Business, Technology

Facebook just sent a chill over every digital news organization | Quartz

Alice Truong, Quartz:

Today (June 29), the world’s largest social network announced a change to its news feed algorithm that will show its 1.65 billion monthly active users more posts from friends and family. The tweak also means that articles posted by news organizations, which have grown dependent on Facebook for traffic and ad revenue, won’t feature as prominently on users’ news feeds.

With Facebook’s push for media brands to use Instant Articles and now this news feed algorithm change, it sounds like Facebook doesn’t want to send the Internet to your media brand, but wants to be the Internet that your brand exists on.

Affairs, Culture

The New York Times: The Reality Behind Singlish

In response to an opinion by Gwee Li Sui: Do You Speak Singlish?

Li Lin Chang in a letter to The New York Times:

Gwee Li Sui’s “Politics and the Singlish Language” (Opinion, May 13) makes light of the government’s efforts to promote the mastery of standard English by Singaporeans…

… But English is not the mother tongue of most Singaporeans. For them, mastering the language requires extra effort. Using Singlish will make it harder for Singaporeans to learn and use standard English. Not everyone has a Ph.D. in English Literature like Mr. Gwee, who can code-switch effortlessly between Singlish and standard English, and extol the virtues of Singlish in an op-ed written in polished standard English.

Everything about Li Lin Chang’s response to Gwee Li Sui’s opinion regarding celebrating Singlish as an unofficial creole, irks me through my skin. She sounds elitist, as if the only people who should be entitled to use Singlish are those who have a level of proficiency of the English language and can code switch. The initial sentence is just condescending to the entire opinion that Gwee has outlined, and has also given more examples about how Singlish is used at an everyday speak.

Never mind that almost anybody who needs to add an air of authenticity to the persuasions, would also use Singlish to connect to the masses. I’ve noticed it in formal education (Any teacher who isn’t an English language teacher, tends to revert to Singlish to communicate complex lessons, and yes, politicians have definitely started to impart their slogans in Singlish or in a dialect.

It’s good to be versed in English since its a global language of business and there have been many merits for being able to communicate with the International market, but Singlish is something that we use conversationally, and not for international business or relations. If anything, it’s a cultural phenomena that we use to be ourselves, to escape from the druddgeries of daily toil. It’s us in our home clothes.

If Singaporeans have a poor proficiency in the English language, it’s not because we use Singlish, but more because we simply don’t practice standard English enough.


The Guardian: Persuading Britain to spend billions on Trident is like convincing a tramp to buy a bazooka

Background on the Trident debate.

Frankie Boyle with a commentary in The Guardian:

As for the supposed threat of North Korea, with their current missile delivery technology it would take years for them to save up for the necessary stamps. Yes, they launched a satellite recently, but remember that it’s much easier to hit a target that is basically The Universe. I’m going to stick my neck out and say that people doing eight hours of gymnastics a day while living on acorns aren’t going to build a viable, targeted intercontinental missile. And if they do, it’s going to be an absolute coupon buster if they decide to send it 3,000 miles to Britain rather than – just to pick a country at random – South Korea.

Boyle doesn’t think much about North Korean threat to Britain and puts it ever so eloquently.

The truly democratic method would be to have a giant button somewhere that can only be pressed by the weight of 51% of the population.

Blistering jab at the powers that be who decide on nuclear deterrence versus nuclear action.

In the final moments of life on Earth, someone will think of arranging their hands to make a shadow puppet, creating a dragon or a dove to be immortalised by the bomb. They’ll know that nobody will ever see it, but they’ll do it anyway. And this, I think, is what it is to be any kind of artist these days, with no posterity to address but still compelled, for reasons you don’t understand, to work in the terrible now.

Ah, a final scene to cap off his own stance on nuclear deterrence by global powers and superpowers while still being able to poke fun at any community of people.

More comedians should write political commentary.


Bloomberg: Twitter to Stop Counting Photos and Links in 140-Characters

Sarah Frier reporting for Bloomberg:

The social media company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a person familiar with the matter. The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them. The company declined to comment.

I’ll very excited if this turns out to be true. I still love Twitter for it’s brevity, and it does stand out from a lot of its competition as a great, implementable second screen experience for sharing comments and opinons.

Business, Culture

I Worshipped ‘Seinfeld’ at a George Costanza-Themed Bar | MUNCHIES.

The concept revolving around George—in some ways, the very embodiment of lovable mediocrity—would be lost in anything too spectacular.

There’s a new bar in Fitzroy, Melbourne that sounds absolutely lovely in concept and offerings. I’m not much of a Seinfeld fan, but this sounds like exactly the kind of place I’d love to be in. Fuss-free drinks and food, with a loose-theme that doesn’t become some sort of capitalistic churn. It sounds laid-back, with just enough of an edge so that it stands out from the other bars that tend to have some sort of personal brand attached to it.

