Posts about 'Linky Goodness'

Weekend Reading, Memorial Day weekend edition

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Hey, it’s a long weekend. You have a little more time for some longer reads.

One of the advantages of writing my own news engine (launching Real. Soon. Now.) is that I get to see a more obscure (but interesting) stuff. Here’s what’s been accumulating over the past couple weeks.

Ming Tsai’s next big thing. Our household is sad Blue Ginger is closing. It was our once-a-year-or-so-nice-restaurant-for-date-night destination. Guess we have to find somewhere new.

Ever wonder why there’s a supermarket over the Mass Pike?

A Sports Illustrated profile of André the Giant from 1981.

Not that my ’72 Nova wasn’t an acceleration beast, but America’s cars are getting faster and more efficient. At the soccer game last week, a ’60s-era Mustang came through. The children will never know that that’s what the world used to smell like. And, in case you were wondering, your robot car should ignore you.

What shall we do about the endless plague of delivery trucks on residential streets. I confess to being part of the problem here, but I look at it as reducing traffic to Natick or Burlington on the weekend. And, I bet you always wanted to know the differences among streets, roads, lanes and boulevards.

Kurt Vonnegut interviewed by the Paris Review. I still love going back to read Cats Cradle and Galapagos. Plus, he was my graduation speaker at Syracuse in ’94.

David Byrne (from Talking Heads) talks about how we’re eliminating the human in our interactions with the world. "It’s a small step then from a worker that doesn’t care to a robot. To consumers, it doesn’t seem like a big loss."

Fellow Holliston native Rachael Combe details the mysterious answer to her unrelenting insomnia.

Inside the fidget spinner gold rush. This is all the rage in the elementary schools. Some of the teachers have already banned them. It’s fun to see how these types of fads spread quickly across the consciousness of the parent community.

"I ordered 325 of them and got them last Wednesday. By Sunday I had sold out. I got 500 more and I’m planning on ordering another 2,000 of them," Nick Travali, founder of Smartphone Fix in Santa Maria, California, told me. "We get them for $1.50-$2 per piece, sell them for $8.

Somebody’s going to get stuck with a mess of these when the music stops.

One reason Blue Apron just may outlast the rest: Working mom guilt.

There are the class of companies who are started by and/or for single dudes who still wish their moms took care of them, and the class of companies that are aimed at families, in particular, working parents who still want to feel like they are nurturing their kids with a home cooked meal…

“From a venture perspective, this insight– WOMEN NOW WORK!- can drive investments across a wide range of consumer categories that need to be disrupted and offer a more convenient offering to working families,” …

“The ‘working mom’ sets an impossible bar for herself of being super mom from the 1950s and being a professional,” he says. “[This] while dealing with a bunch of other stuff, such as not being wasteful and recycling clothing, eating organic, working out.” And this is before we get into mommy wars: Those threads online where stay-at-home moms and working moms divide into tribes, and the debates end with the most brutal thing you can say to any mother: You are a bad mother.

Eugene Wei (with whom I overlapped briefly) writes more about Jeff Bezos’s communications strategies for getting the entire company aligned. As anyone who has worked with me in the last 17 years, knows, I totally stole GOHIO (Get our House in Order) from my time at Amazon.

Finally, in case you were wondering. Mount Everest is really crowded this year. It’s also really expensive.

Maybe next year.

Weekend Reading, 4/21/17 edition

Friday, April 21st, 2017


For several years, I maintained a sort-of link blog here, in the form of Linky Goodness.

I think I’ve successfully proven that I’m not going to keep a linky goodness going in a meaningful way. I have several years of observations to back that up. So, I’m going to see if I can dedicate an hour a week to put together what I think are the best reads for the weekend. This is week one. We’ll see if I can make it to week two. I give it a 60% shot.

This is a brilliant dissection of the United CEO’s weasel-y memos last week. Compare and contrast with CEO Jeff Bezos’s annual shareholder letter.

So, how well do you know how the brain works (and what Elon Musk has been up to)? Find out with Tim Urban’s latest, Neuralink and the brain’s magical future.

Maybe you’ll use artificial intelligence for marketing and analytics. Most likely you’ll underestimate the complexity unless you’re one of those mythical 10x engineers. To succeed, you may have to withdraw from Slack .

It’s hard enough to predict the initial impact of these advanced technologies, but what are the likely second-order effects of self-driving cars?

And finally, this is a surprisingly sweet video.

Linky Goodness, 9/3/2015 edition

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Back to work day for me. The over/under on the number of unread emails is 1,950. I’ll let you know the real number tomorrow.

[Gosh] Yeah! It’s the first day of school. I feel bad, but I totally understand Drew Magary’s thoughts here.

As more adults bicycle, the number of injuries is going up. Seeing some of the horribly-behaving bicyclists around Concord, I’m not overly surprised. I think this is more a function of age than behavior, though.

The mother of all disasters. The Atlantic talks natural disasters. I have a bigger piece in draft mode right now, but this is worth reading today.

Free Tom Brady.

Linky Goodness, 9/2/2015 edition

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

The content talent crunch. Are good content marketers as rare as good engineers? Yes.

Redis Sets memory efficiency. Warning: geeky. I’m using Redis sorted sets heavily for one of my little side projects. What Salvatore is talking about here is well above my level of comprehension, but I’m happy to take advantage of it.

My favorite consulting lines. I’ve been out of the consulting world for a few months now, but these still resonated. I’ve had a couple of “I’d be a bad consultant if I didn’t put this in writing” moments…

Just how tall can roller coasters get? I just spent a week on Space Mountain, California Screamin’ and other roller coasters. It’s good to know that there’s nowhere to go but up!

Linky Goodness, 9/1/2015 edition

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015


I’ve moved the linky goodness half of this blog over to Twitter for the past few years, but I miss having it available on this site. Let’s give it a try and see if it’s still fun to write.

Maybe I’m just longing for the spirit of 2001-2008. I enjoyed writing this site then, and I’d like to try to get back to that. Let’s see if it takes.

Anyway, what’s interesting today?

To thrive, many young female athletes need a lot more food. My daughters are starting to fully embrace their tweendom, and I’m starting to worry about body-image issues.

Why phone fraud starts with a silent call. Phone spam keeps getting worse and worse. At this point, I’m unsure why I’m keeping my land line.

Tech nerds can’t get their heads around politics. I don’t think this is a surprise to most people.

End the tyranny of 24/7 email. I’m trying to model good behavior on this; I try not to send emails during off hours.

I’ve also been completely offline during my current vacation. I’m looking forward to the several thousand emails that await me on Thursday morning when I open my computer at work.

Linky Goodness, 9/5/14 edition

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Yes, folks, it’s the long-awaited return of linky goodness. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how to manage personal publishing, and I think I have a plan. We’ll see how it works through September, and then we’ll adjust.

For now, here are some links from the past week or so that have caught my eye.

Business Geekery

The secret world of fast fashion. I’ll always be an Operations Management geek — logistics stories are the best.

The 1099 wars

There’s an ugly showdown coming along in the 1099 wars. From Scott Kirsner in the Globe: In the sharing economy, a rift over worker classification and from The Information (subscription required): Court ruling on contractors a red flag for on-demand services.

Media Geekery

The Globe has launched Crux, a new site focusing on Catholic issues. It’ll be interesting to see how much traction a single-focus site can get. If it succeeds, I look forward to seeing media companies cranking these out.

Or maybe not. Sports on Earth died an unpleasant death.

Social Issues

National Geographic has done a fantastic feature on why people are malnourished in the richest country on earth. Now’s as good a time as any to contribute to the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Our Coming Robot Overlords

Will a Google car sacrifice you for the good of the many? The ethical implications here are fascinating. We trust police officers, doctors, firefighters with this power; can we trust algorithms?

The future of robot labor is the future of capitalism.


If you want to see most of these as I come across them, you should follow me (@jpbutler) on Twitter. My TweetDeputy application will also handily pull together all the links I’ve tweeted (along with all the links from everyone I follow).

If you have any suggestions, please drop me a line or send me a tweet.

The lives of junior investment bankers

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

It's always fun to get a peek into other professionals' working lives. Here is the Epicurean Dealmaker on why junior bankers lives are as they are.

[T]his massively inefficient workflow arises organically out of the nature of the work we do. Typically, a junior banker will roll into work relatively late because she was at work until midnight, one, or two o’clock the previous night finishing the corrections or first draft of a presentation or model which a senior banker dumped on her desk before he went home and demanded be put on his chair overnight for when he arrived in the morning. It will often take several hours, if not all day, for the senior banker to review the changes and give them back (for why, see infra), so the junior banker will fill her morning with odds and ends of other projects or deals she is working on plus the inevitable conference calls with clients and internal meetings on live and prospective deals.

Linky Goodness – 5/18/2012

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Francis Ford Coppola on risk, money and craft

Even in the early days of the movies, they didn’t know how to make movies. They had an image and it moved and the audience loved it. You saw a train coming into the station, and just to see motion was beautiful.

The cinema language happened by experimentation – by people not knowing what to do. But unfortunately, after 15-20 years, it became a commercial industry. People made money in the cinema, and then they began to say to the pioneers, “Don’t experiment. We want to make money. We don’t want to take chances.”

An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?

This is one of the reasons I love working in the medium of the web. It’s still young enough that you can build beautiful things and bring to life experiences impossible before.

Was 1982 the best summer for movies ever?

The craft of corpsing (failing to keep from laughing while on screen)
Make sure you have the sound on and are in a place where it’s ok to laugh very loudly.

Make every week more screen-free
We’re pretty good about this, but we can still improve. The children get *zero* screen time during the week, so I think we’re basically doing ok.

A little late on this one, but I’m glad to find out that Matt Taibbi is as much of a draft geek as I am.

Linky Goodness – 5/15/2012

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

This is apparently the “screw-thy-neighbor” edition of linky goodness.

Negative SEO
This is deep search-engine and SEO geekery. If you’re in the trade, make sure that you read all the way through the comments thread.

Why you should be in awe of Nikola Tesla.
And how he was screwed by Thomas Edison.

A lot of “journalism” right now is barely-rewritten plagiarism. I’ll be glad when the Huffington Post/Business Insider, etc. style of aggregation fades from style.

Linky Goodness – 4/4/2012

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Fred Wilson on online privacy
Prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson gives some of his thoughts on online privacy. It’s worth a read by all of you who aren’t in the industry, so that you can get a basic idea of how some of this stuff works.

Scary ads from the past 50 years
After laughing at Senator Santorum’s epically dystopian ad, Slate takes a look at some of the other greatest hits. You know what this campaign needs? More Willie Horton.

Who should play Plutarch in Catching Fire?
I’m a fan of Chiwetel Ejiofor. He’d do a great job with the role. And +1 for Naya Rivera as Johanna Mason.

Star Trek coffee table

Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to a book-burner
I’m still very much enamoured of my college graduation’s commencement speaker.

Linky Goodness – 3/28/2012

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Top 10 Lessons of the Iraq War
I hope our fearless leaders (and would-be leaders) review these lessons before embroiling us in another one.

How emacs changed my life
This is pretty geeky, but it combines two of my passions. It’s a slideshow from Matz — the creator of Ruby, the primary language I program in — talking about what he learned from Emacs, the editor in which I do all my writing, including this blog post.

The Cadbury Egg as a measure of sugar content
Did you know how many Cadbury eggs you’re drinking with that can of Coke?

Savvy consumers are taking it to retailers
“The customer knows the right price,” said the chief executive of J. C. Penney, Ron Johnson. “We can raise the price all we want; she’s only going to pay the right price. And why is that? Because she’s an expert.”

Google’s failed invitation to Google IO
You’d think the most powerful company on the internet would be able to get direct marketing together. You’d be wrong. Entertaining read.

How people are spamming Pinterest
Any social network is going to get spammed. Here’s an inside look at how people are taking advantage of Pinterest.

