Robert Blinov’s blog

Ecosystems via subscriptions

As more and more services now work only by subscription, bundles are saviours. These bundles today are the ecosystems of tomorrow.

Dec 13   economics   ecosystems

How to make Russia a better place

When Russia hosted the World Cup this year—an event of international importance—the host cities got streets cleaned and trash thrown away, made life safer and the overall appearance neater. (Oh, and people were friendlier)

The more such events Russia hosts (or any country, for that matter), the better everything will be. It’s a pity that Ekaterinburg didn’t win the Expo 2025 bid.

Dec 13   problem solving   Russia

Gates in libraries

There are three ways to do this.

Moscow’s Foreign Language Library. Gates, a stern security guard, librarians that don’t understand one another, no single database, RFID tags for security purposes, a ban on bringing backpacks in (!). The wide variety of books is the only thing that saves this library from obliteration.

Pigna’s library. The honesty system at its finest. Just a heartwarming librarian and no security features. They make an assumption that everyone entering isn’t there for a random reason (which is close to truth).

The Russian State Library for Youth. A total absence of any visible gates or security features. Anyone strolling by can enter and read a book. As for bringing a book home, all one has to do to register is to show an ID. Every book has an RFID tag used for theft prevention, as well as for scanning books. I was surprised at how efficient the system was when I first took some books home: I stacked the books, put them on a table along with my library card, and I could go out. No librarian or gate needed.

There’s only one way to do it right.

Dec 9   automation   design   library

I can’t stand titles where almost each word begins with a capital letter

As a Courtesy to the Next Passenger May We Suggest that You Use Your Towel to Wipe Off the Water Basin. Thank You!

Having titles where each word except articles starts with a capital letter in English is not a necessity for correct grammar. Hereby all my titles will be sentence case.

Capitalising each word in a title slows down the time needed to understand what’s written. I’m also going to write ‘internet’ with the first letter being lower case, it’s not the 90s after all.

Previously on Medium.

Dec 8   language

My editorial guidelines

British English. Funny because my pronunciation is American. I pay close attention to cultural differences (napkin/serviette & c.)

Diëresis. Yes, I spell it that way so the word is kinda autological.

Numbers in word form.

Reformed names. Qazaqstan, Eswatini.

Ligatures. I use ’em. For instance, in the word æsthetics. I do not use the massachusett (ꝏ) because it is heavier than having oo, when the entire point of ligatures is to minimise the heftiness of letters. And what if a word that starts with Oo begins a sentence?

“Ћ” for “the”. Currently beta-testing on my website’s home page. The hardest bit is that there’s no keyboard key for it.

&. I consistently use the ampersand inconsistently.

Words with Slavic origin. If my ear hurts when hearing one, I fix the spelling and pronunciation. For example, Weird Al Yankovič. The spelling doesn’t change much, while the sound becomes pleasant.

Language purity. While English is a combination of every language in the world, I am much more pedantic with Russian and Italian, where I don’t use loanwords unless they benefit the language.

Et cetera. Ah, Latin. The only logical abbreviation is “& c.” because “et” is not a word in English.

Single-letter Roman numerals in numerical lists. I use this to save space & time. X for 10, L for 50, C for 100, D for 500, M for 1000.

Four-digit numbers without comma between digit groups. It is fairly easy for the human eye to see that 1504 is one thousand five hundred & four and not some other number.

Month name ahead of days. Despite preferring British English I write December 8th, Sep 1st. There’s nothing wrong with the 4th of July, but the preferred form saves space.

Three-letter abbreviations for months and days of the week. Jan–Dec, Mon–Sun.

Titles in sentence case. Well, See, This Doesn’t Look Very Appealing, Does It?

“Internet” with the first letter lower-case. It’s not the 90s, after all.

Umlaüts. I don’t use them because English isn’t German. Therefore, it’s the Mœbius band.

Constantly expanding...

Dec 1   language
Dec 1   problem solving

Contextual text in articles

Almost anything can be easily revealed about any internet user. Why not use it to give authors a powerful way to contextualise what people read? People will get a bonus for giving away privacy: saving time.

For instance, instead of writing

If you have an iPhone, go to Settings ‹...›
If you’re on Android, then there is no way to solve this.


Since you have an iPhone, go to Settings ‹...›

The same idea can be applied for videos too.

Nov 30   idea

Loyalty & lying

Lying is being loyal to the person who told you to lie, but not to the person you’re lying to.

Nov 29   society

Truth & opinion

Some strange people often say something, and then end the phrase with “but this is just my opinion”. But don’t they want their opinion to be true?! Why say something without being certain about it? Why bifurcate the reality to a subjective “everyone has their own feelings about it”? Humans are different, but not to the point that there are alternate truths and realities.

When I say something, I am certain that it is true, whether it is so or I want it to be. Obviously I won’t say anything if I know what I say isn’t true.

P. S. If there is uncertainty, just say so.

Nov 29   society

Apple’s strategy for the future

At WWDC this June, Apple announced that it would let developers easily port iOS apps to the Mac. This new procedure opens up a door to a broader intention: porting stuff from different platforms to others.

When Apple makes software the usefulness of which may not be obvious, think ahead. To make good AR goggles, Apple needs apps. But talking about future products is harmful, so they can’t invite over too many developers to work on the alpha. That’s why they introduced ARKit now. Apps are made now, to be used now. This makes people interested in new technologies, now. It isn’t very comfortable to poke around with an Ikea sofa model on a phone, but it will be with goggles.

Think Memoji is stupid? I did think so too, until I realised how it will scale in the future. Apple gets people prepared as they get used to having a live virtual avatar now. In two years, it will be indispensable for AR interactions.

When 2020 comes, all Apple has to do is make a porting mechanism for ARKit iOS apps to aOS, and sell the goggles. Instant success.

Nov 25   Apple   business   design   development
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