Category: social media

The A.T. Manual Of Style

This is A.T.’s long-overdue list of rules and recommendations for writing style in the 21st century. Specifically, for publishing online. The list is open-ended, and items are listed in no specific order.

  1. Use one space after a period. NEVER two spaces. (Unless you are , 88 or older, or both.)
  2. Never use . No exceptions. Not ironically, not as a joke, not to be cute. Just don’t do it.
  3. It’s OK to end a sentence with a preposition. If it’s good for , it’s good for you.
  4. There is no contradiction between items 1 and 3.
  5. It’s OK to split infinitives.
  6. To be continued…

I was into Mongolian folk metal before it was cool

My favorite Mongolian folk metal band is Nine Treasures, but you have probably never heard of them.

The folk elements of the band’s music mostly come from two instruments: the morin khuur, a traditional two-stringed ; and the balalaika, a triangular Russian folk instrument that sounds a bit like a mandolin and typically has three strings. –


Comcast to customer: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”

Why is Comcast like Hotel California? Because “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”.

Listen below to this pathetic, desperate Comcast service representative refusing to cancel a customer’s account. Which is why you should never, NEVER EVER become a Comcast customer in the first place.

There’s a bit of karmic irony in this story. Eight years ago (to the day!) a made the rounds, in which an AOL customer tried in vain to cancel his AOL account. In today’s call the customer is no other than .


Runaway Android apps

[UPDATE June 5, 2014] Multiple observations confirm: Instagram (which behaves (mostly) properly on Wi-Fi connections) becomes a CPU hog on carrier (cellular) connections. Not sure why, will report here if I find out more.


[UPDATE June 2, 2014] In an effort to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside my Nexus 4, I installed two utility apps:  and . Lookout scans and monitors for malware, and offers a bunch of other security features; Watchdog alerts me when an app exceeds a certain CPU threshold.

First impressions are great. Phone runs cool. Interesting observation: When I kill Instagram — the worst offender — through Watchdog, it stays dead. By comparison, when I used to force-stop Instagram via the Android device (system) settings, it would often start up again right away by itself.


My phone (Google Nexus 4) has been getting really hot lately, draining the battery in the process. I started monitoring running Android processes and services, and found out that several apps sometimes don’t close when I tell them to, but keep running and consuming CPU cycles and battery juice. The biggest offender is Instagram, followed by Facebook (which starts on boot and keeps running (and restarts itself after a force-stop, the nerve!)), Google Play Music (which seems to randomly start itself on a whim, or possibly gets launched by Google Drive), and MailDroid (as ).

[UPDATE May 17, 2014] Adding Snapchat to the list of runaway apps that must be force-stopped after every use.

My response:

  • Remove the Facebook app, which I have been threatening to do for a while. I am not leaving Facebook, just removing the app from my phone.
  • Scale back the use of the Instagram app, and force-stop the app after each use.
  • Scale back the use of the Google Drive app, and force-stop Google Play Music after each use (confirm cause-and-effect).
    • [UPDATE from a ]: “Google support told me to uncheck the box Settings > Accounts > Google > Accounts > [myemail] > Sync Google Play Music. I had sync checked before the update as well, but it caused no problems. In any event, this didn’t do all that much good. The app is like the freakin’ Terminator — force stops won’t kill it.”
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Disabled Google Play Music. Problem solved.
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Also wiped a ton of other Google shit off my phone. It felt great.
  • Stay away from the MailDroid app.
  • Monitor Android system activity regularly for runaway apps and force-stop them as needed.
  • Reboot my phone daily.

Grimmie is the new Aguilera

“The Voice” contestant Christina Grimmie blows me away. Her  of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” is currently , ahead of John Legend, Idina Menzel, and Justin Timberlake. Way ahead of coach Shakira (35) and the next closest contestant Audra McLaughlin (40).

I predict that Christina Grimmie will win The Voice, hands down.