The next version of Serendeputy takes social signals into account far more heavily and will, definitionally, be more susceptible to this type of attack. I’m spending a decent amount of time planning for evil.

Linky Goodness – 3/26/2012

Monday, March 26th, 2012

This is 10,000 pounds of awesome: 23 1/2 hours a day.

This is great, not only on the message layer, but on the medium. Watching this type of presentation is insanely addicting.

Tesla bricks
My family truckster is due for replacement in 2015. I’m hoping that the fully-electric cars are serving the early majority by then. If they brick like this, though, I’m staying miles and miles away. We had a bad enough time when the Prius battery emptied because Sadie left a door ajar.

Of course, you can also seize up your gasoline engine if you’re not paying attention, so maybe it’s incumbent on us to learn a little bit about our tools. I’m guessing that most Americans are post knowing how to care for their cars, though.

Why Angry Birds is so successful
A look at Angry Birds from an interactive design standpoint. It’s good to analyze why it’s so successful.

Inception explained
Here is another innovative use of design. Click through to this and scroll down to watch how it explains the movie Inception. Spoilers, obviously.

Linky Goodness – 3/20/2012

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve put up some linky goodness. I’ve been sharing links on my Twitter account but not here on the site, so I have quite the backlog. Let’s rock.

Netflix’s culture
This is a couple of years old, but still worth reviewing for anyone working for or leading fast-paced companies.

“Personhood” screws up birthdays
“[T]he legal drinking age here in Pennsylvania is 21. That age is calculated from one’s birthday, of course. So are all the other legal milestone ages, such as 16 (learner’s permit), 17 (driver’s license), 18 (voting and draft registration), 25 (renting a car) and 30 (running for the U.S. Senate). You reach each of those milestone ages on your birthday — the annual anniversary of the day of your birth, which is how we measure a person’s age. But with several states now considering “personhood” amendments to their constitutions, these laws will need to be changed. And so will the cultural significance of birthdays.”

Too bad this wasn’t in effect a couple of years ago. I would have gotten a tax deduction for Lucy a year earlier.

I’ve been watching the Patriots’ free agents moves closely over the past week. PFT is one of the best places on the web for following the minute-by-minute moves. The PFT page on Serendeputy is my highest ranking tag.

Kidpocalyse Now
Life inside a blogger junket.

The life and times of Comfortably Numb
A very interesting exploration of the history of Pink Floyd’s greatest song.

What happens at Davos
The New Yorker takes a trip to Davos and tells us what really happens there.

I was a warehouse wage slave
Life inside an Internet retailer’s warehouse operations.

Linky Goodness – 1/10/2012

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

The transcript of the Jonah Weiner’s interview with Louis C.K..

How Google and Bing are working against website owners. This is a ton of inside baseball, but it’s an interesting deconstruction of the market dynamics.

How the Navy freed Iranians from Somali Pirates. A great sea tale from the New York Times.

The air in Beijing is like standing downwind from a forest fire. It certainly was when I was there. The air had texture, density and smell. Not a great feeling. I can only imagine it’s worse 11 years on.

Linky Goodness – 1/7/2012

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Correction: Apparently Lucy is wearing a Snow White outfit in Thursday’s picture, not a Cinderella one. I’m not ashamed that I failed to correctly identify the outfit. Call it a win for my last shreds of masculinity.

Vince Wilfork’s swimming routine. Big Vince has been a monster this year. Turns out that his offseason swimming routine might be the reason.

Newspapers, Paywalls, and Core Users. If you ever wanted to understand the economics of newspapers and their awkward transitions online, you must read this new article by Clay Shirky.

Congratulations to XKCD for making it to 1,000 comics. If you want to happily pass a few minutes, click on the “random” button under each comic. Or, if you prefer hard copies, do what I did and buy his book.

Good Whiteboard Friday from SEOMoz yesterday, discussing the basics of anchor text optimization. Their Whiteboard Friday series is brilliant; I’ve been telling every content site I’ve worked with for the past couple of years to emulate it.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally has a leader, and they launched their nonbank supervision program. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Linky Goodness – 1/5/2012

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Happy Thursday. I’m feeling good because tomorrow is a launch day for a project with a high likelihood of failure and embarrassment. Woo Hoo! On to today’s links.

Top 10 “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Repeal Lies that Never Came True. It’s amazing how the world hasn’t ended from allowing gay Americans to serve their country.

When Massholes park, they stay parked. Some pretty incredible pictures here. I love the totally deadpan Wellesley cop talking about how it happened and trying not to laugh.

For longer form video, I really enjoy, especially the Nostalgia Critic and his counterpart, the Nostalgia Chick. The bits are hit or miss, but they’re usually a pleasant way to spend fifteen minutes or so. I think that this is a pretty good model for pro-am video production.

Bad Cumbies. Cumberland Farms fires the cashier who got robbed because he had too much cash in the drawer. I’m glad that some of the loyal customers are now boycotting.

Linky Goodness – 1/4/2012

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

I’ve fallen a bit off the wagon with my Linky Goodness. Let’s see if I can get back in the habit of noting interesting articles (mostly finding me via Serendeputy or TweetDeputy) for everyone. I’d like to see if I can keep this Emacs buffer open all day and then post what I have before picking up the girls. It’s worth a shot.

How Doctors Die. Doctors tend to eschew extreme end-of-life care. I agree with them. This is a tough conversation to contemplate, but a useful one to have.

Born Standing Up, by Steve Martin. I was little too young to appreciate Steve Martin when he was a full-time comic, and I’m never really loved any of his movies, except maybe for Father of the Bride. But, this book is less about his material and much more about how he went about the creative process, how he was able to learn, practice and keep up the slog until 10 years later he turned into an overnight success. It’s a really good dissertation on the creative process.

By the way, I recommend you get this as the audio book instead of the printed book. The material obviously works better when it’s in his own voice.

TV Tropes is the best use of the next several hours of clicking around time. It deconstructs all the standard plot elements in modern entertainment. Addicting as hell.

Robert X. Cringely and John Battelle are doing their 2012 predictions. These guys are usually pretty good, so I’m paying attention.

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) writes a really interesting blog, including a lot of thought experiments. It’s worth checking in on every day or two. Right now, he’s quasi-seriously exploring what a presidential campaign from someone who just wants to make things work would look like.

For all your non-comic election needs, FiveThirtyEight is back in high gear, at its new home on the New York Times on the Web.

If you haven’t already, you should follow me on Twitter. If we’ve met in real life, feel free to connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn, whichever seems more appropriate.

Linky Goodness – 3/2/2010

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

All over the place these days. The joy of being triple-booked. Have fun:

Beware of Debt Cancellation
Be careful of this scam. If you wonder why financial products are regulated, this is another example of why.

100 famous guitar riffs in one take
This is pretty awesome.

Electric trucks may arrive before electric cars.
This may be the best way to start integrating electric vehicles into the mainstream. How long before some cities begin mandating electric vehicles for all deliveries?

What would a war with Iran look like?
I don’t like to think about these things, but it’s better than being caught unaware. This is a really interesting thought experiment, that might be able to show some of the thigns we should probably avoid. It’s going to take us a long time to dig out of the hole we’ve made ourselves throughout the world.

City of Angels
One of the things I love about my little site is that it leads me to writers I wouldn’t have otherwise found. Here’s an excellent piece from Burundi.

Wireless network cluelessness
Don’t leech off other’s wireless and then complain when they slap a password on it.

Home price map
Of course, Holliston has lost 20% of its value since 2005. When did we buy our house? 2005!

Personal Memory Device
H+ is another of one of my favorite new sites. Here’s an article on your personal-memory device. I look forward to the day when I can offload my memories and instantly retrieve them. Minority Report approaches apace.

Michael Lewis Excerpt
I learned all about the mortgage-bond market by reading Liar’s Poker in college. I’m amazed that the same song played almost note for note twenty years later. Here’s an excerpt from Michael Lewis’s new book.

Linky Goodness – 9/14/2009

Monday, September 14th, 2009

38.5 billions dollars each year from the poor to the rich
How the banks systematically swindle the poor.

