Linked List: June 2011

HP Says Apple Is Not TouchPad’s Target 

Jim Dalrymple, interviewing HP’s vice president of worldwide developer relations Richard Kerris:

HP acknowledged Apple’s dominance in the tablet market, but said Apple wasn’t its target with the TouchPad.

“We think there’s a better opportunity for us to go after the enterprise space and those consumers that use PCs,” said Kerris. “This market is in its infancy and there is plenty of room for both of us to grow.”

Smart. Reminds me of that Steve Jobs mantra from the late ’90s: “We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job.”

Restated for today, mobile OS competitors need to let go of the notion that for them to succeed, Apple has to lose. Compare and contrast HP’s attitude with RIM’s.

Yeah, Sure, That’s the Ticket 

Matt Hartley, reporting for The Financial Post:

Research In Motion Ltd. will create a committee that will examine possible changes to its corporate structure, including the possibility of separating the co-chairman and co-chief executive roles of its leaders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, after a shareholder group threatened to put forth a motion to consider the changes at the company’s forthcoming annual general meeting.

So they have a plan, to create a committee, which will conduct a study and produce a report. Well then, problems solved.

Open Letter From an Anonymous ‘High-Level RIM Employee’ 

Devastating and comprehensive examination of the hole RIM is in, purportedly sent to BGR from a company insider. (RIM’s version of Mini-Microsoft?) Their products offer uncompetitive user experiences, their management is riddled with bozos, their plans are unfocused, they have no expertise in the areas where they lag the competition, and their marketing stinks.

Amazingly, RIM responded, hours later. 330 words to say nothing.

HP’s Uncomfortable Relationship With Microsoft 

Austin Carr, writing for Fast Company:

“I’m limited to what I can talk about with Windows 8,” McKinney says. “We’re working very closely with [Microsoft], and I’m going to leave it at that or I’m going to start getting myself into trouble.”

Any chance of a Windows 8 tablet, though? “We currently have a product shipping today called the Slate 500, and to be quite honest that product has been doing quite well,” he says. “So that’s a Windows 7 version, and then we’ll have the TouchPad coming out [with WebOS].”

So is it safe to assume there will also be a Windows 8 tablet? A long pause.

HP is the number-one seller of Windows PCs in the world, but they’re charting their own course in mobile with WebOS. They might even license WebOS to other hardware makers — whatever you think of the merits of that idea, there can be no argument that doing so would put HP in direct competition with Microsoft.

All Things Chickenshit 

Federico Viticci at MacStories noted an iPad milestone today:

Either specifically targeting the tablet, or released as universal updates to existing iPhone apps, at the moment of writing this there are 100,161 iPad apps in the Store. How do I know? The App Store app itself on my iPad shows that.

Ina Fried, reporting for AllThingsD, credits the scoop thus:

As noted by an Apple enthusiast site, there are now more than 100,000 iPad apps — either apps that run only on the iPad or those that have been optimized to take advantage of its larger screen.

No credit by name for Viticci or MacStories. That’s chickenshit. Until this is fixed, no more mentions by name of “All Things D” or anyone who writes for them. I’ve corrected this piece from earlier today accordingly.

Amazon Associates Program Terminated in California Immediately 

Joel Falconer at The Next Web:

Amazon informed Californian users of the Amazon Associates program earlier today that they’d no longer be permitting Californians to participate by the end of September if the online retailer sales tax bill was made law. The governor today passed the bill, and Amazon says it has been forced to move the deadline up.

They aren’t wasting any time. As of today, June 29, 2011, Amazon says, Associates contracts with Californian residents are terminated.

Amazon did the same thing in Arkansas, Connecticut, and Illinois. Update: Colorado too.

American McCarver: Your Sports Blog 

In case you missed it, my new sports gig, with an all-star staff of writers, and Mike Monteiro.

In U.S., Smartphones Now Majority of New Cellphone Purchases 

Nielsen:

According to Nielsen’s May survey of mobile consumers in the U.S., 38 percent now own smartphones. And 55 percent of those who purchased a new handset in the past three months reported buying a smartphone instead of a feature phone, up from 34 percent just a year ago.

34 to 55 is a huge year-over-year leap. What will the number be a year from now?

Nielsen Survey Claims iPhone Up, Android Flat in U.S. Smartphone Growth 

Shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. This is the effect of Verizon carrying the iPhone. The most important trend isn’t iPhone vs. Android phones. It’s how smartphones as a whole — or better put, app phones — are subsuming the entire U.S. phone market. (It’s the separation between smart phones and app phones that explains BlackBerry’s collapse.)

See also: Ars Technica’s analysis of the same Nielsen survey.

