MEK Studios tag:www.mekstudios.com,2013-02-10:/notional/20130210055031443 Critical thinking to start your day.<br>A blog of ideas, thoughts, and concepts for consideration. Copyright (c) 2013 Michael E. Kirkpatrick 2019-08-30T18:11:06-07:00 Michael E. Kirkpatrick http://www.mekstudios.com michael@mekstudios.com The Photography of Margaret Bourke-White tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-30:/2019/08/the-photography-of-margaret-bourke-white 2019-08-30T18:11:06-07:00 2019-08-30T18:11:06-07:00 Alan Taylor <blockquote> <p>Margaret Bourke-White was born in New York City in 1904, and grew up in rural New Jersey. She went on to study science and art at multiple universities in the United States from 1921 to 1927, then began a successful run as an industrial photographer, making notable images of factories and skyscrapers in the late 1920s. By 1929, she began working for magazine publishers, joining both Fortune and, later, LIFE. She spent years traveling the world, covering major events from World War II to the partition of India and Pakistan, the Korean War, and much more. Bourke-White held numerous “firsts” in her professional life—she was the first foreign photographer allowed to take pictures of Soviet industry, she was the first female staff photographer for LIFE magazine and made its first cover photo, and she was the first woman allowed to work in combat zones in World War II. Gathered here, a small collection of the thousands of remarkable images she made over a lifetime—Margaret Bourke-White passed away in 1971, at age 67, from Parkinson&#8217;s disease.</p> </blockquote> <p>An incredible photographer.</p> A Week With No Tear Gas tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-30:/2019/08/a-week-with-no-tear-gas 2019-08-30T17:34:02-07:00 2019-08-30T17:34:02-07:00 Maciej Cegłowski <p>Another good article about the Hong Kong protests. Filled with observations and thoughts. </p> <blockquote> <p>China wants to eat Hong Kong. That is what these protests are about&#8230;</p> <p>But ultimately, the issue is China. A treaty with Great Britain guarantees Hong Kong autonomy until 2047, under the slogan “One Country, Two Systems”, but that autonomy is being challenged by an impatient, authoritarian regime. It is now clear that the city’s Chief Executive does not have freedom of action, and must follow instructions from the mainland. Hong Kongers had to choose whether to fight or let themselves be absorbed into China. They have chosen to fight.</p> </blockquote> <p>His closing line: “And that&#8217;s when I understood the Hong Kongers may actually win.”</p> Fast Software, the Best Software tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-21:/2019/08/fast-software-the-best-software 2019-08-21T18:32:58-07:00 2019-08-21T18:32:58-07:00 Craig Mod <blockquote> <p>One of my most used, most speedy pieces of software is nvALT.1 It’s an oddly named, very bland application. Just a database of plain text files with a plain text editor bolted on. But it’s fast. The fastest piece of text cataloging software I’ve used. It opens instantly and produces results instantly. My nvALT database is full of ten years of notes. Open it and your cursor is already in the search field. It is keyboard friendly software: If you’re ever not in the search field, just hit ESC, and you’ll land there. Type a few letters and all the notes with those letters appear. It is the best instantiation of an off-board brain I have. Any piece of text with value in my life gets dumped into nvALT.</p> <p>nvALT syncs with Simplenote. This is handy because nvALT is macOS only. So you can use the Simplenote iOS app to keep your extra brain nearby on the go. Simplenote also has a macOS app. You may think: Why not use the Simplenote desktop application? Because — it’s not quite as fast. We’re talking milliseconds, but it’s enough that you feel the difference. It’s the difference between the $1000 Japanese garden shears and the $150 garden shears. They both cut just fine, but if you work in the garden all day, you will (probably?) feel the difference.</p> </blockquote> <p>Great essay, start to finish, including the example above. He mentions one of my favorite pieces of software, Things, as well. Amazing, and responsive, design makes software feel magical.</p> Performance Matters tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-21:/2019/08/performance-matters 2019-08-21T18:29:09-07:00 2019-08-21T18:29:09-07:00 Hillel Wayne <blockquote> <p>Last year I got certified as an EMT. As part of the training I shadowed an ambulance for a day and assisted with each run. For each patient we treated, we had to fill out a patient care report.</p> <p>The ambulance I shadowed had an ePCR. Nobody used it. I talked to the EMTs about this, and they said nobody they knew used it either. Lack of training? «No, we all got trained.» Crippling bugs? No, it worked fine. Paper was good enough? No, the ePCR was much better than paper PCRs in almost every way. It just had one problem: it was too slow.</p> <p>It wasn’t even that slow. Something like a quarter-second lag when you opened a dropdown or clicked a button. But it made things so unpleasant that nobody wanted to touch it. Paper was slow and annoying and easy to screw up, but at least it wasn’t that.</p> <p>I think about that a lot.