Category: social media

Why I don’t link to The New York Times any more

I don’t link to The New York Times any more because chances are that by following the link my readers will see this screen, with its giant “Subscribe” button. And they won’t see the actual story. Because they don’t subscribe. Good thing the same story is available elsewhere for free. Cough.

Notice the /mobile/wall/smart/ in the URL path in the screenshot? How ironic. There is nothing smart about this. Talk about being penny wise and pound foolish (looking at you, NYT!). Or eating the seed corn. Or hoping to get bought by Steve Ballmer. Ugh!

New York Times paywall screen with giant Subscribe button
New York Times paywall screen with giant Subscribe button

Android 4.3 “improvements”

[UPDATE October 14, 2013] Android still allows itself to be taken down by Snapchat. This began on August 5, 2013 with the release of Android 4.3, and continues to this day. Just how secure is Android?


[UPDATE October 9, 2013] Snapchat points the finger at Google, says a bug in the Nexus 4 Android 4.3 operating system — an issue out of Snapchat’s control — is to blame for the device crashes and reboots.


[UPDATE September 13, 2013] Snapchat still crashes the phone, after 3 Snapchat updates and one Android update. Phone vibrates for about ten seconds, like it’s in the throes of death. Then reboots. Why is it so easy to crash the phone?


As a proud owner of The Google Phone (a.k.a. Nexus 4), I was excited about the release of Android 4.3 (codename “occam”), and promptly installed it. So far I have seen the following “improvements”:

  • Snapchat crashes and reboots the device (as described and discussed in )
  • Some Instagram filters have adopted a weird green hue, as seen in the image below [UPDATE August 8, 2013] Instagram relased an update this morning, and the green hue is gone
  • No other damage so far
  • [UPDATE August 23, 2013] Three (three!!!) Snapchat updates after the release of Andriod 4.3, and the crashes seem to have disappeared. I applaud Snapchat, but keep wondering why Google/Android hasn’t taken any action. It seems to me that now Snapchat knows how to crash Android but chooses not to. Android watches idly and passively.
  • [UPDATE August 24, 2013] Snapchat crashed and rebooted the phone.
  • [UPDATE August 27, 2013] Android 4.3 updated itself to 4.3. Weird numbering sequence, but whatever. As long as the device stops crashing and rebooting, I’m cool. Snapchat hasn’t crashed since the 4.3 to 4.3 update, but I haven’t used it much. Unconfirmed reports from another Nexus 4 user indicate that the crashes still occur, although less frequently. Same user reports that friend with iPhone 4 also complains about Snapchat crashing their phone.

Now before you say that Snapchat and Instagram are silly and don’t I have anything better to do, let me say that this is not about Snapchat or Instagram or any application per se. I am bewildered that an advanced OS like Android would allow a previously-installed application to repeatedly crash the device following an OS upgrade. No matter what the cause of the crash, it’s not the app’s fault.

How to respond to graffiti

I give you two ways to respond to graffiti, both found on the twitters. You can either hire someone to remove the graffiti (left), or you can ironically embrace them and ironically turn them into an ironical piece of art. Ironically, of course. Or maybe sarcastically (right).

Two ways to respond to graffiti
Two ways to respond to graffiti

Here is a full transcript of the bathroom graffiti label:


Lincoln, NE. 1996

I Lack Creativity, 2011

sharpie on drywall: 35 x 48 cm

In an attempt to abandon aesthetics, I Lack Creativity by Anonymous showcases an antiquated hieroglyph that has remained unchanged since the late 70s. Here, Anon makes a fascinating plea to retard human evolution and remind us what it may have been like to use a public restroom in 1983.

Image sources: ;

Bartoli winning Wimbledon lesser news than Djokovic, Murray making the final

Is women’s tennis less popular than men’s tennis? This seems to be the case, at least by one measure — Google News rankings.

A couple of hours after Marion Bartoli from France won her first Wimbledon (and her first-ever slam tournament), the news of the event ranked lower in Google News than the previous day’s news about the upcoming Wimbledon Men’s final between Novak Djokovic from Serbia and Andy Murray from the United Kingdom.

How does Google News rank news stories?

 (Search Engine Land)

In this case the publication is the same (USA TODAY), as are the topic and geography. Bartoli’s story’s freshness could not offset the influence of the other deciding factor — user clicks.

See below screenshots of this morning’s Google News sports section on web and mobile.

Bartoli Djokovic Murray Wimbledon final news web
Bartoli Djokovic Murray Wimbledon final news web
Bartoli Djokovic Murray Wimbledon final news mobile
Bartoli Djokovic Murray Wimbledon final news mobile


The filibuster shoe

One unintended consequence of is that the running shoes she wore on the Texas Senate floor for 11 hours have become an instant sales hit on Amazon.

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe
Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe

This is not unprecedented. Sarah Palin’s glasses also sold well while she was campaigning for Vice President on John McCain’s ticket in 2008. And Paula Deen’s book (not due until October) is already ranked #1 on Amazon. [UPDATE June 29, 2013: Deen's publisher has dropped the book, and she has in earnings over the N-word controversy.]

Which proves yet again that all publicity is good publicity. [UPDATE June 29, 2013: Does not, apparently.]

You can order the Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 16 Running Shoe from the Amazon link below (I will make a small commission). While there, read the funny product reviews.

Mass peaceful protests in Bulgaria

I have not seen since I left for the US in 1991. I stay in touch with Bulgarian family and friends via email, Facebook and telephone, but have been somewhat removed from the political process there.

Yet something significant is happening in Bulgaria these days, causing me to pay attention. Mass citizen protests have flooded the streets in major cities — Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas — for six days and counting. The protests are peaceful. But what do the protesters want? Bulgarian Georgi Marinov (“a very internet person”) offers an excellent analysis.


At first glance, beautiful Bulgaria has a lot of democracy going on — laws, elections, a parliament, a president, markets, EU membership, free will, the works, we have it. Look from the outside, and it’s clearly there. The inside of this strange hologram, though, feels very different, especially if you’re a Bulgarian.

Marinov’s on Medium.

Bulgaria citizen protests 2013. Sign says: "The citizens strike back!"
Bulgaria citizen protests 2013. Placard says: “The citizens strike back!”