‘Fantastic Four’ Sucked

Brooks Barnes writing for the New York Times:

20th Century Fox’s big-budget “Fantastic Four” went down in flames at the weekend box office, adding to fears about superhero fatigue[…]

Superhero fatigue? No. People want a well-made film with a great story.

Everything seems to point to the fact that if Fox would’ve let Josh Trank do the film he wanted, the movie might have been better. Although I’m still not sure it would’ve been good.

But the notion that people didn’t watch this movie because of “superhero fatigue” is utterly stupid. People didn’t watch because they could smell the stink a mile away.

Listen to my review of Fantastic Four on The MovieByte Podcast.

Rules for Getting Hired

Michael Johnson gives some excellent advice on Cognition to get you hired. As someone who at times has been involved in the hiring process, I can vouch for how important these are.

‘Fire the Workaholics’

David Heinemeier Hansson:

People who always work late makes the people who don’t feel inadequate for merely working reasonable hours. That’ll lead to guilt, misery, and poor morale. Worse, it’ll lead to ass-in-seat mentality where people will “stay late” out of obligation, but not really be productive.

David wrote this in 2008, and it’s just as true today as it was then. I enjoy having a life, and I’ve loved working for those who encourage me to live it.

‘On Passion’

Noah Stokes nails it:

Who doesn’t want to follow their passion? Do what they love? It’s on posters and t-shirts. It’s nearly half of all Medium articles. You can turn your passion into a full-time job. Your passion can free you from the daily grind. Your passion is what you were meant to do! Follow your passion they say. I say, follow your passion… on the weekends.

Happy National Radio Day!

There’s only an hour left in National Radio Day, but I wanted to post a little something I made for it.

Radio is a hugely powerful medium, and it’s impact and ability to tell stories grows stronger and stronger. Take some time to donate to your favorite shows, or send a note in the form of an email or iTunes review.

You can read and find out more at nationalradioday.com.

‘We Still Let Harassers Participate In Our Community’

Katie Kovalcin:

We have a problem. A really big problem. If reporting someone does nothing, if organizers are not fit to deal with these tough situations, and if no one is warning others of those who endanger our community—we’re going to keep losing a lot of really great diverse voices.

I pulled out of that conference. That event has lost a woman speaker while simultaneously promoting a dangerous one.

I’m grateful to Katie for sharing her story, which unfortunately sounds so familiar to many more. There needs to be drastic change in our industry, and it’s a good idea to think about how we can be part of the solution.

You need to read this.

‘Let’s Talk Money’

Helen Tran:

One of the most displeasing sentiments out there is that if you are passionate about something, the money shouldn’t matter. People will fall all over themselves agreeing to this. Why not? It sounds so good. If anyone admits that they do care about money, then that must mean they’re not passionate or that their intentions aren’t altruistic.

I couldn’t agree more. This idea is spread by people who don’t want to pay you what you’re worth. Others agree to it, because as Helen notes, it sounds good and they don’t want to be the odd one out.

It’s crap advice though. We work to live, not live to work; which in this case means giving you the money and time off to continue to grow and be happy as a human. When companies align themselves to this philosophy, they find themselves with better employees.

‘Dynamic Web Typography with Typekit’

Tom Newton talking about a new Typekit feature:

When your Dynamic Kit JavaScript loads in the browser it detects the characters you’re using and requests that only the used characters are sent. For example, say you’re using a typeface to set a homepage h1 to read “Betty’s Buttery Bakery” then instead of the font-file containing all of it’s glyphs, it will only contain B-E-K-R-S-T-U-Y-‘ in a smaller (much faster loading) font file.

This makes so much sense. Why download the whole glyph set when you’re most likely not using it all? With more attention then ever on performance, this is a big win.

Via CSS Tricks.

‘The Gray Gray Ghost That I Call Home’

Chris Coyier nails it:

Discussions are always worth having. Weighing options is always interesting. Demonstrating what has worked (and what hasn’t) for you is always useful. There are ways to communicate that don’t resort to dogmatism.

What’s tricky is that you have to grow out of it. Or otherwise find a way to relax your convictions. They don’t sell empathy pills.