</p> </blockquote> WebKit Tracking Prevention Policy tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-21:/2019/08/webkit-tracking-prevention-policy 2019-08-21T18:23:51-07:00 2019-08-21T18:23:51-07:00 WebKit <blockquote> <p>This document describes the web tracking practices that WebKit believes, as a matter of policy, should be prevented by default by web browsers. These practices are harmful to users because they infringe on a user’s privacy without giving users the ability to identify, understand, consent to, or control them.</p> <p>We have implemented or intend to implement technical protections in WebKit to prevent all tracking practices included in this policy. If we discover additional tracking techniques, we may expand this policy to include the new techniques and we may implement technical measures to prevent those techniques.</p> <p>Our current anti-tracking mitigations in WebKit are applied universally to all websites, or based on algorithmic, on-device classification.</p> <p>We will review WebKit patches in accordance with this policy. We will review new and existing web standards in light of this policy. And we will create new web technologies to re-enable specific non-harmful practices without reintroducing tracking capabilities.</p> </blockquote> <p>Bravo WebKit.</p> Absolute scale corrupts absolutely tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-21:/2019/08/absolute-scale-corrupts-absolutely 2019-08-21T18:18:24-07:00 2019-08-21T18:18:24-07:00 Avery Pennarun <p>The Internet is an interesting place. And homogeneity leads to the ability to attack at a scale previously unseen (easy to attack small systems, but now “everyone” uses AWS). It’s admittedly an article that promotes his new company, Tailscale, but I always enjoy his articles nonetheless.</p> The WeWork IPO tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-21:/2019/08/the-wework-ipo 2019-08-21T17:58:28-07:00 2019-08-21T17:58:28-07:00 Ben Thompson <p>WeWork is a fascinating company. They lease spaces from everyone as small as freelance developers and wedding planners to companies who need entire floors. And, as Ben makes the case, they’re turning real estate from a fixed expense to a variable (scalable) expense.</p> <blockquote> <p>There is a reason — beyond the fact it is August — that WeWork’s upcoming IPO has driven so much discussion: it is a document defined by audaciousness, both in terms of the company’s vision and also the flagrant disregard for corporate governance norms by its leadership. And, of course, massive losses despite massive amounts of capital raised. I suspect all of these things are related.</p> </blockquote> <p>It will be interesting to see how the “rental” or “on-demand” office space market evolves. Especially now that I’m working at a company that provides energy, water, and waste measurement and reporting software for large commercial real estate owners.</p> Three Years Of Misery Inside Google, The Happiest Company In Tech tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-14:/2019/08/three-years-of-misery-inside-google-the-happiest-company-in-tech 2019-08-14T08:11:33-07:00 2019-08-14T08:11:33-07:00 Nitasha Tiku <blockquote> <p>As the Trump era wore on, Google continued to brace itself for all manner of external assaults, and not just from the right. The 2016 election and its aftermath set off a backlash against Silicon Valley that seemed to come from all sides. Lawmakers and the media were waking up to the extractive nature of Big Tech&#8217;s free services. And Google—the company that had casually introduced the internet to consumer surveillance, orderer of the world&#8217;s information, owner of eight products with more than a billion users each—knew that it would be an inevitable target.</p> <p>But in many respects, Google&#8217;s most vexing threats during that period came from inside the company itself. Over the next two and a half years, the company would find itself in the same position over and over again: a nearly $800 billion planetary force seemingly powerless against groups of employees—on the left and the right alike—who could hold the company hostage to its own public image.</p> <p>In a larger sense, Google found itself and its culture deeply maladapted to a new set of political, social, and business imperatives. To invent products like Gmail, Earth, and Translate, you need coddled geniuses free to let their minds run wild. But to lock down lucrative government contracts or expand into coveted foreign markets, as Google increasingly needed to do, you need to be able to issue orders and give clients what they want.</p> <p>For this article, WIRED spoke with 47 current and former Google employees. Most of them requested anonymity. Together, they described a period of growing distrust and disillusionment inside Google that echoed the fury roaring outside the company&#8217;s walls. And in all that time, Google could never quite anticipate the right incoming collision.</p> </blockquote> Who Should Secure Congressional Campaigns? tag:mekstudios.com,2019-08-06:/2019/08/who-should-secure-congressional-campaigns 2019-08-06T21:29:22-07:00 2019-08-06T21:29:22-07:00 Maciej Cegłowski <p>Interesting. Campaign IT security and who should ensure it is in place.</p> Moody’s Buys Climate Data Firm, Signaling New Scrutiny of Climate Risks tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-24:/2019/07/moodys-buys-climate-data-firm-signaling-new-scrutiny-of-climate-risks 2019-07-24T18:46:24-07:00 2019-07-24T18:46:24-07:00 Christopher Flavelleq <blockquote> <p>Moody’s Corporation has purchased a controlling stake in a firm that measures the physical risks of climate change, the latest indication that global warming can threaten the creditworthiness of governments and companies around the world.