We just passed an important milestone. For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day.
On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family.
I’m not even sure I can completely understand these numbers anymore. They are way to big for a single person.
The sure thing is that now Facebook is everywhere. It is all around us.
I’m currently waiting at the airport in Turin, waiting to fly back home in England. How did I ended up here? Well, yesterday I drove all the way down from London to Turin. A 14-hours-long-day, mainly spent on the scorching French motorway after leaving the British rain (surprise!) behind.
So why did I do that?
Well, after 8 years and around 153,000 km it was time to say goodbye to my good old car. I spent the last few years driving my Italian car in UK and despite loving that car, it was time for an upgrade. My little Grande Punto gave me so much over the years and went pretty much everywhere in Europe in some of the craziest road trip ever.
On that car I had a chance not just to drive, but also to talk to people. In my car, on the road is where I’ve cemented many great friendship relationships. To me it wasn’t just a car, it was an everyday companion, something that had always been part of my life. It was my first car, a gift from my late grandmother when I turned 18. I will always be grateful for it and I will always treasure those memories in time.
Now it’s time to turn the page, opening a new motoring chapter.
Farewell my friend, you’ll be missed.
Podcasts have always been a big thing for me. They are my companion while commuting to work, a relief while doing routing chores in the house. They are a kind of sanity check and many times I prefer them to simply listening to music.
With podcasts you can always learning new stuff, and especially with the selection that I’ve made for myself, I can always find new ways to fuel my creativity.
Now that we are at year’s end, it feels like a good moment to look back at the list of podcasts that kept me company for the past 12 months.
I’m a big technology enthusiast, always been. I’ve started following technologies through Apple and then one step at a time I’ve branched out into general technology and everything that surrounds us nowadays.
Upgrade is a show hosted by Jason Snell and Myke Hurley on Relay.fm. The show is part of a recently formed independent network which is producing amazing shows all around.
I like Upgrade in particular because the generation clash of the two hosts makes for a great all-around view on the technology world.
With Snell’s roots into the world of “old-school” media thanks to his experience in print at MacWorld and Hurley’s fresh view of the world as enthusiast, you can always get an hour (or so) of thoughtful entertainment.
If you love tech and you want to hear the nitty gritty details, ATP is a must-listen-to. With an all-start host line-up including Marco Arment (of Tumblr, Instapaper and Overcast fame), John Siracusa (the only stop for Mac OS X reviews) and Casey Liss (who?) you know you are going to get all the details you possibly want to hear of any given topic.
Despite podcasting without doing an research, Siracusa is one of the best tech journalists I’ve ever encountered. Thanks to a mix of personal experience and frankly lots of obsessions he has more or less always the final word.
John Gruber is the pen behind Daring Fireball, the blog famous for dissecting all-Apple news but also famous for creating the link-blog style.
In his Talk Show he always has guests from any corner of the web: creatives, designers, programmers and so on. Despite being officially about technology, the Talk Show is pretty much about anything the hosts want to talk about so we quickly go into any other random topic. Recently we had shows about James Bond and Star Wars and baseball (yes there’s a lot of baseball).
Just a fair bit of warning. Lately shows have varied in length and we are now around an average of 2 to 2.5 hours each!
Inquisitive is another show from Relay.fm and it’s one of the best. It’s an interview show where Myke Hurley talks with very interesting people every week. He has great interview skills so Myke alwyas manages to take the best out of his guests.
It’s also true that he always have great guests, the creative types that inspires you to do your best always.
I assume the name Adam Savage is not new to you. He is one of the two Mythbusters, the crazy blonde one I would add. In this show, which is still today without a title, he let his geek side out without controls. It’s mostly about craftsmanship and creating and doing stuff to explore your inner geek. It’s also about the scientific process, and movies and possibly comedy.
There’s only one way to describe The Incomparable podcast: a geek realm. Jason Snell and friends are every week looking into the geekiest corner of the internet. There’s lots of flashbacks into the past and how bad tv and entertainment were in the ’70s and also how good they were. To follow the show you need at least some basic ground in comics, sci-fi books and movies and so on.
If you want a good example of the essence of The Incomparable, listen to the special episode about the recent release of the new Star Wars teaser trailer: 80 seconds of trailer, 1.5 hours of show. Do I need to say anything else?
If so far it has all been about sci-fi and comics and the impossible, we are now back on Earth with our feet deep in science. StartTalk is Neil deGrasse Tyson show about the Cosmos, deep space and the joys of leaning though the Scientific Method. Tyson is the Carl Seagan of our generation and undoubtedly the greatest science speaker we have today. His gift is being able to take very complex concepts and explaining them using simple concepts that anybody can easily follow and understand. Plus, he always talks with great passion and you will undoubtedly get caught by that passion yourself, igniting the curiosity toward space that has brought us so far.
John Hodgman is they guy famous for portraying the Personal Computer in the Apple series of ads for PC vs Mac. He then went on being a “political correspondent” for The Daily Show with John Stewart and recently he moved into being a Deranged Millionaire predicting the end of the world and giving out advices on how to survive such event with his books’ trilogy.
When is not busy being a comedian he runs a fake court of internet justice where he hears and pronounce judgement on any kind of cases. From answering troubling questions as “are machineguns to be considered robots?” to “should you be allowed to keep a night vase underneath your bed because your bathroom is too far away from your bed?”, the Judge has an opinion on everything.