The problem is we haven’t learned how to have constructive conversations online. It’s not always the case, but most of the time, people are insulted, told things no one would ever say in person, and conversations spiral.

The other issue being that there are select people who drive the conversation in the web industry, and are highly regarded. But their word is not law, and we all have a responsibility to share our knowledge for a more well-rounded conversation.

‘What The Ad Blocker Debate Reveals’

Jean-Louis Gassée on the Monday Note:

We feel cheated and rightly so. As users, we understand that we’re not really entitled to free browsing; we pay our bills with our selves: When The Product Is Free, We Are the Product. The problem is that we feel betrayed when we find out we’ve been overpaying. We’re being exploited — and it’s not even done nicely. (Apply your favorite metaphor, here.)

Losing trust is bad for the bottom line – no economy can function well without it. When you lose the consumer’s trust, you’re condemned to a chase for the next wave of suckers. Even sites that get us to pay for access to their content play questionable advertising and tracking games.

via The Loop.

Popular Science’s Apple TV Wishlist

Dave Gershgorn writing for Popular Science:

Early reports say that Apple is going to be including a Touch ID sensor in the new Apple TV remote. This could be an immediate home run, if it’s implemented correctly. If each user was able to make their own profile and home screen, unlocked based on their fingerprint, families wouldn’t have to worry about parental lock passcodes and roommates could each have their own unique account. Even better if you can add another Apple ID to a separate profile.

An interesting list of wishes for the new Apple TV. My hope is that rumors about the SDK are true. With an SDK, the possibilities are endless—we’ll see more channels pop up from everywhere—and hopefully games. I’ve always wondered why the Apple TV isn’t game console too, which to me is a such a no-brainer.

Time Off Leads to Better Work, Duh

Shawn Blanc:

There is no shame in taking time “off” of your work, in order to learn something, experience something, and be inspired.

This is the ebb and flow of work. This is having multi-year cycles where we grow in our mastery of creation beyond just mastery of tools and workflows. This is why resting well is so valuable and why learning, thinking, and discovering cannot be underrated.

So common sense right? It’s hilarious that we need to be told to take a vacation. Yet, until recently, I didn’t appreciate the drastic effect time away can have on your work.

I took two weeks to go to Europe with Kelly this Summer.1 No computer, no working, just sight-seeing and resting. It was amazing, my horizons were widened, and I came back ready to kick butt.

  1. She truly brings balance to my life. Goodness.

Heroku Redirects with rack-rewrite

A month ago, I moved this blog over to Heroku, and I’ve been really happy. It’s made writing and deploying a lot easier. But I needed a way to redirect the feeds to FeedPress and display my nice 404 page, which I had no idea how to do.

I did some digging and found out I could use Rack::Rewrite. Understanding how exactly to get this to work took me longer than I would’ve liked, but I finally figured it out.

Installation

First you’ll need to add the Rack::Rewrite gem to your Gemfile:

# Gemfile
source "https://rubygems.org"
gem 'rack-rewrite'

Once you run bundle install it’s time to write our rules:

# config.ru
require 'rack/rewrite'
use Rack::Rewrite do
  r302 '/atom.xml', 'http://feedpress.me/theboldreport', :if => Proc.new { |rack_env|
    rack_env['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] != 'FeedPress'
  }
  r302 '/atom.articles.xml', 'http://feedpress.me/theboldreport-articles', :if => Proc.new { |rack_env|
    rack_env['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] != 'FeedPress'
  }
end

The code above redirects the atom feed to the FeedPress feed unless the User Agent is FeedPress.1 It’s important to note, that you want to put your redirects at the top of your file.2

Now, for the 404 Page

For this, we’ll use a Rack middleware called Rack::NotFound. First we need to add the rack-contrib gem to our Gemfile. If you followed the steps from my move to Heroku, you already have this gem installed.

# Gemfile
source "https://rubygems.org"
gem 'rack-contrib'

Run bundle install and we’ll add two more lines to our config.ru file.

