Why I Don’t Give Two Shits About WhatsApp
Let me start out by saying, I consider myself a highly connected member of the digital / social media generation. I’m 27 years old and for as long as I can remember, I’ve used the Internet (and other connected services) to communicate. I met my first girlfriend in a chat room (that’s another story for another time).
However, one app I’ve known about for years but never taken the time or interest in downloading: WhatsApp. The company was just acquired by Facebook for a staggering $19 billion in cash and stock. It boasts 450 million active users, 70% of whom use the service on a given day. More than one million new registered users sign up every day, which is quite impressive. In Facebook’s quest to make the world “more open and connected,” the acquisition makes sense.
I have never used WhatsApp and never intend on using WhatsApp. Simply put, it doesn’t provide any value that other existing services don’t. If you can’t figure out how to get in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, Gmail, Google Talk, Skype, text message, iMessage, or an old fashioned phone call, then I probably don’t care to talk to you anyway.
I understand the demographic is made up mostly of international users and teenagers. What I don’t understand is how and why it has appeal that the myriad of other services don’t.
If its anonymity you seek (maybe you don’t want to give someone your real email address or phone number), it’s just as easy to create a nameless, faceless account on any of the other services that most people already use. Why the need for yet another?
Don’t get me wrong; I think the story behind WhatsApp and its acquisition is great. It reads like the American Dream. Unemployed developer gets turned down for jobs at Twitter and Facebook. Four years later, signs legal documents on the door of his old welfare office to sell his company to Facebook for $19 billion. That makes it worth four times as much as BlackBerry, six times as much as Snapchat, nine times as much as The New York Times, and 19 times as much as Instagram.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s just another communication tool, one which I don’t give two shits about. It’s the contrary for Facebook, though. By acquiring WhatsApp, they now own an even more substantial piece of the communication spectrum, and yet another place on half a billion people’s smartphone home screen. That’s easily worth $19 billion.
It was a perfectly clear (but frigidly cold) night, so I thought I’d go out and shoot some star trails over the bridge.
I found a great spot next to the Charleston Aquarium to setup. Since it was 18 degrees last night, I only shot for an hour and a half, which wasn’t enough time for long streaks or full rotations.
To make this image, I used a Sony NEX-7 and SEL 10-18mm wide angle lens. I made 277 total images with 8 second exposures at f/8 and ISO 800. In post, I combined them all using the Star Circle Academy Photoshop stacking batch preset. Once all 277 images had been compiled, I brought the single image into Lightroom for final adjustments and a few tweaks to contrast and clarity.
Today, I went out to catch the sunset over the Boneyard beach near Botany Bay Plantation on Edisto Island. As it happens, the plantation is closed on Tuesdays (of all days!) and I had to switch up my plans at the last minute.
We headed down to Edisto Island State Park on the southern end of the island to catch the sunset, and weren’t disappointed. It had rained earlier in the day, so there were a few clouds left in the sky that really added some character to this image.
You can view the full resolution, uncompressed version on my Flickr account, here.
Cooking the Perfect Filet Mignon
Tonight I tried a new technique (new to me) for cooking steak. It turned out to be the best steak I’ve ever made, so I thought I’d share the process.
1. Take the steak out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking. This lets the meat warm up to room temperature. Never cook a cold steak, even if you don’t follow any of the rest of these instructions.
2. Salt and pepper it on both sides and set it aside for now.
3. Turn your oven on to 450 degrees, and your stove to high. Get out your best sauté pan and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
4. While you’re waiting for the stove and the oven to get to full heat, grab some butter and your favorite herbs or spices. Throw them all in a small bowl and microwave the concoction for 15 - 20 seconds so you end up with a liquid.
5. Grab an empty plate (the one you’ll eat from later) and put it on the bottom rack of the oven, out of the way. If there’s one thing all the major steakhouses agree on, it’s never to set a hot steak on a cold plate. At Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, for example, they bring your steak out to the table on a plate that is 500 degrees.
6. Now it’s time to cook. Put your steak in the sauté pan and let it sear each side for three to four minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut. The thicker the cut, the longer you want to sear each side.
7. After you’ve seared the steak on the first side and flipped it, scoop some of your herb butter on the top side you’ve already seared, doing your best to keep it from running off. As the steak continues to cook, this will absorb into the meat.
8. Once both sides are seared, flip the steak back over to the first side and put the entire sauté pan in the oven on the top rack (your dinner plate should still be in there). Let the steak broil for another four to five minutes to finish it off.
9. Remove the pan and the plate from the oven and put your steak on the plate. Spoon the remaining amount of your herb butter over the top, again being careful not to let it run off the sides. As with any meat, your steak is still continuing to cook while sitting on the plate due to the residual heat and the temperature of the plate.
10. Whatever you do, DON’T cut into the steak to check it’s “done-ness”. That lets all the juices run out all over the plate right up front. Instead, let it sit (“rest”) for 3-4 minutes before you make your first cut. After that, I think you know what comes next. Enjoy.