Bye Bye ßeta
After almost 10 years of testing, Quicksilver lays the beta tag to rest. (If the lack of an eszett brings a tear to your eye, you can always reminisce by hitting ⌥S on your keyboard). What does this release mean? It means more than just a change in the…
I have always argued for engaging with technology as conscious human beings and dispensing with technologies that take that agency away.
Facebook is just such a technology. It does things on our behalf when we’re not even there. It actively misrepresents us to our friends, and worse misrepresents those who have befriended us to still others.
This, more than the typical advertising/privacy concerns, is the thing that really bothers me about Facebook. Over the course of its existence, the way we interact with Facebook has become increasingly disconnected from the way our activities are presented to the network. I remember John Gruber saying that one of the reasons he instantly liked Twitter was how simple and obvious its mechanism was: he typed in the text box and everyone who followed him saw it; when people he followed typed, he saw it. By contrast, Facebook is an opaque algorithmic beast, and I’ve never felt at all in control of how it presents me to the world.
The Slow Web
One of the better spots to enjoy a bowl of ramen noodles here in New York is Minca, in the East Village. Minca is the kind of place just out of the way enough that as you’re about to get there, you start wondering if you’ve already passed it. A bowl of noodles at Minca isn’t quite as neatly put together as those of other ramen establishments in the city, but it is without a doubt among the tastiest. There’s a home-cooked quality to a bowl of noodles at Minca. And there’s a homey vibe to the restaurant. Minca is a good place to meet a friend and sit and talk and eat and drink, and eat and talk and sit and drink some more.
The last time I was at Minca, I had an especially enjoyable conversation with Walter Chen. Walter is the CEO of a company called iDoneThis, a quiet little service that helps you catalog the things you’ve accomplished each day. iDoneThis sends you a daily email at your specified time, and you simply reply with a list of things you did that day. It’s useful for teams who want to keep track of what everyone is working on, and for individuals who just want to keep track.
I first reached out to Walter because I was mesmerized by this koan at the bottom of the daily emails:
iDoneThis is a part of the slow web movement. After you email us, your calendar is not updated instantaneously. But rest up, and you’ll find an updated calendar when you wake.
iDoneThis is a part of the slow web movement. The Slow Web Movement. I’d never heard that phrase before. I immediately started digging around—and by that I mean I googled “Slow Web Movement”—and the lone relevant search result was a blog post from two years ago. If you run the search again today, you’ll find Walter’s writeup on his company blog, which reflects a lot of what he told me over dinner.
As we talked further, I said to Walter that as soon as I saw “the slow web movement,” I assigned my own meaning to it. Because it’s a great name, and great names are like knots—they’re woven from the same stringy material as other words, but in their particular arrangement, they catch, become junctions to which new threads arrive, from which other threads depart. For me, “The Slow Web” neatly tied together a slew of dangling thoughts.