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nephilidae: How can anyone hate Junji Ito  Cat Diary is a gift to the universe and spent several...

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nephilidae:

How can anyone hate Junji Ito 

Cat Diary is a gift to the universe and spent several uninterrupted months on my Staff Picks shelf at @bookswithpictures.

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sirshannon
1 day ago
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Junji Ito rules.

Only 1-In-3 Americans Think Michael Wolff's Book Is Credible

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Michael Wolff's new book "Fire and Fury" has proven explosive, sending shockwaves across Washington and beyond.

In its first week of publication, it sold 29,000 copies according to NBD BookScan with digital sales reaching an estimated 250,000. President Trump has claimed Wolff was not provided with access to the White House and that the book is "full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist".

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also labeled Fire and Fury "complete fantasy".

Wolff has defended himself against that criticism, insisting Trump is "a man who has less credibility than, perhaps, anyone who has ever walked on earth."

Notably, however, Wolff did include a note at the beginning of the book where he says some of his sources were definitely lying to him while others offered contradictory reports, and this has cast doubt on the book's credibility. 

The end result of the sensational spat between Trump and Wolff is that the book is flying off the shelves.

But, given its success, Statista's Niall McCarthy asks (and answers) what does the American public make of its accuracy?

Infographic: Do Americans Think Michael Wolff's Book Is Credible?  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

A new Morning Consult/Politicopoll has found that a third of registered voters (32 percent) think the book is very or somewhat crediblewhile a quarter (25 percent) consider it not too or not at all credible. 20 percent of respondents either haven't heard of it or have no opinion.

When it comes to political affiliation, unsurprisingly, 46 percent of Democrats view the book as credible while percent think it's inaccurate.

Among Republicans, a 38 percent majority are skeptical about Fire and Fury while just under a quarter find it very or somewhat credible.

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sirshannon
2 days ago
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"Only 1-in-3 Registered Voters think Michael Wolff's Book is Credible" is a more accurate headline but why not "Only 1-in-4 Voters think Wolff's book is not credible" or "Only 56% of Voters with an opinion think Wolf's book is credible" or "Only 57% of voters have an opinion about Wolff's book"? I find it hard to imagine there is something in Wolff's book that would seem too incredible for turmp in rl.
Dadster
4 days ago
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Who cares? It's all a distraction anyway.
New Hampshire

Apple to Create New Campus, Hire 20,000 New Employees

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Apple:

Apple expects to invest over $30 billion in capital expenditures in the US over the next five years and create over 20,000 new jobs through hiring at existing campuses and opening a new one. Apple already employs 84,000 people in all 50 states.

The company plans to establish an Apple campus in a new location, which will initially house technical support for customers. The location of this new facility will be announced later in the year.

Introguing.

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fxer
2 days ago
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also the tax is wether they repatriate or not, so they might as well bring it back since it will get taxed regardless
Bend, Oregon
sirshannon
2 days ago
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I don't find it all that introguing.
MotherHydra
1 day ago
Once I saw that it was all I could focus on :)

The Final Conf-Down

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I tweeted this morning that I was working on updating my spreadsheet of upcoming iOS / macOS developer conferences, which I use to maintain a page of conferences (and anime conventions, because me) over on invalidstream.com. I also got into this research to provide a segment for the sporadic CocoaConf Podcast (iTunes, Overcast) This post is going to be about the changes in that scene I’ve seen recently.

Spreadsheet of upcoming iOS & macOS developer conferences

The immediate and obvious takeaway is the significant contraction in this space over the last two years. By my count, the US now has only 9 conferences that are exclusively for iOS/macOS developers (in approximate chronological order for this year):

I say “only” because it was only about 4 years ago that CocoaConf ran more conferences than this by themselves in a single calendar year. And now, CocoaConf itself is gone; its organizers, the Klein family, run a single annual conference in its place, Swift by Northwest. The remaining conferences are almost entirely held on the coasts in cities like NYC, DC, and of course SF. Only one is in the South, and none are in the Midwest, Texas, or the Southwest.

[It should also be noted that in some years, Apple runs a world-wide traveling series of “Tech Talks”, often when they have a new platform to build support for. The last one was in 2015, and promoted the Apple TV SDK.]

In my spreadsheet, I use the event type “later” to denote a conference that is expected to be held in the next 12 months but doesn’t have a date yet, and “defunct” for conferences I believe will not be held again. As I said on Twitter, my criteria for defunct is “no events held in the last 12 months, and none scheduled as of now”. By that criteria, this is my list of recently-defunct Apple developer conferences:

I didn’t include Release Notes on this list, because their most recent podcast episode made it clear that while they are not holding a 2018 event, they aren’t piling it in either; it sounds like they want to shift the time of year they hold their conference. Daniel Steinberg also tweeted at me to say that both Do iOS and NSNorth have said they hope to return, and similar sentiments are expressed on the home pages of IndieDevStock and Playgrounds. So, you know, maybe they’re not all dead.

[Also, I’m not interested in tracking conferences that went away many years ago and will obviously never return, which is why I don’t bother with an entry for Voices That Matter: iPhone Developers Conference from five years back or the O’Reilly Mac OS X Conference from 15 years ago.]

OReilly Mac OS X Conference bag from like 2005 or something

For the sake of keeping things interesting, I do track a few conferences that are “close enough” to be of interest to this community, like conferences for IT pros (Mac Admin & Developer Conference UK, MacAdmins), Mac power-user events (MacStock), and did you know that there’s actually a conference just for Filemaker developers? Because there actually is a FileMaker Developer Conference. This variety is nice for the video scroll, which I use as an interstitial when I’m livestreaming, so I can give my voice a break.

But still, I think it’s interesting to note that there’s been an obvious, substantial contraction in the conference scene. Some of the survivors seem to be healthy (Ray Wenderlich says RWDevCon is nearly sold out), so is there any way to make sense of what is and isn’t working here? A few thoughts…

iOS Is Old News

The obvious explanation is that after 10 years, iOS is old news, that most people who want to work with it are already doing so, and there’s less travel/training money available. This makes sense, to a point, although if that’s the case, then how can the No Fluff Just Stuff tour be doing 17 events this year, hawking old warhorses like Java and Spring?

Still, the idea that iOS is old and unsexy can be seen in the fact that nearly every new conference focuses on Swift, even putting it in their name: dotSwift, try! Swift, Forward Swift, Swift by Northwest, Swift Summit, etc. Good for marketing, although as a speaker, I find it somewhat limiting: I don’t feel like I could do a talk on, say, debugging with Instruments or Auto Layout in storyboards, since those wouldn’t really be about Swift. One reason I’m not planning any talks this year is that I just don’t have anything novel or insightful to say about Swift at the moment, since I’m not currently working with it as much as a lot of other people are.

Apple Development Is A Cargo Cult

WWDC 2017 main entry

Every conference is completely overshadowed by WWDC. It used to be that nobody wanted to hold a conference between June and October, because the new bits at WWDC would still be technically under NDA, so you officially couldn’t talk publicly about them. That meant that anything you could talk about was, by necessity, old news, which made an August conference a hard sell.

Today, WWDC is nearly impossible to get into, and all its videos are quickly made available to non-attendees (lately, most or all of them have been livestreamed). So if you’re just interested in getting Official Info from Cupertino, just standing in front of that firehose is all that’s necessary.

And honestly, that’s what most people want. If you see the platform as just a collection of APIs, tools, and languages, you could make the argument that third parties aren’t in a position to bring anything else to the table. It’s not like there are very many third-party tools that most iOS developers use — Cocoapods and Carthage, I suppose? Maybe SwiftLint? God forbid, RxSwift? But mostly it’s about the built-in bits. So if you can already get a session of those, why travel for something else?

[Well, I’d argue things like clarity, novelty, and honesty: speakers with real-world experience can talk about how the APIs hold up in real life or if they’re not as good as Apple says, they can offer insights into more advanced uses or unanticipated issues, they may be able to offer more passion and excitement than WWDC engineer-speakers, etc.]

Few Personalities Can Sell Seats

Another factor is whether or not people will come to see specific speakers, and who they are. Who’s really famous in iOS/macOS developer circles? It’s not like we have a lot of open-source projects with leaders that everyone follows. A lot of the conferences rely on book authors (like me), but book sales continue to decline, so I don’t suppose we’re much of a draw.

Bloggers? John Gruber of Daring Fireball speaks infrequently, such as at the 2014 XOXO Festival, and of course in his live episode of The Talk Show every year during WWDC week. I don’t recall if Michael Tsai (whose linkblog is essential reading) ever does conferences, and I’m drawing a blank on other notable names.

Podcasters? We’re doing a little better there. Daniel Jalkut and Manton Reece of Core Intuition have both spoken at various conferences (including CocoaConfs in DC and Austin). OTOH, the Accidental Tech Podcast guys are infrequent speakers: I recall Casey Liss keynoting a CocoaConf DC, and Marco Arment recorded an Under The Radar at CocoaConf Next Door during WWDC 2017 week, but that’s about it. OTOH, Curtis Herbert of Independence speaks at several conferences, and was the organizer of the CocoaLove conference. Yosemite by CocoaConf used to always have Andy Ihnatko, but that conference appears to be done too.

Is Staying Home An Option?

Part of the problem with conference-going is that it’s damned expensive. Even if a conference keeps registration under four figures, big city hotel stays will often cost far more than the conference ticket, plus airfare and meals. You have to really pinch pennies just to keep a week at WWDC under $4000. That was one of the things I liked about CocoaConf: they toured and came to where the attendees were (so you could maybe drive to it), and they generally set up shop in inexpensive airport hotels rather than pricey downtown locations.

For international attendees, border crossings are also a hassle and risk, particularly given the ugly xenophobia that is now official US policy. It’s understandable that overseas developers would think twice about coming here (or, for that matter, that non-US nationals working for Apple would risk leaving the US for Tech Talks, since they might well not be let back in).

And when you think about it, if most people in the world are experiencing WWDC on a screen, maybe that’s the way other conferences should go too.

This weekend, I attended Visual;Conference, a seven-hour online webinar for developers/writers/artists working on visual novels. The presentations were all streamed via GoToWebinar, with back-channel chat and questions to speakers handled by a Discord channel. For $10 I got to participate, hang out in my slob clothes, have a beer and nachos for lunch, and still learn about the iOS app that makes $1 million per day.

Banner from vnconf.com

[Videos from Visual;Conference aren’t public yet; I’ll update this post when they are.]

Maybe we can bring these worlds together. Not that a WWDC session is ever going to begin by saying “Spoilers for Doki Doki Literature Club, everyone…” (though wouldn’t that be great?), but maybe someone should give an online iOS/macOS conference a shot? It might be particularly good for a niche topic that maybe only 50 people in the world are going to be interested in. Although even with this approach there are problems with time zones, since you aren’t bringing speakers and attendees together physically — Visual;Conference started with its Japanese speakers at 11AM ET / 8AM PT, even though this was 1AM for the speakers Japan-time, and they were gracious staying up that late for us. If you wanted to hold an online conference open even to just Europe and the Americas, it’s going to be either too early for someone, too late for someone else, or both.

Honestly, I’d rather have CocoaConf back, but since that’s not happening, and there is literally not an Apple developer conference within a day’s drive of me this year, I guess I’m stuck.

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sirshannon
3 days ago
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"Honestly, I’d rather have CocoaConf back, but since that’s not happening, and there is literally not an Apple developer conference within a day’s drive of me this year, I guess I’m stuck."

There are 2 conferences w/in a day's drive for me but one is a week after I return from a 2-week vacation (probably not a good time to take another week off) and the other is 4 weeks after I return from that 2-week vacation (probably not a good time to take another week off) and costs too much ($2500 admission + hotel).

Trump's new assistant Drug Czar: a 24-year-old campaign volunteer with no experience, in charge of billions to end the opioid epidemic

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In 2016, Taylor Weyeneth took a break from his studies as an undergrad law student at St John's University and used the skills he'd acquired organizing a single golf tournament and working in his father's chia seed factory (closed abruptly when his father went to jail for processing illegal Chinese steroids in the plant) to campaign for Donald Trump. Now Weyeneth, at 24 years old, is the deputy chief of staff for Office of National Drug Control Policy, in charge of billions of dollars in spending to curb the opioid epidemic and fight illegal drug use. (more…)

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sirshannon
4 days ago
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What could go wrong? I mean, I knew every damn thing when I was 24.

Pitch Room: Fixing The Last Jedi

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EXT. MORNING, MONDAY JANUARY 18th, 2016, LUCASFILM HEADQUARTERS, LETTERMAN DIGITAL ARTS CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO.

INT. THE BOARDROOM. A circular room with an equally circular grey table. Carved into the table is an off-center recessed black circle. The table is populated by executives from both Disney and Lucasfilm. Standing opposite the entrance, across the room director RIAN JOHNSON who is pacing.

RIAN: Thank you all for coming on such short notice. I realize we locked the script two weeks ago, but I want to make sure that you all have read or have heard the major plot points otherwise this meeting might spoil some things for you. Show of hands. Who isn’t up to date on the final script?

RIAN: Great. Let’s proceed.

RIAN: I woke up last night at 3 am in one of those “I have made a horrible mistake” sweats. We have a massive problem at the end of The Last Jedi. We have no villain.

EXECUTIVES: (garbled)

RIAN: I know what I said at the final pitch meeting. We had to mix things up, and we had a pave the way for the next generation of the Jedi, but at the end of this movie, there is just no one to hate. Snoke is dead, Hux is borderline comic relief, and the audience is practically rooting for Kylo – shirt on or off.

EXECUTIVES: (louder. unintelligible)

RIAN: Rey made him good. His relationship with Rey makes him human. Their Force connection shows us that Kylo’s soul is still in play and, oh yeah, you know Adam Driver seethes with charisma. He’s the most interesting character on the screen and he’s not becoming eviler, he’s becoming more neutral. Batshit crazy, but neutral.

EXECUTIVES: (muddled)

RIAN: My point is, what’s the tension in the next movie? Saving Kylo? He’s just killed his master and apparently has a thing for Rey. Building the rebellion against the First Order? The First Order gets its ass kicked twice by the last rebel ship standing. One bombs them and the other rams them. The First Order needs to learn to steer away from shit before the audience takes it seriously. Also, what resistance? There’s more porg on the Millennium Falcon than there are fighters in the resistance.

RIAN: I know I pitched the theme of the Force can be a part of anyone. We need to think about a post-Skywalker Star Wars, but as written now, we’re going to into the third movie with very little tension and no villain… and I know how to fix it.

RIAN: Rey needs to turn to the dark side. When Kylo and Ray reach out and touch hands, she turns to the dark side.

EXECUTIVES: (screaming)

RIAN: Everyone calm down. This is not a restart. All of the major plot lines remain intact. Finn’s useless Raiders of the Lost Arc-inspired trip remains the same except he sees Rey and Kylo on Snoke’s ship. Suddenly Finn is in. He’s mad! He’s relevant! Is he a Jedi? I don’t know, but let’s find out. Luke and Kylo – again, it’s unchanged. We still get the showdown at Crait and now it’s more meaningful because – just like Luke predicted – Rey is just like Kylo. Luke still projects himself because Luke is a hero and that is what heroes do.

EXECUTIVES: (slightly less screaming)

RIAN: Yes, even the escape. Chewie shows up to rescue the remaining rebels, and they escape thanks to Luke’s Kylo-delay tactics. It’s 95% the same ending except for one crucial difference. Rey can sense that they are escaping… and she lets them.

EXECUTIVES: (silence)

RIAN: Of course, she’s not going to turn. She’s a mole. She’s full-on Severus Snape and who the hell didn’t love that guy’s arc? Even better, Chewie is in on the gig, and he’s full-on Dumbledoring his way to the next rebel base.

EXECUTIVES: (continued silence)

RIAN: I don’t know. That’s Colin’s job to figure out, but we’re handing him a gift. We hand him a villain. We provide him tension. We hand him the critical question to answer, “Is Rey good or bad?” I’d watch the hell out of that movie.

EXECUTIVES: (mumbling. threatening)

RIAN: Ron Howard?

EXECUTIVES: (confirmation)

RIAN: … This is just me spitballing. I think we’ve got an incredible movie on hands… as is. Sorry for wasting your time.

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sirshannon
4 days ago
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I feel like someone misunderstood TLJ so badly that I can't understand their joke.
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