“Do you know what ‘ttfn’ stands for?” I whipped around to see a lanky preteen girl browsing a rack of greeting cards with a friend. “No, what’s that?” asked the friend. “Ta ta for now,” the girl said. “People used to say it to text goodbye.”

Back to when going AFK was an option and we didn’t expect everyone to reply to everything within minutes.

Logic Mag:

The thing that still confused me is how reliable supply chains are, or seem to be. The world is unpredictable—you’ve got earthquakes, labor strikes, mudslides, every conceivable tragedy—and yet as a consumer I can pretty much count on getting what I want whenever I want it. How can it be possible to predict a package’s arrival down to the hour, yet know almost nothing about the conditions of its manufacture? […]

The picture that many of us have of supply chains involve state-of-the-art factories like those owned by Foxconn. In reality, the nodes of most modern supply chains look much less impressive: small, workshop-like outfits run out of garages and outbuildings. The proliferation and decentralization of these improvisational workshops help explain both why it’s hard for companies to understand their own supply chains, and why the supply chains themselves are so resilient.

In their own words:

Every Noise at Once is an ongoing attempt at an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 2,850 genres by Spotify

Casper (the mattress company) announced a new product, a light which looks a bit like an HomePod and a Muji aroma diffuser.

A great gallery by Larry Luckham, who captured the daily life at the Bell Labs datacenter he used to work for in the late 60s.

What’s immediately noticeable is the number of women who used to work at the place. As a recent New York Times article explains, gender balance in tech used to be much better than it is today:

Employers simply looked for candidates who were logical, good at math and meticulous. And in this respect, gender stereotypes worked in women’s favor: Some executives argued that women’s traditional expertise at painstaking activities like knitting and weaving manifested precisely this mind-set. (The 1968 book “Your Career in Computers” stated that people who like “cooking from a cookbook” make good programmers.)

Things changed for the worse when programming started to be perceived as a noble activity (back then, developing the software had a lower status over building the hardware) and when personal computers entered everyday life (parents encouraged boys to play with them, less so girls).

(via @kottke)


[Kodak] didn’t develop a better film for rendering different gradations of brown until economic pressure came from a very different source: Kodak’s professional accounts. Two of their biggest clients were chocolate confectioners, who were dissatisfied with the film’s ability to render the difference between chocolates of different darknesses. “Also,” Connor says, “furniture manufacturers were complaining that stains and wood grains in their advertisement photos were not true to life.”

The New York Times, in an article full of impressive photos:

A conveyor that staff members call “the Cable Highway” moves the cable directly into Durable, docked in the Piscataqua River. The ship will carry over 4,000 miles of cable weighing about 3,500 metric tons when fully loaded.

Inside the ship, workers spool the cable into cavernous tanks. One person walks the cable swiftly in a circle, as if laying out a massive garden hose, while others lie down to hold it in place to ensure it doesn’t snag or knot. Even with teams working around the clock, it takes about four weeks before the ship is loaded up with enough cable to hit the open sea.

From the same people behind Calling Bullshit.

Jeremy Keith:

Nine people came together at CERN for five days and made something amazing. I still can’t quite believe it.

Coming into this, I thought it was hugely ambitious to try to not only recreate the experience of using the first ever web browser (called WorldWideWeb, later Nexus), but to also try to document the historical context of the time.

The documentation itself is well worth a read:

Today it’s hard to imagine that web browsers might also be used to create web pages. It turned out that people were quite happy to write HTML by hand—something that Tim Berners-Lee and colleagues never expected. They thought that some kind of user interface would be needed for making web pages and links. That’s what the WorldWideWeb browser provided. You could open a document in one window and “mark” it. Then, in a document in another window, you could create a link to the marked page.

You’ll notice as you use the WorldWideWeb browser that you need to double-click links to open them. That’s because a single click was used for editing.

Good app to simulate colour blindness on your Mac. There’s also an iOS counterpart, to see the world in front of you as a colour blind person.

Since we’re on the subject, I recommend Contrast to quickly access WCAG contrast ratios from the menu bar.