# config.ru
require 'rack/contrib/not_found'
run Rack::NotFound.new('/path/to/your/404/index.html')

What took me a few weeks to figure out, is actually quite simple to do. You can check out the Rack::Rewrite project page for documentation. The rack-contrib documentation is kind of non-existent, but it’s also on GitHub if you want to read through it. Hope you find this helpful!

  1. FeedPress still needs access to the original feed, or else it becomes a never ending loop of redirects and the feed would be blank.

  2. I honestly don’t know if this makes a difference, but I had them lower in the file and they weren’t working so… I don’t know.

Maybe I Should Be Living in Switzerland

Chantal Panozzo sums up why she’s not completely excited to be living in the U.S. again:

While I enjoy being close to family again, returning to the United States made me realize who I’ve become: someone who can’t believe companies aren’t required to pay into a pension fund beyond Social Security. Someone who is offended that most women in America don’t have the maternity benefits she had.

And someone who is mad that she must own a car for lack of efficient public transportation. Someone who, because of all of this, is still debating where she ultimately wants to call home.

Such a fascinating read. Made me think about whether I’m living in the right place.

‘Is There Potential for “Ethical Analytics”?’

Laura Kalbag has some interesting thoughts that I’ve been pondering myself:

Are all analytics bad analytics? Is there room for “ethical analytics” that only tracks anonymous data with limited uses?

Just the other day, I removed Google Analytics from this site. The reason being that I’m not going to track people who don’t want to be tracked. I won’t be just another person who has no regard for the privacy of my readers.

All that being said, it’s my hope that an ethical way of gathering stats comes to exist. I don’t believe that all analytics are bad analytics, considering that some can be very useful. But a line has to be drawn, and if the choice is between not having access to interesting statistics or invading the privacy of others, I choose to lose the stats.

My Podcasting Equipment List

There are lots of podcasting equipment guides, but I decided to write my own. I’ll probably flesh it out more as time goes on, but at least I have somewhere reliable to point people when they ask me about gear.

Unboxing the Sony MDR-7506 Headphones

I recorded an unboxing video for the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. I had used these headphones before when I worked at my college radio station. Interestingly, although less expensive, they’re an upgrade from the Beats Pro. The sound is more accurate, and they’re so light, you can use them for hours.

‘On The Verge’

Jeremy Keith:

If the message coming down from above is that performance concerns and business concerns are fundamentally at odds, then I just don’t know how the developers are ever going to create a culture of performance (which is a real shame, because they sound like a great bunch). It’s a particularly bizarre false dichotomy to be foisting when you consider that all the evidence points to performance as being a key differentiator when it comes to making moolah.

Jeremy continues:

For such a young, supposedly-innovative industry, I’m often amazed at what people choose to treat as immovable, unchangeable, carved-in-stone issues. Bloated, invasive ad tracking isn’t a law of nature. It’s a choice. We can choose to change.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel is so full of crap. The argument presented makes it sound like this is the only way, and if you’re against it, then you’re against people feeding themselves and their families.

It’s a choice. I don’t want The Verge to go away, or to fail. I just fundamentally disagree with the way they’re choosing to do business.

Ad-supported businesses need to reevaluate, and ask themselves how far they’re willing to go to please their advertisers. Unfortunately, these companies seem to be under the false notion that they’re the ones in charge, and content makers are only reinforcing that notion.

There is a fork in the road: change or lose your audience. People are tired of it.

Working Remotely Can Be the Dream

Mark Nichols:

During the hardest times, working remotely can feel like a punishment. For what, though? Your defection from the norm? Your overconfidence, maybe — your inability to do something that seems so easy? You suddenly have all these questions and insecurities keeping you up at night. What’s happening?

Mark’s experience has not been mine in the slightest. I’ve had the fortune of working with companies that really understand remote working. Without that, you’re left with the insecurities Mark has experienced: feeling out of the loop and alone.

I used to think that a company had to be completely remote for it to work. However, I currently work somewhere where only some of us are remote, and it’s been great. But it’s because online communication and collaboration has been engrained in the company culture even when you’re working at the office.

My recommendation is this: if you’re feeling out of the loop and alone, you should address those concerns with your supervisor. If things don’t get better, you might need to find a company who wants to put the effort into remote working.