Pogue on the TouchPad 

The good:

First of all, the TouchPad is beautiful. It’s iPad beautiful. The case is glossy black plastic — a magnet for fingerprints, unfortunately, but it looks wicked great in the first five minutes. The WebOS is beautiful, too. It’s graphically coherent, elegant, fluid and satisfying. That, apparently, is the payoff when a single company designs both the hardware and the software. (Android gadgets, by contrast, are a mishmash of different versions and looks.)

The bad:

It supposedly has a blazing-fast chip inside, but you wouldn’t know it. When you rotate the screen, it takes the screen two seconds to match — an eternity in tablet time. Apps can take a long time to open; the built-in chat app, for example, takes seven seconds to appear. Animations are sometimes jerky, reactions to your finger swipes sometimes uncertain.

Very strong consensus among all the reviews I’ve read.

Some Guy With a Goatee on the TouchPad: ‘Simply No Match for the iPad’ 

No grading on a curve here:

I’ve been testing the TouchPad for about a week and, in my view, despite its attractive and different user interface, this first version is simply no match for the iPad. It suffers from poor battery life, a paucity of apps and other deficits.

Josh Topolsky Reviews the HP TouchPad 

He seems largely in agreement with Snell overall, and has a detailed look at the Mail app.

Jason Snell Reviews the HP TouchPad 

Best review of it I’ve seen. If you’re only going to read one, make it Snell’s. He covers it all: the great UI design, WebOS’s excellent card-based switching interface, the solid hardware, the shortcomings, what seems unfinished, WebOS’s seemingly endemic lagginess, and the miserable performance of Flash Player.

‘We Gave Her a Nice Honeymoon’ 

This week’s episode of The Talk Show, recorded earlier today:

Filmmaker and Timothy Dalton-lookalike Adam Lisagor joins the show to discuss Apple’s tumultuous introduction of Final Cut Pro X and Licence to Kill.

Brought to you by Field Notes and iStockphoto.

But Not All Walks of Life, I Guess 

Nick Bilton on the growing secrecy in Silicon Valley:

At Google, a company that prides itself on openness, some buildings were on “lockdown” to ensure that upcoming products don’t leak. Later, a Google employee, who of course asked not to be named for fear of repercussions from their employer, told me the heightened secrecy was something new for the company.

“It’s a very delicate time in technology right now. Google is competing with everyone: Facebook and Twitter on a social level, Apple with mobile, Microsoft with search,” explained the Google employee. “Google has started to realize that they have to protect upcoming products and adopting secrecy has become necessary within the organization.”

Google senior vice president Jonathan Rosenberg in December 2009, on “The Meaning of Open”:

Open will win. It will win on the Internet and will then cascade across many walks of life: The future of government is transparency. The future of commerce is information symmetry. The future of culture is freedom. The future of science and medicine is collaboration. The future of entertainment is participation. Each of these futures depends on an open Internet.

(For what it’s worth, though, Larry Page showed Rosenberg the door when he took the CEO helm.)

Tech Industry Organizational Charts 

Brilliant.

Update: Fireballed WordPress site. Cached here.

XKCD on Google+ 

Does anyone not agree that it’s Google’s version of Facebook?

Sandwich on Final Cut Pro X 

Adam Lisagor:

Final Cut Pro is like a soap opera and Apple is the network. You’ve had a character, let’s say Luke and Laura, who’ve been around, developing their storyline and their romance for a decade. The show’s viewers are heavily invested in Luke and Laura. But the network decides that Luke and Laura represent an old, outmoded character type, and that the new way is young, hip, lean…

Adam is our very special guest star on this week’s The Talk Show, recording this afternoon.

Joke 

Robert X. Cringely on Apple’s massive North Carolina data center:

But before leaving town I was determined to scope out that $1 billion Apple data center in Maiden, NC. So I drove over, took some pictures, and talked to folks at the convenience store down the road. My conclusions from this unscientific research is that the giant Apple facility is mainly empty. It’s a huge building filled more or less with nothing and why Apple built it that way frankly escapes me. Maybe it’s just a shot across the bow of Google and its $650 million data center in South Carolina.

Rich Miller at Data Center Knowledge, disputing Cringely’s analysis:

Wow. Did a well-known tech columnist just allege that Apple built an enormous fake data center? And, in essence, accuse Steve Jobs of modeling data center vaporware when he showed off pictures of server rooms filled with gear at the recent WWDC?

Yes.

Cringely’s been half-nuts for years. Now I think he’s full-nuts.

Dave Winer on Google+ 

Dave Winer:

So if you’re Microsoft in 1999, you bake it into Windows. 

If you’re Google in 2011, you bake it into search. 

Apple Responds on Final Cut Pro X 

Apple:

Final Cut Pro X is a breakthrough in nonlinear video editing. The application has impressed many pro editors, and it has also generated a lot of discussion in the pro video community. We know people have questions about the new features in Final Cut Pro X and how it compares with previous versions of Final Cut Pro. Here are the answers to the most common questions we’ve heard.

