Ben Thompson’s daily update email today covers fake news and algorithms. It’s a great post, although a little disheartening in the way that most coverage of filter bubbles and the election tend to be. One line in the closing paragraph:
Algorithms have consequences, particularly when giving answers to those actually searching for the truth.
It mirrors something I wrote in January about algorithms and curation:
Software has consequences. How it’s designed informs what behavior it encourages. If it’s built without thought to these consequences, it will succeed only by accident.
Quick posting via retweets on Twitter and re-sharing on Facebook contributes to the spread of fake news. As the New York Times article Ben links to says, fake news is “designed to attract social shares and web traffic”. Bad news stories with dramatic headlines can spread more quickly than they would if everyone posted an original comment with their link.
It’s too easy to click a retweet button without thinking. Fake news is as much a user experience and design problem as it is an algorithmic problem.
When I started posting photos to my blog, I excluded them from RSS. Today I’ve changed that. Photos show up in the full and microblog feeds.
→ 2017/03/06 9:49 am
Also loved being at that fantastic Thunder game in Portland last week. Wonder if Denver regrets trading Nurkic when the Blazers take #8.
→ 2017/03/05 12:50 pm
Spurs within 2 games of the #1 seed. Even with Durant out it’ll be tough, but I love San Antonio’s chances. Pau is great off the bench.
→ 2017/03/05 12:40 pm
From last week’s flight through Los Angeles and up to Portland.
I’ve been working on a post about walled gardens, the App Store, and social networks. I think it could be an important essay — a new take on the future of platforms.
But if it’s not? If I’m wrong, and the idea is unoriginal or doesn’t go anywhere? That’s fine too! It’s just a blog post.
I love that blogs can scale from the trivial to the important. The microblog post about what you had for breakfast. The half-baked rant about something you’re passionate about. And sometimes, the rare essay that really hits the mark and makes people think.
Listening to the new Lorde single and trying to catch up on writing and email. Back in Austin after a short but great trip to Portland.
→ 2017/03/04 1:28 pm
Started using Instagram Stories today. Not very interested in creating disappearing content, but finally realized that I could save the videos and stitch them together later for publishing on my own site as distinct sequences or trips.
→ 2017/03/02 7:16 pm
New episode of Core Intuition is out! First half: coding progress, motivation. Second half: WWDC in San Jose. coreint.org/272
→ 2017/02/28 9:49 am
Working in Objective-C today. So nice. Calling methods on nil like it’s 2002 WWDC San Jose.
→ 2017/02/27 3:02 pm
Uber has been in the news lately, and not in a good way. I’m taking a short trip this week and decided to more actively look for ride-sharing alternatives. I’ll be trying Fasten in Austin and Lyft elsewhere.
One nice discovery in this search: Lyft produced a wonderful animated short film called June. It’s directed by John Kahrs, who as I blogged about a few years ago did Paperman at Disney.
I’m still annoyed that Lyft joined with Uber to first actively campaign against regulations in Austin and then ultimately left the city. But Lyft funding a film like this makes me feel better about supporting the company. There’s also a behind-the-scenes video.
Kind of lectured Daniel on distractions for the upcoming Core Int, but now I’m the one watching YouTube and re-reading an Oscars transcript.
→ 2017/02/27 12:57 pm
Search and smart folders in Apple Mail have become so unreliable (presumably stale Spotlight indexing), giving Airmail for Mac another try.
→ 2017/02/27 11:45 am
Gonna miss NSDrinking tonight. Looong day. Hope to catch up with folks next month. (Also thinking how Austin needs a Homebrew Website Club.)
→ 2017/02/23 8:10 pm
Ten years ago I wrote a post about customer support. Nothing in my attitude toward customers has really changed since then, although my products have changed along the way.
Most of my Mac and iOS apps could be built by one person. Even Sunlit, which I developed with Jon Hays, could be maintained by one person. And so when providing support for my apps, I’ve always embraced being an indie company and said “I” instead of “we” when talking about my company Riverfold Software.
I’ve realized as I work toward launching Micro.blog that this product is different. It has a much greater scope than anything I’ve built by myself. To be successful, it needs a team.
This is why my first priority with the Kickstarter stretch goal was to bring someone new to the project. I was initially nervous about making that announcement. I thought that nervousness was because the stretch goal might not work, or because my post was long and could be misinterpreted, but I realize now that I was nervous because I knew it mattered.
The first decisions a new company has to make will end up shaping many things that follow. I worked at VitalSource for over 14 years because the technology decisions and leadership at the beginning were so strong they carried forward for years.
The same rule applies for a very different kind of company: Uber. When you look at their series of missteps, it seems clear that these are inherent problems that go back to day one. I think John Gruber is right when he says Uber’s response is “too little, too late”.
We can learn from every company culture that fails. I don’t expect to make all the right decisions with Micro.blog. But I’m going to try very hard to make the first decisions correctly, because it will make everything easier going forward.
Just sent an update to Kickstarter backers. Short version: I’m delaying username invites so that I can launch them with microblog hosting.
→ 2017/02/23 10:53 am
The “Your disk is almost full” notification in macOS Sierra is a bit aggressive. Dismiss it, comes back about 10 seconds later.
→ 2017/02/21 1:35 pm
Since Uber and Lyft left Austin, I’ve looked for replacements only briefly, because I thought Uber would be back and the company might not be run by jerks. Now deleted the app and ready to move on.
→ 2017/02/21 9:21 am