Category Archives: nytimes.com

Is the weekend dead?

You might think so if you read this piece in the New York Times.

It has definitely changed, just like so much has changed during the pandemic. I predict the weekend will come back in time. Meanwhile, consider ways to make you day / days different enough so that it doesn’t just feel like one big endless day. It will take some creativity, but it’s worth it.

Your weekend is coming up: find ways to make those days stand out from the others.

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Some thoughts on the New York Times and how it is becoming a behemoth

I had some thoughts on the New York Times after reading this: It is possible to compete with the New York Times. Here’s how. – Columbia Journalism Review

In some ways, it confirms what I have long thought: the goal for some newspapers is not to be a regional or even national newspaper anymore: the goal now is  to be a global one. The Daily Mail in the UK recognized that long ago. I know little of what they publish in the UK, I just know that they seem to be able to get a lot of people to read their online articles. In other words, they write locally but think globally. The same with the Guardian. And now I think the same is true for the Times.

The Times, according to the article, knows that most people are only going to subscribe to one paper. They want that paper to be the Times. And they seem to be winning this battle so far. Other papers might depend on click throughs, and no doubt the Times does too, but they also want to ensure that they have the one subscription you or your household pays for.

In some ways, the Times reminds me of a software company. They want to be the one platform you depend on and use every day.  The way Facebook or Google or Amazon or Microsoft want to be the sole platform you use for information or social media or other essential IT.

I think there are ways to compete with the Times, just like there are ways to compete against those other behemoths. You can be a niche competitor. You can provide a deeper and richer experience tailored for a specific audience.  You can be more nimble than they are. You can move to the future markets faster than they can.

None of these things are easy. But they are not impossible.

If you are in the news business, you need to learn how to compete with the New York Times. Because the Times is not going away and it is not getting smaller any time soon.

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A different way to see Paris

Not for everyone visiting Paris, but if you want to see Paris in a way untypical of most visitors, consider this: Paris on Foot: 35 Miles, 6 Days and One Blistered Toe – The New York Times

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Affordable Dining in Paris

Affordable dining in Paris is possible, and the New York Times is on it.


For more, see: Three Courses, 20 Euros: The Affordable Dining Renaissance in Paris – The New York Times

On superurbanization

Urbanization is an increase in cities  through their growth, either in more cities being created or growth within cities. Superurbanization is a new idea. It’s how some cities get the lion share of growth at the expense of other cities.

To see what I mean, look at this chart: A chart showing the growth of tech in US cities

Source: Tech is divergent | TechCrunch

Cities are growing everywhere, as people move from rural areas. But some cities are growing much more than others.

Smaller cities are trying to do something about it, as this article shows. But in the end, we may end up with more and more supercities, and smaller cities may suffer in the same way rural areas are suffering now.

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The Restaurant That Has Helped New Yorkers Feel Famous Since 1984 and other links to NYC


For fans of NY back when, or people just curious about a very different New York then the current one, here’s a bunch of links worth reading:

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Two thoughts on Jamie Oliver’s U.K. Restaurants Declare Bankruptcy

One, It’s always terrible when this type of thing happens: Jamie Oliver’s U.K. Restaurants Declare Bankruptcy – The New York Times.  

But two, I am curious about what has been happening with his businesses based on this:

… his British restaurants ran into financial trouble in 2016 and got into such dire straits that Mr. Oliver had to inject millions from his own savings to salvage the business. Even then, he had to close about 20 restaurants and pizzerias in the months that followed.

What has been happening in the past three years? I remember reading that at the time and it seemed like they had turned the corner at were going to be ok. They turned a corner but they were the opposite of ok.

I’d really like an in depth article of what happened.

The joy of midnight pasta

If you are busy, or don’t feel like cooking much, or don’t have much in your fridge, then this pasta recipe is for you. It’s hard to believe something this simple could be so good, but it is. Lots of flavour with very few ingredients, ingredients you can have in your pantry.

Give it a try, especially when you are short of time, money, or food.