Evolving the Google Design and Experience 

Chris Wiggins:

The new Google experience that we’ve begun working toward is founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness.

This is good work.

Steven Levy: ‘Inside Google+’ 

From Steven Levy’s detailed behind-the-scenes story on Google+ for Wired:

One variation that users will notice comes in interface design — conspicuously, in Circles. With colorful animations, drag-and-drop magic and whimsical interface touches, Circles looks more like a classic Apple program than the typically bland Google app. That’s no surprise since the key interface designer was legendary software artist Andy Hertzfeld.

Hertzfeld, of course, is the publisher of Folklore.org, the wonderful archive of “anecdotes about the development of Apple’s original Macintosh computer, and the people who created it.”

Google+ Introductory Videos 

I don’t want to place a bet that these things are going to take off — and the more I learn, the more it seems clear that “Google+” is an umbrella name for several individual services, rather than a single unified thing — but these introductory videos are really well done. Note that the UI screenshots are even set in Helvetica, not Arial. Some of the best evidence of good taste at Google I can ever recall.

Sidenote: Regarding mobile clients, Google writes:

Starting today Google+ is available on Android Market and the mobile web, and it’s coming soon to the App Store.

Not the “iOS App Store” or “iTunes App Store”. Just “App Store”.

Tom Coates on Google+’s Prospects 

Tom Coates:

Fundamentally, Google is a utility. No one wants to hang out at their power company.

Metric and Calibre 

Sibling sans serif typefaces by Kris Sowersby, with a shared core alphabet. They differ because of “genre”-specific letterforms for certain letters — geometric for Metric, grotesque for Calibre. Thus Metric feels more like, say, Futura, whereas Calibre feels more like, say, Helvetica.

Google Swiffy 

New from Google:

Swiffy converts Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing you to reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player (such as iPhones and iPads).

Google Explains Google+ 

Pretty clear explanation of features, purpose, and scope. Sort of the anti-Wave. (Flash-based, alas.)

The Google Plus Social Network 

Like Microsoft in its heyday, Google seems not just willing but downright eager to take on any competitor with a successful platform.

WebKit to Support Native-Style Momentum Scrolling in iOS 5 

Among numerous other improvements for mobile web apps, iOS 5 beta 2 includes support for native-style momentum scrolling. See also: this post at FunctionSource, which includes this demo. (The demo won’t be impressive unless you’re using iOS 5b2.)

More proof that Apple wants to kill the open web.

Google Claims 500,000 Daily Android Device Activations 

Ryan Kim, writing for GigaOm:

Now with Honeycomb (an Android variant) tablets hitting the market, the device activations are being supplemented by larger tablet devices, not just smartphones. Indeed, almost every company is putting out a tablet these days, most built off of Google’s Android operating system. 

I’m curious where Kim found statistics that suggest Honeycomb tablets are contributing significantly to this number. Everything I’ve seen suggests that Android tablets aren’t selling.

How We Treat Our Computers 

Yep.

Update: Fireballed; cached here.

200,000 Apps Is What They Want 

Jason Fried, disputing the idea that app store library size doesn’t matter:

When people spend a few hundred bucks on a phone, and sign a long term contract, they want something more fundamental: They want to know they’re making a decision they won’t regret over the next two years. What are they going to want to do with this phone over the next two years? They aren’t sure. Maybe they’ll want to play some games. Maybe they’ll want to store some recipes. Maybe they’ll want to make a movie. That’s why 200,000 apps matter.

HP Gets It 

Austin Carr, writing about HP’s WebOS and TouchPad for Fast Company:

Ironically, in order to compete with Apple, HP is taking a page from Apple’s playbook. Steve Jobs’s strategy has always been to control both the hardware and the software it runs on. While other PC makers, including HP, have relied on Windows, Apple’s Macs have always come with Mac OS, an operating system designed specifically for its hardware. Apple has followed the same approach when expanding to the iPhone and iPad with iOS. “Everyone is figuring out that if you want to survive, you really want to control the experience end to end,” McKinney says. “The ability to control both the hardware platform and OS is absolutely critical.”

Music to my ears. Here’s what I wrote about HP back in October 2009:

Operating systems aren’t mere components like RAM or CPUs; they’re the single most important part of the computing experience. Other than Apple, there’s not a single PC maker that controls the most important aspect of its computers. Imagine how much better the industry would be if there were more than one computer maker trying to move the state of the art forward.

Introducing: American McCarver 

For the last nine years, I’ve written for one weblog: this one. Now it’s two.

Greg Knauss, Michael Sippey, Jason Snell, Philip Michaels, Mike Monteiro, and yours truly bring you: American McCarver. It is, ostensibly, about sports. All sports. Especially baseball. There will be a podcast.

