Linkbait Comes to Television

I spent the evening last night at an Irish Pub (yes, I know, this blog entry can just stop here) watching the Seahawks game. Remember, though I live in Silicon Valley, I'm a Seattle transplant. Go Hawks.

As I and the 50+ fans were enjoying a convincing victory, a commercial came on. It was entitled (and captioned), "The Call," and depicted a woman getting a phone call. She says hello, and her face drops as she listens, clearly being shocked at what she is hearing. I, the viewer, know only her shock - there is no indication of what's actually said.

And then the commercial ends with the call to action to go to a URL to find out what happens next.

No. Just no. Clickbait online is one thing. Doing it in a broadcast television commercial? Sorry, that's farther past a line that's already been crossed.

I encourage everyone to refuse to go to any URL presented in this manner. Please help send a message to advertisers that this simply won't work.

Oh, and get off my lawn.

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A Designer's Guide to DPI

My friends over at Media Temple have promoted a fantastic guide to DPI, and so much more. This article really covers it all and in an outstanding way. I can't recommend it enough. Thanks to Media Temple for pointing it out, and thanks to Sebastien for writing this. Bravo!

http://sebastien-gabriel.com/designers-guide-to-dpi

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Facebook to give away how magic tricks are done

Well, not really, but just as stupid. As reported by Ars Technica, Facebook is now placing a [SATIRE] tag next to links that go off to The Onion. Clearly, Facebook is ruining the fun for those of us with enough brain cells to recognize satire when we see it, and is making the presumption that most of you are idiots.

Rumor has it that next week they'll be threatening to disclose the true identity of Santa Claus to anyone under 13 who lied about their age to get an account.

Hey Facebook? You want to do a little editorializing? How about you flag all of those linkbait sites as [DOG CRAP] while you're at it? Now that would be a non-abusive use of your power.

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My Personal Assistant

I've wanted a personal assistant for quite some time, now. Someone who can keep my schedule, help with travel, and generally have my back in terms of logistics. Experience and intelligence is a must, of course. I'm pretty good with travel, and an assistant who can't do a better job than I can isn't really a value-add in terms of paying for service. Someone with enough insight into my personality and work schedule is also a necessity, as I'd expect, in a reasonable amount of time, they could know my workload and limits and help schedule commitments. Someone who could say, "I'm sorry, but I know that this won't fit in Chris's workload until at least October" would be incredible.

Someone with these skills would surely be very expensive to hire. Part-time is likely not an option for such high-end service, so I'd be looking at a full-time salary plus benefits. Let's face it, I'm pretty good at what I do, but I only make the medium bucks. Until my startup is bought out for some obscene valuation, such an assistant just isn't in the works for me.

For now.

It occurs to me that as soon as we cross the real artificial intelligence barrier, such an assistant will be a simple install and configuration. We're not there yet, but it's a clear milestone, and I can't help but think that we could be five or ten years away. Sure, I'm optimistic. I believe if I can live to 65, I can live forever, as I think medical science is very close to stopping the aging process (and, I hope, reversing it so I can live forever in the body of a 30 year-old). I think AI is that close as well, especially looking at the advancements in quantum computing over the past year.

I hold out hope that one day I'll have my personal assistant. I won't name him HAL, however - that's cliche.

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Revisit and Refactor

Today I revisited some code I'd written about a month ago and reduced the time it takes to run a data loading job from 52 minutes down to sub-10 minutes by replacing a relatively slow API call with a direct call to local code. This is something that was "good enough" until now, but was on my radar as being eligible for improvement. Since I had a new data loading job that would take over 10 hours using the API call, I had to write the new job a better way. Copying this better code back where it could make a difference meant that all of my data loading jobs were now refactored and much faster.

The takeaway here for developers is to periodically revisit your code and refactor it. Find new efficiencies. Examine how your code has been working and consider what you might have learned since the last time you worked on it. You may notice something now that you didn't notice the last time you were in the code.

A small amount of time doing this can pay off in huge improvements.

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