A New NewYorker.com

The New Yorker has radically changed their website and will lift paywalls this summer before trying a metered paywall this fall.

That they thought this line was funny tells you everything you need to know about The New Yorker.

For months, our editorial and tech teams have been sardined into a boiler room, subsisting only on stale cheese sandwiches and a rationed supply of tap water, working without complaint on intricate questions of design, functionality, access, and what is so clinically called “the user experience.”

Face It: It’s Over

Chris Stokel-Walker struggled with staying Facebook friends with his ex-girlfriend:

In a relationship, you weave yourself into your partner’s life. After a breakup, you undo all that work and unpick yourself from each other’s tapestries. Belongings are exchanged (in my case, mailed to me in a taped-up George Foreman Grill box), habits are reformed, and you begin to relearn the single life.

In a pre-Facebook world, you could do that in relative privacy. You’d be sad, sure. But after the initial sting, you’d be free. Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to connect us all to one another means that now you’re left with a tie that binds and a quandary. Unless the breakup is particularly traumatic, the likelihood is that your ex’s parting words will be, “I want us to remain friends.”

There are some weak ties you shouldn’t maintain. Since we’re heading into a new year there are some things you should leave behind in 2013.

Defriend her already.

What about…the gun? Did you give the GUN a good cleaning?

This feature on Kids in the Hall has some stories you may not have heard before, like how Kevin McDonald wasn’t originally supposed to be the lead in Brain Candy:

“I felt great pressure playing the lead. It took away what I do best, which is being silly around the main person. The only time you see me alive in the movie is when I play the dad killing himself.”

Apple is applying their Sound Check technology to iTunes Radio

Bob Katz spoke about it at a recent AES convention:

According to Katz, the game-changer from Apple is something called the ‘Sound Check’ algorithm, which purposely limits the all-max, all-the-time approach. Instead, iTunes Radio wants to create more normalized and predictable volume output levels. Most importantly, Sound Check cannot be turned off.

Do the references in Barenaked Ladies’ ‘One Week’ hold up?

Line: “Like Sting, I’m tantric”.
1998: The former Police frontman became synonymous with tantra after a 1990 interview in which he claimed to engage in marathon sex sessions.
2013: A couple years ago, Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler, clarified things. Apparently, Sting was pretty drunk when he gave that interview and things got exaggerated.

Engadget’s Preview of Mountain Lion

Still gotta read this, but you can see that the thing I wrote this morning about how iChat’s potential incorporation of iMessages, and how it feels off, looks like it could get resolved in their new Messages app. The concept of the two window, buddy list and chat window, model is gone, thankfully.

iChat, you’ve had a good run — well, a decent one, at least. But Apple’s desktop messaging system was never quite so user-friendly as the one offered up in iOS. So, rather than trying to make iChat more like iMessage, Apple is simply swapping one out for the other. That’s a theme you’ll see here across these updates — where Apple found a shortcoming in OS X, it didn’t rejigger the existing app or attempt to start from scratch; it simply ported functionality over from iOS.

Also, goodbye Growl.

Why Gay and Bisexual Men Can’t Give Blood

On Reddit there’s a Today I Learned about how gay and bisexual men can’t give blood.

I know people who feel the decision is homophobic, and I’ve wondered what the argument from health organizations is regarding the decision. I’ve never heard it explained and I can’t believe there wouldn’t be some logical reasoning behind it.

According to the CDC, as of 2006, males who have sex with other males (MSM) make up more than half of new HIV infections.

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This commenter has what appears to be a good summary of why gays and bisexuals can’t donate blood:

This is straightforward risk management.

About 50% of HIV/AIDS cases are related to male-to-male sexual contact. I’m no homophobe, and think homosexual males are about 5% of the population (under assumption 1 in 10 people are homosexual). Thus a random homosexual male has a 20 times increased chance of having AIDS. Even if the risk of false negatives is small (say 0.1%) for an HIV screening, its 20 (2000%) times riskier to accept blood from gay males to get only 5% more blood, which is not worth it.

So what’s the big deal? Isn’t all donated blood screened?

Well, yeah – but it’s not that simple.

It is all screened. The problem is the screening test looks for antibodies. If someone is in the very early stages of the disease, the test may come back negative. The chance of the virus getting through the screen process is small, but if blood is allowed in from high risk individuals, it increases the risk of infected blood making it through and infecting someone else.

Blood.co.uk also has a page of explanations I’ve never seen before:

How can the National Blood Service justify a policy which discriminates against gay men?
The policy is in place for the sole purpose of protecting public health by minimising the risk of transmission of HIV and other blood-borne viruses to patients through the blood which we supply to hospitals. Men who have ever had sex with men are at a higher risk of carrying such viruses. Since it is specific sexual behaviour which places individuals at risk, rather than their sexuality, there is no exclusion of gay men who have never had sex with another man, nor of women who have sex with women.

It’s nothing personal.

Things I’ve noticed in iTunes 9.2

Drag artwork from the artwork viewer to your desktop. Used to be .pictclipping, now it’s whatever the original artwork was (jpg, png, …maybe even bmps or tiffs).

When the artwork switches in the artwork viewer it’s all Core Animationy or something. There’s a fading transition.

The artwork view switches from Now Playing to Selected Item when something other than what’s playing is selected.

Grid view scrolls like butter. 3803 albums in my library and it feels like iPhoto now.

In Coverflow, albums without artwork used to be black. Now they’re blue.

First iPad sync made me think something was very very wrong. Took forever, got beach balls.

Who’s Asking?

This is my biggest problem with Facebook ads.

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Many ads and sponsored polls are written in a way that make it unclear who’s behind them. If I click this where will I go? What’s going to happen with the data I provide?

Here’s a good ad:

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It’s clearly from Mailchimp. Mailchimp is a full company name mentioned in the copy and in the image. And you could win a wrestling belt.

Here’s a bad ad:

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WTF is FBI? Not that FBI, I think.