A Tale of Two iPhones 

MG Siegler:

That’s the latest rumor making headlines today, based on a report by Deutsche Bank’s Chris Whitmore, an analyst. Now, analysts typically have a horrible track record when it comes to correctly predicting Apple moves. And when I say “horrible”, I mean that you’d have a better shot correctly predicting what Apple is going to do by throwing darts at a board… with a blindfold on. But — there has been some evidence that backs up this latest claim (which is probably why they made it in the first place).

Right. “Analyst says something” should almost always be taken as punditry, not news. But there is a bit of evidence for this amongst the scraps of information that have leaked regarding new iOS hardware. And, more importantly, it makes strategic sense. Eventually Apple is going to expand the iPhone to multiple tiers. Not just “last year’s model, this year’s model”, but multiple new products. It’s just a matter of when.

Examine the history of the iPod to see how this will play out. They’ll press technologically at the high end, and they’ll expand into the mid-range market with lower priced models. Why not now?

Ian Betteridge: ‘How Apple Could Fix Final Cut Pro X, in 187 Words’ 

Take out the “at least” from the last sentence, putting a hard deadline on progress, and you get it down to 185 words.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Video Games Are Protected by the First Amendment 

Can’t remember the last time I was deeply pleased by a majority opinion written by Scalia:

“Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world),” Justice Scalia wrote. “That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”

Strange bedfellows in the ruling: Scalia’s opinion was joined by Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Josh Mellicker on Final Cut Pro X 

Josh Mellicker:

What I would have done (were I in charge), is continue to sell Final Cut Studio 3 and brand the new app simply as “Z”. A brand-new editing app. Think of the buzz! Think of the awesome logo!

Of course, people would immediately ask, “What’s the future of FCP7?”, and “Will there be an FCP8?” and Apple’s position would be, “We might add minor, incremental features to FCP7, but we feel FCP7 is a stable, full-featured app, and is working well for millions of people, so don’t expect major changes or a major new version anytime soon (or maybe ever). FCP is the standard for professional editing. We are focusing on developing Z until it has feature parity with FCP7 and is ready for professional use, and at that time we recommend pros look into switching to it.” Pulling the plug on FCS3 prematurely was a bad move — all downside, and what’s the upside?

Easier would have been to call this release “Final Cut Express X” — or even just “Final Cut X” — making it clear that right now, today, this is a replacement for the existing Final Cut Express, with the implicit or maybe even explicit understanding that while it’s not yet a replacement for Final Cut Pro, it will be.

Larry Jordan on Final Cut Pro X 

Larry Jordan:

When I was talking with Apple prior to the launch, they told me that they extensively researched the market to determine what needed to be in the new program. In retrospect, I wonder what people they were talking with.

Dave Winer on Mozilla and Firefox 

Dave Winer:

The problem for them, if they choose to view it as a problem, is that web browsers are done. Feature-complete. No one can think of anything to add that anyone wants, because there are no more features to add. Sadly, this happens to product categories. It happened with word processors twenty years ago. Spreadsheets, around the same time. Windows was done when XP shipped. Mac OS, yeah it’s done too. I haven’t used any of the new features. And by “new” I mean features introduced in the last eight years or so.  

Software products have lifecycles. They reach a point where all they need is maintenance. Make sure it runs on new hardware. Fix security issues as they arise. Optimize. (Firefox could sure use that!) Teeny little tweaks that are almost unnoticeable.

A bit hyperbolic, for sure, but there’s a lot of truth here. I’m more interested in the new stuff in iOS 5 than I am in the new stuff in Lion. iOS still has major holes. It’s a new frontier. Mac OS X is settled territory. That’s not to say that major changes and additions can’t be made to settled territory, but it doesn’t bring the same sort of excitement.

TSA: Keeping Us Safe From Adult Diapers 

CNN:

The Transportation Security Administration stood by its security officers Sunday after a Florida woman complained that her cancer-stricken, 95-year-old mother was patted down and forced to remove her adult diaper while going through security.

Steve Jobs’s Closing Keynote at WWDC 1997 

I linked to this off-handedly the other day, to source Jobs’s “Focus is saying no” quote, but the whole thing — a Q&A session with WWDC attendees — is extraordinary. The video is poor quality but the content is utterly compelling.

It was post-NeXT acquisition so Jobs was back at Apple, but only as an advisor, not yet as CEO. But the man clearly had a vision then for what Apple could be. And we now know he was right. He was unbelievably right. And then he made it happen.

New York Allows Same-Sex Marriage 

More like this, please:

With his position still undeclared, Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo who had sought office promising to oppose same-sex marriage, told his colleagues he had agonized for months before concluding he had been wrong.

“I apologize for those who feel offended,” Mr. Grisanti said, adding, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”

The AppStorm Freelance Mac App Bundle 

My thanks to the AppStorm Freelance Mac App Bundle for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. They’ve got a fantastic deal: $330 worth of apps and resources, including Billings, WriteRoom, TextExpander, 1Password, LittleSnapper, Arq, Radium, and Alarms. In addition to those great apps, you get the Rockstar Freelancer e-book, a commercial WordPress theme, and a web-based client management app.

