10/22/2014

Self-Publishing is Basically the YouTube of Literature



I remember the first time I saw a Jenna Marbles video. It was that one where she talks about how to trick people into thinking you're good looking. Keep in mind, I wasn't actively looking for it. It was all over Facebook and the media couldn't shut up about this chick. Even my friends were like, "You gotta check this video out," and then they'd proceed to pull up Jenna on YouTube. The amount of buzz she had was massive. Then, not even a few weeks later, the copycats came along basically doing the same exact thing Jenna was: girl in her bedroom with a one camera set-up, trying to copy her schtick by being equal parts funny/sexy/quirky. Check outthis dude shamelessly ripping the entire routine. None of them really caught fire the way Jenna did though.

It was pretty much the same for E.L. James when Fifty Shades of Grey caught fire. It was the book you couldn't NOT hear about (pardon the double-negative). If you were in publishing, most of the news was all about her. If you were outside of publishing, you probably already heard about it through a friend who was trying to push it on you like some new designer drug. Fifty Shades had gone viral, and come to find out, it was self-published. Although the author contests that the book isn't self-published, it's often designated that way due to its initial eBook and print-on-demand release. Yet again, there were copycats. People saying, "If she can do it, I can do it." Mommy porn began to flow like wine, but again, no one reached the heights James did.

Funny how YouTube and self-publishing have those Cinderella stories in common. Also funny how people think they can so easily replicate the success. I've actually had those conversations before: people who thought self-publishing was some sort of shortcut to fame and acclaim. The fact of the matter is, they're the exact opposite...and the stigmas are still very much alive and well..more 

Tim Curry as Mick Jagger

This Impala runs on sewage, beer and food scraps


Would you buy a Chevy Impala that can run on food scraps, sewage or beer?


This is no fantasy. It’s a real car: the 2015 Bi-fuel Impala, announced Oct. 20. You can buy it later this year for $38,210.

These days 57 percent of Chevrolet Impalas go into rental fleets and it’s the most popular car on those lots. It’s not known as a green car, but this new model is a good place to start — if it actually runs on renewable fuel, that is. Most of today’s millions of “flex-fuel” cars can run on E85 ethanol, but seldom actually do because there are not a lot of stations around. You may have one and not even know it. Is your GM car’s gas cap yellow? Bingo.

The new Impala doesn’t run on the 13 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol we produced last year. It’s a “biogas” car. You can make biogas from methane by breaking down almost any kind of organic material, including the aforementioned food waste. The resulting fuel is very similar to compressed natural gas (CNG), which the Impala can run on, too...more 

MUSIC: Elisa Luu - Shebeen

MUSIC: Clark - Unfurla

MUSIC: POOM - Qui es-tu?

10/15/2014

All the Things a Hacker Can Find Out About You on Public Wifi

If you own a computer or a mobile phone, chances are you have done something very risky with it—connected, perhaps without even knowing that you have, to a public Wifi network. Most coffee shops or trains or hotels don't have hackers hanging out in them and snooping over their Wifi networks. But some do, and those people can find out a disturbing amount of information about anyone whose Wifi-enabled device happens to be overly friendly.

The Dutch site De Correspondent published (and Matter republished, in English) an account of what, exactly, an "ethical hacker" could determine, or at least infer, about the people around him at public coffee shops. That included:
  • that various people in the room had visited McDonald's, Spain, Heathrow, an Amsterdam hostel; 
  • the specifications of the mobile phones in the room;
  • the language settings of those phones and other devices;
  • their OS version (and by extension any known vulnerabilities in that OS);
  • what sites their owners visiting;
  • people's names;
  • their passwords.
Maurits Martijn writes:
"In less than 20 minutes, here’s what we’ve learned about the woman sitting 10 feet from us: where she was born, where she studied, that she has an interest in yoga, that she’s bookmarked an online offer for an anti-snore mantras, recently visited Thailand and Laos, and shows a remarkable interest in sites that offer tips on how to save a relationship."
Creepy, right? There are, of course, ways to minimize these risks (besides staying home and swearing off the use of all internet-connected devices, forever). Most people do not try to minimize the risks, however; we just trust that our favorite coffee shop isn't also the favorite coffee shop of someone who's nosy or out to steal our passwords, and much more internet savvy than we are. Via

10/14/2014

Do designers really need a 34-inch monitor?


Is ultra-widescreen a viable replacement for a multi-screen set-up? Simon Holmedal tests the world's biggest monitor
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Yesterday we looked at three of the best alternative ultra-widescreen monitors for designers – but do designers really need such a large piece of screen real estate? Simon Holmedal puts the LG 34UM95 through its paces to give you the answer.

Working as a 3D artist and motion designer here atManvsMachine in London, I spend most of my time in full-screen applications such as Cinema 4D, After Effects andPhotoshop.

I'm always interested in new hardware that can make my workflow a bit snappier, so when I was asked to try out LG's 34UM95 UltraWide monitor, I jumped at the chance. If nothing else it's a screen that stands out of from the crowd.

I've been using this enormous screen for a week now, and I'm still impressed by the wideness and size of the display, not to mention the slightly unusual aspect ratio of 21:9, compared to the 16:9 or 16:10 monitors that we've grown accustomed to.


In terms of workspace, its native resolution of 3440x1440px offers an embarrassment of riches, whether you're producing something or just surfing the web. As a 3D artist I found its main advantage was the amount of tools and panes that I could fit on the screen, without having to minimise and shuffle them around all the time.

Faster workflow

Immediately my workflow was faster and more fluid. Not only that, the screen offers a much broader view of what I'm doing, while allowing everything to be visible at once.

It did take a while to get used to the unusual format, but after I'd tweaked my layouts inside Cinema 4D and After Effects, things fell into place and it was a blast to work on. I can't say if I actually got my work done quicker, or it just seemed like I did.

The screen offers plenty of useful functionality – the menu system is intuitive and easy to navigate, compared to a lot of other screens I've tried over the years...more at