Monthly Archives: February 2014

Weekly Roundup

I’m going to begin by saying that I continue to believe a subscription to the New Yorker is about the cheapest thing you can buy in terms of the ratio of what you get out of it vs. what you spend. Seriously. I feel so strongly about this that I almost want to personally offer a money back guarantee just to have the pleasure of introducing more people to the profound Goodness that is in this magazine. That way lies disaster given the vastness of the Internet and in these tough economic times, but the temptation is strong.

I’ve been reading it off an on since I was 16 (when I understood about 1/8 of what I read and mostly just appropriated Pauline Kael’s cinema insights) and “religiously” since I was 25-26 and I continue to be astonished by the quality (and quantity!) of the writing. Sure, there are some issues where I don’t find much that’s appealing–but then there are the issues where I pretty much have to read every. single. article. (I’m coming off of one of those issues right now, in case this love letter doesn’t make that clear.)

I can’t count the number of times I’ve read utterly fascinating stories about topics I have absolutely no interest in initially. The New Yorker was the original source of my discovering Atul Gawande (a personal hero) — whose ability to think critically about (and be critical of) his discipline in an almost magically inclusive way so that it never seems like he’s pointing fingers is a constant source of inspiration to me both personally and professionally.

And none of that even touches on the fiction! Oh, the fiction–a short story every. single. week. I don’t read all of them; I don’t finish all of them, some of them I hate–but now and then you get something utterly sublime (like this week’s The Emerald Light in the Air by Donald Antrim).

Really–go get a subscription because when the New Yorker is on form it’s like the best croissant you’ve ever eaten coupled with the best cup of coffee you’ve ever drunk while simultaneously getting your back scratched in that way that is so, so, gratifying that you almost can’t stand it but never want it to stop.

Believe it or not, there are even articles that are (in)directly relevant to UX that crop up from time to time, such as this week’s article on Netflix, “Outside the Box” by Ken Auletta. 

And here’s some other great stuff to read that isn’t from the New Yorker:

  • An interesting story about bad behavior in Silicon Valley, this time of the wage suppression variety. Wait, price fixing, isn’t that illegal?! Why yes, yes it is.
  • Dave Winer on the Tech Backlash he perceives to be happening now, with the really fabulous title: The Future Was More Exciting 
  • And Peterme weighs in with some thoughts on the intersection between IA and UX that are less about “defining the damn thing” and more about attempting to resurrect the profile of IA such that it can be understood as the Really Big Thing it is rather than the red headed stepchild that some of us fear it has become (or perhaps is as it ever was?). Per usual, Peter’s take is a little more bombastic/potentially divisive than I might frame things–but boy howdy, he sure is good at getting us juiced.