Hi, I’m Jamie Thingelstad, and this is the Weekly Thing! At some point, you decided to join me on this exploratory journey of technology, culture, leadership, privacy, and many other topics.
Okay, it was a little perilous to get this issue of the Weekly Thing to all of you. You see, I use Shortcuts extensively to generate the newsletter. It has evolved a lot since the I first shared the setup and now relies on about 20 shortcuts that work together. With the upgrade to iOS 15 this week some of my hooks to other apps stopped working. PANIC! 🙀
One of the nice things about Shortcuts though is you can bang around in them pretty easy. After some workarounds, and then a final swap out of Toolbox Pro for Data Jar I was able to get the thing to generate. It was touch and go, and I’ve got some cleanup to do to fix things, but here it is! Winning! 🏆
If I want to read about the camera capabilities of any new iPhone, I want to read what a photographer has to say, and that is almost always Austin Mann.
Although the iPhone 13 Pro still only has three lenses, the addition of macro capability is like adding a new lens altogether, and for the serious photographer I think it’s perhaps the strongest advancement in this year’s camera system.
His photos and video are incredible here. The focal length on the 3x is a big deal.
When it comes to reviews of new iPhones I typically rely on John Gruber’s take.
Watching: We got started a bit late on season two of Ted Lasso. We are mostly caught up now and still loving the show and the characters.
Reading: First time I’m reading Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau with Nature and Walking. I’m not sure I know how to read this. So far I’ve found Nature more abstruse than Walking. 🚶♂️
Downtown Minneapolis looking great in the glowing evening light.
September 21, 2021 7:23pm
People often ask me where I find the time to create the Weekly Thing. Well, one way, I spend nearly zero time on social media (see reason 1). All twenty of these are great.
I hope at this point most people understand that machine learning isn’t an exotic spice you can add to any problem to make it better. This article does a good job of highlighting other ways to solve similar problems, that are often easier and cheaper. And I like the key qualifier for deciding when the problem you are working on is ready for machine learning techniques.
Having robust data pipelines and high-quality data labels also suggests you’re ready for machine learning.
If you are building a solution that you know will be at a scale that will require machine learning, getting those data pipelines right early on is very important.
This brief interview with Clarence Bethea is an important read. He’s moved away from our community, even though his company is staying in St. Paul.
But I’ve been called the “N word” at startup events. I’ve been held out of things because I’m loud. There are opportunities I know I’m missing out on because I’m a loud Black man.
This is not acceptable.
I do this type of thing with my calendar as well.
However, as part of my overall effort to track my time and attention, I’ll adjust my calendar to match what happened as the day goes by (or at least at the end of the day). So in the moment of “now”, my calendar moves from a planning tool to an archive tool.
Your calendar is just the best place to track information laid out in a sequence of hours and days. It can do a number of things that people don’t naturally consider a calendar tool for.
Interesting things you can do on Mirror. TechDirt using Mirror to raise funds via Ethereum to support an in-depth research article they are doing on NFTs. I joined with a small 0.03 ETH send. You can see @thingles on the leaderboard and my thingelstad.eth wallet address. I also received 30 $TDNFT for my fractional ownership for part of the final paper. 🤔
The one read you need to find out all the new stuff in watchOS 8, which frankly isn’t much. “watchOS 8 is the sleepiest update we’ve seen for the Apple Watch thus far.” Agree.
You may not be looking for a 23 “page” writeup on the new version of iOS but these reads are by far the best way to know what all has changed, and MacStories does these better than anyone else. The stuff I’m most excited about…
If this isn’t enough, Six Colors review is also good.
This writeup of Aspiration just delivers crazy after crazy.
Smearing more vaseline on the lens of the actual business fundamentals, Aspiration turns to creative accounting. Specifically, it leans heavily on a profitability measure called EBITDAM. EBITDA is the familiar “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.” It’s a measure of how profitable a company’s core operations are before the vagaries of capital structure, tax strategy, and accounting charges. EBITDAM excludes all those things … and then also excludes marketing spend.
The comparisons to WeWork are interesting, but of course WeWork was at an entirely different scale.
I’ve previously suggested that algorithms that sort content are inherently driven by some goal. The only way to order content that is devoid of a goal, I would suggest, is in strict time order or random. Anything else, necessarily, must be programmed to some optimization target. You cannot create an algorithm without that.
As former Facebook Civic Engagement team leader Samidh Chakrabarti noted on Twitter, this work essentially requires a set of philosophical and ethical values about what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ content is and what the network should do to promote the former.
How can one platform do all of that for the entire world. At Facebook’s scale, this is not possible.
What seems rather indisputable is that as currently designed (to optimize scale, engagement, profit) there is no way to tweak the platform in a way that doesn’t ultimately make people miserable or that destabilizes big areas of culture and society.
Casey Newton made news when he left The Verge and “went direct” using Substack. These reflections on the first year doing that are interesting.
Location data and keyword search data used without any other probable cause.
In other words, with reverse search warrants law enforcement is still looking for their suspect and they’re asking tech companies to give them a list of people to investigate. For geofence warrants, anyone in a certain place at a certain time becomes a suspect and is subject to further investigation which could mean giving police even more of their user data. For keyword search warrants, another relatively new mechanism to obtain user information that has emerged, anyone who searched for a certain phrase or address becomes a suspect.
I knew about the geofence warrants, but I didn’t realize that was happening with keyword searches too. Good idea to to switch to Duck Duck Go and stop using Google for search.
I continue to be fascinated with Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and how they may enable collective action by people. This history piece dives into a number of examples of DAOs.
Although many DAOs would not embrace the label of digital cooperative, one could say DAOs embrace cooperativism as a protocol, meaning an evolving set of relational practices that are distinct from traditional corporate structures or decentralized autonomous corporations, because they prioritize member ownership. The label cooperative is further qualified here by digital because today DAOs act primarily to coordinate around digital assets. However, as the concept of DAOs evolves in practice, its digital primacy will fade. DAOs, as we will see, also introduce new dimensions that exceed what the operating principles of a digital cooperative notionally encompass.
Some great, specific, examples of how DAOs are operating today as well.
I recently read Evicted so this story caught my eye with a bit more insight than I had before. The book highlights some of the public safety causes that the police can use to cause evictions.
Bitcoins energy footprint is a common knee-jerk answer for many on why it is bad. This article does a great job of providing broader context and highlighting the unique ways in which Bitcoin can use energy.
Tuesday @ 9:25 PM
It was a stellar evening to connect, for the first time in two years, with this great group of local CIOs and CTOs. Kraus-Anderson was nice enough to share their balcony space with the group (Thanks Tony Peleska). The weather was perfect. A big thank you to Dee Thibodeau, Nick Hernandez, and Nate Haines for making this happen. And the wine overviews from Chuck Kanski of Solo Vino Wines were great, as always.
Monday @ 3:42 PM
Starting my first iOS & iPadOS 15 upgrades! I skip the public betas in large part so I can have the fun of doing big OS upgrades like a present. 🎁
Saturday @ 10:39 PM
I get mesmerized watching the sprinklers at Allianz Field during half time. There is something very serene about it. ⚽️💦
Saturday @ 10:37 PM
What a great Minnesota United game tonight! They defeated LA Galaxy 3-0! Great goals. Strong defense. Loved it! Cue Wonderwall! ⚽️
Saturday @ 10:31 PM
Our garden at the cabin has gone a bit wild on us. We haven’t been around enough to keep it well managed. The tomato plants are seemingly everywhere. I had no idea what broccoli does when you let it seed out. There was some giant stuff. We did get one of the beds cleared of everything except strawberries and the runners are going crazy. We are hoping for a big bounty of strawberries next year. We also got the blueberries with room to grow. The squash and tomatoes we are letting run free for now.
Saturday @ 10:26 PM
Today was that sad day when I take the boat out for winter. I got 134 days on the water since I took it out. I went across Cannon Lake, across Wells Lake, and then down the Cannon River to La Cannes Marine for storage. Until next spring…
Friday @ 7:40 PM
Nice cool evening for a campfire and sunset on Cannon Lake. 🔥
I agree with a lot of this, but not the part about asking governments to shut it down. People need to vote with their feet (or phones, as it were). → Crush Facebook - without bullshit
iPhone 13 Pro will be my next phone. → Of all the iPhone(s) 13, Pro seems to be perfect. – On my Om
I’ll stick with paying Fastmail a reasonable subscription for a great service. But if you wanted to host your email this looks like a good option. → Modoboa, Open Source email server
Congrats to local fund! → Arthur Ventures Raises $375,000,000 in New Capital — Arthur Ventures
Good examples of how DNS reputation can impact your service. → The Perils of an .xyz Domain
The 6502 is the only assembly language work I’ve ever done, and the instruction set is well done. → Q&A With Co-Creator of the 6502 Processor - IEEE Spectrum
Interesting way to show systems from many different views. Includes how to construct the data model for it. 🤔 → Multiperspective System Architecture Diagramming · Ilograph developer blog
I wasn’t aware of Gilliard‘s work, but this background is both a good primer on the issues around privacy and surveillance, as well as what he has focused on. → Chris Gilliard aims to abolish Silicon Valley’s surveillance machine - The Washington Post
I’m 195 issues into the Weekly Thing and I still feel this way when I send an issue. 😂 → 15 episodes in and still have no idea what works to make a podcast popular - Summation by Auren Hoffman
If you need to work with PDF files this Python library looks phenomenal. Easy to use and easy to read. → borb | Read, write, and edit PDF files with borb, a pure python library
Here is your fortune…
Blow it out your ear. 👂💨
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I’ve been an active blogger since 2004. I’ve been microblogging via Twitter and my websites since 2006. My link blog goes back to 2005. I think about the Internet and our use of it over decades and am focused on preserving the personal and non-commercial parts of the Internet as well as the corporate and governmental parts. I’m a long-time supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons and Internet Archive as well as other organizations that work on this.