phiffer.org

Dan Phiffer Dan Phiffer is an Internet enthusiast based in Troy, NY

Introducing smol-slowtvgithub.com

This year for xmas I made Raspberry Pi video players for everyone in my family, so they could share my love for BergensBanen minutt for minutt HD:

When the Pi boots up, it updates its time using ntpdate, pulls down any updates from this git repo, then plays back starting from a specific timestamp based on the current UTC time. This allows for a communal slow TV viewing experience.

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Another big Twitter daytwitter.com

You may have heard that today the FCC voted against Net Neutrality rules. During the deliberations Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said:

Clearly there are cases today, and many more that will develop in time, in which the option of a paid prioritization offering would be a necessity based on either technology or needs of consumer welfare. I for one see great value in the prioritization of telemedicine and autonomous car technology over cat videos. (1:43:20 into the C-Span archive)

My response on Twitter seems to have struck a chord:

I liked how An Xiao Mina responded in her quote tweet:

This is now more popular than my previous big day on Twitter and sadly they’re both about things breaking on the Internet.

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Learning from Alabamatwitter.com

I called into this morning’s Brian Lehrer show. I am “Dan from up in Troy” and I have a cold, so I probably sounded terrible. My question was inspired by this Twitter thread describing tactics the Mobile County NAACP (and other groups) used in the AL Senate special election. I think there’s a lot to learn here for turning out votes in the 2018 Midterm Elections.

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The digital hippies want to integrate life and work—but not in a good waywww.theguardian.com

WeWork as the new company town:

In WeWork’s future, the hastily privatised public space is returned to citizens. However, it comes back as a commercial service provided by a lavishly funded data company, not as a right. Meetup’s civil society will keep on talking, inside WeWork’s buildings. But the struggle against alienation will now consist of applying even more data analytics and nudging to the tortured souls of overworked cognitive workers, who, in escaping alienated workplaces in the comfort of makerspaces and face-to-face meetings, have discovered that the workplaces have colonised their non-work lives instead.

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On Behalf of Lifeonbehalfof.life

I helped build a website with the Other EPA encouraging you to submit a Public Comment on the EPA’s draft 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, which presently has no mention of Climate Change.

The deadline to submit your Public Comment is tonight, 11:59pm ET!

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Never Use Futurawww.subtraction.com

Khoi Vinh on the book Never Use Futura:

I’m so happy to see this new book by designer, writer, and historian Douglas Thomas all about the typeface Futura which, it’s worth noting, predated Helvetica by three full decades—and it looks as beautiful and timely as ever.

Futura is probably my favorite typeface that ships with macOS by default. It’s one of the few bundled with an OS with more weights than just Regular and Bold.

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How gerrymandered is a district?mike.teczno.com

Michal Migurski is working on a project for measuring legislative gerrymandering. Redistricting shenanigans can be detected from current, historical, and proposed legislative districts.

PlanScore is doing two things to address partisan gerrymandering.

We are creating score pages for district plans to provide instant, real-time analysis of a plan’s fairness. Each district plan will be evaluated for its population, demographic, partisan, and geometric character in a single place, with backing methodology and data provided so you can understand the number. We’ll publish historical scores back to the 1970s for context, current scores of proposed plans for voters and journalists, and dynamic scores of new plans for legislative staff who are designing tomorrow’s plans.

We are also assembling a collection of underlying electoral data from sources like Open Elections, elections-geodata, and other parallel efforts. Our goal is to provide valid scores for new plans in any state. As we await the outcomes of gerrymandering challenges in Wisconsin and North Carolina, voters and legislative staff in other states are wondering how to apply new ideas to their own plans. In 2020, everyone will have to redraw their maps. PlanScore will be a one-stop shop for district plan analysis.

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The past is our burdenmapzen.com

Aaron Cope on Who’s On First (which I also work on) and the responsibility that comes with naming things.

We have been blind to the fact that the First Nations were already here living on these lands long before the European settlers arrived. It is important to recognize that we have not been passive in our blindness but brutally deliberate. First out of malice and then later out of negligence and more recently out of shame.

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“We thought we were gonna change the world”medium.com

From Mike Monteiro’s One person’s history of Twitter, from beginning to end:

Their goal was giving everyone a voice. They were so obsessed with giving everyone a voice that they never stopped to wonder what would happen when everyone got one. And they never asked themselves what everyone meant. That’s Twitter’s original sin. Like Oppenheimer, Twitter was so obsessed with splitting the atom they never stopped to think what we’d do with it.

