2018 01 24milkyway

Edition 119 of my email newsletter went out on yesterday.

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes. If you like this newsletter, please invite others to sign up.

📝 What I Wrote in The Wall Street Journal

The Internet Is Filling Up Because Indians Are Sending Millions of ‘Good Morning!’ Texts. The story, out yesterday, begins:

Google researchers in Silicon Valley were trying to figure out why so many smartphones were freezing up half a world away. One in three smartphone users in India run out of space on their phones daily.

The answer? Two words. “Good Morning!”

The glitch, Google discovered, was an overabundance of sun-dappled flowers, adorable toddlers, birds and sunsets sent along with a cheery message.

Millions of Indians are getting online for the first time—and they are filling up the internet. Many like nothing better than to begin the day by sending greetings from their phones. Starting before sunrise and reaching a crescendo before 8 a.m., internet newbies post millions of good-morning images to friends, family and strangers.

The story has touched a nerve, it seems, having been widely shared today on Twitter and Facebook. It’s on the front page of today’s print paper and is among our most-popular stories on the WSJ site. I’ve received some heartwarming feedback from readers, much of it along the lines of: I thought I was the only one plagued by this phenomenon!

💬 What I Wrote at Newley.com

Trip Report: 2-Week Greece Getaway. Anasuya and I went to Greece in August. It was a fantastic trip. Here’s my (long-overdue) blog post about the journey, with images and maps and travel tips and more. The TLDR:

Greece is amazing. If you haven’t gone, you should visit if at all possible. We went to Athens and the islands of Mykonos and Folegandros, and loved each destination.

📲 5 Cool Tech-ish Reads This Week

1. “Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble,” is the title of a New York Times magazine piece by top technology author Steven Johnson that some folks are calling the best longform story yet about the cryptocurrency’s rise. His point: the underlying tech, known as the blockchain, could truly be revolutionary. Bitcoin? Maybe not so much.

2. The Economist on the backlash against Big Tech. This piece, written in the form of an email to the likes of Zuckerberg, Bezos, Pichai et al, summarizes what’s happened to public perception of Facebook, Amazon, Google and other behemoths:

You are an industry that embraces acronyms, so let me explain the situation with a new one: “BAADD”. You are thought to be too big, anti-competitive, addictive and destructive to democracy.

What can they do? Become more transparent, for one, according to the author.

3. Gorgeous aerial video of the earth in all its glory. “Over several months of prep and R&D we modified a LearJet and flew above the earth looking straight down at the shear beauty of what Mother Nature has to offer us that we all too often miss from the ground,” writes Vincent Laforet.

4. New site: A Google for Netflix. I love this: Flixable.com lets you see not just the new movies and shows added to Netflix every day, but also lets you search by genre, IMDB rating, release date and more. You can also see when content’s about to become unavailable on the platform. It’s also available for Canada, the UK and Finland.

5. Not tech-related, but important: “1 Son, 4 Overdoses, 6 Hours” is a moving New York Times story by Katherine Q. Seelye — with incredible photos by the great Todd Heisler — about how one family in New Hampshire has been hit by the opioid epidemic.

💫 1 Silly Thing

“What if Wookiees Sounded Like Pee-Wee Herman?”. Here’s your answer.

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,

Newley