The NBA’s Obsession With Wine

Baxter Holmes, writing at ESPN:

At the Cavs’ morning shootaround before their loss in Sacramento, Wade, sitting along the sideline, about six weeks before being traded back to Miami, is asked who on the Cavs knows the most about wine. Without hesitation, he points at James, who stands across the court. “He knows a lot. It’s just something he don’t want to share,” Wade says. “But when we go out, it’s, Bron, what wine we getting? You ask most of the guys on the team who orders the wine, we leave it to him to order.”

Indeed, among the Cavs, the legend of LeBron’s oenophilia is large.

As Love says, when it comes to wine, “Bron has a supercomputer in his brain.”

This is a really great article.

What to Bring to a Gun Fight

Dan Pfeiffer:

The fatal flaw in the Democratic strategy is a failure to heed one of the key lessons of twenty first-century American politics: Democrats never win when they fight on Republican terms.

Republicans have defined the terms of the debate on guns and instead of trying to change those terms, we have resigned ourselves to playing on their turf. The Democratic approach to guns is one of the last vestiges of the mushy strategic applesauce that dominated 1990s DLC-style centrism—the only way to beat Republicans is to try to sound more like them. It is a defensive posture borne of a defeatist mindset that is more a product of Democratic psychology than of political reality. Democrats speak softly and carry a small stick to the gun fight because they have convinced themselves that Republicans have the law, politics, and a presumption of victory on their side. The truth is less daunting, but unless Democrats come around to that truth, the presumption of Republican victory will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Everything Easy is Hard Again

Frank Chimero, writing on his blog:

This past summer, I gave a lecture at a web conference and afterward got into a fascinating conversation with a young digital design student. It was fun to compare where we were in our careers. I had fifteen years of experience designing for web clients, she had one year, and yet some how, we were in the same situation: we enjoyed the work, but were utterly confused and overwhelmed by the rapidly increasing complexity of it all. What the hell happened?

Great post.

Your Twitter Followers are Probably Bots

Elaine:

The New York Times had an interesting feature over the weekend in which it calls out various social media influencers for follower fraud. Many people who appear to have huge Twitter followings actually don’t, and their fans are in fact paid-for bots. Oooh, busted! Apparently there’s a class of people who make a career out of being popular on Twitter, and it is terribly scandalous that they are not as cool as they might seem. […]

The NYTimes analysis is compelling, but their target account selection was awfully limited. So I reproduced their Twitter tool to continue the investigation.

This is pretty cool. I’ve told this story before, but a few years back we ran a story on AbsolutePunk.net about how a certain band member in a certain band had most certainly paid for followers on Twitter. His (very mature) response was to buy a bunch of followers on my account. To this day I don’t really know how many were part of that (I tried to block and report a bunch of them at the time), but I do know that once my account got “verified” I see random, clearly bot, accounts start following me all the time.

Best of 2017 (Encore Episode 157)

Encore 157

On this week’s episode of Encore I am joined once again by special guest Craig Manning. This episode is all about our favorite albums of 2017. We talk about our personal lists, the staff list, the albums we loved the most, why, and the albums that didn’t make our list and shocked us. There’s also some talk about movies, tv shows, and books toward the end.

Jason Tate’s Top Albums of 2017

Best of 2017

Well, 2017 happened. I think that’s about the best thing I can say for the entire damn year: it happened. While I’ll look back at 2017 as a bullshit year full of bullshit people doing bullshit things at a rate that can only be described as a national emergency, I’ll also remember the year for its pretty impressive musical output. I hope, in time, my love for the music that came from 2017 and my relationship with it, will be what I remember most. Below I cataloged my favorite albums from 2017, some of the albums I enjoyed but couldn’t really find a place in my top thirty, and some movies, TV shows, books, and apps that discovered for the first time this year.

There is also an episode of Encore all about my end of the year list and thoughts on music in 2017 — you can check that out here.

Thank you to everyone that visited the website this year, everyone that supports us, and for another extremely successful year of Chorus.fm. We’ll be extremely lucky if 2018 brings us even a fraction of what 2017 did music-wise. I wouldn’t mind a whole lot less of chaotic hellscape on a daily basis, but that’s just me.

