Behind the Son of Beast

Growing up, my family visited Kings Island a lot in the summer. I was terrified of roller coasters for a good decade of those summertime visits after a ride on The Racer at probably-too-young-an-age.

While I rode (and liked) The Beast when I rode it on an eighth grade field trip, the rest of my classmates were obsessed with Son of Beast.

Even then it had problems, but this YouTube video's worth a watch for the full story.

I'm a sucker for theme park designs, what can I say?

Tim Cook on the Need for Privacy Regulation

Tim Cook, speaking while attending a development summit in China:

I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary. The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life -- from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.

Damn straight.


Zero Lives Remaining

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian on Medium:

Our time is all going to be up at some point and when you’re (hopefully) looking back on it, the people and experiences you have in your life will be what you cherish or regret. I know because I saw it firsthand and getting that privilege at 22 meant I could live those years of boundless energy and optimism with some of the wisdom of someone much older.

You’ve got one life remaining, don’t squander it.

Great piece. I'd be lying if I said I didn't need to remind myself of this more.


Five Fixes for Better Photos on your iPhone

Hands-down, the camera is probably the thing that matters most to you about your smartphone. You may not always think about it, but chances are it’s the device feature that you use the most, even if only tangentially.

Whether you’re using it for video chats, snapping a pic, or playing around with the latest AR experience, getting the most out of your camera starts with some simple tricks.

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January, month of fresh starts. The coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the hottest in the Southern. Ianuarius in Latin, from ianua—literally the door of the year.

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On Websites and Those Horrible Social Buttons

John Gruber, absolutely killing it on share buttons, particularly on Medium:

A website should not fight the browser. Let the browser provide the chrome, and simply provide the content. Web developers know this is right — these dickbars are being rammed down their throats by SEO experts. The SEO folks are the same dopes who came up with the genius strategy of requiring 5-10 megabytes of privacy-intrusive CPU-intensive JavaScript on every page load that slows down websites. Now they come to their teams and say, “Our pages are too slow — we gotta move to AMP so our pages load fast.”

I love Medium. I don't mean to be overly harsh on Medium, but he's right.

Share buttons — dickbars, in Gruber's parlance — are not only unnecessary, but they're starting to border on user-hostile. They're absolutely one of the worst things about the modern web experience, made a thousand times worse when they're also presented in a modal when the page first loads.

Gotta wonder about the actual savvy of all the marketing/design groups telling clients to do this. If your goal is to boost engagement this way, you're spending too much time on things that aren't the content.

Yet more notifications

You gotta give Facebook credit for trying new things in what seems like a quiet space. Last week, started getting these chat-like modal alerts for likes and comments on a post.

You still get badges in the top right, just like other notifications. But now also this. It seems both excessive and also weird that it's so very close to the chat experience, which in itself, weirdly, still isn't all-in on Messenger.


"How Facebook Squashed Twitter"

Ben Thompson at Stratechery

When it comes to “the empty spaces” most people don’t want to do work, but work is exactly what Twitter required. You had to know what you were interested in, know who to follow based on those interests, and then, to top it all off, you had to pick out the parts that you were interested in from a stream of unfiltered tweets; Facebook, in contrast, did the work for you.

Thompson's analysis of where Facebook overcame Twitter is fantastic, but I found this quote to be incredibly compelling. In essence, this is what I love about Twitter far more than Facebook. I wouldn't say that I've tuned my Twitter experience to be solely things I'm interested in, but it's something that I definitely miss when I find myself staring at my timeline. 

I hesitate to lump myself in as what Thompson refers to as an "early adopter of Facebook"—it was something you joined when you went to college—but his argument about the news feed's shifts are true.   I still hate "Top Stories" and the "here's another piece of clickbait that eight high school classmates like."

Twitter, on the other hand, feels less cluttered, more relevant.