The Algorithms-Took-Over Edition Monday, December 25, 2017

Has Music Lost That Loving Feeling?, by Om Malik

Music lost a bit of personal connection and became Muzak. I didn’t know the albums by heart. There were no liner notes, no way to learn the story. There was no getting up and changing the CD, a simple effort that brought me closer to the music. Playlists went on forever, and the music just played in the background. Endlessly. I didn’t know who was playing. The snippets became a way of identifying the song, but I couldn’t tell you the name of the song, without looking at the screen. And then the algorithms took over.

Opponents Ask Stores To Can The Canned Music, by Amy Crawford, Citylab

“My goal is no music in public places, unless it’s live music,” Hunter said. “Let’s keep music special. Music is not special when it’s part of the wallpaper.”

Science Says Fitness Trackers Don't Work. Wear One Anyway, by Robbie Gonzalez, Wired

Now that these devices are small, powerful, and packed with sensors, she says, expect most of those features to show up on the software side of things. "That's where these companies are most able to leverage the data they're accumulating toward interactive, personalized information you'll actually use."

It may have taken them a while to catch up with the Facebooks and Netflixes of the world, but our fitness devices are finally poised to hijack our brains—and bodies—for good.


Hands On: New Pixelmator Pro 1.0.5 Brings Machine Learning To Image Editing, by Mike Wuerthele and William Gallagher, AppleInsider

What Pixelmator Pro does is bring professional image editing tools to the Mac and it does so in part by exploiting the latest macOS features.


The Sunk Cost Fallacy: Devs Describe How It Almost Destroyed Them, by Rich Moss, Gamasutra

It's human nature to get attached to our work. In writing, we say you have to kill your darlings — those extraneous passages and phrases that you lovingly labor over that are ultimately superfluous or detrimental to the story.

And in game development, too, you must learn to cut the overambitious, the unworkable, the self-indulgent. If you don't...well, as we're about to see, it can drag a project down and maybe even stretch the company's finances to breaking point — especially if keeping something you recognize is bad means putting in significant additional work.

Bottom of the Page

Seasons come... seasons go... Now that the canned-Christmas-music season is over at the local supermarket here, it's time for canned-Chinese-New-Year-music season!


Is there also a sunk-cost-fallacy in life? Why is it so difficult to even think about changing careers midway through life? Even when I imagine what I want to do after retirement -- if I can live that long -- I still come back to the same-old same-old of software and stuff. Is it due to my lack of imagination, or is there something deeper at work?


Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas!