Linked List: June 2009

Speaking of DF Advertising and Sponsorships 

A heads-up to anyone considering sponsoring the DF RSS feed: July is sold out, but most weeks in August are still available. If you have a product or service you’d like to promote to the DF audience, get in touch.

(And if display advertising is more your bag, this tweet from my friend Jim Coudal may be of interest.)

Seth Godin Says Malcolm Gladwell Is Wrong 

Godin says he disagrees with Gladwell’s review of Chris Anderson’s Free, but it’s unclear to me exactly what he thinks Gladwell is wrong about. What I took away from Gladwell’s review is that Anderson is wrong that free media alone will satisfy our demand, not an argument that existing not-free media institutions must somehow be preserved.

On a related point, several readers have asked why I seem opposed to Anderson’s view, given that I’ve made a nice career for myself by giving away my own writing for free here on Daring Fireball. My answer to that is that Daring Fireball is decidedly not free. It’s simply a question of who gets charged. Readers don’t, but sponsors and advertisers do. What makes it work so well (so far) is that this makes everyone happy. I’m earning a nice salary. Readers get to read my writing in exchange for a small portion of their attention which I direct toward ads. And sponsors and advertisers are happy to pay a fair price to reach an audience of good-looking, intelligent readers such as yourself. But there’s nothing free about it.

Clipstart 1.1 

Update to Manton Reece’s $29 video library app for the Mac adds support for importing clips directly from your iPhone 3GS. As I wrote in May, it’s like iPhoto or iTunes for the video clips you shoot with your camera.

Craigslist Map Thingie 

Genius from Poeks:

Craigslist Map Thingie slurps housing listings from Craigslist and plots them on Google Maps, with a panorama view of the property, if available.

Update: It’s news to me, but a slew of DF readers emailed to point to Housing Maps, which does something similar.

WSJ: Dell Working on Android-Based iPod Touch Competitor 

John Paczkowski:

The consumer electronics wizards at Dell who brought us the now defunct DJ Ditty MP3 player and the Axim handheld are hard at work on another gadget, a mobile Internet device. Sources tell The Wall Street Journal that the MID uses an ARM-based chip, runs Google’s Android operating system and has been in development since last year.

It’s funny, of course, because the DJ and Ditty were huge failures, but when they debuted, many pundits predicted they would topple the iPod. But I hope this rumor is true. I’d consider buying an iPod Touch-like Android device — something for $200 or so, without any sort of monthly phone contract.

Update: To be clear, the reason I’d consider buying a $200 non-phone Android device is so I could use, try, and write about Android apps. Same goes for WebOS, by the way.

Jackass of the Week: Joe Wilcox 

Issues “personal challenge” to Steve Jobs to return to work in his “full capacity”; declares that Apple accomplished little during his medical leave:

Across product lines I see a consistent trend: More of the same, only better.

With insight this deep it’s hard to believe Wilcox was laid off from eWeek.

On the ‘Wall-E’ End Title Sequence 

The Art of the Title Sequence has a wonderful interview with Pixar’s Jim Capobianco and Alexander Woo, regarding the fantastic end titles for Wall-E. (Via Kottke.)

John Nack on Adobe’s Closing for the Week 

John Nack:

Let me first mention that these Adobe shutdowns are nothing new. I’ve worked here for 9 years, and the company has done the shutdowns off and on throughout that time — at least since ’01 or ’02. I didn’t hear the news of this one and say (as DF does) “Uh-oh.”

He also says (and I’ve heard the same thing privately from a friend who works at Adobe) that there’s no pressure to work through the break. Company-wide vacation.

Update: Company-wide vacation, that is, for Adobe employees with vacation time. For those without vacation time, it’s a company-wide unpaid vacation. Next week, free shit sandwiches in the cafeteria.

The Potential of Web Typography 

Mozilla-hosted demo page showing the potential of web typography with the @font-face CSS rule, using typefaces licensed for use just on that page. Looks great in both Firefox 3.5 and Safari 4.0.

Firefox 3.5 for Developers 

Firefox 3.5 is out, and, among a slew of major improvements, it now supports the HTML 5 <audio> and <video> tags. I don’t post many video clips to Daring Fireball, but henceforth, when I do, it’ll be with the <video> tag. IE users can suck it.

Update: Whoops, not so fast. The only video format Firefox 3.5 supports for use with the <video> tag is Ogg, which almost no one uses. And so it can’t play H.264 MP4 files like the one in YouTube’s HTML 5 demo page.

PC World’s Nationwide 3G Network Testing 

PC World commissioned an extensive nationwide 3G test in the U.S.:

The AT&T network’s 13-city average download speed in our tests was 812 kbps. Its average upload speed was 660 kbps. Reliability was an issue in our experience of the AT&T system: Our testers were able to make a connection at a reasonable, uninterrupted speed in only 68 percent of their tests.

Reliability is the single most important factor, and AT&T’s network is clearly the least reliable. “Sorry about your complete inability to get a connection at all, but if you did have a working connection, you’d have a good upload speed” is little solace.

Adobe Shuts Down for a Week 

Uh-oh:

Adobe Systems has shut its North American operations for the week as part of a cost-cutting effort that the company said it will repeat at least once more this year.

This strategy has never made any sense to me. In a manufacturing business — like an auto factory — I get it. But at a software company, shouldn’t every week be a productive week? And I can only guess that on some, if not most, teams, there is subtle (or even not so subtle) pressure to keep working from home on whatever your current project is.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a blog post from John Dowdell explaining how this is a positive sign for the future of Flash.

Update: Apparently this is old news, but it’s still bad news.

Microsoft’s New Ads for Internet Explorer 

What strikes me about these spots is that even Microsoft’s own ads use Helvetica rather than Arial.

Jakob Nielsen Calls for an End to Password Masking 

Jakob Nielsen:

Usability suffers when users type in passwords and the only feedback they get is a row of bullets. Typically, masking passwords doesn’t even increase security, but it does cost you business due to login failures.

The iPhone strikes an interesting middle ground here — it shows you each letter you’ve typed in a password field for a second or so before turning it into a bullet.

Birdfeed 

Excellent new $5 iPhone Twitter client from Buzz Andersen (with design by Neven Mrgan). I’ve been beta-testing Birdfeed for a long time, and it is truly worth your attention. It looks good and feels smart, and it has some features which, once you get used to them, you can’t believe aren’t in every iPhone Twitter client. Among my favorites:

  • Scroll to the bottom of a list of tweets and Birdfeed will start loading more, from further back chronologically, automatically.

  • Update timestamps in tweet lists.

  • Your last loaded tweets are stored locally in a database, so you can fire up Birdfeed on an airplane and read what was there when last you launched it with a network connection.

Comparing Birdfeed to other good — but very different — Twitter apps like Tweetie and Twitterrific is exactly what I had in mind when I wrote “Twitter Clients Are a UI Design Playground”.

Sputnik 

Christian Plesner Hansen announcing Sputnik, Google’s new open source JavaScript test suite:

The goal is not that all implementations should pass all tests. V8 set out with that intention and we learned the hard way that sometimes you have to be incompatible with the spec to be compatible with the web. Rather, we want Sputnik to be a tool for identifying differences between implementations.

(Via John Siracusa.)

Speaking of the Two-Year Anniversary of the Original iPhone 

Palm investor Roger McNamee, back in March:

“You know the beautiful thing: June 29, 2009, is the two-year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone,” McNamee said today in an interview in San Francisco. “Not one of those people will still be using an iPhone a month later.”

Two Years Ago Today, This Was Still My Phone 

Here’s a photo of the old Nokia freebie I was using before I got my first iPhone, two years ago today.

Free ‘Free’ (Or: Who’s the Blowhard Now?) 

Regarding my link earlier today to Gladwell’s review of Free, I got the following gracious (and interesting) email from Chris Anderson:

I may be a blowhard, but I’m not a hypocrite. “Free” will be free. Ebooks free for first week, web book (Google Books) free for first month, abridged audiobook free to all hardcover purchasers and unabridged audiobook (the whole thing) free to everyone forever. All starting on pub date (July 9th).

BTW, I made those audiobooks free by reserving the rights to myself. I paid for the studio time (and recorded it myself), the abridging and the audio editing (more than $25,000, all told), so that the audiobook could be free to all.

I stand corrected, regret the error, and very much appreciate the note from Anderson.

There, I Fixed It 

“Epic kludges and adventures in home ownership.” (Via Rands.)

Mariano Rivera Records 500th Save, First RBI 

The best closer there ever was.

Speaking of Walkmen 

The BBC Magazine had 13-year-old Scott Campbell swap his iPod for a Walkman for one week:

It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

Fake Steve: Jon Rubinstein Now Says He’ll Get a New Liver, Too 

If you haven’t re-subscribed to the Fake Steve RSS feed, you should. It’s been great all week.

Malcolm Gladwell Reviews ‘Free’ by Chris Anderson 

I’ll preface my recommendation of this book review by telling you that I’m a big Gladwell fan, and that I think Chris Anderson is a hypocritical blowhard who tells you to give your work away for free while he earns enormous sums selling decidedly-not-free books. Anyway, love this bit from Gladwell on Anderson’s “free” poster child YouTube:

YouTube is a great example of Free, except that Free technology ends up not being Free because of the way consumers respond to Free, fatally compromising YouTube’s ability to make money around Free, and forcing it to retreat from the “abundance thinking” that lies at the heart of Free. Credit Suisse estimates that YouTube will lose close to half a billion dollars this year. If it were a bank, it would be eligible for TARP funds.

Sony to Apple: ‘Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?’ 

Reuters:

Sony Corp is considering developing a cellphone-game gear hybrid in a bid to better compete with Apple Inc’s highly popular iPod and iPhone, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.

That Sony is only now “considering” this epitomizes everything that’s wrong with them. They’ve been making both cell phones and handheld video game systems for years, and yet it didn’t occur to them to fuse the two until after the iPhone became a smash hit. It’s as though they learned nothing after watching the iPod kill the Walkman.

