Archive for the ‘Daring Fireball’ tag

#  The Surreal Future of Telemarketing →

December 21st, 2013 at 17:07 // In Worth Reading 

A really interesting piece by Alexis Madrigal about the weird enmeshing of people and machines that constitutes a likely future of telemarketing.

Such conversations happen millions of times a year, but they are not what they appear. Because while a human is picking up the phone, and a human is dialing the phone, this is not, strictly speaking, a conversation between two humans.

Instead, a call-center worker in Utah or the Philippines is pressing buttons on a computer, playing through a marketing pitch without actually speaking. Some people who market these services sometimes call this “voice conversion” technology. Another company says it’s “agent-assisted automation technology.”

(via Daring Fireball)

#  NCAA’s Transfer Rules →

July 12th, 2013 at 16:34 // In Worth Knowing 

I’ve long agreed with the basic premise that the NCAA is one of the more morally dubious organizations held commonly in high esteem. And this piece about the misplaced outrage about a “transfer epidemic” is more fodder for the cannon. Josh Levin is clear-sighted and empirical about student transfers and how the NCAA’s strange rules surrounding them can change the lives of “student athletes” is spot-on. A brilliant and much-needed attack:

Let’s examine what this epidemic looks like. Transfer rates for Division I men’s basketball players have hovered between 9 and 11 percent each offseason over the last decade. By comparison, a 2010 study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling indicated that 1 in 3 college students transfer during their scholastic careers. The only difference I’m seeing here is that English lit professors aren’t grousing about students running off with their copies of Moby Dick.

(via Daring Fireball)

#  The View from Nowhere →

December 20th, 2011 at 16:42 // In Worth Knowing 

Jay Rosen asked himself some questions (over a year ago) about an idea he’s trying to spread about the American journalistic style:

In pro journalism, American style, the View from Nowhere is a bid for trust that advertises the viewlessness of the news producer. Frequently it places the journalist between polarized extremes, and calls that neither-nor position “impartial.”

The initial idea is good, but the fleshing-out is worth sticking around for.

(via Chairman Gruber)

#  Cash Cow Disease →

January 24th, 2011 at 11:45 // In Worth Reading 

This brief article is ostensibly about Google and Microsoft, but it’s a cogent attack on the inefficiencies of any sufficiently complacent bureaucracy.

How did Microsoft manage to acquire a relatively hip and happening company like Danger and turn it into a complete flop of a product launch with the Kin? To oversimplify: by having all the money the world. When your development decisions affect your ability to meet payroll quite directly, you see them in a very different light than when they affect nothing more than perhaps your next annual review or your status in the latest internecine company struggle. The economic discipline of the marketplace is lost for those afflicted with cash cow disease. A CEO can embark on a cellphone project for little better reason than that some obnoxious guy in a black turtleneck is doing well with his own cellphone.

(via DF)

#  The Pale Blue Dot →

January 12th, 2011 at 15:10 // In Worth Watching 

Inspired by this post from John Gruber, I searched for the title of one of Carl Sagan’s books and came up with multiple amazing things.

My two favorites are from different parts of the text. One from palebluefilms — which uses the same audio as most videos this search yields — is about our significance, the one from thelostproductionsUS — that Gruber highlighted — is about our potential.

#  The Singular “They” →

July 27th, 2009 at 19:20 // In Worth Reading 

I now know who to blame whenever I feel bad about using “they” as a singular pronoun.

Anne Fisher (1719-78) was not only a woman of letters but also a prosperous entrepreneur. She ran a school for young ladies and operated a printing business and a newspaper in Newcastle with her husband, Thomas Slack. In short, she was the last person you would expect to suggest that he should apply to both sexes. But apparently she couldn’t get her mind around the idea of using they as a singular.

And along with promising that soon the dark days of the plural-only “they” will pass into memory, the piece mention a pronoun I’d heard in lore, and begun to consider apocryphal: thon.

Now if only we could settle on a second-person plural more accurate than “you”…

(via Daring Fireball)

#  There, I Fixed It →

June 29th, 2009 at 15:54 // In Worth Distraction 

You’ve probably seen some of these photos elsewhere. Others are doubtless Photoshopped or just staged for amusement. But it doesn’t stop this site from being worth a little of your time.

