The Messy Business Of Reinventing Happiness


The Messy Business Of Reinventing Happiness is a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s MagicBand rollout, wherein they endeavored (and, in large part, succeeded) to replace tickets, hotel room keys, credit cards—even airport x-ray machines—for the 17 million people that visit the park every year.

Iger planned to pump nearly $1 billion into this venture, called MyMagic+, a sweeping plan to overhaul the digital infrastructure of Disney’s theme parks, which would upend how they operated and connected with consumers. At the core of the project was the MagicBand, an electronic wristband that Iger envisioned guests would use to gain entry to Disney World and access attractions; make purchases at restaurants; and unlock their hotel room doors. It would push the boundaries of experience design and wearable computing, and impact everything from Disney’s retail operations and data-mining capabilities to its hospitality and transportation services.

We just spent a week at Disney World with the kids, and I was really impressed with the MagicBand experience. Everything just works—sometimes too well: frictionless payments-on-your-wrist paired with Disney’s infamous merchandizing prowess ($12 balloons!)…my bank account never stood a chance.

Yahoo Pipes To Be Shuttered


Yahoo Pipes To Be Shuttered:

As of August 30th 2015, users will no longer be able to create new Pipes. The Pipes team will keep the infrastructure running until end of September 30th 2015 in a read-only mode.

Sad, but not unexpected—Pipes is a quirky product, and from the beginning it felt destined to be short-lived. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did, especially given Mayer-era Yahoo hasn’t been shy about sunsetting services. Still, it was an endlessly useful tool for some of us jack-of-all-trades digital media nerds.

Glass Reflections in Pictures = More Accurate Location


Glass Reflections in Pictures = More Accurate Location:

Clear and simple: the reflected images in pictures might disclose information that you wouldn’t be willing to share, such as your location or other personal details. If you don’t want to disclose your location, eliminate reflections by choosing a better angle or simply turning off all of the lights inside the room (including the TV) before taking the picture.

Dot-sucks sucks: ICANN urged to kill “shakedown”


Dot-sucks sucks: ICANN urged to kill “shakedown”:

Under the “sunrise” rollout, which dot-sucks registry Vox Populi is obliged to carry out, trademark holders are given first rights to buy domains with their trademarks in. Typically, this costs companies the usual registration fee plus an additional sunrise charge that ranges from $15 to several hundred dollars.

Dot-sucks however intend to charge $2,500 for such names and has also put a list of similar names under a “premium name” program that would see companies have to pay $2,500 per year to get hold of their brand names, even if they don’t opt to register it during the special sunrise period. What’s more, the company intends to charge ordinary consumers just $9.95 for a dot-sucks domain.


Where Don Draper ends, D.B. Cooper begins


Where Don Draper ends, D.B. Cooper begins:

I missed this when it originally made the rounds: Lindsey Green suggests that Mad Men’s conclusion may mimic the real-life story of D.B. Cooper, a Draper-esque gentleman who hijacked a plane in 1971 for $200k ransom, and then parachuted out never to be seen again (or even be definitively identified, for that matter).

It’s a fun read, and would make a fitting ending for Don as a character—except, I don’t think he’s motivated enough by money to do it for ransom, and there are less conspicuous ways to disappear (which he’s been able to do once already, by the way).

Meerkat Roulette

With all the hubbub over Meerkat the past couple of weeks, I thought for sure that someone would have beaten me to this already.

Introducing, Meerkat Roulette.

I’m using Twitter’s search API to grab recent tweets containing “” and cycling through them randomly. You’ll probably see some repeats because of Twitter’s rate limiting, and also a lot of streams that are already over. I probably won’t fix that because I’ve already spent too much time on this stupid idea.

And since it’s the breakout app! at SXSW this year, I added a filter to only include streams tagged #sxsw. This one gets much more interesting at night :)

Have fun!

Legislators Fail to Save Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center


Yesterday, legislators failed to save Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center (right down the road from me in Goshen, N.Y.) despite proposals that were actually more economical than destroying it and rebuilding.

Michael Kimmelman posits that the decision may not have been for the reasons usually cited—the building’s Brutalist aesthetic, and current state of disrepair—but instead that legislators hate the building because “Rudolph’s design was about openness, transparency, accountability. It was thereby a daily rebuke to how legislators ‘now run the county’.”