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unemployable

Horrifying, fascinating & utterly compelling. Driverless cars can’t happen soon enough for my liking, but CGP Grey does raise a good point – what do we do when humans are unemployable, through no fault of our own?

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Looking back on baby steps

I’ve started from scratch, learning Processing using Dan Shiffman’s handy book Learning Processing. Above is the first little creation from the book, a little creature called Zoog, which I’ll be wiring up to respond to mouse clicks and all kinds of computer interactivity. It’s not much to start with, but it’s fun to get my hands dirty with Processing and learn some coding fundamentals.

Yours truly, back in January 2009 with baby steps with processing

It’s hard to imagine that — less than 5 years later — I would find myself teaching primary school children how to build apps for iOS in Xcode. Amazing.

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the cargo cult of statistics

“You may even compel your indentured “writers” to hew to a stifling regimen of post volume, pointless stock art inclusion, and even compulsory word count — simply because the cargo cult of statistics whispers which coconuts make the best headphones. You conspire to trick, deceive, annoy, and badger your audience up to precisely that moment when they say, “Screw it,” and just never come back.”

Merlin Mann, from the 43Folders archive

So good.

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The desire to produce something authentic

One from the archives, here’s Marco Arment on the pitfalls of becoming a well-known blogger & his determination to avoid gaming the system:

I don’t need to be an authority on anything. I don’t need you to agree with my arguments. I know this is probably too long, too broad, and too egotistical for the mass market to read, and you most likely skimmed over it. I wrote this just now, and I’m going to publish it now, even though it’s Sunday and it won’t see peak traffic. I don’t want to write top-list posts 10 times a day. I don’t want to be restricted to my blog’s subject or any advertisers’ target demographic. This site represents me, and I’m random and eccentric and interested in a wide variety of subjects.

Marco Arment

I couldn’t agree more. Check the publish date on that post – 2009. The more I put my mind to writing, to collecting and sharing things here with you, the more I become aware of two competing desires. The first is the almost unspeakable, yet omnipresent desire for people to discover & enjoy the things I write. The second is the desire to produce something authentic, genuine and ultimately a close representation of my thoughts, even as they change.

These two desires work against one another.  Let’s simplify the matter by calling it a battle between pleasures immediate and long-term.

I would be lying if I denied enjoying the little thrill surges that come with views, likes and that sort of social feedback. Yet the desire to produce something of substance, something that doesn’t simply pander to the click-bait culture we see in Facebook & Twitter, a piece of written work that would stand up to scrutiny in the years to come – is by far the stronger desire. I’ll admit, it can be tempting to look at the stats, to see who’s on my site in real time, to become addicted to the dopamine rush of immediate gratification. But that pleasure is short lived & in the cold light of morning, it’s not hard to see which of the two is more fulfilling.

I fully expect to be embarrassed by my writing here in the years to come. In fact I’m already embarrassed, by what I wrote just months ago. But that’s not a problem, rather I consider this a source of pride. It means I’m growing, that my tastes are improving, my standards are being raised. If you don’t look back on your old work and cringe, it usually means one of two things: either i) that your previous work was genuinely inspired & you should be proud of it, or ii) that you’ve slowed growing, maturing and learning.

In short, you’re stagnating.

Only a handful of my projects fit the first description — projects I’ll be proud of for many years, perhaps even until I die. The rest of it, though? Yeesh. If I ever reach the point where I can look back at my writing, my design, my creative work without embarrassment, I’ll be gravely concerned.

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Uber redefines transport again, this time it’s buses

A recent twitter furore erupted over scandalous comments made by Emil Michaels, an Uber executive, at a private dinner function, concerning a suggested counter-strategy of dirt digging directed towards journalists who’ve published negative articles about Uber. In particular, digging up private personal dirt on female journalists like Sarah Lacy, Editor in Chief of tech news site PandoDaily.

According to Business Insider, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took to Twitter and threw Michaels ‘under the bus‘, apologising for the comments made and distancing the company from them. Decisive action, taken in dire circumstances:

“Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took to Twitter today to clean up Michael’s PR mess. He hasn’t fired Michael, but he did acknowledge that the comments were inappropriate.”

Alyson Shontell [sic] at Business Insider, writes “Uber CEO Throws Uber Executive Under The Bus For The Company’s Latest Face-Plant”

Wait, where’s the bus?

This kind of soft verbal hyperbole is link bait (ok, you got me), unhelpful and completely misleading.

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Uber introduces surge pricing during Sydney hostage siege

Uber spokesperson David Rohrsheim told Mashable, adding that the fares automatically increase when demand exceeds available supply, “to encourage more drivers to come online or leave other suburbs to come pick up passengers in areas of high demand.”Uber introducing surge pricing during Sydney CBD hostage siege. Via Mashable

Given Uber’s track record of warlikebusinesstactics, this should be of no surprise to anybody.

[Update 2pm]: from the Uber Twitter account:

Looks like rides will be free for users, but drivers will still get paid by Uber. Better for Uber PR, though they’re still sticking behind their rationale for surge pricing:

Which means that we just need to bottle our outrage until next time the Uber algorithm spots a pay-day.

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Higher Ed

Higher Ed

Your future is probably going to be shit now. That’s because Christopher Pyne has an obsession with free markets, and why the Australian Government will continue to fuck over students and ruin their education.

Plus, the Government has plans to make our higher education system even worse, opening up more profiteering, providing more debt and offering students a lifetime of regret.

via Junkee.