Jeff Atwood Buys an iPhone 

Jeff Atwood:

The original iPhone was for suckers hard-core gadget enthusiasts only.

Good for him; he’s going to love it. But the idea that the original iPhone was only for suckers/enthusiasts brings to mind my observation regarding what recent switchers mean by “Apple fanboy”: someone who bought a Mac before they did.

iPhone 3GS Availability Chart 

Selling very well.

Satchel 

One of my favorite things about 37signals’s Backpack service is that it offers a rich API with read/write access to just about everything you can store in it. My thanks to Stand Alone for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Satchel, their Backpack client for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Satchel lets you create and edit Backpack pages, notes, and reminders; lets you update your Backpack status and journal; supports multiple Backpack accounts; and more. Satchel even lets you edit Backpack items offline.

I use Satchel, and find it particularly handy for editing and managing checklists. Version 1.2 was just released this week and includes a bunch of performance and multiple-account improvements. The full version is $9.99, and you can try its read-only sibling Satchel View for free.

Looks Like There’s a Winner on the Netflix Prize Leaderboard 

The team named “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos” scored a 10.05 percent improvement.

Update: Looks like “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos” is the result of a merger between two leading teams.

Michael Jackson’s Patent for ‘Anti-Gravity’ Shoes 

Unbeige:

That’s right, intellectual property fans, Jackson is listed as the first of three inventors on United States Patent 5,255,452, granted in 1993 for a “method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.” Translation: special loafers fitted with heels that can slot into the stage floor to allow the wearer to lean forward, Smooth Criminal style, at gravity-defying angles.

Mobile Uploads to YouTube 

The YouTube Blog:

In the last six months, we’ve seen uploads from mobile phones to YouTube jump 1700%; just since last Friday, when the iPhone 3GS came out, uploads increased by 400% a day.

Wow.

iPhone 3GS Signal Strength Oddities 

Ted Landau:

Almost immediately after getting my new iPhone 3GS, I noticed that it spent more time connected to the EDGE network, rather than the faster 3G network, than did my prior iPhone 3G. […]

Checking online, I found others reporting a similar situation. So I contacted Apple Support for an explanation. They said they were familiar with this matter and that there was nothing wrong. At least not with my iPhone 3GS. According to Apple, the software behind the status bar on an iPhone 3GS does a better job of showing when a switch from 3G to EDGE has occurred than does the comparable software on an iPhone 3G.

Interesting.

This Week’s ‘Your Mac Life’ 

I was a guest on this week’s episode of Your Mac Life, discussing with Shawn King the media coverage of Steve Jobs’s liver transplant.

Apple Leads in Customer Satisfaction in Vocalabs Tech Support Study 

The results aren’t even close.

The Pre Is Palm’s Last Chance 

Marguerite Reardon, reporting for CNet:

Palm announced big losses for its fiscal fourth quarter, the last quarter before its hot new smartphone hit the market, but executives see the Pre as the key to its turnaround.

CEO Jon Rubinstein said Thursday during the company’s earnings conference call that sales of the Palm Pre, which hit the market on June 6, have been “strong and growing.” He didn’t give exact sales figures for the device, which has a touch screen and uses a new operating system call WebOS, but he added that he “couldn’t be happier with our launch.” Analysts estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 Pres were sold in the first few days that the device was available.

The reason it’s important that the Pre succeeds is so the mobile market doesn’t wind up like the desktop market — with just one single great experience, alone in a sea of crap.

FastScripts 2.4 

Daniel Jalkut:

FastScripts 2.4 is out, with an important change in the evaluation terms.

Use FastScripts for free, for as long as you like. All features are enabled and you may define up to 10 keyboard shortcuts. If you decide you want unlimited keyboard shortcuts, purchase a license to remove that limitation.

FastScripts is one of my favorite and most-used utilities.

Creep of the Week: Clarence Thomas 

The New York Times:

Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the court to conclude that the strip search of Savana Redding did not violate the Fourth Amendment. He asserted that the majority’s finding second-guesses the measures that educators take to maintain discipline “and ensure the health and safety of the students in their charge.”

And on the other side of the 8-1 decision:

Justice Stevens wrote on Thursday that “it does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude.”

The Lessons of Mark Sanford’s Hike 

Some political claim chowder for your enjoyment.

HP Releases iPhone Versions of Classic Calculators 

Interesting foray into iPhone development for HP. Check out the comments for raves and requests from calculator nerds.

Update: More commentary from HP calculator aficionados here.

More on Apple’s Much-Improved iPhone Remote App 

Includes video showing how it works. Very clever.

Apple TV 2.4 Software Updates 

Biggest new feature is support for the new version of the iPhone Remote app, which now lets you use gestures.

Bill Nye Explains How the 3GS Oleophobic Display Works 

I thought it sounded like a gimmick, but I swear it really works.

Why We Need Steve Jobs 

Dan Lyons nails it:

Cook is a great manager, a whiz when it comes to managing supply chains and keeping the trains running on time. He is vital to Apple. Jobs cannot do what he does. But neither can Cook do what Jobs does. The fact is, Apple needs both of them. Forgive me for the analogy I am about to make — but if you’ve seen the latest Star Trek movie, then you might understand how Cook and Jobs work together. Cook is Spock: low-key, cerebral, methodical. He’s the Apollonian counterpart to Kirk, the Dionysian hothead. Kirk is impulsive—but nobody would deny that he, not Spock, should be captain of the ship.

iPhone OS 3.0 Adoption Rate 

Very quick uptake; if I were an iPhone developer, I’d drop support for OS 2.2.

Claim Chowder: Brian X. Chen 

Brian X. Chen, on January 14, “Steve Jobs Probably Won’t Come Back to Apple”:

Steve Jobs’ medical leave from Apple is likely to be permanent, analysts say.

Melody 

Interesting: Melody is a new open source CMS/weblog system forked from Movable Type. The project was started and is driven by a group of top Movable Type developers.

South Carolina Governor and Appalachian Trail Devotee Mark Sanford Voted to Impeach Bill Clinton in 1998 

Sweet delicious schadenfreude, how I love thee.

Fake Steve on The New York Times’s Coverage of Real Steve 

The New York Times published a second piece on Steve Jobs yesterday, implying strongly that Steve Jobs somehow jumped the line and obtained a liver that should have gone to someone else. This article presents no evidence, and no quotes from anyone with knowledge of Jobs’s case. Is it any wonder that Jobs gave the scoop to The Wall Street Journal? This story is so scurrilous it has me thinking that the Times is coming apart at the seams.

After a long hiatus, Dan Lyons has turned the Fake Steve blog back on, and he has a terrific piece about the Times’s coverage:

“Whenever someone rich and famous receives a transplant, suspicions inevitably arise about whether that person managed to jump to the head of the waiting list and take an organ that might have saved the life of somebody just as desperate but less glamorous,” they say — only to assert, a paragraph later, that every doctor they talked to says there is no reason to cheat because these days anyone can pretty much sign up for a liver and get one.

There’s no evidence suggesting I cheated. Nobody is quoted in the story saying I cheated. There’s not a shred of anything in the actual story about that.

Lyons is ruthless on Brad Stone, as well. Deservedly so — if John Markoff were still on the Times’s Silicon Valley beat, it’s a good bet Jobs would have given him the scoop. And at the very least Markoff would have gotten his own version of the story the next day.

Apple’s ‘Obsession With Secrecy’ Isn’t Always Working 

Dan Frommer argues that Apple’s efforts to keep product announcements secret aren’t working:

But it’s hard to argue that Apple is very effective at preventing leaks these days. For instance, there were very few details left for Apple marketing head Phil Schiller to announce during this month’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.

Take the new iPhone 3GS, which debuted last week. Pretty much everyone knew about its faster speed, better camera, and voice commands weeks ago. Details about the name leaked out days before the event. And thanks to John Gruber’s Daring Fireball, we’d even heard ahead of time that Apple would refresh its MacBook lineup during the event.

But Apple didn’t even try to keep a lot of this stuff secret — the new 3GS hardware features like the video camera and compass, for example, were revealed when they started seeding the OS 3.0 betas. And while yes, I heard the “3GS” name a few weeks in advance, that wasn’t a big deal — it’s just an S. The secrets Apple guards the tightest aren’t the updates to existing products, but the brand-new products. So far so good with the tablet, for example.

Brad Stone’s Big Scoop 

NY Times Silicon Valley beat reporter Brad Stone may not have gotten squat regarding Jobs’s liver transplant, but two years ago he broke the very important news regarding Fake Steve Jobs’s real identity. Keep that in mind.

Methodist University Hospital Confirms Steve Jobs’s Liver Transplant (PDF) 

Statement from Jobs’s hospital:

I am pleased to confirm today, with the patient’s permission, that Steve Jobs received a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in partnership with the University of Tennessee in Memphis. Mr. Jobs underwent a complete transplant evaluation and was listed for transplantation for an approved indication in accordance with the Transplant Institute policies and United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) policies. He received a liver transplant because he was the patient with the highest MELD score (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) of his blood type and, therefore, the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available. Mr. Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis.

Mystery no more, and this makes me think Jobs himself was the source for the WSJ’s story Friday.

Iron City 

Kris Maher, reporting for The Wall Street Journal last week:

The Steel City is losing its Iron City.

On Monday, the last batch of Iron City beer will be brewed at the nine-acre, red-brick brewery complex outside downtown Pittsburgh that was founded in 1861. Production will move 40 miles away to the Latrobe, Pa., brewery that once made another recently displaced regional favorite, Rolling Rock beer, now brewed in Newark, N.J.

This is like Duff moving out of Springfield.

How to Show the Battery Percentage Indicator on iPhone 3GS 

I turned this on for a few days over the weekend, but I found it nerve-wracking. My battery never dipped below 50 percent, but I felt like it was draining constantly because it’d lose a point every few minutes. I’m not sure why this is a 3GS-only feature; perhaps the battery meter in the 3GS is more accurate than on the older hardware.