(via DF)

#  Forever’s Not So Long →

March 12th, 2009 at 20:06 // In Worth Distraction 

I enjoyed this trip to the end of a life.

(via DF)

#  Ripping into Thomas Freidman →

January 19th, 2009 at 19:08 // In Worth Distraction 

I’ve always had mixed feeling about Thomas Friedman. While I applaud many of his goals, I often find his style (and moustache) off-putting. But I do had to say that Matt Taibbi ripping into him certainly has it’s moments:

Or how about Friedman’s analysis of America’s foreign policy outlook last May:

The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging. When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.”

First of all, how can any single person be in three holes at once? Secondly, what the fuck is he talking about? If you’re supposed to stop digging when you’re in one hole, why should you dig more in three? How does that even begin to make sense? It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if the editors over at the New York Times editorial page spend their afternoons dropping acid or drinking rubbing alcohol.

(seen many places, noticed on DF)

#  Leno in Primetime →

December 8th, 2008 at 19:15 // In Worth Knowing 

You can read it as either a sign that NBC is desperate, or that they’re the boldest network in adapting to a changing media climate, but report are that they’re going to give the last hour of weekday primetime (10 on the coasts, 9 in the middle) to Jay Leno.

(via DF)

#  What Financial Crisis?

September 23rd, 2008 at 20:14 // In Worth Considering 

Some people of some repute — Chris Bowers, David Cay Johnston, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur — think that there’s really no need for Hank Paulson’s $700 billion dollar proposal (or anything like it). I don’t know nearly enough to have anything intelligent to say, but i thought I’d note it.

(via @gruber)

UPDATE (20 minutes later): Also:

#  Small Google Changes

May 30th, 2008 at 15:55 // In Worth Knowing 

I noticed two interesting things on Google today, so I thought I’d share.

  • Google has a new favicon. They’ve switched from the big G to the little one. I like it. (via DF)
  • Maps on searches for country names and cities. Now when I want to know where Zambia is, I no longer have click through to Wikipedia to know.

#  It’s Called Whaling →

April 16th, 2008 at 11:05 // In Worth Knowing 

It’s phishing, but only for big fish only.

Thousands of high-ranking executives across the country have been receiving e-mail messages this week that appear to be official subpoenas from the United States District Court in San Diego. Each message includes the executive’s name, company and phone number, and commands the recipient to appear before a grand jury in a civil case.

A link embedded in the message purports to offer a copy of the entire subpoena. But a recipient who tries to view the document unwittingly downloads and installs software that secretly records keystrokes and sends the data to a remote computer over the Internet. This lets the criminals capture passwords and other personal or corporate information.

(via Daring Fireball)

#  Apple Now America’s #1 Music Seller →

April 3rd, 2008 at 10:48 // In Worth Knowing 

They just passed Wal-Mart.

(via Daring Fireball)

#  The FAIL Meme →

March 20th, 2008 at 17:50 // In Worth Reading 

Andy Baio has some good words on the topic of the FAIL meme (typified by The FAIL Blog).

A few years ago, I wrote an entry about knee-jerk contrarians on the Internet: those delightful people who find fault in anything and everything, dismissing months or years of work with a few words.

This is nothing new. It’s as old as communication itself. I’m sure that the moment man discovered fire, there was some guy nearby saying, “Too smoky. Can burn you. Lame.”

(via Daring Fireball)

#  Down for Everyone or Just Me? →

March 15th, 2008 at 11:57 // In Worth Knowing 

I know there’ve been a lot of times when I thought this would be useful, and now it exists. A site to tell you if the problem with a certain website is on your end or their’s.

(via Daring Fireball)

#  Berkshire Hathaway’s Website →

March 4th, 2008 at 18:21 // In Worth Seeing 

Props to John Gruber for finding this. I’ll leave the explanation to him:

Quite a web site for one of the most successful companies in the world. View source to fully enjoy the Adobe PageMill HTML 2.0 love. It’s funny, but I’m not holding it up to mockery. Given Warren Buffet’s homespun keep-it-simple philosophy, somehow this site, ridiculous as it is, seems appropriate.

#  The History of $5 →

February 29th, 2008 at 15:16 // In Worth Seeing 

Portfolio has a pretty neat showcase of the five dollar bill through history, including the newest iteration. They also have some of those compulsary notes about its security features.

(via Daring Fireball)