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  • A bill to fix America's most dangerous computer law

    Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR] and Rep. Jared Polis [D-CO] have introduced legislation in the US Senate and House to fix one of the worst computer laws on the US statute books: section 1201 of the Digital M...
  • Inside Islamic State's spookocracy

    The leaked secret strategic plans of Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi -- who served in the Iraqi army under Saddam and later masterminded the Islamic State -- reveal the surveillance at the heart of Isl...
  • Internet.org: delivering poor Internet to poor people

    Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org project bribes corrupt, non-neutral carriers in poor countries to exempt Facebook and other services of its choosing from their data-caps, giving the world's poorest an...
  • Sloth tea infuser

    Waiting for the proper cuppa to brew takes time—and who knows more about taking it slow than a sloth? These adorable tea infusers are available at foodiggity but are on back-order. Read the rest...
  • A history of the Cabbage Patch Kid craze

    From Vice's American Obsessions video series, a piece on the Cabbage Patch doll craze of the 1980s. The idea for the Cabbage Patch doll was brazenly stolen from the original creator by Xavier Rober...
  • The Hateful Eight teaser trailer

    This is the teaser trailer for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, the movie whose script leaked, was cancelled, was planned to be released as a book, and then uncanceled. Update: I'm getting em...
  • Jiro Ono and Rene Redzepi Have a Cup of Tea

    Jiro Ono (who Dreams of Sushi) and René Redzepi (who is probably the current Best Chef in the World™) sit down for a cup of tea and a chat. At one point, Redzepi asks Jiro at what age...
  • The Making of Star Wars

    In 1977, only a few months after the movie came out, a hour-long television special called The Making of Star Wars aired on ABC. It was the first documentary about Star Wars. LOL to the rehearsal s...
  • Mad River Glen's famed single chair

    From Nowness, a brief homage to the single chair lift at one of the oddest and most wonderful ski areas in the US, Mad River Glen in Vermont. You don't have a lot of opportunity in life these days...
  • #115: Remembering Jody Sherman

    Jody never took a call by saying “Hello.” He always answered by barking his own name into the phone: “Jody.” As if that voice could have belonged anyone else. He was often in a...
  • #114: The Answer is Just a Click Away

    About twenty people walked into the room, sat down and slid their phones, iPads, and other devices towards the center of the table. It was the last session of the conference and the rules were simple.
  • Confession #113: Get Off My Stoop

    When news of the unthinkable comes, we all head for the front stoop. Today, that stoop is virtual, and the digital neighbors with whom we share the news of the moment communicate with us via tweets, s...
  • Confession #112: Screen Rage

    At five years-old, it’s no fun getting interrupted while you’re focused on something. As a parent, I compensate for that by employing a series of intricately planned measures to guide my s...
  • Confession #111: They Know You’re Reading This

    I was recently complaining to a teller at my bank that the another bank down the street had given my 3 year-old daughter a stuffed horse for nothing more than walking past the front door. I jokingly a...
  • Hiatus

    This blog is on hiatus, but you can follow me on Twitter and at DIY Drones, where I’m posting daily. I’ll use this blog for occasional longer pieces that don’t fit either of those two other spot...
  • The Long Tail of Travel

    For a recent speech to a travel company, we pulled together some data on the changing shape of travel due to low-cost carriers, online travel information and social-media driven word of mouth taking t...
  • Is this how the singularity happens?

    This was one of those freaky moments when the future sneaks up and smacks you. I was on a plane earlier this week and took a break from work to watch the movie while they served dinner. It was Termina...
  • Netflix data shows shifting demand down the Long Tail

    A team at Wharton did some Long Tail analysis on the Netflix ratings data the company released for its Netflix Prize. Although I don’t agree with many of the conclusions in their paper (like some ot...
  • A New York Times Bestseller!

