The notion of autocorrect was born when Hachamovitch began thinking about a functionality that already existed in Word. Thanks to Charles Simonyi, the longtime Microsoft executive widely recognized as the father of graphical word processing, Word had a “glossary” that could be used as a sort of auto-expander. You could set up a string of words—like insert logo—which, when typed and followed by a press of the F3 button, would get replaced by a JPEG of your company’s logo. Hachamovitch realized that this glossary could be used far more aggressively to correct common mistakes. He drew up a little code that would allow you to press the left arrow and F3 at any time and immediately replace teh with the. His aha moment came when he realized that, because English words are space-delimited, the space bar itself could trigger the replacement, to make correction … automatic! Hachamovitch drew up a list of common errors, and over the next years he and his team went on to solve many of the thorniest. Seperate would automatically change to separate. Accidental cap locks would adjust immediately (making dEAR grEG into Dear Greg). One Microsoft manager dubbed them the Department of Stupid PC Tricks.

(via The Fasinatng … Frustrating … Fascinating History of Autocorrect | Gadget Lab | WIRED)

“It’s uncomfortable to advocate for diversity. It’s uncomfortable to tell white people that they need to broaden their networks, that they need to make sure they get out of their comfort zones, that we have no economic future if our newsroom does not look like the world it purports to serve. It’s uncomfortable to follow our own advice.”
— S. Mitra Kalita, Ideas Editor, Quartz in 39 Pieces Of Advice For Journalists And Writers Of Color
“I’m “internet famous,” or so they tell me, even though I am “internet famous” mainly as a mechanism of violence against me. Even though “internet fame” is ruining a lot of my life. It forces me to avoid public places and events. It comprises my safety in my own neighborhood, city and industry - even in my travels. It makes me scared of what will happen to me, what will happen to the people around me, who are friends with me, who love me, who are my family. It puts deep strains on all my relationships as I struggle with the anxiety and stress, with being “present” in physical space, with trusting the people around me. It makes me question the intentions of people who get close to me. It invites people into my life who seek only to use me for some scrap of the non-existent power and camaraderie they think “visibility” gives me, when really it is mainly powerlessness and loneliness that results. As personal “friends” turn my life into stories for the companies they work for, as one “journalist” recently did to me, and as people who stalk me begin to use increasingly complex techniques - like creating false identities and submitting pitches to my company under those identities - I become more fearful and unwilling to let anyone in.”

Dexter is a rescue. Of course he is—half the dogs one meets nowadays are introduced by their owners as “rescues.” Once a term for dogs taken out of abusive or precarious situations, it now often refers to dogs on their second homes. The number of rescue dogs rises almost as inexorably as the number of pit bulls, and for good reason: The rescue movement came to its current prominence addressing the impossible plight of pit bulls—a plight that lent moral prestige to the cause of unwanted golden retrievers and Labradors. This is not to minimize the challenges faced by unwanted dogs of any breed; there are, after all, nearly four million American dogs in American shelters. But an unwanted pit bull is different from an unwanted golden retriever in that a market exists for unwanted golden retrievers and golden-retriever mixes; they are literally shipped from animal shelters in the south to animal shelters in the north because there are not enough of them. There are plenty of unwanted pit bulls. An unwanted pit bull generally stays unwanted, and the moral reward for rescuing one—okay, the moral self-congratulation—is doubled by the knowledge that it beat overwhelming odds just to stay alive.

(via The State of The American Dog - Esquire)

*note: that’s not Dexter in the picture.

“by 2020, we’ll laugh at the notion that at one point we expected quality news and information organizations on the web to sustain themselves by competing for the attention of algorithms. Because if we haven’t figured that out, we’ll be living in a world in which those algorithms — which are written for the benefit of advertisers, not readers — completely control the presentation of news and information across our world.”

Maybe defining ‘blackness’ is something we should stop doing. We’ve been trying for years, and it’s never worked out. Maybe we should stop arguing about whether or not someone is black enough to appropriate black culture. Maybe we should stop worrying about who the n-word belongs to.

Instead, maybe we should just stick to the Daquan Test.

That is, whereas the Turing Test requires that a computer has enough of the trappings of ‘humanity’ to fool us 70% of the time, the Daquan Test simply requires that a person display enough ‘cultural competence’ to function as an entertaining ‘black’ person. They might actually fool us, like Ms. Daquan has done for the past week or so. Or, they might just be culturally fluent enough in commercial ‘blackness’ to provide an entertaining spectacle, like Iggy Azalea does.

Just to be clear: I’m not saying that the appropriation or definition of ‘blackness’ are completely irrelevant issues, but I am saying that, as a society, maybe we aren’t ready to have this conversation yet. Maybe we need to take it a bit slower. Maybe we need to think about Daquan himself. Maybe we need to think about what it is that is so interesting about black people. Maybe we need to think about why certain fringe elements of a tiny fraction of a few black people’s lives (rap, dancing, singing) have come to represent an entire population of people.

And then, maybe we should think about why we’re so protective of those things.