1. On vacation and takin’ notes.
Above: App use in Paris. Made With Paper

    On vacation and takin’ notes.

    Above: App use in Paris. Made With Paper

  2. “It’s just easier when a bear says it,” she said.

    — Line stickers are immensely popular in Japan for communicating, but less so in the US. NYT coverage on the cultural differences of each. 

  3. Learning to Disconnect, One App at a Time

    If you have a heart that beats and a smartphone in your pocket, you know that disconnecting is a luxury. Have you heard about the phone stack game? (First one to fiddle with their phone foots the bill.) Digital detox camp and mobile-free parties? (Please check your phones at the door.) Restaurants asking you to please not Instagram during your meal? Welcome to the 21st century, where disconnecting is “A Thing,” and it’s #trending in the styles section.

    Most of us, it seems, are too connected, too often, and so we’ve had to get creative about disconnecting. If you work in tech like I do, it can seem impossible to disconnect.

    When I first started working in mobile product/UX, my phone was bloated with apps. We were pivoting to a mobile marketing platform and I left every app’s push notifications on. We were building a pipeline of potential partner apps and I downloaded every one to see how their current app worked, and how we could improve it. We were redesigning our mobile experience and I couldn’t delete competitor apps fast enough. I had a lot of apps on my phone. I had a lot of opportunities to be distracted.

    I still work in mobile, but I’ve learned a few tricks since then to help me disconnect. They’re not rocket science, but they do work. Here’s how I manage the digital distractions in my life:

    I removed the Facebook app from my phone. Whoah. It is amazing how much of a mindless habit browsing Facebook had become. Waiting for the bus, waiting for a friend at the bar, on a quick walk to lunch — all prime opportunities to look up and out and I was too busy reading about the latest Miley Cyrus meme to notice. Since I deleted the FB app from my phone I feel ten times better — and more present — than before. Honestly, I feel a little smarter, too. I’m reading more, I’m learning more, my perception of others is getting sharper. Life is being lived, not browsed. 

    I use the iPhone’s “Do not disturb” setting all the time. Literally. Every day. 24 hours a day. If you haven’t heard of it, Do not disturb allows you to set a block of time where incoming texts and notifications are ignored and calls go straight to voicemail (iOS 6 and up only). (Except calls from your Favorites, and calls that come in from the same contact twice in a row in under five minutes. Hint: it’s an emergency.) A lot of people use Do Not Disturb at night, to prevent notifications and texts from interrupting their slumber. That’s why I initially started using it, and I did sleep better. I also realized that most of the app alerts piling up overnight were pretty irrelevant. So I went all the way and decided to leave Do Not Disturb on during daytime hours, too. The only time I turn it off is if I’m expecting a call from a number I don’t already know (from a recruiter, a client, a bank, etc.) Otherwise, it’s on, and I’m on.

    Just to be safe, I turned off individual notifications for nearly all my apps. I make an exception for the apps I use daily, like Sunrise (calendar app), Up (which only pings me if my Jawbone battery needs charging), and messaging apps like Skype and Whatsapp, but everything else is off limits.That way if I do have to turn off my Do Not Disturb settings, I’m not flooded with notifications. I just don’t get them.

    I started wearing a watch again. This was a big one. Relying on my phone for the time always tempted me — a simple glance at the time would never stop there. I’d see those notifications on my lock screen piled up, just begging to be cleared. And while we’re clearing those notifications, might as well check email, right? And so it went. The solution was really quite simple: start wearing my watch again. Not only do I check my phone less, but I no longer feel rude if I have to check the time mid-coffee date. It’s much easier to take a discrete peek at my watch than to pull out my phone mid conversation.

    So there you have it. Simple, obvious, and the effects have been wonderful: I feel less anxious because there are no “pressing” updates to scroll through. I feel more focused because there are far fewer pings interrupting my conversations and my thoughts. I feel more present, more empathetic, and more patient, and my neck hurts less. (So do my thumbs.) In other words, I feel great. Once you decide everything on your phone can wait, it can; it does.

  4. Facebook needs machines that can understand the way we humans behave and write and even feel.

    In January — after the company rolled out a limited public trial of Graph Search, a way of searching activity on the popular social network — Facebook engineers were forced to tweak their algorithms so they could translate slang like “pics of my homies” into more straightforward language like “pictures of my friends” and convert expressions like “dig,” “off the chain,” and “off the hook” into that standard Facebook word: “Like.”

    This worked well enough. But it’s just the beginning. Like Google and Apple and other tech giants, Facebook is exploring a new field called “deep learning,” which will allow its machines to better understand all sorts of nuanced language and behavior that we humans take for granted. In short, deep learning teaches machines to behave more like the human brain. Facebook’s effort only recently got off the ground — “we’re just getting started,” a company spokesperson says — but its importance will expand as time goes on.

    — Why Facebook Is Teaching Its Machines to Think Like Humans | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com (via new-aesthetic)

  5. Continuations: The Disruption of Venture Capital →

    continuations:

    I often talk to people about how the fundamental premise of our investing at Union Square Ventures is that the Internet is disrupting everything. Sometimes people ask whether that includes Venture Capital. I always answer: Of course it does! It would be more than a bit strange to assume otherwise….

    Great post on how access to VCs and to the field itself is changing. Worth reading through the comments.

  6. Jennifer Dewalt: I'm learning to code by building 180 websites in 180 days. Today is day 115. →

    jenniferdewalt:

    A little over 4 months ago, I decided I was going to learn to code.

    Ignoring the fact that I had no prior coding experience and had never taken any “technical” classes in school, I decided to build 180 websites in 180 days with no days off.

    Today is Day 115.

    Background

    My…

    I love this. 

  7. littlebigdetails:

Yelp for iOS — When in New York City, the two tightest distance filters are measured in blocks, not miles.
/via lilzet

Nice touch by Yelp.

    littlebigdetails:

    Yelp for iOS — When in New York City, the two tightest distance filters are measured in blocks, not miles.

    /via lilzet

    Nice touch by Yelp.

  8. Changing aesthetics: Shopping online for clothes typically involves scrolling through pages and pages of images. Mary Kantrantzou believes that this has lead to shoppers paying more attention to designs that stand out - in particular unusual colours or prints. She believes this has been a factor in the resurgence of print.

    — Soundboy: How the internet influences what we wear (via new-aesthetic)

    Interesting thought. (I’m sure the fashion houses would disagree.)