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My First Mention in Variety

I’m late on this on the blog, but after a few years of working in entertainment and two years of living in Los Angeles, I got my first name drop in Variety.

A few weeks ago, we were talking internally about the entanglement of buyers and sellers and products and platforms, when someone wondered aloud about how many different ways there are to sell branded content in the market. Our CTO, Mike Flynn, was in the office at the time and took that question as a math challenge. He immediately set about doodling an equation to explain the cacophony.

Big picture? It’s nice and doesn’t matter much, but it is cool. I’ve also had posts on the front page of Hacker News a few times and that’s certainly lead to more emails, but it’s still cool to get a mention in the Hollywood press.

via Variety

Techcrunch Gives the Finger to Journalism and Kicks Newborn Puppy While Slapping Your Mom

In the latest segment in the endlessly long syndicated program entitled “Every Thing is On Fire at Journalism’s House” we have Techcrunch writing an article about the new but only Wednesday mid-day level news of Amazon Web Services launching the DocumentDB service.

I’ll let you guess what the title of this article, written by Federic Lardinois, is running in a (formally) respected tech news source.

A: “AWS Launches New DocumentDB service to take on MongoDB”

B: “MongoDB challenged by Amazon Web Services new DocumentDB Service”

C: “AWS gives open source the middle finger”

D: “You can earn $100 an hour working from home buying stuff online! Click here!”

At this point D is a solid guess so no shame there if that’s where you went, but the answer is actually C. C! “AWS give open source the middle finger” is the title of an news article and it’s blowing my mind. Also, and this is the real kicker here…spoiler alert…no they didn’t.

AWS launched DocumentDB today, a new database offering that is compatible with the MongoDB API. […] In effect, it’s a hosted drop-in replacement for MongoDB that doesn’t use any MongoDB code. […] AWS argues that while MongoDB is great at what it does, its customers have found it hard to build fast and highly available applications on the open-source platform…

No argument here…

It’s also no secret that AWS has long been accused of taking the best open-source projects and re-using and re-branding them without always giving back to those communities. […] MongoDB was one of the first companies that aimed to put a stop to this by re-licensing its open-source tools under a new license that explicitly stated that companies that wanted to do this had to buy a commercial license.

That’s a perfectly fine solution. AWS no longer uses MongoDB or they pay for it. Seems fair, but the article goes on to list several quotes from MongoDB executives and even describes them as “feisty.”

“However, developers are technically savvy enough to distinguish between the real thing and a poor imitation. MongoDB will continue to outperform any impersonations in the market.”

That kind of thing. Then after that Lardinois ends with a quick aside that mentions that AWS has actually been better about giving back to open source lately, but MongoDB is pissed because they “bypassed” their license. The end.

That’s it.

Did I miss the middle finger?

Did I miss the part where you told everyone about the new service AWS was offering?

Did I miss the part where MongoDB actually gave solid reasons why a company would want to run and scale MongoDB themselves rather than pay AWS to do the dirty work?

Lets review and see if we can find that middle finger…

  1. Amazon used MongoDB, which was an open source product.
  2. MongoDB didn’t like that so they changed their license to force Amazon to pay to use it.
  3. Amazon stopped using it and made their own similar product.
  4. MongoDB got super mad and stuff and called their buddy at Techcrunch to tell him all about it.

Did MongoDB actually give the finger to open source? Did Techcrunch give the finger to news? Did AWS do what all big tech companies do and you can choose to use their products or not? Is this the first time I’ve been to Techcrunch in years? Can you end an article with a series of questions?

(Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.)

via Hacker News

My Current Media Diet - January 2019

In the vein of the wonderful and prolific Jason Kottke, I’d like to start sharing my current media diet on my blog. I’m not going to keep track of everything I read, watch, or listen to, but I do think a general review of what I’m consuming would be interesting to others and myself in the future.

Spider-Man Into the Spider-verse


I’m slow on movie intake these days, but we did take the whole family to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and I throughly enjoyed it. Very funny, the art direction was amazing, and loved the focus on Miles. I can’t wait for the many sequels. I think Sony as finally done something interesting with their Spider-Man license. (To be fair, 2004’s Spider-Man 2 was pretty good, but that whole trilogy has been hopelessly tainted by the atrocious Spider-Man 3)


Outside of “The Office” reruns, I have watched half of the third season of “Daredevil” on Netflix but stalled out over the holidays and then watched the entirety of “Bodyguard” which was really awesome. Best show I’ve watched in a while.


As of this moment, I’m tracking some YouTube creator drama, checking out the world of mechanical keyboards and watching people fix old Hot Wheels.


I’ve stalled a bit on my Audible queue in favor of Podcasts, but I’ve started “Countdown to Zero Day” (interesting but pretty dry) and “The Coming Storm” (same).


I beat Far Cry 4 in early December and moved in to Spider-Man on the PS4. On mobile, I’m playing a lot of Alto’s Odyssey while waiting in line or while watching TV.


My usual weekly roster applies:


Current Go-To Spotify Playlists or Albums:

Context Powers Brand Safety at Studio71

Have you heard about the brand safety concerns on YouTube? Maybe you’ve heard it described as the “Adpocalypse”? Even if you haven’t caught wind of the madness over the last 12 months, surely you understand that anything mixed with “apocalypse” isn’t a good thing. As is common in “whatever-pocalypse” situations there was a fair bit of freak out, but Studio71 went to work!

The result of that work is Studio71 Context. Context is our Brand Safety scanning technology that we have been quietly testing over the last few months, and I couldn’t be more excited about how it has turned out. Context takes in all of the data we already know about the Studio71 creator and the amazing content they produce, leverages machine learning to fully understand every video uploaded, and works in tandem with our manual review team to make the right decisions at scale. What does that mean? It means we can ensure brands attach their message only to the content that makes sense for their brand and nothing else!

As I’m sure all other digital media companies can attest, the task of understanding video content is a difficult technical challenge and we couldn’t have developed and scaled Context as quickly as we did without the help of our partners at Google and Amazon, and the fact that this team has built a platform that is flexible and stable enough to build complex products on with confidence. In the 5+ years I’ve been at Studio71, Context is easily the most exciting project the Tech team has worked on and it looks like it may be the most successful as well.

Studio71 Context Video

I Went With the iPhone 8

iPhone 8

According to the press, and especially the fawning Apple bloggers, I don’t exist. Well, maybe I exist a little but I’m cheap, or stupid, or maybe confused…and cheap and stupid.

No, I didn’t leak the iOS 11 Gold Master (I’d hate to be that guy and run in to John Gruber at a well lit Philadelphia craft cocktail bar), I’m just the only person in the world that ordered an iPhone 8 (Plus)…on purpose.

It’s true, and I’d like to tell you why.

1. The iPhone 8 has all the best upgrades from the iPhone X

While I do wish both back cameras had Optical Image Stabilization, and the front crazy dot projection thing seems like it would be fun to play with for an hour or so, all the rest of the new stuff is also in the iPhone 8 Plus: Cameras, Processor, Inductive Charging, and Apple Logo

It’s still an iPhone, but the important thing is that when I take a picture of myself in one of my Apple-issued colorful floppy hats my picture will look just as good as the iPhone X.

2. I’m nervous about brand new things from Apple these days.

I’m pretty pissed about the 2016 Macbook Pro, and the number one reason I’m pissed about it is that it sucks. Specifically, it’s just not reliable and that’s the one thing I need my computer to be. I’m not going to be that guy who says that Apple is “screwed” and “it’s all over for them” but I will say the design seems to be winning our over reliability and usability recently (see: iOS 7, 2016 MBP, and Apple TV). Except for the Apple TV they do seem to eventually getting around to fixing things, but all the same, I’m going to pass on the iPhone X and give them a year to figure out the fallout from swipe up vs home button and Face ID.

3. Free case!

My iPhone 7 Plus case will work on the iPhone 8 Plus…so free case!

4. I can hide from calling it the “iPhone Ten”

I really don’t like the name “iPhone Ten,” and I really don’t want to talk to other people about the name. I never owned an iPod Touch because the constant assault charges on people saying “Oh, is that an iTouch?” would have been a huge burden, both financially and because you really can’t ever get your shoes completely clean after a stomping.

5. Battery life.

The iPhone 8 Plus has the best battery life of all of the new iPhones. The end.

mikeflynn @ GitHub thatmikeflynn @ Twitter