• 2023

  • Twitter is broken (again)

  • Elon decided to break Twitter today. Now, this is not the first time he’s danced with breaking features of Twitter. I would link to all the other times but instead I’ll just link to The Verge’s excellent story stream of the entire saga since the buyout. Apparently he decided to “rate-limit” tweet reads for logged-in users, and to paywall the rest of the public.

    The real story here is Twitter is trying to cut costs and run away from cloud providers. In all likelihood, these recent changes from Musk are mitigation efforts to prevent their cloud costs from exploding. I mean, what did Musk think was going to happen? Allowing two hour video content uploads has ginormous cost implications. Regardless, they have decided to walk away from huge data contracts and aren’t paying their cloud bills.

    Twitter hosts some services on its server and houses others on the cloud platforms of Amazon (AMZN.O) and Google, Platformer said.

    In March, Amazon warned Twitter that it would withhold advertising payments because of the company’s outstanding bills to Amazon Web Services for cloud computing services, according to the Information.

    Since Musk’s acquisition, Twitter has cut costs dramatically and laid off thousands of employees. Musk ordered the company to cut infrastructure costs, such as spending on cloud services, by $1 billion, a source had told Reuters in November.

    Totally normal operations for a properly functioning company. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

  • 2019

  • A Brief History of Doom

  • No, not the video game. I wish we were talking about a space-invading alien crisis. Instead, we’re talking about financial crisis.

    I won’t lie either, the video below is a bit of a bore. Nothing is more boring that two older white men talking about 200 years of financial dismay in a slow tempo. But here’s the video anyways:

    TL;DW — Basically, the only reason crashes ever happen in the first place if because excessive private lending goes unchecked. Luckily, it hasn’t been too bad in a while at least as far as private lending is going. However, consumer credit, is spiraling out of control.

    Which all things considered is extraordinary given that the entire US Monetary system exists on the sole belief of faith in the credit of the US. So, next time you hear about the “the next crash,” think about how it relates to credit or private lending.

  • Exit 12: Moved by War

  • A remarkable and moving Staff Pick. Directed by Staff Pick creative alumni, Even/Odd and Mohammad Gorjestani and commissioned by Square, Inc.

    If you ask me, dance is the perfect medium to capture, distill and convey the depth of tragedy, complexity and sadness of war and loss. I just love this quote from Román Baca, the dance company director of Exit 12:

    Every story is not being told, and every voice is not being heard. Veterans are emboldened when they are able to share their lives not only with other veterans but other people.

    That is so very true. I’m happy to see Baca chasing his dream. Moreover, I’m happy to veterans helping each other, and inviting us into the wrinkles of this complex catharsis that we can all heal from.

    You can read more about this Staff Pick at the Vimeo Blog. Follow the Exit 12 dance company online here.

  • Arena

  • A film from Páraic McGloughlin. His short-film was voted Best of the Month earlier this year. While it’s not my favorite video for 2018, it really stood out. From the video’s description:

    A brief look at the earth from above, based on the shapes we make, the game of life, our playing ground – Arena.

    Created using Google Earth imagery.

    A superb interview is available as well from the site, Directors Notes.

  • 2018

  • Mid90s Trailer

  • From Miles Surrey at The Ringer:

    Hill said in 2016 that while making a coming-of-age drama is a cliché in and of itself, he’s hoping to give fans a skateboarding movie that avoids the “’80s cowabunga kind of trope,” and instead takes cues from the films that inspired him to tackle the subgenre, like This Is England and Kids. First appearances can be misleading; trailers aren’t always sincere reflections of the art itself. But Hill is clearly mining from a very personal place, and if nothing else, Mid ’90s looks like an aesthetically pleasing piece of childhood nostalgia for his generation.

    And who knows? While Hill has bounced between some really fun, absurdist comedies, he’s also a two-time Oscar nominee. Perhaps his first grasp of Oscars gold will come from the director’s chair. It certainly wouldn’t be the wildest thing we’ve seen from Jonah Hill. Mid ’90s hits theaters October 19. 

    This looks hella-good. Some thoughts:

    My memories from the 90’s mostly include watching cartoon programs such Pokemon or Power Rangers or whatever was on Nickelodeon — basically late-nineties things. However, after 9/11, and as I entered my teenage years things changed. Skating became a rudimentary means to explore my neighborhood, bond with new friends, impress girls and an opportunity to do something fun with my younger brothers when we were bored (which was often). Remember CCS Catalogs? Oh man.

    I ditched the skateboard when I was 17 or so. For a car and a MacBook no less. Then one day, I discovered I was in college and I no longer owned a skateboard.

    While I own a deck now, it’s really just symbolic for me at this point. Though, I never outgrew my love for skateboarding. I think it’s because the sub-culture is so forgiving and so ancestral. It felt like everyone who bled together, stayed together, y’know? Everyone is a misfit in their own right as a teenager, but there was this common heritage we all felt emotionally. It was powerful stuff.

    Not sure if this was a visceral emotion I tied to skating, or if it was just a side-effect of being a teenager — at any rate, those years were jam-packed, complex and nostalgic to reflect upon.

    As you can probably tell, I’m excited to check out this Jonah Hill’s new movie and re-live some of that coming-of-age nostalgia. This film feels genuine. It doesn’t feel campy like Grind or culture-bleached in the ways the Lords of Dogtown felt. Mid90s feels, just right.

