July 17, 2020

Snippet: NWSL Fans Are Online, Organized, and Refuse to Be Ignored ☍

Nicole Wetsman for The Verge:

Despite being arguably the best and most competitive women’s professional soccer league in the world and home to global stars like Rose Lavelle, Christine Sinclair, and Debinha, coverage of the NWSL is limited. Women’s sports receive only 4 percent of sports media coverage overall, and in May 2020, only 7 percent of sports stories in major US newspapers focused on women, according to an analysis in the sports newsletter Power Plays. Two prior attempts at a women’s pro league in the US, both of which folded after three seasons, faced similar issues. Major sports outlets seemed to only pay attention if something was going wrong.

Without mainstream attention, NWSL fans and supporters have turned to social media platforms like Tumblr and Twitter to build their own coverage and push for the type of recognition and attention they know the league needs. “The league has never really been on TV. So you’re watching games online,” says Meg Linehan, who covers the NWSL and the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) for The Athletic. “If I’m going to look up something about women’s soccer that I don’t know, honestly, sometimes my first stop is still the Twitter search bar.”

I’ll be honest, I was not expecting to see a story about the NWSL come across my RSS reader this morning (and it’s been awhile since I’ve written about it here). I’ve been enjoying the Challenge Cup, as it’s been a nice distraction from our current hellscape. CBS’s presentations have been really well done (aside from The Glare™), and it’s looking like the whole thing can be categorized as a success.

There’s been some ridiculous fun on Twitter and Reddit during games that probably seems even better due to just a little bit of quaran-time madness setting in. The fact that so much of the fandom feels generally pleasant, and even that the commentators are getting into it gives it a unique feel that I doubt we’ll see with the other bubbled-sports when they start soon.

In the meantime, if you’re curious, the knockout round has just started today and the #1-seeded North Carolina Courage were eliminated by the #8-seeded Portland Thorns. The Courage were the 2018 and 2019 champs, so it’s kind of like if the New England Patriots or Golden State Warriors got eliminated early. CBS All Access has a free trial, so you can check out the remaining games and the final will be on regular CBS (despite not really liking the new branding, I’m still pulling for the Reign).

Snippet: How to Build a 5-Acre WiFi Network ☍

Matt Haughey:

Last year I moved to a house with some property, and it had a separate garage a hundred feet or so away from the main house. At first, I tried Netgear Orbi mesh networking points to connect them but I couldn’t reliably get one wireless point in my house’s window to connect to the other point in the garage. So I started doing some research, and going down some rabbit holes.

Remember 20 years ago when Maker Magazine was new and all about building pringles-can wifi antennas? While the idea is the same, there’s a ton of great, cheap, reliable, fast wireless points these days that have taken that concept further. Plus, you can buy them on Amazon and set them up easily with your computer or phone.

As someone that has mostly gone all-in on Ubiquiti, and used both their UniFi products at home and work, and AirMax at work, this is a very approachable introduction for anyone looking to expand their network over a larger area.

July 8, 2020

Snippet: iMessage and Phone Numbers as Identifiers ☍

John Gruber:

One last bit of behind-the-scenes follow-up regarding the production of The Talk Show Remote From WWDC 2020. For help with my audio setup, I worked with Zach Phillips. Phillips is local to Philly, an audio engineering ace, has worked with Sandwich before — and, it turns out, I linked to his blog back in April 2012.

Even better, he was right and I was wrong. Although he was wrong too. It’s actually an interesting post worth revisiting.

This has been something that I had long forgotten, but it is an interesting thing to revisit. For me, iMessage mostly augmented SMS (too many friends without smartphones at the time), but eventually blue bubbles took over and it also replaced AIM. Coming at it from the side of phone-based messaging, it made sense to me that it would use a phone number and I still go that route to this day by default.

I also think it might have to do that many of my friends are more likely to have my phone number than email address, and that will still work even if they switch away from iPhones. Still, it’s an interesting consideration and I wonder how many people are email-first for iMessage instead.

June 15, 2020

Snippet: Has Pandemic Pushed Us Into a Post-Human Future? ☍

Om Malik:

There is very little room for humanness in transactions facilitated by the network. I wonder if the real cost of convenience is sacrificing the humaneness. Instead of the banter with the neighborhood corner shop, we get stuff delivered from Amazon. Most of our goods come via e-commerce platforms. We won’t have a favorite salesperson at our favorite department store — soon there won’t be any department stores left anyway.

We are addicted to convenience, nonetheless.

Today, I was thinking about our future post-pandemic reality. A contactless future is going to become obvious. With the retail and restaurant sectors struggling and shrinking, we will start seeing the places which make us part of a society, a neighborhood, humans begin to go away. A dry cleaner here, a coffee shop there. What will remain of society? It is easy to think of the local shop as a business, but in the end, their nearness, their familiar closeness, their physical proximity gives us landmarks that create context and give us bearing for our lives. They turn a building into a home, a neighborhood into a place that builds memories. All of these little services give us texture as humans. They are also a chance for us to come together, not separated by income, but as two parties that need each other.

This particular post really hit me hard yesterday—Malik isn’t necessarily cynical, just stating the reality of today, accelerated by the pandemic. While technology has facilitated amazing things at our fingertips, it feels like many people on the other side of what we want and need are being seen as transactional robots completing a task from your button-press. Everyone craves instant gratification, but I wonder what we’re losing out on even trivial social interactions.

June 10, 2020

Snippet: “Sharing” ☍

Joe Cieplinski analyzes the privacy page in the new HBO Max iOS app. Without copying and pasting everything, this was my favorite little observation:

The [Do Not Sell My Personal Information] switch is off by default, of course. And it’s greyed out, as if the designers of this app want you to think you can’t even tap on it. iOS native switches have a white tappable/draggable handle when in the “off” state. Warner went out of their way to make the handle black.

Finally, the footnote. “This change will take effect the next time you start the HBO Max app.”

In other words, now that you’ve flicked the switch, we’re going to immediately “share” your info before you get a chance to quit the app and restart it.