Stefan Hayden

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The Machine Stops

I read The Machine Stops in college and it took a while for me to really get it. It really nails the internet but the trick is it was written in 1909. Also since it’s from 1909 it’s out of copyright but there is no good version of it online so this is my new version of it.

Only a few months after Youtube buys Twitch they start locking the site down. 3 years of past videos will be deleted and all “copyrighted” music will be muted. Most music on Twitch is copyrighted as is the game play.

Ligaya Tichy on How Startups Grow

This is pretty spot on to my experiences. I do think there are ways to counteract this risk aversion to some degree. And I think Shutterstock has done a pretty good job of it.

Julie Horvath

What were a few of the biggest changes you saw with these companies as they grew?

Ligaya Tichy

So, in the early stages, I started at yelp it was 10 people and Airbnb was 12ish, and the passion index is high when companies are young because they can’t pay anybody market salaries. So the people who want to work there are people there love these products. And so there is this incredible excited and this sort of energy in these offices.

And as the company scales and there is more pressure to prove the product and grow. Then you need operations people. And a sort of hierarchy emerges, and operations emerges are really good at executing and incredibly smart, but they don’t… At this point you you are past series seed and at your series b or something like that. And you can afford salaries. And they are not doing because they love your company so much, they are doing it because it’s a great career opportunity or they like your product and they see some long term potential.

And then the company keeps scaling and and you just need work horses. you need people to do jobs. And so you fill those role. and you are growing growing very quickly. And so you just hire people who are good at filling one particular function. They may not necessarily be the sort of crazy creative people at the beginning that like wearing multiple hats.

And what happens is that your role changes. before it was really creative and kind of chaotic and some people really like that. And as the company gets larger. Your role gets more and more structured and it gets narrower. And some people like that because they like to focus and other people go like, “Hey wait this isn’t what I signed up for!”. And there is this attrition. There are just new classes of people come in and some people drop out. And as an early person it sucks when the people you love so much leave because they are what galvanized you every day to be there. Because you were building something together.

But this is the natural course of things. and you know I think me personally I figured out I am am an early stage person. when the company gets big it’s great but I don’t know what to do in those kinds of environments. I don’t want to be a middle manager. i like the chaos. I like building foundations. i like the unknowns and i like to experiment. And you don’t get to do that. The companies get much less risk averse.

LEADING DESIGNERS’ 25 FAVORITE EXPERIENCES IN TECH

I was blown away how many of the products they bring up in this awesome talk I have never heard of:

Fixing Google Analytics self referral problem

If you are using Google Analytics you might see your own site listed as a referrer. Most commonly this is the case of having the same tracking code across multiple domains.

In the past this problem was mind numbing difficult to solve. Luckily Google has made this dead easy to fix with it’s new Universal Analytics. Sadly if you have an old Analytics account you can not convert it, but do not worry you can still keep that old tracking code on your site and track to both places.

Once you have set up your new Universal Analytics account you can follow the development guide to get it integrated on your site. Universal Analytics has a ton of new features and is well worth the time to set up.

The Fix:

In your universal Account go to the admin section. Find the “Tracking info” section. In that section there should be a option called “Referral Exclusion List”. Here you may list ANY url that you do not wanted to be listed as a referrer. And that is all it takes.

This does not fix old data and will simply stop this problem from happening in the future. Also the fix is not instantaneous. Each day the number of referals from the url you just added to the “Referral Exclusion List” will show fewer and fewer visits. In my experience it could take one or two weeks for the problem to be totally fixed.

Youtube Stars Joey and Meghan to be in CBS Show The Amazing Race

The biggest news from a youtube creator since annoying orange got it’s own tv show. Meghan Camarena of Strawburry17 and Joey formerly of WinterSpringPro and now his personal channel JoeyGraceffa are going to be on The Amazing Race. And what a great team they will be (or were as the show has already been filmed).

While exciting news for the youtube community who hunger for broader recognition and validation no one is surprised that these two have made such a deal. Both Meghan and Joey are growing stars with a lot of energy and know for their hustle and hard work to make ends meet on youtube Increasingly with low CPM ad impressions and views harder to get as youtube redesigns for bigger partners burgeoning stars have to find more and more way to bring in extra money.

