Friday Five: Jan 29, 2016

1. Follow The Links

So since last week the internet decided that Twitter was dying/dead. Here’s a really good take on how it happened, and why. Since this post was written, five executive level employees have left (or gotten fired, it remains to be clarified), Twitter has brought on a new CMO, and the internet is basically begging someone to try and buy Twitter. It’s a weirdly polarizing issue, whether or not Twitter deserves (so-to-speak) to go on. It’s undergone a weird past couple of months, and it’s stock price has not been doing well as a result. Moments, a feature that was intentioned to save the platform, or at the very least reinstate some relevance against Facebook, has not garnered the kind of attention that the company was hoping for. When it was announced that Twitter might just throw out the 140 character limit, really the defining characteristic of the platform going all the way back to it’s ‘SMS Only’ roots, the internet practically imploded. If you weren’t interested in the continuing saga of Twitter, now is the most interesting time to get onboard.

2. Amazon’s Customer Service Backdoor

In non-twitter news this week, Amazon has taken some backlash from the infosec community on it’s rather bad job of keeping the things we trust them to keep private, private. The post above details how a nefarious third party tricked (in the security world: “social engineering”) Amazon’s customer service reps to handover sensitive information, including the actual user’s home address and telephone number. For one of the largest e-retailers in the world, one would hope they would give their service department some better tools and/or training to handle these types of attacks.

3. The Urban Design Lesson Hidden in Blizzard 2016

I could’ve sworn there was another one of these types of articles written during the snow storms of last winter but I’ve been unable to find it. Either way what happens in major cities after snow storms? Well people try and get back to rushing around as quickly as possible. However, where the snow stays points out the unused/wrongly used/underutilized area for city planners to take note. Wired does a good job of summarizing what people can learn from these patterns.

4. Freelancers Walk Out of MTV Networks

I for one, at least in the ad industry, have never even heard of permalancers being offered benefits of any type at all. So, when MTV changed up their benefits plan and their permalancers got the short end of the stick, they very reasonably got upset. The longer I’m out of school, the more I realize that an unbelievable amount of the workforce is in these types of situations.

5. Air Head: How Aviation Made The Modern Mind

“I sometimes think I love the gentle, kneeling left turn planes make after rising from the Kennedy runway more than I love New York itself.”

In an age where we no long really need to travel; we can now conduct overseas business over webcams and conference calls, any international goods are a only click away, why do we continue to travel? Some argue that in our ever more connected world, moving humans around the globe will begin to fall out of fashion. What draws us to strap in to giant metal tubes hurling through the skies? Nathan Heller spins a tale ranging from nostalgic accounts of the golden age of TWA to personal anecdotes of travel adventures. This week’s longread will have you looking for cheap tickets to anywhere but here.

Bonus: The People’s Critic

It’s hard to talk about food critic when “everyone’s a food critic.” Armed with Yelp reviews and and posting every dish in sight on Instagram, anyone with even a vague grasp on “Food Culture” can contribute their voice to the fray. Looking at the issue through the lens of living in New York City, wherein we have the ability and option to go out to countless good-to-great restaurants, what separates a professional food critics reviews from our own opinions? As food culture becomes more and more engrained in pop culture (notably in Los Angeles and New York) how does the format of the restaurant review change? Wells’ review of Per Se, which stripped it of two stars, was a bit of a warning shot at the steadfast establishment of “fine dining” in New York, but in my opinion the takedown was as informational as it was entertaining. The media backlash around the article turned into other writers reviewing Wells himself, reviewing the reviewer as it were, and put his reputation as a food critic up for debate.

See also: A Goose in a Dress

“How does the food taste? To ask that is to miss the point of Through Itself. This food is not designed to be eaten, an incidental process. It is designed to make your business rival claw his eyes out.”
(This is the first edition of Friday Five published on Medium. Let me know how it looks! You can get the entire archive of Friday Five on TinyLetter here.)