Daily Archives: December 23, 2013

Why writing for a living is a terrible idea


This is not the romance you are looking for

 

Writing for a living fucking sucks.

Seriously, writing is among the most overly-romanticised things you can do with your life. Right up there with being an astronaut, or charity work.

Everyone is a writer. And everyone a critic. You’re the bottom of the food chain.

The pay is lousy – if there is pay – and unless you’re very lucky, you don’t get any respect until you’re dead.

You can’t stand your own work. Most of your ideas have either been done before or are just awful.

You spend your life inside your own head, questioning everything, even your own questions. Your days are filled with doubt, self-loathing and anger. You probably hate yourself, and most of humanity.

“Boo-fucking-hoo” people say when you’re blocked.

“They’re just words, how hard can it be.”

Assholes.

No-one understands you, except other writers. And they all hate you anyway because you’re a fucking asshole.

It takes years to hone your craft. Years of ritual self-abuse, mental flagellation and misery.

By this time if you’re not an alcoholic, then your heart just isn’t in it. And if you’re an alcoholic then your writing won’t be worth shit.

Catch-22, bitches.

On TV and in movies writers live the life. They have lake house retreats and warehouse apartments in Manhattan and good teeth.

Or, in the case of Hank Moody from Californication, they have endless sex with a revolving roster of perky-breasted young women eager to fuck an alcoholic writer who never actually seems to write anything.

(Love you, Hank!)

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

No, writing is not romantic.

Writing isn’t living in a lake house six months a year. Writing isn’t fucking groupies. It isn’t paying the rent on time.

Writing is cry-wanking to screen-grabs of perky-breasted young actresses in the dim light of your rat-infested one-bedroom apartment.

Writing is refusing to leaving the house for weeks and saying no to any misguided invites to socialise.

Writing is sitting at the same fucking desk every day to be taunted by a blinking cursor and your own crippling inadequacy.

Writing is tearing your soul out and arranging it on paper for others to consume and judge.

Writing is asking for more every time someone pulls your heart out through your asshole in the name of “constructive” criticism.

If you want romance, have an affair. It’s cheaper and less soul destroying.

If you can afford the lake house, you’re not a writer; you’re a lawyer with a hobby.

Writing is hard. It is painful. And it is thankless.

Is it really worth it?

Yes. It’s the best job in the world.

Find me on Twitter.

 

Further Reading

Why writing is the best job in the world

 — 

An elevator pitch to the unconverted

Cut the bullshit and make time to write

 — 

At the top of the list of bullshit that writers tell themselves (along with ‘my main character is nothing like me’, and ‘I’m in this for…

 

 

Written by

Not drunk enough to write well. This is the best I can do sober.

 

 

The problem with Code Club


“just let volunteers do it” is not a sensible computing education strategy

In a follow up comment to *that* article in the Telegraph, Willard Foxton suggests instead of teaching everyone how to code we should rely on voluntary after-school schemes for the specially interested like Code Club. Here’s why he’s wrong:

We don’t just teach maths to those kids who are interested. We teach it to everyone because it is necessary to understand how the world works. The same is true for computing. Sure, there will be some kids who won’t like it, just like there are some kids who don’t like English, maths, music, arts, or maybe all the subjects taught in school. This is not a good argument not to teach coding.

Code Club can’t teach everyone. At the time of writing there are over 500 primary schools in the UK looking to start a code club who can’t because they haven’t found a volunteer.

Code Clubs are oversubscribed. Typically after a Code Club has started in a school and run for a few weeks, practically everyone wants to join. I get heartbreaking emails from parents saying their kids really want to learn how to program, but they’re on a waiting list, and what do they do now?

I regularly see tweets like:

I did assembly last week, 40 kids signed up! only have room for 12!

@CodeClub volunteers what’s your average group size? I’ve 28 subscribed, but I know 12 is recommended..don’t want to turn many away

Gave an @CodeClub assembly to 360 kids this morning. Show off hands at the end indicated AT LEAST half want to join; I have a big job to do!

We recommend 12 children per volunteer. Of course, school teachers usually have much larger classes than this, but they are professionals. Standing in front of a group of kids can be quite intimidating, and smaller group sizes are more manageable for volunteers who often have no experience in teaching, let alone teaching kids. This means we turn many kids away. The average club has 15 kids. We have some large ones with 30-45 kids, these are almost always led by teachers.

We operate on a very limited age range. Due to limited resources we can only cater for children in year 5 & 6 (ages 9-11). Children younger than that normally have to wait and it’s a shame that older children will have missed their chance. It is my strong belief that every kid should get a chance to learn computing. Those who do will have a significant advantage over those who don’t. The only solution to disseminating subject knowledge to 100% of the child population is for teachers to teach it.

Foxton thinks Code Club is doing a good job. I do too (obviously, as co-founder of Code Club, I may be a bit biased). He seems to think the government won’t do as good a job. I don’t see why this has to be the case. I mean sure, we have it relatively easy. We teach only to kids who want to be there, in small groups, and we don’t have any exam boards or national curriculum to adhere to. But only the government can ensure that everyone will get the chance to learn computing.

Written by

Rebel. Wannabe MacGyver. Also @codeclub co founder.

 

Ready For a (Virtual) League of Our Own


From FIFA to NBA 2K — women are largely absent from sports video games

 

In 1999, the Women’s World Cup took the world by storm. Brandi Chastain scored the winning penalty kick against China and made covers of pretty much every major publication — sports or otherwise. The victory confirmed what many of us teenage soccer players had suspected — we wanted to play on the national team. But of course, the vast majority of us never actually get that far. Instead, we go on to do things like journalism or accounting or computer science or design. And that’s fine. Most men who wanted to play soccer stopped, too. But for them, at least, there’s a place where they can continue the fantasy: video games. Boot up FIFA, run around as Ronaldo for a bit, get those old passions burning. For us, though, nothing. Chastain isn’t in FIFA. In fact, no female soccer players are. Female athletes are hugely absent from sports video games.

There are, of course, a few women in sports video games. You can play as Venus or Serena Williams in Top Spin 4 and as a handful of women golfers in PGA Tour ’14. In NHL ’13 you can play two legendary female hockey players — an addition we’ll get to in a minute. But you can’t play as a woman in MLB 2K12, or Madden NFL Football. You can’t be a female basketball player in NBA 2K13. You can’t be a female soccer player in FIFA.

Last year, after a petition asking EA to add women to FIFA gained some publicity , the company stated that they weren’t ready to add women to their game. The general arguments for keeping playable female characters out of games will probably sound familiar to you. Women don’t play sports. Women aren’t interested in video games. Men wouldn’t want to play as female characters. None of these are true, of course, but to understand women in sports video games we have to talk about women in sports media in general.

You don’t have to look far to see why women are underrepresented in sports video games. They’re underrepresented in all sports media. Between 1997 and 2008 only 5.63 percent of Sports Illustrated covers had women on them. That’s thirty-eight out of 676 covers. Twelve of those were models for the swimsuit edition. On television, evening news shows spent less than two percent of their time on women’s sports.

Of course, women do in fact play sports. The 2012 London Olympics were the first in which every participating country sent at least one female athlete. About fifty percent of girls in high school play on sports teams and nearly half of all the women in the United States participate in sports or physical activity at least once a month. There are professional leagues for hockey, basketball, soccer, fast pitch softball, golf, tennis… you get the idea.

And when they’re offered, people (both men and women) do watch women’s sports. The 1999 Women’s World Cup in Los Angeles drew 90,000 people to the stadium, and 17.9 million viewers on television. Over half the women in the United States watch football, and women make up a third of the viewers of the NBA Finals, the Daytona 500 and the World Series.

Okay, but none of that is about sports video games. Except that it is, because the reasons you hear for not covering women’s sports, are the same reasons you hear for not including them in games. Women don’t play, women don’t watch, men don’t want to watch or play as women. As we’ve seen, none of those things are true.

