Month: January 2014

“The president of what?”

Then a man, another of the handsome ones, came by.

“Hey,” he murmured. “Will you be leaving soon?”

I said I wasn’t sure. I’d asked for the check.

“Okay,” he said. “I just wanted to let you know the president will be stopping by.”

Oh, I thought. The president of what?

Robinson Meyer just happened to be in a cafe where The President was about to have an informal chat with some youngsters. This is his story.

Another interesting piece:

I guess that they were talking about the difficulty of doing political outreach on Snapchat or one of this newer, less textual ilk? I’m not sure. Then the president drops this:

“It seems like they don’t use Facebook anymore,” he said.

Facebook is so uncool even the president of the United States knows it.

“The more I read about that album, the more depressed I get. It’s just so good.”

This Reddit user eloquently reviewed Nas’s Illmatic. It’s a rap album I have zero knowledge of, mind you, but I’m really hooked by his passion and knowledge. I wish I can write this much about things I like.

And that’s why someone like J. Cole will write a song called “I Let Nas Down”, because Nas is a rapper’s rapper. When Nas is being Nas, and not trying to be someone else, he just does it. Honestly, though, what other rapper could you write a song called “I Let [Them] Down”, and it be about not being the best artist you could be? Saying “I Let Jay Down” probably means you weren’t making enough money or something.

DSLRs vs Film vs Smartphones

“Smartphones versus DSLRs versus film: A look at how far we’ve come” at DPReview:

It’s sobering to look back at the old reviews of the cameras that we included. The earliest, the Canon EOS10D was a marvel of 2003. Phil Askey from DPReview described it as “the absolute best in its class, with the best image quality, lowest high sensitivity noise, superb build quality and excellent price.” He described the “Excellent resolution”, the “Noise free ‘silky smooth’ images”, with “very low noise levels even at ISO 1600.” The EOS 10D ran rings around the film that we’d been using for 50 years in terms of clarity and freedom from grain.

Yet it’s comprehensively humbled by modern phones. The iPhone out-shoots it, and the Nokia out-resolves it, all by huge margins.

It seems like cameras are increasingly becoming similar to computers: to do a professional job, DSLRs are still the way to go, but smartphone cameras are now good enough to fill the majority of people’s needs.

On Quoting Other People

Recently, Rands posted a brilliant piece about making, “The Builder’s High”. I wanted to quote and put it here, but before I had time, John Gruber and Marco Arment did that first. It’s interesting to note which part of the writing they decided to quote. Gruber picked this:

The things we’re giving to the future are feeling increasingly unintentional and irrelevant.

While Marco chose this:

Is there a Facebook update that compares to building a thing? No, but I’d argue that 82 Facebook updates, 312 tweets, and all those delicious Instagram updates are giving you the same chemical impression that you’ve accomplished something of value. Whether it’s all the consumption or the sense of feeling busy, these micro-highs will never equal the high when you’ve actually built.

I’ve never really thought about what to choose to quote. In previous posts I mostly just chose what sounded cool. For this Rands piece, for example, I was going to go with this sentence, because of its delightful flow and sonority:

You’re fucking swimming in everyone else’s moments, likes, and tweets and during these moments of consumption you are coming to believe that their brief interestingness to others makes it somehow relevant to you and worth your time.

Noticing how others picked the quote got me thinking. Gruber’s was short and didn’t directly convey what the article was about. But it is intriguing. Marco, on the other hand, picked a paragraph that did a great job showing how consuming social media noises and the act of building did something similar—but ultimately not even close—to our mind. If the goal is to give the reader a summary of an article, Marco did the best job between us three.

I’m not sure what’s the conclusion here. But I sure am going to think more whenever I write these quote posts.