Claim Chowder: Gene Munster 

CNN Money, five days ago:

Will there be long lines outside Apple Stores Friday at 7 a.m. when the iPhone 3GS goes on sale? Gene Munster thinks there will, although not as long as last year’s.

Piper Jaffray’s senior research analyst issued a report to clients Thursday in which he estimates that Apple (AAPL) will sell half a million units of the new iPhone this weekend.

Apple, of course, wound up selling over one million. Munster, you will recall, is the same oft-quoted Apple analyst who, back in May, predicted that Apple would not announce new iPhones at WWDC, missing the easiest and most obvious Apple-related prediction of the year. He’s not quite in Rob Enderle territory yet, but give him time.

Fraud on eBay 

Bruce Schneier suspects that pervasive fraud is rendering eBay useless for selling things like computers.

John C. Welch on Adobe’s Arrogance Regarding Flash 

In his usual charming style.

Dvorak in 2007: ‘Apple Should Pull the Plug on the iPhone’ 

Tasty claim chowder.

‘Find My iPhone’ in Action 

Funny story, but don’t try this at home: guy tracks down iPhone thief with Find My iPhone.

Apple Sells Over One Million iPhone 3GS Models 

Apple:

Apple today announced that it has sold over one million iPhone 3GS models through Sunday, June 21, the third day after its launch. In addition, six million customers have downloaded the new iPhone 3.0 software in the first five days since its release.

“Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”

Three notes:

  1. That’s a lot of iPhones. (And it doesn’t count the $99 3G.)
  2. Now they’re spelling it “3GS”, with no space?
  3. Steve Jobs? Pretty sure he hasn’t been quoted since his medical leave began.
Adobe on HTML 5 

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, in response to a question about whether HTML 5 is a threat to Flash:

I think the challenge for HTML 5 will continue to be how do you get a consistent display of HTML 5 across browsers. And when you think about when the rollout plans that are currently being talked about, they feel like it might be a decade before HTML 5 sees standardization across the number of browsers that are going to be out there.

Translation into plain English: We’re not worried about HTML 5 because we know IE will never support it.

Apple: Which iPhone 3.0 Software Features Does My iPhone Support? 

Definitive chart from Apple.

Sebastiaan de With on the Details of iPhone OS 3.0 

Nice look at some of the small touches. (I really like the design of the Voice Memos app — it echoes the UI of the Phone app’s visual voicemail for managing existing memos, and the recording interface is simply gorgeous.)

More Example Photos From the 3GS Camera  

Nice photos from Dave Shea.

Kottke’s ‘Forward’ for Infinite Summer 

Jason Kottke on Infinite Summer, a group guided tour to read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest over the course of the next three months:

But what I am qualified to tell you — as a two-time reader and lover of Infinite Jest — is that you don’t need to be an expert in much of anything to read and enjoy this novel. It isn’t just for English majors or people who love fiction or tennis players or recovering drug addicts or those with astronomical IQs. Don’t sweat all the Hamlet stuff; you can worry about those references on the second time through if you actually like it enough to read it a second time. Leave your dictionary at home; let Wallace’s grammatical gymnastics and extensive vocabulary wash right over you; you’ll get the gist and the gist is more than enough. Is the novel postmodern or not? Who f’ing cares… the story stands on its own. You’re likely to miss at least 50% of what’s going on in IJ the first time though and it doesn’t matter.

I’ll simply state that Infinite Jest is my favorite novel ever.

CNBC: ‘Jobs Had Liver Transplant’ 

CNBC:

Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, received a liver transplant about two months ago in Tennessee but is expected to return to work later this month. Two sources confirmed to CNBC that Jobs had the surgery and another confirmed that his plane flew from San Jose to Memphis in late March.

This is the first report to cite sources other than the WSJ report. (“Late March” is about three months ago, not two, but it’s possible he was there for a month before having the procedure.)

This, though, is odd:

Apple’s stock had tanked in January, falling as low as $78.20, when Jobs said he had a hormone imbalance and the company announced that its founder would be taking a six-month medical leave. It has since made a choppy comeback as concerns about his health persist.

I’m looking at the six-month AAPL chart right now, and it doesn’t look “choppy” to me.

Update: Funny how the news regarding Steve Jobs’s six-month medical leave caused the entire stock market to dive in January. I don’t think Apple could stand another six months like that previous six.

Roger Cohen in Iran 

This piece by NY Times columnist Roger Cohen, reporting from Tehran, is the most visceral, moving, and inspiring piece I’ve read regarding the current situation in Iran. It’s a testimony to good writing, to courage, and the simple value of being there:

Khamenei has taken a radical risk. He has factionalized himself, so losing the arbiter’s lofty garb, by aligning himself with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against both Mir Hussein Moussavi, the opposition leader, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a founding father of the revolution.

He has taunted millions of Iranians by praising their unprecedented participation in an election many now view as a ballot-box putsch. He has ridiculed the notion that an official inquiry into the vote might yield a different result. He has tried pathos and he has tried pounding his lectern. In short, he has lost his aura.

I think (hope?) Khamenei made a critical error when he threatened Iran’s citizenry with violence. At that point he removed any remaining doubt whether the election was fraudulent. Like throwing water on a grease fire.

Low Light Macro Photo From 3GS 

Here’s the same shot taken with my EDGE iPhone.

iPhone 3GS OpenGL Benchmarks 

Daniel Pasco:

After several different tests, the overall trend was starkly apparent: the iPhone 3GS ran about twice as fast as the 2g Touch in every test.

The results are specific to our own application and are definitely not all-inclusive, but the figure is still significant and interesting. I haven’t updated any of the code to take advantage of the OpenGL ES 2.0 features, so this is simply comparing ES 1.1 performance on the two platforms.

(Keep in mind that the second-gen iPod Touch is faster than the original iPhone and iPhone 3G.)

iLounge’s iPhone 3GS Speed Comparison Videos 

Side-by-side performance comparisons between a 3GS and 3G, as well as comparisons to the second-gen iPod Touch. The difference in launch time for games is particularly dramatic. Things that ran OK before now run fast on the 3GS; things that ran fast now run super fast.

John Hodgman’s Speech to the White House Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner 

Very funny.

Commodore 64 Emulator Rejected From App Store 

Looks like an awesome app — a working C64 emulator with a gorgeous UI.

But while I hope this gets worked out and allowed into the store (I’d buy it in a heartbeat), it should not be considered a bogus/outrageous/controversial rejection. The rejection notice cites sections of the SDK guidelines (forbidding code emulators) which the app clearly violates. This is the sort of app where it’d be nice if there were some sort of “premier developer” channel through which developers could get approval for concepts in advance of developing them.

Barron’s Rumor From April on Jobs Moving to Memphis 

Several readers sent this Barron’s Tech Trader Daily link to me when it was new, but I decided against linking to it because it was just so sketchily sourced. This rumor from April had Jobs moving to Tennessee for medical treatment — but for “pancreatic cancer”, not a liver transplant.

I’ve ignored a slew of Jobs-related rumors over the past year because of the sourcing. But tonight’s bombshell story in the WSJ is completely unsourced. I can’t recall anything like this before: a top news source (and in this case, the preeminent U.S. business news source) reporting an enormous scoop about an important figure without even a hint, nothing, about where the information came from.

The timing makes me think it was a leak from Apple. But the complete and utter lack of sourcing makes me wonder if the leak came from someone legally obligated not to reveal Jobs’s private medical information. And if the Journal knows that Jobs had a liver transplant, why don’t they know which hospital performed it? From the Journal report:

Three hospitals in Tennessee — Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and Methodist University Hospital in Memphis — are designated as liver-transplant centers, according to UNOS. A spokeswoman for Le Bonheur said the hospital doesn’t perform liver transplants in adults. A Vanderbilt spokesman said it didn’t treat Mr. Jobs. A spokeswoman for Methodist University said Mr. Jobs isn’t listed as a patient there.

Reading between the lines, if he had a liver transplant in Tennessee, it must have been at one of these three hospitals. Two flatly deny it, but the third, Methodist University, simply told them he “isn’t listed as a patient” — present tense, not past tense. So it must have been there. But why can’t the Journal state that as fact as well?

This story is very weird. It’ll be interesting to see how, or if, other publications will pick up this story.

The Timing of Steve Jobs’s Purported Liver Transplant 

I’m curious about the reported timing. The Journal story says “about two months ago”, but I heard from a bunch of sources last week at WWDC that Jobs had been seen on campus the week before — i.e. about two weeks ago. I mean, he was there walking around, giving people hell like usual. Regarding recuperating time, the Journal story has this sentence:

Recovery from a liver transplant is relatively fast, said William Chapman, a specialist at Washington University who has no direct knowledge of Mr. Jobs’s case.

But six weeks doesn’t sound “relatively” fast, to me. It sounds crazy fast.

I don’t know how authoritative it is, but here’s what health-cares.net says regarding liver transplant patients:

After discharge from the hospital, patients are seen every week (for approximately three weeks) in the outpatient clinic for an examination and monitoring of blood tests. During this time, medications are adjusted based on the levels found in your blood. After approximately one month, patients are usually seen only two to three times during the first year. Also beginning at one month, blood is checked every other week; eventually, it is checked only once a month. Most patients are encouraged to resume physical activity, including work, after three to six months, depending on their recovery. Patients may resume heavy activity, including workouts, at six months.

So I’m thinking that if Steve Jobs had a liver transplant, it was more than “about two months” ago.

WSJ: Steve Jobs Had Liver Transplant ‘About Two Months’ Ago 

Yukari Iwatani and Joann S. Lublin, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

Steve Jobs, who has been on medical leave from Apple Inc. since January to treat an undisclosed medical condition, received a liver transplant in Tennessee about two months ago. The chief executive has been recovering well and is expected to return to work on schedule later this month, though he may work part-time initially.

