So if your phone doesn’t move from a single location between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for say a week or so, Facebook can quickly deduce the location of your home. Facebook will be able to pinpoint on a map where your home is, whether you share your personal address with the site or not. It can start to build a bigger and better profile of you on its servers. It can start to correlate all of your relationships, all of the places you shop, all of the restaurants you dine in and other such data. The data from accelerometer inside your phone could tell it if you are walking, running or driving. As Zuckerberg said — unlike the iPhone and iOS, Android allows Facebook to do whatever it wants on the platform, and that means accessing the hardware as well.
While I don’t think Facebook would be able to get away with this Orwelllian future that Om paints, I do think it’s a valid concern. Do we really want this level of personal data exposed to a company whose business model rests on targeted advertisers?
South By Southwest is by far the most overwhelming festival/conference out there. But it involves everything I love – tech, games, music, and film over the course of nine crazy days in Austin. Since I went for the Platinum Badge this year, I tried to do everything. Literally.
I quickly realized that wasn’t possible, but I sure gave it my darndest. For posterity’s sake, I tried to jot down every film, panel, and music set that I saw (or caught a part of) over the week. Add on all the parties and meet-ups with friends both new and old and it adds up to an exhausting, but amazing week.
Best New Song That I Have Been Playing On Repeat Constantly Since SXSW – Bastille – Pompeii
Top Three New Bands – Bastille, The 1975, CHVRCHES
I swear I’m not biased towards UK bands, it just turned out this way.
Most Emotional Song Performance – Stevie Nicks/Dave Grohl – Landslide
I have to admit getting a bit teary-eyed and having chills the entire time. Stevie Nicks has an amazing voice.
Coolest Song Performance – Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
Singing along in unison with a packed crowd to Depeche Mode’s arguably most iconic song in a venue that has less than 900 capacity was pretty damn cool.
Best Panel – Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop
Despite never acting (or having ambitions to act), I laughed and learned more with Jeffrey Tambor about life and career than anywhere else during the week.
Best Food - Rachael Ray’s Feedback Party @ Stubbs
The menu was not only delicious, it was free!
Here’s the master list of events I participated in:
Much Ado About Nothing
Drinking Buddies – Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg
Downloaded – Alex Winter, Shawn Fanning, Sean Parker
Short Term 12 – Destin Daniel Cretton, Brie Larson, entire cast
Don Jon’s Addiction - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brie Larson, Tony Danza
euphonia – Danny Madden
Linsanity – Jeremy Lin’s Agent
The East – Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard, Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij
Andrew WK @ Viceland
Talib Kweli @ Samsung Galaxy Soundstage
Shakey Graves @ The Parish
Atlas Genius @ The Main
Tegan & Sara @ The Main
Lord Huron @ Clive Bar
Family of the Year @ ACL Moody Theatre
Lord Huron @ ACL Moody Theatre
Bastille @ Club de Ville
The Chevin @ Buffalo Billiards
Ash @ Buffalo Billiards
Bastille @ Cedar Street
CHVRCHES @ Hype Hotel
Pusha T @ MTV Woodies
Trinidad James @ MTV Woodies
Joey Bada$$ @ MTV Woodies
HAIM @ MTV Woodies
Meat Puppets @ Stubbs
Sound City Players @ Stubbs – Foo Fighters, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Rick Springfield, Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine), Krist Novoselic, Chris Goss, Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age), Lee Ving (Fear)
Local Natives @ Mohawk
Divine Fits @ Radio Day Stage Austin Convention Center
Alt-J @ Mohawk
Feathers @ Brazos Hall
The Neighbourhood @ Brazos Hall
Depeche Mode @ Brazos Hall
Fitz and the Tantrums @ Lustre Perl
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls @ Blackheart
Eagles of Death Metal @ Stubbs
The 1975 @ Stubbs
Frightened Rabbit @ Stubbs
Blue Sky Riders @ Stubbs
Kenny Loggins @ Stubbs
Talib Kweli @ Lustre Perl
Chuck Ragan @ Cedar Street
Matt Pryor (Get Up Kids) @ Cedar Street
Twin Falls (Chris Carrabba) @ Cedar Street
Frank Turner @ Cedar Street
Machinima & Rooster Teeth Present “Blood, Sweat, and Online Videos: How to Achieve the Digital Dream”
Virtual Reality: The Holy Grail of Gaming – Cliff Bleszinski (Gears of War), Paul Bettner (Words With Friends), Chris Roberts (Wing Commander), Nate Mitchell (Oculus Rift), Palmer Luckey (Oculus Rift)
A Conversation With Danny Boyle – Danny Boyle, Rick Smith (Underworld)
Much Ado About Much Ado – Joss Whedon, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion
Innovation & Leadership in the Agile Age – Scott Cook (Intuit)
Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop
The Signal & the Noise – Nate Silver
The New Serendipity? – Joichi Ito (MIT Media Lab), Kevin Rose (Digg, Google Ventures), John Perry Barlow, Colin Raney (IDEO)
The Future of Google Search in a Mobile World – Guy Kawasaki, Amit Singhal
Through painstaking collaboration between software developers at AMD and Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider proudly features the world’s first real-time hair rendering technology in a playable game: TressFX Hair.
