Technologizer

By Harry McCracken | What Harry McCracken is writing--and reading--on the web

YouTube’s Monster: PewDiePie and His Populist Revolt

Felix Kjellberg, known to his fans as PewDiePie, is by far YouTube’s biggest star. His videos, a mix of video-game narration, humorous rants and commentary, have cumulatively been viewed billions of times, and more than 53 million people subscribe to his channel. He has been called “the king of …

You Tube

A Controversial Minister Makes Peace With Techies in the Battle for San Francisco’s Soul

SCROLL DOWN<p>The Battle for the Soul of San Francisco<p>Healing the Tension<p>Between Wealthy<p>Tech Workers and Their<p>Impoverished Neighbors<p>Healing the Tension …

BuzzFeed vs. Trump

BuzzFeed News pushes further than its competitors. Can it handle the consequences?<p>It happened fast. Just like everything else in Trumpland.<p>On January 10th, CNN published an explosive story: a dossier alleging President-elect Donald Trump had been embarrassingly compromised by the Russian government …

Journalism

Inside the 20-Year Quest to Build Computers That Play Poker - Bloomberg

Four of the best professional poker players in the world spent most of January holed up at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, losing. They’d show up …

Gambling

The making of Apple’s HAL

I used to devote hours to feverishly writing up my annual Super Bowl ad review. And then, one day, the thrill was gone.Between the lack of surprise …

Steve Jobs

The MIT Dropouts Who Created Ms. Pac-Man: A 35th-Anniversary Oral History

The amazing, little-known backstory of the most popular arcade game in U.S. history.<p>Thirty-five years after its release, Ms. Pac-Man is one of the most successful and enduring video games of all time. After debuting publicly on February 3, 1982, in its original form as an arcade game from Bally …

Game Development

Google, in Post-Obama Era, Aggressively Woos Republicans

WASHINGTON — Few companies have been as intimately tied to the Democratic Party in recent years as Google. So now that Donald J. Trump is president, the giant company, in Silicon Valley parlance, is having to pivot.<p>The shift was evident a day after Congress began its new session this month. That …

Google

Twitter, Still Exploring…

A rant about Twitter’s new ‘Explore’ tab<p>Look, it’s hard to roll out changes to any product, let alone one with hundreds of millions of users. And …

Twitter

Inside Instagram’s reinvention

How Kevin Systrom got over minimalism and snapped into building mode.<p>Toward the tail end of 2015, Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram, came to a realization: The photo-sharing app he had founded five years earlier was straying too far from its roots.<p>Instagram was growing, yes, and finally …

When Their Shifts End, Uber Drivers Set Up Camp in Parking Lots Across the U.S. - Bloomberg

<b>In the 1970s, the Safeway grocery store in San Francisco’s gleaming Marina neighborhood, known as the Social Safeway, was a cornerstone of the</b> …

Uber

With Nintendo's Switch Game Console, New Ideas Create New Experiences

Even in the era of Super Mario Run, Nintendo is serious about pursuing its own vision and building its own hardware. Here's why.<p>Link, the elfin hero of the Legend of Zelda series, has been rescuing the princess for over 30 years and 17 games. With the latest installment, <i>Breath of the Wild</i>, he …

Nintendo

This Team Runs Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page - Bloomberg

When Facebook went public five years ago, the world had a pretty vivid picture of who Mark Zuckerberg was. As much as anything, that image was of …

Facebook

LinkedIn's Major Makeover Is Designed To Make You Want To Actually Use LinkedIn

This cleaner, faster desktop version of LinkedIn makes it easier to read news, connect with people, and spruce up your profile.<p>Does it feel like the desktop-browser version of LinkedIn hasn't changed that much in recent years? That's because it hasn't, at least when it comes to its overarching look …

LinkedIn

The Unexpected Design Challenge Behind Slack's New Threaded Conversations

For years, Slack has known that people wanted discussions to appear in clusters. It just wanted to do it right rather than do it quickly.<p>At first blush, threaded conversations sound like one of the most thoroughly mundane features a messaging app could introduce.<p>After all, the idea of neatly …

The dream of Ara: Inside the rise and fall of the world’s most revolutionary phone

FEATURE:<p>It looked nothing like an iPhone, or anything Apple might dare to make.<p>On September 10, 2013, the day Apple unveiled the iPhone 5S, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens uploaded a video to YouTube to promote his college graduation project: Phonebloks, “a phone worth keeping.”<p>Hakkens imagined a …

