The technical, trivial and interesting things I find
It’s been a very busy year at Quartz. Out of almost 20 code repositories we have on Github, there are 4 that handle the core functions of the site and consume most of our development time.
Our most busy repo is qzapp, which handles core front-end application, styles, and other assets. It had 2,220 commits (as of this writing—still another week to go…), including the addition of 476,250 lines of code and the removal of 328,859.
Those numbers alone aren’t very meaningful (covers addition, movement, and removal of libraries and build files), but they reflect a high measure of effort and continuous iterations throughout the year that included:
- Offline mode, offline metrics
- Mobile navigation redesign
- Overhaul of analytics reporting
- Ongoing performance enhancing updates
- Twitter sign-in
You can see more on our Version page.
And that was just one repository. It doesn’t cover all of our efforts spanning WordPress, ads, analytics, login and registration, internal tools, and backend.
There is even more in the pipeline for 2014. Speaking of which, we are hiring, so come talk to us.
Earlier this year, we made it possible to leave annotations in the margins of Quartz. Today we’re adding the ability to highlight our text, too—and share those highlights with the rest of the world.
All you need to do is click on a paragraph to activate it. (You’ll see a grey background.)…
"Jeff Bezos presents Amazon Now"
The Day of the Doctor
Illustration by Matt Dorfman
According to ten minutes playing with “Fake Follower Check" there are a lot of big names on Twitter that actually have much lower influence then you’d think.
The big surprise for me is how low the ‘good follower’ count - many well below 30%.
@CNN has 10.175 million followers. This suggests that its true reach is 2.23 million followers. Thats a drastic reduction.
That leaves me asking; how inflated is Twitter?
So reality check… take this with a BIG grain of salt. A few critical points to remember:
- Many fake Twitter accounts follow popular organizations so they blend in
- This is based on criteria by StatusPeople. I do not know what that criteria is or how accurate. It may be way way off. No idea
If you have a few minutes to spare I’d love to gather more data on other Twitter accounts (which I’ll post here). Click here for more info or to help.
I include @qz, the company I work at, not because its a healthier rate but rather if I omitted it it would seem like I’m being selective.
I’m wondering if its like email. You need to watch for tone and voice before you hit send. Anyway, Dave Winer says my comment on one of his posts was “one of the most rude messages i’ve seen in a while. congrats”. Perhaps its true?
Its deleted now.
But I do have a draft version. I no longer recall how close it is to the final version but not too far off I imagine.
I tried to quote from his post and be specific in replies so as to avoid broad generalizations etc. That didn’t help.
If it doesn’t read as “respectful” (as per his comment guidelines) then so be it. I was simply disagreeing with him not calling him names.
UPDATE: Its because I said “BS”. Well, I still think its was appropriate to make the point. His point on “new ideas” was way off and unsubstantiated imho.
His post is here.
My draft comment is as follows (pardon typos etc - its a draft):
“NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger said the mistake they made was not hiring more programmers sooner. I thought this was noteworthy — I think the exact opposite is true. I think the Times should have tried to avoid hiring programmers as much as possible. Before they had a lot of programmers it was possible to do deals with them, after the programmers came on, they had yet another set of gatekeepers, who as a side-effect of doing their jobs, kept new ideas from penetrating the Times.”
I have to disagree with you there - and Mr. Sulzberger. There were developers. Quite a lot of them (for the time) but we were kept away over at 700 7th Avenue. We were not gatekeepers in the sense you describe simply because we were not part of the conversation.
What are these “deals” you speak of?
“kept new ideas from penetrating the Times”
Thats BS. Who introduced Twitter to the Times? Who pushed short-urls? New templating, TimesPeople (short lived social network of sorts), Times Wire, Times Skimmer, JSON feeds, Developer APIs, Recommendation Engine?
Developers. Developers pushed an pioneered those initiatives.
“RSS. As such an unqualified success, it should have been used as the model for other good things that could have happened, but didn’t, because of gatekeeping”
I’m not sure how - other than allowing full content in RSS feeds I’m not sure how newspapers acted as gatekeepers. I’d like to know more on your thoughts around that (apologies if you’ve gone in-depth on this elsewhere)
“For example, I had a very simple Blackberry river of news for the Times in 2006. This was before it was known widely that mobile was everything (another thing Sulzberger said last night). But it couldn’t happen because the Times had its own internal effort to do a mobile app that was, imho, nowhere near as easy, fast or nice as the one I was able to whip up in a weekend because I didn’t have the time to make it complicated.”
Its worth noting that most people do not want a river of news from the Times (or most other news sources). In the Times case people wanted the Homepage. They wanted the editorial judged placement on the lead story and what else was news of the day.
Also, the Mobile site of the time wasn’t particularly slow as I recall and to be fair the aesthetics level it was better then the version you built. Thats not a criticism - yours is much simpler but because its pure chronological and plainly formatted not something I would say is consumer ready. Thats just opinion on my part though.
I’m a big fan, honest, but please do two things:
1. Don’t run a full page ad (especially not this!) on the Homepage when there has been a shooting. Flip the ‘tragedy’ flag, I know the option is there.
2. Cookie it! I get the ad every time I refresh the page.
Not to dwell on the first point too much, but you don’t exactly want to see someone with an axe kicking through your screen when the headline is about a murderous rampage within driving distance.
My first ever Quartz-Verge remix. I’m like an digital-outlaw or something http://qz.com/122921/the-chart-tim-cook-doesnt-want-you-to-see/