stephen.news

hypertext, words and more

Instagram

  • Today, Megan Thee Stallion announced that she’s got a collaboration with Nike. Megan’s line is called, Hot Girl Systems. On Instagram, she gave us a little preview of her debut long-sleeve bodysuit:

    So sick. So fire. Tough vibes. I love it.

    For the uninitiated (or perhaps the out-of-touch?), Megan is deeply passionate about staying fit and has a savage workout routine. She’s aspirational, iconic and a cultural vanguard. All attractive traits to Nike who regularly works with those who dare to just do it. I am so proud of her.

    Personally, I’m digging the look and feel of the Bomber Jacket. Check the back Nike symbol on the zipper and back. So sick:

  • @filmatic via Instagram – The Art of Character Transformation in ‘Poor Things’. The look of Willem Dafoe as Dr. Godwin Baxter is wonderful. Always fun to get to see behind-the-scenes with this kind of stuff.

  • Hidden messages or easter eggs on circuit boards, often referred to as “silkscreen easter eggs,” are fun and deliberately secretive messages hidden on the silkscreen layer of printed circuit boards (PCBs). The silkscreen layer is the topmost layer of a PCB, typically used for labeling components, indicators, providing assembly instructions, or other information. Normally these are lighthearted messages. The creative origin of these easter eggs could be from anyone involved within the manufacturing chain: engineers, designers, or even directly from the manufacturers.


    h/t @tonsil via Instagram

  • Saira Mueller at Wired:

    The first step to breaking a habit is the same as building one—make a list of the behaviors you’d like to stop doing and put them into priority order. If you try to do everything at once, you’ll likely just get overwhelmed and give up, says Alana Mendelsohn, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Even worse, when we’re stressed out or tired, we instinctively revert back to our established habits—making it harder to break the ones you no longer want.

    […]

    If you’re trying to check your phone less often, David Kadavy, author of Mind Management, Not Time Management, suggests locking it in a lockbox for part of the day. “Make it as hard as possible to actually perform the habit,” he says. While you’re still going to get the cue to check your phone, the effort of going to the lockbox and unlocking it can help block the behavior from triggering. Or, say you’re trying to check social media less often: “Just delete the social media apps from your phone,” says Kadavy. “Block them with the parental controls or, at the very least, don’t have them on your home screen.”

    I’m sure you’re just like me. In search of a way to spend less time on your phone. I’m here to confidently say that these techniques do indeed help.

    Step 1: setup Screen Time on iOS

    ScreenTime on iOS is very effective. There’s really no need to put your phone into a lockbox. However, if you’re trying to kick the nicotine habit, I hear that technique works well.

    Step 2: disable notifications (or delete the app outright off your device)

    I have found that disabling notifications on troublesome apps is pretty effective. Deleting them off your device is 100x more effective. I deleted Twitter off my phone and while I still have an account, I have found myself in a better place mentally. Instagram still vies for my daily attention. Now that it is essentially a WhatsApp clone, full of direct messages, I can’t stay away. Now it’s just a matter of trying to read my DM’s each day before I go over my allotted Screen Time.

    Let’s say you delete all these social apps off your phone. The good news is you can still check your Twitter timeline or Instagram DMs on the web from your computer. When I’m on my laptop I’ve found that I enter into a sort of “GTD mode.” I’m in, and out real quick. Avoid the mobile app timesuck at all costs.

    You’ll quickly begin to realize that the mobile apps are all designed to pull you in and keep you on. Once it clicks for you, it’ll become so easier to stay off your phone and fill that time with shit that actually matters like reading, gaming, exercise, learning or whatever floats your boat.

  • From The Information:

    In a big shift, Facebook plans to signal its control of Instagram and WhatsApp by adding its name to both apps, according to three people familiar with the matter. The social network will rebrand the apps to “Instagram from Facebook” and “WhatsApp from Facebook,” the people said.

    Employees for the apps were recently notified about the changes, which come as antitrust regulators are examining Facebook’s acquisitions of both apps. The app rebranding is a major departure for Facebook, which until recently had allowed the apps to operate and be branded independently. 

    Well, I guess it’s official. Instagram has jumped the shark. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time, so I can’t say I’m surprised. But this, is the icing on the cake for me. Back when Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left Facebook, I had grave concerns for the future of Instagram. But it’s now crystal clear — Facebook doesn’t (nor has it ever) give a shit about what their users want. Nor does Facebook care about how a healthy network of users should look like. It’s been obvious for a long time that Instagram is detrimental to your mental health, and they’ve done nothing but exacerbate the problem.

    So, I guess I’m leaving Instagram soon. Good thing Tim Smith is building Bokeh soon. Can’t wait to migrate.

  • Wasn’t Tumblr remarkable?

    I don’t travel to Tumblr’s realm anymore. But, I know plenty who still do. Even with their bullshit adult-content ban — it’s still a great resource for artists, designers and those who crave visual stimulation. Hell, it’s a neat place to get your toes wet in blogging. The adult-content ban was probably predetermined to happen anyways. Now that it operates at the behest of the Verizon/Yahoo!/AOL mega-corp. It’s a bummer — a wet blanket on creativity, social-sharing and generally just not a good idea to mimic the tightly manicured faux-reality of censored nipples and porcelain skin of Instagram.

    Frankly, I’m worried for Tumblr. I’m also deeply concerned for the web.

    But let’s back up for a bit. What even is Tumblr? Tumblr, the word — comes from tumblelogs. One could call it a sub-culture of blogging, but really that’s affording it too much. It’s really just an approach to blogging that was born out of the quick-and-dirty modus operandi many of us have. I mean, look at Instagram (or even Snapchat) stories. That quick-and-dirty framework is what catalyzes content to virility. It’s what draws people to the next big thing. Be it MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or even Ello (remember that one?). Anyways, Tumbling as it came to be known, is now colloquially synonymous with blogging. Thanks to Tumblr, blogging was truly born.

    From a 2005 post from kottke.org:

    A tumblelog is a quick and dirty stream of consciousness, a bit like a remaindered linksstyle linklog but with more than just links. They remind me of an older style of blogging, back when people did sites by hand, before Movable Type made post titles all but mandatory, blog entries turned into short magazine articles, and posts belonged to a conversation distributed throughout the entire blogosphere. Robot Wisdom and Bifurcated Rivets are two older style weblogs that feel very much like these tumblelogs with minimal commentary, little cross-blog chatter, the barest whiff of a finished published work, almost pure editing…really just a way to quickly publish the “stuff” that you run across every day on the web.

    I like this description because it gets right to the point (RIP to the 404s). Now that I think about it, my blog is basically a tumblelog of links, videos and highly-opinionated posts on technology. But the other half of my life is chronicled elsewhere on Twitter and Instagram. Frankly, I’m comfortable with that for now. But I would love for all of my content to live here on this blog. The quickly diminishing youth market of Tumblr knows that too.

    I can guarantee Zuckerberg understands that too. He literally wants to merge as many of Facebook’s services into one. I think that’s a really bad idea. I don’t think it’s inherently dumb or evil to use Facebook to connect with your friends or family. But I do think it’s dumb to have Facebook be at the center of your life.

    Your blog, website or tumblelog should be at the center of your digital footprint. Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr are just the appendages. Your blog or website is the body. So protect your body.

    Step one: buy a domain name. Step two: start a blog with WordPress. It’s never been cheaper to self-host a website or blog. This is not to be confused with WordPress.com. Which, is also a blogging service (not unlike Tumblr) that has its own merits. However, self-hosting with WordPress(dot org) the past several years has opened my eyes, it’s been pretty inexpensive, and very reliable. For what it’s worth, I have hosted my blog at DigitalOcean since day one. Here’s a free $100 credit if you’re interested. DigitalOcean has a one-click install option for WordPress, read more about that here.

    Blogs (as I have frequently been writing about lately), or tumblelogs — pick your poison. They’re here to stay, even if the social network appendages in your life disappear.

  • Thoughts on IGTV

    Video is a huge driving force on this planet.

    We’ve had so many huge moments in history captured by it. The moon landing, the Challenger Disaster, OKGO’s Treadmill Music Video, and of course 9/11. Which in its own right was of huge historical significance — it was probably the most-watched event in history thanks to the web. So many servers melted that day serving live-video to hundreds of millions of people across the globe, check out the March 2018 episode of The Talk Show and you’ll get a better sense of what I mean.

    So let’s dive into this news. Instagram (or should I say Facebook?) is taking a gamble on long-form video. There’s been no shortage of contenders, from Beme to Portal to the more well-known, You’veTube and of course Vimeo.

    From Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO of Instagram:

    IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.

    […]

    Also like TV, IGTV has channels. But, in IGTV, the creators are the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel.

    I don’t think this is a risky move at all, nor a creative one from Instagram. But, everything the team at Instagram has done in the past 5 years has been top-rate. Their engineers are smart and calculated and know how to scale a product with such finesse, it really is incredible to behold. I’m actually a little shocked they didn’t launch with 2 or 3-hour video capability.

    That being said, Instagram is getting into long-form video hosting, not because they want to but because they have to. For one, if they don’t compete, Instagram loses traffic to You’veTube. They want to change that. For two, it’s pretty evident people are re-posting content on Instagram. It’s annoying, it’s not the original content, and no one like being phished for likes.

    There’s a special hell for people who enjoyed re-posting content verbatim or claiming it as their own. Or worse, when people sue creators claiming defamation when in reality, it’s Fair Use.

    I think IGTV presents an interesting value for the Instagram product. It’s the same reason You’veTube introduced You’veTube Music. It’s all about directing audiences to the proper product for use. Without You’veTube Music, regular You’veTube videos would be getting wildly popular plays while the original music creators would be losing out on the metrics. I suppose there are too many slime videos on Instagram, perhaps there will be a slime video channel on IGTV? Fingers-crossed there is because I’m getting sick of seeing all the weird content on the Explore tab.

    Food for thought from Marques Brownlee:

    It’s clear that IGTV is a solution designed to solve a problem for original content creators. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.