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The Tyranny of Convenience - The New York Times
"Convenience has the ability to make other options unthinkable. Once you have used a washing machine, laundering clothes by hand seems irrational, even if it might be cheaper. After you have experienced streaming television, waiting to see a show at a prescribed hour seems silly, even a little undignified. To resist convenience — not to own a cellphone, not to use Google — has come to require a special kind of dedication that is often taken for eccentricity, if not fanaticism.

For all its influence as a shaper of individual decisions, the greater power of convenience may arise from decisions made in aggregate, where it is doing so much to structure the modern economy. Particularly in tech-related industries, the battle for convenience is the battle for industry dominance.

Americans say they prize competition, a proliferation of choices, the little guy. Yet our taste for convenience begets more convenience, through a combination of the economics of scale and the power of habit. The easier it is to use Amazon, the more powerful Amazon becomes — and thus the easier it becomes to use Amazon. Convenience and monopoly seem to be natural bedfellows.

Given the growth of convenience — as an ideal, as a value, as a way of life — it is worth asking what our fixation with it is doing to us and to our country. I don’t want to suggest that convenience is a force for evil. Making things easier isn’t wicked. On the contrary, it often opens up possibilities that once seemed too onerous to contemplate, and it typically makes life less arduous, especially for those most vulnerable to life’s drudgeries.

But we err in presuming convenience is always good, for it has a complex relationship with other ideals that we hold dear. Though understood and promoted as an instrument of liberation, convenience has a dark side. With its promise of smooth, effortless efficiency, it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life. Created to free us, it can become a constraint on what we are willing to do, and thus in a subtle way it can enslave us.

It would be perverse to embrace inconvenience as a general rule. But when we let convenience decide everything, we surrender too much."



"By the late 1960s, the first convenience revolution had begun to sputter. The prospect of total convenience no longer seemed like society’s greatest aspiration. Convenience meant conformity. The counterculture was about people’s need to express themselves, to fulfill their individual potential, to live in harmony with nature rather than constantly seeking to overcome its nuisances. Playing the guitar was not convenient. Neither was growing one’s own vegetables or fixing one’s own motorcycle. But such things were seen to have value nevertheless — or rather, as a result. People were looking for individuality again.

Perhaps it was inevitable, then, that the second wave of convenience technologies — the period we are living in — would co-opt this ideal. It would conveniencize individuality.

You might date the beginning of this period to the advent of the Sony Walkman in 1979. With the Walkman we can see a subtle but fundamental shift in the ideology of convenience. If the first convenience revolution promised to make life and work easier for you, the second promised to make it easier to be you. The new technologies were catalysts of selfhood. They conferred efficiency on self-expression."



"I do not want to deny that making things easier can serve us in important ways, giving us many choices (of restaurants, taxi services, open-source encyclopedias) where we used to have only a few or none. But being a person is only partly about having and exercising choices. It is also about how we face up to situations that are thrust upon us, about overcoming worthy challenges and finishing difficult tasks — the struggles that help make us who we are. What happens to human experience when so many obstacles and impediments and requirements and preparations have been removed?

Today’s cult of convenience fails to acknowledge that difficulty is a constitutive feature of human experience. Convenience is all destination and no journey. But climbing a mountain is different from taking the tram to the top, even if you end up at the same place. We are becoming people who care mainly or only about outcomes. We are at risk of making most of our life experiences a series of trolley rides.

Convenience has to serve something greater than itself, lest it lead only to more convenience. In her 1963 classic, “The Feminine Mystique,” Betty Friedan looked at what household technologies had done for women and concluded that they had just created more demands. “Even with all the new labor-saving appliances,” she wrote, “the modern American housewife probably spends more time on housework than her grandmother.” When things become easier, we can seek to fill our time with more “easy” tasks. At some point, life’s defining struggle becomes the tyranny of tiny chores and petty decisions.

An unwelcome consequence of living in a world where everything is “easy” is that the only skill that matters is the ability to multitask. At the extreme, we don’t actually do anything; we only arrange what will be done, which is a flimsy basis for a life.

We need to consciously embrace the inconvenient — not always, but more of the time. Nowadays individuality has come to reside in making at least some inconvenient choices. You need not churn your own butter or hunt your own meat, but if you want to be someone, you cannot allow convenience to be the value that transcends all others. Struggle is not always a problem. Sometimes struggle is a solution. It can be the solution to the question of who you are.