Music's Weird Cassette Tape Revival Is Paying Off

It turns out there's a place for archaic physical media of questionable audio fidelity—even in the Spotify era.<p>For Andy Molholt, there’s something oddly special about hitting play on his boombox at the beach. The Philadelphia-based musician tours frequently with his band Laser Background and, …

Spotify, Netflix, LINE, Pandora & HBO NOW top the list of 2016’s biggest apps by revenue

According to a new year-end report from Sensor Tower detailing the top apps of 2016, streaming services dominated when it came to which apps, outside of games, pulled in the most revenue over the past year. At the top of the list is Spotify, which not only scored the number one spot on the iTunes …

BuzzFeed sells $25,000 in 'failing pile of garbage' merchandise, will donate all proceeds to press-freedom group

BuzzFeed sold more than $25,000 worth of "failing pile of garbage" merchandise on Wednesday and will donate all the proceeds to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a company spokesperson told Business Insider.<p>The company started a flash sale on Wednesday afternoon after President-elect Donald …

Journalism

Google's Toontastic 3D lets kids (and adults) create storytelling cartoons

A couple of years ago, Google acquired Launch Toys, the company behind Toontastic, an app that allowed kids to easily create storytelling cartoons. That app has now gotten a big update with a 3D version.<p>Toontastic 3D tries make it easy for kids to present their ideas without needing to work their …

Storytelling

Apple MacBook Pro now gets thumbs-up from Consumer Reports

The publication says a software update from Apple fixes the battery issues it found in earlier tests.<p>Consumer Reports is doing an about face on Apple's MacBook Pro.<p>The endorsement reverses an earlier call by Consumer Reports telling consumers to avoid the new MacBooks, for the first time ever, …

Apple

Apple Watch stand turns your favorite wearable into a mini Macintosh

Christmas is over, but a $15 silicone smartwatch stand could still stuff your stockings if you’re one of millions of lazy people who have yet to take them down.<p>The Elago W3 stand looks like a miniature Macintosh and works with Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches (both 38mm and 42mm versions). The …

Demand for secret messaging apps is rising as Trump takes office

Two weeks after the US presidential election, Reverend Rebecca Bryan stepped up to her pulpit in the Boston suburb of Brookline and looked out on her congregation. The liberal Unitarian Universalists at First Parish were already gearing up for political action, a central tenet of the church’s …

Encryption

Apple in 2016

As we close the door on 2016, I thought it would be useful to look back at the year gone by and ask a panel of my peers who pay attention to Apple …

iOS

The Inside Story of BitTorrent’s Bizarre Collapse

<i>How a group of valley outsiders blew through the company’s cash and nearly left it for dead.</i><p>L<b>ast April, a pair of cousins</b> named Bob Delamar and …

BitTorrent

Alexa: Amazon’s Operating System

The concept of an operating system is pretty straightforward: it is a piece of software that manages a computer, making said computer’s hardware …

Automation

The Wireless Router Renaissance And Where It Will Take Us Next

Eero, Plume, and others are trying to remove Wi-Fi's pain points, but better reception is just the beginning of a broader strategy.<p>For a technology that tends to gather dust behind TV stands or inside closets, the wireless router has gotten a lot of attention lately.<p>In 2016, innovative new routers …

Has the Internet Killed Curly Quotes?

Web publications tend to favor straight quotation marks, a pragmatic approach to typography that old-school stylists can’t stand.<p>The trouble with being a former typesetter is that every day online is a new adventure in torture. Take the shape of quotation marks. These humble symbols are a dagger in …

Typography

How China Built ‘iPhone City’ With Billions in Perks for Apple’s Partner

ZHENGZHOU, China — A vast, boxy customs center acts as a busy island of commerce deep in central China.<p>Government officers, in sharply pressed uniforms, race around a maze of wooden pallets piled high with boxes — counting, weighing, scanning and approving shipments. Unmarked trucks stretch for …

China

Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case (updated)

The company declined to do so, but the case raises bigger questions about IoT privacy.<p>Amazon's Echo devices and its virtual assistant are meant to help find answers by listening for your voice commands. However, police in Arkansas want to know if one of the gadgets overheard something that can help …