The thing about adding female characters to sports games is that it wouldn’t be that hard. NHL ‘13 gives players the option to play as two different female hockey stars — Olympic medalists Angela Ruggerio and Hayley Wickenheiser. But in 2012 when they first added a female avatar to their game, they simply put pigtails and a new face on their standard hockey player’s body — a move that prompted some to ask what a female character should look like. “I would argue a good female character would be one in which her femininity is not the defining attribute of who she is as the actual avatar,” says Erin Whiteside, a professor of journalism and media at the University of Tennessee. But Whiteside points out that there’s a very easy way around the traps of portraying women — look at actual female athletes. “You’ve got the whole thing there, in reality,” she says. Just like games base their male avatars off of actual men, they could easily do the same for women.

Fifa 09

Fifa 09 (Photo credit: Contz)

Take FIFA for example. Every time the World Cup rolls around, EA releases a special edition World Cup version of the game featuring the teams who qualified. Adding women’s teams to the mix would simply be a matter of creating a bit more art for a game that already exists, something they already do for each World Cup. FIFA producer Sebastian Enrique told the website God is a Geek that adding women to FIFA would be difficult because “the physics would be different, it would affect collisions” and “there would have to be a lot of new models and hairstyles.” But Abe Stein, a research associate at the MIT Game Lab, points out that for video games, the art is the easy part — and it’s hard to believe that a few hairstyles are really what’s keeping women out of FIFA. As for the physics of collisions being different, well, perhaps Enrique hasn’t ever watched women’s soccer.

There are places where video games can be on the leading edge of bucking biases about women in sports. The ability to play as someone you’re not, to push the boundaries of gender and athletics, is something unique to video games. Take the NHL game, for example. By adding female characters, the game allows players to push the boundaries on what is “normal” for a female athlete, “like creating a monstrous power forward hockey player that is known for being a bruiser and knocking out all the guys,” says Stein.

But why? Why should we push for women in video games? It’s simple, says Stein. “Being able to see yourself in the game matters. If it’s not even an option, that can cut deep.”

 

 

Written by

journalist / podcaster / designer / science nerd / european red squirrel

 

 

This Is the Way the World Ends


Not with a retweet, but a fave

Read more comics on The Nib | @TheNib

Find me on Twitter @rstevens

Further Reading

Fightball: Millennials vs Boomers

 — 

Generational warfare gets real

Some Things We’re Looking Forward to Avoiding This Holiday Season

 — 

Can’t grandma just read my Twitter bio?

Written by

I make cartoons and t-shirts at www.dieselsweeties.com & @rstevens

Updated December 23, 2013

 

Startup Wisdom: Knowing What You Don’t Know


Image representing Kuhcoon as depicted in Crun...

Image by None via CrunchBase

Being coachable isn’t a bad thing

One of the most powerful traits any entrepreneur can have is the ability to know what he or she doesn’t know. Recently I was asked by a potential partner why I made the choice to become a Philosophy major in college. I said I wanted to learn wisdom, not knowledge. When one becomes wise through experience, one can use that wisdom to learn any aspect of human knowledge with some will power and determination. I was then asked what I thought wisdom was.

To me wisdom is being humble enough to know what you don’t know, while also surrounding yourself with experienced people who can teach you.

As I thought more on this conversation I couldn’t help but recognize that I had employed that very method in building our company’s board of advisors. People like to write on VC firms, angel investing, and employees, but rarely do I find an article about the importance of assembling a board of advisors. I think this is arguably one of the most important resources for any inexperienced founder.

While I was building our company’s board of advisors I pieced together a group of individuals that complimented my every weakness as an entrepreneur. There are many things I don’t know, let alone everything about how to be a great CEO. This is why I surrounded myself with over 60 years of combined chief executive experience through my board of investors and advisors.

Their combined wisdom has been a guiding light on my entrepreneurial journey. I think all too often many founders are overly focused on attracting large amounts of money to their product or idea. What they don’t realize is that if they surround themselves with advisors they can take a completely different approach that is guided by experience. Instead of focusing on fundraising: ship a product, acquire customers, and raise money as you need it to grow under experienced supervision. A lot of the success in any startup is determined by timing and strategic positioning. These are two areas that inexperienced founders couldn’t possibly know anything about. It’s not something that can be taught in any MBA class, it needs to be taught by people who have lived it and seen it happen on the front lines.