Related: more Twitter-related news from the Civicist.

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ftrain at twentywww.ftrain.com

Paul Ford continues to be an inspiration, even if ftrain.com isn’t as active as it once was. You really should go read the archives if somehow you haven’t explored them before.

20 years is arbitrary nonsense. A blip. Our software is bullshit, our literary essays are too long, the good editors all quit or got fired, hardly anyone is experimenting with form in a way that wakes me up, the IDEs haven’t caught up with the 1970s, the R&D budgets are weak, the little zines are badly edited, the tweets are poor, the short stories make no sense, people still care too much about magazines, the Facebook posts are nightmares, LinkedIn has ruined capitalism, and the big tech companies that have arisen are exhausting, lumbering gold-thirsty kraken that swim around with sour looks on their face wondering why we won’t just give them all our gold and save the time … In the spirit of this thing I won’t be editing this paragraph.

Thanks for sharing what you know!

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The world is weird and wonderful!mapzen.com

A tile mural at the 36th Street subway station in Sunset Park.

I wrote a post over on the Mapzen blog that I think came out nicely.

The territory means different things to different people. Depending on your perspective, the kinds of data that are captured about places may be missing, insufficient, or downright hostile. Who’s On First is opinionated—like all datasets, no collection is truly unbiased—but we hope to be aware of when we’re asserting our own opinions about places and create a framework where a polyglot of place-feels will be welcome.

The multifaceted maps we make simply reflect the weird and wonderful territory they represent.

I’m going to be adapting this as a talk at csv,conf. If you’ll be in Portland May 3, come out and say hello. (Bring your CSVs!)

The first day of Twitter

If you used Twitter today, you’ve probably heard it’s the social network’s 10th birthday. I used their API to recreate what Twitter’s first day looked like, by plugging in a sequence of ID numbers starting at number 20.

I’m curious what happened to those first 19 tweets, and some other subsequent missing ID numbers (e.g., 24, 27, 28). Were they deleted? If so, why? Also notable: missing tweet ID 105 returns “Sorry, you are not authorized to see this status.” instead of the usual “No status found with that ID.”

And then it was day two.

Couchsurfing steals photosspeedbird.wordpress.com

Consider these happy users of couchsurfing.com, the old school zero-cost precursor to Airbnb.

Aww, they watched Thai soap operas together!
Aww, they watched Thai soap operas together!

From Adam Greenfield:

A few years ago, I would have had to wonder whether these images did in fact represent happy Couchsurfers; now, of course, we have Google Image Search. It only took me a few seconds’ clicking around to confirm what I had suspected — or actually, something even more troubling.

It’s not merely that are these not at all images of actual Couchsurfers; in itself, that might readily enough be forgiven. It’s that the images appear to have been downloaded, altered and used in a commercial context without their creators’ knowledge or consent — in one case, in fact, in direct contravention of the (very generous) terms of the license under which they were offered. Here, let’s take a look:

– The image labeled “Jason” is one of photographer David Weir’s 100 Strangers, originally labeled with a copyright notice;

– “Dang” is a crop of commercial photographer Anthony Mongiello’s headshot of actor Stanley Wong

This is not a huge deal, of course, but I’ve had my photos used this way, and it does irk me a bit. And I got curious, so I searched for the background image of Venice, Italy (why didn’t they use Bangkok?), and it looks like a legit stock photo.

I also contacted each of the photographers mentioned in Adam’s post, just to confirm that their work hadn’t been licensed from them somehow. So far I’ve heard back from Anthony Mongiello, and he was surprised to learn his photo was being used this way. It’s probably safe to assume the other “user” portraits are also stolen.

I was going to add a “see also” link at the bottom here, to Khoi Vinh and Matt Jacobs’s rights-cleared collection of user photos, but interestingly they’ve discontinued it:

We built Facebox in 2013 to make life easier for UI designers who needed quick access to high quality, royalty-free images of real people. In the time since, it’s been a blast to see Facebox photos show up all over the Internet.

Out of respect for our models, who were very generous with their likenesses, we’ve decided to discontinue sales of Facebox, before they get overexposed.

Perhaps the classless move by the Couchsurfing designers has been balanced out just a bit from Khoi and Matt’s thoughtful gesture.

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