Embracing inconvenience may sound odd, but we already do it without thinking of it as such. As if to mask the issue, we give other names to our inconvenient choices: We call them hobbies, avocations, callings, passions. These are the noninstrumental activities that help to define us. They reward us with character because they involve an encounter with meaningful resistance — with nature’s laws, with the limits of our own bodies — as in carving wood, melding raw ingredients, fixing a broken appliance, writing code, timing waves or facing the point when the runner’s legs and lungs begin to rebel against him.

Such activities take time, but they also give us time back. They expose us to the risk of frustration and failure, but they also can teach us something about the world and our place in it.

So let’s reflect on the tyranny of convenience, try more often to resist its stupefying power, and see what happens. We must never forget the joy of doing something slow and something difficult, the satisfaction of not doing what is easiest. The constellation of inconvenient choices may be all that stands between us and a life of total, efficient conformity."
timwu  convenience  efficiency  psychology  business  2018  inconvenience  effort  technology  economics  work  labor  conformity  value  meaning  selfhood  self-expression  change  individuality  slow  slowness  customization  individualization  amazon  facebook  apple  multitasking  experience  human  humanness  passions  hobbies  resistance  struggle  choice  skill  mobile  phones  internet  streaming  applemusic  itunes 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Find the best movies on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and more | Leanflix
"Leanflix is the easiest way to find movies worth watching on Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and HBO (and it's free).

Pre-filtered results.

We make it easy to find feature films by hiding documentaries, foreign films, and older movies by default - or, you can add them back in and save your own custom filters to see exactly what you want.

Better ratings through data science.

Our awesome machine learning algorithm sorts movies from best to worst so you spend less time looking and more time watching.

Every score in one place.

Filter by Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb ratings.

All the movies.

We pull in movies from Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and HBO to make it easy to find the best movies across all your streaming options."
netflix  amazonprime  amazon  hbo  movies  film  filtering  streaming  leanflix  itunes  search 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Lectures - MFA Art Criticism & Writing - Download free content from School Of Visual Arts on iTunes
"The MFA program in Art Criticism & Writing is one of the only graduate writing programs in the world that focuses specifically on criticism. This program is not involved in “discourse production” or the prevarications of curatorial rhetoric, but rather in the practice of criticism writ large, aspiring to literature."
artwriting  writing  itunes  audio  artcriticism  art  podcasts  sva 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Setup: Frank Chimero
"I’d like a more flexible, faster all-in-one inbox for my digital detritus. For some reason, DevonThink, Yojimbo, & Evernote aren’t cutting it for me. Tumblr is close, but not quite it. I’d like something that successfully handles images in tandem w/ text, because that’s how my brain works. I have this dream of having a management interface very similar to a hybrid of LittleSnapper & Yojimbo, & then a “serendipity engine” application for iPad. It’d be a bit like Flipboard where things are served up at random from your collection for browsing. That’s the flaw of all of these things, in my mind: they encourage you to get things in, but aren’t optimized for revisiting it in a way that lacks linearity or classification. If you’re looking to make constellations of content, I think the way your collection is presented back to you matters. I guess what I’m asking for is a digital rendition of the commonplace book, & serious rethinking of what advantages digital could provide…"
frankchimero  hardware  software  thesetup  tools  howwework  commonplacebooks  dropbox  devonthink  yojimbo  evernote  macbookair  photoshop  illustrator  muji  notebooks  tumblr  serendipity  discovery  iphone  kindle  lumixgf1  appletv  netflix  texteditor  gmail  instapaper  simplenote  rdio  itunes  reeder  2011  usesthis 
april 2011 by robertogreco
30% - Neven Mrgan's tumbl
"Apple can, of course, do both things - build great products and cut contract throats. But with this 30% thing, the 30% I’m really interested in is, will Apple eventually see 30% of its revenue come from various cuts, percentages, deals, and obligations? If so, that means a different focus for the company - a focus on things and people farther removed from me and you. And that makes me a bit bummed out.

So does it ultimately matter that I feel this way? Only in the same sense that the opinions of any non-decision-maker matter. Hopefully it’s food for thought for someone with more power."
apple  nevenmrgan  2011  ios  itunes  appstore  30% 
february 2011 by robertogreco
State of the Internet Operating System Part Two: Handicapping the Internet Platform Wars - O'Reilly Radar
"This post provides a conceptual framework for thinking about the strategic and tactical landscape ahead. Once you understand that we're building an Internet Operating System, that some players have most of the pieces assembled, while others are just getting started, that some have a plausible shot at a "go it alone" strategy while others are going to have to partner, you can begin to see the possibilities for future alliances, mergers and acquisitions, and the technologies that each player has to acquire in order to strengthen their hand.

I'll hope in future to provide a more thorough drill-down into the strengths and weaknesses of each player. But for now, here's a summary chart that highlights some of the key components, and where I believe each of the major players is strongest.

[chart here]

The most significant takeaway is that the column marked "other" represents the richest set of capabilities. And that gives me hope."
amazon  facebook  google  twitter  apple  microsoft  yahoo  future  cloudcomputing  cloud  timoreilly  web  payment  infrastructure  mediaaccess  media  monetization  location  maps  mapping  claendars  scheduling  communication  chat  email  voice  video  speechrecognition  imagerecognition  mobile  iphone  nexusone  internet  browsers  safari  chrome  books  music  itunes  photography  content  advertising  ads  storage  computing  computation  hosting  browser 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Everybody’s Business - How Apple Has Rethought a Gospel of the Web - NYTimes.com
"Those of us who have championed open platforms cannot ignore these facts. It’s conceivable that, had Apple loosened the restrictions surrounding the App Store, the iPhone ecosystem would have been even more innovative, even more democratic. But I suspect that this view is too simplistic. The more complicated reality is that the closed architecture of the iPhone platform has contributed to its generativity in important ways. ... Apple could certainly quiet a lot of its critics by creating some kind of side door that enables developers to bypass the App Store if they wish. An overwhelming majority of developers and consumers would continue to use the store, retaining all the benefits of that closed system, but a secondary market could develop where more experimental ideas could flourish.