This must be a deliberate, timed leak from Apple. The timing is simply perfect from Apple’s perspective — midnight on the Friday of what appears to be the most successful new product launch in company history.

But two things strike me about this story. First, the WSJ offers no source for this information — not even an “according to sources close to the matter”. But yet they state it flatly as certain fact. That’s highly unusual. And whoever their source, they didn’t give the WSJ any publishable information regarding why Jobs needed a new liver — that part of the article is pure speculation. My guess is that the source is rock solid but gave the information only on the condition of complete unsourced anonymity. Curious no matter what, though.

Second, why Tennessee? Tennessee is a lovely state but, well, it doesn’t sound like Steve Jobs country. You don’t need to leave the Bay area to get world-class medical treatment. Here’s the answer:

The specifics of Mr. Jobs’s surgery couldn’t be established, but according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which manages the transplant network in the U.S., there are no residency requirements for transplants. Having the procedure done in Tennessee makes sense because its list of patients waiting for transplants is shorter than in many other states. According to data provided by UNOS, in 2006, the median number of days from joining the liver waiting list to transplant was 306 nationally. In Tennessee, it was 48 days.

Paul Krugman on The Washington Post’s Firing of Columnist Dan Froomkin 

Paul Krugman, theorizing why the Post would fire a popular columnist:

Thus we still live in an era in which you have to have been wrong to be respectable. You’re not considered serious about national security unless you were for invading Iraq; you’re not considered a serious political analyst unless you spent the last 3 years of the Bush administration predicting a Republican comeback; you’re not considered a serious economic analyst unless you dismissed the idea that the Bush Boom, such as it was, rested on a housing bubble.

The Post’s loss will be someone else’s gain. Froomkin is a great — and popular — columnist.

AnandTech’s 3GS and Palm Pre Web Page Rendering Benchmarks 

The 3GS renders web pages a little more than twice as fast as the 3G, but only slightly faster than the Pre.

Ze Frank: That Makes Me Think Of 

Very cool: Ze Frank is now doing The Show-style videos for Time magazine.

Benchmark: iPhone 3G vs. 3GS App Launching Times 

Here’s a quick video I shot comparing application launching times on the iPhone 3G and 3GS, using PCalc as the test app.

Important Update: PCalc’s launch time on my old 3G was misleadingly slow in the first version of this video I posted. I erroneously still had an ad hoc beta build installed on the 3G, not the release version from the App Store. This link now points to a new fair comparison. The 3GS still comes out ahead easily, but not so dramatically. My apologies for the error. Trust me, PCalc does not take 10 seconds to launch on any iPhone.

A few other side-by-side 3G vs. 3GS comparisons:

Mac OS X Process Memory Statistics 

Nice layman’s guide to memory statistics on Mac OS X from Mike Ash.

AT&T: $55 Tethering Rumors Are False 

AT&T statement:

There are a lot of reports out there, but wanted you guys to know that rumors of $55 tethering plan on top of an unlimited data plan are false. We’ll have more news to share when the iPhone tethering option is closer to launch.

My guess is they’re going to try to charge $60 total for a tethering data plan, or maybe $55. AT&T’s regular BlackBerry data plans are $30, but they charge $60 for data with tethering.

As I hear from more readers around the world, it’s clear that most carriers charge nothing extra for tethering. The only catch is that they enforce reasonable bandwidth limits, usually 3-5 GB per month. (According my AT&T account, I tend to use only 200-300 MB per month on my iPhone, pre-tethering, so a limit of a few GB seems very reasonable.)

Layer Tennis Playoffs Today 

No better way to spend the day while you wait for the FedEx guy to show up with your 3GS. Live, right now, as I type, Shaun Inman vs. Aaron Scamiharn; then at 3 pm EDT, Scott Hansen vs. Jason Koxvold.

Tiny Dancer (App Store Link) 

My thanks to Tiny Dancer for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Tiny Dancer is a new $1 toy app for the iPhone that displays a 3D animated character on screen who dances to the beat of music or to your on-screen taps.

Pixar Grants Girl’s Dying Wish With Home Viewing of ‘Up’ 

Annie Burris, reporting for The Orange County Register:

Colby Curtin, a 10-year-old with a rare form of cancer, was staying alive for one thing — a movie. From the minute Colby saw the previews to the Disney-Pixar movie Up, she was desperate to see it. Colby had been diagnosed with vascular cancer about three years ago, said her mother, Lisa Curtin, and at the beginning of this month it became apparent that she would die soon and was too ill to be moved to a theater to see the film.

After a family friend made frantic calls to Pixar to help grant Colby her dying wish, Pixar came to the rescue.

This story choked me up more than Up itself did. Excuse me while I go give my boy a hug while he sleeps.

Steven Frank’s Palm Pre Notes 

Always insightful, always in line for the latest handheld computing gadget.

BWToolkit 1.2 

Nice update to Brandon Walkin’s excellent open source Interface Builder plugin.

1000 Frames-Per-Second Slow Motion 

Mesmerizing.

Glyphboard 

Another small concentrated dose of genius from Neven Mrgan. Glyphboard is an iPhone web app that lets you select and copy (for pasting elsewhere) useful Unicode glyphs like, say, ✪. Think of it as the Special Characters palette for iPhone OS.

Justin Blanton: ‘To Pre or Not to Pre?’ 

Justin Blanton, in a thoughtful essay on the Palm Pre and the current state of the mobile computing industry:

For me, the big thing about the Pre is the ability to run multiple apps simultaneously; you know, like pretty much every other smartphone in the world except the iPhone. (Despite Apple’s insistence that simultaneous apps would tax the battery too much, etc., I really wish they’d let me make that determination.) The card metaphor that brings the Pre’s multitasking functionality to fruition is fantastic (think cmd-tab switching on the Mac), and I especially like that each web page gets its own card (this one-page→one-“window” thing would never work for me on the desktop, but it’s perfect for a mobile phone). Cards just feel so natural and “right”. Scroll through the “deck” to switch between open apps and flick a card up to close an app. Nice.

I keep repeating myself on this point, but the iPhone has supported multitasking from day one. All of the default “dock apps” — Phone, Mail, Safari, iPod — continue running in the background, in some fashion, memory permitting. This is why Mail and Safari seem to “launch” so quickly, and why email can be downloaded periodically without explicitly launching Mail. And how else could you continue listening to music while using another app? What the iPhone doesn’t allow is background processing for third-party apps.

But the big difference with the Pre is not background processing in and of itself, but rather what Blanton talks about in the passage above: that the entire user interface is built around the concept of cards rather than apps. So while the iPhone’s Mail app already stays running while in the background, what you cannot do on the iPhone but can on the Pre is have multiple email messages “open” at the same time. I haven’t used the Pre enough to judge whether the card metaphor is better or worse overall, but it’s undeniably different and interesting.

Flickr: Nearby on Your Phone 

Wonderful example of iPhone OS 3.0’s new support for location services for web applications. It prompts you to allow permission for “m.flickr.com” to access your location, just like for native iPhone apps.

Appmodo: Official AT&T iPhone Tethering to Cost $55 Per Month 

Appmodo:

A source with AT&T informed Appmodo today that MMS for the iPhone will be coming mid July, not “the end of the summer” as previously reported. The highly anticipated tethering option will also be delivered towards the end of July with pricing around $55 per month, not $70 as suspected across the net.

That sounds outrageously high to me, unless they mean $55 total, not $55 in addition to the existing $30 data plan. If they want $85 a month for tethered data, that’s larceny. What are carriers in other countries charging?

Update: Here are the rates from O2 in the U.K.; they strike me as high but reasonable. (Note that O2’s data plans are metered, so you can save quite a bit of money if you stay under 3 GB of data for the month.) In Canada, Rogers includes tethering in their higher-end data plans for no extra cost; the sweet spot looks to me to be Rogers’s 6 GB plan for CDN$30/month.

In Austria and New Zealand, there is no extra charge for tethering. It just works with your existing data plan.

And our Scandinavian friends are all sharing a good laugh at our expense. Unlimited data plans with tethering run about US$20/month in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

The Macalope on Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’s ‘Can Apple Survive Its Move Toward Mass Market?’ 

Kingsley-Hughes is one of those guys who I can’t tell whether they’re trolls or just really that stupid.

Warrantless NSA Email Surveillance of U.S. Citizens 

James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, reporting for The New York Times:

The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said.

The agency’s monitoring of domestic e-mail messages, in particular, has posed longstanding legal and logistical difficulties, the officials said.

As usual, count me in with Ben Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

iPhone OS Enterprise Deployment Guide (PDF) 

The conventional wisdom at the moment seems to be that the iPhone is only a consumer device, but the conventional wisdom is wrong. Think about all the hospital/medical demos from recent iPhone events, for one thing.

Evernote for iPhone 3.0 

I don’t use Evernote, but it’s a cool app and this looks like a very impressive update.

Wired on the Race for Netflix’s Million-Dollar Prize 

Several teams are thisclose to winning. This contest was sheer genius on Netflix’s part — the 10 percent improvement is surely worth far more than $1 million to them.

iPhone 3.0 Excels at Wi-Fi Hotspots 

Glenn Fleishman has a detailed look at the new Wi-Fi hotspot connection features in iPhone OS 3.0. The most clever bit is how it works around those silly free networks that require you to load a web page at the start.

iPhone 3.0: 10 Hidden Features 

I think “hidden” is the wrong word here, but it’s still a good list of some of the finer details in the new iPhone OS. My favorites include the new punctuation characters you can type by pressing-and-holding the keyboard keys (em-dashes!), tap-and-hold on a link in MobileSafari to get a menu with a button to open the link in a new page, and selecting text in an email message to quote just the selected portion in your reply.

Healthcare CEOs and Rescission 

U.S. health insurance executives are simply evil bastards:

The sister of an Illinois man who died of lymphoma said his policy was rescinded for the failure to report a possible aneurysm and gallstones that his physician noted in his chart but did not discuss with him. […] Late in the hearing, [Bart] Stupak, the committee chairman, put the executives on the spot. Stupak asked each of them whether he would at least commit his company to immediately stop rescissions except where they could show “intentional fraud”.