Below is Christina’s rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” for the blind auditions.

The 2014 A.T. Rank of social media networks

[UPDATE May 31, 2014] Several readers commented that the table in my original post (bottom) was misleading, making it look like Google+ was my second most-preferred social media network, whereas its placement (second) in the table was due to the fact that G+ scored the most gains since my last ranking. Fair point.

To correct this misunderstanding I now also present the same data in a table (below) sorted by “2014 RANK”.

Instagram 10 9 1 11
Twitter 9 10 -1 8
Stellar 8 8 0 8
Google+ 7 4 3 10
LinkedIn 6 5 1 7
Facebook 3 7 -4 -1
Pinterest 2 4 -2 0



My annual ranking of social media networks comes out early this year. This time I only rank services I currently use, unlike the 2013 and 2012 rankings where I also ranked networks I had used in the past.

The table is self-explanatory, and the numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me. Google+ shows the biggest gains, whereas Facebook drops to the bottom.

Instagram 10 9 1 11
Google+ 7 4 3 10
Stellar 8 8 0 8
Twitter 9 10 -1 8
LinkedIn 6 5 1 7
Pinterest 2 4 -2 0
Facebook 3 7 -4 -1

Google+ shows content view counts on profile pages

In a move brilliant in its simplicity, yesterday Google+ began showing total content view counts on profile pages. This is significant for several reasons, but I’ll focus on the main one.

Some background: Back in December 2013 Facebook — Google+’s main competitor in the social media arena — changed their news feed algorithm. With that, Facebook in effect usurped editorial powers over users’ posts, which resulted in hiding (most of) users’ content from (most of) their friends. Now if you want more friends to see your posts, you have to pay Facebook to “promote” your posts. Many users cried foul. Some have called the practice and . .

Showing total content view counts on Google+ profile pages is designed to set Google+ apart from Facebook and attract more users and brands. Google basically says: “Hey, we not only let your message through to all who want to see it, we tell you how many users actually saw it.” Google+ is smartly riding the wave of discontent over Facebook’s authoritarian stance.

This works for me. After fuming for months over various objectionable Facebook policies and practices, today I am beginning to gradually phase out my Facebook presence in favor of Google+. .

Atanas Entchev Google+ profile

2Cellos — Thunderstruck (video)

This is the latest video from 2Cellos, released last week. It is getting one million views per day.

2CELLOS is a duo of young Croatian cellists. More from :

“Young Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, known as 2CELLOS, achieved sensational success by taking the cello to a new level and breaking the boundaries between different genres of music. Their unique cello version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” took the world by storm. Within only a week, this YouTube video became a massive viral sensation leading to a record deal with Sony Masterworks and an invitation to join Sir Elton John on his worldwide tour.”

I wrote about their  when it first came out. Glad to see their popularity growing.

Jurnalizm, the ABC way

How is this not like ?

In case you haven’t heard it yet, here’s the story: A “funnyman” tricks a US Olympic athlete into tweeting a fake video purporting to show a wolf on the loose in the athlete’s hotel in Sochi. The funnyman’s network (ABC) knows about the plan, but keeps mum. The story goes viral, as other legit news networks (NBC, CNN) report it as true. The funnyman goes “Sike!” ABC goes:”It is a piece of comedy.” Ha-ha!

Not everyone’s laughing.   and managing editor overseeing Olympics coverage:

“It wasn’t just that it was a potentially viral video. The news was that security may have been breached where the athletes stay. How did a wolf get into a place that was supposedly fortified? Was there a hole in the fence? Were there other weaknesses? How did it get past the guards? Was it even a wolf? These were all legitimate questions in the context of what has been reported about Sochi.”

In my opinion this “prank” goes well beyond stupid and irresponsible, into malicious and probably criminal. Confession: I am a little angrier than usual because I thought the story was true and shared it on social media as such. I am also no fan of ABC’s for other reasons.

Here’s the video: