‘Like an Army of 41 Shades of Blue’ ★
Kontra on Google and its Android strategy. Must-read.
People Who Touch Your Junk ★
Venn diagram of the day.
My Favorite New Weblog of 2010: Asymco ★
Speaking of Horace Dediu, I want to take a moment and congratulate him for a terrific debut year with his Asymco weblog. Just terrific analysis. He uses the data the right way: he draws conclusions from data, rather than choosing data to fit his preconceptions. He’s hung a shingle and is available for speaking and consulting engagements.
The Parable of the PDA ★
Horace Dediu on why today’s leading smartphone platforms didn’t come from existing phone makers:
The problem is that the vendors that lost this game failed because
they listened to their customers. Like with PDAs or with the
original mobile phones or first generation of PCs, early adopters
are not the audience that should be consulted on how to improve
Exactly. Great piece. Spot-on conclusion.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics ★
Cédric Beust thinks I skewed those Facebook mobile app client usage numbers in Apple’s favor:
Also worth pointing out, perhaps, that while Facebook’s Android
app is growing fast, it isn’t catching up to the iPhone app.
The Facebook for iPhone app gained about 4.5 million users for
the month, going from 53 to 57.5 million users. The Facebook for
Android app gained about 4.25 million users, going from 17 to 21
Another way of looking at it is that the Android app gained 23%
while the iPhone app increased only 7.5%. In other words, Android
is growing three times as fast as the iPhone.
I don’t think these numbers mean much, to be honest, but isn’t
it funny that whenever there are two ways of looking at
statistics, Gruber will always pick the one that shows Apple in a
more favorable light?
He also quips:
There is no native iPad app for Facebook, so maybe the difference
is just the iPod Touch?
Wait… an application available on only one flavor of iOS? I
thought there was no fragmentation on iOS?
To clarify, what I meant is that Facebook’s official iOS app isn’t iPad-optimized. It’s an iPhone app. It runs just fine on the iPad, but do people use it there? I almost never run non-iPad-optimized apps on my iPad. I’m guessing most people who use Facebook from an iPad use the website or a third-party client like Friendly. But the numbers we’re talking about are for the official Facebook app in particular. (Mark Zuckerberg has claimed the iPad “isn’t mobile”, thus Facebook isn’t interested in creating a native iPad version of their app.)
One more interesting observation regarding these numbers. Google recently announced that they’re up to 300,000 Android activations per day. That’s about 9 million per month. Assuming all these numbers are accurate, that means almost half the people who buy a new Android phone install and use the Facebook app. That’s rather remarkable.
Contract Goblins ★
Jonathan Dobres on replacing a damaged cell phone:
The toilets in my apartment spontaneously overflowed, and then I got an iPhone. That’s the short version of the story, but really, the long version is funnier.
Worst Headline of the Day ★
Ars Technica headline: “Apple: we’ll sell 21 million iPhones in first quarter of 2011”.
An accurate headline, given the article’s sources: “DigiTimes: Apple will sell 21 million iPhones in first quarter of 2011”. Considering DigiTimes’s shaky track record regarding Apple rumors, there’s a big difference.
Update: The headline has been updated to “Apple rumor: we’ll sell 21 million iPhones in first quarter of 2011”. But who is the “we”?
Tapulous: Christmas iPhone App Download Traffic Is Double Last Year’s ★
TTR4 has been the #1 free app for several days, and is cranking in
the downloads. Tapulous tells us that peak Christmas downloads
reached 45,000 per hour, and that holiday download traffic is
twice the levels of last year. (It also boasts that TTR4 is the #1
app in 37 countries, so that gives you an idea of what it’s like
to truly be at the peak of downloads and activations.)
Father Creates iPad App to Help Disabled Son ‘Speak’ ★
Tom Breen reports:
Victor has a rare genetic disorder that delays development of a
number of skills, including speech. To help him and others with
disabilities, his father, Paul, and some of his students at Wake
Forest University in Winston-Salem have created an application for
the iPhone and iPad that turns their touch screens into
Facebook for iPhone Usage Statistics (Requires Flash Player) ★
Looks like a nice Christmas for Apple: a million new Facebook for iPhone users in a single day. Here’s the corresponding chart for Facebook for Android. Android’s slope is impressive, but shows no spike for Christmas. I think the difference here is the iPad and iPod Touch.
Update 1: There is no native iPad app for Facebook, so maybe the difference is just the iPod Touch?
Update 2: Also worth pointing out, perhaps, that while Facebook’s Android app is growing fast, it isn’t catching up to the iPhone app. The Facebook for iPhone app gained about 4.5 million users for the month, going from 53 to 57.5 million users. The Facebook for Android app gained about 4.25 million users, going from 17 to 21 million users.
Amazon: Third-Gen Kindle Is Their Best-Selling Product of All Time ★
“We’re grateful to the millions of customers who have made the
all-new Kindle the bestselling product in the history of Amazon —
surpassing Harry Potter 7,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder
and CEO. “We’re seeing that many of the people who are buying
Kindles also own an LCD tablet. Customers report using their LCD
tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for
reading sessions. They report preferring Kindle for reading
because it weighs less, eliminates battery anxiety with its
month-long battery life, and has the advanced paper-like Pearl
e-ink display that reduces eye-strain, doesn’t interfere with
sleep patterns at bedtime, and works outside in direct sunlight,
an important consideration especially for vacation reading.
Kindle’s $139 price point is a key factor — it’s low enough that
people don’t have to choose.”
Short version: Lots of people are buying both Kindles and iPads. (I own both and I’m glad I do.)
Another great stat: on their peak day this year (Monday, November 29), Amazon sold 158 items per second.
Samsung Hub: Samsung Galaxy Player to Be Announced at CES ★
Samsung has announced a new Android-based Galaxy Player that will
be showcased next week at the CES 2011. Samsung says the new music
player takes inspiration from its successful Galaxy S phone and is
spec’d similarly sans the cellular connectivity.
The 9.9mm thick Galaxy Player (YP-GB1) runs on Android 2.2 Froyo
OS and features a 1GHz CPU, 4-inch Super Clear LCD screen
supporting up to WVGA resolution (800×480), T-DMB, SoundAlive
audio enhancing technology, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, 3.2MP rear
camera with front facing camera for video calling, GPS, HD video
playback, microSD card slot, Android Market and Samsung Apps
access and a 1200mAh removable battery.
The first true Android-based iPod Touch competitor. Wonder what the price will be.
The Most Reliable (and Unreliable) Hosted Blogging Services ★
Spoiler: Tumblr is unreliable.
The Talk Show, Episode 22 ★
My favorite segment in this week’s show is when Dan and I talk about where Microsoft went wrong — when they stopped thinking ahead, about “Microsoft software everywhere”, and instead they started thinking defensively, about “Windows everywhere”. Brought to you by MailChimp.
Two-Stop Home Button ★
Camera shutter buttons have a two-stop action. Half-press them to
lock focus and aperture settings, fully press them to take the
picture. There’s a delightful tactile indent at the half-way
mark so that your fingers know what’s going on. Let’s borrow
this two-stop action for the home button. Press half-way to go to
the app’s main screen, all the way to go to the phone’s main
screen. If you need to fully escape mash the button. If you just
want to head back to the main-screen of the app, tap lightly. You
can easily convert a light-press into a heavy-press mid-action.
It’s as naturally a mapping as you are going to get.
That’s a clever idea. And he’s right, that the two-stop shutter button on cameras is a terrific design. (I think the only companies that care as much as Apple does about the feel of buttons are the top camera makers. I love the feel of the shutter buttons on both my Canon 5D and Ricoh GR-D.)
But I think he’s solving a problem that doesn’t exist:
If you sit and watch people use an iPhone there’s a mistake made
often and reliably: They hit the home button when they mean to
just go back to the app’s main screen.
I don’t see people doing this. The half-press on a camera shutter serves an essential purpose. Creating a “half-press to go back to the current app’s root level” iOS home button would serve a purpose, but I don’t think it’d be worth the cost in additional complexity. How many people don’t understand the two-stop shutters on their cameras? (My guess: lots.) Plus, it would create a small exception to one of the key design tenets of iOS: when you’re in an app, everything you can do in that app is done on-screen.
Update: Lots of email and tweets from DF readers who say the problem does exist — that they frequently press the home button when they want to get back the root level of the current app. I still don’t think Raskin’s two-state home button is a good solution, but it’s worth pointing out that this does seem to be a problem for some people.
Minimalist Effect in the Maximalist Market ★
Interesting design exercise from Antrepo. (Via Scott Beale.)
Indie iPhone Holiday Sale ★
Six great iPhone games, all on sale for just 99 cents each. Even better, one-third of the profits are going to the Child’s Play charity.
The weekly RSS feed sponsorships here are usually sold out a month or two in advance, sometimes more. But for the first time a while, there’s a short-term availability — next week’s spot is still open. If you’ve got a product or service you’d like to promote to Daring Fireball’s audience of smart, good-looking readers, get in touch. Might be a good week to promote apps to people who’ve just opened brand-new Christmas gift iPads and iPhones.
‘I Am Rich’ Returns ★
Remember “I Am Rich”, the $999 iPhone app that served no purpose other than as a statement that the purchaser could afford such an app? It’s back, but this time for Windows Phone 7, and the price has been cut to just $499.
Comments Posted to the ‘We Won’t Fly’ Blog From a Homeland Security Department IP Address ★
Rude, confrontational, and poorly spelled and punctuated. Shocking.
Comic Sans Criminal ★
Lovely little website by Matt Dempsey.
Word 2011’s New Find/Replace Feature ★
The applications that use a search-field-based approach, with or
without a sidebar, are applications that are for
reading/browsing purposes mainly, and not for writing:
Preview, Safari, iTunes, Mail’s main Viewer window, etc. So why
did Microsoft choose to copy that UI instead of sticking with the
dialog-box-based approach that appears to be the preferable option
for writing tools?
The generous answer would be to say that Microsoft is trying to
innovate and bring to writing tools the simplicity/intuitiveness
of the search UI used for reading/browsing tools.
The less generous answer would be to say that Microsoft simply
didn’t really think the whole thing through.
You can’t make this shit up:
The CIA has launched a taskforce to assess the impact of 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables. Its name? WikiLeaks Task Force, or WTF for short.
This Is How You Deal With Design Ripoffs ★
Just call them out. Update: Page was fireballed, but works now (thanks to the Fireballed.org cache).
This Has Got to Be a Mistake ★
Don Clark and Nick Wingfield, reporting for the WSJ on the same Windows-for-ARM-at-CES rumor as Bloomberg:
The company next month plans to demonstrate a new version of its
widely used Windows operating system that targets low-power
devices and adds support for chips based on designs from ARM
Holdings PLC as well as the x86 chip technology offered by Intel
and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., these people said. Microsoft will
discuss the software at the Consumer Electronics Show in early
January, though it isn’t expected to be available for two years,
Two years? Not for an all-new next-generation OS, but simply a version of Windows that runs on ARM CPUs? That must be a mistake. Right?
Bloomberg: ‘Microsoft Is Said to Announce Version of Windows for ARM Chips at CES Show’ ★
Ian King and Dina Bass, reporting for Bloomberg:
Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, will
announce a version of its Windows computer operating system that
runs on ARM Holdings Plc technology for the first time, said two
people familiar with Microsoft’s plans.
The new product will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in
January, said the people, who asked not to be identified because
Microsoft’s plans are confidential. The software would be
tailored for battery-powered devices, such as tablet computers and
other handhelds, the people said.
The operating system would give Microsoft another way to attack
the market for tablets and phones, where it’s lost ground to
Apple Inc. and Google Inc. ARM chips — made by Qualcomm Inc.,
Texas Instruments Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. — are used in
most smartphones, as well as Apple’s best-selling iPad.
So the problem is Intel, not Windows or Microsoft’s institutional lack of design taste.
FCC: We Didn’t Impose Stricter Net Neutrality Regulations on Wireless Because Android Is Open ★
Further, we recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves
toward openness, including the introduction of open operating
systems like Android. In addition, we anticipate soon seeing the
effects on the market of the openness conditions we imposed on
mobile providers that operate on upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum,
which includes Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile
wireless carriers in the U.S.
In light of these considerations, we conclude it is appropriate to
take measured steps at this time to protect the openness of the
Internet when accessed through mobile broadband.
WTF? As Nilay Patel writes:
[I]t doesn’t matter how open your OS is when you’re stuck with a
filtered and throttled connection, and it’s a pretty huge
stretch to think Android’s openness (however you want to define
it) has anything to do with network access itself.
Steve Wozniak to the FCC: Keep the Internet Free ★
We have very few government agencies that the populace views as
looking out for them, the people. The FCC is one of these
agencies that is still wearing a white hat. Not only is current
action on Net Neutrality one of the most important times ever for
the FCC, it’s probably the most momentous and watched action of
any government agency in memorable times in terms of setting our
perception of whether the government represents the wealthy
powers or the average citizen, of whether the government is good
or is bad. This decision is important far beyond the domain of
the FCC itself.
Maybe the best piece I’ve read about what’s at stake.
Out on the Ice ★
Great writing and reporting by Mary Rogan for GQ:
Brian Burke isn’t just a legend of the NHL. He’s a fists-up,
knock-your-teeth-out gladiator. But when his hockey-loving son
came out of the closet and died soon after, he was thrust into a
strange new role: advocate for gays in a macho sports culture.
He’s no cheerleader — he looks like he hates every minute of it
— but locker-room homophobia may have finally met its match.
Heartbreaking and heartwarming. (Via Jim Coudal.)
Clayton Morris: HP to Unveil WebOS PalmPad Tablets at CES ★
Clayton Morris, Fox News:
FoxNews.com has obtained spec sheets for HP’s forthcoming PalmPad
tablet this week from a trusted source. […] HP will introduce
three models of the PalmPad at CES, with minor hardware
differences distinguishing them. All three will run a new
iteration of the WebOS operating system, version 2.5.1; they’re
collectively a spin-off of the never-released HP Slate.
At last year’s CES, it was an HP Slate that Ballmer held up as Microsoft’s flagship new product of the year.
Update: Engadget is skeptical, both of the purported timing (CES, in just two weeks) and Morris’s claim that the device will have the same form factor as the previously announced slate.
Matt Drance on iAd and the Web ★
Matt Drance on why iAd is a web-based (rather than Cocoa-based) technology:
Why can’t the ad downloads be bundles of native code, instead of
native SDK do more than HTML5? For starters, third-party iOS apps
are currently unable to load external native libraries on-the-fly.
This technical restriction would have to be lifted in some fashion
for native iAds to be a reality. This would be not just a huge
policy reversal, but a security and stability headache as well:
errant or rampant web code is generally less dangerous than errant
or rampant native code. WebKit is already on every iOS device,
with zero system changes. It’s not worth the trouble.
Why Net Neutrality Matters ★
Ryan Singel at Wired Epicenter, reporting on an idea presented to mobile carriers to charge money for each service you use:
The companies, Allot Communications and Openet — suppliers to
large wireless companies including AT&T and Verizon — showed off
a new product in a web seminar Tuesday, which included a
PowerPoint presentation (1.5 MB PDF) that was sent to Wired
by a trusted source.
The idea? Make it possible for your wireless provider to monitor
everything you do online and charge you extra for using Facebook,
Skype or Netflix. For instance, in the seventh slide of the above
PowerPoint, a Vodafone user would be charged two cents per MB for
using Facebook, three euros a month to use Skype and $0.50 monthly
for a speed-limited version of YouTube. But traffic to
Vodafone’s services would be free, allowing the mobile carrier
to create video services that could undercut NetFlix on price.
Jon Gotow on Apple’s Replacing the Mac OS X Software Directory With the Mac App Store ★
You know Apple’s Mac OS X Software directory: it’s where you go when you choose “Mac OS X Software…” from the Apple menu in Mac OS X. It’s a huge driver of traffic for indie Mac developers — a prominent listing in this directory is a big deal, sales-wise. Unsurprisingly, this directory is going away when the Mac App Store launches in January. The problem for some developers is that not all software currently listed in the directory can be submitted to the new Mac App Store — the App Store’s policies are far more restrictive.
Here’s St. Clair Software’s Jon Gotow’s take:
In your letter, you say “the Mac App Store will be the best
destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your
apps,” but that doesn’t apply to my two best-selling
applications, nor to those of many other developers. The
guidelines put in place for the Mac App Store disqualify Default
Folder X and App Tamer from inclusion in the App Store, despite
their popularity and utility. I’m left to reinvent my products
and company (again) as they don’t fit Apple’s vision of what a
Mac application should be. There are numerous developers in my
position. We make useful — some would say essential — products
that users will now have a more difficult time finding as Apple
drives customers and market focus to the Mac App Store.
For better or worse, the Mac App Store is going to change the entire ecosystem for Mac software. (Via Glenn Fleishman.)
Instagram Hits One Million Users in First Ten Weeks ★
Off the top of my head, I’d say Instagram is my favorite new app of 2010.
Update: As a point of reference, it took Twitter two years to get to one million users.
Depends What You Mean By ‘Sold’, I Guess ★
Mary Jo Foley:
On December 21, in an article on its Web site for the press,
Microsoft officials said that its phone partners have sold “over
1.5 million phones in the first six weeks” they were available.
Update: This number represents sales of Windows Phone 7 phones
from phone makers to carriers. It is not the number of phones sold
to customers by the carriers.
Obama FCC Caves on Net Neutrality ★
It’s not the FCC chairman’s job to seek consensus among the
corporations that he was put into office to regulate. His duty is
to protect Internet users.
Obama has been a terrible disappointment on net neutrality.
Macworld’s 2010 App Gems Awards ★
Macworld’s list of the best iOS apps from 2010. A great list.
Daniel Ellsberg Signs Deal to Write Memoir on U.S. Nuclear War Strategy ★
Dan Duray, for The New York Observer:
Tentatively titled The American Doomsday Machine, Mr. Ellsberg’s
latest book concerns “the approved US nuclear strategy calculated
to kill 600,000,000 people,” as Publisher’s Marketplace put it.
“One of his first jobs [at the DoD] was studying command and
control of nuclear weapons — in fact he drafted the operational
plan for nuclear war in 1961,” Bloomsbury Publisher and Editorial
Director Peter Ginna told The Observer in an email. “As he said to
me on the phone, when he saw Dr. Strangelove with a colleague,
they agreed ‘It’s a documentary.’”
Matt Gemmell on Accessibility for iPhone and iPad Apps ★
Must-read for developers. Both a good high-level overview of what accessibility really means and who it helps, and a technical overview of how iOS developers can take advantage of it. iOS is simply leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in accessibility.
WSJ Investigation on iPhone and Android App Privacy ★
An examination of 101 popular smartphone “apps” — games and other
software applications for iPhone and Android phones — showed that
56 transmitted the phone’s unique device ID to other companies
without users’ awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted
the phone’s location in some way. Five sent age, gender and other
personal details to outsiders.
This includes at least one iOS app, “Pumpkin Maker”, that shared location data without the prompt asking the user for permission to use their location.
Among all apps tested, the most widely shared detail was the
unique ID number assigned to every phone. It is effectively a
“supercookie,” says Vishal Gurbuxani, co-founder of Mobclix Inc.,
an exchange for mobile advertisers.
On iPhones, this number is the “UDID,” or Unique Device
Identifier. Android IDs go by other names. These IDs are set by
phone makers, carriers or makers of the operating system, and
typically can’t be blocked or deleted.
“The great thing about mobile is you can’t clear a UDID like you
can a cookie,” says Meghan O’Holleran of Traffic Marketplace, an
Internet ad network that is expanding into mobile apps. “That’s
how we track everything.”
Yeah, that’s just great. The bottom line: with free ad-driven apps, you’re what’s being sold.
BusyToDo 1.0 ★
BusyMac’s first iOS app:
BusyToDo is a simple, elegant To Do list manager for iOS that
syncs tasks with iCal and BusyCal wirelessly through MobileMe. All
you need is a MobileMe account. Syncing is automatic and happens
in real-time as you make changes on your Mac or iOS device.
Nice, simple app.
Airfoil 4.0 ★
Airfoil transmits any audio playing on your Mac to a host of
networked audio devices, all in sync. You can stream to iPhones,
iPads, or iPods Touch, to other computers, and of course to Apple
TVs and AirPort Expresses. Airfoil for Mac aims to give you your
audio — everywhere.
New Apple TV Sales to Top One Million This Week ★
Apple today announced that it expects sales of its new Apple TV to
top one million units later this week. […] iTunes users are now
renting and purchasing over 400,000 TV episodes and over 150,000
movies per day.
Not bad for a hobby.
Warner Bros Responds ★
The additional footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey has always
existed in the Warner vaults. When Kubrick trimmed the 17 minutes
from 2001 after the NY premiere, he made it clear the shortened
version was his final edit. The film is as he wanted it to be
presented and preserved and Warner Home Video has no plans to
expand or revise Mr. Kubrick’s vision.
Update: More good news, from Jim Coudal:
In other news, Penguin Classics has decided not to publish all the commas removed from Humboldt’s Gift by Mr. Bellow while he was originally revising the manuscript.
My thanks to Sourcebits for again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Sourcebits is a contract developer specializing in iPhone, iPad, mobile, Mac, and web software. Their iPhone apps have been downloaded over 4.5 million times from the App Store, and they have a growing list of Android and BlackBerry apps, too. If you’re looking for software development services, check out Sourcebits’s website for examples of their work — for the iPhone, the iPad, Android, and more.
The Des Moines Register’s Bob Feller Tribute Page ★
Terrific list of links to Feller stories and footage around the web. Among numerous gems I found via this page, this piece by Frank Deford in 2005 for Sports Illustrated:
Ted Williams once said, “Three days before he pitched I would
start thinking about Robert Feller, Bob Feller. I’d sit in my room
thinking about him all the time. God, I loved it…. Allie
Reynolds of the Yankees was tough, and I might think about him for
24 hours before a game, but Robert Feller: I’d think about him for
And this piece from Jayson Stark, putting Feller’s career in perspective:
Imagine this kid, at 17 years old, pitching an exhibition game in
1936 against a Cardinals team still rolling out most of the
lineup that had won the World Series in 1934 — and striking out
EIGHT of the nine hitters he faced. Imagine this kid, a few weeks
later, making the first start of his big-league career, and
whiffing 15 St. Louis Browns. Imagine him, three weeks after
that, ripping off 17 K’s against the Athletics — the biggest
strikeout game in American League history at the time. Now
imagine him, just a couple of weeks later, heading back home to
Iowa — so he could ride the SCHOOL BUS with his sister and
finish high school. All true. It all happened. In real life. He
was the LeBron James of his era — except with a 12-to-6 curve
instead of a learning curve.
And this touching tribute by Joe Posnanski:
The tape recorder was off and my notebook was put away and so I
cannot write here what he said word for word. But I remember the
important part. He told me that I was lucky, that what you need to
succeed in this world is a father who believes in you. And he told
me that his father believed in him. Funny thing, though, he said
Bill Feller never once said, “Bob, someday you’re going to
pitch in the big leagues.” No, there were no words. There are
some things that cannot be said with words. There was only those
sweaty Iowa afternoons and those chilly Iowa evenings, and the sun
setting, and a baseball going back and forth. Everything he needed
to know about life was in that back-and-forth.
Bill Feller died in 1943, while his son Bob was at war. He had
seen his son become the best pitcher in baseball.
RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie on Their Competitive Position ★
I think the PlayBook redefines what a tablet should do. I think
we’ve articulated some elements of it, and I think this idea of a
proprietary SDK and unnecessary apps — though there’s a huge role
for apps — I think is going to shift in the market, and I think
it’s going to shift very, very quickly. And I think there’s going
to be a strong appetite for web fidelity and tool familiarity. And
I think there’s going to be a rapid desire for high performance.
And I think we’re way ahead on that. And I think CIO friendliness,
we’re way ahead on that.
They can keep saying they’re “ahead” of the iPad, but, uh, they haven’t shipped anything yet. It’s that simple.
The Most-Read Man in the World ★
Nice profile of type designer Matthew Carter by Glenn Fleishman.
What’s Next for Delicious? ★
The actual blog is slammed, so here it is from Google’s cache:
Is Delicious being shut down? And should I be worried about
No, we are not shutting down Delicious. While we have determined
that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is a
ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be
resourced to the level where it can be competitive.
What is Yahoo! going to do with Delicious?
We’re actively thinking about the future of Delicious and we
believe there is a home outside the company that would make more
sense for the service and our users. We’re in the process of
exploring a variety of options and talking to companies right now.
And we’ll share our plans with you as soon as we can.
Note that Yahoo does not dispute that the entire Delicious team has been fired, though. What kind of sense does this make? We’d like to sell the service, find it a new home, and to help, we’ve fired the entire product team, effective immediately.
‘The City’ ★
Wonderfully detailed, evocative miniature dioramas by artist Lori Nix.
The Championship ★
Speaking of Jim Coudal and Jeffrey Zeldman, this season’s Layer Tennis Championship is this afternoon. Mig Reyes faces Noper, with Z in the booth.
Pay No Attention to the Numbers Behind the Curtain ★
The Star, on RIM’s latest quarterly results:
But subscriber growth was weaker than expected, coming in at 5.1 million new users, consistent with the company’s guidance but below the analyst forecast for 5.2 million. RIM said it shipped 14.2 million BlackBerries in the quarter, up 40 per cent from a year earlier. The result brings its base of subscribers to 55 million.
RIM says it will no longer report subscriber growth in future quarters.
Recall Michael Mace’s critique of RIM from earlier this week. Subscriber growth is a key metric.
Word Lens ★
This seems impossible — an augmented reality app for the iPhone that translates words on-the-fly. Mind-bending — as though near-future time travelers started sending us apps instead of terminators.
The app is free, and there are separate English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English dictionaries available as $5 in-app purchases.
The Talk Show, Episode 21 ★
Another week, another show. Pretty good, I think. Topics include my impressions of the Nexus S I’m testing, the iPhone-ification of smartphone form factors, and Chrome OS. Brought to you by two fine sponsors: GitHub and Harvest.
Speaking of Dan Benjamin co-hosted podcasts, this week’s Big Web Show is a humdinger, with Dan and Zeldman talking to Jim Coudal.
Joanna Stern Gives Up on BlackBerry ★
Avowed BlackBerry fan Joanna Stern gives up, buys a Droid:
It was all a bit hard to decipher, but the strategy seems to be:
keep the current smartphone platform in the market at the moment,
build out QNX on the PlayBook for a Q1 2011 release, work to bring
the OS down to dual-core smartphones once the power consumption is
right, and then finally enter the high-end smartphone game for
real — a timeframe that seems to stretch out at least a year if
not more. That strategy might makes sense on a few levels, but
Apple, Google, Microsoft and Palm aren’t going to sit still while
RIM gets to work, and I need a phone now.
This really gets to the heart of what’s wrong with RIM. They seem primarily focused on catching up to the iPad, when they still haven’t caught up to the iPhone.
Ninjas Unbox a Nexus S ★
Requires Flash, but it’s worth it.
Apple Updates iBooks ★
The new hyphenation feature improves the word spacing, noticeably, particularly if you have “full justification” turned on, which most do, since it’s the default. The new support for illustrated books is iBooks’s best competitive angle against the Kindle.
The Daily Patdown ★
“Your daily dose of security theater.”
Now’s Probably a Good Time to Link to Pinboard Again ★
I’ve previously linked to and recommended Pinboard, Maciej Ceglowski’s “antisocial” bookmarking service. It’s not a copy of Delicious, but rather more like a re-imagining of Delicious. If you use Delicious and regret its apparently imminent demise, Pinboard is probably what you want. Delicious-like features and interface (including a clone of its API), and Delicious importing. And, the sooner you sign up for Pinboard, the less you pay.
Update on the TikTok and LunaTik iPod Nano Watch Kit Kickstarter Project ★
Fascinating video from Scott Wilson, showing the manufacturing process in China. Watching that silicone get dyed is hypnotic. There are still a few hours to get in on the Kickstarter project, by the way. They’ve raised just under $900,000.
Yahoo to Close Del.icio.us ★
Other properties are being closed or “merged”, too, including Upcoming. The whole Delicious team was fired yesterday, according to a friend who works at Yahoo.
It’s almost hard to remember now, but just a few short years ago, Yahoo was the place for hot startups to find a home.
InMobi: iPhone OS Dominates European Mobile Ad Market ★
Research from mobile ad network provider InMobi has found that
iPhone OS currently dominates the European mobile ad market with a
31.9% share, while Nokia’s share has slide to 19.7%, putting it
in second place.
Android OS, meanwhile, is making its way after a slow start in
these parts: the platform has gained +9.5 share points between
July 2010 and October 2010, growing to a 12.9% share.
One big difference between Europe and the U.S.: the iPhone is available on multiple carriers throughout Europe. (Via Alex Vega.)
Mac App Store to Open on January 6 ★
Just as Jim Dalrymple reported.
The Line at Best Buy to Buy the Nexus S ★
Captured by Julie Johnston.
Good profile of Mick Jagger by Zoe Heller for the NYT’s T Magazine:
The rise of illegal file sharing and the correspondingly steep
worldwide decline in CD sales have made these tough times for
record companies and recording artists alike. But the Rolling
Stones continue to do very nicely, thank you. This is partly
because what remains of the market for CDs is dominated by baby
boomers — the Stones’ demographic — and partly because Jagger,
together with his recently retired financial adviser, Prince
Rupert Loewenstein, has been exceptionally wily about exploiting
other revenue streams. “There was a window in the 120 years of
the record business where performers made loads and loads of money
out of records,” Jagger says. “But it was a very small window
— say, 15 years between 1975 and 1990.” Touring is now the most
lucrative part of the band’s business.
‘I Wanted to Join the Fight Against Hitler’ ★
Bob Feller, four years ago, on why he joined the Navy to fight in World War II:
A lot of folks say that had I not missed those almost four seasons
to World War II — during what was probably my physical prime — I
might have had 370 or even 400 wins. But I have no regrets. None
at all. I did what any American could and should do: serve his
country in its time of need. The world’s time of need.
I knew then, and I know today, that winning World War II was the
most important thing to happen to this country in the last 100
years. I’m just glad I was a part of it.
Bob Feller, Dead at 92 ★
The New York Times:
Joining the Cleveland Indians in 1936, Feller became baseball’s
biggest draw since Babe Ruth, throwing pitches that batters could
barely see — fastballs approaching 100 miles an hour and
curveballs and sinkers that fooled the sharpest eyes. He was Rapid
Robert in the sports pages. As Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez was
said to have remarked after three Feller pitches blew by him,
“That last one sounded a little low.”
When I was around 10 or so, I went to see the local minor league team play. Feller was there at the concourse, in a kiosk, signing autographs and selling photographs and other memorabilia. All I saw was an old man I’d never heard of. My dad took me aside and filled me in. “John, that’s Bob Feller. He threw three no-hitters and could throw the ball 100 miles per hour. He might be the best there ever was.”
So we got in line (it wasn’t long), and Feller signed the ball I’d taken with me to the game. And he was just great. He asked about my little league team, he talked to my dad about the great Indians teams in the late ’40s. There was a palpable sense that Feller simply loved baseball.
Thomas Hawk’s Open Letter to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz ★
I dispute both your grades of B- and “pass.” I’d give you a
fail for your first two years. A failure to grow the stock price.
A failure to inspire the troops. A failure to innovate. I
wouldn’t care so much except for the fact that you currently own
what is one of the most important and significant cultural
treasures of our lifetime. Flickr. And Flickr holds so much
promise and so much could be done to innovate there and it just
doesn’t feel like you give a damn.
Layoffs at Yahoo ★
Carol Bartz’s memo announcing a new round of layoffs at Yahoo.
Richard Stallman on Chrome OS ★
Charles Arthur for The Guardian:
But Stallman is unimpressed. “I think that marketers like “cloud
computing” because it is devoid of substantive meaning. The term’s
meaning is not substance, it’s an attitude: ‘Let any Tom, Dick and
Harry hold your data, let any Tom, Dick and Harry do your
computing for you (and control it).’ Perhaps the term ‘careless
computing’ would suit it better.”
He sees a creeping problem: “I suppose many people will continue
moving towards careless computing, because there’s a sucker born
every minute. The US government may try to encourage people to
place their data where the US government can seize it without
showing them a search warrant, rather than in their own property.
However, as long as enough of us continue keeping our data under
our own control, we can still do so. And we had better do so, or
the option may disappear.”
A Bayesian Take on Julian Assange ★
Speaking of the WikiLeaks saga, Nate Silver has a good piece about the unusual circumstances of Julian Assange’s incarceration in the U.K.:
The handling of the case has been highly irregular from the start,
in ways that would seem to make clear that the motivation for
bringing the charges is political.
The Inhumane Conditions of Bradley Manning’s Detention ★
From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in
intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day
— for seven straight months and counting — he sits completely
alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are
heavily restricted; he’s barred even from exercising and is under
constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons
that appear completely punitive, he’s being denied many of the
most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a
pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on
suicide watch). […]
In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause
to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying,
insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those
perfected at America’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado:
all without so much as having been convicted of anything. And as
is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this
sort, the brig’s medical personnel now administer regular doses of
anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping
from the effects of this isolation.
What’s Wrong With OpenID? ★
Scathing critique of OpenID by Yishan Wong:
The short answer is that OpenID is the worst possible “solution”
I have ever seen in my entire life to a problem that most people
don’t really have. That’s what’s “wrong” with it.
(Via Marco Arment.)
Chrome OS and IT Platform Longevity ★
So, re: the previous item about Chrome OS not appealing to me, personally, in the least — that clearly doesn’t mean it doesn’t appeal to anyone. Obviously, it does. But how many? On our podcast, Dan Benjamin and I have talked about it being targeted at the corporate enterprise market. I opened a new bank account a few weeks ago, and I noticed that the guy from the bank did so using a web browser on a PC running an old version of Windows. Presumably, running a web browser that accesses an intranet web app is the sole purpose of that computer. Are not such machines prime candidates to be replaced by cheaper, easier-to-maintain Chrome OS machines?
In theory, yes. But Marco Arment raises some interesting points regarding the profound conservatism of corporate IT:
In the context of replacing business software platforms, longevity
is a major requirement. For Chrome OS to be considered by any
reasonably large business, their IT decision-makers are going to
want to know that Chrome OS is going to be around and supported
by Google many years from now. Support means, at least, that
compatible hardware must be available, software licensing must
continue, and security issues must be patched.
And any reasonably competent IT executive can plainly see that
Google, for all of their algorithmic might, isn’t known for
Gmail Creator Paul Buchheit Predicts: ‘ChromeOS Will Be Killed Next Year (or “Merged” With Android)’ ★
Here’s what he wrote on FriendFeed:
ChromeOS has no purpose that isn’t better served by Android
(perhaps with a few mods to support a non-touch display).
I was thinking, “is this too obvious to even state?”, but then
I see people taking ChromeOS seriously, and Google is even
shipping devices for some reason.
I’ve had this thought ever since Chrome OS was announced. The logic is: if everything in Chrome OS is a WebKit browser view, and Android has a good WebKit browser, then isn’t Android capable of everything Chrome OS is, but with the added goodness of native apps? I’m not saying that’s right. And these Cr-48 prototypes seem to be getting decent reviews.
I’m just saying, if I quit every app on my MacBook other than Chrome and ran it full-screen, I’d be miserable.
Art Is Anything You Can Get Away With ★
During a Layer Tennis match between Scott Thomas and Mark Weaver back in September, I, commentating on this volley, suggested that Marshall McLuhan would have enjoyed Layer Tennis.
Scott Boms was intrigued, so he asked his father-in-law, Eric McLuhan — Marshall McLuhan’s son and frequent collaborator. This made my day.
Smartphone Browser Landscape ★
Comprehensive overview by Peter-Paul Koch.
How Many iPhones Will Verizon Sell in 2011? ★
Dan Frommer guesses 10 million:
How did we figure that?
AT&T activated about 14 million new iPhones over the past four
quarters on a subscriber base that’s now a little more than 90
million. (Of those activations, about 10 million were by existing
Verizon’s subscriber base is also about 90 million, and we don’t
expect iPhone adoption to be wildly different on Verizon than it
has been on AT&T. Maybe somewhat less, because Verizon folks
already have high-end Android phones, but not much less.
See, I’d say more. If AT&T can sell 14 million iPhones in four quarters (selling to a base of subscribers who’ve had the iPhone available to them since 2007) why wouldn’t Verizon (selling to a base of subscribers who’ve been starved of the iPhone) be able to sell more? I expect Verizon to sell more iPhones than AT&T does.
Appeals Court Holds That Email Privacy Protected by Fourth Amendment ★
In a landmark decision issued today in the criminal appeal of U.S.
v. Warshak, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the
government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize
and search emails stored by email service providers. Closely
tracking arguments made by EFF in its amicus brief, the court
found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of
privacy in their stored email as they do in their phone calls and
Great news. I’m donating to the EFF to celebrate.
Restore Gmail Contacts ★
Google engineer Amanda Camp:
We’ve added a new feature to Google Contacts that allows you to
revert your contact list and undo any mistakes made up to 30 days
in the past. Let’s say you accidentally deleted a bunch of
contacts or wiped the contact data from your Gmail account by
mistake while syncing to another device. Visit Gmail’s Contacts
section, select “Restore contacts” in the “More actions”
menu, and choose the time you would like to revert to.
What a great feature — takes all the risk out of syncing. MobileMe should have something like this.
Update: Time Machine works for MobileMe users who wish to restore contact data from a sync disaster (and in fact, the Time Machine interface is integrated into Address Book), but only from your Mac, and only if you have Time Machine configured. I wonder how many Mac users have Time Machine running, and I wonder how many MobileMe users there are who don’t even use a Mac.
Engadget’s Nexus S Review ★
Google kindly sent me a Nexus S, including service from T-Mobile, to use for a few weeks for review purposes. I’ve been using it as my main phone since it arrived on Friday. I put off reading Joshua Topolsky’s review of it at Engadget until today so that I could form my own thoughts about it. I plan to write about it in detail eventually, but in short, I agree with Topolsky’s review almost completely. It’s a good device, the best Android phone I’ve seen, and a very solid year-over-year improvement over the Nexus One, both in terms of hardware and software.
But some things are maddening. Yes, Topolsky’s review is largely positive, and I’m going to pull out one tidbit here that’s negative. But it’s a perfect example of the sort of “death by a thousand paper cuts” aspect of Android’s user experience. Topolsky writes:
Well, let’s be clear — Google still has major issues with text
selection and editing on Android devices. The first striking
problem is that there is not a consistent method of selecting text
on the device. None. At all. In the browser, you long press on
text to bring up your anchors, then drag and tap the center of
your selection — boom, copied text. In text editing fields,
however, in order to select a word you must long press on the
word, wait for a contextual menu to pop up, and then select
“select word” — a completely counterintuitive process. In the
message app you can long press to select only the entire message,
and in Google Reader? You can’t select any text at all. Even
worse, Gmail has a different method for selecting text from an
email you’re reading, and it’s far more obnoxious than any of the
others. There, selecting text goes from being mildly annoying to
downright silly. Want to grab some text out of an email? Here’s
your process: hit the menu key, hit “more,” hit “select text,” and
then finally drag your anchors out. Funnily enough, a little
cursor appears when you start selecting — a holdover from Linux?
To have this many options and discrepancies over something as
simple as copy and paste should be embarrassing to Google. What it
mostly is, however, is a pain to the end user.
And I think about the iPhone, which didn’t get text selection and copy-and-paste until version 3.0, two years after it debuted. It’s hard to get these things right.
Microsoft to Announce New ‘Slates’ Targeting iPad ★
Next month, at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas,
Microsoft will give it another try, presenting a slew of new
slates that it hopes will offer some competition to the Apple
iPad, which has quickly become the leader in this market.
So it’s going to be an annual thing, then.
Horace Dediu on Verizon’s Smartphone Business ★
ITG Investment Research analyst Matthew Goodman is forecasting
monthly sales record for all of Verizon’s devices “based
largely on our proprietary daily point-of-sale data from thousands
of independent wireless retailers across the US.” […]
So, if the data is accurate, here is what I conclude:
Verizon has three strikes against them:
- The iPhone has stolen their growth
- They are facing the prospect of a single OS platform supplier
- Android is not competitive vs. iOS
The whole thing hinges on the “if the data is accurate” clause, as Dediu emphasizes. But if the data is good, Dediu makes a strong case that Verizon needs the iPhone more than Apple needs Verizon.
Andy Ihnatko on the Chrome Cr-48 Notebook ★
All in all, it’s been an interesting and enlightening first day.
Honestly, I was expecting a Chrome OS notebook to involve more
sacrifice and annoyance than what I’m experiencing. I don’t
think I’d call this an ideal way to get through an afternoon’s
labors but facts are facts: whether writing a column, editing some
photos, listening to streaming music, watching a YouTube video, or
packaging everything together and sending it off to the Sun-Times,
there was nothing I couldn’t do with the Cr-48 and Chrome OS. So
far, I’ve been able to think of it as Just Another Notebook.
The Indie Mac Gift Pack ★
Six great Mac apps, $272 at their regular prices, bundled together for just $60: Delicious Library, Acorn, MarsEdit, Radioshift, SousChef, and Sound Studio 4.
Update: Was fireballed; now back up.
Screens 1.0 — VNC Client for iPad and iPhone ★
New $15 universal iOS VNC client from Edovia, with a free Mac component called Screens Connect to make it easy to connect to your Mac from remote networks. I’ve been using beta versions, and it’s just terrific — it looks better and works better than anything else I’ve tried, and I’ve paid for several VNC clients for iPad and iPhone (including iTeleport).
Access your Mac from anywhere using any iOS device. It’s that simple. Great, great software.
The Assassination of Yogi Bear by the Coward Boo-Boo ★
Seems like the sort of YouTube clip that won’t be around for long; watch it while you can. (Via John August.)
Update: It’s all original footage, created by animator Edmund Earle. Here’s the backstory on the spoof.
Google Updates Android Market Client ★
Improved layout, with an intended focus on improving the discoverability of apps in the market. They’ve also increased the maximum size of an app from 25 MB to 50 MB. Rolling out to Android users over the next two weeks. Android Central posted a video showing the new Android Market app in action.
Even 50 MB is not enough for many games, though. So what Android game developers need to do, for games bigger than 50 MB, is create the game as a smaller-than-50-MB shell that, once launched, downloads the rest of the game data from the developer’s own server. This is one of many things that makes game development better on iOS. See these comments from Id Software’s John Carmack last month in an interview with Ars Technica. (Id’s Rage HD is a 1.4 GB download.)
The Real Lessons of Gawker’s Security Mess ★
Detailed analysis of the Gawker fiasco by Daniel Kennedy:
On November 11, Nick Denton received a notice that he had set up
a new username and password at Gawker chat rooms. Because he knew
he did not request this, and also had been told by someone else
that he had been logged into Campfire (but also knew he had not),
he asked members of his team to investigate. He did not however
bother to change any of his other accounts that used the same
password as his Campfire account.
iOS 4.2 Fonts ★
Nice resource from Michael Critz: a listing of the installed fonts on the iPhone and iPad variants of iOS 4.2. (I wish Apple would just include the iPad’s extra fonts on the iPhone — particularly Gill Sans, Hoefler Text, and Didot.)
Amazon Has Sold ‘Millions’ of New Kindles This Quarter ★
Thanks to you, in just the first 73 days of this holiday quarter,
we’ve already sold millions of our all-new Kindles with the latest
E Ink Pearl display. In fact, in the last 73 days, readers have
purchased more Kindles than we sold during all of 2009. We’re
grateful for and energized by the overwhelming customer response.
That’s at least two million, perhaps much higher. Pretty good, I’d say.
Gawker Hacked; Comment Account Database Compromised ★
If you’ve ever created a commenting account on a Gawker Media website — Gawker, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, etc. — it’s probably compromised. That’s a real problem for anyone who uses the same password across multiple websites. There’s already evidence that people who use the same password for Twitter that they used for their Gawker account have had their Twitter accounts compromised.
Djay for iPad ★
My thanks to Algoriddim for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Djay, their excellent DJ mixing app for the iPad.
One of the running bits here at DF is the thing where I link to people using their iPads for creative endeavors, and I say they must not have gotten the memo that the iPad is only for consumption, not creation. Whenever I do that, I inevitably get a few emails saying, OK, sure, you can be creative on the iPad, but it’s still a consumption device at heart. I think it’s true that there are certain tasks for which Mac/Windows-style computers are going to remain superior tools. But there are other areas where multitouch displays are inherently better. This app, Djay, is one of those. I’m not an actual DJ, but even just kicking the tires with this app, I can see how it isn’t just better because of multitouch — it depends on multitouch. It’s also a perfect of example of appropriate skeuomorphic design.
Check out the teaser video on their website and you’ll see what I mean.
Angry Birds on Android Projected to Generate $1 Million Per Month in Advertising ★
Somehow I missed this piece at TechCrunch when it was published last week. I added it to my big piece yesterday, but I did so about an hour or so after originally publishing it — so if you read it early on, you might have missed it.
This doesn’t prove anything about the Android Market in general, but it certainly suggests that megahit games can generate iOS-style revenue purely through ads.
BlackBerry’s Rapidly Declining Share of Verizon Smartphone Sales ★
The chart is rather striking.
How Many Verizon iPhones Will Apple Sell Next Year? ★
Philip Elmer-DeWitt on analyst estimates for Verizon iPhone sales, if we’re all right that a deal is imminent:
Reid is even more conservative. He’s only raising his 2011
iPhone sales estimates to 63.3 million from 62.5 million, or
That’s it? 800,000 measly iPhones? For reasons known only to
themselves, analysts who have been breathlessly anticipating a
Verizon iPhone are now busy lowering expectations.
