A practitioner & student of Earned Media Strategy for Brands. Live in Mumbai. Share tweets that your attention deserves. I am 26. Blog @ http://t.co/d3fEAzvW
9 stories
·
1 follower

7 Ways to Take Your Sleep Back

1 Comment
Sleep on these smart tips and get more zzzzs.
Read the whole story
digitalhumor
1199 days ago
reply
Take your sleep back.
ÜT: 28.46867,77.07026
Share this story
Delete

Avoiding magical thinking

2 Comments and 3 Shares

There's a relationship that's easy to imagine but actually incorrect: We often come to the conclusion that in order to make something magical, we'll need magical events to occur to get there.

Building a startup is hard. Publishing a great book successfully is quite difficult. Launching a non-profit that matters is a Herculean task. I hope you will do all three, and more, often.

But while your intent is pure and your goal is to create magic, the most common mistake is to believe that the marketplace will agree with your good intent and support you. More specifically, that media intermediaries will clearly, loudly and accurately tell your story, that this story will be heard by an eager and interested public and that the public will take action (three strikes).

Or, more tempting, that ten people will tell ten people to the eighth power, leading to truly exponential growth (some day). Because right now, you've told ten people and they have told no one.

Or, possibly, that you will call on businesses and offer them a solution so powerful that they will pay you at that very first meeting, generating enough cash flow that you will be able to immediately hire more (and better) salespeople to grow your organization exponentially.

All great organizations make change. Change is hard. Change takes time. In markets that matter (meaning not gossip, not snark, not spectator sports), people rarely tell dozens of other people about what they've discovered. And action is taken, sometimes, but not as much as you deserve.

No, you'll need to work hard to create something magical, and a big part of that hard work is relentlessly eliminating all magical thinking from your projections and your expectations of how the market will react.

Only count on things that have happened before, a funnel you can buy and time you can afford to invest. Anything more than that is a nice bonus.

[HT, worth reading: Aaron]

Read the whole story
digitalhumor
1311 days ago
reply
This.
ÜT: 28.46867,77.07026
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment

On Death and iPods: A Requiem

8 Comments and 13 Shares

Have you ever loved a car? Maybe it was an old truck you drove for hundreds of thousands of miles, or maybe it was your very first car: where you had your very first beer and your very first kiss. You can love a car and keep on loving it as long as you don’t crash it. If you’re willing to maintain it, you can keep driving it basically forever. Maybe some day it’ll be old enough that you’ll get thumbs-ups from cool kids as you putter down the street in your charmingly vintage car. This is not the case with gadgets—even though, for many of us, our old gadgets were way more important than our old cars.

Gadgets come and go from our lives. Technology marches forward so rapidly that even if you could replace a broken part—which often you can’t—doing so just wouldn’t make any sense. Other times, the networks and services those gadgets depend on to keep running go away entirely. Gadgets die, even the ones we love.

When the 1990s were getting older, there was this crazy new music format called MP3. It wasn’t the greatest audio format, but it was good enough. It was compressed in such a way that it was easy to download, and yet sounded good to most normal people. Suddenly, you could download a whole album’s worth of music to your computer. And, for me at least, that music was free. (Because I stole it.)

“You can fit your whole music library in your pocket. Never before possible.” Holy. Shit.

Since its advent, recorded music had been a scarce commodity. You had to work hard to get money to pay for compact discs or cassettes or long play vinyl records. Even blank tapes cost money. That preciousness led to a kind of curation you don’t really see anymore. You had to make choices, because you couldn’t have it all. Your music collection defined you. It was your music.

But then the internet gave us FTP and then Napster and so, so many places to steal music. It fit so perfectly with the libertine zeitgeist of the turn of the millennium. Information wanted to be free! And music, organized into digital files, was just information. Now we could have it in limitless supply.

For most of us, MP3 was still a thing you played on your computer. There were a few attempts to liberate it—little flash players that would barely hold an album, or hard-drive based jukeboxes that were too big and too delicate to be useful. They were all awful.

Then one day in October 2001, Apple invited a bunch of journalists down to see some new thing it had. I was working at Macworld magazine at the time. (Which, like the iPod, died this week. Pour one out.) We all knew it was going to be a music thing, and were even expecting an MP3 player. I remember wanting to go, and being envious of the people who were selected to cover it. It was intriguing and mysterious. What would Apple do? Would they release some little flash thing, or a giant jukebox?

Apple keynotes weren’t such a big deal back then. Sure, they were great. Steve Jobs was already doing the things he would become famous for doing, but back then he was mostly talking about Macs and OS X and software nobody except a handful of nerds cared about.