All that for just $49. It’s a great price for some great apps. Act quickly: the bundle is only available for another four days.

Express First, Pro Later 

Ken Segall:

Imagine if they had unveiled FCPX as the new Final Cut Express instead. Buyers of that product would have been absolutely delighted by the many leaps forward in power and simplicity, and the missing features would have been insignificant to them. A new Final Cut Express would also have given pro editors a tantalizing preview of a new FCPX to come.

Sure seems like this is exactly what Apple should have done.

Conan O’Brien on Final Cut Pro X 

Not sure it’s ever good to be a late night punchline, but, on the other hand, what other company today could make video editing software a late night punchline?

Jalkut Sums It Up 

Daniel Jalkut, on Twitter:

Final Cut Pro X review: Apple will happily piss off 5,000 professionals to please 5,000,000 amateurs.

The obvious response to this would be to ask why not please both groups? The answer to that is focus. Perhaps Apple is too focused here. Maybe they should have waited longer to release version X, to include more of the features from 7. Maybe they should have added X as a new product — a mid-level prosumer tier, replacing Final Cut Express but not Final Cut Pro. But Apple errs on the side of too much focus.

Steve Jobs, back in 1997: “Focus is about saying no.”

Pogue, Point-by-Point, on the Concerns of Professional Video Editors Regarding Final Cut Pro X 

David Pogue:

I wrote my review from the perspective of an advanced amateur; I’m not a professional editor. […] But in this post, I’m going to address the concerns of professional video editors, one by one. The information here comes from consultation with Final Cut Pro X’s product managers at Apple.

The “missing features” generally fall into three categories: features that are actually there and have just been moved around, features that Apple intends to restore and features that require a third-party (non-Apple) add-on or plug-in.

The closest we’ve gotten, thus far, to a response from Apple.

On the Other Side: Serenity Caldwell 

Serenity Caldwell:

Some people will read the above story and insist that yes, just like iMovie, Final Cut is getting dumbed down, and that Apple doesn’t want to service professional users anymore. If you’re reading it like that, however, I don’t think you’re reading at all.

But, for now at least, Apple is clearly willing to forgo high-end professional users. Or maybe Apple is counting on those users sticking with Final Cut Pro 7 until X grows to meet their needs?

Jeffery Harrell on What’s Wrong With Final Cut Pro X 

Jeffery Harrell:

This isn’t just a bunch of entitled, stubborn editors whining to each other. Well, I mean, it is, and I’m one of them. But aside from that, there’s also some really serious stuff going on. It’s not “I don’t like it,” or “I don’t prefer it” or even “I choose not to make the change because it’s too burdensome for too little benefit.” It’s “Because of the choices you guys made, we literally can’t use your product any more.”

Backed up with solid use-cases where Final Cut Pro X fails for pros, including the problems posed by the way Final Cut Pro X shows all of your media, for all projects, all the time. I love the perspective on this piece. It conveys the point of view of a professional editor.

Dropbox Breach: Fewer Than 100 Accounts Affected, but One Person Actively Exploited Security Hole 

Jason Kincaid, for AOL/TechCrunch:

First, the good news: the scale of the attack affected “fewer than a hundred accounts” out of Dropbox’s 25 million total users. But according to the letter, those accounts were all accessed by a single individual. In other words, these weren’t accidental logins due to typos — someone discovered the hole and actively used it to access files that were not theirs. That’s obviously very alarming.

Why Macs Cost More Than PCs 

Andrew Richardson takes Matt Richman’s numbers and goes further:

If the average selling price of a Mac runs about $710 more than a PC (ASP of a Mac - ASP of an HP machine), and about $320 of that is profit, then the remaining $390 must be those higher costs. Apple’s computing hardware, and the software development behind OS X, actually cost more to manufacture. Given the volume their manufacturing partners are turning out and the squeeze to contain costs put on them by Apple, one has to wonder why.

The answer is fairly obvious to anyone coming to Macs after years of using commodity PC equipment: better design and build quality costs more.

David Cole Does Four Takes on an Alternate Cover for ‘Kind of Bloop’ 

I like the one at top right.

Duncan Davidson on the Maisel/Baio Incident 

Duncan Davidson:

I think the work is transformative enough that it would qualify as fair use. Look carefully and you can see that it’s not just a derezzed image. It was crafted in a creative way, down to the pattern in the tie. Do you agree? It’s OK if you don’t. We could talk about it over beers. Only a judge’s opinion would really matter.

