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Weekly Thing

Weekly Newsletter from
Jamie Thingelstad

Issue #85 / Dec 22, 2018


It's just a couple more days until Christmas and 2018 is now winding down. The Christmas Cards have been sent, the presents are ready, and we will be enjoying time with family and friends as we celebrate the holidays, enjoy our traditions, open presents and spend time together. That last one is particularly important. 🎁👨‍👩‍👧‍👦


Featured Links 🏅

Why the US Air Force believes in Santa

An absolutely delightful article for Christmas on NORAD and Santa Claus… 🎄

This year, 1,500 volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs will, once again, answer over 150,000 telephone calls and thousands of emails from children all over the world. And the NORAD Santa Tracker itself will receive over 20 million visits.

🎅 Via Chad Burdette.


Ant Colonies Retain Memories That Outlast the Lifespans of Individuals | Science | Smithsonian

Insect colonies do some pretty incredible things:

The Finnish myrmecologist Rainer Rosengren showed that when the ants emerge in the spring, an older ant goes out with a young one along the older ant’s habitual trail. The older ant dies and the younger ant adopts that trail as its own, thus leading the colony to remember, or reproduce, the previous year’s trails.

My book club read Ant Encounters several years ago and it had several incredibly interesting insights into how ant colonies work and learn.


My Weekly Photo 📷

Christmas ball selfie, in this red Christmas tree.

Christmas ball selfie, in this red Christmas tree.
Dec 21, 2018 at 6:01 PM
Red Rabbit, Minneapolis, MN


Notable Links 📌

How much is social media worth? Estimating the value of Facebook by paying users to stop using it

Oh my…

Though the populations sampled and the auction design differ across the experiments, we consistently find the average Facebook user would require more than $1000 to deactivate their account for one year.



As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants - The New York Times

This should surprise nobody.

For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews.

Facebook is a surveillance engine, not a company or a social network. It’s goal is to surveil you and to profit from that. Preferably addict you as well.


How to Take Great Holiday Photos – The Sweet Setup

Just in time for the holidays some simple tips on better photos. It misses one that I think is very important, particularly with kids, which is to get to eye level with your subject. Kids are often taken pictures from "above" them. It’s better if you get your camera right at eye level for the subject.


Launch Center Pro 3.0 Review: Universal Version, New Business Model, NFC Triggers, and More – MacStories

It never made sense to me that this wasn't universal since it messed up syncing. I’m giving this app another try since it seems like something I would like, but I've never gotten into the habit of using it.


SPS Commerce Acquires CovalentWorks - MarketWatch

Some acquisition news from SPS Commerce! 👍


Senate Intelligence Reports On Russia Detail Broad Disinformation Plan : NPR

Instagram doesn't get the focus that Facebook does regarding potential misuse, but it should. And please remember, it’s all just Facebook since they bought Instagram.

The new research also points to the previously underappreciated prominence of the IRA's use of Instagram. It notes that IRA posts on the photo-sharing platform received 187 million engagements, which dwarfed the 76.5 million engagements that IRA posts received on Facebook.

That's pretty amazing engagement.


Introducing MacStories Selects: The Best New Apps, App Updates, and iOS Games of 2018 – MacStories

MacStories produces some of the most in-depth looks at iOS apps out there. The idea of an annual award is a little gimmicky, but from them I'll pay attention. I've played with Agenda, which they pick as the top app, but it hasn't resonated with me. I might give it another go given their enthusiasm. Scriptable here is a nice nod to it’s potential, but it’s still far too complicated for even most power users.


Darkroom For iPad: Faster. Easier. More Powerful. – Dispatches From Darkroom – Medium

I've been impressed with Darkroom on iOS since I first used it. I had two issues that kept me from using it a lot: it was buggy and crashed somewhat frequently, and it had no iPad app. The bugs got better, and today we get an iPad app that looks great! This continues to be an incredible impressive RAW editing app for iOS.


ongoing by Tim Bray · SF-4: Serverless Latency?

Tim Bray's entire set of essays on Serverless are fabulous. He's incredible knowledgable in this domain. This one on latency I thought was particularly informative to help the reader think about the problem in a more precise way.


Amazon’s Disturbing Plan to Add Face Surveillance to Your Front Door | American Civil Liberties Union

The headline here is intentionally overstated. Technology companies file patents constantly for stuff that they have no plan to make. With that said, the patent described here is straight out of some Orwellian surveillance state.

Imagine if a neighborhood was set up with these doorbell cameras. Simply walking up to a friend’s house could result in your face, your fingerprint, or your voice being flagged as “suspicious” and delivered to a government database without your knowledge or consent. With Amazon selling the devices, operating the servers, and pushing the technology on law enforcement, the company is building all the pieces of a surveillance network, reaching from the government all the way to our front doors.

It’s not obvious to most people that a bunch of houses with fancy "smart doorbells" can result in a surveillance state, but it surely can.


Martin Tomsky - Illustrator - Gallery

Featured in Dec/Jan 2019 Make magazine. Incredible pieces of art.


Give Back 🎁

Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world — unlocking the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity. I have been a supporter of Creative Commons for years. Larry Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, has done the world a great thing by creating a legal structure to help authors and creators encourage remix culture. In addition to donating, you should consider making your content under a Creative Commons license. Donate to Creative Commons today!


Yet More Links 🍞


Microposts 🎈

Wednesday @ 10:13 PM

Tesla 2018.48.12.1 update applied! 👍


Wednesday @ 9:27 PM

Great #TeamSPS dinner tonight at Salut St. Paul – what an awesome group! Good food, company and best of all great laughs! 🤣🙌


Wednesday @ 9:24 PM

Had a great time competing in the Spies v Spies rooms at Trapped Puzzle rooms with #TeamSPS tech leaders! Orange team FTW! 👍🙌


Tuesday @ 7:02 PM

Stop & go traffic is by far my favorite use case for Tesla Auto Pilot. Way less stress! 👍🏻


Sunday @ 9:43 PM

My daughter taught me a new typography fact tonight! Uppercase letters are called that because they were kept in an “upper case”, above the “lower case”, that had the lowercase letters in it! 🤩 Wikipedia backs it up – Fun!


Sunday @ 1:24 PM

Early Christmas today – Weekly Thing pen! 👍🏻


Friday @ 4:42 PM

Family selfie from our new house. We don’t move until January, but are exploring today!


Fortune 🥠

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

A day for firm decisions!!!!! Or is it?

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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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