“My set is my office, because that’s where I work.”

Professional interviewer of current presidents, Hank Green, talks about legitimacy in media.

Walter Cronkite wasn’t representing a political ideology, or even discussing politics when my father watched the news as a teenager. He was discussing the news. Cable news today uses the residual legitimacy of that bygone era (that they are simultaneously destroying) to degrade the legitimacy of their political opponents.

Man, the ‘news’ is really crap isn’t it? I think younger people 1 – with easy access to information covering multiple viewpoints – have a lower tolerance for bullshit and a higher propensity to detecting it.

Hank talks about authenticity and honesty in his essay, elements that traditional news is lacking. That lack of trust is something that news 2 once had, but is sorely missing. Younger people are often labeled as cynics when we balk at the junk ‘news’ they’re throwing out. We’re considered disinterested or disconnected when we tell folks we don’t watch the 9 o’clock news. When in reality, we can see through their dishonesty and are insulted.

Will that trust and authenticity come back to traditional media? I say no. I think folks like Hank are the future of news creation. That’s what their audience wants (and expects). Folks with access to more information want honesty and trust in who is telling them the news.

You can watch the interview with the President on YouTube. Hank even shares a few thoughts about the experience on the vlogbrothers channel.

  1. I think people of any age can get information from multiple viewpoints and have an open mind, but habits are deeply embedded the older you become. I’m 33, and I sometimes have a hard time keeping an open mind about things. I fight against that fossilization.

  2. Journalism in general.

Oompf, Right in the Procrastination Button

A study from Stanford reports that heavy multi-taskers are worse at choosing which task to focus on. (“They are suckers for irrelevancy”, as Cliff Nass, one of the researchers put it.) Multi-taskers often think they are like gym rats, bulking up their ability to juggle tasks, when in fact they are like alcoholics, degrading their abilities through over-consumption.”

I fight with procrastination and focus every day. Clay Shirky lays out his reasons for removing laptops from the classroom. Mind you, Professor Shirky teaches “social and cultural effects of the internet and mobile phones”. The focus of his classes is technology, but it’s getting in the way!

Smart Albums for iPad Air Screenshots

A few years ago I wrote this tip on creating Smart Albums for your iPhone or iPad screenshots. I’m a big screenshot taker. I use them for keeping track of UI problems with projects I’m working on and even as a quick “note” to look into something later.

The problem is sorting the screenshots out from the rest of my 80 billion photos in my library. I use Aperture (yes, me and two other people) and created this Smart Album to sort out my screenshots from my iPad Air. You can probably adopt the logic for other devices as well.

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 4.04.59 PM

Basically it looks for files that match all of the following:

  • Text starts with “IMG_” – standard filename prefix for iOS device screenshots.
  • Pixel height and width is between 1,536 and 2,048 – this allows for both portrait and landscape screenshots to be returned
  • Camera Model is empty – pretty much all of my other images are photos from cameras that record their model. iOS devices do not store a value for “Camera Model” in their EXIF data.
  • File Type is other – no RAW or jpegs showing up here!

If you have suggestions or modifications, please let me know in the comments below.

I asked several reporters, editors, and scholars what journalists should do to get ready for the next wave of firings. There were three strong consensus answers: first, get good at understanding and presenting data. Second, understand how social media can work as a newsroom tool. Third, get whatever newsroom experience you can working in teams, and in launching new things.


The intennable Clay Shirky on the “uncertain” future of print journalism. Spoiler alert: it’s not uncertain, it’s very certain.

Episodic Content

I’ve been playing two games recently, Destiny of Spirits on the PS Vita, a free-to-play, turned-based strategy game with some collectible attributes like Pokemon. The other is Bravely Default on the Nintendo 3DS – a traditional 40+ hour JRPG by Square Enix, makers of Final Fantasy.

Both are titles released on traditional (or non-mobile phone) consoles and are each exclusives to their platform.

I’m enjoying them both, for differing reasons, but they both contain an interesting game mechanic that I’ve been thinking about.

Each attempts to reward daily play with in-game items or bonuses if you continuously ‘visit’ the game. In Destiny of Spirits it’s one of the virtual currencies used to purchase goods within the game. In Bravely Default it’s villagers and items randomly sent from other players.

In both cases the items are rather meaningless in terms of moving the story forward or giving you something genuinely unique. Most items can be gained through the game by normal means – i.e. Play the game longer and you’ll find the items.

My wife and I are also catching up on Parks and Recreation and Orphan Black. Both are great shows that have a traditional time slot and channel where you can watch. We however enjoy the experience of on-demand video where you can binge as much as you like, or carefully fit in an episode or two into your week. No need for commercials or being in the living room at a pre-determined time.

The downside is that we can’t be sure of what we can talk about within the show with friends in family. Are they caught up? Are we behind? Is that weird to talk about a season that aired 5 years ago?

This is something I’m noticing more of. Less conversation around time-based entertainment. Sure, things like Game of Thrones or their ilk are not released online as easily (or require an incredibly expensive cable subscription) but more and more is instant and ‘evergreen’. You can watch it whenever.


I’m imaging a future medium – a cross between a video game and pre-VHS television. If you missed an episode of TV before the VHS you’d be hard pressed to catch it again. Maybe a repeat, but culturally you’d be out of the loop. The folks at work would be talking about the progress of the plot (or in the case of sitcoms of the time, a hilarious in-joke or reference) and you’d be in the cold.

Now we don’t have that. Now we can watch entire seasons of a show in a single sitting. But imagine a game where daily participation could give you things akin to an episode of TV. Miss an episode and you don’t have a clear understanding of the story. Can’t make the time on Tuesday for that mission? Then you don’t get the rewards other players receive. Truly unique content, not just baubles or items that can be found elsewhere.

I’m not a total masochistic. Maybe tardy players could complete the missions after a period of time. A little punishment that would encourage active participation.

Would something like this work? How far could you push it? Could the death of a main character, or major plot twist happen in a container of time like this?

Another thing that has me thinking about all this is the explosion of “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube and Twtich.tv. You can literally spend hours watching someone else play a video game. The day of a new game’s release you can watch almost the entire plot, see all the world has to offer, and be done.

I dislike cheat codes. Especially for games I have yet to complete. Once you use the code to run around invincible or not have to worry about having enough mana it becomes boring and pointless to continue. After a few minutes it usually breaks the game for me. Let’s Play videos are like a cheat code for my attention. I’m much less likely to play a game (or watch a movie after reading its plot on Wikipedia).

Would exclusive time-based content that furthers a narrative by providing unique information or experiences work in our world?