The answer from all three executives: “No.”

In other words, even if you pay your premiums for years, if you ever fall seriously ill, they will do their best to find a way to cancel your insurance.

Glenn Fleishman on ‘Find My iPhone’ 

Great write-up on an impressive new feature. Glenn only alludes to the other way this feature can be used, though: for tracking the location of iPhone/iPod-toting children and spouses. If you turn this feature on, anyone with access to your MobileMe password can locate your iPhone.

Jesse David Hollington: Secrets and Features of iPhone OS 3.0 

One last “what’s new” mega guide.

Dan Moren’s iPhone OS 3.0 Review for Macworld 

Another good rundown at what’s new, including the best description I’ve seen regarding the improvements to Calendar and iTunes syncing.

Andy Ihnatko’s iPhone 3GS Review 

Andy Ihnatko:

Everything feels faster. Safari on the iPhone 3GS seems as interactive as a desktop browser. At times, pages were being rendered so quickly over WiFi that I had to double-check to make sure that the usual time-suckers (JavaScript and plugins) hadn’t been turned off, and that I wasn’t using some sort of cut-down mobile site.

But the speed enhances the entire user experience. PDFs attached to emails render and display much more quickly. Individual apps that do lots of math — like my photo-editing apps — are more interactive and responsive. Gaming has been kicked up a notch; intensive 3D games are elevated from “Wow, that’s a great frame rate for a phone!” to simply “Wow.”

See also: Andy’s iPhone OS 3.0 review and his list of top 10 new features.

Footage From Yesterday’s ‘Fire David Letterman’ Rally 

Lots of Leno fans in there.

Rene Ritchie’s iPhone OS 3.0 Software Walkthrough 

If you want a detailed look at everything that’s new in iPhone OS 3.0, this is pretty good. If you want more, iSmashPhone has another good rundown of new features.

AT&T Relaxes 3GS Upgrade Eligibility 

AT&T:

We’re now pleased to offer our iPhone 3G customers who are upgrade eligible in July, August or September 2009 our best upgrade pricing, beginning Thursday, June 18.

If you’re one of the many customers who will benefit from this change, please note that our upgrade eligibility tools will reflect this change on Thursday, June 18.

I’m still confused, though. I bought the original iPhone on day one, then got a 3G last summer. My “eligibility” date for the lowest 3GS pricing, according to AT&T, is January 2010. As far as I can tell from this announcement, nothing will change for me. This is not a complaint about the price, as I understand that subsidized pricing is really a loan. I’m just saying I don’t understand just what AT&T is announcing here.

Andy Ihnatko’s Flickr Set of Photos From the 3GS Camera 

Vastly improved optical quality over the old camera, but I think the real win is the software touch interface for setting the focus and exposure point. The quality here is high enough that I’m wondering whether I’ll ever buy another point-and-shoot camera — an iPhone for the pocket and an SLR kit for quality seem like the way to go.

Update: Check out the detailed metadata on the pictures — even includes compass direction.

Fever 

New web-based feed reader from Shaun Inman. It’s gorgeous, of course, and the interaction design is quite different than that of any other feed reader I’ve seen. But what most interests me is the business model — like Inman’s Mint, Fever is not a hosted service but rather a PHP/MySQL app you install and run on your own server, with a one-time fee of $30. The model is like that of desktop software.

Reaction to Letterman’s Apology to Palin 

As usual, The Onion has its finger on the pulse of the nation.

(If you haven’t been watching Letterman lately, you should. The show feels rejuvenated. The recurring “Lyle the Intern” bit has an insouciant Chris-Elliott-from-the-’80s feel to it.)

MLB.com Streams Live Baseball Games to the iPhone 

This is going to be huge. I wish this would have been available last week at WWDC.

iPhone OS 3.0 Release Day 

In the meantime, you can watch the guided tour again.

Update: Oops, it only says June 18 when “/sg/” is in the URL, for Singapore. Still says June 17 on the U.S. site.

Update 2: It’s out.

iPhone 3GS Hardware Features 

Paul Thurrott:

Amazingly, several software features Apple showed off yesterday will arbitrarily not be made available to other iPhone users. These include Voice Control and Compass. What??

The compass app is based on a hardware magnetometer, and my somewhat-informed understanding of Voice Control is that it uses new digital signal processing hardware. Thurrott didn’t complain about it, but the same goes for shooting video, by the way: video is a hardware feature of the 3GS camera, they’re not just snapping 30 frames per second from a still camera and using the CPU to stitch them together into video files.

Trailer for ‘It Might Get Loud’ 

Rock.

Oh, TUAW 

Cory Bohon writes:

One of the most awaited features, push notifications, requires a constant data connection. While the iPhone 3G can handle data and voice simultaneously when using a 3G/HSDPA connection, on EDGE (the cellular data service that the original iPhone uses) you are unable to take calls and maintain a persistent data connection. As a result, if you turn on the push notification service, you may be unable to receive voice calls.

This is utter nonsense. If push required a “constant data connection” your battery would run down like water through a sieve. The whole point of creating this system is so iPhones won’t need a constant data connection. I’m aware of no reason why original iPhone users should expect voice calling problems with push notifications.

I love how they decorated the story with a “3.0 FAIL” icon.

Update: Good apology here.

‘Let’s Put Gruber to Work’ 

My pal and fellow Yankees fan Mike Monteiro started it with this, and the whole thing took off from there. Not sure what to say other than a sincere thanks to everyone; I feel honored. A bunch of these are fucking hilarious, but if you only watch one, let it be this one.

Chris Messina on Opera Unite 

This is the first piece I’ve seen that helped me understand just what the hell Opera Unite actually is.

Apple Issues Support Entry Regarding iTunes Syncing With ‘Unsupported Third-Party Digital Media Players’ 

Warning shot:

Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players and, because software changes over time, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players.

Translation: “Nice iTunes syncing you’ve got, Palm. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

Surprise, Surprise 

Lukas Mathis on Goo Gun, his just-released first game for the iPhone:

Turns out the person who had the crash had a jailbroken phone that hadn’t been restarted in a while. Restarting solved the problem, but the other issue is the jailbreak. Jailbroken iPhones tend to have less available memory, probably mainly due to background processes that some non-Apple-approved apps can create.

Any iPhone developer who offers customer support for jailbreak users is nuts. But the flip side, of course, is that jailbreak users expect everything to magically just work and will blame legit apps, rather than the hacks they’re running, for crashes.

Is AT&T Afraid of iPhone Users, MMS and Tethering? 

Jim Dalrymple (on his new web site, The Loop):

The answer seems quite simple: AT&T is afraid of what will happen to its network once millions of iPhone users start sending MMS and connecting their computer to the network.

Exactly. AT&T has long sold other phones with MMS and tethering. They’re just not prepared for millions of their customers to actually use them. I think it’s like those cheap web hosting providers who advertise “unlimited bandwidth” but then shut off your account if you actually use a lot of bandwidth.

Update: Link works again.

Aaron Barnhart on the Letterman-Palin Imbroglio 

Aaron Barnhart on Dave’s show last night:

The one thing I hadn’t counted on was joke after joke after joke in the monologue about how much people hated him — Letterman compared himself to Bernie Madoff, Mrs. Bernie Madoff AND the president of Iran. Carson used to do that, too, especially when he was going through a divorce … but I don’t think he ever told six divorce jokes in a row.

I watched last night, and the monologue did feel Carson-esque. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I think Barnhart’s nailed it.

Peter Belanger’s Time-Lapse Video of the WWDC App Store Icon Display 

Not once during the entire week did I see fewer than 15 or 20 people staring at it.

It was a work of art.

HTML 5: Could It Kill Flash and Silverlight? 

Yes.

PCalc for iPhone 1.6 

James Thomson’s excellent $10 iPhone calculator and its free sibling, PCalc Lite, now offer full support for iPhone OS 3.0, including copy/paste.

Let’s Hope This Is the Start of a Trend 

An iPhone developer gets a call from Apple regarding his app:

They had a minor issue that was blocking its approval. Thankfully they weren’t blocking it for any silly reason, there was a valid point. I don’t necessarily agree, but it wasn’t worth quibbling over.

So to counterbalance all of the negative press that the Apple App Store guys have been getting, I gotta be honest with my experience: they called me, they explained the issue, and personally requested that I get a new binary their way ASAP. First class.

Miso 

Excellent free typeface:

“MISO by Mårten Nettelbladt is a heavy duty typeface for the construction industry.

(Via Jeffrey Zeldman.)

Allan Odgaard on the Still-in-Progress TextMate 2 

It’s not at all like Duke Nukem Forever, because Duke Nukem Forever wasn’t promised as a free upgrade.

Top Gear ‘Thoroughly Tests’ a Ford Fiesta 

Stick with it through the first few minutes, it’s worth it.

The Big Picture on Iran’s Disputed Election 

It is inspiring to see so many Iranians stand up in the face of danger to demand honest election results.

Marco Arment on Apple’s WWDC-Closing ‘Fuck You’ to iPhone Developers 

Marco Arment:

The last session of WWDC ‘09 yesterday was about publishing on the App Store. The content of sessions is under NDA, so I can’t tell you what it was about. So I’ll tell you what wasn’t in it: the audience Q&A session that succeeded nearly every other WWDC session and usually provided invaluable access to Apple employees and useful additional knowledge to attendees. The session itself blew through its lightweight examples quickly, ending 45 minutes early. The majority of the audience was clearly there for the Q&A. As people lined up at the microphones around the room, the presenter abruptly showed a simple slide with only “WWDC” in plain lettering, thanked us for coming, and bolted off the stage. The Apple engineers, usually staying around the stage for one-on-one questions, were gone. The lights came up instantly, and it was the only session that didn’t end in music. The audience was stunned.

