A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Jean-Louis Gassée:

But ask a computer scientist for the meaning of meaning, for an algorithm that can extract the meaning of a sentence and you will either elicit a blank look, or an obfuscating discourse that, in fact, boils down to a set of rules, of heuristics, that yield an acceptable approximation. As times goes by, the rule book gets thicker, but meaning remains elusive. Google Translate, an algorithm that many consider to be the most prominent Machine Learning engine on the planet, stumbles on a simple sentence such as “les poules couvent au couvent” (“hens hatch in the convent”), tripped up by a grade school word equivalence

A good read (which I’ve had hanging about in a tab for far too long), on the battleground where solutions to the attention crisis are devised and tested…

Want to know why social media verification skills are so important? Well, take a look at this tweet, which has been the basis for dozens of stories in the media this morning:

Crazy, huh?

But what happens if you start looking into the few facts you have?

Why would someone suddenly set their LinkedIn profile private, while simultaneously soliciting newspapers to cover a story from their Twitter account?


Within 40 miles of Westminster, there is only one ad on the entire site from a private landlord. That ad is the one in question. In other words, across the whole of London, there is a single private landlord ad on the site, and that ad happens to be the one that’s gone viral.

Nothing’s certain, but right now it looks like the the BBC, Sky, and many others have fallen for a viral marketing campaign. The Independent has pulled its story, and The Telegraph is acknowedging that there’s no proof to it.

Caveat aggregator

Google is making changes to its “first click free” system:

In 2009, we updated the FCF policy to allow a limit of five articles per day, in order to protect publishers who felt some users were abusing the spirit of this policy. Recently we have heard from publishers about the need to revisit these policies to reflect the mobile, multiple device world. Today we are announcing a change to the FCF limit to allow a limit of three articles a day.

For those not away, FCF allows paywalled or reg-walled sites to allow visitors from Google to read an article they find via search without having a subscription or login.

For those who aren’t aware, within Medium are several publications they run in-house, including Backchannel, a tech magazine, and Matter, which is an evolved form of the long-form science journalism crowd-funded startup which I’ve written about in the past.

And they’re open to pitches.

However, you might want to take a good look at what they require before you pitch away:

  • already be on Medium, writing, responding, highlighting, recommending and engaging with communities
  • be eager and excited to interact not only with users who respond to your story — but also users out on the platform obsessing over similar ideas and topics.

No “dump your copy and run” here – you’re expected to be part of the community, not just a supplier to it.

More publications should do this.

Medium, the blogging platform created by Ev Williams, has just take on a big new chunk of investment:

Medium, the publishing platform hatched by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, has raised $57 million in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
It’s the three-year-old company’s second funding round, and people familiar with Medium say it places a $400 million pre-money valuation on the startup.

Those figures alone are interesting (but then, a bet on the guy who co-founded both Blogger and Twitter doesn’t seem like a bad bet, does it?). But just as interesting are the figures quotes on content creators and users:

Content creators:

Williams and Medium are famously averse to talking about metrics, so the only one you’ll find there is that 20,000 people are creating Medium posts each week; Doyle tells Re/code that that number is up 4x in the last year.


In May, Medium said it was attracting 25 million unique visitors a month.

That puts Medium squarely back in the old model of a “superuser” community, where the 90/9/1 rule of “lurkers/occasional posters/superusers” applies. Not a surprise, pehaps, given that Medium is at its best with long form content, and only a proportion of people are ever motivated enough to write long form.

The interesting bit is that, by riding on top of Twitter’s social graph, AND creating an internal social graph derived from that, Medium is making it much easier for new or occasional writers to find audiences.

My own experience is that putting a post on Medium brings me less traffic than a post here – but this blog has been going well over a decade and I have an established audience. Medium’s social features are far more useful to an emereging writer looking to find some readers.

It’s going to be very interesting to watch how this develops – and how they monetise.

MG Seigler makes a good point about the content blocker panic:

Having downloaded and installed one myself (Peace), I can say with a good amount of certainty that the likelihood of “regular” users picking these apps up en masse is nearly nil. Not only is the download being guarded by a price, the installation is being inhibited by a toggle buried in Settings. I implore you to try to explain how this works to my mother. But actually, you won’t even get past the whole notion of what an ad-blocker is and why it matters in the first place. So don’t bother.

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t think through why content blockers are surging, and the long-term implications of that. But it also means that we probably shouldn’t panic that if we don’t act now – or strike back – then we’re screwed.

This is a warning sign, not an apocalypse.


I’m back in Germany, for the first time in over a year, and it’s strange not to be in Berlin, which is my most frequently-visited city of late. Instead, I’m in Hamburg, which is the new home of NEXT Festival, which has relocated back here from the German capital.

I’ve got a little time in my schedule (for once) to explore, and so far I like what I see. It’s a relaxed city, with an edge of cool. Oh, and I got to eat a hamburger in Hamburg, so that’s another one crossed off the bucket list:

Hamburger in Hamburg


Less than 24 hours after the release of iOS 9, it’s interesting to see that adblockers are shooting to the top of the charts in the App Store worldwide.

Content blockers, which allow users to block advertising, trackers and third-party scripts for the first time, are one the major new features on iOS 9.

Let’s take a look at this:

Blocker stats

That’s Peace and Purify Blocker in the top 10, less than 24 hours after the release of iOS9.

A blip? Or the start of wholesale ad blocking? Interesting times…

(I’m using Peace, and rather liking it.)

For the first time since 2005, we don’t have a LeWeb this year:

LeWeb takes a break in 2015 and look towards 2016 for the next edition. Quality has always been our driving factor.

It will be strange not getting on the Eurostar to Paris this December, as I have been doing for a decade. However, it makes sense for Loïc and Geraldine to take stock and reconsider what they do with the conference, after the rise of other events – and their reacquisition of it from Reed Midem.