I am 100% in love with Captain Marvel’s marketing micro-site.
Whoops! This post is a wee bit longer than previous link-logging posts. I’ve broken it up into a few sections to make it more easily skim-able. Granted, all barriers and edges are illusory at a certain point, so I recommend looking for connections rather than demarkation and separation. Do not tare along the dotted line. Personal pizzas are best when shared. 🍕
Creativity and capitalism
I’ve got a quick confession: I love Godzilla. This post encompasses all the things I like about Godzilla. You’ve got some cultural production stuff, you’ve got climate and ecology stuff, with a smattering of socio-political stuff all wrapped up in a rubber dino-monster suit. What isn’t to like!? Also, this picture…
It could be that Godzilla is successful in 1950s Japan and in 2010s USA because it happened to fit two very different but very specific cultural niches — the trauma of defeat culminating in nuclear war, on the one hand; and (to make something up) a compulsive desire for re-enactments of 9/11 on the other hand. But explaining wide-spread success by a series of particular fits falters as we consider all the many other social contexts in which Godzilla has been popular. Maybe it happened, by chance, to appeal narrowly to one new context, but two? three? ten?
An alternative is that Godzilla has managed to spread because it appeals to tastes which are not very context-specific, but on the contrary very widely distributed, if not necessarily constant and universal. In the case of Godzilla, we have a monster who breaks big things and breathes fire: an object of thought, in other words, enduringly relevant to crude interests in predators, in destruction, and in fire. Since those interests are very common across all social contexts, something which appeals to them has a very good source of “pull”.
… When your customers are active partners in “making” and “managing” the brand, policing who is allowed to shop at your store is, weirdly enough, a hiring decision like any other. We’re used to thinking of production and consuming as separate activities, but, as Jefferies shows, in modern branding, they are one and the same. Making sure the “right” person consumes your clothes is a way to enhance a brand’s value. Like it or not, then, modern life gives you little choice but to “work” for a brand, putting all of our social lives in the service of capital. What branding offers is belonging (for a price).
This entire article walks right up to the edge of likening brand based marketing to fiction, but doesn’t bridge the gap. This isn’t my faulting the piece by any means…I think it is a stretch, or at least a stretch in the context of the article, but I couldn’t stop noticing how similar the discussion of self-policing brands looks to the discussion about fandom, and who is or isn’t a fan of some particular thing. Who gets entrance into the narrative, be it Apple’s or Star Trek.
Traveling to an unfamiliar place often has ethical implications in Le Guin’s fiction
She also resisted the approach to writing that emphasized that fiction must have a hero, a conflict, a storyline.
The idea of free public transportation isn’t as crazy as it may sound. Prompted by concerns over congestion and pollution, the European countries of Estonia and Luxembourg already offer it, and Germany is considering it. Removing fares clearly makes transit more desirable; when Talinn, Estonia’s capital, adopted free public transportation in 2013, ridership immediately spiked 10 percent. Such ridership gains would certainly be welcome in the United States, where 31 of the 35 largest transit agencies saw passenger counts dip in 2017. Unlike most goods, transit gets better with heavier usage because more frequent bus and train service will reduce wait times.
This is a depressing moment for… well, everything, but also journalism. Watching talented reporters get laid off is heartbreaking, infuriating, and despair-inducing. Out of the ashes, new ideas for sustainable, impactful journalism are bound to emerge. The best ones will acknowledge that journalism should be free.
Designing systems (specifically public systems) with children not just in mind, but at the forefront pretty much always seems like a very good idea.
Math and astronomy
Sharing this piece specifically because I think it does a really solid job explaining something that is rather complicated (at least for me) in a clear way that also doesn’t come off as being dumbed down.
Learn something new about our Moon every Monday.
Webby techy stuff
I enjoy participating in the micro.blog community, and appreciate Manton’s persistence in going it slow, making intentional design choices. While the source code of micro.blog itself isn’t open source, it is refreshing that Manton’s process is, through posts and interviews like this one. Manton is practicing a different sort of Calm Technology with micro.blog.
Poor performance can, and does, lead to exclusion
And comes at a higher environmental cost.
Google Chrome, destroyer of worlds? Defo eater of RAM. See also Browser diversity starts with us.