With the Oscars happening tonight, I thought I’d throw out my own personal favorite ten movies that I saw in 2012. Overall it was a solid year of moviegoing for me – I think I saw at least 40 movies in the theaters and most were enjoyable, if not great.
In no particular order, here they are:
The Avengers - The best superhero movie ever made. It’s no small feat juggling an entire team of A-List actors who each have starred in their own blockbuster action films and making each character feel significant. Glad to see Joss finally get his due in Hollywood as he’s one of the premier talents in writing and directing today.
Django Unchained - Some parts of this movie feel almost too ridiculous, but that’s part of its charm. Quentin Tarantino may be one of the most accessible film auteurs out there today. Even though this film was long, I had a huge grin throughout every minute because it was just so damn fun.
Silver Linings Playbook - I never thought I’d see a movie where Bradley Cooper actually turns in an Oscar-nominated performance, but here it is. The chemistry between he and Jennifer Lawrence is electric, and really elevates this movie to one of the best of the year. The fact that there’s a sports movie hiding underneath there is just icing on the cake.
Beasts of the Southern Wild - I’m not even going to pretend to know how to spell the girl who plays Hushpuppy’s name, but what an amazing performance from a first-time actor. Up there with her is the score to this film which is my pick for the best soundtrack of the year. The driving, emotional orchestral theme for “The Bathtub” matched with Louisiana Cajun melodies stir up an myriad of emotions that fit perfectly with the adventure in the movie.
Looper - Rian Johnson’s time-travel epic is probably one of the best sci-fi films to ever explore the topic without confusing the audience. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a younger Bruce Willis works surprisingly well. The time-lapse scene in the middle of the film was almost as powerful as the opening to Up, while the movie’s ending had my jaw literally agape for 20 minutes straight.
Moonrise Kingdom – No other word to describe this film but “charming.” Wes Anderson’s latest may not be terribly unique in his body of work, but his trademark quirky style really works for what’s essentially a story about young love. It’s hard not to root for Sam and Suzy in their quest to be together.
Argo - Ben Affleck has quietly become one of the best directors in Hollywood. Gone Baby Gone and The Town were great films in their own right, but Argo really takes it up a notch. Even though you may know how the story ends, you’re still caught up in the tension and drama of the journey there. You can’t help but want to get up and cheer by the end of the movie.
Arbitrage - I can’t think of the last time I thought Richard Gere was relevant, but he definitely made a great case for being back in this character study film. Not quite as likeably hateable as Gordon Gecko, but Robert Miller does his best to alienate everyone around him with his greed. The movie almost sways towards ridiculous plot points at times, but Gere’s outstanding performance keeps it grounded and relatable.
The Cabin In The Woods - An absolutely brilliant horror movie that isn’t quite your traditional horror movie. Without giving too much away, it’s both an homage and critique to the genre as a whole and is an unquestionable must-see movie, even if you don’t normally like “horror movies”
Perks of Being A Wallflower - Who doesn’t love a good coming of age movie? Almost everyone can identify with the pains of going through high school again, but most of us didn’t have friends like Ezra Miller and Emma Watson to lean on. “We accept the love that we deserve.” – might be the most insightful sentence I’ve heard in a long long time.
