Pre-Apocalyptic Detroit

The New York Times Magazine ran a breathless story on the “rebirth” of Detroit. In part, the story was told through the eyes of Dan Gilbert, the CEO of mortgage machine Quicken Loans. Memorable quote: One of Gilbert’s new downtown properties is an iconic Kahn creation from 1959 called Chase Tower, previously the National BankContinue reading “Pre-Apocalyptic Detroit”

Apple backs down, restores ability to sync contacts & calendar without an iCloud account

Back in October I noticed that, with the release of Mavericks, Apple removed the ability to sync your Contacts and Calendar directly between your Mac and iPhone or iPad. Instead, they forced you to use iCloud, and upload and store your information in iCloud. I was a bit peeved at this; so were other people.Continue reading “Apple backs down, restores ability to sync contacts & calendar without an iCloud account”

Effectively change the hosts file of your iPhone, iPad or Android with ettercap

Based on “Test web apps on iOS by DNS spoofing your LAN with Ettercap” by Henrique Barosso. Modified to work on a Mac running OS X. To access a website or service that uses a virtual host but isn’t in DNS, you need to add it to the hosts file of the machine you’re usingContinue reading “Effectively change the hosts file of your iPhone, iPad or Android with ettercap”

10 Ways to Create a Billion Dollar Media Brand

Write snappy headlines that include no information. Link those headlines to a four-hundred word article which, if properly edited, would be two sentences long. Make people who try to read your website on a mobile phone dismiss a request to install your App. Every. Damn. Time. Include multiple, paid links beside every article. Do notContinue reading “10 Ways to Create a Billion Dollar Media Brand”

Is the open internet dead?

I was fortunate enough to get online in the mid-90’s. I wrote some terrible software to configure Dial Up Networking in Windows 3.1, and then sold it to a local ISP for years of free access. At that point, consumers were rapidly adopting what I’ll call “open” technologies, including email, forums (USENET), messaging (IRC) and file transferContinue reading “Is the open internet dead?”

Continuations: Wattpad’s Fanfunding Experiment

continuations: I have written a lot about the challenges of charging for content as digital content production and distribution has skyrocketed. The fundamental problem from here on out is that the supply of content far outstrips the demand which means that at the margin the price for content will be zero…. I commend Wattpad forContinue reading “Continuations: Wattpad’s Fanfunding Experiment”

Following the money at Bixi Toronto

Help me understand the Bixi Toronto service model. This isn’t meant as a criticism of bike sharing; I like the idea, and am happy to subsidize it. I’m just annoyed with what seems to be the opaque way that it’s funded. Let me see if I have this right: the City of Toronto, like other cities,Continue reading “Following the money at Bixi Toronto”

The more you learn the less you know

Being “up to date” beyond a certain point – that is, being aware of all of the latest tweets, news stories, stock quotes, etcetera – can actually hurt one’s understanding of the universe. This is partially explained by the lingering impact of misinformation. In trying to get a story first, publishers – whether old-line media orContinue reading “The more you learn the less you know”