    If you checked out today’s New York Times Book Review section, you’ll see that FREE made the list in its first week of eligibility. It’s #12, tied for #11 (that’s what that little asterisk mea...
  • Instapaper 4: Deciding to Read

    Introducing Instapaper 4.0 for iPad and iPhone The lede here is that my pal, Marco, has just released the stellar new 4.0 version of his Instapaper suite. This is fantastic news, and–as if yo...
  • Cranking

    1. Nothing wrecks your living room decor quite like a giant, rented hospital bed. The one my Dad laid in for a couple months in the fall of 1974 was an alarmingly stiff and sturdy affair, the frame...
  • Scared Shitless

    Merlin Mann - "Scared Shitless: How I (Mostly) Learned to Love Being Afraid of Pretty Much Everything" Download MP4 Video of "Scared Shitless" This is the video of a talk I did last month at Webstoc...
  • Nerdiest Interview Ever: MPU Workflows Part II

    MPU 046: Workflows with Merlin Mann II « Mac Power Users Download MP3 Huffduff It I have the life that I have because I've made a lot of weird decisions, and they've worked out well.
  • Fear

    So, yeah. I'll be speaking at Webstock pretty soon. Which is insanely intimidating. I think I may have my topic. ”Fear” was written by Merlin Mann for 43Folders.com and was originally posted on...
  • Couple Buys Beanie Baby Worth Thousands at Flea Market for $15

    Couple bought #BeanieBaby for £10 at #carbootsale - without realising it was the rarest... http://t.co/nL6qmcQiDjpic.twitter.com/XQaa1ekYWu— Trending UK News (@UKolizer) April 19, 2015Leah...
  • Computer Bugs

    Is there a bug is your system? If not, you can get one from artist Julie Alice Chappell. Her Etsy shop has several models of insects hand-crafted from old computer parts. Take, for example, this blue-...
  • Wild Chimpanzees Look Both Ways before Crossing the Road

    (Image: New Scientist)Small children may not be bright enough to look both ways before crossing a street, but many wild chimps are. Scientists observed a stretch of road in Uganda for 29 months. 112 c...
  • Wedding RSVP Form

    We showed you a wedding RSVP card last week that no one will ever use because it’s a snarky statement on horrible wedding guests. This is much more lighthearted. Redditor cloggingthetubes receiv...
  • Hippo Spotted in London

    (Photo: Richmond and Twickenham Times)Bushy Park, a Royal Park in southwestern London, is a lovely spot with trees, trails, and ponds. In one of those ponds, visitors recently reported seeing a hippop...
  • April 17, 2015

    Of the five Democrats who may run for president, three will be over 70 on Inauguration Day 2017. The distinction between public officials and people with influence can be vague in some countries, in...
  • Binge Reading Disorder

    by Nikkitha Bakshani The typical American consumes more than 100,000 words a day, and remembers none of them. When everybody’s reading, but nobody’s smarter, what value has the word?
  • April 16, 2015

    Con men swindle South Indian migrants who come to the Gulf for the promised land and find only cruel employment. Four hundred feared drowned as another boat capsizes with North African immigrants he...
  • Union Square Sports Bar

    by Victor Vazquez An adventure of food and drink in San Francisco naturally expands to include Ornette Coleman, Mexican wedding cookies, and a pet monkey admiring the ocean.
  • April 15, 2015

    Obama grudgingly concedes to Congressional bill demanding authority in negotiations with Iran. Despite her ties to Wall Street aristocracy, Clinton emphasizes her commitment to campaign finance refo...
  • Bluebells and buttercups eliminated from childhood in favor of celebrities and chatrooms

    There was a recent update to the Oxford Junior Dictionary, and someone noticed that many words describing nature had disappeared. The Guardian says: Under pressure, Oxford University Press revealed a...
  • Social Peacocking and the Shadow

    I’ve long spoken of the idea that much social media has turned into “social peacocking” — showing yourself in a favorable light online, presenting only the happy moments, a ...
  • Sesat School in Wired

    I’m happy that Jason Tanz, who has written before about the sharing economy, wrote an article about homeschooling for Wired Magazine: The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their...
  • The Facebook Sonnet, by Sherman Alexie

    Welcome to the endless high-school Reunion. Welcome to past friends And lovers, however kind or cruel. Let’s undervalue and unmend The present. Why can’t we pretend Every stage of life is the same...
  • The Little Virtues, by Natalia Ginzburg

    “As far as the education of children is concerned, I think they should be taught not the little virtues but the great ones. Not thrift but generosity and an indifference to money; not caution bu...
  • Did I mention?