What might have attracted The Amazing Race to these two untested stars?

First Joey and Meghan have almost half a million subscribers combined. Of those Meghan gets on average 20-30k views and Joey between 60-100k view. Of those views I would guess they are in the 13-17 age range and mostly female. This demo, while hard to track on Nielsen, would be an attractive audience for the CBS show to bring in. While holding stead at about 10 million viewers The Amazing Race will need to continue to find new audiences to keep their numbers up on a network where many shows are doing well.

Second Joey and Meghan are naturals in front of the camera practicing talking to a camera for years. Few people get this training and few contests have a proven body of work to demonstrate how they will be on the show.

The benefit is not all on Amazing Race’s side though. Look for Meghan and Joey to take full advantage of being in front of 10 million viewers weekly. I expect to see some interesting weekly online content and live interaction as the show airs building new viewership for their channels as well as the show’s.

jQuery Backstretch Slideshow

Backstretch is a pretty great slideshow library both because of it’s features as well as the small amount of code it is all done in. But when implementing a code light library you will always run in to the problem of needing the library to do things that it does not have features for. And for that reason I’m going to highlight some of the features I built in to my own fork of Backstretch, all of wich are also documented on github.

Options:

Pause: By default the slideshow just starts to play but for us we wanted to start out with it just sitting on one slide.

lazyload: By default all of the images you pass in are loaded. This is not great for page speed and so this option only loads image when the slideshow goes to show the image or specifically requested though a call.

start: The array of images you pass in will always be shown in that order. But if you pass in an index then the slideshow will start at that point.

default_height & default_width: These are actually in the original library but were undocumented. This just speeds up getting the slideshow to draw it self correctly if you know the height and width in advance.

API:

cacheNext() & cachePrev(): With lazyload turned on the next image will not start to load until that slide is requested. With this call you can choose when is best to preload that next or previous image. I always keep the next image in the slideshow cashed and ready to show.

You can find all these features on my own fork of Backstetch where I will also attempt to keep it up to date with the main repo.

Is my JPG progressive or baseline?

Ever wonder what format your JPG was saved in? Well wonder no more. Just open the JPG up in any text editor and do a search for the hex code ffda.

  1. 0 results: this image will load all at once when it is done loading
  2. 1 result: this image will slowly load from top to bottom in full resolution. this is called baseline.
  3. 2 or more results: this image will draw multiple passes of the image in better and better resolution. this is called progressive.

YouTube bows to the all mightly Google Plus

As blastmedia has discovered Youtube is experimenting with the google plus button in place of thumbs up and thumbs down. Currently it doesn’t tie in with the rating system that google has in place and so for people who see the Google Plus button they are bard from giving a thumbs up without using the google api or switching browsers.

I can’t say I’m a fan. Like and Dislikes used to not be public let alone show in organic search results. If this feature is adopted every +1 has the potential to apear in search results. Ug.

Youtube originally did 5 stars but most people just voted 1 or 5 stars. So we got thumbs up or down. Now with Plus we loose anyway of providing negative feedback.

There are many reasons to no have negative feed back. All of them have to do with one group of users mas down voting content either for their own advantage or to discourage other groups of visitors. Youtube does not have this issue. There is no way to mass effect video ranking on youtube by disliking a video outside of botting. Wich to be fair @thewillofdc points out that Google has been lax in fighting botting as of late.

Some will say that letting people do a negative action on a site is never good and I would strongly disagree with them. Currently the down vote remains one of the more civil way on youtube to voice that you did not like a video. A great example of a valid use case is the Rick Perry Strong video which has a near 99% dislikes and for good reasons.

Negative comments remain much more damaging then down votes. Youtube is known, for good reason, as some of the most vile comments on the web. I can only imagine that letting people voice their dislike with a simple action stop even more horrible comments.

Please youtube. Add Google Plus as an option to the page. But leave the current ratings system in place. Both can coexist and content producers will definitely encourage users to +1 as it will clear help in google ranking.

