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January 23, 2017

Seatpost suspension: suspend the person, not the vehicle

Ride Body Float and Cane Creek Thudbuster.

Cane Creek review.

January 7, 2017

The Baffler, Explanation for what, Vox ?

David Johnson explains Vox.

In its brief history, Vox has become a model in an industry that's moved from entrenchment to retrenchment. Vox's rapid growth, its dream team of policy bloggers, its cachet with the White House, its ability to attract blue-chip advertisers such as Chevrolet and Campbell's Soup, and its tech innovation have become the envy of competitors. Why? What is the secret of Vox.com and its thriving parent company Vox Media, which, according to a report this spring in Bloomberg Technology, is profitable and valued at $1 billion? Are there applicable lessons for the dwindling segments of the media industry that still care primarily about journalism? Or, is the Vox Media success story largely the product of clever--perhaps even deceptive--marketing?

Targeting an audience advertiser crave:

'who, exactly, are the promontories in this broad range? Let the enterprising Vox staff explain: "We want to find the grad student whose research will change everything, the Hill staffer who sees a better way, the entrepreneur who's figured out what's wrong with the system, the industry leader with a vision of what could be different." If these are the ingredients of a broad range of thought and a freewheeling exchange of opinions...'

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July 4, 2016

New nerd glasses ? Low Bridge fit by Warby Parker

Warby Parker's Low Bridge.

Fit for everyone's eyes.

April 3, 2014

Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin, Unstoppable

ANTHONY LANE's New Yorker's Scarlett Johansson, Unstoppable before and after Under the Skin.

Robert Downey Jr. drinks her in and says, "I want one"--the best line in any Marvel picture, telling us everything about Iron Man, the superhero so blasé that his only option is to buy, or build, enough toys to perk him up. Most of the characters are no better than playthings, anyway. But not her.

April 1, 2014

Explainers explained, by 'less stupid' Awl.

The Awl's eleven questions about explainer journalism.

January 24, 2014

journalists see value in journalism


"in the main journalists are convinced or easily persuaded that what they do is so good and important that someone should pay them to do it", but this is too broad a conviction to be persuasive to non-journalists. A more carefully argued version of what journalists feel would be that, when done well, institutionally produced news has distinctive, socially advantageous qualities. It can pull together large groups of people with diverse perspectives and interests into a shared public conversation. Jürgen Habermas has presented the rise of the press as having been essential to the creation of the public sphere, and newspapers are also central to Benedict Anderson's idea of nations as "imagined communities". Journalism can provide verified, impartial information about public affairs, rather than offering up a cacophony of opinion and conflicting claims as the internet often does. Reporters can surface and present to the public important material that otherwise would not be available, for example about the misdeeds of the powerful.

-- Nicholas Lemann

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September 21, 2013

Aeon magaine


People say Aeon Magazine is great.

Soon, if it's not true already, magazine brands will matter more as marks of quality or tone than they do as gatherers and arrangers of content in a unified experience. By predicating its publishing model on stories that can be pried from the bundle and whose ideas stand on their own, Aeon confirms itself as a bankable brand synonymous with quality and depth. It publishes stories based not on how many clicks their headlines might generate, but on engaging people's attention for a meaningful period of time. That is the standard to which magazines of the mobile era must aspire.

-- Pando


"The longer we can defer making any commitments to a specific business model, the better we'll be," says Paul Hains,, "because the landscape is changing all the time."

That means Aeon's stories are free, even while the publication pays its writers at rates comparable to those paid by broadsheet newspapers. (The founders won't say exactly what that rate is, but Brigid Hains says 60 cents a word is "not a bad guess.") It also means there are no ads, and the editors don't mind if you leave the Aeon website to read a story somewhere else. A link to "Read later or Kindle" is placed on the same line as the by-line and the word-count, a subtle indicator that the story is king, even if it means readers ultimately spend less time on the site.

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August 25, 2013

Peak car


city, state and federal policies that for more than half a century encouraged suburbanization and car use -- from mortgage lending to road building -- are gradually being diluted or reversed. "They created what I call a culture of 'automobility,' and arguably in the last 5 to 10 years that is dying out," Ms. Sheller said.

New York's new bike-sharing program and its skyrocketing bridge and tunnel tolls reflect those new priorities, as do a proliferation of car-sharing programs across the nation.

A study last year found that driving by young people decreased 23 percent between 2001 and 2009. The millennials don't value cars and car ownership, they value technology -- they care about what kinds of devices you own, Ms. Sheller said. The percentage of young drivers is inversely related to the availability of the Internet, Mr. Sivak's research has found. Why spend an hour driving to work when you could take the bus or train and be online?

