, visualizing what if, and creating change.
As our parks and public spaces face threats to their existence and challenges in broadening public support and connecting visitors to memorable and meaningful learning & recreational experiences; we as a studio (students and faculty) look to find ways in which to collaborate with organizations, parks, rangers and fellow outdoors-folk to find ways to connect people with the natural world.
Incredible. I love it. We need more of this kind of thinking and teaching. Learn more about the Designing Outside Studio here. Want the typeface? head to the homepage here, or visit designermill.com.
I’ve been wanting to share this artist’s work on my blog for a long time. So long in fact, I don’t even remember how I came across her paintings in the first place.
Sally West is an oil painter who lives and works in Australia. She has some pretty killer work, but her beach studies have recently blown me away. They’re just deliciously weighty, and the folds of thick dabs of oil produce a dance of motion I really enjoy. If I could afford to buy paintings, Sally West would probably be one of my first fine art purchases. Here’s some of her beach studies from her recent Surf & Snow series:
The firm ran the experiment — which reduced the workweek to 32 hours from 40 — in March and April this year, and asked two researchers to study the effects on staff. Jarrod Haar, a human resources professor at Auckland University of Technology, said employees reported a 24 percent improvement in work-life balance, and came back to work energized after their days off.
“Supervisors said staff were more creative, their attendance was better, they were on time, and they didn’t leave early or take long breaks,” Mr. Haar said. “Their actual job performance didn’t change when doing it over four days instead of five.”
Noting that the company had seen lower electricity bills with 20 percent less staff in the office each day, Mr. Barnes said the change in work hours could have wider implications if more companies adopted such a strategy.
“You’ve got 20 percent of cars off the road in rush hour; there are implications for urban design, such as smaller offices,” he said.
The U.S. Postal Service is testing self-driving trucks on a more than 1,000-mile mail run between Phoenix and Dallas, the post office’s first use of the technology for long hauls. […]
The two-week pilot starting Tuesday will use big rigs supplied by autonomous trucking firm TuSimple to haul trailers on five round trips between distribution centers, the company said. The roughly 22-hour trip along three interstate highways is normally serviced by outside trucking companies that use two-driver teams to comply with federal regulations limiting drivers’ hours behind the wheel.
TuSimple is a Chinese-unicorn, and as far as I know — is beating Lyft and Uber (and Tesla?) to the finish line of freight-transport automation. This is a pretty huge defeat for the homegrown rideshare companies. Convincing a bureaucratically-restrained department like the Postal Service to even test automated freight is wild. If you had told me a decade ago that the USPS would be testing a Chinese-backed unicorn’s software for automating freighted post — I would have laughed. It’s simply unbelievable.
Then there is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006(PAEA), which some have taken to calling “the most insane law” ever passed by Congress. The law requires the Postal Service, which receives no taxpayer subsidies, to prefund its retirees’ health benefits up to the year 2056. This is a $5 billion per year cost; it is a requirement that no other entity, private or public, has to make. If that doesn’t meet the definition of insanity, I don’t know what does. Without this obligation, the Post Office actually turns a profit. Some have called this a “manufactured crisis.” It’s also significant that lots of companies benefit from a burden that makes the USPS less competitive; these same companies might also would benefit from full USPS privatization, a goal that has been pushed by several conservative think tanks for years.
Lastly, operating costs always change. That’s a given in just about any industry. So needless to say, I’m happy to see the USPS is taking a gamble on exciting tech like this. Just because Amazon is taking gambles on automation, doesn’t mean the government can’t get skin in the game too.
Men I Trust continue to get us psyched for their forthcoming LP Oncle Jazz with this dreamily warped and woozy new one, “Norton Commander (All We Need)“. Watch the video, starring Emma and the group’s friend Lawrence Dickerson as they cruise around southern California in a dope old LeBaron convertible, below:
This time around, I began reading more about Aphex Twin, and ultimately ended up at Ivvavik National Park. Not so sure what I read in-between or how I got there — but in case you’re interested, Engigstciak, is a rock formation at the Ivvavik National Park. It’s really striking. I believe it’s particularly beautiful. So much so in fact, I was inspired to write a bit about it:
The Yukon is a pretty vast, and unorganized expanse (something my Texan heritage has informed me I might enjoy). Within the wide and unforgiving tundra are archaeological heritage sites. It turns out, Engigstciak happens to be one:
[Pottery found at the site] likely relates to the Norton Culture (Norton Check-Stamped Ware) which is found predominantly in the coastal reaches of northern Alaska. Although dating from the last few centuries B.C., this vessel is part of a ceramic making tradition which began in Alaska more than 3500 years ago and was inspired if not imported from Siberia.
The bottom line: A whopping 81% of the $29.55 billion in equity that Uber has raised is underwater. IPO investors have lost $655 million, while investors from 2016 and 2018 have between them lost $2.27 billion.
Losers: Investors who bought Uber shares 3 years ago have lost 15% of their money, before fees. The opportunity cost is even greater: Investors in the S&P 500 have seen their money grow by 50% over the same period.
It’s still early days — but I’m still largely a proponent of Lyft (and the subsidiary Motivate for that matter). Personally, I believe Uber will bleed into oblivion thanks to the rat-race of short sellers. But if automation is the key to profitability (for any ride-hailing company), Uber just shot the starting pistol.
Fellow blogger, writer, front-end engineer, and John Gruber fan (who doesn’t like Daring Fireball seriously?) — Tim Smith of BrightPixels is Kickstarting probably the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. If you like services like Letterboxd or Micro.blog I think you’ll enjoy this Kickstarter.
More on that in a bit. But first, let’s back up. If you follow the blog here, you know I’m no fan of Facebook. No surprise there. There’s been some interesting developments recently concerning Facebook:
Oh. Fun. 2.8B fake accounts.