The photo is of the dish I whipped up one night.

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Some thoughts on the end of Paul Krugman’s blog and blogging generally

I accidentally went to Paul Krugman’s blog today and was surprised to see he ended it some time ago. To quote him:

A message for regular readers of this blog: unless something big breaks later today, this will be my last day blogging AT THIS SITE. The Times is consolidating the process, so future blog-like entries will show up at my regular columnist page. This should broaden the audience, a bit, maybe, and certainly make it easier for the Times to feature relevant posts.

I remember when the Times (and many other places) finally recognized blogging as a way of communicating and started a big section on their site to blogging.

Is blogging dead? Not really. It’s no longer what is what, but people are still blogging. Does it matter? No. Blogging is writing. Communicating via words on the Internet. We have all these tools and media to communicate. For a time, blogging and blogs were a way to share that writing. Now people are doing it other ways.

What matters is the writing. The format matters much less. I still like the blogging format, but what I like more is that so many people can communicate with others.

Meanwhile, here’s a link to Krugman’s blog: Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman – The Conscience of a Liberal – The New York Times

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How to travel back in time in NYC


One way would be to go to this place: Barbetta. The New York Times has a fine story on it, here: The Elegant Relic of Restaurant Row. Even if you don’t intend to go, you’d be rewarded just reading the piece.

Love that photo by Dina Litovsky for The New York Times. The sign is “made of opal glass. A forerunner of neon, it is the last of its kind in the city…”.  Fantastic.

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Two good interviews with Jerry Seinfeld

These two interviews appeared in the New York Times in October and August and I was impressed by both of them, especially the first one below:

Seinfeld is smart and insightful and professional. He knows comedy and stand-up well and he’s thought a lot about it.

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The internet says: follow your passion. But what if you have no specific passion to follow?

You can find many places on the internet where you are encouraged to Follow Your Passion. One such place is here: Why Following Your Passions Is Good for You (and How to Get Started) – The New York Times

Love to cook? Love to write? If those are your passions, then the internet wants you to follow them.

But what if you don’t have specific passions. The NYTimes piece has an answer for that too:

No passions? Cultivate skills instead
While hobbies both enrich our lives and can turn into rewarding careers, those of us who don’t have a particular obsession aren’t hopelessly out of luck. Instead, cultivate skills that will give you a leg up in your field. We all carry a “toolbox” to work in the form of specific abilities that make us better at our jobs. Some experts say leveling up on some of these will improve your job satisfaction more than initial enthusiasm ever will.

It’s easier to improve yourself in an area you are passionate about. But taking pride in your skills and your qualities and working to hone them is worthwhile. If there’s not an area you feel a strong passion for, at least improve in the areas you can.

Passion is a strong word. So is pride. If you can follow your passion, follow your pride and be justly proud of the things you are good at.

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The state of meetings

I’ve had this saved from some time ago but I want to post it for two reasons: The Modern Meeting: Call In, Turn Off, Tune Out – The New York Times.

One reason is just as a placeholder for how work is now in this time period. I will be happy to go back in five or ten years from now and see how much has changed.

The second reason is that no matter what happens in five or ten years from now, people who work in offices will always struggle with meetings. There is no solution to effective meetings: there is only managing your time and how best to be effective in the time you are working and meeting. If you work with people, you will have meetings. Nowadays you have too many meetings and you need to manage them and your time as best as you can.

Once meetings were hard to schedule. There were no digital calendars, no videoconferencing. You had to call or talk to someone and arrange to meet them, they would write it down on a piece of paper, and then physically show up and have the meeting. You likely worked with a limited number of people. And even then, even though they were hard to set up, meetings were a pain. Meetings will always be a pain. If they weren’t occasionally useful, no one would ever have them.

But meetings are occasionally useful. Sometimes they are essential. As long as people work together, there will be meetings. If you are working on many different things with many different people, you will have many meetings. Try to be as effective as you can in them. For those holding the meeting, don’t expect so much of people: get what you can and then end the meeting.

