Daily Archives: December 10, 2013

Twitter shares touch new high, sail past $52


By Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:47pm EST

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The Twitter symbol is displayed at the post where the stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, November 15, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Twitter symbol is displayed at the post where the stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, November 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – Investors piled into Twitter Inc for the second straight day, lifting its shares to more than $52 and setting a new intraday high on Tuesday even in the absence of any significant announcements from the social media debutante.

Read more – > http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/10/us-twitter-shares-idUSBRE9B810Y20131210

 

Regulators seek to curb Wall St. trades with Volcker rule


(Reuters) – U.S. banks will no longer be able to make big trading bets with their own money after regulators on Tuesday finalized the Volcker rule and shut down what was a hugely profitable business for Wall Street before the credit crisis.

Read more – > http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/10/us-financial-regulation-volcker-idUSBRE9B705120131210

 

Rainforest Launches On Demand Service That Uses API To Spin Up QA Testers For Web Sites And Apps


Posted 52 minutes ago by (@alexwilliams)
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Rainforest, a Y Combinator company, has developed an on-demand service that runs functional tests against a crowd of people through Mechanical Turk, Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform. The service is similar to how a customer can use Amazon Web Services to spin up and down instances. But in this case a customer makes an API request for people instead of machines.

The company is also working toward developing ways to seek out workers through private groups to suit companies that have NDAs and bound by regulatory issues.

Read more – > http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/10/rainforest-launches-on-demand-service-that-uses-api-to-spin-up-qa-testers-for-web-sites-and-apps/

 

The Social Media Penalty Box


I’ve been on social media — Twitter, largely, Tumblr, occasionally, Facebook, unsuccessfully, and other networks as they flit in and out of faddishness — for several years now. There are a great many wonderful things about these tools. I’ve made new friends, cultivated sources, honed my newsgathering skills, found new job leads and gigs, and had fantastic, illuminating conversations about a whole host of subjects. My life is richer as a result.

What I don’t like, and haven’t for a while, is a common feature to Twitter and Facebook: the block button. No matter how many arguments are made that “it’s not personal” or “it’s a way to streamline what voices I’m paying attention to” blocking feels too permanent, too much like a nuclear option. There’s no question social media can be a dark, ugly place. Women bear the brunt of that ugliness, especially when they dare to speak their minds. Repeated epithets, the spectrum of stalking, those are good reasons to toss someone from your timeline for good. But when, as what happened last night, Guardian editor Heidi Moore asked respectful questions of NPR social media editor Andy Carvin about whether he was irresponsible in crowdsourcing information about Newtown, only to be blocked for her efforts and deemed a “troll”, you have to wonder why the social behavior dial is stuck at eleven forever. (See here for another treatment of the topic.)

The problem is that we’re adapting behavior to the social media we’re using instead of the opposite. Engineers at Twitter and Facebook came up with “Friend”/”Ignore”/”Block” (riffing off of the old Abort/Retry/Fail?) assuming that the seeming simplicity of coding, built upon binary numbers, could translate into real life. Think of it this way: in basketball, you get five fouls (NBA: six) before you’re no longer allowed to play in the game. In football, different infractions (false starts/holding/etc) lead to a specific number of yards gained or lost, which may be the difference between a first down and having to punt. And in hockey, there’s the penalty box, where the player stews for a little bit — usually two minutes — before he or she is allowed back on the ice.

Read more – > https://medium.com/products-i-wish-existed/4a4d935c87b3

 

Pay People What They’re Worth


A Panhandlers Guide to Business, Life & Love

 

 

Like you, I’m a busy executive.

 

I spend my days dashing from meeting to meeting, putting out fires, returning phone calls. I spend my meetings reviewing designs, assessing concepts and directing my team. I spend my mornings reading the Wall Street Journal and my evenings watching the news. I’d say I’m connected. I’d say I’m successful. I’d say I’m spent!

 

I drive to work. On a good day it’s thirty minutes each way. On a bad day it’s an hour and thirty minutes. If I leave early enough I can get there in twenty minutes — now that’s time management.

 

My drive, however, is one of the most consistent things I do. I’m on autopilot from the minute I leave my house to the instant I pull into the parking space at our old mill offices. It’s like the car drives itself to work. You know those instances where you suddenly realize you’re driving and that, somehow, for the last fifteen minutes, you can’t actually remember anything that happened? You don’t know exactly where you are. What exit you just passed. Yet you’re safe, you’re driving a consistent speed and no one is honking at you. The brain is an amazing thing.

 

Walking in the street durning a light snow

Walking in the street durning a light snow (Photo credit: Jamie Slomski)

 

My drive time is sacred. Sure, I listen to NPR or the classical radio station. I listen to morning drive time talk and I hit the seek button occasionally to hear something different. But the car radio is really background noise to keep me sane. I think in the car. I talk in the car. I sing in the car. Yes, if you were to sit in the back seat of my car on the ride to or from work you would, I’m sure, think I was insane.