GIRLS at SXSW

I was super lucky to get to see the first three episodes of GIRLS at sxsw. The trailer released only a few short weeks ago quickly outlines a quirky comedy in the style of sex and the city that replaces the 30 something Gen-Xers  with 20 something Gen-Yers. And being on the cusp of those two generations I think there is a big difference between the 2.

Tiny Furniture, Lena’s hit movie, was something I was very excited to see and while it had an amazing voice for women in their 20s I didn’t love the movie. I thought the plot was too slow and awkward pauses not used artfully enough to not just become uncomfortable. These were issues of polish but the voice was there and it was exciting.

Judd Apataw is a great combo for Lena to work with. He is a seasoned producer and has the magic ability to not only cultivate great tallent in others (aka Seth Rogan) but take topic that has failed in movies past (aka Kevin Smith movies) and make them enjoyable for a wide audience without removing the unique and quirky spark that made them good.

GIRLS is still slow at moments and some moments are still a bit to awkward to work on screen. But The outcome is everything you could hope for from a collaboration between Lena and Judd. The jokes are amazing and hit often and hard without seeming like sitcom. The characters are all perfectly lovable while still remaining horribly flawed. A balance every show hopes for but few ever achieve.

Zosia Mamet also needs to be called out. In many ways she has the most over the top character to play which can be difficult to pull off. But she glows on screen and makes the ridiculous also believable and the hilarious simultaneously heartbreaking.

This show is not a masterpiece, but it is really really good and super funny. One of the many things I love about television is the iterative process of writing it. Shows change because they get feedback from an audience. And few shows ever have the first few episodes as the best of the series since they lack this interaction. GIRLS is perfect set up to a great series. Every flaw can be fixed and I believe this show is on a path to fix everyone.

New Computer from iBuyPower

My old dell died a rather sudden and upsetting death. Dell said a new motherboard would be 500$ and so this build below was right around 1k. I heard a ton of mixed reviews about iBuyPower. It seems some people had some really bad experiences with them. But 2 things stuck out for me. The first was the price. I really think this is a great build for only a thousand dollars. And 2 is the fact that I could get it with-out Windows. I own windows and I don’t need to buy it again. But sadly no Linux option.

I’ve only had it for a day but everything seems to be in good shape. Here are the specs which are mostly for my future reference:

1 x Case Azza Triton Gaming Case – Black
1 x Processor Intel® Core™ i7 960 Processor (4x 3.20GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
1 x Processor Cooling Certified CPU Fan and Heatsink
1 x Memory 12 GB [2 GB X6] DDR3-1600 – Corsair or Major Brand
1 x Video Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 – 1GB – FREE Upgrade to GTX 560 2GB – Single Card
1 x Video Card Brand Major Brand Powered by AMD or NVIDIA
1 x Free Stuff [Free Game Voucher] – Batman Arkham City – Free with purchase of NVIDIA GeForce 5 series video card
1 x Motherboard ASUS Sabertooth X58
1 x Motherboard USB / SATA Interface Motherboard default USB / SATA Interface
1 x Power Supply 700 Watt – Standard
1 x Primary Hard Drive 1 TB HARD DRIVE — 32M Cache, 7200 RPM, 6.0Gb/s – Single Drive
1 x Optical Drive 24X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive – Black
1 x Flash Media Reader / Writer 12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer – Black
1 x Sound Card 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
1 x Network Card Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100)
1 x Operating System None- Pre-formatted Hard Drive Only

Legend of Korra Official HD Trailer

You have no idea how excited I am.

Error 501 (net::ERR_INSECURE_RESPONSE): Unknown error

Error 501 (net::ERR_INSECURE_RESPONSE): Unknown error is an error you get in chrome when you view a page with an iframe that loads a HTTPS page with an invalid SSL certificate. If you find HTTPS page on the same domain that is not in an iframe you will get the standard red page saying the site is unsafe. If you click procceed the page will load as normal. You can now go back to the page with the iframe and browse normally.

If you are not a developer or are not sure why the SSL certificate is invalid then DO NOT CLICK the button to procceed.

Nyan Cat Desktop Background

I could not find a good nyan cat background so I just made one.

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I REMEMBER