Android apps on Chrome

Item: Android developers can now package their apps into a form that will run on Google Chrome (including, and perhaps especially, Chromebooks).

Item: Google has been working to make Chrome apps behave more and more like traditional software on Chromebooks, Windows, and Mac.

Putting it together, the App ecosystem available to Chromebook users is potentially much larger, and the Android toolchain looks less like a kit for developing phone and tablet apps, and more like something akin to Adobe Air or JavaРa portable app runtime.

The biggest weakness would seem to be that there are separate stores for Android and Chrome apps. I wonder how much longer that will be the case?

owning up to my embarrassing cluetrain signature

It was really cool to find New Clues this week– a new dispatch in the spirit of the original 1999 Cluetrain Manifesto, but written for today’s post-Facebook, post-Snowden, post-Big-Data world. You should read it.

Back in 1999 the manifesto was assigned reading in a class I was taking at RIT. I don’t recall if we were asked to submit a signature, or if I was just on overachiever. In an attempt to say something deep and meaningful (or at least something that sounds deep and meaningful), I wrote:

What should be obvious, but isn’t, Is that it is the people under 25 in the front of the cluetrain, and the kids in high school with their eyes on the drivers seat. Everything and everyone else is fuel and cargo.

What?

Some things I liked in 2014

Incomplete and in no particular order, and without mentioning Serial or Run the Jewels:

  • Creativity, Inc (Ed Catmull): A guide to optimizing teams, process, and organizations to produce their best creative work, interspersed with tales of Catmull’s life and career helping create the computer animation field and grow Pixar, including interesting stuff about working with Steve Jobs, and the merger with Disney.
  • The One Man Band Broke Up (Ceschi)
  • Release It! (Michael T. Nygard): A guide to understanding how web applications can fail in production, things you can do to prevent it, and responding when they do. A recommendation from Marc Esher.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: I gave up about half-way through the first season, which was apparently just when it was getting good. My wife and I binge-watched the remainder of season one, and caught up with season 2, and are both enjoying it.
  • Safari Books Online
  • Moto X: A nice phone.
  • Race the Sun: I’m terrible at this, but it’s fast and fun.
  • Pocket Casts: A nice podcast client.
  • Zombie Gunship: A nice simulation of killing zombies from an airborne platform
  • Snowpiercer: A nice movie about an apocalyptic future where the remnants of humanity live on a train and get in cool fights.
  • Podcasts: X Files Files, 99% Invisible, Startup, Linux Voice, Dave and Gunnar Show, Let’s Talk Calmly About Security and Privacy, The Web Ahead, and How did this Get Made.

Inessential weirdness and secret knowledge

I’ve been thinking about this compilation of the “inessential weirdnesses” of the open source community, for a few weeks. The post (and excellent comments) are worth reading, but I’ll try to summarize the idea anyways: an inessential weirdness is a common practice or preference that doesn’t help further a communities goals, and often serves to exclude people who may want to get involved.

I’ve seen some of these same preferences (for the command-line, for the classic Unix text editors, against all things Microsoft or Windows) cause some friction and frustration at work, as well.

So: I get it. I agree these things are harmful. And, yet…

I love it so much. It’s fun to stockpile vim tricks, git arcana, and command-line combos. It makes me feel like part of a secret society, one of the initiate.

Imagine if the Freemasons, in addition to secret handshakes and code words and rituals and drinking, had a line on some real secret knowledge (say, how to make a slightly-better-than-average omelette). Yes, I’d be tempted to show off my secret omelette skills every chance I could. Yes, I’d be tempted to show disdain for the merely-average omelette, and those who would serve such an abomination.

(this analogy isn’t perfect: there’s almost certainly no proof that using obscure and complicated tools produces better work)

The point of all this, I guess, is that secret knowledge can be intoxicating, maybe even addictive. Moving past “inessential weirdnesses” is going to be hard work.

(That secret omelette technique might be baking powder)