    I started a farm. Yes, really.
  • Current Status

    I am currently Somewhere In Between.
  • Talking Plants with Gayla Trail

    It was a great pleasure to have this conversation with my longtime garden hero, Gayla Trail. We talk desert plants,…...
  • What We Can Learn from the Twitter Block Fiasco

    After an intense night of thrash, including a lively #RestoreTheBlock hashtag, Twitter reverted the change. Now, then. What have we learned? And what can other companies with large communities take aw...
  • The Argument Machine

    I'm not saying that Twitter was designed to create arguments. I'm just saying that, if you set out to create an Argument Machine, it'd come out looking a lot like Twitter.
  • How We Got To Now, the Book

    Last Tuesday was the publication date for How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made The Modern World. It’s my ninth book, but the first to be accompanied by a TV series, airing on PBS beginning o...
  • What Jelly Means

    A few months ago, I found this strange white mold growing in my garden in California. I’m a novice gardener, and to make matters worse, a novice Californian, so I had no idea what these small white...
  • How We Got To Now

    Every now and then in life you find yourself in a situation where you have to pause for a second and ask yourself: what unlikely sequence of events has led me to this point? I had one of those moments...
  • The GovLab

    Several years ago, my friend and now collaborator Beth Noveck began developing a program that she called Peer-to-Patent, a software platform that allowed outside experts and informed amateurs to contr...
  • What Peer Progressives Really Believe

    If you have patience for this kind of online debate, The New Republic is now running my extended response to Evgeny Morozov's review (along with a new response from him). It cites a number of the misl...
  • Constrained

    For years I’ve chatted with smart, ambitious people and friends who want to start new projects or businesses. Often their visions are big. So they dream up equally big things their startups need...
  • Imagining Basecamp on Apple Watch

    Over the last day or so I spent some time learning about the different Apple Watch components (notifications, glances, WatchKit app) and imagined how Basecamp might work on the upcoming device. Here&#...
  • Look and Feel and Feel

    Designers often talk about the look and feel of a product, an app, an object, etc. These are good concepts to be talking about, but how the thing feels isn’t really the important feel. The important...
  • Our favorite stuff

    A few weeks ago, via Know Your Company , we asked folks at Basecamp what brand-name items they couldn’t live without. (We have strong feelings about yogurt, and Chicagoans are extremely serious...
  • The Coffee Test

    Some of the folks at our Chicago office drink a lot of coffee and have been known to have strong opinions on the quality. So I decided to see if they actually preferred the taste of really good coffee...
  • Resurrecting Sherlock

    Seasons 1 and 2 of the BBC Sherlock are genius, but Season 3 is...lazy. Can it be fixed? My latest....
  • A restaurant without tips?

    I worked in food service for about 10 years. I always made great tips, and I have no problem with the tipping system. But I found this article on running a no-tip restaurant compelling, particularly h...
  • Grandmothers and the food they make

    Grandmothers from around the world pose with their signature dishes. What beautiful women and what intriguing food. I have a hard time thinking about Caterpillar in Tomato Sauce, but the final dish do...
  • NPR's Top 100 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books

    I'm not particularly nerdy, but I was still surprised that I've read only 23 out of NPR's Top 100 Science-Fiction & Fantasy Books. (Tally your total here.) I enjoy both genres, so I'll use thi...
  • Why I Love UX Week

