What's Wrong with Tech Writing →

Kit Eaton explains what readers often forget when reading one-sided tech news — the importance of context:

The next time someone writes about Apple think about the context of why Apple is selling new iDevice X or Y, and see if that places any of the facts in the article in a different light (why did Apple chose the particular pricing it did?). The next time you read about a development of Google Glass, consider if there’s anything missing in the piece you’re reading about why Google is developing the device so oddly (why is Google missing out on cultural context by only testing it in the US?). The next time you’re reading about a new phone from Samsung, see if the writer mentions if the device has any real chance of making Samsung money or if it’s part of its usual shotgun market-coverage strategy (who is Samsung hoping to sell these phones to?). Oh, and here’s a good one about tangential context: When you next read about some new innovation or revolutionary idea, think about how the end users will feel when they use it, then see if claims of the "revolutionary" nature still apply. And so on. These are just a handful of examples. I’m sure you’ll imagine more.

Nailed it. And building on that, we as followers of tech news — or any news for that matter — need to remember this important piece of context:

Headlines are worded to be polarizing and sensationalist with the sole purpose of baiting you into clicking them. Because in today's world, more clicks means more ad impressions which means more money for the publisher.

Explaining Windows 8 PC Sales Over the Holidays →

Paul Thurrott, SuperSite for Windows:

It’s not pat to say that the Windows PC market went for volume over quality, because it did: Many of those 20 million Windows 7 licenses each month—too many, I think—went to machines that are basically throwaway, plastic crap. Netbooks didn’t just rejuvenate the market just as Windows 7 appeared, they also destroyed it from within: Now consumers expect to pay next to nothing for a Windows PC. Most of them simply refuse to pay for more expensive Windows PCs.

Microsoft Has Failed →

Charlie Demerjian:

The problem is that if you are locked in with a choice of 100% Microsoft or 0% Microsoft, once someone goes, it isn’t a baby step, they are gone. Once you start using Google Docs and the related suites, you have no need for Office. That means you, or likely your company, saves several hundred dollars a head. No need for Office means no need for Exchange. No need for Exchange means no need for Windows Server. No need for Office means no need for Windows. Once the snowball starts rolling, it picks up speed a frightening pace.

For me, the shift away from Microsoft happened one app/device at a time.

I gave up Hotmail/Outlook for Gmail. Windows Media for iTunes. Windows Photoshop for Mac Photoshop. Downgraded from a Pocket PC to an iPod, which eventually upgraded to an iPhone. And then an iPad.

It all just snowballed from there. And clearly an entire market has been experiencing the same thing too.

Rock On, Kid Rock

Kid Rock's reaction to Atlantic Records' request to denounce file sharing:

Wait a second, you've been stealing from the artists for years. Now you want me to stand up for you?

Kid Rock on downloading music illegally:

I don't steal things. I'm rich. [As for everyone else] download it illegally, I don't care. I want you to hear my music so I can play live.

Read on: Kid Rock Boycotts iTunes, Champions P2P


2012: The End of the Internet

Net Neutrality

As Josh pointed out the other day, Time Warner is launching a test program where they will throttle down people's internet, enforce a bandwidth cap, and charge for overrages.

What does this mean to you?

This means that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are planning on controlling what you can and cannot do on the internet. This means that they can choose what sites you can and cannot visit. This means they want to kill the fastest, greatest, most democratic form of communication the world has ever seen.

And this isn't the first time in history we've seen this happen.

When radio first came out, anyone and everyone be their own radio station. They could broadcast freely, speak their mind and do whatever the hell they want. Freedom of speech at its finest.

And then the FCC came along and said, "Alright, no more pirate radio. If you want a radio station, you have to pay us a shitload of cash." So what happened? All of the fun, off-the-wall, liberal-minded radio stations were shut out.

The same exact thing happened with television. Look at it now...the media controls the information that the public consumes.

FOX Television have a problem with Ron Paul? No problem! They just cut him out from debates and downplay anything significant he does.

George W. Bush wants to impose Martial Law? No problem! Just don't mention it in the news.

Does Ron Paul really know what he's talking about? Does Bush really want to impose Martial Law? Maybe, maybe not...but either way, we don't get to decide for ourselves because the media controls what we see and hear.

So back to Time Warner...let's say that this Time Warner experiment is profitable. If other ISPs buy into it, the internet you know and love today could become like cable television:

Facebook and Google? No problem! Just pay for the basic internet package and you're good.

Little sites like the577.com and www.melmyfinger.com? Sorry but by 2012, you might have to pay a premium to keep enjoying 'em...

Thank You, Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails - The Slip

While the RIAA tells you it's illegal to rip your music CDs to your iPod, proposes a $5/month Music Tax and an iPod Tax, Trent Reznor says "download it, remix it, share it, post it on your blog, play it on your podcast, give it to strangers, etc"

Here's what the official website says:

as a thank you to our fans for your continued support, we are giving away the new nine inch nails album one hundred percent free, exclusively via nin.com.

the music is available in a variety of formats including high-quality MP3, FLAC or M4A lossless at CD quality and even higher-than-CD quality 24/96 WAVE. your link will include all options - all free. all downloads include a PDF with artwork and credits.

for those of you interested in physical products, fear not. we plan to make a version of this release available on CD and vinyl in july. details coming soon.

I'm not a particular fan of Nine Inch Nails, but I'm a huge fan of people that stick up for the little guy.

Thank you, Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. You guys fucking rock. :bigthumbup:

What happened to the design?!

melmyfinger.com naked!

Don't worry, the design is stripped down just for the day. Here's the explaination by Lorelle:

This is the third year of the annual CSS Naked Day which honors web design and designers around the world who help make our websites and blogs look "pretty" to the eye while still being totally functional under the hood. Dustin Diaz wanted to give the web world an opportunity to remind everyone of the benefits of CSS web page design. By removing the stylesheet for the day, the world would see naked web pages, giving a little more appreciation for the skills of web page designers.

As explained yesterday in the Blog Herald announcement of CSS Naked Day, this is also an opportunity to showcase how usable and accessible your web page structure is even without the pretty, reminding the world that it is the law that your website must accessible by everyone using any method to access your blog.

Over 1814 blogs are participating! (I'm #974!)