Unsplash is a collection of Creative Commons Zero licensed photos that area really amazing, and I curated a collection of ten images for them which you can check out here. The hard part was trying to pick only ten — there were so many beautiful and stunning images.
One of the areas where Automattic and its products like WordPress.com have the most room for growth is in the area of marketing. It’s also an area our competitors are spending heavily in, with Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Web.com, and to a lesser extent EIG and Godaddy, spending over $350M this year in advertising. (Of course marketing is much more than just advertising, but their spend is still significant.) We’re hiring for a number of positions in this area to build up our team, including a CMO, a performance marketing specialist, marketing-oriented designer, and a role focused on events. If you know of anyone who would be ideal for these roles, or if that person is you, please read about Automattic on that page and follow the guidelines for the role to apply.
Very sad to hear that Marvin Minsky has passed. Here are some notes I took at a talk of his in 2007. See also: Philip Greenspun’s remembrence of Minsky.
I solved a problem today and figured that I’d document it for the rest of the world. Every time someone left me a voicemail on Verizon, I would get a cryptic text from Verizon at 900080006202 that looked like “//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=NM;id=1;c=1;t=v;s=1XXXXXXXXXX;dt=18/01/2016 13:40-0900;l=13;dev_t=5” or “//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=MBU;dev_t=5”.
Here’s what happened. It turns out that Verizon has three kinds of voicemail: basic voicemail (free), basic visual voicemail (also free), and premium visual voicemail ($2.99/month). I have a Nexus 5X and I recently switched from an unlimited Verizon data plan to a different plan (long story).
As part of that shift, it looks like Verizon switched me to visual voicemail. I suspect a lot of phones that you get at a Verizon store have some sort of visual voicemail app pre-installed. That app probably intercepts those cryptic texts and uses them to show a voicemail indicator. Ever wondered how the voicemail indicator disappears so fast after you call voicemail? I suspect that’s also because of a Verizon text that is interpreted by your phone.
But a Nexus 5X doesn’t have Verizon’s voicemail app, so it just presents texts from Verizon. To fix this issue, I stopped by a Verizon store and had a rep change me from “basic visual voicemail” to “basic voicemail,” and that fixed the issue. I don’t think you can toggle that setting yourself on Verizon’s website.
Nexus 5X rocks!
By the way, I love my Nexus 5X. It fits well in my hand, the camera is superb, and the fingerprint reader is blazingly fast. Also, the speed and accuracy of voice recognition on the Nexus 5X is amazing.
A final nice feature is that you can insert a Nano SIM card from any of the major carriers in the US. I often switch my Nexus 5X over to Google Fi in various situations; for example, Fi is great if you’re traveling outside the US.
One last tip if you’re still on Verizon: you can get HD Voice for free, but you have to enable it. HD Voice works via Voice over LTE, or VoLTE. HD Voice should have much better audio than a regular cell phone as long as both phones support it. On Verizon’s site, go to My Verizon->My Plan & Services->My Plan->Products & Apps->Manage Products & Apps and then click Free Products. Enable HD Voice on all your compatible lines on the website.
Then you need to enable HD Voice on each of your phones. On recent Android phones, look for Settings->More->Cellular networks->Enhanced 4G LTE Mode. On iPhones, look for Settings->Cellular->Enable LTE and select Voice & Data. More info on HD Voice and Advanced Calling on Verizon is in these FAQs.
What phone are you rocking right now, and how do you like it?
Mike Hearn has a great and thought-provoking post on why he thinks Bitcoin is at a developer-caused impasse, and he’s ending his participation. I ended up selling most of my Bitcoin last year, but if I hadn’t this would definitely make me reconsider.
My thirty-second birthday has arrived after a whirlwind year, probably my most challenging and rewarding. It went faster than any year I can remember, absolutely flew by. Luckily it was capped at the holidays with a precious few weeks of downtime in Houston. Now I’m back to work in Cape Town and just finished a lovely day of great food, wine, and conversation with colleagues who are here for a meetup starting tomorrow.
Since I started tracking, 2015 was the first year that I traveled fewer miles than the year before, clocking in at 398k, down 27k. (398,553 miles, 111 cities, 20 countries.) In 2016 I’m going to try and get that even lower. It was also one of my best years for blogging on this site, with the most posts (252) I’ve made since 2008, and the most words (24,605) since 2005. (If anyone is curious, I wrote about 60k words over the same time period in Automattic’s internal P2s.) In a weird omission, though, it’s the first year since this site started in 2002 that I didn’t post a single gallery of photos. I’ve developed a mental block around processing and posting the fancier pictures, even as I carry hundreds of gigabytes of them around the planet several times over. Hopefully this is something I can get past in 2016.
I ran 163 miles in 2015, more than I did the year before, and I think that trend will continue. Last year I talked about habits and small actions, and a daily todo list with some small items to nourish the mind, soul, and body has become central to my routine. I dyed my hair (grey) just for fun and also to show the rest of Automattic they could too, how you look doesn’t matter one iota. My restaurant quest has continued, and I’ve now been to 38% of the current top 50 list.
More so than before, I really don’t know what’s around the corner. While there is a lot in motion, there is even more still being defined and started. There’s freedom in the groove, to reference Joshua Redman’s great album, and I’m getting a lot more comfortable with ambiguity and the faster pace of life in general. More than ever, I consider myself incredibly lucky, so it’s exciting to make the most of the opportunity that the volitility, love, loss, glory, failure, inspirations, and setbacks that 2016 will bring.
Previously: 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31.
If you speak Spanish, or know someone who does, check out this video and article that was on the El Pais homepage earlier today.
I joined an episode of the Dorm Room Tycoon podcast, which you can check out here.
Hossein Derakhshan was a key blogger in Iran who was jailed for his writing, and recently released. He has entered a new world:
I miss when people took time to be exposed to opinions other than their own, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares, and best time to post.
That’s the web I remember before jail. That’s the web we have to save.
You should read the entire article (it’s long) on the Guardian. Hat tip: Kevin O’Keefe.
I hope it’s filled with lots of comfortable sweaters, like this one..
Curious about what the famous Wapuu character came from, and the alternative designs for it? The Wapuu Fan Club has a great write-up of the origins of Wapuu, much of which I had actually forgotten already even though I was there.
We just announced and released the Linux version of the desktop client for WordPress.com, also known as Calypso. Also all of the code behind the desktop client itself (built on Electron) is now available as open source too.
By allowing the government to construct a massive surveillance apparatus, the field had abused the public trust. […]
My sense is that politics is there, whether one acknowledges it or not. When you have an ostensibly apolitical department, but you scratch beneath the covers and discover that three-quarters of the faculty are funded by the Department of Defense, well, in fact that’s not apolitical. That is very much working in support of a particular ethos, and one simply hasn’t called it forth.
From The Moral Failure of Computer Scientists in the Atlantic.
If you’re curious what I sound like in German, here’s an interview with the German version of Wired about the future of the web and WordPress, complete with a Gutenberg reference.
Here is the State of the Word presentation I delivered on Saturday, and the following Q&A.
If you just want to check out the slides, here they are on Slideshare:
State of the Word 2015, WordCamp US from photomatt
LetsEncrypt is available as a beta so everyone can have free SSL, and PHP7 is released which will double the speed of many PHP apps, including WordPress. And it was the first day of WordCamp US, if you missed it definitely livestream tomorrow. (I’m doing the State of the Word at 5pm ET.) A pretty awesome day for the web.
George Lakoff is an academic whose books I came across in my college years, and he’s been very influential on me, especially his approach to language through metaphors. He has an updated version of a classic book, Don’t Think of an Elephant, which is a great read if you’re interested in progressive politics. I noticed a link to a PDF to a WordPress-sounding address, and it turns out his entire site is on WordPress.com!
On Eater check out the story of how a video game mogul, an airplane engineer, a scientist, a designer, and a bunch of chefs developed a new immersion circulator they named Joule. I’m a big fan of the Chefsteps team.
Last week I did two podcasts around the Calypso news that are both now up, and show very different sides of the announcement. The first was with Brian Krogsgard of the WordPress-focused site Post Status and we talked a lot about the Calypso launch in the context of the WordPress community. The second was the always-fun video group the Gillmor Gang which ranged quite a bit but mostly focused on Calypso in the context of the wider tech world and where we’re going.
This is an oldie but a goodie, Dan Gilbert’s TED talk on the Surprising Science of Happiness.