</p> </blockquote> <p>Good time to be one of the newest employees at <a href="https://www.measurabl.com">Measurabl</a> it seems.</p> The New Wilderness tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-20:/2019/07/the-new-wilderness 2019-07-20T18:54:37-07:00 2019-07-20T18:54:37-07:00 Maciej Cegłowski <p>A tremendous post from June that could not recommend more. Read it this weekend if you haven&#8217;t already.</p> <blockquote> <p>In the eyes of regulators, privacy still means what it did in the eighteenth century—protecting specific categories of personal data, or communications between individuals, from unauthorized disclosure. Third parties that are given access to our personal data have a duty to protect it, and to the extent that they discharge this duty, they are respecting our privacy&#8230;</p> <p>This requires us to talk about a different kind of privacy, one that we haven’t needed to give a name to before. For the purposes of this essay, I’ll call it ‘ambient privacy’—the understanding that there is value in having our everyday interactions with one another remain outside the reach of monitoring, and that the small details of our daily lives should pass by unremembered. What we do at home, work, church, school, or in our leisure time does not belong in a permanent record. Not every conversation needs to be a deposition.</p> <p>Until recently, ambient privacy was a simple fact of life. Recording something for posterity required making special arrangements, and most of our shared experience of the past was filtered through the attenuating haze of human memory. Even police states like East Germany, where one in seven citizens was an informer, were not able to keep tabs on their entire population. Today computers have given us that power. Authoritarian states like China and Saudi Arabia are using this newfound capacity as a tool of social control. Here in the United States, we’re using it to show ads. But the infrastructure of total surveillance is everywhere the same, and everywhere being deployed at scale.</p> <p>Ambient privacy is not a property of people, or of their data, but of the world around us. Just like you can’t drop out of the oil economy by refusing to drive a car, you can’t opt out of the surveillance economy by forswearing technology (and for many people, that choice is not an option). While there may be worthy reasons to take your life off the grid, the infrastructure will go up around you whether you use it or not.</p> <p>Because our laws frame privacy as an individual right, we don’t have a mechanism for deciding whether we want to live in a surveillance society. Congress has remained silent on the matter, with both parties content to watch Silicon Valley make up its own rules. The large tech companies point to our willing use of their services as proof that people don’t really care about their privacy. But this is like arguing that inmates are happy to be in jail because they use the prison library. Confronted with the reality of a monitored world, people make the rational decision to make the best of it.</p> <p>That is not consent.</p> </blockquote> <p>A tremendous essay, start to finish.</p> Shopify and the Power of Platforms tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-20:/2019/07/shopify-and-the-power-of-platforms 2019-07-20T17:50:12-07:00 2019-07-20T17:50:12-07:00 Ben Thompson <p>Another good article by Ben Thompson, this time looking at Shopify and how it differs and competes fundamentally differently than Amazon. Here&#8217;s how Ben sets it up:</p> <p>&#8220;This is ultimately the most important distinction between platforms and Aggregators: platforms are powerful because they facilitate a relationship between 3rd-party suppliers and end users; Aggregators, on the other hand, intermediate and control it.&#8221;</p> Facebook, Libra, and the Long Game tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-05:/2019/07/facebook-libra-and-the-long-game 2019-07-05T18:48:20-07:00 2019-07-05T18:48:20-07:00 Ben Thompson <p>I don’t yet have a good grasp of Libra, the Facebook led cryptocurrency. Ben Thompson gives a good primer on it in broad strokes. He also adds some color in light of his <a href="https://stratechery.com/aggregation-theory/">Aggregation Theory</a>. I found this bit intriguing:</p> <blockquote> <p>The second use case will be using Libra to transact with merchants, who stand to benefit both from reduced fees relative to credit cards as well as larger addressable markets (i.e. potential users who don’t have credit cards). Note that none of Libra’s Founding Members are banks, which impose the largest percentage of credit card fees; Visa and Mastercard, on the other hand, are, like PayPal, happy to sit on top of Libra.</p> </blockquote> What I Learned Co-Founding Dribbble tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-05:/2019/07/what-i-learned-co-founding-dribble 2019-07-05T18:16:52-07:00 2019-07-05T18:16:52-07:00 Dan Cederholm <blockquote> <p>I decided to share 20 things I’ve learned by co-founding Dribbble over the last 10 years. The timing was cosmic, as I’d just made the decision to retire fully from Dribbble, stepping aside to figure out what’s next. More on that in a bit.</p> <p>Reflecting on what I’ve learned from building a community for designers, learning how to run a business, and navigating some tough life years proved both fun and difficult. I thought I’d share those thoughts in hypertext should they be useful. And so here we are.</p> </blockquote>