The Online Photographer: Kind of Blue, Kind of Bloop, Kind of Screwed 

The Online Photographer, on the Baio/Maisel affair:

I side with Jay in this one. That is, I think the Kind of Bloop cover is indeed a case of infringement and does not qualify as Fair Use. I’ll let Ctein expain it in more detail if he cares to, since he knows more about copyright law than I do, but the issue hinges on “derivative” vs. “transformative” works of art. You’re allowed to transform (create something new on the shoulders of the old); you’re not allowed to derive (copy, even loosely — even in another medium).

Sometimes it does take a jury to decide which is which. Sad but true.

What angers me about Maisel’s reaction is not his decision not to allow Andy Baio to use his pixel-art recreation of the photo. It’s that he didn’t simply ask Andy Baio to stop, and instead pressed for significant financial damages. The decent thing to do, as a first step, is to say “I am not OK with what you’ve done, I want you to stop.”

‘Secret’ Sneak Peek at ‘Sea Ray’, Nokia’s First Windows Phone 

Stephen Elop makes the case for the N9 as a step toward Nokia’s Windows Phone future.

‘Imagine Joe McCarthy Dragging Cabinet Members Into Hearings and Demanding That They Publicly Disavow the Works of Groucho Marx, and You Get a Rough Idea of the General Style of Bachmannian Politics’ 

Matt Taibbi profiles Michele Bachmann in Rolling Stone:

In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you’ve always got a puncher’s chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she’s living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she’s built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

‘Cars 2’ to Be First Pixar Film on the Wrong Side of the Tomatometer 

Russ Fischer, SlashFilm:

It’s only fair, I suppose, that if we run articles trumpeting the fact that other Pixar movies have achieved some form of massively positive consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, that when the company finally releases one that falls far short of the same margin, it would be worth noting. So this weekend will stand as a milestone in the history of Pixar, as Cars 2 opens to the first generally negative consensus opinion in the company’s experience.

Metacritic has it at 59, which isn’t bad — but it’s low by Pixar standards. It’s clearly not a dud — Ebert liked it, as did Peter Travers — but unlike almost all other Pixar films, it seems to be polarizing.

No, a Web Interface Is Not Necessarily Canonical 

Oscar North, a few weeks ago, when there was still a question as to whether there’d be a web interface to iCloud:

So if the truth does now reside in the Cloud then there must be a way for you the user to tell iCloud about any lies your devices might be telling it. And there is really only one way for Apple to allow you to do this: It needs a canonical web interface that allows you to roll back changes made to your iCloud by your devices.

iCloud is based on the idea that there’s one canonical data store — the one “in the cloud”, stored in Apple’s data center. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that a web-based interface is necessary to manage it. This is what I was trying to express in my “It’s All Software” piece. A web interface is just another client.

Think about IMAP. The canonical storage is on the IMAP server. Your webmail is just another IMAP client accessing your email account — no more or less canonical than your desktop email client.

The Sound of Money 

Nice piece by John McCoy on the Andy Baio/Jay Maisel imbroglio.

Fragmentation? I Don’t See Any Fragmentation 

Hulu Plus for Android is out:

With the first phase of the Android rollout, Hulu Plus is available on six phones, including the Nexus One, Nexus S, HTC Inspire 4G, Motorola Droid II, Motorola Droid X, and the Motorola Atrix.

Google, one month ago at I/O:

Over the past two and a half years, we’ve shipped eight releases of Android and there are now more than 310 Android devices around the world, of all shapes and sizes.

So 6 of those 310 can run Hulu Plus.

Apple: Frequently Asked Questions About the MobileMe Transition and iCloud 

Apple:

Will I be able to access iCloud services on the web?

Yes. Web access to iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find My iPhone will be available at icloud.com this fall.

Another winning wager.

This one answers a question I didn’t know the answer to:

If I use different accounts for iTunes and MobileMe, can I merge them into a single account and use it with iCloud?

No. You cannot merge two accounts into one. However, you will be able to move your MobileMe account (yourname@me.com) to iCloud and, if you choose, you can continue to use a different iTunes account for store purchases and iTunes in the Cloud.

A Consequence of Losing the PC Wars 

Matt Richman does the math:

Apple makes more money from the sale of one Mac than HP does from selling seven PCs.

Card.io: Credit Card Scanning From Your Mobile Phone Camera 

Clever idea. I wonder why Square didn’t take this route.

Update: One possible reason: retailers get lower card-processing fees from swiping, because the magnetic strip contains extra data not printed on the card, which can prove that the card was physically present for the transaction.

Tee Trilogy 

Do you like Star Wars? Do you like clever t-shirts? Well, then, here’s the bundle for you.

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.6.8 

Perhaps the last dot release of Snow Leopard.

‘You Have Nothing That I Need or Want. You Are a Computer Salesman — I Am Fucking James Bond!’ 

Thanks to the confluence of my interests and the fact that it’s funny as hell, I’ve been inundated with email regarding Scoopertino’s fake 1998 letter from Sean Connery to Steve Jobs. Here’s the thing, though — it’s the image of the letter that’s circulating like wildfire, not the link to Scoopertino, so the fact that it’s a spoof is lost on many.