But that iPod event—the Apple “music” event—changed everything else that would come after, for Apple and the rest of us, too. Because like Steve Jobs said that day, with his dad jeans on, “you can fit your whole music library in your pocket. Never before possible.”

Holy. Shit.

Looking at someone’s iPod was like looking into their soul.

The other reporters came back with those little white MP3 players, and big boxes of compact discs. See, Apple pre-loaded the music players—the iPods, but you knew I was talking about iPods—with music from Real Bands. But they couldn’t legally give out the iPods with MP3s unless they also purchased a copy of every CD. So everyone got two copies of each album: one on the iPod, the other on a piece of plastic. Nobody who went to the event kept the CDs, they just piled them up on a table at the office. I still have one, Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends, because, while Apple design may be the coolest thing around, the company has always, always had shitty taste in music. (See also: U2.)

Nobody had seen anything like it before. It had a 5GB hard drive packed into a device the size of a pack of cigarettes. I didn’t even know anyone was making hard drives that small. To get through all your songs, it had this wheel that let you click and click and clickckckckckckckckckckck your way through thousands and thousands of songs.

It cost $400. Out of my price range, by a long shot. (I was a junior editor at Macworld trying to pay rent in San Francisco.) But I saved and saved until I could afford one.

Suddenly, they were everywhere. White earbuds on the bus. White earbuds on the plane. White earbuds on every street I walked down, in every city in America. Sometimes you’d go to a party, and the host would leave the iPod hooked up to the speakers, so everyone could take turns DJing. Click the wheel and rock the party.

Music changed. There was a very real sense that Apple was abetting music piracy, which only made it cooler. Who could possibly be buying 10,000 songs? And so Apple made its own store, and slowly we started buying music again. Our music. Our songs. We entered the era of the single and the playlist. The track mattered and the album did not. Whole genres just vanished into the maw of the playlist.

We made playlists that spoke to the lives we lived at the moment. Looking at someone’s iPod was like looking into their soul. In their music you could see who they were. You could tell if they were sophisticated or rough. You could see in their playlists the moments they fell in love and the moments they fell back out again. You could see the filthiest, nastiest hip hop in the little white boxes of the primmest people, and know their inner lives a little better than you did before.

The iPhone is about as subversive as a bag of potato chips, and music doesn’t define anyone anymore.

For ten years my iPod—in various incarnations—was my constant companion. It went with me on road trips and backpacking through the wilderness. I ran with it. I swam with it. (In a waterproof case!) I listened to sad songs that reminded me of friends and family no longer with me. I made a playlist for my wife to listen to during the birth of our first child, and took the iPod with us to the hospital. I took one to a friend’s wedding in Denmark, where they saved money on a DJ by running a four hour playlist, right from my iPod. And because the party lasted all night, they played it again.

Everyone played everything again and again.

And now it’s dead. Gone from the Apple Store. Disappeared, while we were all looking at some glorified watch.

In all likelihood we’re not just seeing the death of the iPod Classic, but the death of the dedicated portable music player. Now it’s all phones and apps. Everything is a camera. The single-use device is gone—and with it, the very notion of cool that it once carried. The iPhone is about as subversive as a bag of potato chips, and music doesn’t define anyone anymore.

Soon there will be no such thing as your music library. There will be no such thing as your music. We had it all wrong! Information doesn’t want to be free, it wants to be a commodity. It wants to be packaged into apps that differ only in terms of interface and pricing models. It wants to be rented. It wants to reveal nothing too personal, because we broadcast it to Facebook and we should probably turn on a private session so our boss doesn’t see that we listen to Anaconda on repeat and think we’re high at work. (Point of information: Why is he on Facebook at work?)

There’s an iPod Classic in the console of my car. It’s the third full-sized iPod that I’ve owned, and if I could, I’d keep it forever. But there’s no way to maintain it, not practically. One day it’s going to die. Its little hard drive will seize up, and cease. Everything on it will effectively vanish. I guess, really, it’s gone already—and it has been for a few years now.

I miss the time when we were still defined by our music. When our music was still our music. I miss being younger, with a head full of subversive ideas; white cables snaking down my neck, stolen songs in my pocket. There will never be an app for that.

