Like most Americans I suspect, my general knowledge of Western European history—particularly the British Isles—is far more robust than what little I learned about the East. I knew about Constantinople and the fractured relationship the Byzantine Empire had with the West…first after the initial schism of the Roman Empire, and then at times following the fall of Rome and subsequent rise of the various “barbarian” nation-states in the West. But other than those broad strokes, nothing. This essay by Dionysios Stathakopoulos is a fantastic overview, and it whets my appetite to dive into further study of Byzantine history and culture.
Join the Club!
Look, I get it. You already subscribe to too many newsletters. So much to keep up with. But guess what? I only send out a newsletter occassionaly. It’s no big deal. And if you peruse the Creator Class archive, you might find something that resonates with you. It’s a great way to stay current with what I’m publishing, and newsletter recipients always get some extra insight just for them. So what are you waiting for? Let’s roll!
I understand that to some of my readers, my new business website will come across as a bunch of incomprehensible techno-babble. Don’t worry—if that’s the case, you’re not my target demographic. 😄 This site is by a developer, for developers. My goal is to connect with like-minded people and organizations who are building the future of the web. Ping me if you fit the bill!
I have no doubt we will soon reach the point where buying a car that is not electric is seen as a true head-scratcher. I, for one, intend to run my current Mazda gas-powered vehicle (all paid for) into the ground…and then buy an electric car. I simply couldn’t imagine spending a single nickel on any product which consumes fossil fuels.
I am having a really difficult time getting excited about Apple TV+. I think at the end of the day I just don’t like the idea of Apple, the computing devices company, becoming a Hollywood-style entertainment studio. It smacks of the 90s when Microsoft was trying to be all things to all people. I’m more understanding of Amazon doing TV shows…Amazon has always been a company that sells media to people (starting with books).
However, there is another new Apple service I’m very, very happy with: Apple Arcade. I’ll have to write up a whole article about it soon…
Well, another equally valid headline would have been Many Americans are unsure about a number of topics. 😜
Sereiously though, of interest to me is the stat that only 29% of those interviewed correctly identified #Facebook as the owner of both Instagram and WhatsApp. This is hugely problematic not only from the perspective of consumers understanding their choices around smartphone app usage, but it’s a major issue for Facebook as well. Facebook’s brand has become tarnished in recent years, yet it continues to move towards tighter integration of WhatsApp and Instagram into the Facebook platform and ecosystem. However, this could end up backfiring as people increasingly question their usage of the more “positive” apps which have escaped some of the ire directed at Facebook.
Every time I talk with a friend or colleague about how I’m not on Facebook but still use Instagram, I immediately add “yeah I know, it’s still part of Facebook.” Most of the time the folks I talk to know this already, but most of the folks I talk to are fairly digitally savvy. Farther afield, I fear a great many people just have no idea that even when they’re using Instagram or WhatsApp, the buck still ends with Zuck.
Assuming anything anyone knows about next year’s iPhones is even remotely accurate: I sure hope the OLED display technology Apple plans to use has been much improved in the color department. Every time I look at the iPhone XS line at the Apple store, the way text looks on light backgrounds really bothers me. It’s one of the reasons I’m quite happy with my LCD-sporting iPhone XR.
(Although…with the upcoming release of iOS 13 featuring Dark Mode, maybe the color shifting of OLED won’t be as noticable because I’ll often be reading light text on dark backgrounds.)
I find it utterly despicable that companies such as Spotify have taken it upon themselves to redefine the meaning of the word podcast. There is no such thing as an “exclusive podcast” because podcasts, by their very technical nature, are not exclusive and are part of the very fabric of the #openweb.
A podcast is simply an RSS feed which is downloadable from a website. The RSS feed contains items with various metadata and links to MP3 files. In theory an RSS feed could be behind some kind of HTTP auth paywall or be served via an obfuscated URL—but at the end of the day, that RSS feed can and should be playable by any podcast client.
A “podcast” that can only be played by a single client is not a podcast. That’s as absurd as somebody claiming they’ve published an “exclusive website” that’s only accessible via a single app. If the website can’t be viewed via any standard web browser on the internet, it’s not a website. If a podcast can’t be listened to via any standard podcast player on the internet, it’s not a podcast.
Spotify, and anybody else out there trying to pull a fast one like this, you do not get to redefine the terms or the technology of podcasting. They belong to the open web. They belong to us. And we won’t let you have it.
Geoffrey Ellis is a master artisan flute maker based in northern California. I consider Geoffrey Ellis a good friend and long-time collaborator, and his impromptu write-up of our work together over the years is humbling and much appreciated. If you are at all a folk musician of any sort, you must try one of Ellis’ flutes. They’re physically gorgeous and sonically outstanding.