Stack Up: Northwestern Uniforms, TED, Steve Jobs, History of Internet Grossness, NBC, PHP

  • Few things are as incongruous as the meathead Under Armour ethos and the nerdtopian reality of attending Northwestern University, but here we are:

    Northwestern Under Armour

  • Much as I find the TED scene self-congratulatory and annoying, I did find these two talks particularly cool:
    1. Pranav Mistry: The potential of SixthSense technology. This one is from 2009. Mistry, from MIT, demos his new technology for real-world digital interaction Minority Report-style. I’m anxiously awaiting the day when I can write this blog on an invisible keyboard, so once this technology hits the mainstream, I’ll be psyched. Unfortunately we still don’t see it on a wide scale after three years, which makes me wonder if the mobile companies are trying to milk the handset market for a while longer, but it could be any number of reasons.

    2. Marc Goodman: A vision of crimes in the future. This video made me thankful that there are people smarter than me out there fighting against the dregs of the world who are also smarter than me (at least at technology). The real-time Mumbai terror control center was a fact I had heard before, but Goodman puts it into much more directly fearful terms and spotlights the implications with that and more.

  • Steve Jobs: bold visionary willing to do what it takes to make history, or lowdown anti-family man who stabbed his colleagues in the back? More importantly, can you be one without the other?

    The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale?, Wired.com

    I know I value integrity more than anything else about a person, so I have to hope that’s an asset in my career and not a detriment. I’ve seen plenty of causes to question that, though.

  • Provided you don’t click away on any of its links, this Gawker history of the Internet’s most infamous gross-out linkbait, which I won’t even name here, paints a good picture of the web underbelly in its formative late-90s / early 2000s years. (Anti-thanks to Bill S. from freshman year for dropping that mind-scarring image on me.) It was humorously awkward when my coworker had to explain why this TIME cover was generating so much reaction from online readers:

  • The NBC Olympics streaming problems are proving yet again that infrastructure pwns all. Can’t have a site without a server and bandwidth, so if you don’t properly account for capacity, the Ross operations curriculum says you fail at Internetting.
  • Also, I really don’t feel too bad for NBC getting slammed. This AV Club piece did a nice job of acknowledging the strategic reasons NBC would take the tape-delayed-good-stuff approach, and I’m totally OK with that, but the author also deconstructed just why the content of the broadcasts was bad. I hate, hate the fact that the Olympics coverage always requires these human-interest narratives in a way that other televised sports don’t. I watch for the performance, not to learn about any number of adversities whose outcome has nothing to do with one’s athletic ability in the first place. (If athletic talent were the only way to overcome difficulty, I’d never be able to get out of bed in the morning.)

    Also Ben Silverman annoys me, and NBC still seems to be using his programming philosophy. It didn’t work, yo.

  • As I write this on the PHP-driven WordPress platform, which I can then share on PHP-driven Facebook, I’m reminded of one of my bosses during my front-end developer days who argued that PHP “isn’t scalable”. That was not an enlightened statement.
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