Capn Design

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20131210cosplay.jpg Just the Two of Us: Photos of Cosplayers in Their Homes

Photographer Klaus Pichler has put together a striking photo series of 50 people who love dressing up in costumes doing mundane things in their home. There is something special about seeing people who want to escape their everyday life sitting quietly in their living space. Even behind the mask, many of them seem really uncomfortable.

A Short Story, "Feature Development for Social Networking"

I’m not that into zombies, but I’m really into believable portrayals of apocalyptic futures. Benjamin Rosenbaum has written a great short story that shows a zombie outbreak through both sides of social media¬†— its users and developers.

Buster Day I know I’m an asshole for saying this, Emily, but she just got bit and you are going to SEE her? Is that smart?

Roland Wu Yes, Buster, you are an asshole for saying that.

Jesus Palanquin Roland, it is an AVERAGE of 24 hours, but cases have been observed with incub pd of as short as 6 hours. Read the FAQ you linked to. Marsh, how long ago?

Marsha Shirksy Like an hour ago! Emily are you serious? Maybe Buster is right. But I’m really scared.

Emily Carter np honey sit tight. I am on my way, taser in hand. You can stay at arms’ length :-) :-)

Amazon Source and the Future of Bookstores

Amazon has introduced a new program for booksellers which lets them purchase Kindles at a 6% discount and earn 10% on any ebook purchased over the next 2 years. If you put the numbers aside, this appears to be Amazon’s attempt at letting booksellers focus on what they do best: recommend books and create a space for book lovers.

Imagine a bookstore that only sold beautiful objects, coffee, and advice. I’m sure they’d host book clubs and have author events. Amazon can’t replicate any of these things very well over the internet—they try hard to do advice, but recommendation software is still an unsolved problem—so they leave it to independents.

If there was a way for a bookstore to make enough money selling these things, then everyone wins. It seems like Source is just a point in a long conversation; it’s imperfect but it’s pushing us closer to an answer.

[via kottke]

Macklemore, 1 Year In

Their album, The Heist, was an amazing commercial success with millions of records sold and several hit singles. And yet, almost everything about the band is independent. They decided against signing with a label, despite offers, because they wanted to control their art and future.

This post looks back at the last year, their rise to fame, and some of the decisions that came with it. I really respect what they’ve done, musically and more. This bit was my favorite.

He said, “Basically, if you sign this deal there is a potential that you will turn into a super star. Your life will change drastically. And once that happens, there is no going back. If we don’t go this direction, there is a ceiling to your career. You can continue to play the same rooms you’ve been playing and have a strong run as an underground rapper. But taking it to the next level will not be attainable. I see positives and negatives to both sides, and will support you either way. What do you want to do”?

I knew immediately that this a decision that would alter my life forever. I knew that getting played on the radio would alienate a core group of fans; that I’d be labeled a sell-out, maybe even a “one hit wonder” if the song got big. But despite those risks, I knew at the core what I wanted.

My logic was simple. If “Thrift Shop” blew up, the floodgates would open. People beyond even the core group of supporters would learn about our music and buy the album. The masses would not only hear a song about saving money and bargain shopping, but would discover songs about marriage equality and homophobia, consumerism, addiction, sobriety, relapse. My story would be told. That is what mattered to me.

Top 10 Digital Car Dashboards

Jalopnik rounded up up what they believe to be the best (most interesting?) car dashboards. It’s a mix of super-fancy, adaptive new ones and some relics.

Though I appreciate the new-fangled fancy screens, I’m sharing this because my dad used to have that late 80’s Buick Riviera with a touchscreen console computer and it felt like magic. I couldn’t believe they were able to have a responsive screen in the car and now I’m wondering just how big the computer behind it had to be. Here’s a video of it in action.

Mental Illness and the NFL

This weekend, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall wore green shoes to promote Mental Health Awareness week. Marshall suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and has been very public about how much treatment has helped him. While much of the NFL was wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month, Marshall was fined ~$5,000 for promoting an issue that doesn’t help the NFL’s bottom line.

Jeff Hughes, writer of Da Bears Blog, does an amazing job breaking down the NFL’s disgraceful treatment of mental illness and lack of priorities. I couldn’t recommend this article enough. It’s a great piece of sports journalism.

Don't Divert the Train

Luke Wroblewski has some good advice on getting users to do what you want without driving them nuts. In any successful app, users develop muscle memory around common tasks. This means it’s difficult to push users to complete secondary tasks — like adding a user photo or connecting with friends — that will improve their experience but are rarely the reason you open the app.

His solution is to style these tasks like other items in a user’s feed and insert them seamlessly. He didn’t give numbers, but said the “use of the Find Friends feature shot up dramatically” after implementing this change.

It’s a simple observation, but a powerful one for me. Changing someone’s behavior is difficult and there’s no reason to take on this task when it’s unnecessary. I would just be careful to respect the user’s intentions and avoid polluting a stream with too much unexpected content.

Dizzee Rascal's "I Don't Need A Reason"

This song is good. This video is better. As I’ve seen others say, it’s more or less made to be turned into animated GIFs.

I Forgot My Phone

Charlene deGuzman has a way of being funny and depressing at the same time. Her tweets certainly reflect this, but I Forgot My Phone, a (very) short film, is a great encapsulation of her viewpoint.

It’s just as easy to laugh at this as it is to cry.

Toyota Donates Efficiency, Not Money

I want to do this for a living.

At a soup kitchen in Harlem, Toyota’s engineers cut down the wait time for dinner to 18 minutes from as long as 90. At a food pantry on Staten Island, they reduced the time people spent filling their bags to 6 minutes from 11. And at a warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where volunteers were packing boxes of supplies for victims of Hurricane Sandy, a dose of kaizen cut the time it took to pack one box to 11 seconds from 3 minutes.

Sneak peek of Macaw

Macaw is next in line to try and unseat Photoshop as the web designers tool of choice and it looks promising. This 20 minute demo shows both how it works to produce designs and its seemingly good ability to generate HTML and CSS code.

Macaw’s design tools seem worthy of evaluation alone, but the ability to produce working code with zero additional effort makes this a potential game-changer.

20130311maura.png Magazine Covers from 29th Street Publishing

They’re starting to get really good, but issue #9 from Maura is still my favorite.

Say Quarterly

I am really digging the design of the now-digital internal magazine from Say (my former employer). It cribs a lot of style notes from recent online publications, but does so elegantly.

The Man Who Sells the Moon

A short documentary about Dennis M. Hope, who sells has declared ownership of the moon and sells it one acre at a time.

The Future of Television Publishing

While we don’t yet know if Netflix will be able to turn a profit on self-produced content, it seems pretty clear they’ll be guaranteed a hit. The NY Times wrote about how they knew House of Cards would do well.

Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.

It’s not that Fox or Universal or whomever don’t have data, they just don’t have the same breadth of internal data that someone like Netflix or Amazon or Apple have. I really enjoyed watching House of Cards, but I’m more interested in how this model of publishing shakes up the industry.

Inventors Video Series

David Friedman, proprietor of the always excellent Ironic Sans blog, has partnered with PBS to turn his photo series into a video series. The first two videos are great. I’ll be a regular watcher.

The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever

This story is for bowling fans and bowling agnostics alike, as it’s really about a dude obsessed with perfection and competition. It’s also really well written and one of the best things I’ve read this year.

I was reminded of the story when I saw this Kickstarter, inspired by the article, show up in my inbox. I backed it (obvs).

Old Spice Muscle Music

Damn. This is awesome. Old Spice, you are fun. [via mlkshk]

Andre's Airtime Idea

I just had my mind completely changed regarding Airtime. I thought the idea of a “platform for great video conversation” was unnecessary, but I would love it if I could turn on video based on what’s in the video.

I would like to be able to look at a directory of stuff. Things. A live-view of Niagra Falls. An original Star Wars movie poster. A 1976 Gibson Bicentennial Thunderbird. A living WWII Veteran. A demo of an OP-1.

Hell, I’d even love to connect to a Best Buy representative who could demonstrate the latests TiVos.

I feel a little bad about going into a Best Buy to check out TVs, but if they could let me check it out over online video, let me ask questions, and compare it to other units, then that’d be pretty fantastic. It also allows for a slightly smoother transition away from brick and mortar stores (at least until we all have 3D printers).

Soon, Your Pills Will Call Your Doctor

In what seems like crazy sci-fi, there’s a new type of pill that can tell your doctor whether or not you’ve taken it and the FDA just approved it.

With no battery and no sensor, it is powered by the body itself. The chip contains small amounts of copper and magnesium. After being ingested the chip will interact with digestive juices to produce a voltage that can be read from the surface of the skin through a detector patch, which then sends a signal via mobile phone to inform the doctor that the pill has been taken.

They mention that it’s not just about spying; it could also help doctors adjust dosage. A few more ideas that came to mind:

  • If grandpa doesn’t take his heart medicine at lunch, ring an alarm an hour later. If he doesn’t take it in two hours, text someone.
  • Implant these in vitamins (or broccoli!) and game-ify your kids health without all that pesky inputting.
  • Have the sensor know drug contraindications, so people who are on a variety of pills can be warned if they accidentally ingest something that could hurt them.

[via the always awesome NextDraft]

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