Friday five: comments, co-working and cute

Annotation, from the Washington Post

One of the things I like best about Medium and Quartz (apart from the excellent writing, of course) is the possibility of annotating or commenting on individual paragraphs, individual sentences, even. In the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza claims that annotation is the future of journalism (not all journalism, but a good chunk of it), as it allows depth, clarification and engagement.

“It gives us the chance to play a role as tour guide through a chosen field (politics, music, art, etc.) while simultaneously listening to the questions and insights from our tour group. It’s journalism as a collective community effort where people other than the reporters feel invested in (a) getting it right and (b) making it as smart, thoughtful and approachable as possible.”

Annotation has its downside, too, as Chris points out. Inane comments, trolls, the “cesspool” that the comments sections ended up becoming. He believes that this can be solved by upvoting the best annotations, Reddit-style. It might work.

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Reimagining a classic, from The Verge

Speaking of annotations, Apple is launching enhanced, digital versions of the Harry Potter books, with animated illustrations and annotations by J. K. Rowling herself.


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A brief history of the demise of comments, via Wired.

And continuing on the theme, a timeline of the death of the comments section.

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Passwords are dying. Let them – from

Passwords are dying? Thank God. With hundreds of sign-ins under our belt, it’s logical that we end up duplicating passwords, because how is someone supposed to remember so many? Lastpass helps, a lot, but it doesn’t cover all situations, and for some inexplicable reasons I have three or four different entries on LastPass for the same IP.

So if passwords are out, what’s in? Biometrics. Touch, eyes, facial recognition. Yes. Bring it on.

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Coworking, from Shareable

I work from home, and I love doing so. I’m never lonely, since my husband also works from home for half of the day (we occasionally meet in the kitchen for coffee), and two of my immediate neighbours with whom I’m on very good terms also work from home, so we sometimes nip down to the bar on the corner for more coffee. And I love the comfort, convenience, and being here when my daughter comes home from school.

But I love the idea of co-working spaces. I’ve visited several here in Madrid, with neutral but quirky decoration and a creative atmosphere of concentration.

This article about the origins and growth of the movement (can you believe it’s 10 years old?) sheds light on several aspects that I hadn’t considered. One, that it’s considered a movement. Two, that it’s global. Even in Antarctica, the few huts the scientists share can be considered co-working spaces.

Coworking seems to bring about a sense of community and human connection, so at odd with the “isolation” and “breakdown of empathy” that we were assured greater online dependence would bring.

I really liked this description, by Ashley Proctor, Executive Producer of GCUC Canada:

“Coworking is absolutely not about desks or wi-fi or coffee—most of us have access to a desk and wifi and coffee at home. Coworking is truly about being surrounded by a diverse group of peers. Many of our coworking members, myself included, are independent by nature and we are extremely passionate and dedicated to our work. It’s so easy to become isolated when we work long hours for ourselves, and it’s important to find balance. Coworking helps us to balance personal and professional, work and play, independence and collaboration.

By working together, we build a strong vibrant community, and a network of support. We share resources and we share contacts. We make friends and important connections. We are leading by example—we are building a workspace that we want to be a part of and we are shaping the future of work.”

It’s not actually a work thing. As Tony Bacigalupo, co-founder of New Work City, says:

“The irony of all this is that most of us don’t need an office at all. The vast majority of work being done now can get done from anywhere with a signal. We don’t go to these new workplaces because we need an office; we go because we need what happens in the office.”

For some it’s the added productivity of not having the TV, the fridge or the bed to distract us. For most, it’s the social connection and the friendships that develop. I personally love how it’s changing the nature of work into something more collaborative – individuals working together, independents incorporating the suggestions of others, freelancers helping out peers for free. Gone is the tribal and competitive atmosphere of the office. In comes a new system that emphasises collaboration and curiosity. Will it still be tribal? Will we “band” with our co-working peers? Or are we ushering in a whole new mentality of open-minded acceptance?

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The new Pixar film

Really, tell me you not just a little bit excited about this:

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Have an amazing weekend!!

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