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Everything you need to know for sheet-pan cooking can be found here

Everything you need to know for sheet-pan cooking can be found here at this page: How to Make a Sheet-Pan Dinner – NYT Cooking

It’s a comprehensive review on how make any meal using a sheet-pan. If you are a fan of cooking that is easy like slow cookers then you want to check this out.

How to guides are great for people who like to come up with their own recipes. It’s also great if you are trying to use up various ingredients in your fridge.

The weather is getting cooler. It’s time to start using your oven again. This guide will help with this.

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How to ask for help (it’s not as obvious as you think)

If you are uncomfortable asking for help, read this: How to Ask for Help and Actually Get It – The New York Times. After you read it, write out the type of help you need and use the article’s guidelines to insure your request for help is more effective.

We all need help from time to time. Read that and you will be more effective in getting the help you need.

One last thought: show appreciation before, during and after someone helped you. Even if they say it is no big deal to help. If for no other reason, it acknowledges the effort someone has taken to help you.

Get help. Your life will get better as a result. And the people who help you will often feel better about themselves for helping you, so you are helping them too.

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The Notebooks of Jean-Michel Basquiat

I hadn’t seen this before, but for fans of the artist, this is a must view: The Unknown Notebooks of Jean-Michel Basquiat – The New York Times.

I love everything about NYC in the 80s, and I especially like this.

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If you ever wanted to write for The New York Times…

Now you have an opportunity. They have a new column, called Rites of Passage, that is going to appear in their Styles section. What are they looking for?

The editors … want to read your essays about notable life events that sparked change. A “rite of passage” can be big or small, though sometimes it’s the less obvious moments that carry even greater meaning: Making the final payment on your student loan debt and what it represented; finding a first gray hair and deciding not to pluck it; a first crush after a spouse’s death. These essays should be written as personal narratives, so please make sure to tell us how the event unfolded and what it meant to you.

Everyone has such stories. If you want to share yours in the Times, you can get  more information here: How to Submit a ‘Rites of Passage’ Essay – The New York Times

The stunning New York City Photographs If John Chiara

Well worth a visit to see them here: nyti.ms/2JgMZwR. The photos are great and how he goes about taking them is also a good read.

How to get started knitting

This piece in the NYTimes, nyti.ms/2L68a6o, looks like both a gentle and a comprehensive guide to getting started with knitting. It has some non-intuitive advice too (don’t start with a scarf but with a hat). If you are looking for a new hobby, this could be it.

On the mechanics of the Met Gala

The Met Gala recently completed as it does every year, and it seems to draw more and more attention. Part charity event, part costume spectacle, it is a parade of fame and fortune and costume.

Yet even if you could afford the $30,000 for one ticket, you can’t necessarily get one. As this piece illustrates, there’s alot more to it than that.

Sure if you are Rhianna, you pretty much get to go the front of the line. For anyone else, reading the article in the New York Times will tell you all you need to know about this event.

How to be a better writer, Op-Ed or otherwise.

This piece on how to be a better Op-Ed writer is also good advice for people writing essays or any other pieces. Anyone wanting to be a better writer would do well to read it.

How to forge a painting in the Louvre 

Painting in the Louvre
Easy! Just follow these three simple steps:

  1. Apply for one of the 250 permits the museum gives out each year.
  2. Bring your supplies and stand in front of the painting you want to copy. You can do this most days in the months of  September through June from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  3. Start painting.

Ok, it’s not quite that easy. Even if you can perfectly reproduce the work you stand before, the staff of the Louvre take steps to insure no one mistakes your work for the original, as this NYTimes article points out. For example, in this article, they made sure that the copyists used

canvases that were one-fifth smaller or larger than the original, and that the original artists’ signatures were not reproduced on the copies. Then (the staff) stamped the backs of the canvases with a Louvre seal, added (the staff’s) own signature and escorted (the copyists) from the museum.

It’s a fine article highlighting a great tradition of the Louvre: well worth reading.