But whatever Apple chooses to do with its platform in the coming years, it has made one thing clear: sometimes, if you get the conditions right, a walled garden can turn into a rain forest."
stevenjohnson  ipad  iphone  apple  closedsystems  open  opensystems  itunes  appstore  2010  innovation  control 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Attic App - iPhone App For Forgotten Albums in Your Library
"Attic is a slick music controller for all those unplayed albums that are collecting dust sitting in your iTunes library. Listen to, create playlists of, and shuffle through your forgotten albums."
iphone  applications  music  itunes  albums  ios 
march 2010 by robertogreco
What Do We Want? Our Data. When Do We Want It? Now! | Epicenter | Wired.com
"Data portability is a rapidly growing movement among cloud-computing supporters. The idea that the online services we’ve herded ourselves into should let us at least pass from one pen to the next is key, although the nuts and bolts of how open standards will work are still being hammered out.
dataportability  cloud-computing  cloud  privacy  socialmedia  google  data  portability  gmail  googledocs  picasa  youtube  amazon  kindle  itunes  apple  kodak 
february 2010 by robertogreco
OffMaps: Offline Maps for iPod Touch and iPhone
"OffMaps lets you take your maps offline. It is the ideal companion for any iPhone and iPod Touch user, who wants to access maps when travelling abroad (and avoid data roaming charges) and who wants to have fast access to maps at all times. This app (and the icon) just has to be on the right hand side of Apple's built-in maps app. OffMaps uses OpenStreetMap that include a lot more information than simple road maps: from ATMs and train stations to restaurants and pubs! You choose which areas to download instead of buying a new app for every city you want to visit. Our guides include all data from OpenStreetMap and lets you browse a wide array of points of interest offline. Check out the Guides section to see our ever-expanding Guide library." [Update: Kottke approved]
googlemaps  openstreetmap  mapping  ipod  ipodtouch  itunes  gps  maps  iphone  applications  navigation  offline  software  mobile  travel  handhelds  osm  offmaps  ios 
february 2010 by robertogreco
DIY - Neven Mrgan's tumbl
"Regarding the tablet and Apple’s rumored future as a merchant of content, here’s something I’d like: An easy way for people who write, draw, play, and combine all of these, to publish their work to a simple, popular, digital store serving a device ideal for reading; a publishing equivalent of the App Store." [via: http://bookfuturism.com/?q=content/digital-lulucom]
apple  tablet  publishing  diy  itunes  art  comics  reading  ebooks  lulu  bookfuturism  islate  editors 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: It's not the rats you need to worry about
"Amazon and the Kindle have killed the bookstore. Why? Because people who buy 100 or 300 books a year are gone forever. The typical American buys just one book a year for pleasure. Those people are meaningless to a bookstore. It's the heavy users that matter, and now officially, as 2009 ends, they have abandoned the bookstore. It's over. When law firms started switching to fax machines, Fedex realized that the cash cow part of their business (100 or 1000 or more envelopes per firm per day) was over and switched fast to packages. Good for them."
books  kindle  fedex  booksellers  sethgodin  bookstores  marketing  itunes  ebooks  amazon 
december 2009 by robertogreco
The iTunes-ization of short fiction is here | Books | guardian.co.uk
"As short stories are released for individual download, impress a potential partner with your mix-tape of love literature – by putting a Haruki Murakami, say, next to a Stefan Zweig" [via: http://bookfuturism.com/?q=content/itunes-ization-short-fiction-here-short-stories-are-released-individual-download-impress-pot]
readinglists  readlists  shortstories  tcsnmy  harukimurakami  ebooks  kindle  downloads  literature  fiction  writing  editing  itunes 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Apple Storms Hollywood «The TNL.net weblog
"The components all seem to be there and it seems to me that it won’t be long before Apple starts pushing the idea that we are all content producers (an old idea at Apple, which was at the source of their creating the iLife suite) and we can all make some money at producing that content. Having done so, Apple would not only have control of the music industry but could also assert itself in the TV and movie space."
contentcreation  itunes  apple  video  music  business  tv  television  future  iphone  applications  ios 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Stanford Course On How To Build iPhone Apps Will Soon Be Available On The iPhone
"Want to learn how to create an iPhone app? Later this week, aspiring app creators will be able to start watching a popular Stanford computer science course on developing iPhone apps right on their iPhones. Stanford will start distributing the course for free as a video podcast throughiTunes U. (The podcasts can also be watched on iPods and computers, obviously)."
development  iphone  applications  howto  itunes  tools  itunesu  csiap  ios 
april 2009 by robertogreco
iTunes U Proves Better than Going to Class - ReadWriteWeb
"Skip the lecture, download the podcast. That's probably not what university professors tell their students, but perhaps they should. New psychological research conducted by Dani McKinney, a psychologist at the State University of New York in Fredonia, shows that students who only listened to podcasts of lectures achieved substantially higher exam results than those who attended class in person." [see also: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16624-itunes-university-better-than-the-real-thing.html ]
learning  lectures  podcasting  education  itunes  elearning  edtech  itunesu  research  edutech  highereducation 
february 2009 by robertogreco
zengestrom.com: iTunes and Spotify
"As long as iTunes remains locked into the iPod, Spotify has a shot at becoming the de facto music distribution platform for the rest of the world. Of course it'll face tough competition from other proprietary and open initiatives."
jyriengestrom  itunes  spotify  socialobjects  music 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Inflection Points | the human network