It was a giant middle finger to iPhone developers. And that’s the closing impression that Apple gave us for WWDC.

In four or five years of attendance, the only WWDC sessions I have ever seen without Q&A were those that ran out of time. The App Store team simply knew what the questions were going to be like and were unwilling to face them.

Neven Mrgan’s WWDC Summary 

Great write-up that covers everything from the general feel of the conference to his quick impressions of the Palm Pre.

Safari 4’s Full-Page Zoom 

Pierre Igot:

There is just no comparison between how Safari 4 scales pages and how it used to be in previous versions of the browser, or how it still is with several other browsers.

Craig Hockenberry on Emergency App Store Updates 

Good idea from Craig Hockenberry:

If every developer was given one or two “prioritized reviews,” it would act as insurance for the brain farts. You’d have a way to raise a flag and say “I need special attention for a critical bug.”

(And good to hear that the twitpocalypse bug fix update for the iPhone version of Twitterrific was approved so quickly.)

IE6 Denial Message for Momentile.com 

Via Andy Baio, who rightly describes it as a candidate for best error message ever.

A Special Specimen 

James Phillips Williams tells the tale of a unique type specimen book in Paul Rand’s personal library. (Via Steve Delahoyde.)

Jon Shea’s Menlo vs. Vera Sans Mono Comparison 

Every tweak Apple made to Menlo is an improvement over Vera Sans to my eyes. Better, though, would be a comparison of Menlo to Panic Sans, the tweaked version of Vera Sans Mono that ships with Coda.

Update: My wish is their command: Shea added comparisons to Panic Sans. Menlo looks really nice.

iPhone 3GS Not Yet Sold Out 

There are reports that AT&T retail stores are sold out of pre-order 3GSs, but Apple’s online store is still taking orders for delivery Friday. I ordered mine this morning.

(I’ve been dreading my first pluralized “3GS” for weeks.)

Hunch 

Hunch, the ambitious new decision-making expert system, is out of beta. Examples: “What sci-fi movie should I watch?”, “Should I buy an Apple iPhone or a Palm Pre?”, and “Where should I eat in/around San Francisco?

MapQuest 4 Mobile 

MapQuest’s new free iPhone app — pretty much a head-on direct competitor to the Google Maps client that ships with the iPhone OS. Definitely worth checking out.

Anonymous Pro 

Speaking of anti-aliased monospaced coding fonts, Dan Benjamin has a nice write-up regarding Mark Simonson’s new Anonymous Pro.

AT&T: No Extra Cost for iPhone MMS Messaging 

What’s telling about this news is that it needed to be reported in the first place, so low is the opinion of AT&T. No decent carrier would charge extra for MMS, especially considering AT&T’s already outrageous rates for plain old SMS. But at this point nothing AT&T could do wrong would surprise us.

Font Changes Coming to Snow Leopard 

Chris Foresman reports on the findings of Chinese student Jjgod Jiang on the font-related changes in Snow Leopard: the light and strong sub-pixel anti-aliasing options are now gone; some of the system fonts are now shipping as .ttc (TrueType Collection) files instead of .dfonts; and a bit more on Menlo, the new default monospace coding font.

Foresman’s report contains several significant errors, however. First, Monaco has not been dropped from Snow Leopard. Menlo has replaced Monaco as the default font in Xcode and Dashcode, but Monaco is still there if you want it. Second, BBEdit does not ship with a Bitstream Vera Sans Mono variant; it ships with Consolas.

Microsoft Stops Paying for Employees’ iPhones 

Dan Frommer reports on Microsoft’s latest cost-saving measure:

For instance, Microsoft won’t pay for its employees’ Apple iPhone data service plans anymore, even if they’re used significantly for work purposes. Nor will it pay for Research In Motion BlackBerry service, or a new Palm Pre. Instead, it will only reimburse data plans for Microsoft Windows Mobile-powered smartphones.

On the one hand, it surprises me that Microsoft ever paid for service for non-Windows phones. But on the other hand, man, look at what a piece of crap Windows Mobile is today.

Your Publication Can Suck as Badly as TechCrunch 

Helpful set of instructions from Oliver Willis.

Update: Fireballed, so I’ve changed the link to Google’s cache.

The BlackBerry Killer 

Jon Stokes make the case in his Palm Pre review that it is a BlackBerry rival more than an iPhone rival.

(After I played with a Pre for a while Thursday night, I’m more sure of this than before. It’s not so much about what’s better or worse, but that the Pre has different priorities.)

AnandTech on the New 15-Inch MacBook Pro’s Battery Life 

Impressive results:

Six and a half hours, out of a 5.5 lbs notebook. For comparison, the older MacBook Pro could only manage 3 hours and 17 minutes in the same test. The new notebook lasted almost twice as long. Mathematically, this doesn’t make sense. There’s only a 46% increase in battery capacity, there shouldn’t be a ~100% increase in battery life…ever.

Palm Pre Easily Jailbroken 

Steven Troughton-Smith:

I gave up Tuesday eve because I couldn’t get the device into restore mode no matter what I did, but on Wednesday morning I figured it out: you have to hold the volume-up button while the device is off before plugging it into USB, and from there you can use Palm’s firmware flashers to do whatever you like with it. As the device can run unsigned firmware (!!!) I was easily able to hack out the activation check, and get up and running and enable the root shell. In that respect, I may just have the first jailbroken Pre in existence.

Groceries 

My thanks to Sophiestication Software for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Groceries, the excellent grocery list manager for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Groceries has a beautiful look and feel, a slew of convenient features and clever design touches to accommodate real-world use of the app while you shop. Check out the screencast to see Groceries in action.

‘Sole Discretion’ 

Erica Sadun writes about the latest trend in App Store rejection notices: language which simply states that the app has been rejected without even a hint as to the reason. One particularly absurd instance of this was rejecting version 1.1.1 of Kenneth Ballenegger’s iLaugh — a minor bug fix upgrade of an app already in the store.

Safari 4: 11 Million Downloads in 3 Days 

Jim Dalrymple:

Apple’s Safari 4 Web browser was downloaded more than 11 million times in the first three days of release, the company said Friday. And more than 6 million of the downloads came from Windows users.

Menlo 

Speaking of new system fonts, Snow Leopard is shipping with a new default monospaced typeface: Menlo, a customized derivative of Bitstream Vera Sans Mono.

Gamasutra Interviews the Developers of Zen Bound 

Jani Kahrama:

On the iPhone, you can actually work as an independent publisher, and you can own your IP. You can publish it because there are no huge challenges. If we’re bringing that IP to the mobile space, and if we wanted to self-publish it, we would actually have to build the technology or hire hundreds of hourly wageworkers to port to that mass of handsets.

And we can’t afford that as an indie. Then we would have to go through a publisher, the publisher would want to own the IP, and then we would be stuck in the same hand-to-mouth loop, the kind of vicious circle that many traditional mobile developers are in. Their only chance is to pitch their next project to the publisher and then work on their mouth opening strategy.

The App Store lets creators, rather than publishers, reap the rewards. This whole interview is just terrific.

WebOS File System Contents 

Interesting forum thread: Pre enthusiasts are spelunking through the entire WebOS file system contents from a restore image. And, because the main apps are all written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you can examine their source code.

Update: Here’s a nice analysis of the WebOS system design from Linux kernel developer Matthew Garrett.

WebOS System Fonts 

One of the numerous very nice touches in Palm’s Pre — a custom system font family commissioned from Font Bureau co-founder David Berlow. Very nice; clearly inspired by Avenir. (I actually thought they were using Avenir at first.)

Venn Diagram of the Week 

Core77’s brand diagram for American Apparel.

Fast Food Apple Pies and Why Netbooks Suck 

Joey deVilla makes the case for smartphones as the future of mobile computing.

Jon Rubinstein Appointed CEO of Palm 

We won’t have Ed Colligan to kick around anymore. But, once more, for old time’s sake, let us recall Colligan’s remarks in November 2006 regarding Apple’s prospects in the phone industry:

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

The 3GS’s Actual FCC ID Matches the One on Those Matte-Finish Rumor Photos 

Interesting find by Cabel Sasser: Remember the photos from the last few months purporting to show a new iPhone with a rubbery matte finish? The actual 3GS doesn’t look like that, but, the FCC device number visible on those photos is in fact the FCC device number of the 3GS.

So were they an abandoned design? Or a trap planted to identify leakers?

iPhone 3GS Features 7.2 Mbps, AT&T’s Network Doesn’t 

The hits just keep on coming.

T-Mobile Posts iPhone 3GS Tech Specs 

As expected, a 600 MHz CPU and 256 MB RAM.

Oliver’s Simple Fluid Dynamics Simulator 

Fluid dynamics simulator written in JavaScript. Great demo of the new JavaScript engine in Safari 4.0 — runs about 20 times faster than it did in Safari 3.0. (Via Neven Mrgan.)

Apple Design Awards 2009 

This year’s winners include Billings, Things, and Tweetie.

Jesus Diaz on AT&T’s iPhone 3GS Upgrade Pricing 

Jesus Diaz:

The fact is that the $199/$299 price tag for the iPhone is the result of AT&T’s — or any other carrier, since the situation is the same all around the world — subsidy. Without subsidy — and tying you to a new two year contract — the iPhone is not different from something like the Nokia N97, which is $700 unlocked. Or the contract-free, unsubsidized iPhone 3G itself: The iPhone 3G costs $770 and $877 unlocked for the 8 and 16GB versions.

Asustek Vows to Out-Apple Apple 

Jonathan Tsang, vice chairman of Asustek:

“Our goal is to provide products that are better than Apple’s.”

Good for them. What’s sad is how many other companies aim so low.

Apple’s Black Box 

Jason Snell on the lack of any technical specs on the iPhone 3GS’s performance improvements (no word on the CPU or graphics chips, and no word on how much RAM it contains). I’m pretty sure it’s been bumped to 256 MB, but Apple isn’t saying.

iPhone 3GS Guided Tour 

Apple does such a good job with these — they function both as instructional guides and advertisements.