I’ve come across many pigheaded founders who let ego get in the way of their ultimate success. It’s ok to not know the answer to something, but it’s not ok to try to bullshit me and pretend you know what you are talking about when you don’t.

My advice to inexperienced founders is simple: humble yourself, listen, and become coachable. This doesn’t mean you are giving up control of “your vision.” You still make the final decisions at the end of the day, but seeking counsel on things you know nothing about is a true sign of wisdom. Surround yourself with people who compliment the skills you lack.

For me it was simple: I’m a marketer. I’m great at marketing. I’m not so great at accounting, or the law, or financing. I’m more than capable of learning these things, but in order to do so I needed to surround myself with experienced experts and not be afraid to admit that I had no idea what I was doing.

In other words, leave your ego at home.

Obviously this process is what worked for me personally. I’m still learning something new on a daily basis myself. Do what works for you, but be open to learning something from someone wise and experienced.

Further Reading

Why You Shouldn’t Raise Huge Rounds Before You Launch

 — 

What Clinkle, Airtime and Color Have In Common

Don’t be scared, ask more questions!

 — 

Don’t have an ego, don’t fear ridicule, ask and grow.

Written by

Co-Founder and CEO of @Kuhcoon. Lover of Wisdom. Geek. Weight Lifter. Introvert. Bitcoiner. @Coindesk Contributor. Hebrews 11:1

Run Your Life like a Business


…because your life is your start-up.

We tend to value successful companies at face value for their ability to consistently meet analysts’ expectations. However, we should really be scrutinizing their internal structures: the culture, processes, and relationships in order to determine what’s driving the accomplishments.

Then we should copy them.

In the pursuit of self improvement, several parallels can be drawn between how successful companies are run and how we live our lives. We should realize these patterns, and actualize them into our lifestyles.


1) Craft your brand image based on what you’re passionate about

This is the what.

Our brand image is often heavily driven by what we’re passionate about. For example, Zappos is known for and prides itself in its superior customer service, which is an ingrained ideology that is prevalent throughout the company starting with Tony Hsieh, its CEO.

We asked ourselves what we wanted this company to stand for. We didn’t want to just sell shoes. I wasn’t even into shoes — but I was passionate about customer service. — Tony Hsieh

For us, this is our personal brand. Our personal brand is an extension of what we are passionate about. It is our character. And it is shaped by our experiences.

Stepping outside our comfort zones towards new experiences is the best way to figure out what we’re passionate about. What new experiences can we take today to strengthen our personal brand?

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

2) Execute your competitive advantage

This is the how.

Our competitive advantage can be intellectual, but often times it lies in the execution of the business model. A prime example is Virgin, which started out as a boutique record shop but is now is a multibillion dollar conglomerate, operating subsidiaries including Virgin America, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Galactic.

Don’t think “what’s the cheapest way to do it” or “what’s the fastest way to do it”…think “what’s the most amazing way to do it.” — Sir Richard Branson

For us, how we go about our lives has a huge impact on our lifestyle. We are all creatures of habit. As such, we need to figure out which negative habits (e.g. too much Netflix) we are willing to sacrifice for positive habits (e.g. meditate more), and come up with a way to ritualize this process. Once internalized, our positive habits become drivers that accelerate us in building the lifestyle we want.

3) Choose your employees and business partners carefully

This is the who.

We need to hire employees and partner with clients who are aligned in vision and goals for the long term. Google is known for its challenging interview questions, but did you know that Larry Page and Sergey Brin still sign off on every hire? This way, they make sure that they’re hiring not only the brightest, but also the ones that share similar mindsets.

“If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.” — Larry Page

For us, this is our network and how we interact with others: the employees and business partners are our friends and significant others. We are the average of the five people we interact with the most. Therefore we need to surround ourselves with people who are the right “fit” in our journey to improve ourselves.

What new experiences will you craft your brand image with? How will you execute your competitive advantage? Who will you take along with you on your journey?

The same forces that drive successful businesses can be applied to our lives. So let’s observe, identify, and actualize these methodologies so that we can be better than we were yesterday.

