Tidbits | Dominik Mayer – Products, Asia, Productivity

Interesting articles, videos and other tidbits from around the web.

Fast Software  

Craig Mod:

I love fast software. That is, software speedy both in function and interface. Software with minimal to no lag between wanting to activate or manipulate something and the thing happening. Lightness.

Software that’s speedy usually means it’s focused. Like a good tool, it often means that it’s simple, but that’s not necessarily true. Speed in software is probably the most valuable, least valued asset. To me, speedy software is the difference between an application smoothly integrating into your life, and one called upon with great reluctance. Fastness in software is like great margins in a book — makes you smile without necessarily knowing why.

John Gruber comments:

One of the confounding aspects of software today is that our computers are literally hundreds — maybe even a thousand — times faster than the ones we used 20 years ago, but some simple tasks take longer now than they did then.

Too few product managers treat speed as a feature. There should be tests that make sure software stays fast (or becomes faster) when new features are addede.

Hugo, which is powering this site, is a positive example, advertising itself as “the world’s fastest framework for building websites”.

Lead developer Bjørn Erik Pedersen said in an interview with the New Dynamic:

I try to play the zero-sum game when adding new features: The processing time added by the new feature will have to be compensated by improvements in others […].

Performance bottlenecks show up in the most surprising places, so you have to benchmark. Performance gains and losses come from smaller accumulated changes over time. And speed matters. Try Hugo’s server with livereload and you will see.

How to Mix Every Cocktail

New York bartender Jeff Solomon shows how to mix every cocktail.

And by every cocktail we mean not every cocktail, because that would be insane. Today we’re gonna focus on classic cocktails. These are the drinks from the nineteenth and early twentieth century that are still popular today.

How to Protect a President

Former Secret Service Agent Jonathan Wackrow, now managing director at Teneo Risk, explains how the Service protects the President and other VIPs.

Interesting to hear what they’re looking at regarding venues. I never thought about threats coming from air conditioning or light access.

The Liar Tweets Tonight

New lyrics for a new time. Roy Zimmerman and friends to the melody of The Lion Sleeps Tonight:

In the White House, the mighty White House the liar tweets tonight
In the West Wing, the self-obsessed wing the liar tweets tonight

One Day I'll Stay Over There

35 years ago Gert Steinbäcker wrote this hymn of all expats (my translation):

Last summer was pretty nice
I was lying at some bay
The sun like fire on my skin
You smell the water and nothing’s loud
Some place in Greece
Loads of white sand
On my back just your hand

I’m not too happy with this full translation but it gives you an idea of what the song is about.

Mud Maker: The Man Behind MLB’s Essential Secret Sauce  

For Sports Illustrated Emma Baccellieri portraits Jim Bintliff, the sole mud supplier for major league baseball. When someone asks him what he does on the banks of a Delaware River he tells a lie:

I’ve been sent by the Environmental Protection Agency, and I’m surveying the soil. Or: I’m helping the Port Authority, looking into pollution. Or, if it’s a group of young folks who look like they’ve only come out on the water for a good time: I take this mud, and I put it on my pot plants. They grow like trees.

It prevents anyone from exploring what he’s actually doing, which is what he’s done for decades, what his father did before him, and his grandfather before him: Bintliff is collecting the mud that is used to treat every single regulation major league baseball, roughly 240,000 per season.

Spies in Disguise

Former Chief of Disguise for the CIA, Jonna Mendez, explains how disguises are used in the CIA, and what aspects to the deception make for an effective disguise.

In the second video she breaks down 30 spy scenes from shows like Alias and Bourne Identity.

On the Huawei Campus

“We wanted to invite U.S. media to come ask any questions on behalf of American customers,” said Catherine Chen, Huawei’s corporate senior vice president and director of the board.

VICE News took Huawei up on its offer and found out we were the only news organization that showed up.

The gigantic complex contains twelve European style towns.

A Billboard That Tracks Airplanes  

Ogilvy 12th Floor created two digital billboards for British Airways:

These specific signs were located between the view of people on the street and the flight paths of planes coming and going from Heathrow Airport. Advanced technology was integrated into the display that could track planes as they flew overhead, and that’s when the magic would start.

A video would start to play that showed a child point at the airplane and run off after it. The sign would also give the flight number and location that the plane took off from, and then it would go back to a very simple display about British Airways.

What a smart way of combining traditional with digital marketing.

The Story of Nearest Green  

Emmy-Award winning actor Jeffrey Wright narrates the story of Nearest Green.

This beautifully shot short film tells the extraordinary legacy of the first known African-American master distiller. It’s a story of honor, respect, and an unlikely friendship, that would forever change the whiskey industry. Perhaps the greatest American story you never heard.

Linear  

German artists Wolfgang Aichner and Thomas Huber went on a 4-week art performance, carrying an oversized pen painting a virtual rectangle over the scenic landscape of three US states.

In the past they pulled a red boat over the alps and carried out a powerwalk in Iceland.

Thomas Huber painted the Buntschwein I bought in 2014.

The Life and Possible Death of the Mekong Delta  

Saigoneer editor-in-chief Michael Tatarski explains why the water of the Mekong is brown:

“If in the future all of the planned Mekong River dams are built, 96% of sediment will be trapped, while 50% is already trapped by the cascade dams in China,” he adds. “If this happens, the coastal water will become transparent, while right now it’s chocolate-colored for 30 kilometers from shore.”

And why that’s a good thing:

Additionally, the loss of sediment would not only starve sea life of nutrients, but would also expose the delta to dangerous storms and waves, as sediment-filled water is heavier than open ocean water and absorbs wave energy.

Concentration and Diversification  

I like this thought of James Clear in his 3-2-1 Newsletter:

Concentration produces wealth.

Diversification protects wealth.

How to Tackle a Giraffe  

For The Atlantic Ed Young followed scientists studying the last giraffes alive.

In 2010, eight times as many Sophie the Giraffe teething toys were sold in France alone as there are actual remaining giraffes. In 2016, the number of Britons who watched a giraffe kick a lion in Planet Earth II exceeded the giraffe population by more than a hundredfold. That same year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature reclassified the giraffe as “vulnerable” to extinction.

He has a wonderful way of telling the story.

She loses her footing and careens forward, her legs splaying out behind her. But her seven-foot-long neck still stretches resolutely skyward. A woman leaps from behind her back, collides with her neck midair, and rugby-tackles it to the ground. People run over, carrying a hood and a drill. The giraffe—an emblem of verticality—is now fully horizontal.

Turns out there are many things we don’t know about giraffes.

Prototyping at Apple  

Apple prototype collector Giulio Zompetti describes what he thinks might be the company’s development and prototyping process.