    Every year, San Francisco company Adaptive Path hosts a conference called UX Week, and I sometimes get to go for a day or so. This year, I was at the opening and the closing days of the conference, an...
  • Library

    A few weeks ago, I rejoined the Library and promptly put several books from my Amazon wishlist on the "request" list. They were sent to my local library (the Chinatown branch, which is near...
  • Sindy's 1972 -1976 Wardrobe

    Oh I love the Internet. I was daydreaming about my favorite doll growing up: Britain's answer to Barbie - Sindy, and I decided to see if I could find images of the outfits I had for her when I was you...
  • Jamie and Me

    This is classic procrastinator behavior. When I was in Ireland, fellow lazy blogger Dave and I made a pact that we would do two blog posts before the end of February, so what do I do? Two posts in one...
  • Tim

    We found out on Friday January 29th that my dad's scan had revealed colon cancer which had spread to his liver. By Monday, February 1st I was on a plane home. I just couldn't stand to not be there. I...
  • Ursula at 85

    I was thrilled to be interviewed for a documentary on Ursula K. Le Guin on BBC Radio -- who are also going to be broadcasting their adaptations of The Left Hand of Darkness and the Earthsea Trilogy. I...
  • The Facts of Death

    It is not a wise or a sensible thing to do, to fly from the US to the UK, getting in late on the Tuesday night, and flying back early on the Thursday morning, in order to go to a funeral on the Wednes...
  • Terry Pratchett

    I woke up and my email was all condolences from friends, and requests for statements from journalists, and I knew it had happened. I'd been warned.Thirty years and a month ago, a beginning author met...
  • Edging back to blogging

    I really am out of the habit of blogging, aren't I? Some of it's from travelling too much, and most of it is probably from using Twitter and Facebook in places and ways that I would have blogged in th...
  • New Year's Wishes and gifts

    An old year ends, and takes with it people and sorrows and joys and memories, and a new one is on it way.A New Year's Gift, for anyone who missed it:The BBC Radio 4 GOOD OMENS Website, with all six ep...
  • My greatest triumph!

    Sorry. I can't resist. John Carson, a fellow runner from Canada, unearthed this photo from the archives of the Toronto Star. It's the finals of the 1500 meters at the Ontario 14-year-old championships...
  • Drug Development

    On Forbes.com, the drug industry analyst Avik Roy has written a comment on my piece "The Treatment" in last week's New Yorker. A few small points, in response. Roy is of the impression that...
  • Speaking Tour!

    I will be doing a short tour of the U.K. next week, speaking on a brand new mystery topic! I'll be in Edinburgh on Sunday May 9th, Oxford on the 10th, Manchester on the 11th and Newcastle on the 12th.
  • Pinker, Round Two

    In Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, Steven Pinker responds to my description of him as occupying the “lonely ice floe of IQ fundamentalism”: What Malcolm Gladwell calls a “lonely ice floe...
  • Letting Igons be Igons

    From "Blowing Up," by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker, April 22,2002...
  • Nope

    I'm a normal guy. I don't drink alcohol. I don't smoke cigarettes. I don't do any illegal drugs. I don't drink coffee. I never graduated...
  • Not a "Good Guy"

    If you've ever had someone say something nice about a thing you made, you know how great it feels. It's a combination of validation, and...
  • How Software Works

    Here's a lesson in how software development works. Say you'd like to port a popular arcade game to your home video console. You can give...
  • Resolutions!