If you enjoyed or found this post insightful, please take 2 seconds to hit the recommend button! ☺

Further Reading

Disregard Materialism, Acquire #SocialCapital

 — We’ll Never Be Royals

Written by

Mediocrity sucks. Let’s join forces and build something people will love.

 

Life Without a Cell Phone


 

About a year ago, I wrote on my blog:

Ops!

Tragedy, or finally an excuse to get rid of “being always available” and get my life back?

I’ll probably just end up getting another cell phone, but it might be interesting seeing what happens in the meantime…

So, it’s been a year, and I still don’t have a cell phone, and it’s really great.

Why no cell phone?

Being a developer, I really need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get wired in and be productive. Having a cell phone quickly became a nightmare as I grew my client base. I would get a call every half a hour or so, and that was pretty disrupting to my work, since I had to start over 1,000 times, and right when I got back to work the phone would ring again.

Turning it off or worse yet not answer? People would accuse me that I was ignoring them on purpose, even if I’d call them back, and they’d say stuff like “what if it was an emergency! You’re not reliable”, bla bla bla.

All right, so what now?

When I decided to take the opportunity to drop the cell phone thing once and for all, I was a little scared. I was scared that clients would complain, and take their business elsewhere.

Then, I thought: all right, I might lose 50% of my clients, but I bet I’ll be at least 100% more productive, so I’ll still make the same amount of money (make sense somehow?)!

You know what happened? I didn’t lose a single client (and yes, I’m at least 100% more productive than I used to be).

Your cell phone is not your friend anymore

I remember that my dad had one of those huge cell phones in the 90′s, like the one in Wall Street.

In the meantime, I’d go out pretty much every day with my friends. No one had a cell phone. Somehow, we still managed to meet up every day.

After a few years, I got one of the first Nokia, but your cell phone was still your friend. You used it to meet up with friends, if you ran out of gas or got a flat tire, etc. In general, your cell phone was for your own benefit.

Then, something happened.

Maybe because everybody bought one—I don’t know—but having a cell phone (and of course you have to have one nowadays) started being about being reachable 24/7. That is, not for yourself, but for others: 10 PM on Sunday, 7 AM, doesn’t matter: you have to be there for others to contact you. Is that a good thing? I don’t know, but it’s what I hated most.

My cell phone wasn’t for me anymore but for clients, family, friends, banks and insurance reps, and strangers with the wrong number to contact me 24/7 about their own problems and needs, to the detriment of my need of not being interrupted.

Email is your friend

No cell phone meant having to find an alternative form of communication.

Of course, the first thing that came to mind was email, and Skype.

I love both. The main reason is that you can decide when to talk to people, without them getting offended that you’re ignoring them. While if you don’t answer the phone right away you’re ignoring them and not taking their call on purpose, no one complains if you reply to an email 20 minutes or even a few hours after you receive it. You can check your email while you’re taking a break, and in general communicate when you can and on your own terms.

In addition, with email, Skype, and Messages I’m pretty much always reachable, but they’re a lot less invasive than a cell phone (i.g. no ringing and vibrating), and most importantly no one expects me to reply right away—although I usually do—so if I’m not available it’s not a big deal.

So, I told everybody that I didn’t have a cell phone anymore, and to send me an email instead.

Why do people call you, and how can you still help them out?

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Right after I broke my cell phone, I started thinking about it: what now? How will people reach me? Why do people call me usually? How can I address their problems in some other way?

Turns out, 99.9% of all calls I used to get were unimportant or useless. Especially since I started paying attention, I started noticing that most people called me for many reasons, but rarely because it was really important.

Because they’re bored

They have dead time like they’re driving, on the train, waiting for somebody, etc.

Obviously this is just a waste of time. No one ever sent me an email without an actual reason.

Because they’re lazy

They could solve their own problem, but it’s just easier to call you.

A good example that would happen to me a lot, people would forget their password and would call me to give it to them again. I then had to interrupt whatever I was doing (usually programming), and look through literally hundreds of emails or files. Thing is, I had just sent them the password a few days before, and it was still sitting in their inbox. With me unreachable, they would just figure it out for themselves (i.g. they would look in their inbox).