It’s so good we all want it to be true.

‘Hard Stop’ 

Episode 48 of The Talk Show, America’s favorite podcast:

Amazon Tablets, the next iPhone, the Nokia N9, Stanley Kubrick’s letter to projectionists, the FBI seizure of web servers, and the Dropbox security issue.

Brought to you by OmniFocus and Worthwhile.

Neven Mrgan on Pixel Art 

Neven Mrgan:

I can’t comment with any credibility on the legal issues involved in Andy Baio’s problems with the Kind of Bloop album cover, but I must address one assumption I’m seeing in comments on the story:

That cover is NOT the original photo, down-sampled. It’s a hand-crafted, precisely drawn interpretation of the source. Anyone who’s ever seriously put pixels to screen will tell you that this is an actual artistic method, one with its own challenges, tricks, and yes, an aesthetic.

The Verizon iPhone’s Effect on U.S. Market Share 

MG Siegler:

In April, when NPD data had the iPhone market share push a bit forward while Android saw a small decline, it was perhaps a bit too early to read into it. But a month later, Nielsen data suggested that Android share was indeed flattening, and most credited the 2.2 million iPhones Verizon sold in the two months of its existence on the carrier as the reason.

A few days ago, a report by Needham using IDC data suggested that Android’s market share peaked in March, and was now on the decline as Apple’s share was rising again. This was the first quarterly share decline that Android had ever seen.

Why? It seems obvious, doesn’t it?

Joe Stump’s Pitch to Be the Next CEO of Yahoo 

Not entirely serious, obviously — particularly his suggestion at the end regarding yours truly — but some of his ideas are undeniably on a solid foundation. How did Instagram eat Flickr’s lunch, for example?

The bigger question it raises: What exactly has Carol Bartz even tried to do while CEO of Yahoo? It’s not that she’s tried things that have failed — I just can’t think of any major new initiative Yahoo has tried, period, under her leadership. Selling Delicious and slapping an ugly “Yahoo” logo on Flickr do not a turnaround make.

The WWDC 2011 Videos Are Out 

Start your downloading.

T-Mobile Claims More Than 1 Million iPhones on Its U.S. Network 

Seth Weintraub:

In a meeting with T-Mobile spokespeople today ahead of the NYC Pepcom event, I received word that there are actively over a million Apple iPhones currently on T-Mobile’s network.

That’s out of 200 million total iOS devices, but still — a million iPhone users all on EDGE.

The FBI Confiscated an Instapaper Server in an Unrelated Raid 

Marco Arment apparently had a server confiscated in the same FBI raid that toppled Pinboard:

So the FBI now has illegal possession of nearly all of Instapaper’s data and a moderate portion of its codebase, and as far as I know, this is completely out of my control.

Due to the police culture in the United States, especially at the federal level, I don’t expect to ever get an explanation for this, have the server or its data returned, or be reimbursed for the damage they have illegally caused.

Update, 27 Jun 2011: Looks like they took the server, but not the hard drives:

DigitalOne’s CEO, Sergei Arsentiev, informed me in an email last night that the FBI agents only took one enclosure containing 16 HP C7000 blade servers (including the one I was leasing), but that my server’s two hard drives were in a separate HP MDS600 enclosure that was not taken, and the drives were never removed from it.

Anticipating Apple’s Response to the Final Cut Pro X Release 

Winston Hearn:

In every situation where Apple comes under fire, Apple takes their time to respond. But when they finally respond, they show that they understand the issue, and they do what it takes to address the full problem. With Final Cut Pro X, I imagine they are reading every review and every blog post and seeking to understand the root of the problem. And once they fully grasp the issue, they will figure out what is necessary to address it.

Pogue on Final Cut Pro X 

David Pogue:

Apple’s Final Cut Pro is the leading video-editing program. It’s a $1,000 professional app. It was used to make “The Social Network,” “True Grit,” “Eat Pray Love” and thousands of student movies, independent films and TV shows. According to the research firm SCRI, it has 54 percent of the video-editing market, far more than its rivals from Adobe and Avid.

Did I use the present tense? Sorry about that. Final Cut was the industry leader. It did cost $1,000. But that’s all over now.

This shows the risk of Apple’s having hit the reset button on Final Cut Pro. They were the market leader with the old version.

Help Andy Baio Recoup His Settlement Fee by Buying ‘Kind of Bloop’ 

$5 for a really fun album.

ComScore Claims the iPad Accounts for 97 Percent of US Tablet Traffic 

Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land:

According to comScore, the iPad represents “89 percent of tablet traffic across all markets.” In the US the figure is 97 percent. Apple has sold roughly 25 million iPads to date globally, while competitors have seen disappointing sales so far.