That. Is fucking insane. A huge admittance.
Our precious fragile WWW is dire peril ya’ll. It’s up to us. It’s time to dump Facebook. Zuckerberg’s recent pivot to “encryption” and “privacy” is a nothing short of malarkey and an attempt to circumvent potential FCC fines for future data-mishandling. He knows Facebook is bleeding users and there’s a reason why Instagram’s co-founder left Facebook last year.
Magic Mirror, on the wall, who, now, is the fairest one of all?
So yeah. Facebook is horrible. There’s really no disputing that Facebooks suite of social media applications are tearing apart the web, our mental health, and society. *sighs*
Enter Bokeh. A refreshing new take on photo-sharing.
If you’re a fan of MLTSHP (or the predecessor MLKSHK), I think you’ll enjoy Bokeh’s vision (from the Kickstarter):
Bokeh will be ad-free, have a chronological timeline, and will be private by default. That means that all accounts will start off as private. Public accounts will have an RSS feed, will have the option to cross-post to other social networks, and will support custom domains. All accounts will have an indie web compatible export so you can self-host if you want to.
People won’t be able to find you by name, but will instead need to know your username to find you. Bokeh will never display publicly who follows you or who you follow. If someone has requested to follow you 3 times and you’ve declined, the app will prompt you to block them. In other words, these are your pictures and I want you to have precise control over who sees them.
I think this is really compelling privacy-focused concept. I’m an avidly public persona online, and that’s just me personally — but everyone isn’t into that. So, having this privacy-by-default option is really rad. Moreover, I’m digging the pricing strategy:
Bokeh will have individual and family accounts. Individual accounts will cost $3/month or $30/year, and family accounts will cost $5/month or $50/year. You’ll be able to add up to 5 people to a family account, including the account admin. By backing this project now, you’ll get a discount and allow me to pay for the initial development.
This right here is what hopefully keeps hate-speech at bay, and might even eliminate bots and spam. I firmly believe pay-to-play models will save our online communities. Whereas, free-to-play models might become (predictably) the last bastions of hate-speech.
I really like Tim’s blog. I really like Tim’s idea and that’s why I’m backing his project. I really want privacy to win. But more importantly I want us to win. The more we use services like Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp — the more we lose. For the longest time, I thought Apple was uniquely positioned to bring us a privacy-focused photo-network but that never really panned out did it? It’s time for a change. Isn’t it time we had a real place to share photos with our friends?
Shot entirely on the Nokia N8 mobile phone. Winner of the Nokia Shorts competition 2011.
For context the N8 was released 9 years ago. It had a 12.1 megapixel resolution which was unheard of at the time. But also, not great when we’ve been spoiled 4K+ resolutions as of lately. It also had a 16GB SSD, and a SD memory card slot.
It’s extraordinary and really wonderful what we can achieve around such simple medium constraints.
The very first domain I ever bought was grawlixe.com. Way back when, during the college days of yore I bought the domain on-sale for something like $12.99 a year at Network Solutions.
A grawlix (without the letter e on the end), is something much cooler than my personal website. It’s a collection of typographic symbols that represent cursing, or profanities. A quick google search reveals that go by other names as well in the comic book netherworld, such as jarns, nittles, and obscenicons. Fucking fantastic words, if you ask me.
In fact, if you do know me — you probably know by now that I curse a lot. It’s not an overwhelming amount mind you, but I’ve been told on occasion (and I suppose you’re right), I curse a bit too frequently. I bite my tongue wherever possible IRL, but online? No fucking way! 🙃
So, naturally I had to buy grawlixe.com even if it wasn’t the correct spelling. I just thought it looked cool, and gave me something memorable to chat over my portfolio in job interviews. Over time, I have acquired a number of absolutely ridiculous domains such as happydognews.com and remoterangers.com. Others were a bit more utilitarian or pipe-dream ventures. I’m 100% certain that most of the readers of this blog share the same strange enthusiasm for buying weird domains that have little to no use years later.
Anyways, for the longest stretch of time, about 4 years now until yesterday — smpetrey.com was my domain. It still is in my possession, but recently had the opportunity to snag the super-short and easy-to-spell petrey.co. I decided, it was high-time to retire the old, and migrate to something a bit more — shall we say, slimming for the modern web. Luckily, my blog and site is powered by WordPress, and setting up pointing via DNS and redirects server-side were a breeze.
You see, Petrey is my surname (we call surnames, “last names” in The States). It’s pronounced PECH-ree (if you were even wondering). But nearly everyone pronounces it PEE-tree. Yes, like the damn pterodactyl from Land Before Time. It’s not a huge ordeal for me now, but in my elementary years it was traumatic for me. My father claims that the progeny of the name is likely Russian or Polish descendants who likely Anglicised. But, who really knows. The fear that someone was going to mispronounce my last name during school orientation or at soccer practice as a kid was awful. Now, not so much. I’ve gotten over it despite the pains of memory — but hey! So far, I’m really enjoying this .co TLD! The cognitive dissonance I have toward my last name is slowly vanishing.
Not really sure why I even wrote this #$&*!@# post.
This music video was initially created on the computer using several pieces of 3D animation software. After the digital version was finalized, all 1,480 frames of the video were then individually printed using ink jet printers. Once an image was printed, it was then painted, drawn, and illustrated on top of using traditional animation techniques. Lastly, the newly illustrated frames were scanned back into the computer and sequenced into the final film.
This animation film is another work of art from the Brooklyn studio, Art Camp. Ravishing, delicious and ambitious — just a few words to describe just how amazing this animation is. The style, the process, and the music pairing are a match made in heaven.