It’s a homage to a beloved TV show character where patrons can bond over what they love, or don’t. In their execution, the bar owners (The Barretts), have given us “George’s”, which can mean George Costanza or simply whatever meaning you want to attach to George’s.


Spotlight on Bavaria | Monocle

Monocle worked with Invest in Bavaria for piece about the investment opportunities in the German city. Marketing messages aside, I did take note of some points the video brought up regarding what a forward-thinking and constantly innovating city makes.

Dr. Wolfgang Hübschle, Executive Director, Invest in Bavaria:

If you’re in the innovation business, proximity still matters. Locating to Bravria, you can locate many companies within a 3 hour radius. Along the Autobahn A8 access, almost 60% of German patent applications are done. So you can reach a lot of clients in your proximity.

Insights into what makes Bavaria tick as a place for innovation, business and industry

  • Highly-skilled workforce
  • Heritage of entrepreneurship
  • Proximity to other industries and markets
  • Infrastructure and Connectivity
  • Quality of Life

One thing that did stand out was the mention of quality of life. Often overlooked, it is a soft pull-factor that can attract talent. I also aegree with Monocle’s stance that culture is a soft foreign policy power, and that more governments should enable and grow what’s happening in the grassroots to maintain both a healthy mix of mainstream and alternative citizens. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to make this a quantifiable metric, and I believe that it should also be the responsibility of culture growers to bridge the gap with government and regulation.

Matt Alagiah, Monocle:

We decide not to move to cities, not because of their annual GDP growth figures, but because of the restaurants, bars and cultural hotspots they offer. It’s also about the ease with which we can immerse ourselves in nature.


Shangri-La shooting: Trio missed a turn on way to Orchard Towers, Coroner’s Inquiry finds | TODAYonline.

Evidence given by the witnesses — including the Gurkha officers, the two passengers in Mohamed Taufik’s car, and a taxi driver — also pointed to the gunshots being fired after Mohamed Taufik’s car had crashed through concrete barriers at the Vehicle Check Station (VCS), set up as part of security measures for the Shangri-La Dialogue that day.

Bad timing for a wrong turn (and drug possession). I think the security personnel followed their procedures as part of their training, and there was no way to avoid this outcome once you’ve broken past the checkpoint and continuing to accelerate to the final checkpoint, compounded with the gravity of the event’s context that day.


Anatomy of a Crushing | Daring Fireball.

John Gruber quoting Marciej Ceglowski (Pinboard, Founder) on his blog, Daring Fireball in 2011:

If Pinboard were not a paid service, we could not have stayed up on December 16, and I would have been forced to either seek outside funding or close signups. Instead, I was immediately able to hire contractors, add hardware, and put money in the bank against further development.

If you start as a business, not a company and earn revenue from paying customers from day one, market forces have less sway on your business than customer sway.

So are you a company with no business, a company with one business, or a company with many businesses?

Pinboard might be small in size compared to unicorns, but it serves a loyal customer base, and is run by one man. Damn, I love this guy thinks.


Ozzy Osbourne Remembers Lemmy: ‘He Was My Hero’ | Rolling Stone

If you’re a fan of Motörhead, you might still be thinking of or mourning at the passing of frontman, Lemmy Kilmister. I’m not too educated on the way Lemmy chose to live his life, but I always felt that his music did the talking. Born to lose, lived to win. Perhaps it’s especially the way he approached the music of Motörhead, that made him such a force to reckon with. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Life’s too short for regrets, live it to the full extent of your abilities and count your blessings. Maybe that’s why Ozzy Osbourne was able to give such a heartfelt eulogy in his contribution to Rolling Stone

You know what? There goes a hero for me. He was my hero. He was fucking great, a good friend. I’m missing him already. I’ll never forget him. I don’t think a lot of people will forget Lemmy. He’ll be so missed in my camp. He was a good guy, a good man, a good friend of mine. He was just a fucking great dude, man. Not enough time for him.

Also, just reading about what a voracious reader Lemmy was, makes me crack into a smile. It’s as if his appetite for life, translated into an appetite for knowledge. Maybe he had an appetite for meaning.

To look at Lemmy, you’d never think he was as educated as he was. People look at the music we do and the way we look, and they go, “Oh, this bunch is a bunch of yobbos. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re bad people.” But it’s not true. Lemmy looks like an old biker, but he was so well read. He was very up on a lot of things. He was a very clever guy. On his bus on the first tour, he had a plaid suitcase and all he had in there was a pair of knickers and a pair of socks, and the rest was books. When he stayed with us, he’d stay in the library for three days, reading fucking books. And if I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, he’d still be reading. And I’d go, “Why don’t you sleep?”