Read the whole story
digitalhumor
1341 days ago
reply
Sniff
ÜT: 28.46867,77.07026
popular
1341 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
7 public comments
Trebuchet
1332 days ago
reply
I still buy iPods, and iPads, ...but Android phones (until they get locked, anyway, then we'll see... ugh Samsung but I guess that's the next best man up). Dedicated music players are great because if you run with them and they fall, they're less likely to break and take everything else (from your phone) with it. In fact, they're less likely to break, period. Love em! I'm liking Spotify a lot too, though, but primarily to hear new music and buy it from iTunes. :/
baltimore-washington corridor
mikejurney
1340 days ago
reply
On the other hand, this week I experienced a mountain of incredible music via the Google music recommendation engine. Things change.
New York, New York
mgeraci
1341 days ago
reply
//
New York, NY
Courtney
1341 days ago
reply
Nobody tell this person about leaded-fuel cars, their entire argument (and world) will fall apart.
Portland, OR
MaryEllenCG
1342 days ago
reply
I think my mom still has my old iPod.
Greater Bostonia
grammargirl
1343 days ago
reply
*sniff*
Brooklyn, NY
satadru
1343 days ago
reply
How long till the kids ask what's an iPod or mp3 player in the same way they ask what a VCR is these days?
New York, NY
mareino
1343 days ago
My Zune died this week. I felt a little like the last man in the village who could speak the old tribal language.
satadru
1343 days ago
In fairness, owning a Zune you were also the only person in the village who spoke Esperanto and insisted it be spoken of as an old tribal language...

look around at today's kids. they're everywhere! what do they want? what do they eat? and what happens when that food runs out and they turn on us??

4 Comments and 5 Shares
archive - contact - sexy exciting merchandise - search - about
June 19th, 2014next

June 19th, 2014: Adventure Time #29 came out yesterday, and here's a preview! It features GHOSTS and SURPRISES. Probably you like both those things?

– Ryan

Read the whole story
digitalhumor
1432 days ago
reply
ÜT: 28.46867,77.07026
Share this story
Delete
3 public comments
zippy72
1431 days ago
reply
alt-text: FACT: today's tweens will call each other bojo in the future. if you don't think that's a fact, you may already be a bojo
FourSquare, qv
emdeesee
1432 days ago
reply
I remember when I realized my teenage years were as retro as "Happy Days" was during my teenage years, and I'm nostalgic for that time.
📌 Lincoln, NE ❤️️ Sherman, TX
istoner
1433 days ago
reply
Dinosaurs speak sad truths.

Forcing links to open in new windows: an argument that should have ended 15 years ago

8 Comments and 14 Shares

I stabbed The Verge briefly in yesterday’s post for using target="_blank" in their link markup, which tells browsers to always open the target in a new window. (Modern browsers usually have options or extensions to put them into new tabs instead.)

A lot of people have asked me to clarify whether forcing links to open new windows or tabs is actually bad behavior (and why), or just outdated markup that could be replaced with a new HTML5 way to do the same thing. I meant the former. People have been arguing about this for over a decade, so I’ll keep my position brief.

Forcing links to open in new windows has two main purposes:

  1. To avoid disturbing an important session in progress for a temporary digression, such as FAQ/documentation links in the sidebar when you’re doing online banking.
  2. To “keep people on your site”, ensuring that even when visitors navigate away, your tab is never closed and the user is forced to interact with it again later. Maybe they’ll let the ads refresh a few more times or click another story!

I believe the former is justifiable, the latter isn’t, and reading a news or blog article does not qualify as an undisturbable session for most people. And I think over a decade of user confusion and frustration resulting from target="_blank" backs that up.

Most people know how to open your article’s outbound links in new tabs or windows, especially readers of a tech site. Modern browsers make multiple-tab/window management very easy for almost everyone who wants them, and the people who don’t know how to manage them usually don’t want them.

The best practice for the modern web is to let people manage their own windows and tabs.

Read the whole story
digitalhumor
1591 days ago
reply
"over a decade of user confusion and frustration resulting from target="_blank" ". I don't quite agree. Do you?
ÜT: 28.46867,77.07026
popular
1591 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
6 public comments
DGA51
1590 days ago
reply
USUALLY I can use mousewheel/center-button click to indicate I want to open in new tab/window (browser setting). Not all my PCs have that ability on the mouse and right-click/open-in-new-tab is a pain so I like what happens here at NewsBlur when I want to view the original but not until I finish up with the rest of the aggregated articles. What I hate is when a site opens a link in a new window but hides the OS decorations that make it a useful window.
Central Pennsyltucky
DMack
1590 days ago
reply
"Most people know how to...." are you kidding? Most people don't know you can even have multiple tabs or windows. Most people couldn't name the program they use to view the webpage, or tell you what OS they're using. With that said, it does bother me a bit when stuff doesn't open the way I want it to, but that's me and I'm historically not "most people"