(Photo by IVAN GUILBERT / COSMOS and linked to in the article)

An introduction to Richard Thaler, winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Economics

Often times it is hard to appreciate the work of Nobel Prize winners, including those in Economics. Thaler is not one of those people. His work is very approachable for laypeople, and the benefits of his work is obvious.

Here’s one example, of how his work led to better results for people in terms of pensions.

Youtube is a great source of videos on Thaler. If you want to get started understanding what is behind his thinking, you can start there.
In addition, the New York Times covers his award winning here and it is another good introduction. Finally, here is a piece in the Times that Thaler wrote himself, on the power of Nudges. If you do anything, read that.

Good to see him win.

Two portraits of a great writer: Robert Caro

Robert Caro

I find Caro a fascinating person and this portrait of him in this Paris Review interview is well worth reading: Paris Review – Robert Caro, The Art of Biography No. 5.

It’s worth comparing it to this piece on him in the New York Times that talks about his routine, including how he goes to a separate office in Manhattan just to work and that he wears formal business attire to do so. A rare life writing about another rare life.

Another cautionary tale: this time regarding Bleecker Street in NYC

The story of Bleecker Street’s Swerve From Luxe Shops to Vacant Stores in the  NYTimes is one playing out in many cities throughout the world, though perhaps not as extreme as this. It’s a big problem when money comes flooding into neighborhoods and cities, disrupting the people that live there, and making those areas unlivable in some cases. Most people need somewhat stable places to live, but unstable social systems (capitalist or otherwise) can make that difficult unless other social systems (like local governments) come in and press back against such instability. As more of the world moves from rural to urban areas, the tools to make streets and cities livable need to be developed and put to use.

Anyone living in a growing city needs to read this piece. Recommended.

(PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRIS MOTTALINI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

The Real Bias Built in at Facebook <- another bad I.T. story in the New York Times (and my criticism of it)

There is so much wrong in this article, The Real Bias Built In at Facebook – The New York Times, that I decided to take it apart in this blog post. (I’ve read  so many bad  IT stories in the Times that I stopped critiquing them after a while, but this one in particular bugged me enough to write something).

To illustrate what I mean by what is wrong with this piece, here’s some excerpts in italics followed by my thoughts in non-italics.