With email, people are lazier about writing the email than not trying to solve their own problem. I never got an email asking for a password.

Because it’s an emergency

This is one thing everyone mentions to me: what if it’s an emergency? Sure, you want to be available if there’s an emergency.

Thing is, I actually am.

I’m no more unavailable than when I used to have a cell phone: I’m virtually always connected, and check my email regularly. Of course I might have a meeting or be sleeping or whatever, but in those cases it’s not as if I was available when I had a cell phone.

In addition, in my case most emergencies turn out to be false alarms.

Before sending an email (again, it takes more effort), people now make sure it’s an actual “emergency”: your site is down!? How about Google..? Is Google down, too? Usually, yes.

Because they’re bored

Did I already mention this? Well, it happened a lot.

My life without a cell phone

So, how is my life without a cell phone, after 1 year?

It’s awful.

If I have to meet somebody at let’s say 6 o’clock and they’re late, I have to wait there and read on my iPad.

When I’m working, I actually have to work and finish what I’m doing, instead of taking a break every 10 minutes to pick up a call. As a consequence, I’m done working after 5 hours instead of 8, and I either have to find something else to do to feel productive, or have extra free time.

I don’t either ever get to know about people’s problems, or I get to know after hours, when it’s clear that it was a false alarm.

If I’m having dinner with my wife, I can’t keep my phone on the table and either play Ruzzle or pick up a call and start talking loudly or say that I’m having dinner and I can’t talk. I actually have to enjoy dinner and have a conversation.

I love it.

———

My name is Niccolò Brogi, I’m a web developer from Florence, Italy. You can learn more about me on my website.

If you liked what you just read, please hit the green ‘Recommend’ button below so that others might stumble upon this article. Thanks!

Written by

Self-taught web developer. I like programming, Star Wars, Macs. http://nbrogi.com

Updated December 22, 2013

Published in

Go to Adventures in Consumer Technology

 

 

 

To Beat China, the Navy Could Launch Tiny Spy Drones From Submarines


Three-inch robot could spot targets for cruise missiles

by DAVID AXE

One of the biggest problems with submarines is that they’re, well, submarines. Spending most of their time alone and underwater, there’s no easy way for subs to communicate with other forces to get the latest updates on the enemy’s location.

Undersea vessels’ stealth and firepower make them by far the most powerful warships for full-scale war. Solve the comms problem and they become even deadlier.

Hence the Navy’s new three-year science project. The Advanced Weapons Enhanced by Submarine UAS Against Mobile Targets program—a.k.a. “Awesum”—is developing a small Unmanned Aerial System that can be launched from below the waves and fly for up to an hour, spotting targets and relaying their coordinates back to the sub via a special radio signal aimed at the sub’s above-water mast.

Rear Adm. David Johnson, who oversees U.S. sub production, detailed Awesum in an October presentation in Virginia.

In testing until 2015, Awesum is meant to provide “target solution for over-the-horizon, third-party strike” in an “anti-access, area-denial environment,” according to Johnson.

Translated into English, that means the tiny robot should be able to sneak hundreds of miles through enemy air defenses and pinpoint the bad guys so that the submarine can take them out with cruise missiles. All without the sub breaking cover.

Awesum, a three-inch wide, cylindrical drone with a tiny battery-powered propeller and pop-out wings, is launched through the water and into the air via the same small tubes that subs use to deploy underwater noisemaker decoys. Flying for up to an hour, guided by GPS, the ‘bot beams back data to the launching vessel’s OE-538 radio mast, which the sub crew can poke just above the surface for short periods of time.

Navy art

According to Johnson, Awesum drones can be launched in succession along the same path to form a “daisy chain,” each tiny drone relaying radio signals from the one ahead of it in order to bend the datalink over the horizon back to the sub.

This stealthy targeting wasn’t possible before. For decades subs have carried long-range cruise missiles for destroying targets on land. But there was no elegant way for an undersea vessel to figure out where to aim the weapons.