    I'm not prone to making grand New Year's resolutions, but my friend Jessamyn West asked me to think a bit about what changes I'd make...
  • What We Can Do Together

    Toward the end of every year, as people are thinking of making donations to charities either as an act of goodwill, or to help reduce...
  • where we live now

    Where do we live now? Duh, we live in the network. I'm writing pretty regularly now on Medium. I'm doing some ~ type stuff on tilde. I'm occasionally tumbleblogging. And Twitter, of c...
  • dead to me

    Vox: Did Tony die at the end of The Sopranos?. To crib @savedyouaclick, No. But if you can't get enough of David Chase, then Martha Nochisom's whole piece is worth reading. Chase wasn't...
  • battery feedback loops

    iOS 8 to Include Battery Usage Per App: Along with the features that were demoed on stage, an iOS 8 graphic displayed some additional functions that went largely under the radar, many of which look...
  • four links, may 27

    Maciej's talk for Beyond Tellerand. "These big collections of personal data are like radioactive waste. It's easy to generate, easy to store in the short term, incredibly toxic, and almos...
  • not quite muzak

    Nate Patrin at Pitchfork has a great link-ridden piece on The Strange World of Library Music: If there's such a thing as ephemeral music, this is it—recordings that were meant for a certain mo...
  • More battery outliers, please

    In AnandTech’s great review of the MacBook One,1 the extensive battery-testing graphs were a bit depressing to me — not because of the MacBook’s results, which were roughly what I ex...
  • → Glide

    I’ve never seen anything quite like Glide, and I think it’s going to be huge. The best way I can explain it is that Glide is to apps as Squarespace is to websites: it lets you build a lot...
  • → The end of John Siracusa’s massive OS X reviews

    Others have said it better than I can: I’m going to miss these legendary reviews. It’s the end of an era, and the next OS X release won’t feel the same. But maybe, just maybe, the J...
  • → Accidental Tech Podcast: Get Your Ears Ready to Hear Me Complain

    Watch minutia, WWDC tickets, and John ends his series of OS X reviews. And we’re selling T-shirts again for a limited time — order now if you want one this year, from three distinct colle...
  • → Dell 5K monitor compatible with new Mac Pro, 5K iMac since 10.10.3

    Great news: Some displays with resolutions higher than 4K require two DisplayPort cables to connect the display at full resolution. With OS X Yosemite v10.10.3 or later, the Dell UP2715K 27-inch 5...
  • Geeks Bearing Gifts: Patronage

    Another new, free chapter from Geeks Bearing Gifts, this one on patronage as a means of support for news organizations. Snippet: These ideas bring us to the edge of patronage, philanthropy, and crowdf...
  • Geeks Bearing Gifts: Paywalls

    Sorry. Haven’t uploaded a new chapter from Geeks Bearing Gifts in two weeks. Busy, you know. So here’s the latest, on paywalls. Uh-oh. The start of it: There is no more emotion-laden topic...
  • Want to turn a beat into a business? We will train and support you. For free. Apply now!

    This is a big opportunity for anyone who wants to take a beat — covering a town or part of a city or covering a topic or serving a community — and make that into a sustainable business (th...
  • It’s the relationship, stupid

    On Friday, I wrote a wishlist for what I’d like to see Facebook do for news, hoping it would allow publishers to embed content — with business model attached — on the service. Today,...
  • Google? Evil?

    A few folks on Twitter have asked for my reaction to the accidental sharing of an FTC staff report on Google, wondering whether it will cause me to eat Crow McNuggets given that I am known to defend G...
  • April 17, 2015

    Of the five Democrats who may run for president, three will be over 70 on Inauguration Day 2017. The distinction between public officials and people with influence can be vague in some countries, in...
  • Binge Reading Disorder

    by Nikkitha Bakshani The typical American consumes more than 100,000 words a day, and remembers none of them. When everybody’s reading, but nobody’s smarter, what value has the word?
  • April 16, 2015

    Con men swindle South Indian migrants who come to the Gulf for the promised land and find only cruel employment. Four hundred feared drowned as another boat capsizes with North African immigrants he...
  • Union Square Sports Bar

    by Victor Vazquez An adventure of food and drink in San Francisco naturally expands to include Ornette Coleman, Mexican wedding cookies, and a pet monkey admiring the ocean.
  • April 15, 2015

    Obama grudgingly concedes to Congressional bill demanding authority in negotiations with Iran. Despite her ties to Wall Street aristocracy, Clinton emphasizes her commitment to campaign finance refo...
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