Things Storm bookmarked this week / 09-09-11
Another week of Storm bookmarks – far too many interesting things going on to list them all, but here’s a couple of highlights from us:
Ben Hammersley’s speech to the IAAC made for fantastic mid-week reading. In it, Hammersley makes an impassioned call to understanding and dialogue about the meaning and impact of technology. It’s worth taking the time to read – it’s a beautifully written piece with a trajectory which takes it over technology, security and social media:
A world where Al-Qaeda can be described by the government as an existential threat to the UK, when it is patently not, is a world where warnings about updating your virus scanner because of Chinese cyberwarriors or Russian mafia will be ignored as yet more paranoid security bullshit.
Despite the fact that it probably isn’t.
What’s worse, is that the phrase “security precautions” has become a synonym for “pointless annoying thing to do because politicians are either stupid or oppresive”.
In the roller-coaster world of the big tech boards, Arrington got into increasingly impenetrable tangles with parent company AoL over who owns, doesn’t own, should own, or might one day own tech blog TechCrunch. He hasn’t been sacked yet though (kinda), which is more than can be said for Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz, who got ditched by phone and has since gone down in history as the only person to lose $10m by using the word “doofuses”. No-one this side of the pond has a clue what that word means, but either way – ouch.
Liam bookmarked this piece from Smashing Mag about the PayPal API. The starting disclaimer doesn’t fill one with hope:
PayPal’s API is among the worst I’ve ever had to deal with. Inconsistencies, sometimes poor or conflicting documentation, unpredictable failures and account changes, and major differences between the live and sandbox versions all conspire to make the PayPal API quite a pain in the arse to work with.
…but as Liam points out – if you have to use their API, this is probably as good a place as any to get to know it…
On a similarly geeky note (this time appealing more to stats nerds like me) was this fascinating post from the bit.ly blog all about the “half life” of a link. Turns out it’s about 3 hours – but more interestingly it also depends where and how you post it:
While we’re on the geekery, check out ifttt.com – a totally wondrous way of responding to stuff with other stuff… – easier to understand once you go there and have a look – but you can basically say “if this thing happens, do this” based on a huge range of social networks, feeds and other web tools. So “If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook then send me an email”….or whatever. Anyway – lovely usability, great humour, genuinely useful service.
Finally – as someone who struggles / bangs on / worries about the time-sink of all this STUFF – this post from Ars titled Why keeping up with RSS is poisonous to productivity, sanity caught my eye. In short – give up on RSS, you’ll get to know anything important via Twitter anyway.
Nice concept but then I might miss my weekly “Mark all as read” moment…. :-)
Ttfn – until next week.