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Daniel Jalkut on Apple's "Clips" and Social Networks

Great post by Daniel Jalkut on Apple's new Clips app, an upcoming app that takes inspiration from Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook "stories" to enable users to create fun videos to share with their friends. Interestingly, rather than trying to build out yet another social network (which Apple has famously failed on in the past), Clips targets existing social networks.

... any time Apple might have spent building out their own social network is better spent investing in tools that maximize users’ enjoyment of the social networks they already belong to. Rather than obsessing over the venue in which social interactions occur, Apple can profit by equipping its users to be more expressive, wherever they may roam.

I like this core philosophy, and it actually aligns quite nicely with my vision for the IndieWeb. Rather than targeting only silos like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, it'd be wonderful if great user experiences like Clips could enable publishing and sharing to user sites through Micropub and the ilk. Looking forward to playing with Clips!


Lovely Interview with Jenny Slate

Vulture is on a tear lately, with great interview content with some truly interesting people. I just wrapped up reading this interview of Jenny Slate, who is brilliantly funny and blisteringly talented.

Today, she’s leaning in to International Women’s Day by wearing a sundress covered in red roses and made by a company, Day Space Night, that’s run by women. She even canceled her one meeting with a man, an appearance on Snoop Dogg’s podcast, so she could have an entirely penis-free day. And she’s planning on ending the day by going with her girlfriends to a 90-minute seminar on fertility and reproductive rights.

I love her honesty and willingness to be candid about every personal struggle. Notably, I laughed out loud when I read about her evolving decision-making process around selecting projects, in light of her fresly nutured feminism:

And now that she’s got a financial cushion from Zootopia and Secret Life of Pets, she can act on what she’s learned and say “no” more often. Specifically, she’s drawing the line at any movie that, she says, “makes it okay to laugh about things like women’s bodies after birth, like when women who’ve just had babies are referring to their vaginas as all ruined. I think it’s really rude for someone to disparage a vagina in the female body after it’s just fucking created and exploded a baby into our world. It makes me furious and I will not change my opinion on that.”

Love, love, love Jenny Slate. Worth a read!


I’m With Her... I Guess

Practicality beats purity! What an amazing article about Hillary. Captures my views pretty well.


Obama didn't create Trump, the GOP did

Will Saletan of Slate penned this excellent piece on the rise of Trump, and how many in the GOP are blaming President Obama for his ascension in their own party. Saletan argues, rather well I'll add, that Trump is the GOP's own doing.

In Trump, Republican voters have found their anti-Obama. Trump spurns not just political correctness, but correctness of any kind. He lies about Muslims and 9/11, insults women and people with disabilities, accuses a judge of bias for being Hispanic, and hurls profanities. Trump validates the maxim that in presidential primaries, the opposition party tends to choose a candidate who differs temperamentally from the incumbent. Obama is an adult. Therefore, Republicans are nominating a child.

Why would the GOP be searching for an anti-Obama? What's behind their obstructionism and vehement opposition to every proposal he's made, even the ones that would be praised if they came from the right? Saletan stops short of speculating, but I think its pretty evident to the reader what he is implying.

If you ask me, the motive for the GOP's condemnation of Obama are clear.


Escape Coworkers w/ a Giant Felt Helmet

Perfect for your open floor plan office! Classy, too.


Anywhere but Medium

Dave Winer with an insightful post about Medium, and why its dangerous if left unchecked.

We can avoid this, it's not too late. You have a choice. Post your writing to places other than Medium. And when you see something that's interesting and not on Medium, give it some extra love. Push it to your friends. Like it on Facebook, RT it on Twitter. Give people more reasons to promote diversity on the web, not just in who we read, but who controls what we read.

I appreciate this perspective, but I think its even broader than that. Yes, Medium is dangerous if it becomes too dominant, but that's true of any silo. I don't have a problem with companies like Medium (or Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or any other silo) existing. I have a problem with a world in which those companies exist at the expense of data ownership, uniquness of expression, privacy, and freedom of speech.

Wouldn't it be great if for-profit companies put more effort into making it easy for customers to own their own data, rather than just making it easy for customers to give their own data to a third party?


DreamHost Knows the Cloud is the Future of Computing

I did an interview with Host Advice about my role at DreamHost, the products and services we have, and where we're going with our cloud services. It was a long, far-reaching, and fun interview.


Sweet Home Mississippi - The New York Times

Lovely article in the NY Times about Mississippi, a place that the entire LaCour clan holds dear.

Because the state is so infamous for its vicious past — Mississippi had the most lynchings, and the most violent resistance to civil rights — it’s hard for outsiders to accept that it’s also a place of extraordinary warmth, kindness and hospitality.

Mississippi is certainly a state full of contridictions, but the people there are some of the most genuinely kind, welcoming, and hospitable that I've encountered. True Southern Hospitality is alive and well in Mississippi, as opposed to Atlanta, which in my decade plus of residence more consistently displayed a fake, saccharin version of Southern Hospitalilty – a false, sad, judgemental fascimile. The article also highlights many of the weaknesses still present in Mississippi, but highlights the good that most people miss.

