October 9, 2021

Snippet: In Case Brent Doesn’t Write There Again ☍

Brent Simmons:

This blog is almost 22 years old, and in all that time I’ve been solid about posting regularly — until this recent dry spell.

I skipped the summer. Last post was in June. There was just one that month, and just one in May.

I have an explanation: while my health and physical circumstances are unchanged and, happily, fine, I have not felt the drive to write here that I always felt.

*Checks footer*…oh, I’ve also been doing this for 22 years and *checks sparse list of recent posts* things have also slowed down here. I get what Simmons is going through—while there’s a lot of technology-related things to talk about, so much of it is mature or I’ve already expressed an opinion on. The Facebook outage? Probably would’ve been worth a post in 2007. New iPhones? Even if I didn’t get one, would’ve been worth covering.

Instead, I’ve sort of found in the last year that I want to cover or share things that I think are worth posting, rather than just because it’s a big story or everyone else is covering it somehow. It might have changed the frequency of posts, but I’ll be sticking around for a bit. If you’re subscribed via RSS or Twitter, thank you. If not, there are a number of ways to (shameless plug).

Snippet: Ted Lasso is No Superhero (He’s Even Better Than That) ☍

Sophie Gilbert for The Atlantic (via Matt Birchler):

One character alone can’t fully rid pop culture’s masculine paradigm of violence, cruelty, and destruction, a millennia-old model. (Although Gareth Southgate exists, so anything’s possible.) But the impact the series has had among viewers is pronounced because Ted is such a unicorn in a landscape of TV fathers and father figures who torture their children, murder their mistresses, cheat with interns, or fail their family altogether.

Considering my last post, it’s a bit weird to see the the various dynamics towards the end of this season of Ted Lasso (avoiding spoilers).

I found the first season wonderful, beingso upbeat and sweet in a time that we needed it. While the second season had its criticisms, I thought it did a wonderful job demonstrating the growth and development of characters and those interpersonal relationships. There’s not some obvious conflict, and I think that caused some people to complain there was no “villain” like Rebecca in the first season. I think it took some chances, and while some did not pay off, there were a lot of challenging and complex storylines, and the finale managed to wrap up many and set the stage for season three.

Finally, for what it’s worth, there’s a notion (including in Gilbert’s article) that the development of the Nate character might have been something cooked up for this season, but it seems some things were there from the very start.

October 5, 2021

Snippet: Former Players Accuse North Carolina Courage Coach Paul Riley of Sexual Coercion ☍

Meg Linehan and Katie Strang for The Athletic:

Former players have accused now-former North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley of sexual coercion spanning multiple teams and leagues since 2010, according to The Athletic.

Midfielder Sinead Farrelly played for Riley with three teams across three leagues, beginning in 2011. Farrelly told The Athletic that Riley often sat next to her at a bar where he regularly took the team, and eventually, she started to share deeply personal information with him. […]

Ahead of the Thorns’ 2015 season, Meleana “Mana” Shim became entangled in the “social culture” that Riley had cultivated in Portland and in his previous teams. Over time, he started texting Shim more often and asked her to watch film with him, even sometimes at his apartment and in his hotel room. […]

After the NWSL adopted a new anti-harassment policy earlier this year, Farrelly and Shim contacted the league to ask for a new investigation into Riley’s behavior. League commissioner Lisa Baird thanked them for raising their concerns but informed both former players the 2015 complaint was “investigated to conclusion,” and that she could not share any details.

This is not the usual content I post here, but I have covered NWSL things from time to time and this story, along with the fallout have been taking up a lot of my thoughts. I only provided a few excerpts from the free-to-read article (the behind-the-paywall one is way more detailed). Linehan and Strang show why journalism matters and it makes me a little disappointed that the various large, known media outlets only piggybacked on The Athletic’s reporting.

On the other hand, I think it shines a lot of on a lot of horrible things in our society, especially in certain industries or organizations. It’s such a shame it took six years for anything to even happen and one can only hope it encourages others to speak out and more importantly, those in power that can help to actually listen.

September 13, 2021

Snippet: The Future of the App Store ☍

I had been thinking of writing about what a number of settlements, legal changes, and the Apple v. Epic ruling, but Marco Arment covered things much better than I could have. He even managed to nail why side-loading and alternative app stores aren’t not what we should be hoping for:

Maybe you’d need to install seven different app stores on your iPhone just to get the apps and games you already use — and all without App Review to keep them in check.

Most developers would probably need to start submitting our apps to multiple app stores, each with its own rules, metadata, technical requirements, capabilities, approval delays, payment processing, stats, crash reports, ads, promotion methods, and user reviews.

As a user, a multiple-app-store world sounds like an annoying mess; as a developer, it terrifies me.

Apple’s App Store is the devil we know. The most viable alternatives that would crop up would be far worse.

In general, the little indie developers probably won’t do much horrible, abusive stuff (take a look at the companies we love that aren’t on the Mac App Store), but mobile is much different game and there’s much more incentive to try to basically build your own platform-within-a-platform. I’m glad to see Apple having to make changes that might be slightly more favorable to developers, and hope for more, but I also don’t want iOS turned into Android, Windows, or Linux.

August 14, 2021

Snippet: Hey, So, I Think I F*&#ing Hate the Internet ☍

G. Keenan Schneider for the aptly-titled No Octothorpe:

Being constantly bludgeoned by variety is destructive. It leaves no room for quiet. No space for contemplation. No opportunity for thought. When we’re constantly craving the next thing, we have no time to digest the previous thing. We have no ability to consider what something truly means to us. The pandemic provided a uniquely horrific opportunity for all of us to collectively share in that misery. We all fed into this in our own ways, mostly by feeding off of others in an effort to stave off the boredom, frustration, and despair a global catastrophe inflicted upon us. The Internet tries to be everything to everyone, and it takes its toll. What hope do we have if we can’t even sit quietly with our own thoughts?

I’ve been feeling a lot of the push-pull of consuming social media and deciding when to contribute and when to leave something in drafts or delete entirely. Getting off some services has helped, and limiting use of remaining have, as well. Lately, I’ve been finding that on days where it’s not the hottest it’s ever been, I’ve been catching up on reading articles, stories, and more (many times online), while sitting on my balcony. Rather than the distractions being a scrolling timeline in an app, it’s often things going on just a short way from where I’m sitting.