All be honest. I was into this mostly for its title. It sounds like a line straight out of a Robbe-Grillet story.
Also, shout out to Eric Normand for almost always including a transcript alongside video and audio content.
Starts with a tl;dr:
TL;DR Other HTTP Clients aren’t that great. Here we use Emacs and restclient, with public APIs, to identify plants and share on Twitter. Emacs and restclient offer a great user experience and workflow when documenting and exploring APIs.
I’ve got a soft spot for literate programming. I haven’t done much of it, but as I gain confidence writing LISP, I think a little side project may invite it. 🤷♂️
You all. DNS is baffling. I’ve been migrating some client sites and I set up (again) a pi-hole and, while I feel cozy with the basics of DNS config, the underlying architecture is both fascinating and…terrifying? Maybe the wrong word. Obtuse.
A neat resource. I dipped right into the lesson about Virtual Machines and Containers.
Yes. I love emacs. I agree with Jack: Emacs does not typically save me time.
The crashiest crash course for all things CSS. Covers all the basics — you won’t be ready to tackle all the things, but you’ll be good to go for most things.
Some key features:
There are currently 137 million .com domain names registered.1 Of these, roughly 1/3 are in use (businesses, personal websites, email, etc.), another 1/3 appear to be unused, and the last 1/3 are used for a variety of speculative purposes.
My take away, as always, is that the internet is REALLY big…but only a little itty bit of it sees a meaningful amount of traffic. Leading us to…
Three things MySpace got right
- To make a page on MySpace, all it took was text in a textbox.
- The text could be words or code.
- Anyone could read the words and see the code.
The internet is the great equalizer (1996). People used to believe that. Today, it sounds sarcastic.
We — the programmers, designers, product people — collectively decided that users don’t deserve the right to code in everyday products. Users are too stupid. They’d break stuff. Coding is too complicated for ordinary people. Besides, we can just do the coding…so why does it matter?
I’m all for making the internet weird again. It is something I’m trying to get more cozy doing here, on my personal website.
And if you want to do that (make the internet weird again) we should preserve folks’ ability to get their feet wet, and their hands dirty on the web!
However, when it comes to frameworks and approaches which build complexity around writing HTML and CSS, there is something deeper and more worrying than a company having to throw away a couple of years of work and rebuild because they can’t support a poorly chosen framework.
When we talk about HTML and CSS these discussions impact the entry point into this profession. Whether front or backend, many of us without a computer science background are here because of the ease of starting to write HTML and CSS. The magic of seeing our code do stuff on a real live webpage! We have already lost many of the entry points that we had. We don’t have the forums of parents teaching each other HTML and CSS, in order to make a family album. Those people now use Facebook, or perhaps run a blog on wordpress.com or SquareSpace with a standard template. We don’t have people customising their MySpace profile, or learning HTML via Neopets. We don’t have the people, usually women, entering the industry because they needed to learn HTML during that period when an organisation’s website was deemed part of the duties of the administrator.
Also, read this thread, then read it again…and then maybe a 3rd time.
This (medium) post does a great job spelling out the pitfalls of a lot of the new wave of web tech that is purported to be “saving” the web, or whatever. It is groovy if you a nerd…but essentially this new tech is just helping to build a walled garden for nerds. Sure “anyone” can join…but very often you must be this nerd to enter. I think this is a very real issue for the IndieWeb community, too.
Leaving the web-punditry-zone now.
I’ve been re-assessing my freelance work, and found this post from Julia Evans to be wicked timely.
I’m not really certain if I should be doing any marketing, to be honest, and if I should be doing any, I’m not sure what kind I ought to be doing.
On the western flank of the Hoover Dam stands a little-understood monument, commissioned by the US Bureau of Reclamation when construction of the dam began in 01931. The most noticeable parts of this corner of the dam, now known as Monument Plaza, are the massive winged bronze sculptures and central flagpole which are often photographed by visitors. The most amazing feature of this plaza, however, is under their feet as they take those pictures.
The plaza’s terrazzo floor is actually a celestial map that marks the time of the dam’s creation based on the 25,772-year axial precession of the earth.
I’m hooked. Also, are they gonna make a 3rd National Treasure movie? I’m ready for it.