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Responsibility of Technology

There’s fascinating and terrifying feature article about Facebook, Duterte, and the drug war in the Philippines, written by Davey Alba. My first trip there was actually to Davao, and having been to the country several times and met so many bloggers there it’s hard to imagine what’s described. There are definitely echoes of the Wired feature on Facebook and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Both are good reminders that as technologists the tools we create can be used and leveraged in ways we wouldn’t imagine in our worst nightmares.

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Gulf Coast Soul

Brett Martin has an excellent longread in GQ, Houston Is the New Capital Of Southern Cool. I moved to San Francisco when I was 20, I hadn’t ever even been old enough to drink in Houston, but when I returned in my late twenties and really made it my home I was blown away at how much the city had changed in the time I had been away. Or maybe I just grew up enough to appreciate it. Regardless, Brett captures the verve and paradoxes of the city well.

 

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Mass Unsubscribe Mailchimp

I’m a huge fan of Mailchimp, but dang does the service get abused by folks aggressively opting you into mailing lists. I have a very early, very generic Gmail address that people put as a filler address into every possible service and it gets tens of thousands of list and spam mails. A good trick to find and unsubscribe from all the Mailchimp lists you’re on is to search for mcsv.net and then select all, report as spam, and unsubscribe. Gmail doesn’t deal well when the unsubscribe list is taller than your screen, so you may need to hit command + - a few times to make it all fit. Also according to this post, “you can also get in touch with our compliance team directly at compliance@mailchimp.com with the email address you would like to remove from all lists and they will be happy to further assist you there as well.” I will try that as well.

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WordPress in Uber

I really love this thread and the replies sharing stories about Val Vesa’s experience talking about WordPress in an Uber / Lyft ride:

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Rent-A-Family in Japan

Elif Batuman, who was recently a Pulitzer finalist for her novel The Idiot, has a stunning story in the New Yorker on Japan’s Rent-a-Family Industry, “People who are short on relatives can hire a husband, a mother, a grandson. The resulting relationships can be more real than you’d expect.”

You think from the title it’s going to be one of those gee-whiz stories or vaguely condescending toward Japanese, but what follows is actually an incredibly poignant and powerful view of society through a lens I had never imagined before. It’s a #longread but I hope you take the time to sit with it this weekend. You may need a swordsman.

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Commuting Time Saved

On Automattic's internal BuddyPress-powered company directory, we allow people to fill out a field saying how far their previous daily commute was. 509 people have filled that out so far, and they are saving 12,324 kilometers of travel every work day. Wow!

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National Magazine Award Nomination

Longreads was nominated today for its first-ever National Magazine Award, in the category of columns and commentary, alongside ESPN The Magazine, BuzzFeed News, Pitchfork, and New York magazine. Laurie Penny's Longreads columns explore important questions of consent and female desire that have strongly resonated in our current moment. In addition to this nomination, Penny's columns have been translated and republished in Italian and German newspapers, and will be collected in a forthcoming book.

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Ariel Levy in Longreads

I had originally planned last year to write a review of each book as I read it, but The Rules Do Not Apply threw a spanner in the works. I had no idea how to write about it, much less review it. The author, Ariel Levy, has a great interview in Longreads from when the book came out.

Speaking of Longreads, don't forget to check out their top 25 exclusives from 2017, and their number 1 picks overall. Some amazing writing in there.

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NORAD’s Santa Tracker

Politico has a lovely story on the history and present of the NORAD Santa Tracker, which started because a 1955 Sears department store ad had “a digit wrong — and was instead the direct line into the secret military nerve center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Pentagon was on the lookout to prevent nuclear war.”

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iPhone Fast Charging

I love USB, cables, and charging things. So MacRumors comparison of different wired and wireless charging options and speed for the iPhone X is my catnip. tl; dr: USB-C + USB-C-to-Lightning cable gives you far and away the fastest times. I've found this true for the iPad Pro as well.

