Showing all posts tagged: humour
15 August 2023
After reading Move fast and beat Musk: The inside story of how Meta built Threads, by Naomi Nix and Will Oremus of The Washington Post, I’m certain the story behind the launch of Meta’s rival to Twitter, Threads, is ripe for adaptation to the big screen.
All the ingredients of a thriller-like race against time are there. Trust me. So here I am, calling action.
First, opportunity presents itself:
The mercurial Musk had just taken over Twitter. Amid the ensuing chaos, [head of Instagram Adam] Mosseri’s boss at rival Meta smelled opportunity.
Next there are senior Meta executives on family holidays in Europe, taking breathless phone calls from their boss in the middle of the night:
It was nighttime in Italy, and Mosseri spoke softly to avoid waking his sleeping wife. The group discussed Twitter-like features they could add to existing apps, including Instagram.
What? Enhance an existing app to make it look like something it isn’t? Are you for real? No, the boss wants to land the legendary three-thousand pound marlin here:
Zuckerberg, however, had a different idea: “What if we went bigger?”
Now that exact requirements are understood, and the enormity of the task at hand can be seen in the cold light of day, the inevitable panic begins to set in:
“Oh God, we’ve got to figure this out, because [Zuckerberg is] very excited about this,” Mosseri recalled thinking. “Sometimes you can tell when he kind of gets his teeth into something.”
The last thing, of course, you want to do is disappoint the boss. But you know what they say: when the going gets tough, the tough get going:
With a mandate from Zuckerberg to take a big risk, Mosseri assembled a lean, engineer-heavy team of fewer than 60 people to hack together a bare-bones app on a breakneck timetable more reminiscent of a start-up than an entrenched tech giant.
That paragraph sounds like it packs a punch, but a sixty person team is hardly “reminiscent of a start-up”. Instagram, which Threads is built upon, was, at the beginning, the work of two people, Michel Krieger and Kevin Systrom. But who cares? This is the movies, and all audiences want is a great story.
And size of the development team notwithstanding, there were challengers aplenty. Mainly what product features not to include, rather than what to ship:
To keep things moving, the Threads team punted thorny decisions and eschewed difficult features, including private messages and the ability to search for content or view the feeds of people you don’t follow.
But the clock is ticking. No one knows when the competitor — he who must not be named — might snatch back possession of the ball, and wrest the game away from the team we’re barracking for. But (naturally) such fears prove to be unfounded:
That night, a “core group” worked together at Meta headquarters while Mosseri and other team members chatted on an internal messaging forum, watching the sign-ups pour in. Mosseri recalled astonished team members asking, “Are we sure about these numbers? Can someone double-check that the logging isn’t messed up?”
And there we have it, the happy ending. One hundred million app signups. But wait, how can you call ever declining engagement, and plummeting time spent on the platform, a happy ending? Of course you can’t, but don’t you see where this is going? Wait for it. Wait for it. To a sequel, of course.
Watch this space, you will not be disappointed.
4 August 2023
How many hours of sleep are lost, each night, across the world, to the likes of Facebook, TikTok, Twitter/X, Instagram, and (maybe) Threads? Too many to count, I’m guessing.
But there may be a panacea, by way of, ironically, the same tech companies who developed these sleep depriving products. Legal Lullabies (how about that domain name, hey?), from the TLDR-Institute (The Lazy Data Research Institute), takes the terms of service (TOS) of tech companies and converts them to a sleep inducing lullaby. Reading lengthy TOS sends me to sleep, during the middle of day, when I’m wide awake, so they’d surely work a treat late at night.
24 July 2023
Last month the winners of the Lyttle Lytton Contest were announced. The Lyttle Lytton is a literary prize, but not of the usual variety. Instead of celebrating the good or excellent, Lyttle Lytton honours the worst of the worst. In this case bad, or terrible, would-be opening sentences from novels that will likewise turn out to be awful. The lines are not taken from actual published works though, instead they are devised by contest participants vying to write the best bad sentence they can think of.
11 July 2023
Well this wasn’t part of the plan. Imagine you’ve set yourself up as the editor of a (possibly informal) email newsletter featuring (what you consider to be) interesting, funny, and quirky links.
Except no one you send the newsletter to (possibly whether they wish to receive it or not) seems to find anything you’ve compiled to be the least bit amusing. Welcome to the world of online (sort of) publishing. The only consolation (maybe) is no one can unsubscribe.
But stick with it I say, you never know when you might strike a chord with someone one day.
30 April 2023
According to Buzzfeed, if you’ve seen the following fourteen movies, you’re a movie buff:
- Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton
- Beetlejuice directed by Tim Burton
- Burlesque directed by Steve Antin
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial directed by Steven Spielberg
- Footloose directed by Herbert Ross (I think they mean the 1984 film)
- Heathers directed by Michael Lehmann
- Jennifer’s Body directed by Karyn Kusama
- Mean Girls directed by Mark Waters
- Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer
- The Bye Bye Man directed by Stacy Title
- The Harry Potter films directed by various
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower directed by Stephen Chbosky
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre directed by Tobe Hooper
- Up directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson
Methinks a number of movies, one in particular, have been omitted from this list…
22 March 2023
Twenty-one years after he made Amélie, full title The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain, starring Audrey Tautou, the film’s director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has revealed Amélie was actually a KGB spy. He makes the startling admission in a short film, Amelie: the Real Story, which uses scenes from the original 2001 made feature. A master of cunning, our Amélie, but we all knew that.
Did no one ever wonder how a young waitress afforded such sophisticated decoration for a flat in Montmartre, one of Paris’ most expensive districts?
You know, I did wonder, because I wanted to live in apartment exactly like Amélie’s.
4 February 2023
Also, it seems hard to believe from the third decade of the twenty-first century that less than ten years separate 2001: A Space Odyssey and the first Star Wars film.
18 December 2022
Not a literary award at all, more of an anti-literary award really, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC), which has been running since its inception at San Jose State University in 1982. But unlike the literary awards we are more familiar with, the Bulwer-Lytton recognises terrible writing, and envisages the worst possible opening sentences to what will be awful novels.
Joe Tussey, from Daniels, in the U.S. state of West Virginia, was named winner in the 2022 adventure category, for this opener:
“Hoist the mainsail ye accursed swine” shouted the Captain over the roar of the waves as the ship was tossed like a cork dropped from a wine bottle into a jacuzzi when the faucet is wide open and the jets are running full blast and one has just settled into the water with a glass of red wine to ease the aches and pains after a day of hard labor raking leaves from the front yard.
The BLFC accepts nominations, the usual categories, including fiction, crime, and young adult, in the form of the worst paragraph you can devise, all through the year.
17 October 2022
Image courtesy of Simon Wijers.
It’s important to keep in mind that no Michael Myers-Briggs Type is the “correct” one — every style of silent, masked stabbing spree is equally valid. Instead, use your type as a jumping-off point to honestly reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, as well as just your personal preferences for how you enjoy to ruthlessly murder.
29 August 2022
Paul Fairie, a researcher at the University of Calgary, and humourist, has, based upon clippings from vintage newspapers, concluded that bicycles are responsible for all sorts of problems:
- A decline in marriages
- A decline in book sales
- A decline in furniture sales
- An increase in the number of women smokers
- A decline in grain consumption
- The closure of a Christian society (so now we know…)
- The decline in trans-Atlantic travel
- A condition referred to as “bicycle face”
Bicycle face, in case you’re curious, is described as being “the sentimental side of that tired feeling”. It possibly also applies to cyclists riding on a footpath (especially when a dedicated bike lane runs adjacent to the same road), who look passed pedestrians as though they are invisible.