  • First off, there is the use of the word “algorithm” everywhere. That alone is a problem. For an example of why that is bad, see section 2.4 of Paul Ford’s great piece on software,What is Code? As Ford explains: ““Algorithm” is a word writers invoke to sound smart about technology. Journalists tend to talk about “Facebook’s algorithm” or a “Google algorithm,” which is usually inaccurate. They mean “software.” Now part of the problem is that Google and Facebook talk about their algorithms, but really they are talking about their software, which will incorporate many algorithms. For example, Google does it here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2011/05/more-guidance-on-building-high-quality.html At least Google talks about algorithms, not algorithm. Either way, talking about algorithms is bad. It’s software, not algorithms, and if you can’t see the difference, that is a good indication you should not be writing think pieces about I.T.
  • Then there is this quote: “Algorithms in human affairs are generally complex computer programs that crunch data and perform computations to optimize outcomes chosen by programmers. Such an algorithm isn’t some pure sifting mechanism, spitting out objective answers in response to scientific calculations. Nor is it a mere reflection of the desires of the programmers. We use these algorithms to explore questions that have no right answer to begin with, so we don’t even have a straightforward way to calibrate or correct them.” What does that even mean? To me, I think it implies any software that is socially oriented (as opposed to say banking software or airline travel software) is imprecise or unpredictable. But at best, that is only slightly true and mainly false. Facebook and Google both want to give you relevant answers. If you start typing in “restaurants” or some other facilities in Google search box, Google will start suggesting answers to you. These answers will very likely to be relevant to you. It is important for Google that this happens, because this is how they make money from advertisers. They have a way of calibrating and correcting this. In fact I am certain they spend a lot of resources making sure you have the correct answer or close to the correct answer. Facebook is the same way. The results you get back are not random. They are designed, built and tested to be relevant to you. The more relevant they are, the more successful these companies are. The responses are generally right ones.
  • If Google shows you these 11 results instead of those 11, or if a hiring algorithm puts this person’s résumé at the top of a file and not that one, who is to definitively say what is correct, and what is wrong?” Actually, Google can say, they just don’t. It’s not in their business interest to explain in detail how their software works. They do explain generally, in order to help people insure their sites stay relevant. (See the link I provided above). But if they provide too much detail, bad sites game their sites and make Google search results worse for everyone. As well, if they provide too much detail, they can make it easier for other search engine sites – yes, they still exist – to compete with them.
  • Without laws of nature to anchor them, algorithms used in such subjective decision making can never be truly neutral, objective or scientific.” This is simply nonsense.
  • Programmers do not, and often cannot, predict what their complex programs will do. “ Also untrue. If this was true, then IBM could not improve Watson to be more accurate. Google could not have their sales reps convince ad buyers that it is worth their money to pay Google to show their ads. Same for Facebook, Twitter, and any web site that is dependent on advertising as a revenue stream.
  • Google’s Internet services are billions of lines of code.” So what? And how is this a measure of complexity?  I’ve seen small amounts of code that was poorly maintained be very hard to understand, and large amounts of code that was well maintained be very simple to understand.
  • Once these algorithms with an enormous number of moving parts are set loose, they then interact with the world, and learn and react. The consequences aren’t easily predictable. Our computational methods are also getting more enigmatic. Machine learning is a rapidly spreading technique that allows computers to independently learn to learn — almost as we do as humans — by churning through the copious disorganized data, including data we generate in digital environments. However, while we now know how to make machines learn, we don’t really know what exact knowledge they have gained. If we did, we wouldn’t need them to learn things themselves: We’d just program the method directly.” This is just a cluster of ideas slammed together, a word sandwich with layers of phrases without saying anything. It makes it sound like AI has been unleashed upon the world and we are helpless to do anything about it. That’s ridiculous. As well, it’s vague enough that it is hard to dispute without talking in detail about how A.I. and machine learning works, but it seems knowledgeable enough that many people think it has greater meaning.
  • With algorithms, we don’t have an engineering breakthrough that’s making life more precise, but billions of semi-savant mini-Frankensteins, often with narrow but deep expertise that we no longer understand, spitting out answers here and there to questions we can’t judge just by numbers, all under the cloak of objectivity and science.” This is just scaremongering.
  • If these algorithms are not scientifically computing answers to questions with objective right answers, what are they doing? Mostly, they “optimize” output to parameters the company chooses, crucially, under conditions also shaped by the company. On Facebook the goal is to maximize the amount of engagement you have with the site and keep the site ad-friendly.You can easily click on “like,” for example, but there is not yet a “this was a challenging but important story” button. This setup, rather than the hidden personal beliefs of programmers, is where the thorny biases creep into algorithms, and that’s why it’s perfectly plausible for Facebook’s work force to be liberal, and yet for the site to be a powerful conduit for conservative ideas as well as conspiracy theories and hoaxes — along with upbeat stories and weighty debates. Indeed, on Facebook, Donald J. Trump fares better than any other candidate, and anti-vaccination theories like those peddled by Mr. Beck easily go viral. The newsfeed algorithm also values comments and sharing. All this suits content designed to generate either a sense of oversize delight or righteous outrage and go viral, hoaxes and conspiracies as well as baby pictures, happy announcements (that can be liked) and important news and discussions.” This is the one thing in the piece that I agreed with, and it points to the real challenge with Facebook’s software. I think the software IS neutral, in that it is not interested in the content per se as it is how the user is responding or not responding to it. What is NOT neutral is the data it is working off of. Facebook’s software is as susceptible to GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) as any other software. So if you have a lot of people on Facebook sending around cat pictures and stupid things some politicians are saying, people are going to respond to it and Facebook’s software is going to respond to that response.
  • Facebook’s own research shows that the choices its algorithm makes can influence people’s mood and even affect elections by shaping turnout. For example, in August 2014, my analysis found that Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm largely buried news of protests over the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., probably because the story was certainly not “like”-able and even hard to comment on. Without likes or comments, the algorithm showed Ferguson posts to fewer people, generating even fewer likes in a spiral of algorithmic silence. The story seemed to break through only after many people expressed outrage on the algorithmically unfiltered Twitter platform, finally forcing the news to national prominence.” Also true. Additionally, Facebook got into trouble for the research they did showing their software can manipulate people by….manipulating people in experiments on them! It was dumb, unethical, and possibly illegal.
  • Software giants would like us to believe their algorithms are objective and neutral, so they can avoid responsibility for their enormous power as gatekeepers while maintaining as large an audience as possible.” Well, not exactly. It’s true that Facebook and Twitter are flirting with the notion of becoming more news organizations, but I don’t think they have decided whether or not they should make the leap or not. Mostly what they are focused on are channels that allow them to gain greater audiences for their ads with few if any restrictions.

In short, like many of the IT think pieces I have seen the Times, it is filled with wrong headed generalities and overstatements, in addition to some concrete examples buried somewhere in the piece that likely was thing that generated the idea to write the piece in the first place. Terrible.

Finally! The cappuccino scandal revealed by  The New York Times. (I am not joking)


For some time, I have been complaining that cappuccinos have evolved into something I call “latte-ccinos”, which is a drink that is somewhere between a latte and a cappuccino. Good to see that the New York Times has a piece on it highlighting the sad state of North American coffee and in particular the sham cappuccinos now commonly served.

But what is a true cappuccino? As the Times points out, there is a debate about what it is:

There was a time when cappuccino was easy to identify. It was a shot of espresso with steamed milk and a meringue-like milk foam on top. … “In the U.S., cappuccino are small, medium and large, and that actually doesn’t exist,” the food and coffee writer Oliver Strand said. “Cappuccino is basically a four-ounce drink.” … Others cling to old-school notions of what makes a cappuccino, with the layering of ingredients as the main thing. “The goal is to serve three distinct layers: caffè, hot milk and frothy (not dense) foam,” the chef and writer Mario Batali wrote in an email. “But to drink it Italian style, it will be stirred so that the three stratum come together as one.”

I agree with Strand: a cappuccino should be a small drink and the espresso, milk and foam proportional.. If you want a bigger drink, get a latte. And if you want a true cappuccino, find a good Italian establishment — in Toronto, Grano’s makes a superb one — and get your fix there.

For more on this, see: Is That Cappuccino You’re Drinking Really a Cappuccino? – The New York Times. The photo above is a link to that article.

Against gratitude and being grateful. Some thoughts from Barbara Ehrenreich and me

This piece, The Selfish Side of Gratitude – The New York Times, is a scathing attack on gratitude by Ehrenreich. She makes some good points, but overall the writing is so dismissive, from the references to yoga mats to the numerous quotation marks around so many things, that I didn’t find it persuasive. No doubt some abuse the notion of being grateful, but I think there is more too it than a form of evasion. Read it and see if you agree.

My criticism of gratitude is smaller. My problem with the notion is that it isn’t as useful for me. I think there are better words for expressing how I feel, like glad or appreciative. Gratitude in the context of other people is subservient. I do not look down on the people who provide me a service, nor do I think they should think themselves somehow superior. Likewise if I do something for you, I don’t expect you to be grateful: if you are appreciative, that’s enough. And gratitude for certain aspects of nature or the universe make no sense if you are not religious.

There are people who I am grateful towards. Most of the time I can use other words to describe my feelings toward them and what they do. Grateful and gratitude are two words that should be used less often.

The Uber juggernaut comes to a halt in parts of Europe

This is the first I’ve heard of a major failure for Uber:  Uber’s No-Holds-Barred Expansion Strategy Fizzles in Germany from  The New York Times. The focus is the city of Frankfurt, but in other cities in Germany and cities elsewhere throughout Europe, Uber seems to be getting serious push back. It seems tactics that have worked well in North American cities (and likely elsewhere) are backfiring in the cities mentioned. Whether you love Uber or hate it, this NYT story is worth reading.

Why Bankers Want Rate Hikes

It looks like the Fed in the US is going to raise rates. It is highly arguable whether it is a good idea. For a long time, it was a bad idea. Despite that, commercial banks recently have been arguing for the Fed to raise rates.  Now whatever reasons they have been given, the true and underlying reason is mentioned here:  Why Bankers Want Rate Hikes – The New York Times.

It is more difficult for banks to make money with lower rates. Higher rates make it easier for them to make money. Hence the push by some of them to raise the rates.

Banks aren’t stupid: they don’t want the economy to tank: they don’t make money that way either. But the sooner rates rise, the easier it is for them. Here’s hoping the US Fed continues to be smart enough to resist the pressure and do the right thing for the American economy.

 

Facebook Publishes New York Times, BuzzFeed with “Instant Articles”. Let’s note this.

According to Re/code, the New York Times, BuzzFeed and others have received really good terms with Facebook regarding the publishing of “Instant Articles”. For instance:

Facebook’s “Instant Articles” are designed to load, um, instantly on Facebook’s iOS app — which is the heart of Facebook’s pitch.

Facebook lets publishers use their own publishing tools, and then converts stories automatically into a format that works on Facebook’s app. There are also some cool bells and whistles, like a photo and video-panning feature Facebook imported from its all-but-forgotten Paper app. Here’s a demo video:

Facebook will let publishers keep 100 percent of the revenue they sell for “Instant Articles”; if they have unsold inventory Facebook will sell it for them via its own ad network and give publishers 70 percent of that revenue.

Facebook will give “Instant Article” publishers access to performance data on their stuff, provided by Google Analytics and Adobe’s Ominiture.

ComScore, the Web’s most important measurement company, will give “Instant Article” publishers full credit for any traffic those stories generate on Facebook’s app.

Publishers can control much of the look and feel of how Facebook presents their stories; the item BuzzFeed publishes tomorrow won’t be mistaken for National Geographic’s.

Facebook says it won’t alter its algorithm to favor “Instant Articles” over any other kind of content. But given their novelty, and the fact they’re designed to be eye-catching, it seems very likely that these things will get lots of attention at the start.

Very generous. Enticing, even.

I am keen to revisit this in a year from now, to see if Facebook has revised these terms. If Facebook treats these terms like they treat your privacy, in a year or so I expect the revised terms will not be as generous. And if some companies are not careful, they will find they let their own IT teams dwindle and they will have no choice but to stick with Facebook.

The last and only advice you need on how to eat

I think these rules are about the best thing I have seen on how to eat: Simple Rules for Healthy Eating – NYTimes.com.

To make it even simpler, I would boil them down to:

1) Eat less processed food, and more food you make yourself from raw ingredients

2) Eat a variety of ingredients in moderation

3) If you have to drink something, drink water

I recommend you read the NYTimes piece, though. Really good.

The best restaurant in NYC and how to eat there cheaply and without a reservation

Is Eleven Madison Park the best restaurant in NYC? If you read this, Restaurant Review: Eleven Madison Park in Midtown South – NYTimes.com, you’d be inclined to think so. Regardless, it is excellent and worthy of considering a visit.

But what if you want to experience the place without having to go through the tasting menu? Worse, what if you don’t have a reservation. Well then, you need this: How to Eat at Eleven Madison Park With No Reservation and No Tasting Menu — Grub Street.

I can’t promise that will work, but it is worth considering if you want to casually experience some of the best Manhattan has to offer.

 

New dietary guidelines and the science behind them

The NYtimes has a good piece on new dietary guidelines and why they are changing from what you were used to: Behind New Dietary Guidelines, Better Science – NYTimes.com. You will likely be surprised by some or all of it.

Some people have very serious and specific dietary needs, and if that is the case, consulting your doctor is the best thing to do. For others, the best advice may be the most common sensical, which is to eat a wide variety of food in moderation.

TFW the New York Times asks you: Are You on Fleek?

The NYTimes.com dips into the latest slang with this: Language Quiz: Are You on Fleek? It’s fun to give it a try: I got 9 out of 12 and I have no doubt most people can do better. If you do worse, well by the end of it, you’ve learned a few new common slang terms.

If you want a better source for translating slang, you might want to head over to a site like this. Or wait long enough until The Oxford English Dictionary folks add it to the latest and greatest version of their book.

Why you should be wary of any tech pieces in the New York Times

I used to feel the urge to write posts whenever the New York Times did an article on something that was centered around IT, because they would get so much wrong. It isn’tt just something that happens occasionally either: it seems to happen often. That’s why you should be wary of tech pieces in the Times.

Case in point, the story about Sony being hacked. For this story,  someone has done the work for me: Anatomy of a NYT Piece on the Sony Hack and Attribution | Curmudgeonly Ways. I recommend this piece.

I would warn you to be careful in coming to any conclusions about a matter related to IT based on what you read there.

If you are thinking of writing apps for a living, this is still worth reading

This came out awhile ago (As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part Is Making a Living – NYTimes.com) but if you are thinking about writing apps for a living, then you should read it.

If you have a great idea for an app and a passion to develop it, you should. Just finish the above piece in the Times and keep it in mind.

Two good articles on the new economy (work is changing)

These two articles: In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty and Is owning overrated? (both from the NYTimes) look at how people are changing their how they work and what they own in the new (American) economy. I don’t think there is one thing driving these changes. Partially it is how people feel about work, but also what type of work is available to them. Plus technology is allowing for people to work and own in ways not available before.

I found the first article depressing. My hope is that as more companies like this come along, they will need to compete more and this will be better for the workers. Indeed, this seems to be happening to Uber as Lyft (and likely others) come along. As for renting, I think there is a limit to this. While it makes sense to rent some things, I believe that subset is alot smaller than one may initially imagine. What may happen is that people own things for smaller windows.

What seems certain is that the days of working for one employer for along period of time is only going to decline further. Additionally people may conspicuously rent or hold for smaller periods of time and then release things.

Time and changes in the economy will tell.

 

NYC has a good problem to have (some thoughts and observations)


New York City has a good problem to have: it’s getting increasingly more expensive to live there. In the second half of the 20th century, it had the opposite problem and the question was would anyone want to live in all but small parts of it. Those days are gone, so much so that Manhattan became too expensive for most, which partially led to people moving to Brooklyn. Now even Brooklyn is getting too expensive, according to this: Moving Out of Brooklyn Because of High Prices – NYTimes.com.

It’s not surprising to me: NYC is more desirable than ever to move to. Yet the parts of Manhattan and now Brooklyn that people find too pricey are not the whole city. I expect in a few years from now people will be talking about great spots in Queens and the Bronx and how they too are becoming more expensive.

Globally populations are leaving small towns and rural areas and moving to cities. Cities like New York will be the beneficiaries of this, and will grow accordingly.  Assuming they are well run cities, they will find ways to accomodate newcomers, and the parts that were cheaper will rise in value.

I don’t see NYC getting cheaper any time soon. It will be more what parts of it people live in, and what the housing will look like. I expect you will see more high rises built in places where none were before, and more and more neighborhoods being gentrified.

Here’s to a growing New York.

(Creative commons image from picsbyfreyja)

First bookstores, now restaurants being driven out of Manhattan

This Village Voice article has a run down of a number of great restaurants being forced to close due to the price of rent in Manhattan. Restaurants are following bookstores,  which are also suffering from the cost of doing business in this part of NYC.

I suspect low margin businesses like this will move to the other parts of NYC and away from the big rent/big money sections. It will be interesting to see the migration both of the businesses and the people. Compared to the way Manhattan used to be in the later part of the 20th century, this is a better problem for them to have.

For more on the bookstores closing, see this piece in the New York Times.