Weekly Thing

Weekly Newsletter from
Jamie Thingelstad

#53 • May 12, 2018 • Permalink


I'm kicking off year two of the Weekly Thing with a significantly refined style. 🛀🏻 This is only the 4th refinement of the display and I'm hoping it's the last of signifance. I'm familiar with ZURB's Foundation framework from another project, so I decided to use Foundation for Email. I think I got it all right, but dealing with HTML in email clients is very challenging. If you get this and it looks broken, please let me know with a reply. 🤞 I also decided to put a fortune at the very end. 🥠


Featured Links 🏅

Against Facebook

This is a powerful and comprehensive essay targeted at Facebook, but applies to all social media. The description given below is a great definition of the addictive software patterns I've written about.

These gadgets are designed to create a “supernormal stimulus,” that is, a stimulus that produces a stronger than natural response. We can even internalize the supernormal stimulus—an example is the “phantom vibrate” we sometimes feel in our pocket when no vibration occurs. In the case of social media, the supernormal stimulus is used to exploit our response to novelty in order to elicit a behavior that works in the interests of the social media provider.

I found this characterization of sharing jarring, and insightful.

Over time, these platforms transform us all into unpaid advertising agencies. We promote goods, services, lifestyles and desires to our friends, weaponizing images to generate feelings of jealousy and FOMO amongst our peers during those idle moments when they feel most bored.

This might be one of the most succinct characterizations of the end-state of social media platforms.

As a result, we end up building relationships to the platform — not to each other.

This is a long but well written thought piece on social platforms, and a very complete index of reasons to disengage from Facebook.


Apple, Influence, and Ive

In depth interview with Jony Ive and the creation story of the Apple Watch. The beginning of the article is gushing description of Apple Park as well. Hodinkee is a publishing for watch aficionados, which most are probably also design aficionados. Ive comes across as a very straightforward and uncomplicated person.


I Committed To An Email-Free Morning For 5 Days, Here’s What I Learned

This is exactly me. 🤦‍♂️

Full disclosure: I don’t do morning routines. The only thing I do every day is groggily roll over in bed when my alarm goes off and check my email. According to everything I’ve ever read on the subject, it’s just about the worst thing you can do for your productivity–and I was starting to feel like those articles were right.

I've done that for 15 years or longer. I've done that for as long as I can remember waking up. And like the author, I know that isn't a good thing. Good read to encourage considering a change of habit.🤔


My Weekly Photo 📷

Two barges passing just outside of Duluth. One finishing a long journey, the other just starting.

May 5, 2018 at 2:12 PM
Duluth, MN


Notable Links 📌

The 3 Things Employees Really Want: Career, Community, Cause

I like the easy to remember "C's" in this article and can see that being a good way to communicate to your team as well as when hiring. Organizations and leaders should have solid, clear messages on all three of these.

The discussion about Millennials to me feels off though. I would suggest the weighting of different values is more connected to where a person is in their lifespan, not about the generation of their birth. Cause, which I would suggest is closely connected to the "Why?", grows in importance with age. I believe that's true for Baby Boomers, Gen X/Y and Millennials.


Google AI Blog: Google Duplex: An AI System for Accomplishing Real-World Tasks Over the Phone

The audio examples and natural language of Google Duplex is amazing. Almost too good. Separately, how long will it take telemarketers to drop their costs further by just having the machines do it all? 🤨


The Subtle Sexism Of Your Open Plan Office

I’m a big proponent of open office spaces, but have not considered potential gender issues in an open office space. This reminded me of the inclusivity objectives of the new Github's office.


We’re in the Uncanny Valley of Targeted Advertising | Electronic Frontier Foundation

The EFF calls out Facebooks use of AI in it’s targeting systems. It’s notable that everything written here could be applied to Google as well.

The concern that you’re being surveilled persists, essentially, because you are being surveilled…

Good call to action for running your own tools to defend against this pervasive surveillance.


iOS 11.4 to Disable USB Port After 7 Days: What It Means for Mobile Forensics | ElcomSoft blog

This seems like a way to keep an entire array of security vectors away from iOS devices:

The functionality of USB Restricted Mode is actually very simple. Once the iPhone or iPad is updated to the latest version of iOS supporting the feature, the device will disable the USB data connection over the Lightning port one week after the device has been last unlocked.

