Monday, 30 April 2012

Make Stuff Week 2012 – April 30 – May 6

I spent almost all day Sunday outside. Test driving the new BBQ coffee roasting drum, brewing up a batch of sour ale, taking the littlest one for a stroller ride, then tricycle ride, then walk around the block, read 3 chapters in an actual paper book!

And today is the beginning of Screen Free Week 2012

Going screen-free a notion I’ve struggled with since the on-set of the Opt Out project. TV-like media is much more omnipresent than it was even 5 years ago. These days, TV sometimes looks like Ze Frank and sometimes looks like Angry Birds. It sometimes looks like Pandora, Facebook, and sometimes when it’s being especially sneaky – it looks a lot like email.

The history of Screen Free Week shows this struggle – while it started as TV-Turnoff week, it’s now much more inclusive of all the different places we have mindless, disposable, un-enriching, entertainment. Unfortunately, the abstraction (’screen’) makes it that much more difficult to explain than ‘Hey No TV this week’.

Just check out the half-a-dozen rules the Lasso the Moon family identified to describe their Screen free week:

  • No TV all week, even after the kids are in bed
  • Instead of our Weekly Movie Night we will be doing Family Game Night
  • Computer and internet use is acceptable at work & school {winks}
  • I am not allowed to play on my social networks, but I am able to take 15 minutes each morning to share my pre-scheduled blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
  • Shad is not allowed to play WordFued, but he is allowed 15 minutes of web access to check stats and make fantasy baseball trades
  • The girls are allowed to yell at me if they see me using my iPhone for anything beyond making a phone call

Hell, why don’t we just say ‘No Pre-Recorded Media Week’?

I could even get behind ‘Opt-out Week’ if I thought it was right. I don’t. It’s never good to focus on the negative. The focus needs to be a positive, constructive, addictive behavior. Something that won’t make the deliciousness of screentime be even tastier after the fast.

I propose: Make Stuff Week

It has but one simple, clear goal:
Everyday create something with your hands & mind, include your entire family.

For my part – I’ll be deliberately, mindfully, writing Opt-Out.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Seems to Work for You

“By selling access to potentially market-moving stories — some of which would theoretically also have a public-policy element or some other broader social value to them — the NYT would be sacrificing (in some sense at least) its commitment to readers and public journalism in return for subscription revenue from stock traders.” – Matthew Ingram, GigaOm

What makes it OK for one publication with a research & analysis arm to poo-poo the notion that another publications might want to also consider spinning up a research and analysis arm?

Oh, right – potential competition.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Used this song to calm down the 20month old today

The little guy’s getting some new teeth – so he’s been screaming and crying more than usual today. At a couple points, I picked him up, held him like the baby he still is and sang him Ze Frank’s Chillout song:

Worked faster than I could have hoped.

Making real connections over the web: Ze Frank on

Ze shows the internet can create powerful emotional connections. That promise is why I spent my professional life and so much of my personal life within it. Unfortunately, the powerful emotional connections are rare. Trite, heavy-handed, emotional panderings are aplenty. That’s what we’re opting out of.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Point / Counterpoint: Camera Edition


“…focusing after the fact, means no auto-focus motor. No auto-focus motor means no shutter delay. So, capture the moment you meant to capture…”


“The Descriptive Camera works a lot like a regular camera—point it at subject and press the shutter button to capture the scene. However, instead of producing an image, this prototype outputs a text description of the scene.”

The Second Falling

“The screen’s gotten better, but when’s the last time you saw an iPhone app do something that made you go, ‘Whoa! I didn’t know that was possible!?'” – Alexis Madrigal

“Apple’s momentum will carry it for 24-48 months. But without the arrival of a new charismatic leader it will move from being a great company to being a good company, with a commensurate step down in revenue growth and product innovation.” – George Colony, CEO, Forrester

Tuesday, 24 April 2012