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News from the Delevine Mediaverse

How to turn off Facebook video autoplay

When Facebook announced it would go ahead and make all videos in your timeline autoplay by default I was furious. And not just because Facebook was again happy to sacrifice user experience to woo advertisers, this time in order to create phoney video streaming stats. And not only because it would eat mobile data plans without your consent. That really irked me. But what got to me the most was the visual stress that it would create.

If you’re even 1% like me, you’ll be irritated as hell by this eye-pollution from Facebook and will want to switch it off. Here’s how:

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Turned out niche again

A writer friend announces he’s working on a history of game shows. Someone critiques: “A bit niche isn’t it? Wouldn’t your efforts be better spent writing a telly show?”

The implication is that, when a project is being pitched, the ultimate goal should be broad, populist approval. If the project can’t have mass appeal, then it should be abandoned and efforts reallocated to something that might.

It’s the model by which most arts funding operates and, crucially, the way UK book publishing has been running itself for the last couple of decades.


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Introducing the Delevine Freemium Bird-Feeder

It’s Christmas time so I put some free food out for the birds.

I say free—

The birds could get their beaks on the seeds only after agreeing to give me access to their list of family and friends, private bird photos, the GPS coordinates of their nests and control of their bird webcams and microphones.

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Facebook to tip off state surveillance targets

no2phoneEspionage news

In an interesting twist to an ongoing story, Facebook has revealed it will now tip off people whose profiles it suspects are targets of espionage carried out or “sponsored” by nation states.

Users whose accounts have been compromised will now receive a pop-up notification warning them that “state-sponsored actors” (i.e. secret agents) are possibly now in control of their profile and that they should switch on an additional security feature called “Login Approvals”, which enables two-factor authentication. This kind of authentication might include entering a secret code sent securely via SMS to a burner phone in a dead drop in the laundry room of a Madrid hotel, among other methods.

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Gotcha marketing is over

But did anyone get the memo?

Two sales promotions caught my eye recently. One was from French retailer Relais, who offered “Your choice of sandwich plus any drink for 5,20€”. When the cashier asked me for 7,30€ I mentioned the offer and he pointed to some tiny print on the ad that basically said only one or two sandwiches were covered by the deal. It was “your choice*” — by which they meant: “our choice”. And the sandwiches actually included in the deal were not available on the shelf. Gotcha.

“It’s not illegal*,” the clerk said, apologetically. “But it’s not cool.”

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Why Google logo haters miss the point

A well-known company has only to change its logo in order to activate a flood of tired journalistic tropes.

First off is the “How much??” story, in which non-designers say the cost was ridiculous. “I’d have done it for a tenner,” says a man with Photoshop on his computer.

Then there are the hatchet jobs. Some are delivered by paid hacks whose editors have given them a hating brief and some are delivered by injured professional parties who insist they would have done a better job had they had landed the contract. I’m not sure which of these is worse.

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Spotify: I know where my friends are, thanks

Spotify has upset users by asking them to share address book contacts, photos and GPS location with the app and cede control of their device’s microphone in order to use the service. A Twitterstorm — and high-profile criticism from vocal netizens such as Minecraft co-founder Markus Persson — forced the streaming music service to apologise and clarify its position. Users can opt in to divulging this data, it seems.

Spotify is already hated by recording artists and labels, because of its derisory royalty payments. The users were the only people rooting for it. Now they hate it, too.

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Coffee with Rinmaru

We sat down for a nice Turkish coffee with our awesome client Rinmaru, Queen at ImpQueen Games, to chat about the soundtrack for Ascension Echoes in the Dark and an upcoming new game.

Rinmaru fans, we can confirm: she is real.

Making “Paris is for Love” by David Rosane

Modern Folk, by David Rosane & The Zookeepers, is out today. Here’s a little backstory about its majestic closing track.

Some time last year I got an e-mail from a singer-singwriter I didn’t know, David Rosane, asking if I would consider working on one of his songs. He was making an album and hoped I would develop and arrange a song.

It turned out I knew his producer very well, so I knew it would be a good partnership. I took on the job. He sent me a file and basically asked me to Lewisify it. Here’s the song he sent:

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When is a Podcast not a Podcast?

Today’s blog post is a podcast. More than that, it’s a meta-podcast: a podcast about podcasts.

Opening theme © 2015 Richard Lewis

Starting a podcast can be a great way to connect with people and tell your story.

Do it badly, however, and you can turn people off quicker than you thought possible.

So before you switch on the recorder … give me four minutes of your time.

Why serious freelances avoid online “marketplaces”

The best freelances are not on Upwork. Or Hopwork. Or Bipwork. Or Bopwork.

There’s a reason you went into business for yourself and it wasn’t to give away your margin, your terms, brand equity, story and client relationship to someone else. If you want to hang around passively waiting for the call so that someone else can decide your worth, get a job already.

But you knew that, so you’ll be as excited as I am by the latest news from the world of joyless commodity “freelancing”. The merged entity Elance-oDesk, the world’s number one place to source generic work for very little, has rebranded as Upwork. The rebadging is tacit admission that there was zero equity worth keeping in either brand. That’s amusing in itself.

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facebook,deal,new york times

Why the New York Times doesn’t need Facebook

Know the value of your assets. 

I was reading this article on TechCrunch about the New York Times making a deal to allow Facebook to “host” its “content” for free. And I had multiple problems.

The writer (Tom Goodwin, no less) asks:

“So does the New York times [sic] see this as free content marketing to gain subscribers, or as incremental advertising revenue? Only time will, and maybe they don’t even know?”

Once you’ve parsed that into English it seems very clear the NYT doesn’t have a clue. If it did, it would not be giving away its prize assets and brand equity to someone else.

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