Why Apple Wins 

Steve Gillmor on Apple’s slate of announcements yesterday:

Apple’s rigorous march forward and its deep understanding of what the market will want next is not only keeping them ahead of the competition but building the markets they will own tomorrow. They’re like Willie Mays and the basket catch, making the hard stuff look easy.

WWDC iPhone App Wall 

It really is as cool-looking as it sounds.

iPhone 3GS Display Has Oil-Resistant Coating 

MacDailyNews picked up this nugget from Apple’s iPhone cleaning page:

If your iPhone has an oleophobic coating on the screen (iPhone 3GS only), simply wipe your iPhone’s screen with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove oil left by your hands and face.

AT&T Speaks on Tethering, iPhone 3GS Preorders, Upgrades 

Chris Foresman:

In all, it seems folks are mostly disappointed with the mixed news regarding AT&T’s handling of service and pricing for the iPhone.

This is an understatement. Contempt for AT&T is topic number one here at WWDC.

Apple’s List of Snow Leopard Enhancements and Refinements 

Good overview of what’s new. To call out just one change, note that Snow Leopard now defaults to the same display gamma as Windows — 2.2 instead of 1.8.

No 3GS Upgrade Pricing for Existing 3G Owners? 

Heck of a job, AT&T.

Macworld’s Live WWDC 2009 Keynote Coverage 

These guys are typing away right behind me here in the keynote hall.

(I’ll try to make a few quips on Twitter.)

Worst Prediction Ever 

Not even sure what to say about this:

“The question is whether they will use it for product launches,” said Rob Enderle, president of the Enderle Analyst Group. “It appears the answer is no since they are signaling that not only will Jobs not be there, neither will the new phones.” From the standpoint of consumers and even investors, he said, the developers conference isn’t nearly as important as Macworld.

Update: Fixed the link, sorry about that.

Brent Simmons’s WWDC Tips 

Sage advice from an expert. You can do better than Denny’s late at night, though. And for coffee, there’s a Peet’s over at 3rd and Mission and Blue Bottle Cafe at 66 Mint Street, both a short walk from Moscone.

My only other addition: pack a spare external hard drive if you want to install the new Snow Leopard seed.

Leo Laporte Calls Mike Arrington an Asshole 

Totally called for.

Joystiq on Scribblenauts 

Sounds like an incredible game for the DS:

The premise of the game is simple — you play as Maxwell, who must solve various puzzles to obtain Starites spread across 220 different levels. To execute the aforementioned solving, you write words to create objects in the world that your cartoonish hero can interact with. It’s a simple concept that’s bolstered by one astounding accomplishment from developer 5th Cell: Anything you can think of is in this game. (Yes, that. Yes, that too.)

(Via Andy Baio.)

Bud Caddell’s Venn Diagram on How to Be Happy in Business 

So perfect. (Via Kottke.)

Parking Tickets Pile Up on Van With Dead Driver 

The AP reports:

A New York City woman says her father apparently lay dead for weeks in a minivan while police repeatedly left parking tickets on the vehicle.

Google Chrome Developer Betas for Mac and Linux 

Speaking of beta web browsers, Google Chrome for Mac is now available as a very early beta.

Rob Griffiths on the Opera 10 Beta 

The first version showing the work of UI designer Jon Hicks. Fascinating new design for the tabs — a combination of “regular” tabs and thumbnail previews.

TOSBack: The Terms-of-Service Tracker 

Great idea from the EFF:

TOSBack keeps an eye on 44 website policies. Every time one of them changes, you’ll see an update here.

Sprint CEO Says Pre Exclusivity Deal Is Longer Than Six Months 

CNet:

Verizon Wireless’s claims that it will be offering the Palm Pre within six months are not accurate, says Sprint Nextel’s CEO Dan Hesse.

“They need to check their facts,” Hesse said in an interview at a press event here to launch the Palm Pre. “That just is not the case. Both Palm and Sprint have agreed not to discuss the length of the exclusivity deal. But I can tell you it’s not six months.”

SimplyTweet 

My thanks to MotionObj for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote SimplyTweet, an advanced feature-filled iPhone Twitter client. SimplyTweet is available in two versions: a $4 full version, and a free of charge (and ad-free) version. Both versions offer advanced features such as conversation threading, Instapaper support, saved drafts, and more. The paid version adds features like saved views (for client-side grouping) and support for multiple accounts.

Rich Mogull: ‘Five Ways Apple Can Improve Mac and iPhone Security’ 

A thoughtful, reasonable list of suggestions, but #1 on his list is never going to happen. Apple’s hierarchy is structured around products, not abstractions.

Jackass of the Week: Tim Langdell 

Derek Yu:

Mobigame’s award-winning iPhone game Edge has been removed from the App Store, pending a legal battle with Tim Langdell (pictured at right) over the trademark “Edge.” What’s troubling is that, according to a GameSetWatch article by Simon Carless, Langdell, who founded and owns the company Edge Games, has had a history of using his trademark to cause creators grief and to link himself with various high-profile media projects, including, but not limited to, games.

Edge, the iPhone game from Mobigame, is apparently really good; you can see it in action here. (I hadn’t heard of it until after it was removed from the App Store, alas.) This Langdell fellow apparently believes he owns the rights to the English word “edge”.

Twitterbelle 

What a great idea from Poeks: enter someone’s Twitter username (careful, case sensitive) and Twitterbelle will list the users that person favorites the most. Perfect as a recommendation service for finding new people to follow. Here’s the listing for me.

Financial Times: ‘Apple to Launch Cut-Price Version of iPhone’ 

Joseph Menn, reporting for The Financial Times:

Apple plans to introduce a cheaper version of its popular iPhone as soon as Monday, in a move that could dramatically increase the company’s share of the market for web-surfing devices, people familiar with the initiative said on Thursday.

WSJ: Jobs Ready to Return to Apple Helm 

(I’m linking to Google’s search results to get around the Journal’s stupid pay wall — non-subscribers can read WSJ articles for free when you click through via Google). Yukari Iwatani Kane and Joann S. Lublin, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

While Mr. Jobs has been on sick leave, some Apple directors have gotten weekly updates about his medical condition from the CEO’s physician, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Jobs’s recovery “is coming along” and he is on schedule to return to work later this month, said this person, who has seen Mr. Jobs in recent weeks.

And:

Speculation is mounting among Apple’s business partners and analysts about whether Mr. Jobs will make an appearance at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference next week — particularly because he is known for making surprise announcements at events.

It’s great to hear that Jobs is doing well and is on track to return to full-time duty, but I don’t expect to see him at WWDC. Sure, it’d be a surprise, the audience (yours truly included) would go into conniptions, and the stock would jump five or ten points. But then what happens the next time there’s a keynote address where Jobs is not the scheduled speaker? Everyone will expect Jobs to show up as a “surprise”. I’d love to be proven wrong on this one, though.

Meet the Command Line 

Dan Benjamin:

Meet the Command Line is a 70 minute screencast geared for people who have never used the UNIX command line, or are learning it for the first time. It teaches the basic assumptions of UNIX, how to look for help, and how to manage files, directories, and programs in a way that even more experienced UNIX users will benefit from. We’re also including a bonus 60 page PDF reference guide for good measure.

I suspect there are a lot of smart DF readers out there who know nothing about the Unix-y aspects of Mac OS X, would like to, but never found a good way to get started. This screencast is it.

Also: Dan is selling some nice t-shirts.

Dieter Bohn’s Palm Pre Review for PreCentral 

One more really good mega-review of the Pre: Dieter Bohn’s at PreCentral. He’s got the best run-down I’ve seen of the Pre’s various gesture shortcuts, and his 10-minute introduction video offers a great overview of what the Pre user experience is like.

That’s a Tough One to Spin, But I Give Them Points for Trying 

Matt Richtel:

A Palm spokeswoman, Lynn Fox, said that people who equate success with packed stores may be disappointed, because the company will take time to generate buzz with the new phone. “We’re not like Apple,” she said.

And Mark Elliott, a spokesman for Sprint, said the company not only didn’t expect long lines for the Pre at its 1,100 stores — it didn’t want them. “We’re actually trying to manage the exact opposite,” Mr. Elliott said.

I don’t think anyone expected iPhone-style day one lines for the Pre, but it’s an inevitable point of comparison. The Pre is and will continue to be compared to the iPhone in every regard, because it’s the only other phone in the iPhone’s league.

(Also worth noting: Lynn Fox used to work for Apple as director of Mac PR.)

PreCentral’s Browser Shootout Between Palm Pre, iPhone 3G, and Android G1 

Good video from Dieter Bohn of PreCentral showing side-by-side browser loading tests over Wi-Fi between the Pre, an iPhone 3G, and an HTC Android G1. The Pre renders pages slightly faster, and its extra RAM (256 MB vs. the iPhone’s 128) lets it keep the full content of background browser tabs in memory.

Good news for Palm that the Pre is faster and that the overall web browsing experience is very good. But, I don’t think it bodes well for the Pre that it’s only slightly faster than the iPhone 3G. I expect the next-generation iPhone 3GS that Apple is set to announce next week to render web pages significantly faster than the iPhone 3G.

Jon Lech Johansen Confirms That Palm Pre Uses ‘Apple’ USB Vendor ID 

Jon Lech Johansen:

As I speculated in my previous blog post on Palm Pre Sync and now confirmed by the image above, when the Pre is in “Media Sync” mode it identifies itself as an Apple iPod. However, it’s only the Mass Storage interface that identifies itself as an iPod. The root USB node (IOUSBDevice) still identifies the device as a Palm Pre (not visible in the image above). This means that Apple can very easily update iTunes to block the Pre.

This means Apple could modify iTunes to discern a Pre from the actual fifth-generation iPod it is masquerading as. So Apple could update iTunes to block the Pre without disrupting the experience of actual iPod owners. (Update: The Pre is compatible with this week’s iTunes 8.2.0 release.)

