My personal pleasure of Bandcamp is buying downloads of cassettes and putting them on my phone. A phone is shaped exactly like a cassette, and the sound I expect out of it is no better than I expect out of a cassette. I feel it’s like a perfect marriage of analog/digital to me. I just love it. Also, my cassette deck broke, and the price I got quoted for repairing it was like, “No, I’m done. I’m just going to listen to cassettes on my phone. I’m happy with it.”
Tim Challies has a thought-provoking piece on what Netflix views as its primary competition. He recounts a recent earnings call in which Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, was answering questions about the company.
One investor asked about Amazon in particular: How will Netflix stay ahead of Amazon and their growing library of Prime videos? Hastings praised Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos, but then went in an unexpected direction. It turns out that Netflix doesn’t actually consider Amazon (or HBO or Hulu or any other similar company) its true competition. Netflix’s main competitor is something far more elemental: sleep. “When you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. You really — we’re competing with sleep, on the margin. And so, it’s a very large pool of time.”
It’s interesting that Hastings is so up front about his company competing with healthy living habits. Of course, Netflix is not alone in this quest to defeat your desire (but not your need) to sleep. Facebook, Twitter and the like, all grasp at whatever time they can get out of your day to get their products in your eyeballs.
Challies is rightfully concerned about this strategy from new media companies. It takes mindfulness and discipline to combat the lure of the screen. In our home, a combination of factors keep us from going overboard on the screen time.
The no-binge rule: Long ago, I set a no-binge rule that my wife and I both have to follow. We can watch no more than two episodes of a show at time, no matter how compelling the content.
Wifi restrictions: The router in the house shuts down at 10pm, so streaming movies, checking social media or just surfing the web is impossible after that time.
We like sleep: Having gone through life with infants and noisy neighbors, we value the ability to slumber in quiet.
As a result of these factors, we don’t blaze through TV series episodes like some other people we know. Sometimes, it takes a while before we can discuss the latest streaming show with friends and family. It’s taken us two weeks to get through he first couple of episodes of The Crown, despite our enjoyment of the show. We’re getting our rest, though, and that is infinitely more important than the latest Netflix drama.
Mozilla has a post about the new hotness in the latest version of Firefox. They’ve introduced Project Quantum, which uses GPU to handle graphics in a seperate process from the main browser app. The advantage to the new project is that GPU will handle the graphics faster and make the browser itself more stable.
And if you’re wondering about the Mac – graphics compositing is already so stable on MacOS that a separate process for the compositor is not necessary.
Gotta love Mozilla. They go on for paragraphs about the capabilities of their new Quantum Compositor. Then they have a brief little snippet that basically says, “oh yeah and everything is already great on the Mac, so there’s nothing we need to do there.”
My favorite part of the new release (especially since I have a Mac) is the new compact theme, which comes in light and dark. The dark theme still needs some polish and some of the favicons on the tabs can be really hard to see. I’ve also already found a bug in the compact theme that causes Firefox to go revert to the default theme if you go full-screen then back to normal size again. Overall, though, it’s an impressive release and I continue to appreciate the progress Mozilla is making on their main product.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the album The Velvet Underground and Nico. Rolling Stone has an article on 10 lesser known but interesting facts about what they refer to as the first album that could truly be described as “alternative.” One of the stories contained in the piece involved Andy Warhol’s limited involvement (for someone credited as a producer) in the creation of the recording.
Although he didn’t try to specifically shape the band in his own image, Warhol did make some suggestions. One of his more eccentric ideas for the track “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” Reed’s delicate ballad inspired by his simmering romantic feelings towards Nico, never came to fruition. “We would have the record fixed with a built-in crack so it would go, ‘I’ll be your mirror, I’ll be your mirror, I’ll be your mirror,’ so that it would never reject,” Reed explained in Victor Bockris’ Uptight: The Velvet Underground Story. “It would just play and play until you came over and took the arm off.”
I’m not sure how well that particular change would have gone over. I have a scratch on my copy of Built To Spill’s There’s Nothing Wrong With Love and it repeats the line, “other’s say she’s shy” over and over again. As an unintended lock groove, it’s fantastic, but it can be a bit disruptive when you are trying to listen to the rest of the record.