The Hard Work Of Working From Home

In a review of Nikil Saval’s Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace, Jenny Diski comments on the rise of work-from-home freelancers: These workers are a serious new class, known as the precariat: insecure, unorganised, taking on too much work for fear of famine, or frighteningly underemployed. The old rules of employment have been turned […]

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At its annual World Wide Developer’s Conference today, Apple introduced significant upgrades to its desktop and mobile operating systems, moved into the connected health and smart home spaces, and introduced a new programming language that will speed up the your app experience.

The keynote is aimed primarily at programmers, and even the most consumer-friendly announcements today could leave many feeling downright bored. You can receive a phone call on your iPhone and answer it on your Mac, which becomes a speaker phone. There’s a cloud-based storage system similar to Dropbox or Box, and it will archive all of your photos. And several other small but useful changes that will come to your iPhone and desktop later this summer.

But for programmers today offered a bonanza. A new programming language, Swift, will let developers make apps faster and more powerful. Changes to the App Store, including a list of trending apps and video previews, fix that nagging discoverability problem. In all, the software developer kit (SDK) for iOS 8 offers more than 4,000 new APIs to play with, including HealthKit and HomeKit — which will speed the development of connected health and smart home apps.

Here’s a scannable look at what Apple announced.

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Alguien entró a mi cuenta de Tumblr y dejó un post que no era mío. Ya arreglé las cosas y desapareció ese post. Perdón.

Beautiful Ruins

MessyNessy spotlights photographs of a gorgeous, eccentrically-designed castle that was left abandoned until recently: The Castello di Sammezzano is a show-stopper, a jaw-dropper. Hidden away in the Tuscan hills of Northern Italy, this electrifyingly beautiful Moorish castle was built a whopping 400+ years ago in 1605, but for more than two decades, it’s been sitting […]

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Illuminated Cut Paper Light Boxes by Hari & Deepti

Deepti Nair and Harikrishnan Panicker (known collectively as Hari & Deepti) are an artist couple who create paper cut light boxes. Each diorama is made from layers of cut watercolor paper placed inside a shadow box and is lit from behind with flexible LED light strips. The small visual narratives depicted in each work often […]

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Money Sells

Kim Boekbinder , an artist known for her success with crowd-funded projects, takes to medium.com to urge people to buy art where they can.

I’ve posted a couple of pieces like this already (Scalzi here, and Molly Crabapple here) but I wanted to visit with Boekbinder’s piece for two reasons: one is the core argument she’s making and two is what I think we’re seeing happen in 2014.

Boekbinder’s core message is simple: you should pay for art because you can. Whether it’s $5 or something bigger, you should be putting that money down for things you care about. Crowd-funding, she argues, is not a form of charity. It’s self-interest:

The internet has given us all the opportunity to be engaged in the creation of new art and new knowledge without the need to be corporations, advertisers, religions, or governments. Every choice we make, every action we take, every thing we pay for actively builds the world around us.

There’s nothing wrong with, to use her example, paying $5 for a cup of coffee. By doing so, you’re sending a signal that you want there to be more five-dollar cups of coffee in the world and that’s what’s likely to happen.

But if you drop $5 into sponsoring some artist you exchange “life for life” (her phrase). The money you give to artists to pursue their craft continues to pay back as your life becomes enriched. As a result, she argues, we should pay for art what we can, not what pre-Internet market forces have determined prices should be. Not only should you take a flyer on new projects by unproven names, but you should consider a more investment-like approach: “When you are offered a pay-what-you-want scale try entering a value true to your life” even if that’s paying $100 for a book or album. If you’re a person who makes $100 an hour and this work will enrich your life for more than that hour, isn’t it worth that much to you?

As I was reading Boekbinder’s column I had a sudden flashback to a point Amanda Palmer tried to make forcefully with her Kickstarter a couple years ago: We are changing from a model where people have to be tricked into paying for things to a model where creative types reach out to “people who love art and want to help.”

I continue to think AFP was prescient and the fact that we’re seeing several pieces that all are saying similar things indicates that this is the way good stuff of all kinds is going to get made in this century.

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