Jason Chen’s Palm Pre Review for Gizmodo 

Another very thoughtful, detailed Pre review. Jason Chen really likes the WebOS applications, software, and UI design — but he does not like the Pre hardware, other than the display. He goes so far as to describe the bottom edge of the phone, when the keyboard is open, as being painfully sharp, and even made a video showing how it’s sharp enough to slice a block of cheese.

New $999 White MacBook Is Slightly Faster Than More Expensive Aluminum MacBook 

Almost makes you think that Apple is going to announce a refreshed lineup of aluminum MacBooks, with the 13-inch one gaining the “Pro” designation, at WWDC next week.

Andy Ihnatko on Google Wave 

Best piece on Wave’s potential I’ve seen yet:

I imagine that there are as many pitfalls to defining and explaining Wave as Westinghouse and Edison found when trying explaining the concept of the electrical grid to the masses. You plug a light bulb into the socket and the crowd oohs and aahs and assumes that Electricity is all about illumination; it’s a marvelous way of producing light without the open flames or soot of candles and oil lamps. Technically that’s true, but it misses the point.

Joshua Topolsky’s Palm Pre Review for Engadget 

Epic-length, wonderfully detailed review of the Pre by Joshua Topolsky, including substantial looks at all of the Pre’s major built-in apps. He gives the web browser high marks, both for speed and for UI, and says it’s slightly faster than the iPhone 3G’s.

WebOS background tasking doesn’t magically solve the problems of limited RAM, though:

PDF View also seemed to buckle under a 3.9MB file, essentially freezing the phone, then giving us a memory warning that we needed to close cards (we only had two others open).

Bottom line, though, Topolsky’s review makes a strong case that the Pre moves the state of the art forward in several ways.

Palm Pre First Run Video 

Very nice.

Walt Mossberg’s Palm Pre Review 

Mossberg likes the Pre, too, but says its App Catalog isn’t yet ready:

The Pre’s biggest disadvantage is its app store, the App Catalog. At launch, it has only about a dozen apps, compared with over 40,000 for the iPhone, and thousands each for the G1 and the modern BlackBerry models. Even worse, the Pre App Catalog isn’t finished. It’s immature, it’s labeled a beta, and Palm has yet to release the tools for making Pre apps available to more than a small group of developers.

In fact, during my testing, one of my downloads from the App Catalog caused my Pre to crash disastrously — all my email, contacts and other data were wiped out, and the phone was unable to connect to the Sprint network or Wi-Fi. Palm conceded the catastrophe was due to problems it still has getting the App Catalog to work with the phone’s internal memory, and explained that this is one reason it hasn’t widely distributed the developer tools.

David Pogue’s Palm Pre Review 

Pogue gives the Pre a rave review:

The Pre, which goes on sale Saturday, is an elegant, joyous, multitouch smartphone; it’s the iPhone remixed. That’s no surprise, really; its primary mastermind was Jon Rubinstein, who joined Palm after working with Steve Jobs of Apple, on and off, for 16 years. Once at Palm, he hired 250 engineers from Apple and elsewhere, and challenged them to out-iPhone the iPhone.

That the Pre even comes close to succeeding is astonishing. As so many awful “iPhone killers” have demonstrated, most efforts to replicate the iPhone result in hideous designed-by-committee messes.

He dings it for battery life, but says poor Sprint reception at his house may be the reason. No performance comparisons to the iPhone, though (I’m interested in side-by-side web page rendering tests), and he says some apps take “8 or 9 seconds” to launch.

Fortune: ‘SanDisk Is Happy to Be Number Two’ 

Jon Fortt, for Fortune:

Some fads, however, don’t pass. And in his sunny Silicon Valley conference room one recent morning, the founder and CEO of SanDisk admits what many music lovers have known for a long time: the iPod wars are over, and Apple won.

“You can’t out-iPod the iPod,” Harari now admits.

Apple Set to Build Billion-Dollar Data Center in North Carolina 

Even the world’s most successful hardware device maker is investing heavily in data centers.

Purported Revenue for Apple’s Fifth Avenue Store: $440M 

New York Post realty columnist Steve Cuozzo, regarding Fifth Avenue retail space:

The real mind-boggler, though, is Apple.

Before the GM Building was sold to a Boston Properties partnership last year, a prospectus shown to possible purchasers revealed the Apple store under the famous glass cube was doing an incredible $440 million a year. By comparison, sources said, Apple’s outpost at Prince and Greene streets does $100 million. (The uptown Apple is larger, but not by much — it has an estimated 10,000 square feet of selling space compared with 8,500 feet in SoHo.)

As a quick point of reference, Palm had $1.3 billion in revenue for 2008. So Palm’s entire worldwide revenue was just three times more than the revenue Apple booked from this one 10,000 square foot store.

Another Example of Microsoft’s Branding Magic 

DigiTimes:

Microsoft plans to redefine mini-notebooks that Intel has categorized as netbooks with a new term — low cost small notebook PC, according to Steven Guggenheimer, general manager of the Application Platform and Development Marketing Division at Microsoft.

Rolls right off the tongue, no? I agree with the sentiment, but good luck getting “low cost small notebook PC” to stick as the name of the product class.

U.S. Justice Department Inquiry Into Hiring at Silicon Valley Companies 

Cecilia Kang, reporting for The Washington Post:

The Justice Department has launched an investigation into whether some of the nation’s largest technology companies violated antitrust laws by negotiating the recruiting and hiring of one another’s employees, according to two sources with knowledge of the review.

The review, which is said to be in its preliminary stages, is focused on the search engine giant Google; its competitor Yahoo; Apple, maker of the popular iPhone; and the biotech firm Genentech, among others, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Armin Vit on the Bing logo:

There are plenty of other blogs and sources critiquing the functionality and efficacy of Bing, so what truly brings us all here today is the sad, awful, unforgivable mutilation that has been done to these four poor letters of the Latin alphabet.

The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien 

Hilarious cold opening for Conan O’Brien’s first night as the fifth-ever host of The Tonight Show. (I like that Conan’s set evokes the old Carson set.) And a good new song by Pearl Jam to close the show.

‘Partly Cloudy’ (iTunes Store Link) 

Partly Cloudy, Pixar’s new five-minute short that is being shown in theaters before Up, is available from the iTunes Store for $2. It is, as you might expect, terrific.

Project Natal 

Have you ever noticed that when Microsoft makes a product announcement that people actually get excited about, it’s almost always for a product that isn’t scheduled to ship for a year or more? The Project Natal demo sure looks cool, but Microsoft has long ago burned through its “cried wolf” credibility for me. This thing is vapory even by Microsoft’s standards. Let’s see it when it ships.

Mike Davidson on Typekit 

Mike Davidson on Typekit:

In evaluating its promise, it’s important to examine the following characteristics, in order of importance: compatibility, functionality, legality, ease of use, and hackiness.

I concur with his assessment.

Creating New Documents 

Lukas Mathis on the conceptual shortcomings of the standard Macintosh experience for creating new documents. Smart, and ties in nicely with my “Untitled Document Syndrome” piece.

Apple Rejects EFF Updates App 

Another ridiculous rejection: A dedicated feed reader for the EFF’s RSS feed was rejected by Apple because one of their current weblog posts links to a Hitler parody video. The weblog post in question can, of course, be read using MobileSafari, and the video in question can be watched using the iPhone YouTube app.

Last.fm, CBS Unequivocally Deny TechCrunch Story on Sharing User Data With RIAA 

Either Mike Arrington has uncovered a major privacy violation and cover-up, or he is a complete shitbag who has shredded the meager remains of his credibility.

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

New Star Wars video game trailer. No idea if it’s a good game, but it’s a hell of a trailer.

Paper Towels 

“Now you got a crapload of squares.” I’m sold. (Via Mike Davidson.)

iTunes 8.2 

Another set of amazingly-detailed release notes from Apple:

iTunes 8.2 now supports iPhone or iPod touch with the iPhone 3.0 Software Update.

iTunes 8.2 also includes many accessibility improvements and bug fixes.

Quicktime 7.6.2, too.

What’s Wrong With Apple TV 

Macworld reprints an interesting (and apt) criticism of Apple TV’s menu design from MacJournals:

iTunes is about your music and video, with the easy option of obtaining more. Apple TV is about Apple shoving new, mostly-paid content down the Internet onto your television. The Apple TV should be iTunes for the television; instead, it’s the iTunes Store for your television.

Lou Romano: The Art of ‘Up’ 

Development and production artwork for Up from Pixar designer Lou Romano. It’s staggering how much work goes into Pixar’s films, but the results are worth it. I love this bit:

After returning from the trip, we were inspired to illustrate what we saw. A challenge in film is conveying how something feels, not how it exists in reality. Research trips can be a blessing and a curse: the blessing in that visiting an actual place surpasses what you can get from video and photos alone, the curse in being too much a slave to the actual place. Imagination and feeling should dictate everything, not reality.

Reminds me of one of my favorite Stanley Kubrick quotes: “Sometimes the truth of a thing is not so much in the think of it, as in the feel of it.”

Pixar Character Design for ‘Up’ 

Production designer Ricky Nierva and director Pete Docter discuss the major character designs from Up.

Black Wire 

Amy Gardner reports in the Washington Post on the perils of construction digging in the D.C. metro area:

This part happens all the time: A construction crew putting up an office building in the heart of Tysons Corner a few years ago hit a fiber optic cable no one knew was there. This part doesn’t: Within moments, three black sport-utility vehicles drove up, a half-dozen men in suits jumped out and one said, “You just hit our line.”

Whose line, you may ask? The guys in suits didn’t say.

Bing 

Microsoft’s updated search engine launches. Not bad. Not really seeing how it’s any better than Live.com was, though, either.

I wish Bing well, though. If not Microsoft, who else will even try to compete against Google?

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