Is a genuine show that will give you a genuine laughter, especially thanks to Hodgman brilliancy as stand-up comedian.
Just for Fun: International Waters
If you still have space in your podcast player of choice you should consider trying International Waters. As the title says, this is just for pure fun. You don’t need to listen in order and you don’t need to listen to all the episodes. Each one is very much self-contained into about an hour of genuine comedy. Its format is what makes this show great: two teams of comedians are battling each other. One representing the US and one the UK, International Waters is also a very funny way to learn what makes those two countries so culturally different.
Special Mention: Serial
Finally, it’s not possible to write an article about podcasts without citing Serial. Serial is the new and recent podcast phenomenon brought to us by the people at This American Life. If you don’t know about Serial you’ve seriously been living under a rock.
12 episodes, one story told from beginning to end. An investigative report into a real-life drama. I won’t say anything more because the beauty of Serial is not knowing what’s coming next, plus the possibility of doing your own version of the investigation and see if you’ll come to the same conclusions.
2014 has been a great year for podcast, which is apparently undergoing a major renaissance period, so I can only expect greater things from 2015. Keep listening!
Let’s open 2014 with a look back to the recent past.
This morning I was updating the links on the top of this blog, in order to send them directly to the source of information. In the case of Books, you are now going to see the page on the iTunes Store where all my four titles are published. While doing that I had the curiosity to check how many downloads my books were still receiving, so I went on iTunes Connect to check.
It has been a while since last time I checked those numbers, so I decided to download the totals from the web and run them through Numbers to make some sense out those tables.
Before we get into the details, let me make a quick digression on Numbers. With the release of Mavericks, Apple updated the entire productivity suite. It was my first use of Numbers and I have to say that it’s definitely more difficult to use then before. To achieve a “clean” and “modern” design (as they said), they ended up hiding many useful tools in places where you wouldn’t naturally go to check. It took me a while to edit to simple tables of numbers, especially to re-order the charts that I’ve created as a summary.
Anyway, in the end I was able to create a nice and simple summary for the 2012-2013 activity.
Let’s start with a Year-Over-Year comparison:
As you can see the general trend was a clear decrease in the number of downloads. The only title going against this trend is “A Tea With The Queen“. If I have to guess the reason for this I would say that it’s because I’ve published this title in December 2012, so it was the “freshest” among all.
If we have a look at the cumulative columns, we can easily see how “Lost In The UK” and “Torino Is Magical” are the main cash-cows ((All my books are free to download, so this is just a funny expression in this case)) for me. If we use a slightly different view for the cumulative series we can highlight this fact:
The main surprise was that despite all my books were published in 2012 they were still going strong in 2013. Above all, the book about Turin is still the one that is achieving the best results in terms of popularity, being featured in many European Countries on the top spots in its category ((This is the link on App Annie where you can check all the categories in more details if you wish)):
Looking at these numbers had the effect of sparking again the desire for publishing, so I’m already thinking at different possible ideas for a new project.
I’m looking forward to 2014!
I know this will probably sound as a cheesy post, so be it.
Yesterday morning I flew back home for the holidays and since it has been a while since last flight, some of the first-time-flight-amazement got to me!
What I always find fascinating it’s the ease with which you can win gravity and cross the sky so gently, despite being inside a metal giant. Plus of course there is always the pleasure of being able to see panoramas that are generally hidden from sight.
Unfortunately it was a cloudy flight but in the end the sky decided to open up, gifting all the passenger with a great view:
Now it definitely feels like Christmas!
It all started very innocently yesterday night when I started going through some old pictures, to see if I could find something interesting to re-edit and share.
I usually try to edit and publish pictures as soon as I take them, but I also have a big catalog of older pictures that are sitting on my hard drive and it’s always fun to pick one up from the “vault”. So that’s exactly what I did.
The picture in question was taken during one of the many trips I made when I lived in Ireland. If you ever been to that country you would now that there’s a lot of vegetation and beautiful forests to explore. That day the light was perfect so I obviously took my camera out!
As I always do with my favorite pictures, I share them on 500px.com ((You can find my profile here)). Usually I get some likes and/or favorites, but yesterday I had the pleasure to assist to the so-called “snowball effect”.
I didn’t write this post to auto-celebrate my picture. It surely felt good to get so many recognition for my work, but it also made me very aware of how things quickly disappear in the modern day. One minute you are the most popular kid in town, the minute after everybody is already moving on leaving you behind ((My picture is already starting to lose traction on the website, after few hours of being stable at a certain rating)).
This lesson also taught me not to keep holding onto past achievement, but instead to use those to set the bar higher for the next achievement. It was a confirmation that I’m on the right path, but also a kick to improve and do better and better next time.
Tonight I went to the Mumford & Sons concert in London. To summarize it using just one word I would say: energy.
There’s a lot of energy in the air, both from the stage and from the public. If you know M&S songs, you know that they are full of instrumental-only section where they simply jam. When you hear to those section live, you immediately understand why the band is together: they have a lot of fun while playing.
On stage you realize that those songs could very probably be the result of some improvisation and if you didn’t know the original song at all you would say that they were improvising on stage.
The public responded in a great way to this wave of energy. We sang along the artists, we jumped and danced with them. It was great, really great fun!
If you have the opportunity go see them live. In the meanwhile, check this video I recorded. It’s “I Will Wait”, the first single from their second album “Babel”.