That’s crazy. If Verizon gets the iPhone next year, they’ll sell a million on the first day.
Update, 27 January 2011: Ends up that Reid had previously included a Verizon iPhone in his 2011 forecast. But, in his initial forecast, he used a March ship date. The 800K adjustment is from Reid switching to a February ship date. I.e., he’s guessing Verizon will sell 800,000 iPhones in February alone, not 2011 as a whole. Not crazy at all.
If the Slipper Fits ★
I’ll be in the commentary booth for tomorrow afternoon’s Layer Tennis 2010 Playoffs semifinal match between Noper and Greg Hubacek. Here’s my match preview.
Kottke will be in the booth for the other semifinal, between Mark Weaver and Mig Reaves.
Apple Names Flipboard ‘iPad App of the Year’ ★
Apple is highlighting all the most popular apps from 2010 in
iTunes right now. Osmos is another app that gets a big shout out,
named “iPad game of the year.” Hipstamatic is app of the year for
iPhone, and Plants vs. Zombies is game of the year for iPhone.
The Talk Show, Episode 20: ‘Galaxy Dingus’ ★
If you like podcasts, you might like mine and Dan Benjamin’s. If you don’t like podcasts, shame on you. Brought to you this week by two fine sponsors: An Event Apart (the conference for people who make websites) and Campaign Monitor (email marketing software for designers).
BlackBerry PlayBook Hands-on Video Demo ★
Nice scoop for Boy Genius Report. Interesting use of swipes on the bevel surrounding the display. Swiping up from the bottom is how you switch between running apps. Swiping down from the top shows a toolbar in some apps.
TweetDeck’s Max Howell on Developing for iOS and Android ★
A different perspective than Whereoscope’s:
Android Police: Do you like developing for iPhone or Android
better, and why?
Max Howell: iPhone honestly. The development tools for Android are
raw and relatively unloved which can lead to frustration. Debug
cycles on Android take half a minute at least. On iPhone you can
be testing new code in seconds. And it takes less effort to make
beautiful software on iPhone, and ultimately all that matters is:
is my software gorgeous? Does it feel amazing to use? Because if
it doesn’t your app will not take off.
We had to work harder to make our app look great and feel great on
Android. It’s worth it though, and ultimately is achievable.
Google could make it easier, currently the UI tools in the API
feel like the wrong level of abstraction.
Good, thoughtful interview overall. He mentions that Android fragmentation has not been a problem for TweetDeck. In contradiction to Whereoscope, though, Howell describes Android’s developer documentation as “poor”.
Andy Rubin, on Twitter:
There are over 300,000 Android phones activated each day.
That’s over 9 million per month.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Taps New Partner in ‘War on Terror’: Walmart ★
Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is starting to look like a documentary.
RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis at Dive Into Mobile ★
We’re all using Flash on our PCs. We’re all using Flash on our
Macs. Why wouldn’t we expect Flash to run our tablet.
So by that logic, Flash will be around forever.
Whole interview seems like a train wreck:
Kara: So you’re saying that the strategy of Google and Apple —
making the phone with video and audio, that’s not the right
Mike: We’re going to see different categories. You’re going to see
smartphones taking on multicore processing, you’re going to see
He isn’t making any sense at all. Quite literally, we don’t know
what Mike is talking about right now.
‘You’re Either With Us, or You’re With WikiLeaks’ ★
(That’s the actual headline in The Washington Post, by the way). Marc Thiessen:
Some say attacking WikiLeaks would be fruitless. Really? In the
past year, the Iranian nuclear system has been crippled by a
computer worm called “Stuxnet,” which has attacked Iran’s
industrial systems and the personal computers of Iranian nuclear
scientists. To this day, no one has traced the origin of the worm.
Imagine the impact on WikiLeaks’s ability to distribute additional
classified information if its systems were suddenly and
mysteriously infected by a worm that would fry the computer of
anyone who downloaded the documents. WikiLeaks would probably have
very few future visitors to its Web site.
Maybe we could have a curse or magic spell put on them, too. (Via Mat Honan.)
Tumblr Backup App for Mac ★
Probably some renewed interest in this today.
‘The Easiest Way to Download Android Games’ ★
Lewis Dorigo on Gameloft’s Android games:
Not only do you need to provide them with the make and model of
your device, but you also need to provide them with your phone
number so they can send you an SMS with a link to download the
game. They’re claiming that this is the easiest way to download
Engadget’s Live Coverage of Google’s Chrome Event ★
The Chrome App Store has a very original design: the best-selling lists are on the left instead of the right.
As Chrome evolves from a browser for Mac and Windows to its own OS, and Android expands from phones to tablets, Chrome OS and Android seem like competing platforms from rival companies.
Update: Seems like a big deal. Google really sees Chrome OS as a major play — and I can see how it might eat up a big chunk of the low-end PC notebook market. Maybe Chrome OS will do to Windows what Firefox (and, later, Chrome) did to IE? But why announce this so early? Actually shipping products based on Chrome OS are now pushed back to “mid 2011”. Seven, eight months from now? With no idea of actual pricing or performance, who knows whether it’ll actually be any good?
Update 2: The obvious answer occurred to me over dinner. Chrome OS was supposed to ship in 2010. They’re obviously way behind schedule. They wanted to show something.
This Is Where It Leads ★
Senator Joe Lieberman to Fox News:
“To me the New York Times has committed at least an act of bad
citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter
of discussion for the justice department.”
Speaking of Instagram, Tuhin Kumar has a nice piece about its appeal:
For any app, the first and most important question to ask is
“what problem does it solve”. The how comes later. Instagram
solves the problem of sharing our moments effortlessly with the
world and in a way that makes us look creative.
In short, what Twitter is to text, Instagram is to photography. I love it. And it’s rather amazing that it’s grown so fast with nothing other than an iOS client. Not only are there no clients for any other devices (yet), but you can’t even use it via the web.
Not a Joke ★
The U.S. State Department:
The United States is pleased to announce that it will host
UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 - May
3 in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the
mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary,
freedom of the press.
Senator Dianne Feinstein Calls for Julian Assange to Be Prosecuted Under the Espionage Act ★
The argument against Assange and WikiLeaks seems to be coalescing around the notion that the more horrendous the truth, the more essential it is for the public to remain unaware of it. Like many others, I’m unconvinced of the merits of WikiLeaks’s diplomatic cable dump, but on the whole, I support WikiLeaks.
The bottom line is that I think we’re better off knowing too much of the truth than too little.
Tumblr Scaling ★
Network-wide, they’re now serving 3 billion page views a month, and growing fast.
Julian Assange’s Op-Ed in The Australian ★
In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said “only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government”. The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.
Information Wants to Be Expensive ★
The lesser-quoted flip side of Stewart Brand’s observation:
Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be
expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so
cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine — too cheap to meter. It
wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to
the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless
wrenching debate about price, copyright, ‘intellectual property’,
the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of
new devices makes the tension worse, not better.
Andy Rubin Demos Prototype Motorola Android 3.0 Tablet ★
Note, per yesterday’s discussion of the varying layouts of the hardware buttons on current Android handsets, that this tablet has no buttons on the front face. Even the home button is on-screen.
Intriguing demo overall, though.
Niall Harbison: ‘Why Google Should Buy Instagram’ ★
Niall Harbison has a terrible idea:
Instagram is growing at a furious rate. It’s not just the
numbers below which show how fast it is growing but all the key
early adopters are on there. For want of a better word it is the
“cool” place to share photos online now. It feels like
something that has legs and will continue growing and not
disappear as a fad because the product is so good and people just
love using it.
His last section heading is “Even Google Couldn’t Mess This One Up”. I beg to differ. You can’t buy cool.
Google’s Ad for the Nexus S ★
Good catch by Jay Yarow:
As part of the hoopla for the new phone, Google produced a new ad
which is slightly disorienting to watch. It’s someone looking at
their phone walking around.
Funny enough, this is almost the exact opposite pitch that
Microsoft is making with Windows Phone 7.
It really is the opposite message.
Information Wants to Be Free ★
The phrase is a simple observation, like saying “a compass wants to point north”. Information intrinsically has a tendency to spread. Controlling information, bottling it up and keeping it limited, is difficult. There’s a bit of a poetic turn in saying “wants”, since of course information has no agency. The underlying truth is really a statement about human nature; people tend to share information.
Coincidence, I’m Sure ★
Brad W. Allen compares the websites for the Nexus S and the iPhone 4.
Don Meredith, Dead at 72 ★
A good quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and a great TV broadcaster:
“I always thought of Don Meredith as Dean Martin,” said the NFL
Network’s Joe Theismann, who worked in the booth with Meredith for
Super Bowl XIX. “I always pictured him with a highball in one hand
and a cigarette in the other, and just cruisin’ along. And, oh by
the way, we get to share a little slice of his life with him.”
Monday Night Football was never the same without him and Cosell.
Analysing a Touch-to-Desktop UI Port Using Fitts’s Law ★
Daniel Kennett interrupts the lauding of the Reeder for Mac public beta to point out the ways that it seems optimized for a touchscreen, rather than a mouse pointer.