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Tribe of Mentors

Tim Ferriss’s new book Tribe of Mentors is out. I have finished it already, and can say it’s really excellent and I even liked it more than Tools of Titans even though I’m not in this one. 🙂 As I said in a message to Tim:

I learned a lot from it, took a ton of notes to follow up on, and wrote down about twenty more books I have to read.

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Potential of Gutenberg

Matias Ventura, the lead of the editor focus for WordPress, has written Gutenberg, or the Ship of Theseus to talk about how Gutenberg's approach will simplify many of the most complex parts of WordPress, building pages, and theme editing. If you want a peek at some of the things coming down the line with Gutenberg, including serverless WebRTC real-time co-editing.

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Remote Work Can’t Be Stopped

Christopher Mims writes for the Wall Street Journal Why Remote Work Can’t Be Stopped, also riffing off the IBM shift I wrote about a few weeks ago. I was excited to see an Automattician Julia featured at the top and a few other colleagues having their voice in the article.

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Boarding Wrong Flight

The Economist writes about who’s wrong when flyers end up in the wrong cities. This has actually happened to me! Probably 7-8 years ago, it was an Air Canada flight from New York to Montreal, and I accidentally boarded the one to Toronto. The mistake was realized when we were on the ground, but had pulled away from gate. Being Canadian, they were exceedingly nice and asked me to stay on the flight but they’d find me one from Toronto to Montreal after I landed.

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New Top 50 Restaurants

There’s a new “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list out! I follow the list and try to check out restaurants on it when I’m in the area, and as of last month had made it to 28 out of 50 of last year’s list. It’s a goal but in a rolling, gentle fashion: as the list changes every year I’ll probably never make it to 100%, but I enjoy exploring the highlighted folks and I’ve never had a bad meal at one. I was able to make it to Eleven Madison last month and predicted they might take the top spot, which they did in a well-deserved win. As with any award, there are lots of detractors, but Scott Vogel at Houstonia has a great essay on Why the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List Matters, which encapsulates nicely what the list represents to me.

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Henry Crown Fellowship

I’m very excited to have been selected to join the Henry Crown Fellowship Class of 2017. Many, many folks I admire including Reed Hastings, Kim Polese, Cory Booker, Aileen Lee, Stephen DeBerry, Deven Parekh, Chris Sacca, Tim Ferriss, Reid Hoffman, Scott Heiferman, Troy Carter, Bre Pettis, Lupe Fiasco, and Alexa von Tobel have been through the program in previous years, and several of those people have spoken highly of it to me. I’m excited to meet and get to know the rest of the 2017 class, and embark on a learning journey alongside them.

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New .org Homepage

For the first time in… many years, WordPress.org has a new home page. What’s on the page today actually isn’t that important, even though it’s better in many ways, the key is that it’s changing again, the stone has been unstuck and can now keep rolling.

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Another Dongle

One of my favorite new .blogs is The Dongle blog, at dongle.blog. I think it’s mostly meant to be funny, but I really agree with this post pointing out you really need something that lets you plug in your lightning headphones to your laptop. I’ve been trying out the Audeze EL-8 and they only have a lightning connector.

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WordCamp Live Stream

Later today (3:45pm ET) I’ll deliver my annual State of the Word speech, which I’m very excited about. If you’d like to watch remotely, this year live stream tickets are free and you can tune in here.

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Apples TV’s Struggles

apple-tv.jpgJoseph Rosensteel has an outsider but savvy perspective on the updates and technology around Apple TV. Definitely a worthwhile read. I’ve experienced a lot of this frustration myself — I have a large library of things bought through iTunes, I like the interface of the Apple TV (though I liked the old one a little better), and Airplay is handy, so I want to love the Apple TV. The market is so bad right now that most review sites like Wirecutter recommend Roku, which for me came with a branded remote button for a service that is out of business (Rdio) and has an interface that feels DOS-like.