"Make no mistake, this inflection point in education is going inevitably going to cross the gap between tertiary and secondary school and students. Students will be able to do for themselves in ways that were never possible before. None of this means that the teacher or even the administrator has necessarily become obsolete. But the secondary school of the mid-21st century may look a lot more like a website than campus. The classroom will have a fluid look, driven by the teacher, the students and the subject material.
markpesce  education  itunes  ratemyteachers  ratemyprofessors  ratemylectures  alacarteeducation  universities  colleges  explodingschool  teaching  learning  gamechanging  lcproject  tcsnmy  network  itunesu  students  online  internet  1to1  laptops  australia  lifelonglearning  unschooling  deschooling  elearning  e-learning  onlinelearning  self-directedlearning  1:1 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Apple - iTunes - Remote
"The free application that turns iPod touch and iPhone into a remote control for iTunes and Apple TV."
apple  iphone  remote  itunes  appletv  applications  ios 
july 2008 by robertogreco
State Agencies Bring K-12 Education Content to iTunes U : July 2008 : THE Journal
"The idea of the initiative, according to SETDA, is not only to bring state and district resources to K-12 educators within their own states, but to provide nationwide and global access to educational content, curricula, learning materials, news, best pra
curriculum  itunes  itunesu  online  content  podcast 
july 2008 by robertogreco
The Filter
"The Filter, the vision of Peter Gabriel, the Grammy award-winning artist and digital media pioneer, is an online discovery experience that filters the world of online entertainment and information, personalising it for each individual user."
music  software  itunes  mp3  playlist  ipod  aggregator  filtering  generator  attention  discovery  webapps  recommendations  video  arg  petergabriel 
june 2008 by robertogreco
The day the music died [dive into mark]
"This is a letter I sent to my father to explain what it means that Microsoft is pulling support for MSN Music. Tech issues like this often bubble up into the media that he reads, but they are rarely explained well. My father assumes I have an opinion on
drm  copyright  apple  microsoft  eff  business  itunes  mp3 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Software - Deusty Designs
"Mojo is music sharing done right. With just two clicks, you are ready to browse, select, and download music from other Mojo users."
itunes  music  mac  software  osx  sharing  p2p  filesharing  freeware 
march 2008 by robertogreco
MobileScrobbler: Last.fm client for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch
"connects your Apple iPhone or iPod Touch with the Last.fm social music website. As you listen to music on your device, MobileScrobbler sends the title, artist, and album to the Last.fm website. Last.fm uses this information to suggest new music, new frie
lastfm  itunes  ipodtouch  iphone  music  applications  software  via:preoccupations  last.fm  ios 
march 2008 by robertogreco
iPodNN | iTunes U adds new PBS material, more
"content from the national network, and local stations...consists mostly of video snippets for teachers, such as clips on topics like solar eclipses and nanotechnology, but also full-length documentaries, and lesson plans for shows like Ken Burns' The War
itunes  education  learning  pbs  video  audio  teaching  history  science  documentary  technology 
january 2008 by robertogreco
eMusic MP3 Music and Audiobook Downloads
"Start downloading your FREE MP3s today as part of your first month subscription and if you're not 100% satisfied simply cancel. All the music is yours to keep including the 50 FREE MP3s as a special thank you for checking out eMusic."
music  audiobooks  ecommerce  ebooks  downloads  mp3  online  ipod  itunes 
january 2008 by robertogreco
When the bough breaks [dive into mark]
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to my eye Apple isn’t beautiful anymore. I’ve worked around it or ignored it for a long time, but eventually the bough breaks."
ubuntu  apple  mac  osx  alternative  opensource  open  software  itunes  iphoto  imovie 
january 2008 by robertogreco
WeBot
"WeBot is the solution to the escalating problem of too many computers with your photos and music and devices scattered all over the place. WeBot brings it all together and lets you be in control of your media and how you view and share it. No matter wher
filesharing  media  music  phones  streaming  sync  photography  sharing  itunes  ipod  internet 
january 2008 by robertogreco
$40K to fill an iPod? One third of PCs use LimeWire instead (Updated)
"Between LimeWire and Bittorrent, the ongoing and extremely widespread popularity of P2P as a media delivery vehicle suggest that music prices remain stuck at too high a level while the capacity of portable media players continues to balloon."
ipod  filesharing  music  media  economics  distribution  piracy  limewire  itunes  money  pricing  via:preoccupations  internet  p2p 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Convenience Wins, Hubris Loses and Content vs. Context, a Presentation for Some Music Industry Friends at FISTFULAYEN
"I personally don’t have any more time to give and can’t bear to see any more money spent on pathetic attempts for control instead of building consumer value. Life’s too short. I want to delight consumers, not bum them out."
amazon  apple  audio  business  consumer  content  control  copyright  drm  music  technology  usability  users  trends  yahoo  entertainment  future  itunes 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Anywhere.FM
"Anywhere.FM is a powerful music player that makes it easy to: # Upload your entire music collection # Play it anywhere on the best web music player # Discover new music through Friend Radio"
aggregator  music  online  playlists  radio  sharing  socialnetworking  social  songs  itunes  free  onlinetoolkit  streaming  lastfm  mashup  mp3  last.fm 
august 2007 by robertogreco
The Tao of Mac - Moody
"Moody is an application to tag music according to mood on iTunes:"
mac  osx  itunes  software  music  mood 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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