How to hack a Hollywood blockbuster

All Shell, No Ghost

“In the brief and total darkness that preceded the trailers, I thought of how our love of convenience and anxiety over interpersonal interaction had allowed me to walk into a privately owned movie theater, speak to no one, and secure a seat for myself to see a film I couldn’t in good conscience support, for free.

We live in strange times.”

WordCampSTL 2017 – some notes and thoughts

What better excuse to overcome the recent dearth of posts here on the Phrontistery than sharing my notes and thoughts from a WordCamp event. In this case WordCampSTL 2017. I had hoped to present a talk this year but wasn’t sure if I’d actually be able to make it when the deadline for submissions came around, so I volunteered instead.

Some notes and thoughts from the talks I sat in on, as well as the many great conversations between sessions.


(Here are the sessions I attended, will fill in notes throughout the day (and beyond))

Keynote: WordPress, not just software but LIFEWARE

 

Navigating a Career in WordPress

 

User Empathy with Advanced Custom Fields (ACF)

 

Herding Cats: Tips for Leading Technical People

 

Demons In the Closet

 

WordPress Theme Code Reviews

 

AMA: WordCamp St. Louis

 

Complexity, Chaos and Creativity: A Journey beyond System Thinking

System thinking is goal-oriented: there are always pre-defined goals and objectives, which system must achieve, and there are always prescribed requirements and criteria, which system must satisfy. As the achievement of any goal happens always in the future, system thinking is obsessed with prediction and generating plans, blueprints, time-schedules and scenarios.

Complexity and chaos focus their attention on the present, because even tiny perturbations in the process of self-organization occurring at present can have enormous impact on the further development of this process. It is an impossible task to make the ‘butterfly effect’ follow any goal-oriented strategy and any targets’ setting anchored in the future.

Source: Complexity, Chaos and Creativity: A Journey beyond System Thinking (Dr. Vladimir Dimitrov)

Jurgen Appelo – Complexity vs Lean the Big Showdown

Lean software development promotes removing waste as one of its principles. However, complexity science seems to show that waste can have various functions. In complex systems things that look like waste can actually be a source for stability and innovation; Lean software development preaches optimize the whole as a principle, and then translates this to optimization of the value chain. However, I believe that complexity science shows us a value chain is an example of linear thinking, which usually leads to sub-optimization of the whole organization because it is a non-linear complex system.  — Jurgen Appelo

Exactly. Somewhat reflects my own thoughts and is something that has been on my mind quite a bit of late amidst an organization and projects hell bent on removing not just the optimum amount of waste from a process but removing all white space from the environment in pursuit of maximum efficiency toward the achievement of what they already know how to do. (breathe, Brett…)

As I wrote in KM vs LSS vs CPI, too often “improvement” is seen as requiring a single, all or nothing approach. When, in fact, improvement and optimal performance comes from a mix of techniques. Sometimes waste is a hindrance, and sometimes it’s where you find the gold.

 

Design decisions – Shuffle Play as default on Spotify

I am really enjoying Spotify since signing up a month or so ago, but one thing really* irritates me – the default play mode is “Shuffle Play”. There’s a big button at the top of every list of songs, be it a playlist, radio station, or an album. And when you click on a song to play, it seems to automatically assume that you want to shuffle the songs.
This may be OK for most albums, but it’s a bit jarring when you go from “Speak to Me” to “Any Colour You Like” when what you were expecting was the seamless transition to “Breathe” on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Which really needs to be listened to as an album, not a random mix of songs.
I don’t know how the conversation went when they set this as the default, and put that big-ass button at the top of each list of songs, but I’m going to guess it is just a reflection of how music is produced, distributed, and consumed by a large part of the music consumer base.
Maybe I’m old school, but coming from an age when you listened to albums, and not just songs, I still prefer to listen to albums straight through, the way they were put together and intended by the artists. Sure, some albums are just collections of songs, but even with those it is comforting to hear them in their proper order. Nostalgia alert :)
I also tend to gravitate towards and listen to albums that are meant to be listened to in a specific order, concept albums such as the aforementioned Dark Side of the Moon and concert albums in which an entire performance is captured.
Which isn’t to say I don’t appreciate shuffle play. Over the holidays, for instance, shuffle play got plenty of use with the various Christmas and holiday playlists we had playing as we decorated, cooked, and celebrated. I just wish it wasn’t the default. Or that I could change that default.
tl;dr Is it possible to change the default play setting in Spotify to be not shuffle play?
* A lot of other little things just kind of irritate me

Hello world! – Thinking In Bits

After more than a few years of mucking about with WordPress, I’ve decided it’s time to get serious about developing  a better understanding of how it all works under the hood. And to use that newfound understanding to  design a theme (or two) and a plug-in (or two) that will help me build exactly the type of site I want.

Source: Hello world! – Thinking In Bits