Update: No one, including Kennett, is saying that Reeder for Mac is a bad app. Nor is anyone saying that typical users know what Fitts’s Law is. Of course they don’t. Just like typical bicycle riders don’t understand the physics behind how a bike works. That doesn’t mean that proper gear design doesn’t make the bike more comfortable to ride. Same with Fitts’s Law. Some of the UI elements in Reeder could be a bit easier to hit, which make the app feel even better.
Android Hardware Button Order ★
The four hardware buttons — back, menu, search, home — are in different orders on different phones. The Nexus S buttons are in a different order than other Samsung Galaxy S phones — and in a different order than the Nexus One.
This is the sort of thing that epitomizes the difference between iOS and Android. Design is about making decisions. Those who prefer Android, I’m sure, don’t see this as a big deal at all — let “the market” determine in what order these buttons should be. Those who prefer iOS find it appalling — Google should have done the work at the outset of determining the one true order for these buttons.
Update: Andrew Wood has an illustration of the differences among Android handsets.
Consumer Reports Trashes AT&T ★
Dead last among U.S. carriers, with bad marks for everything from voice quality and data networking, to customer service.
What’s New in Android 2.3 ★
Keyboard improvements (including multitouch chording), text selection improvements, a better built-in process manager, and more. A bunch of developer-level improvements for games and audio apps, too.
Google eBooks ★
Google’s foray into e-book reading and selling. They speak of “openness”, but what they mean by that, so far as I can tell, is that they’ve built Google Books client apps for a bunch of platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android, and the web, and that all clients sync bookmark data via the cloud. It’s not “open” in the sense that e-books from publishers like O’Reilly and Pragmatic Programmers are, where you can download no-DRM files and read them in the client software of your choice. (Not that Google has a choice in this — surely the publishers insist on the DRM, and I’ll bet Google would sell truly open e-books for popular titles if they could.)
The iPad app seems OK. But you can’t select text, so there’s no copying and no dictionary lookups.
Nexus S, and Android 2.3 ★
New king of the Android hill: a pure “Google experience” (i.e. nothing added or changed by the carrier or Samsung) successor to the Nexus One; will ship with the brand-new Android 2.3 release. Looks good. The curved screen is interesting.
Android 2.3 looks like a nice upgrade. They finally added a UI for text selection that doesn’t require a cursor-placement trackpad or rollerball. It’s meant for T-Mobile’s 3G network, alas, so if you use it on AT&T, you’re stuck with EDGE, just like with the Nexus One. $529 unlocked, $199 with a two-year T-Mobile contract.
Update: One interesting detail: the Nexus S has 16 GB of built-in storage space, and no SD-card expansion.
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Promotional Photos ★
Gorgeous. (Via Jim Coudal, who picked a beauty to put atop coudal.com.)
Great set at the same site for The Shining, too. This is probably my favorite shot from any Kubrick film.
MetaFilter Thread on Stacey Armato’s ‘TSA Revenge Screening’ ★
I thought this comment was particularly good:
The thing is, as presented, [Armato is] trying to follow their
procedure. The agents clearly don’t want to be bothered do so. It
doesn’t matter why she want what she wants, policy has been
decided at senior levels in the TSA and it is not the job of the
operational folks who run the screen checkpoints to alter or adapt
it or do what ever they feel like. It’s their job, and only their
job, to follow procedure.
The good functioning of government depends on this. If you’re a
public servant who can’t follow rules, you shouldn’t be a public
servant. Letting agents get away with arbitrary, ad hoc “policies”
is the start of a slippery downward slope that leads to corruption
and compromising the security they’re trying to ensure.
Most TSA agents do their jobs professionally, sure. But anyone who travels regularly knows there are a lot of bad ones. I’m not surprised at all by Armato’s story.
TSA Agents Harass and Threaten Mother, Force Her to Miss Flight ★
TSA rules allow for alternate screening (no x-ray) for breast
milk and I almost never had a problem… until the week
before this screening. I was held for 30 minutes that week while
the TSA manager called to find out the rules. I was told to
“pump and dump,” and asked why the milk wasn’t clear, also
asked where my baby was and if it was really milk (uh traveling,
working mom pumping doesn’t usually have the baby with her).
After begging him to figure it out, they finally let me through. I
called and complained to TSA and was instructed to travel with the
TSA breast milk rules printed out and present them whenever there
is a problem.
A week later, she traveled through the same airport and this time, the TSA agents recognized her and retaliated, detaining her in a special screening area for an hour, purposefully making her miss her flight unless she relented and allowed her milk to be X-rayed. She showed them the printed TSA regulations allowing alternative screening for breast milk and they told her those rules don’t apply.
And she got the security tape to prove her story. Minus, curiously, 20 minutes of footage.
The Luma Loop and LoopIt Camera Sling ★
I loved my original Luma Loop, but the new model is even better. The shoulder pad is more comfortable, and the new steel attachment mechanism is way smaller and more secure. It’s this simple: I carry my DSLR with me way more often than I did before I had a Luma Loop.
Also new: the LoopIt, a sibling sling for smaller cameras.
Tumblr Down for 13 Hours and Counting ★
Kind of amazing (and thus, today, frustrating) how many of my favorite sites are on Tumblr. Not sure what Tumblr thinks “shortly” means, but it must be something different than what I think it means.
My thanks to MyNetDiary for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. MyNetDiary is a food diary and calorie counter app, with clients for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android. It’s also an online service, with both free and paid memberships. Their iOS apps are in the App Store bestseller list for Health and Fitness, and the iPad app was picked by Apple as a staff favorite.
You can sign up for free, or save 50 percent on the first month of a “Maximum” membership using the coupon code “DFBALL”.
FTC Is in Talks With Adobe Regarding Hard-to-Remove Flash Cookies ★
I know an easy way to eliminate Flash cookies.
Layer Tennis Playoffs ★
Lots of great Layer Tennis action today. (I’ll be in the commentary booth next week for the semifinals.)
All Good Things Must Come to an End ★
My back-page column in the new issue of Macworld, on the future of the Mac.
Making the Leap to SSD on a MacBook ★
It used to take 28 seconds for my 13-inch MacBook Pro to load the
folders on my desktop after I logged in. Now it takes five
There’s lots of geek-centric commentary out there about whether
the time is right yet for SSD (it is), and which of the many
available drives on the market will actually give you the benefits
the technology promises.
This post is intended for the pseudo-technical, “I’m sold;
what do I do?” crowd that doesn’t care about the nuances, and
just wants to get cracking with a credit card and a screwdriver.
One More Samsung Galaxy Tab Review ★
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten:
So does Android suck?
No, not really. But using it on the Tab makes it very clear that
this is an OS developed for mobile phones, and not tablets. Some
people say that Google will launch a dedicated OS for tablets soon
so you shouldn’t judge it based on the current version of its
OS. That might all be true and fine, but that doesn’t change the
fact that the Tab is on sale NOW with the Android version that is
out now. You can’t review a gadget based on some features it
might or might not get in the future. And right now, the
combination of the Tab and Android sucks.
WikiLeaks’s New Server Home: Bahnhof AB ★
Speaking of James Bond, WikiLeaks’s website is now hosted by Bahnhof AB, located in a positively Blofeldian nuclear bomb-proof Cold War-era facility carved out of a mountain in Sweden.
Update: Great slideshow from TPM of photos from inside the facility.
Google Maps and Label Readability ★
Interesting design analysis by Justin O’Beirne, regarding why city labels are more legible and easier to scan on Google Maps than on Bing or Yahoo Maps.
The Talk Show, Episode 19 ★
Topics this week include the varying appeal of smartphones by gender, Irvin Kershner, and the James Bond movies. One tidbit from this week’s show that’s gained some traction: I call Angry Birds today’s Pac-Man — a game that’s become a pop cultural phenomenon. Jared Newman at Technologizer and Dan Frommer at Alley Insider both took that analogy and ran with it.
Brought to you by two fine sponsors: Rackspace and MailChimp.
Mobile OS Usage Splits the World ★
It’s rather amazing how wildly these numbers vary by continent. iOS is absolutely crushing it in Australia and New Zealand. BlackBerry, once a North American phenomenon, now does well in Europe and Asia, too. Symbian remains the worldwide leader, but only because it dominates in Asia, Africa, and South America.
Paul Graham, on what to collectively call iPhones, iPads, and Android touchscreen devices:
After a few seconds it struck me that what we’ll end up calling
these things is tablets. The only reason we even consider calling
them “mobile devices” is that the iPhone preceded the iPad. If the
iPad had come first, we wouldn’t think of the iPhone as a phone;
we’d think of it as a tablet small enough to hold up to your ear.
The iPhone isn’t so much a phone as a replacement for a phone.
Graham’s piece reminds me of what I consider the central hook to a great app for these tablets: that it should seem, when you’re using it, that the entire device was meant for it. E.g., a good chess game for the iPhone should make the iPhone itself feel like a chess playing device. When you’re in Mobile Safari, it feels like you’re holding a dedicated web browsing device. Only when you’re in the Phone app does the iPhone feel like a phone.
‘Inevitable’, Eh? ★
Jenny Williams, reporting for Computer Weekly:
HTC has spoken out against internet reports that claim HTC HD7
handsets suffer from antenna ‘death grip’ problems, similar to
those experienced by Apple’s iPhone 4 users. […]
In a statement, a HTC spokesman said, “Quality in industrial
design is of key importance to HTC. To ensure the best possible
signal strength, antennas are placed in the area least likely to
be covered by a person’s face or hands while the phone is in use.