A sub usually entered a war zone with targets’ coordinates pre-loaded. To get an update, an undersea boat had to spend vulnerable minutes with its mast above water, receiving large amounts of info from friendly ships, planes or satellites.

To remain hidden in enemy waters, subs need to be able to gather targeting data on their own—and discreetly.

The targeting problem has become more acute in recent years as Washington shifts its naval forces to the Pacific to confront an increasingly belligerent and heavily-armed China. Beijing’s sophisticated complex of mobile radars and long-range missiles form a kind of no-go zone for American ships and planes that extends a thousand miles or more from the Chinese coast.

Only submarines are stealthy enough to get close to these land-based defenses and take them out, clearing a way for other U.S. forces to attack. But to find these on-the-move Chinese defenders, subs need drones. Robots “will provide submarines a fully organic capability to detect, identify, precisely locate and quickly strike,” Owen Cote, a submarine expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in a 2011 paper.

If Awesum works as advertised, the Navy could add them to its roughly 50 attack submarines starting in just a few years, transforming the subs into free-ranging cruise-missile strikers. And with bigger and better subs being planned, bigger and better sub-launched drones might not be far behind.

Sign up for a daily War is Boring email update here. Subscribe to WIB’s RSS feed here and follow the main page here.

Further Reading

How I Lost the Battle of the South China Sea

 — We gamed out a clash between the U.S. Navy’s latest ships and the Chinese Navy. Guess who won.

How to Sink an Aircraft Carrier

 — Sneak up in a submarine, is how

Now We Know What the Navy’s Next Submarine Will Look Like

 — Admiral reveals five possible future sub designs

Written by

David Axe goes to war so you don’t have to.

 

Google My Glass App For iOS Is Now Available For iPhone Users


Causing an uproar in the tech community, the Google My Glass app for iOS that was available for iPhone users was briefly pulled from the app store. This application was previously only available to Android users before the iOS version was created.

App Store

App Store (Photo credit: clasesdeperiodismo)

The app is only useful for people who already own Google Glasses; though not many people do own them for a variety of reasons. Apple intends for iPhone users to benefit from the My Glass app because not having it severely limits what they can do with their device. The purpose of the My Glass app is to support the installation of Glassware and to allow people to share photos taken using their Google Glasses. It is also used to tweak the Google Glasses settings.

Upon pulling My Glass from the Apple store, Google made a public statement addressing the issue. On their Google+ page they stated that the app was completed but was not going to be able to be downloaded by consumers. After Google pulled the app those who tried to download it received a message that the app was not currently available in the United States. Two days after it was pulled it was made available for users to download again. The reason the app was pulled in the first place was that it did not have the capability to officially support Google Glasses. This was corrected and it was made available again.

Google. Chat. You are Doing it Wrong


Dear Google. I know you will not fix it, but hope you at least understand *how* wrong you are.

Dear Google,

Please see above for the type of e-mail I get from you once in a while.
Now let me explain why you should never be sending it in the first place.

Here’s the 101 intro to how chats work:

  1. A person sends the message.
  2. The other person receives it.
  3. They can reply to each other.

Not the way you are notifying me that someone has sent me a message.
Not the way that denies me seeing the message itself in the first place.
Not the way that does not allow me to reply back to this person.

JUST FREAKING NOT THIS WAY!

This picture makes more sense compared to how Google [not] delivers messages.

First, I need the message itself. Literally, a few bytes.

Second, I need a way to reply back. As the default behavior. Not this fancy-looking page with hundred-ish words with no way to get back to the other person.

Third, you may wish to present me with an option to sign up. If you want me to sign up, add a feature which I would understand the value of. Never force me to sign up for anything!

Fourth, never break existing behavior that is being used. I hated using Google chat on Android. But it used to work and now it does not.

How hard can it be to understand the above?

I can not believe saying it, but even Facebook understands it!

The messages I get via Facebook chat — which I hate as well — just come to my cell phone as SMS.

Facebook did it right: replying to Facebook’s SMS with “?” just reaches Cosmin with no strings attached, and his response gets back to my cell in seconds.


Dear Google, any chance you get back to treating your users at least as well as Facebook does?

Thanks,
Dima