From 2007 to 2011, the age group most likely to buy a car shifted from the 35 to 44 group to the 55 to 64 group, he found.

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June 15, 2012

What's it for ?


At least some of the early adopters of the Kinect were not content just to play games with it. "Kinect hackers" were drawn to the fact that the object affordably synthesizes an arsenal of sophisticated components -- notably, a fancy video camera, a "depth sensor" to capture visual data in three dimensions and a multiarray microphone capable of a similar trick with audio.

Combined with a powerful microchip and software, these capabilities could be put to uses unrelated to the Xbox. Like: enabling a small drone to "see" its surroundings and avoid obstacles; rigging up a 3-D scanner to create small reproductions of most any object (or person); directing the music of a computerized orchestra with conductorlike gestures; remotely controlling a robot to brush a cat's fur. It has been used to make animation, to add striking visual effects to videos, to create an "interactive theme park" in South Korea and to control a P.C. by the movement of your hands (or, in a variation developed by some Japanese researchers, your tongue).

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March 18, 2012

Forensic audit finds more, costs more


To the auditing industry, the fact that investors tend to blame auditors when frauds go undetected reflects unrealistic expectations, not bad work by the auditors. The rules say auditors are supposed to have a "healthy degree of skepticism," but not to detect all frauds.

"There is a significant expectations gap between what various stakeholders believe auditors do or should do in detecting fraud, and what audit networks are actually capable of doing, at the prices that companies or investors are willing to pay for audits," stated a position paper issued in 2006 by the chief executives of the six largest audit networks.

Note that last part. They suggested that if investors were really worried about fraud, they should consider paying more for a "forensic audit" that would have a better -- but not guaranteed -- chance of spotting fraud. Don't like our work? Pay us more.

Ernst's audit opinion does not say, which is no surprise. Virtually every audit opinion in the world says almost the same thing, with no details about the company being audited. Auditors are paid millions of dollars to produce a report that no one thinks is worth reading.

On June 21, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which regulates auditors in the United States, plans to ask for public comments on whether to require auditors to do more and say more.

One idea the board is expected to consider is requiring auditors to disclose more about what they did, and did not, do. Ideally, auditors would point to things that they could not audit. There are a lot of them now, and sometimes they are crucial.

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September 5, 2010

Clutch


Frederick Peters, the owner of Warburg Realty Partners, had run his business well in the 30 years he had owned Warburg Realty. Now through no fault of his own he found himself in a financial crisis that threatened the future of his firm. This was the definition of a clutch situation. Over the next few months, he responded well because his actions were guided by the five traits of people who are great under pressure:


  1. focus

  2. discipline

  3. adaptability

  4. being present

  5. a mix of entrepreneurial desire and fear of losing his business

He also avoided the three traps that cause most people to choke:


  1. he took responsibility for what needed to be done

  2. he did not overthink the situation

  3. nor grow overconfident when his business stabilized.

Alec Haverstick II, a co-founder of Boxwood Strategic Advisers, provided a tool that could take the passion out of financial decision-making. His rule was that when you have less than 12 months of cash left to cover your debt payments, you need to start selling assets. His prescription applied to anyone because the advice was not based on having a lot of money so much as being smart with the money you have left.

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May 27, 2010

MTA transit data dump #MTADEV opens for development


#MTADEV: Build your own transit informatics for lower NY and NYC using MTA's data.

May 2, 2007

Learning 2.0

O'Radar bounces off Education 2.0.

Once upon a time there was a notion to move from centering
education on teachers to centering on students (RRE):

A kind of instruction manual for a new
rhetoric, and it's the rhetoric that's destructive. Take the nebulous
opposition between "teacher-centered" and "student-centered" kinds
of learning. (One does not say "teaching" any more, on the grounds
that learning is a socially necessary activity and teaching is not.
If one does grudgingly recognize the role of a professional who sees
to it that people learn, one calls that person a "learning manager" or
some such foolishness.)

The idea is that, in the old world, teachers
just stood up and droned, and the whole thing revolved around them,
whereas in the new world each student will head off in his or her own
totally unique direction, according to his or her own unique interests
and needs.

Sounds good until you try it, and until you really ask
seriously whether the dichotomies describe the reality. You wouldn't
know from listening to the technophiles that any teacher in the old
world had ever run a discussion section, assigned loosely structured
project assignments, supplemented classes with individually directed
study arrangements, or ever provided students with a reading list.

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