Preparing for a stressful flu season
I’m paying a lot of attention to this as I’m building out the h1n1 news topic on Serendeputy. I hope that we don’t have massive outbreaks this fall. I’ve already estimated that I’m going to be home with at least one of the girls for a week this fall. I hope it doesn’t get too bad nationwide.

Customers get mad, and get even online
Hooray for YouTube. You can’t quietly screw people over anymore.

Why I love my Gen-Y assistant
Interesting review of a Gen-Y assistant from a Generation X boss.

Reviewing Lost episode 1 from after season 5
A really engaging (warning: long, and assumes you know the story so far) review of what the Lost pilot exposed and foreshadowed. We just finished season two of our Lost re-watch. I can’t wait for January to come around again so that we can see how it all ends.

Afterhours DJ
This is what I’ve been listening to while working for the past couple of weeks. I was a little Mozart’ed and Beethoven’ed out, and I can’t really handle background music with words anymore. I found this on the iTunes radio applciation, and it’s generally been on ever since. It’s a good mix of Trance, House and DnB. Give it a listen.

Neil Patrick Harris feature
A really interesting long feature on NPH. I’m really looking forward to the premiere of How I Met Your Mother in a couple of weeks.

Linky Goodness – 9/1/2009

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Translating Bill Belichick’s post-game interview
WEEI writer Dan Guttenplan translates Bill Belichick’s post-game comments, illuminating what the coach had to say about Tom Brady and his horrific hit.

Protecting your child’s privacy
At what point do the stories stop being yours and start being theirs? The New York Times’s Lisa Belkin discusses. I’ve been very careful with what I write here, so I hope that I’ll never have an angry conversation with Sadie or Lucy. I hope that Lucy will not be horrified by how much she enjoyed splashing in the mud…

It’s time to get it over with and declare American royalty
Salon’s Glenn Greenwald is not impressed with NBC’s newest hire.

Bush daughter Jenna Hager becomes ‘Today’ reporter …

They should convene a panel for the next Meet the Press with Jenna Bush Hager, Luke Russert, Liz Cheney, Megan McCain and Jonah Goldberg, and they should have Chris Wallace moderate it. They can all bash affirmative action and talk about how vitally important it is that the U.S. remain a Great Meritocracy because it’s really unfair for anything other than merit to determine position and employment. They can interview Lisa Murkowski, Evan Bayh, Jeb Bush, Bob Casey, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Dan Lipinksi, and Harold Ford, Jr. about personal responsibility and the virtues of self-sufficiency. Bill Kristol, Tucker Carlson and John Podhoretz can provide moving commentary on how America is so special because all that matters is merit, not who you know or where you come from. …

Just to underscore a very important, related point: all of the above-listed people are examples of America’s Great Meritocracy, having achieved what they have solely on the basis of their talent, skill and hard work — The American Way. By contrast, Sonia Sotomayor — who grew up in a Puerto Rican family in Bronx housing projects; whose father had a third-grade education, did not speak English and died when she was 9; whose mother worked as a telephone operator and a nurse; and who then became valedictorian of her high school, summa cum laude at Princeton, a graduate of Yale Law School, and ultimately a Supreme Court Justice — is someone who had a whole litany of unfair advantages handed to her and is the poster child for un-American, merit-less advancement.

7 Iconic characters they saved from the cutting-room floor
Cracked reminds me I’m glad we didn’t lose Jack Shepherd and the Joker.

Flying vs. Driving
Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight has a (predictably) fascinating analysis about why Americans prefer driving to flying, despite its financial disadvantages. Well worth a read.

Especially interesting for me as I’m pondering doing sales trips down to New York. Should I fly from Logan, take the Acela from Providence, take one of the bus lines, or just drive. I think the winner right now for New York trips is the train, but for Washington trips it’ll definitely be the airplane. I try not to let my fear of flying interface with logic.

Things to do after you break up
This is another site I found in the midst of my librarian work. There’s some salty language, but it’s a really interesting read. Building a catalog of 5,000+ sites I personally like is doing a number on my productivity, though.