Eric Portelance

Feb 28

[video]

Jan 24

[video]

Jan 23

[video]

ASCII Street View -

Great to see a Teehan+Lax Labs project featured on Google’s Creative Sandbox.

Dec 30

My Favourite Albums of 2012

For the past several years, I’ve been keeping a list of my favourite new albums each year. Here’s my list for 2012.

  1. Beach House – Bloom
  2. Tame Impala – Lonerism
  3. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
  4. Joel Plaskett Emergency – Scrappy Happiness
  5. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
  6. Chromatics – Kill for Love
  7. Grizzly Bear – Shields
  8. Jack White – Blunderbuss
  9. Hot Chip – In Our Heads
  10. M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion
  11. Matthew E. White – Big Inner

_Edit:_ I somehow overlooked the fact that Jack White’s Blunderbuss was released in 2012. Added to the list.

Dec 18

One of my favourite photos I’ve taken in a while.

One of my favourite photos I’ve taken in a while.

Nov 30

Nov 16

[video]

Sep 11

Journalistic Integrity and Internet Dick Wagging

I’ve been watching with great interest this silly little debate about integrity and journalism between Marco Arment, John Gruber, and Joshua Topolsky, and I couldn’t resist the urge to comment.

First, a quick summary of the issue. A number of prominent tech sites, including The Verge and Engadget, wrote articles about the HP Spectre One all-in-one desktop computer, which looks suspiciously like an Apple product ripoff (think Thunderbolt Display bolted on top of a MacBook Air, with the same wireless keyboard and Magic Trackpad as an iMac). Each of these sites neglected to mention the similarities with said Apple products.

And so Marco noticed and alleged this was due to said tech sites being toothless and wanting to remain chummy with OEMs because their business model depends on it. Gruber chimed in and believes that this has more to do with these sites taking an editorial position that more closely aligns their views with those of certain readers who believe these manufacturers are not copying Apple, are entitled to do so, or one of many other similar positions. Topolsky responded with a pretty emotional and heated post. After that, a bunch of Internet ego dick wagging happened on Twitter.

Egos aside, I’m more interested in discussing what I believe to be the core issue with the business model of sites like The Verge that leave the door open for these types of omissions.

I haven’t worked as a journalist, but I have worked on the other side of the fence, in PR. Tech news sites, like any other news sites, are faced with a few fundamental problems: a high volume of news stories, too few resources to adequately cover them in depth, and fighting the clock to get “breaking” news out the door and on the site. These sites primarily make their money through advertising, which either directly or indirectly pays higher returns for greater pageviews. This means there is an incentive to be the first to break a story, to have an exclusive scoop, or take a controversial position on an issue. With so much competition, if you’re too slow in getting to a story, you’re losing out on potential “eyeballs” from referrals and other sources.

On the flip side, companies like HP and their PR agencies spend a lot of time and money trying to craft compelling pitches and use other tactics to get the interest of journalists. The gold standard for PR is that your press release gets published verbatim in whole or in part. Runner up would be that your messaging and spin is intact, even if the words aren’t. Providing the messaging isn’t totally over-the-top, journalists are happy to do this because they are working on deadline, and need to post a high volume of stories in a timely manner. This means there’s no time for editorializing straight news like a first-look piece. This is how the PR business stays alive and stays successful, and news sites keep costs down and revenue up.

What it comes down to, I think, is not a desire to suck up to OEMs, or to pander to Android and PC loving readers, or willful maliciousness by sites like The Verge, as Marco and Gruber seem to believe, but rather a sort of unintentional journalistic laziness that results from the pressures of the job and these publications’ business models.

Aug 24

Home is a Feeling

About a week and a half ago, the relationship I was in came to an end. She and I lived in a small apartment together, so sticking around didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I’ve been living off my friends’ generosity since then.

I’ve been back to that apartment twice now to pick up some essentials (read: clean clothes) to keep me going for the next little while. My ex wasn’t there. On the second visit, it struck me that both nothing and everything had changed.

On the one hand, it looked as though nobody lived there anymore. The television remote had moved, and her favourite record was now sitting on the turntable. She made the bed for the first time in a long time. But everything else was the same, right down to a few lone beard trimmings around the bathroom sink that always seemed to avoid my attempts at cleaning.

And yet, this isn’t home for me anymore. It doesn’t feel right. It’s no longer the place where I can retreat from the world when I need to switch into Introvert Mode, or simply relax after a long day. That sense of security, familiarity, belonging, love and trust disappeared overnight. It’s just a space like any other. A shell of its former self.

It has never been so powerfully apparent to me that home is a feeling, not a place.