  • Greenpeace Ecosystem

  • Elliot Lim is a freelance director, designer, and animator based in the Bay Area. Elliot has a wide and varied resumé of work (some notables include HBO, FX, AT&T, and Jarritos).

    While jumping around a bit on Vimeo this morning, I found some of his handiwork. This short in particular was completed for Greenpeace was absolutely astounding. Lim has a beautiful hand in illustration styles, motion, and direction. Really top-notch stuff. Enjoy.

  • Farewell – ETAOIN SHRDLU

  • The entire process of breaking a story and getting it to print is just bonkers. It’s hard to fathom making such deadlines today, let alone 40 years ago.

    Over the July 4th weekend of 1978, the New York Times switched from a Linotype typesetting process to phototypesetting (or cold-typesetting). Filmmakers Carl Schlesinger and David Loeb Weiss were there to document the end of an era for the historic paper. Amidst a still-looming print deadline, and rigid schedule to switch to an entirely modern process the next day — the entire process feels like total anarchy. With minutes to spare, they make the deadline.

    As for the mystical etaoin shrdlu, it’s a non-sensical phrase generated by the typesetter, running their fingers vertically along the Lintotype keys. It was used as a signal to editors that a known mistake was made by the operator. Because operations had to move quickly, it was common to see etaoin shrdlu make it into products such as this one from a 1903 edition of The New York Times.

    From the film’s description:

    A film created by Carl Schlesinger and David Loeb Weiss documenting the last day of hot metal typesetting at The New York Times. This film shows the entire newspaper production process from hot-metal typesetting to creating stereo moulds to high-speed press operation. At the end of the film, the new typesetting and photographic production process is shown in contrast to the old ways.

    There are interviews with workers at NYT that are for and against the new technology. In fact, one typesetter is retiring on this final day as he does not want to learn the new process and technology.

    This is the first time the film has ever been available in HD from the original 16mm master film.

    See more printing, journalism, and typographic-related films at: printingfilms.com

    I have so much respect for these hot metal typesetters, editors, and journalists. This was a tough-as-nails job. They crafted an entire process around the machine’s unforgiving mechanical problems to ensure a daily paper was possible.

    It’s really something to behold. The Linotype was a marvelous (and very dangerous machine) feat of mechanical engineering but by the late 1970’s it was time to say goodbye as the digital age was upon us. We’ve come a long way.

    Further Reading

  • Something Like Home

  • From the description:

    Something Like Home is a Duolingo documentary about the impact of language and education on the lives of Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan. Over the years, thousands of people have written to us with stories of learning a new language in order to find a sense of identity, of safety, of home. So we traveled to meet them.

    In doing so, we uncovered some common themes: survival, perseverance, humility, grit. These people defy stereotypes, and their stories have the power to forever alter the lens through which we see the world.

    The UN Refugee Agency petition asks governments to ensure that refugees from all countries get access to education. Sign the UN petition:


    This is a quick half-hour documentary Duolingo produced. I don’t think it’s an especially groundbreaking piece of film, but it’s definitely worth a watch . Especially in these tiresome and fatiguing times.

  • 99 Locations of New York

  • I’ve been a New Yorker for about 2 years now, and while I’ve barely scratched the surface exploring this town — it is most certainly replete with annoyance, anxiety, humor, mystery, romance and among other things, meditation. The geography of sounds here are boundless and seemingly amorphous from week-to-week.

    Commercial and Music Video Director Menzkie , shot this short in 2014 and I’ve honestly been looking for a film that communicates and describes what it feels like living here. I think this is it. It’s an old Staff Pick, but I thought it was worth re-sharing.

    I love the sound design. It is pretty apparent it’s a mix of recordings and SFX. But it totally captivated me. Good stuff.

  • 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.

  • Tank

  • Stu Maschwitz is an absolute madman. He’s a veteran filmmaker, photographer, ex-Industrial Light & Magic, and co-founder of the now-defunct effects studio The Orphanage. He’s currently the Chief Creative Officer of Red Giant, video editing and effects software I use regularly. You’ve’re probably familiar with his work.

    In short, Tank is an animated short film… made entirely in After Effects. It’s nuts. Make sure to watch the entire film and the behind-the-scenes. It’s a work of fucking art, and you can tell Stu really sunk his heart into this film. It’s absolutely wonderful.

  • Weather Channel Walks Away from Facebook Videos

  • From Sahil Patel for Digiday:

    “[Facebook video] hasn’t been beneficial,” said Neil Katz, global head of content and engagement at The Weather Channel, during a speech at the Digiday Video Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. “It has been good for Facebook, but it hasn’t been good for us.”


    “We went along for the ride every single step of the way,” Katz said. “But we noticed, over the course of two years, that we were being paid in all types of currencies — followers, shares, views — that did not feel like money.”

    The Weather Channel was part of Facebook’s funding program for live and on-demand news feed videos and also produced three shows for Facebook Watch last fall. The Weather Channel’s deal to produce live and on-demand news feed videos for Facebook, for which Katz said it received a seven-figure fee, shined a light on how difficult it is to make money on Facebook. Paid to produce a predetermined number of minutes per month, The Weather Channel found it was only making $28 per minute of video produced. For comparison, Katz pointed out how the CBS reality show “Survivor” cost $45,000 per minute to make in 2009.

    Not surprised. Facebook is a one-sided business. It’s closed-off, full of trolls, your mom and dad, an echo-chamber of bad ideas, and where content goes to die. While IBM clearly isn’t as brash as Elon Musk it leaves me wondering, “how much longer until Facebook has a user-exodus crisis on its hands?”