Creativity thrives under limitations. People who love games understand this implicitly, since the best players find the most creative ways to succeed within the confines of the rules. The Great Train Robbery is a masterpiece not in spite of its limitations but because of them. So if David Cage doesn’t think he can produce an emotional work of art with a PlayStation 3 and an eight-figure budget, maybe he shouldn’t be in the art-making business.
Expanding the technological capabilities of our game machines is not inherently bad, but treating new tech as a magic bullet is a self-destructive delusion (if a familiar one). The reason that so many games suck is not because the technology is too modest. The reason that so many games suck is because so many games suck. Making art is hard. No microchip changes that.
This is the most spot-on, insightful piece I’ve read about the PlayStation 4. It may be a little cynical, but the pretentiousness of these kinds of presentations is just too palpable to ignore.
Ok, so Google’s made a pretty neat demonstration video that’s gotten almost everyone on my social media feeds to go, “OMG SO COOL!”
But when you think about it – is it really?
Most of the video shows people doing some really cool, adventurous stuff, like skydiving or shredding the gnar. Being able to capture that in handsfree video is a pretty neat feature, but honestly, don’t GoPro cameras already do that at a fraction of the cost of Glass? Sure, it’s not as sleek or elegant looking to wear, but if I had paid $1500 for a nifty piece of wearable technology, I’d probably be a more than a little wary about it falling off in the air or breaking if I yard sale into a tree while snowboarding.
What else does Glass really do other than be a really cool wearable camera? I think to myself about how rarely I use Siri in my day to day life and can’t help but think of a similar usage pattern for the voice activated features for Glass. If I want to take a picture, I really don’t want to be saying out in public “Take a picture, Glass!” Plus, while the location aware stuff is neat, it’s really nothing that’s not available on smartphones today. Same goes with the video conferencing and messaging features. While having those features in a handsfree setting is nice, are they worth $1500 to most people? Or even $999? Not for me.
I do think augmented reality is a feature that has the potential to really revolutionize the way we interact with the world, but I’m a little wary of Glass fully realizing that, especially on its first iteration. That being said, I’d love to play with one of these and have it blow me away. Get the price down to something in the $200-$300s, and have it work seamlessly with, say, my existing eyeglasses, and we’ll have a much more interesting conversation. I just doubt we’ll be having it in 2014.
I love that Reddit AmAs are a thing and that they command a large enough audience that celebrities do them regularly.
In other news, that new Atoms For Peace album is pretty neat. It’s got a decidedly more straight electronica feel to it than Radiohead, yet you can totally visualize Thom just spazzing out on stage to the music during a live set.
No! Stop! I’m not looking for a higher CTR or increased engagement on your goddamn social networks! I’m not a cog in your sales machine! I’m a real person with real feelings, not a profile picture to analyze for your own amusement. My status updates say, “Check out our newest eBook!” but read between the lines; what I really mean is, “Check out me, please. I need validation!”
Email is a constant stream of triggers, and the means to act upon these triggers can be present in the tool through which you receive it. This is why Mailbox’s mobile first approach is so important. Increasingly we get our mail messages on our mobile devices without the time, attention or full-size keyboard to make a complete response. These half-read, half-considered messages become work to take care of later—but that later never comes. By being able to structure your responses even if you don’t have time to make a full response you reduce the residue and mental overhead associated with your inbox. So when you do sit down at your desk or laptop or iPad, your work is cut out for you and ready to engage with the actual content you have to consider.
It took me a week to decide to take the plunge with Mailbox and allow it to archive all of my email on Gmail. All of my mail has been in my inbox basically since I signed up for the service years ago, a situation I imagine most people have been in as well. I can say it’s been a pretty good experience so far, my inbox is pretty clear, but I’m still getting used to the workflow of sorting my mail.
It’s a shame that there’s no Exchange support for the app, because for me, that would be the true test for Mailbox’s workflow – work emails. Nevertheless, I’ve definitely cut down on the bulk email lists I’ve subscribed to on my personal account. When you see the emails streaming in on an empty inbox, it’s pretty easy to see what’s necessary and what isn’t. Having 100,000 emails in the same place over the last 9 years or so just ended up being a big pile of eh.