The fight you shouldn’t fight

Lockhart Steele, founder of, on how to deal (or rather not deal) with people who can’t understand why you’re doing things a certain way on your own site:

Never complain—so when people are mad at you or people are throwing stones at you, or people are saying things like, Hey, you must be getting paid, you never respond. You never need to. And you never complain about what’s going on. Your work speaks for itself. If a reader can’t figure out what you’re doing, or it upsets them, or they think that it’s really fundamentally stupid that you’re writing about this thing all of the time, great news—they don’t have to read your publication. It’s a free world and our publication is here for those who are amused by it. So we will never explain why we were obsessed with something; it should be self-evident. If it’s not self-evident to you, there are many other food blogs out there, and perhaps Eater’s not the one for you.

I love the idea of it, but after 7 years of blogging, I still can’t help it sometimes. I still have to jump in the comments and explain people the gist of what we do. It’s a mistake though, because it’s an argument you never win, and as MG Siegler puts it, it’s a fight you shouldn’t even fight to begin with.

If you don’t like what I do, just move on to the next Apple blog. There are literally hundreds of them out there.

Ad blockers and the loss of revenue

don't use ad blockers

Writing for Venture Beat, Gerhard Stiene wonders whether ad blocking is theft. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it theft, but it sure one cause of loss of revenue.

Having run a blog for seven years, I’ve always been aware of ad blockers but never realized they were so popular. Considering the savviness of iDB readers, I would even think much more than 27.6% of our readership uses them, which of course is not good news for us since we rely almost exclusively on ad revenue to make a living.

Online advertising is huge. It hit $141.2 billion worldwide in 2014. This is great news for online content creators, and it should be great news for content consumers. As your favorite websites make more money, they can continue to produce more of the articles and videos that you love. Now for the bad news: According to a 2014 study conducted by PageFair, “27.6 percent of U.S. Internet users surveyed said they use ad-blocking software.” This is a problem for content creators.

Yet it seems that with the world going mobile, ad blockers should be the least of my worries. Services like Readability, Pocket, and Instapaper are the new ad blockers. Of course, they provide a better experience for readers, but they prevent us from generating ad revenue.

I won’t lose sleep over it, but it’s something to be aware of, and an additional motivation to try to think outside the box when it comes to monetization.

I personally don’t use ad blockers for two reasons. One, I like to see what kind of ads websites serve me, as well as learn about new formats. Two, I think it’s wrong to take money away from sites that provide me information for free.


Achievement unlocked: 6,000 steps a day for 100 days in a row

100 days

Today marks a pretty big milestone for me as I have been reaching my goal of walking 6,000 steps a day for 100 days in a row, usually beating that goal by a few hundred to a few thousand steps. It’s a small achievement but an achievement nonetheless.

I’ve long had this daily goal, but I didn’t put my mind to really meet it every single day until December 19, 2014. Sitting all day at the computer just isn’t healthy and is causing terrible back problems. Walking on a daily basis won’t fix my broken back (I have a cracked annulus), but it helps relieve some of the pain.

It is believed that people should walk at least 10,000 steps a day, but I don’t know how you can do that on a daily basis. If you look at my progress on the image above, you’ll see that I rarely walk 10,000 steps, which would take about 1.5 hours of walking at a steady pace. Honestly, who has the luxury of walking 1.5 hours a day?

I use Pedometer++ to track my steps, and of course, all this is possible thanks to the motion coprocessor found in iPhone. For those wondering, 10,000 steps equals to about 5 miles. 6,000 steps equals to about 3 miles.

With Apple Watch just around the corner, I think it will make my step tracking even easier, but most importantly, the Activity app will likely provide an additional source of motivation, something that I haven’t found from any app in the App Store so far.

Here is to the next 100 days at 6,000 steps!

Google, the political engine

What did Google do when the FTC announced it would investigate the company’s search business in 2012?

Google hired a dozen lobbyists and arranged a fusillade of favorable public events and high-level meetings with FTC and White House officials.

The FTC eventually dropped the investigation and Google adjusted its policies on its own.

Today, only Comcast spends more on lobbying than Google, which spent $16.8 billion in 2014 trying to influence lawmakers.

Full story at IBT

Download YouTube videos in MP4

We’re getting ready for a long cross Atlantic flight so I’m loading up the iPad with Chloé’s favorite YouTube cartoons. I found a couple sites that allow you to download YouTube videos in MP4, for easy uploading on the iPad. There are dozens of tools that let you download YouTube videos, but these two are web based and don’t require any software download or any signup. I’m sure there are many more, but these two worked great for me.

With 9 hours of videos saved, we might have just enough to keep Chloé busy all the way to Paris.

Goodbye Netflix

I did it. Again. For the second time in six months, I canceled my Netflix membership.

I initially cancelled last year after Netflix’s ridiculous price increase. It never was about money – I can afford an extra $6/month. It was a matter of principle. You don’t get to increase the price of a service by 60% without bringing any additional value in. So I cancelled, and then a few months later, I signed up again because I missed it.

Then came Chloé, on December 11, 2011. Since having a baby, we have much less time to watch movies. This plus the extremely poor selection of movies available for streaming made it a no-brainer that I should cancel again, for good.

From now on, if I want to watch a movie, I’ll get it directly from iTunes or I’ll just walk my ass to the Red Box at 7 Eleven, a couple hundred yards away from our house. It will be more convenient and cost effective.