However, it is inevitable that a phone’s signal strength will
weaken a little when covered in its entirety by a user’s palm or
From The Wall Street Journal, back on July 19:
Taiwan-based HTC said Monday that reception problems aren’t common
on smartphones and Apple should address the problem on its own
rather than blame competitors.
“The reception problems are certainly not common among
smartphones,” HTC Chief Financial Officer Hui-Meng Cheng said.
“[Apple] apparently didn’t give operators enough time to test
Amazon Responds ★
Amazon Web Services makes a strong argument that government pressure had nothing to do with their decision to boot WikiLeaks, but rather clear violations of their terms of service:
AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of
service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them.
There were several parts they were violating. For example, our
terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you
own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that
use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and
will not cause injury to any person or entity.” It’s clear
that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights
to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the
extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that
WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such
a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in
Fair enough. But so would AWS likewise refuse to provide hosting to The New York Times or The Guardian? Will Amazon refuse to sell books containing text from these leaked diplomatic cables?
RIM Buys UI Design Firm TAT ★
With purchases like this, and last year’s purchase of QNX (the OS RIM is using to power the PlayBook, and, presumably, future phones), RIM seems to have an accurate self-assessment. They know where they’re weak. Rather than go into denial regarding their weaknesses, they’re trying to fix them.
More on Joe Lieberman’s Censorship Campaign Against WikiLeaks ★
I just spoke with the creator of the “visualizations”: a British
freelance journalist named James Ball. The only thing these
“visualizations” are were charts summarizing the material released
by WikiLeaks (for instance, the charts counted the documents which
originated from each country, the number of documents by year, and
the like). These charts contained no classified information
whatsoever, and disclosed nothing about the content of the cables.
It was the completely innocuous work of a freelance journalist to
inform the public about the categories of documents released.
Those charts were then linked to from the WikiLeaks site, but
hosted separately by Tableau.
As Jeffrey Goldberg asks, why doesn’t Lieberman go after The New York Times, too?
Maybe We Should Start Burning Books, Too ★
Wednesday afternoon, Tableau Software removed data visualizations
published by WikiLeaks to Tableau Public. We understand this is a
sensitive issue and want to assure the public and our users that
this was not an easy decision, nor one that we took lightly. […]
Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response
to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the
Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for
organizations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship
with the website.
WikiLeaks has never been found guilty of violating a single U.S. law. As Glenn Greenwald writes, Lieberman, using his position as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is pressuring hosts to drop WikiLeaks content on the premise that they’re aiding terrorists. It’s abusive coercion. I’d love to hear from a U.S.-based hosting provider that has told him to go stuff it.
Andy Baio’s WikiLeaks Cablegate Roundup ★
Comprehensive list of links.
Dyin’ Ain’t Much of a Living, Boy ★
Ask and ye shall receive: a Safari extension from Troy Gaul to put the Outlaw Josey Wales on Wikipedia.
Using Google Voice on the iPhone ★
Nathan Peretic has written the best piece I’ve seen on what it’s like to use Google Voice on an iPhone. He nails the pros (free texting, great call screening features), and he nails the cons (“like living in a tiny Android bubble in an iPhone world”).
Ben the Bodyguard ★
Killer HTML5 teaser site for an upcoming iPhone app. Just scroll.
Chrome Passes Firefox as Top Browser Among TechCrunch Readers ★
This is a golden age for web browsers — healthy competition with four major players and several notable minor players.
Russia to Host World Cup in 2018; Qatar in 2022 ★
The tournament would be held when temperatures in Qatar typically
exceed 48 degrees C (118 degrees F). FIFA highlighted the
potential risk posed by the heat.
Sounds delightful, as do Qatar’s oppressive Sharia laws:
The laws of Qatar tolerate alcohol to a certain extent. However,
the few bars and nightclubs in Qatar operate only in expensive
hotels and clubs. […] Under Qatar’s Sharia, it is illegal to
show alcohol or be drunk in public.
How Our ‘Security’ Obsession Costs Us ★
Powerful piece by Tom Engelhardt connecting U.S. security theatrics with our unending wars in the Middle East:
Of course, the U.S. national security state has quite a different
formula for engendering safety in America: fight the Afghan war
until hell freezes over; keep the odd base or two in Iraq;
dig into the Persian Gulf region; send U.S. Special Operations
troops into any country where a terrorist might possibly lurk; and
make sure the drones aren’t far behind. In other words,
reinforce our war state by ensuring that we’re eternally in a
state of war, and then scare the hell out of Americans by
repeatedly insisting that we’re in imminent danger, that shoe,
underwear, and someday butt bombers will destroy our country, our
lives, and our civilization. Insist that a single percent of risk
is 1 percent too much when it comes to terror and American lives,
and then demand that those who feel otherwise be dealt with
punitively, if they won’t shut up.
It’s a ‘Game’ ★
Daniel Tencer, reporting for Raw Story:
Ken Wooden, founder of Child Lures Prevention, says the TSA’s
recommendation that children be told the pat-down is a “game” is
potentially putting children in danger. Telling a child that they
are engaging in a game is “one of the most common ways” that
sexual predators use to convince children to engage in
inappropriate contact, Wooden told Raw Story.
Why are they screening young children at all?
The Inevitable Decline Due to Clutter ★
Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.
Logitech Revue With Google TV Commercial ★
Not sure it does a damn thing to sell the gadget, but it’s a fun commercial. (Via Lessien.)
Please Read: A Personal Appeal From the Outlaw Josey Wales ★
I would pay to put this on Wikipedia.
Update: Safari extension from Troy Gaul.
Missing the Point of WikiLeaks ★
With or without WikiLeaks, the technology exists to allow
whistleblowers to leak data and documents while maintaining
anonymity. With or without WikiLeaks, the personnel, technical
know-how, and ideological will exists to enable anonymous leaking
and to make this information available to the public. Jailing
Thomas Edison in 1890 would not have darkened the night.
Yet the debate over WikiLeaks has proceeded as if the matter might
conclude with the eradication of these kinds of data dumps — as
if this is a temporary glitch in the system that can be fixed; as
if this is a nuisance that can be made to go away with the
application of sufficient government gusto.
How Joe Lieberman Got Amazon to Drop Wikileaks ★
I have mixed feelings about WikiLeaks, overall — at least regarding their latest drop of U.S. diplomatic material. But Amazon’s cutting them off from their web hosting at the behest of Senator Joe Lieberman seems wrong to me. It’s very unclear, for one thing, whether WikiLeaks’s publishing of this material is against U.S. law. Amazon should comply with the law, not the demands of a politician. And it’s futile, anyway — the WikiLeaks website is already back up.
‘Project’, New iPad Magazine ★
New iPad-only magazine from Richard Branson’s Virgin Publishing. Interesting, but given that it’s iPad-only, I expected better on-screen typography and navigation.
Update: After spending more time with the premiere issue, I’m pretty sure they’re using the same InDesign-based Adobe production tools that Wired and other Condé Nast magazines are using. But why? The appeal of these tools for print magazines is that they hook into their current production workflows. But I doubt that’s optimal for a new digital-only magazine like Project. Again, the typography (and type rendering) are poor in Project. And I find the navigation to be frustrating. You swipe left-right to page between different articles, and up-down to “scroll” between the pages of a multipage article. But frequently — not just in Project but also in other iPad magazines using this format, like Wired — I find myself on page N (where N is greater than 1) of an article, and accidentally going left or right when I wanted to go down to the next page of the current article. Then, when I go back to the article I never meant to leave, I’m back on the first page of that article, not the page I was reading when I inadvertently swiped to a different article. I find it to be a frustrating reading experience.
Old Navy Now Using Apple’s iPod Touch-Based Point-of-Sale System ★
9to5 Mac confirms that Gap is “piloting Apple’s iPod based POS system at a few” Old Navy stores.
Nielsen Survey on the U.S. Smartphone Market ★
Two things stick out to me. One, by gender, there’s a big gap for Android with men and women: 32.6 percent of men say Android is the OS for their next smartphone purchase, versus only 22.8 percent of women. With the iPhone, the numbers are close: 28.6 for men, 30.9 for women. And the numbers are even closer for BlackBerry — Android is the only one of the big three U.S. mobile OSes with a big gender gap. I wonder how much of that is due specifically to Verizon’s Terminator-esque branding for “Droid”.
The other thing that sticks out is the difference between the results from current featurephone (i.e. dumb phone) owners and existing smartphone owners. The iPhone jumps from 25 to 35 percent, BlackBerry from 11 to 15 percent, and Android gets the same number from both (28 percent).
Modern Espionage and Sabotage ★
Riveting story by Ed Barnes on Stuxnet, the extraordinarily clever and complicated Windows virus that apparently successfully targeted Iran’s nuclear program. He gets the definition of “zero day exploit” very much wrong, but it’s a great story. This has the NSA written all over it.
‘I, Reader’ ★
Lovely piece by Alexander Chee on books and reading.
The Insanity Virus ★
Douglas Fox, writing for Discover:
Schizophrenia has long been blamed on bad genes or even bad
parents. Wrong, says a growing group of psychiatrists. The real
culprit, they claim, is a virus that lives entwined in every
Same for multiple sclerosis. Fascinating and compelling theory.