 

I brainstorm ideas in the car. I remember things I’ve forgotten. I talk to people who are no longer here like my friend Dean, my Grandmother and Grandfather and even my Mother-in-Law. They give me advice, they make me laugh and they’ve certainly made me cry. Everyone has time like this. It may be in the shower, in the garden, in the garage or on a walk. It may be at the gym or the kids’ playground. Some people think that this time is wasted, for me it’s the most productive time of the day.

 

Read more – > https://medium.com/my-only-collection/f3597d90f1af

 

 

Twitter Apps Updated With New Swipeable Design And Photo Support In Direct Messages


Posted 26 minutes ago by (@panzer)
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Today, Twitter has announced an update to its apps for iOS and Android that bring a renewed focus on direct messaging. The app now features a direct link to Direct Messages in the tab bar and allows you to send photos inside DMs for the first time.

This major redesign has been in the works for a while, and today marks the first time we’ve seen most of these elements all in one place. Twitter has been testing a variety of these features over the past few weeks, but now they’re all packaged together. You may have seen the DM icon in the tab bar or heard of some users getting a swipeable timeline design as a part of Twitter’s ongoing experiments which see just a small percentage of users getting each permutation of the design. Those experiments are then used to determine which features hit the app itself.

Read more – > http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/10/twitter-updated-with-new-swipeable-design-and-photo-support-in-direct-messages/

 

The Definition of Success


I’m almost 30 years old. Am I successful or what?

 

My birthday is around the corner and as I grow older (which one hopes will come with more wisdom), all the pieces of my life are starting to fall into place. I’m beginning to get to really know myself—what I love and what I can’t stand, the strength of family and friendships, that quality truly is more important than quantity, and all of the other promises and perils of being an adult—and to be brave enough to embrace who I am without making excuses. Above all else, the last year has helped me redefine what success means to me.

When I first started thinking about career options for myself, I gravitated towards things that paid high salaries. Money meant success in my eyes.

“Oh, look. An architect can make up to $200,000 a year.”
“Wow! Being a pharmacist pays really well.”
“I want to be an anesthesiologist and make $300,000!”

It was pretty silly of me.

Image representing Scoutzie as depicted in Cru...

Image by None via CrunchBase

I did my research and realized that architects work with numbers which I abhorred, the work environment for a pharmacist was too sterile and lackluster for my right-brained self, and that becoming an anesthesiologist meant 12 years of education and an uncomfortable amount of that big, juicy salary goes to malpractice insurance. No thanks.

That’s when I gave up trying to figure out what paid more and decided to follow my heart.

“Surely I can climb the advertising agency ladder to become a Creative Director and make loads of money, right?”, I thought.

I ended up leaving my $12/hour job selling purses at Dillard’s and became a design intern making $10/hour. Did losing the extra $2 an hour mean that I wasn’t on track to becoming successful? Maybe.

After spending 8 months as an intern, I made the biggest decision of my life (at that point): I moved to New York City. It gave me the perfect opportunity to hone my skills, work at a large advertising agency so I could climb that figmental ladder, and of course, make that large New York salary. The cost of living difference between Texas and New York wasn’t relevant to me because the paychecks were larger and that’s all that mattered.

One piece of advice I received was “if you want to make a salary jump, you have to switch companies”, so I hopped between agencies and each time I did, my salary increased. It was working!

When I finally broke the 6-digit salary barrier, I felt like I was on top of the world. Being and feeling successful was coming to fruition! I was winning at life.

And then something happened. I started to feel heavy. Stagnant. Listless. Uninspired. I knew I needed a change but that bug in my ear kept telling me that this feeling was worth it because my paycheck was bigger than my thirst for things. All the things. Things I knew I really didn’t need anyway.

After playing rounds of tug-of-war with my subconsciousness, I figured out that what I really needed was to take on a new adventure so I started seeking out a new job.

And then something else happened. After a few interviews, I sat myself down and spoke sternly to my own heart.

“Am I failing? What’s wrong with me? Am I crazy to even consider changing jobs knowing that I will be losing my hefty New-York-in-Texas salary? I can’t go back to making a 5-digit salary, that’s just ridiculous! Why can’t I just deal with this feeling of lethargy? Other people can deal with it, so why can’t I? Would losing this money all be worth it? And, for what? What am I really looking for?”

The results of that conversation changed my life.

I realized that success isn’t defined by a salary or the amount of a paycheck. It isn’t the quantity of things that you own, the brand of car you drive, or the size of your house. Success should breed happiness and never leave you uninspired. Success is being able to sustain the perfect balance between living life to it’s fullest extent and spending as much time as you can with the people you love. It’s about making just enough income to live comfortably but not too much so that you don’t become burdened by the responsibilities that come with making too much.

