It's been a while, so let's get started with another batch of internety goodness.
This month I read a lot about algorithms and whether they are a genuinely new evil we should scurry from (they're not). I also found:
📑 Great tools for monitoring your Chrome tabs.
📢How to balance your love of LSD with your need for sustained focus.
⌨️How to use The Old Testament to practice your typing.
📰 From the Newsroom
🪓 To catch a hacker
The Twitter hack of 2020: In a brutal year, the Musk Twitter hack has the quaint element of a 50s grifter to it. Just a scam that lacked ambition. On the other hand, ransomware attacks are up 98% according to some studies.
Microsoft the Sheriff, but Google's not the deputy: The Steve Harrington of tech, Microsoft, did their bit and brought down a bunch of servers associated ransomware attacks. The international operation attacked servers that had helped distribute the ransomware behind the recent attack on United Health Services. Google meanwhile, are busy fighting a lawsuit alledging they've been tracking users in incognito mode.
Nintendo brings out the big mushrooms: I love my SNES mini like it's a PS5. I had slummed it for years with ROMS and emulators which introduced a community of "good hacker". However, the retro console market is an emerging beast, so console hackers could see fewer Cease and Desists and more arrests in the future. I bet these hackers used Chrome to track fewer than five people.
🧮 If creative, then pray
The numbers: In an earnings call, Spotify revealed that 43,000 artists accounted for 10% of all streaming on the service. This is up from 30,000 a year ago. Let's see Ryan Seacrest spin those tracks on a weekly basis.
The algorithms: Like a serial killer, Spotify's charm is also partly creepy. Their sophisticated algorithm and generated playlists are built using a suite of algorithms that track everything.
The artists: while the algorithm seems to work for Spotify, and their listeners, does it work for artists? While the Top 43,000 has a nice ring to it, this has also been a year where multiple articles revealed the disparity in royalty payments. In fact, British MPs will start an investigation into payments and algorithms in November.
A familiar foe? The algorithm is a known known for creatives working in the digital sphere. In general, everyone working in the digital sphere knows or has a story about an algorithm update that tanked their traffic, ruined their business, and took their dog. Years of experience tell us that staying on the algorithm's good side is the better part of wisdom. Or, at least, don't own a dog.
Is it a red herring? On the other hand, the algorithm and Spotify are being held accountable for labor conditions that pre-date them by a good 50 years. Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, has some genuinely good suggestions regarding engagement and the number of artists in the top 10% keeps gowing. Maybe the streaming and the algorithm aren't the problem.
⛓️ Ten Must See Links of the Month
- I'm smart enough to know this ewall for weather prediction is cool, but nowhere near smart enough to know what any of it means (even 95% words baffle me).
- My Chrome browser has more open TABs than an 80s BBQ, so Survol is a great way to preview links before committing my last 64 MB of RAM. Another tab tool, Hare is a search engine for your tabs. While it won't help you find the one playing the bloody audio, it will help you find the one you want.
- Drupal 7 will be phased out over the course of the next two years. These are your best options for saving your site from oblivion
- What the cost is a handy calculator for determining the long-term cost of recurring subscriptions.
- Your bias is reveals 24 cognitive biases.
- Is there a better way to make enemies than to talk about WordPress hosting? Here's a lot of data to help you find the best hosting.
- This list made my Friday night. While I remain a Trello man, I'm also a lover of testing project management tools.
- Capture Club is like a FitBit for your carbon emissions.
- Practice typing by retyping classic books like 1984, Anne of Green Gables, or The Old Testament.
- This portfolio site has a very elegant fading effect on the text when you scroll.
- There's never a bad time to learn how to give and receive constructive criticism but just before Christmas is the best.
🧮 The numbers game
That's it for the week.
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Have a great week,