Big win for securing and protecting your data. 👏


Exclusive: Android P is Google’s most ambitious update in years - The Verge

The time spent metrics and tools to limit engagement with certain applications are nice additions to Android. I'd like to see iOS do something similar.


Reaching Peak Meeting Efficiency – Learning By Shipping

This is a near treatise on the topic of meetings. I like the enumerations of issues with meetings, types of meetings, types of meeting dysfunctions. I also like the enumeration of successful meetings: Shared goals, Agreed schedule, Consistent participation, and Predictable processes.


12 Manager READMEs from Silicon Valley’s Top Tech Companies

Another article on manager readme's or user manuals. I continue to find this an interesting thing but I've never attempted to write one for myself. I like that this has a number of real examples.


Retrobatch Public Beta

New software from the maker of Acorn. If you deal with a good amount of image manipulation this looks like a very powerful way to build workflows to make those processes much easier.


6 things I’ve learned in my first 6 months using serverless

Good read on one organizations path to serverless and the lessons learned along the way. I really like the end state.


Introducing Watchtower 2.0: The turret becomes a castle - AgileBits Blog

The ability to proactively notify you of compromised accounts and unacceptable security risks is a wonderful side benefit of 1Password moving into the cloud. Watchtower is one of my favorite features of 1Password now. It helps me manage my risk and increase my families security. My ask? I want Watchtower to allow me as an admin to run reports on everyone in my families accounts.


Three-day no-meeting schedule for engineers – Pinterest Engineering – Medium

Another data point on the Manager v. Maker time topic. I like that this article has some survey data as well, and allows for a hybrid. My main takeaway from these is that being deliberate about your time is important. Manage and plan your time to align with your objectives for each day.


Now Reading 📚

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
by Kim Scott

Radical Candor is packed with illuminating truths, insightful advice, and practical suggestions, all illustrated with engaging (and often funny) stories from Kim Scott’s own experiences at places like Apple, Google, and various start-ups.

This book is making the rounds at a lot of companies, including ours. I just bought copies of it for all of the leaders in my team and we are reading it and discussing as a group.


Give Back 🎁

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property. Donate to Wikimedia today!


Highlighted iOS App 📱

AutoSleep Tracker for Watch
by Tantsissa

Automatically track your sleep from your Apple Watch. No buttons to press. Even the Watch app is optional! Just sleep!

After reading Why We Sleep I wanted to see if I could get some more information on my sleep. It turns out that my iPhone and Apple Watch, along with this application, can do just that.


Yet More Links 🍞


Microposts 🎈

Friday @ 8:37 PM

Tammy and I saw Tully tonight. Good movie. 🎬


Thursday @ 1:10 PM

Had a fabulous lunch today with the Minneapolis contingent of our #TeamSPS Comms Team to celebrate numerous wins over recent months! Great job! 👏🏆


Wednesday @ 9:42 PM

Ready for a group book discussion on Radical Candor by Kim Scott with our #TeamSPS technology leadership team!


Sunday @ 8:24 PM

I think if you averaged all bike rides in Minneapolis today, you would get my ride around the three main lakes.


Saturday @ 2:29 PM

Ships coming and going in Duluth.


Saturday @ 2:27 PM

May 5th and snow still hanging on! Lake Superior shoreline at Canal Park, Duluth.


Saturday @ 1:36 PM

We escaped from the Enchanted Forest room at Zero Hour Escape Rooms in Duluth. It was a very fun room, and pretty difficult.


Fortune 🥠

You've made it all the way to the end! 👏 Here is your fortune for this week.

Attack is the best form of defense

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All content in the Weekly Thing is placed here at my discretion. There is no advertising or promotional content. Links that are featured are found from a variety of sources, and there is no attempt to provide attribution to the source as I would inevitably get it wrong or forget routinely. In some cases links may have affiliate codes associated with them.

This work by Jamie Thingelstad is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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