“Well, what if my friends judge me because I’m not able to afford…”
Then they aren’t friends.

With this new revelation in place, I once again followed my heart.

I am now working with my husband, who is not just my business partner or the love of my life, but my best friend and confidant. We’re not out to strike it rich. What we have done is surround ourselves with the most intelligent, fun-loving, carefree group of designers that we know. Together, we get to create our own atmosphere. To define our own vision. To grab a drink on a Tuesday. To travel to see family on a whim. To be able to enjoy a Friday afternoon talking about the things that inspire us. To partner with and be moved by the ideas of our clients. To sleep in every now and then. To go bowling late on a Sunday night. To live. To learn. To be passionate without reservation.

That, to me, is pretty successful.

read more -> https://medium.com/scoutzie-thoughts/3fde273bcc33

 

 

Codecademy Releases Its First Educational App, A.K.A. My New Subway Time Killer


Posted 5 hours ago by (@eliza_pb)
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Although I write a lot about apps and Internet stuff, I never really learned to code.

I threw the “really” in there to soften the blow, but the fact is, I straight up don’t know how to do it. I started learning at one point in middle school, but my high school didn’t push CS, and by college I spent all of my waking hours writing for the student newspaper or reading books written by dead white guys. So it just never happened.

But it’s on my to-do list. I swear.

Today Codecademy made its first foray into the app space and released an intro to coding course designed to take less than an hour to complete. I had a lot of laundry to do, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

 

My First App


Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre,...

Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre, Edge Hill University (Photo credit: jisc_infonet)

Thanks To 3 Years of Reading Stuff on the Internet

This weekend, I started building my first iOS app. This was a monumental moment for me because the past few years had been an exhausting voyage to make this experience possible.

I wasn’t a developer 3 years ago, I was a photographer. I always preferred the post-production side of photography and most of my work was actually retouching. I had a full-time job where I was retouching, which I was blessed with because it is actually kind of rare in the industry. The monotony of retouching all day long allowed me to realize I couldn’t do it for the rest of my life. I needed something to sink my teeth into. I needed something that challenged me on a daily basis.

I have always had a passion for software and interfaces and I was already spending most of my social time critically discussing design decisions of whatever app was hot at the time. I decided I would become a developer.

I knew how to put a theme on WordPress and some basic CSS, but that was about it. I had no idea where to start.

I want to make this next part very clear. I went from knowing very little about programming to being pretty-functional in three years by doing this one simple thing:

I didn’t say no.

No matter what the challenge was. I just didn’t say no. “Migrate this database.” Ok. I would just figure it out. “I want this site in Django.” Ok. I’ll learn Django. There were so many mind-blowingly hard moments. I just literally believed I could figure anything out. And I did.

You can too. It sucks, but you can do it. Just Google it. Check out Stack Overflow. Read documentation. Never say no.

You might do a kind of bad job at it the first time. Don’t worry, someone is going to tell you why it sucks, and next time you will do it better.

Just keep going. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you want to be a developer it’s possible. Just commit to it all the way, always say yes, and before you know it, everything will keep getting easier and easier. Patterns will start to emerge. You will read things and understand the concepts better than before.

No matter what anyone says, there is no correct order to learning. Just follow your intuition, stay positive, and try to take something useful from every experience.

Talk to you in a couple years. Go get to work.

read more -> https://medium.com/what-i-learned-building/390916cd2169

Learning, memory, and Halo 4


Andy DeSoto in Human Behavior and Technology

 

A few weeks ago, I completed a big project in the Memory Lab and found some extra time on my hands. One of the things I found myself getting into Microsoft’s Halo 4 video game. If you’re not familiar with this game (or games of this type), each new release in a series (i.e., the fourth) features similar game mechanics but brand new maps — environments in which the player can explore, engage in combat in, and so forth.

1955 Desoto in Havana

1955 Desoto in Havana (Photo credit: ornitholoco)

Learning the new maps is one of the most important parts of succeeding in a game like this. As you run around a particular landscape for the first time, nothing makes much sense. It’s impossible to tie one starting location to another. But slowly, after much time — and many, many player deaths — it starts to come together. It’s an intersection of procedural skills with episodic and semantic memory (taking a systems perspective, that is).

I’ve learned many of the maps by now, so I imagine my learning is starting to level off, asymptote. So now it’s time to work on other procedural skills —strategies, maneuvers, and the like — which are much more challenging to master. Many of the experienced players I’ve come up against have at least two full days — 48 hours of playtime —under their belts. Those of us who are more casual players are working toward that goal much more slowly.

These sorts of issues could start all sorts of interesting lines of research. I’m sure that many of them have already been explored.