My grandmother always used to call Mississippi a "hidden oasis." I'm not sure I fully agree with her, but I do think its a place full of surprises, kind hearts, and great food.


The Curly Braces Conference

Check out another awesome thing my team is doing. This time, completely on their own time :)


Kilowatts for Humanity

Proud of what my team has built with DreamHost DreamCompute, but equally proud of what our customers are building!


The New Yorker: The Simple Truth About Gun Control

Thought provoking article by Adam Gopnik. A few choice excerpts:

There are complex, hand-wringing-worthy problems in our social life: deficits and debts and climate change. Gun violence, and the work of eliminating gun massacres in schools and movie houses and the like, is not one of them.

Gopnik argues that every other civilized country on the planet has figured out that limiting access to guns, or banning them outright, has a dramatic effect on reducing gun violence. In fact, even the most minimal gun control has a dramatic impact.

If research and other factual evidence aren't enough for you, consider comedian Jim Jefferies' hilarious (and spot-on) set on gun control.


Quartz: Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet

As a citizen of the internet, I find the continuing trend of content isolation in silos disturbing. As companies like Facebook, Medium, and LinkedIn continue to attract users, they gain in power and control over the internet as a whole in a frightening fashion. These companies don't care about their users or their content, as long as they can continue to mine their pictures, words, and private feelings to monetize their platforms.


What Obama Gets Right

Gideon Rose penned a wonderful piece for Foreign Affairs Magazine, which deftly outlines the nuanced and carefully considered foreign policy of the Obama administration. No matter what cable news blowhards, hyper-conservative columnists, and political opponents have to say about the President's foreign policy, close examination reveals that the administration's efforts have been largely effective. Obama will leave the country, and the world as a whole, in a better place when his second term is complete.

The president is variously painted as a softheaded idealist, a cold-blooded realist, or a naive incompetent. But he is actually best understood as an ideological liberal with a conservative temperament—somebody who felt that after a period of reckless overexpansion and belligerent unilateralism, 
the country’s long-term foreign policy goals could best be furthered by short-term retrenchment.

I also enjoyed how neatly Rose explains the foreign policy disaster of the second Bush administration, which was preceded by largely successful and measured foreign policy during the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton presidencies. The decline of America's position in the global political climate was pushed to near disaster during George W. Bush's two terms at the helm.

The Bush administration’s post-9/11 course was neither the heroic success story supporters claimed nor the nefarious conspiracy its harshest critics charged. It took on enemies worth opposing. But it was deeply flawed in both conception and execution, because it tried to muscle history forward, regardless of resistance. It cast its net too wide, taking on too many tasks of too great difficulty with too much haste, too few resources, and too little deliberation. It was a classic cautionary tale of unchecked power goaded into hubris, followed by folly, followed by nemesis. And as a result, Bush bequeathed to his successor a divided country, an economic catastrophe, and two ongoing wars, one of them heading in the wrong direction.

George W. Bush dealt Barack Obama a tough hand, and the President's approach has been strongly shaped as a reaction to Bush's missteps. Obama's policy was one that rejected unilateral military action, replacing it with diplomacy, carefully deployed sanctions, and pragmatism. Obama won the 2008 election through a surge of idealism, but has governed from a place of pure pragmatism. When viewed in this light, I gain a new appreciation for our President. Thanks, Obama. No, really. Thank you.


Inside the Grand Central Oyster Bar

Grand Central Oyster Bar

The Grand Central Oyster Bar has been one of my favorite restaurants since my first visit a decade ago. Its classic, unchanging menu, beautiful architecture, and fantastic vibe make it an American classic. Lucky Peach takes a closer look at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in a beautiful photo essay. I highly recommend taking a look. Next time you're in the Big Apple, take a stop at Grand Central, and revel in the classic beauty and food at the Oyster Bar. You won't regret it!

Photo credit: Ramzi Amri under a Creative Commons License.


Welcome to Dismaland

Banksy is at it again, this time creating a dystopian Disneyland knockoff as an art exhibition in coastal England. Attendees will be able to visit over a period of 5-6 weeks to experience the irony in person. Colossal has the full story, along with some stunning photography.

How fun would it be to visit The Tragic Kingdom?

(via Kottke).


Self-hosted Known 0.8.3 has left the building!

Kudos to the @withknown team for releasing 0.8.3.


Disney is building a massive Star Wars world at Disneyland

Gonna have to renew our annual passes! Wheee.


Documents Confirm Apple is Building a Self-Driving Car

Will they go the Tesla Motors route, and use age-old technology and materials, but complement them with innovative software? I sort of hope not. I'd prefer to see them take the BMW route, and use innovative materials and processes, along with great software. Only, you know, not make their cars as hideous as the BMW i3, which is by all accounts, one of the ugliest vehicles ever created.

Exciting times in motoring.

Update (August 21, 2:15 PM PT): The plot thickens!