The Death and Life of the 13-Month Calendar

Citylab:

The 13-month calendar worked so well at Kodak that the company used it until 1989, 57 years after Eastman committed suicide (a businessman to the end, his ashes are buried at Kodak’s old industrial complex). “I loved it,” says John Cirocco, a former Kodak employee who worked at the company in the late ’80s as a tech advisor. “It was a major piece of financial applications, and from a financial perspective it made the ability to compare sales periods a hell of a lot easier.”

Besides the occasional carryover (Kodak’s 1989 financial year began on December 26, 1988), overlapping a 13-month calendar with the Gregorian one came with surprisingly few hiccups. “After I got hired, it took about a week to adjust to,” Cirocco tells us. “When I first got there they explained it to me and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is brilliant!'” In fact, the former Kodak employee remains fond of the calendar to this day. “I’ve tried to recommend it at two places I’ve worked at since then. The feedback is always, ‘We can’t, this [12-month calendar] is how it’s always been done.'”

The Last Jedi (Encore Episode 156)

Encore 156

On this week’s episode of Encore I am joined by special guest Thomas Nassiff to talk about one of our favorite topics: Star Wars. This episode is full of spoilers all about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so I would highly recommend you see the movie before listening. We give our thoughts on the film, break down favorite and least favorite scenes, and talk about catching up with favorite characters, both old and new. Also porgs.

I wanted to get this episode out before the holiday weekend so you’d have something to listen to while visiting family and friends. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and a Merry Christmas, thank you to everyone who reads and supports this website on a daily basis. I truly appreciate it.

A Few Tips for Podcast Editing in Logic

Bret Terpstra:

Varispeed is a feature I didn’t realize existed until recently, but had always wished for. It lets you speed up the audio playback so you can basically listen through your podcast at 2x while editing.

Once the toolbar item is enabled, just use ⌃F (Control-F) to toggle it on and off. (I think that’s the default, but I might have edited that one. We’ll get to that below.)

Once it’s up, ensure that the type is set to Speed Only (click the top line for a menu), then double click on the percentage to edit it anywhere between -50% and 100% (100% being double normal playback speed). While playing back you can just hit the shortcut to speed up and then toggle it back off to return to normal speed. Scrubbing!

Some great stuff here.

Join the Dark Side: Bringing Dark Mode to the Main Website

It’s fitting that on release week for Star Wars: The Last Jedi I can bring the Dark Side to the main website. One of my favorite supporter perks in the forum has been Dark Mode — a dark slate colored theme — and I’m excited to be able to bring this color palette to the main website as well. I love our white, grey, and blue color scheme, but at night I almost always switch over to the dark theme while browsing the website on my phone. However, I’d often move over to the main site to read an article and the white contrast would be a rude awakening for my eyes. No more! Supporters can now activate Dark Mode on the main website via their supporter options page or in the forum preferences. If you’re not a supporter yet, join now to get Dark Mode.

I’ve included some screen shots below of what the website and forums look like in Dark Mode, for those curious. I think it maintains my main design goals: simple, clean, and focused on readability, while adding a new flavor to the overall feel of the website.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

I can’t believe it’s already December, but here we are. Like last year, I wanted to steal an idea I’ve seen on other websites and put together a few gift ideas that I think are worthy of your time. I have also updated my recommendations posts for movies, tv shows, books, software, podcasts, headphones, and miscellaneous stuff around the house, so the things on this list will be more focused on stuff not included in those posts and more geared toward things I’ve come across in the past year or so and think would make good gifts. As always, I only recommend things I’ve personally used and loved.

I used my Amazon affiliate link when the product showed up there, which gives our website a slight percentage back if you make a purchase, and therefore helps fund our continued existence. I hope you’ll find something cool, and feel free to drop your own recommendations in the comments.

If you’d like to get me a gift, becoming a supporting member or gifting another user a supporting membership for a year would mean the world to me.

Bridging the Forum and the Website’s Supporter Systems

Today I’m excited to announce I’ve completed the work on bridging our community and the main website’s supporter systems. Now, if you’re a supporting member of the forum community you can use your username and password to login on the content side of the website to view supporter only content (like my first impressions), manage your payment options, turn off advertisements site-wide, and soon gain access a special Dark Mode for the main website that matches perfectly with the Dark Mode of the forums.

And don’t forget: you don’t have to be a community member to be a supporter of the website! You can join right now for only $3 a month and help support this website and independent publishing. It’s because of readers like you that I can keep running this website. I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for your support over the past two years.

It’s funny how a project like this, which doesn’t end up having many outward facing changes, can be a massive undertaking behind the scenes. But now that it’s done, the foundation is better set for a bunch of cool things we can do in the future and the system is much more robust for handling payments and login credentials for our growing community.

If you are already a supporter, you don’t have to make any changes if you don’t want to, everything will just keep working as it has been. If you’d like to move away from PayPal and to the new credit card based system, you can do that here. Again, it’s totally optional to make that change if you want.

If anyone has any questions at all, feel free to drop me an email or message me in the forums.

Thanksgiving Week Is the Event College Basketball Needs

Mark Titus, writing at The Ringer:

The most absurd week ever of regular-season college basketball came to a close Sunday night/early Monday morning when no. 4 Michigan State held no. 9 North Carolina to 45 points, no. 16 Texas A&M blew out no. 10 USC in Los Angeles, and no. 1 Duke erased a 17-point second-half deficit to beat no. 7 Florida. There’s no way of fact-checking whether this was actually the most absurd regular-season week in college basketball history, of course, but I don’t think we need to bother. Shoot, these past seven days have been so wild that the “regular season” qualifier might not even be necessary. Wichita State’s comeback to beat Cal in the first round of the Maui Invitational happened last Monday, yet I could easily be convinced that it took place a decade ago because of all that’s transpired since.

The Voices in Blue America’s Head

The New York Times:

“Pod Save America” scored its first million-listener episode within its first several weeks, and it now averages 1.5 million listeners per show — about as many people as Anderson Cooper draws on prime-time CNN. Their podcast has come to occupy a singular perch in blue America; where an NPR tote bag once signified a certain political persuasion and mind-set, in the age of Trump, it’s a “Friend of the Pod” T-shirt.

Those numbers are insane. That said, the podcast is one of the few things that I look forward to each week to help navigate this current hellscape. It’s great.

You Vandal – ‘I Just Want to Go Back to Hell’ (Album Premiere)

Today we’ve got the premiere of You Vandal’s new album, I Just Want to Go Back to Hell, for your listening pleasure. The album is due out tomorrow, November 17th, but you can stream it right now below. If you like what you hear, pick it up over at Jump Start Records.

The album gives me a nice little power-pop/punk throwback sound, not unlike early The Ataris or New Found Glory. Catchy and breezy.

The Fermi Paradox

Tim Urban, writing for Wait But Why:

Everyone feels something when they’re in a really good starry place on a really good starry night and they look up and see this:

Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old “existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour.” But everyone feels something.

Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something too—”Where is everybody?”

This is one of my favorite post on the internet, but I had never linked it here. Now I have. Highly recommended reading.

SuperDuper 3.0

SuperDuper 3.0 has been released:

With that last bit of explanation, I’m happy to say that we’ve reached the end of this particular voyage. SuperDuper! 3.0 (release 100!) is done, and you’ll find the download in the normal places, as well as in the built-in updater, for both Beta and Regular users.

SuperDuper! 3.0 has, literally, many hundreds of changes under the hood to support APFS, High Sierra and all version of macOS from 10.9 to the the present.

SuperDuper! 3.0 is the first bootable backup application to support snapshot copying on APFS, which provides an incredible extra level of safety, security and accuracy when backing up. It’s super cool, entirely supported (after all, it’s what Time Machine uses… and it was first overall), and totally transparent to the user.

Fantastic app that I highly recommend. I have a reoccurring task scheduled to make SuperDuper clones of my entire hard drive as part of my back-up strategy.

We’re Building a Dystopia Just to Make People Click on Ads

TED Talk:

We’re building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren’t even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us — and what we can do in response.

This is good.