edit! I think the target attribute was removed from the HTML5 spec at one time, back when they had a lot of ambitious changes planned.
Victoria, BC
cloudtamer
1591 days ago
reply
I work in email marketing. Any creative that we use makes it popup in a new window. This is so we don't take over the person's web-based email client window.
Troy, MO
cbenard
1590 days ago
I have never in my life seen a webmail client that doesn't automatically 'target="_blank"' every link in the email automatically. Can you provide an example of one that does not?
cloudtamer
1590 days ago
cbenard, yes. that may be true, but we also do it for the hosted content for "View this email online" links as well.
superiphi
1591 days ago
reply
I mostly open links in new window - this is because often it a)takes time to load and b) I often see a link that looks interesting before i finished what i am currently reading, and don't want to forget (links are often in boxes on the side halfway down, not at the bottom, after all)

my beef is actually with the sites that don't allow you to open in new window/tab - right click on a link and some stupid copyright protection notice appears. Usually ctrl-click or middle button click or some other option exists in the browser but it is WAY MORE ANNOYING than forcing links in new window
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom
sstrudeau
1593 days ago
reply
I agree with Marco but we get frequent requests from readers begging us to change this behavior to open all links (even on the same site) in a new tab.
Brooklyn, NY
SamKorn
1592 days ago
2 options: getting familiar with the middle mouse button, and user scripting (Grease monkey etc.).
superiphi
1591 days ago
yes, I read by opening in new window - well, tab - often I see a link but am still reading the article so open it in background tab so i wont forget
satadru
1591 days ago
If it's a link to a different site, especially from a curated news blog, i expect the link to open a new tab, and I consider that desired behaviour as well. That goes for the Verge, Newsblur, & the NYT.
superiphi
1585 days ago
If a link is in the middle of text I want it to open in another window, as I am not done with the text yet!
MotherHydra
1593 days ago
reply
AMEN!
Space City, USA

Living the Quiet Life

3 Shares
By Leo Babauta

When I first started simplifying my life, about 8 years ago, I remember my life being much busier.

I would say yes to everything, and go to lots of social stuff, and drive everywhere doing a crazy amount of things, rushing wherever I went. By crazy I mean it can drive you a bit insane.

These days I know a lot of people who do an amazing amount of socializing online instead of in person — chatting and sending messages and tumbling and posting pictures and status updates. While I understand the need for social connection, I also recognize the addictiveness of it all, to the point where we have no quiet.

Quiet space is incredibly important to me these days. I like my quiet mornings where I can drink a nice tea, meditate, write, as the day grows light and the kids are sleeping. I like quiet on my runs and long walks, so that I can process my ideas, give my thoughts some space, reflect on my life.

The quiet space I allow myself has made possible my writing, but also all the improvements I’ve made to my life: healthier eating, the exercise habit, meditation, decluttering, procrastinating less, etc. Because the quiet space allows me to be more conscious about my actions, and gives me the time to consider whether what I’m doing is how I want to live my life.

And so, while I still socialize, I live a quieter life now. I have my quiet mornings of meditation, tea and writing, but also my nice runs, some time drinking tea or working out with a friend, alone time with my wife, reading with my kids, and some time alone with a good novel.

Is every minute one of quiet? No, the kids make sure I have some noise in my life, and I’m grateful for that, but the quiet is also in how I respond to the noise. A quiet response is one that absorbs the force of noise, with compassion, and doesn’t throw it back with equal force.

Today I wish the quiet life upon you.

Some ideas:

  • Create a little quiet space in the morning.
  • Meditate for 2 minutes a day (to start with). Just sit and put your attention on your breath, returning when your thoughts distract you.
  • When you feel the urge to socialize online, pause. Give yourself a little quiet instead.
  • When you feel the automatic urge to say Yes to an invitation, consider saying No instead, unless it’s something that will truly enrich your life.
  • Don’t take music on a run or walk. Instead, give yourself space with your thoughts.
  • When someone talks to you, instead of jumping in with something about yourself, just listen. Absorb. Reflect their thoughts back to them. Appreciate their beauty.
  • Make time for the people closest to you. One-on-one time is best. Really pay attention to them.
  • Make time for creating, with no distractions.
  • Spend some time decluttering, and creating peaceful space.
  • Create space between your automatic reaction, and your actions (or words). Even one second is enough. In that space, consider whether your reaction is appropriate.
  • Instead of rushing, take a breath, and slow down.
  • Pay attention to sensations of whatever you’re eating, drinking, doing.
  • Have a daily time for reflection.

You don’t have to do all of these, and certainly not all at once. A slow, happy progression is best.

In the quiet space that you create, in this world of noise and rushing and distraction, is a new world of reflection, peacefulness, and beauty. It’s a world of your own, and it’s worth living in.

Read the whole story
digitalhumor
1761 days ago
reply
ÜT: 28.46867,77.07026
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories