Friday Five: Sep 23, 2016

1. Ugly Shoes

The Ugg x Teva hybrid monstrosity has the fashion world and business analysts scratching their heads. How can something so damn weird looking possibly sell? Well, Bloomberg posits, Americans are in love with weird and ugly footwear. Uggs and Crocs alike are seeing rising profits year-over-year, as the clogs that you used to have to hide when friends came over are becoming more and more commonplace. Not to mention the stir that Crocs on the runway at London Fashion Week caused.

2. Google Vs. Trolls

Google Subsidiary Jigsaw (formerly known as Google Ideas) is putting AI against trolls. In possibly one of the most well documented arguments on the internet in the past few years, what can possibly be done to curb people being assholes on social media? Where does one have to draw the line between stopping harassment and free speech? While companies like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook try and find a happy middle ground to make a “safe space” for people, Google has the idea that maybe you could stop trolls before the start. So far, they’ve created a machine learning algorithm that can parse text for abusive comments (albeit, it’s far from perfect.) All of that being said, this is the same team that came up with the technique of showing those interested in ISIS adorable cat videos.

3. Netflix Is Helping It’s Competitors

Well, kind of. It’s more of a “rising tide raises all ships” mentality. Some of you may have seen a weird film noir title called ‘Meridian’ pop up in your Netflix feeds recently. It’s a Netflix Original Short, and it’s really not meant for the average viewer at all. Basically, Meridian pushes every boundary which could possibly video players and encoders big problems. From 60fps, switching from dark blacks to bright whites, to 4K quality and Dolby Atmos audio. So, Netflix is distributing Meridian to anyone who asks for it, as one of their many open source projects aimed at enhancing the video streaming platform for everyone.

4. Facebook Forgot How To Count for Two Years

As Facebook takes more and more of a hold on digital ad dollars, their proprietary metrics are called into question. Rightfully so, it turns out, as they disclosed recently that they had “accidentally” inflated numbers on the time people watch sponsored video posts. In an industry more and more dependent on data as a metric for success, what sounds like a small hiccup may be a warning sign for bumpy roads to come. While Facebook holds all their cards close to their chest, ad agencies and their clients are left constantly questioning just how successful advertising on the number one social media platform in the world is. As an aside: a recent study shows that 1 in 3 18–24 year olds use an ad blocker.

5. Dog Days

Songs for humid evenings, earlier sunsets, and the changing of season.