Also interesting: the smartphone numbers. Android beats the iPhone in the U.S., 35.6 to 23.5 percent, but the iPod Touch accounts for another 7.8 percent. In most other countries, though, they’re either tied or the iPhone wins handily.

Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever 

Great little movie on coffee by C.G.P. Grey. (Via Joel Faloncer.)

Update: More, on Grey’s weblog.

Patents Don’t Equal Products 

Shawn King:

If you’ve been following Apple for any length of time or even follow a web site like Patently Apple, you’ll notice the volume of patents Apple applies for. You’ll also notice how many of those patents have not yet made it into your Mac or iOS device. That doesn’t mean they won’t, but having a patent doesn’t guarantee they will, either.

Exactly. This is why I don’t follow Apple patent filings. Apple, like any mega-sized tech corporation, encourages engineers to file for patents on anything that might be patentable. That’s how the game works.

Like I Said, What a Dick 

Jay Maisel, the photographer who squeezed a $32,500 settlement out of universally heralded good-guy Andy Baio, owns a 72-room mansion in lower Manhattan worth “tens of millions of dollars”.

Kind of Screwed 

Andy Baio:

In February 2010, I was contacted by attorneys representing famed New York photographer Jay Maisel, the photographer who shot the original photo of Miles Davis used for the cover of Kind of Blue.

In their demand letter, they alleged that I was infringing on Maisel’s copyright by using the illustration on the album and elsewhere, as well as using the original cover in a “thank you” video I made for the album’s release. In compensation, they were seeking “either statutory damages up to $150,000 for each infringement at the jury’s discretion and reasonable attorneys fees or actual damages and all profits attributed to the unlicensed use of his photograph, and $25,000 for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violations.”

Baio settled for $32,500, even though he believes his pixelated rendition of the album cover falls squarely under fair use. He simply couldn’t afford the legal fight. Andy’s post is a terrific overview of fair use.

What a dick this Maisel guy is.

Roadshow 1.0 — Offline Web Videos for the iPad 

Great idea and a nice app, from long-time Mac developer Fetch Softworks. Free, with ads, for up to 15 videos; $5 to remove the ads and video limit. (Via Aayush Arya at Macworld.)

Update: Fireballed at the moment, so here’s a direct link to the App Store.

Bloomberg Apple Rumor Dump 

Tim Culpan, Peter Burrows, and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:

The screen resolution on Apple’s new iPad would be about one-third higher than that of the iPad 2 and will boast a more responsive touchscreen, one of the people said.

Higher-res makes sense to me. “One-third higher” makes no sense to me.

Update: It’s not even clear what Bloomberg means. I believe they’re suggesting something like a 1280 × 960 screen that’s 9.7 inches diagonal — the same physical size as the current iPads, but slightly more pixels. But some readers take it as meaning 1024 × 768 (same as current iPads) but on a 7-inch or so display. I don’t think either is likely, but I’d say a 7-inch iPad at least makes some sort of sense. A same-size iPad with anything short of a double-resolution 2048 × 1536 display doesn’t make sense to me.

Clayton Morris’s Review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 

Clayton Morris isn’t grading on a curve:

The Android Honeycomb software that powers this device is still buggy. Sure, Google’s improved some of the stability issues that hindered the first go round but I still had plenty of sluggish moments. I experienced enough stuttering in the software for it to be annoying. You don’t get that on the iPad. And let’s be honest, no matter how you slice it, Honeycomb lacks elegance. […]

My job is to recommend or not recommend gadgets based on my experience using those devices. For the general consumer I can’t think of a single reason to buy this device.

Steve Martin’s First Look at Final Cut Pro X 

Comprehensive look at what it’s like to use the new Final Cut Pro X.

Nokia N9 Hands-on Demo 

Another good demonstration of the button-less N9 UI.

FBI Seizes Web Servers, Knocking Sites – Including Pinboard – Offline 

Verne G. Kopytoff, reporting for the NYT:

The raid was on a hosting facility in the United States used by DigitalOne, a company based in Switzerland. It was not immediately clear what the F.B.I. was looking for.

In a note to one of its clients, a DigitalOne employee, Sergej Ostroumow, said: “This problem is caused by the F.B.I., not our company. In the night F.B.I. has taken 3 enclosures with equipment plugged into them, possibly including your server — we can not check it.”

It continued: “F.B.I. was interesting only in one of clients and it is absolutely unintelligible, why they took servers of tens of clients. After FBI’s unprofessional ‘work’ we can not restart our own servers, that’s why our website is offline and support doesn’t work. We are still in trying to solve this problem and all our colleagues are at work since 15 hours.”

Yikes. See also: Pinboard’s status page.

Nokia N9 

Great-looking hardware and what appears to be a true, modern mobile touchscreen OS. Watch the “Swipe” video, it’s only two minutes long and it’s worth it. They’ve made a phone with zero buttons on the front face.

No ship date or pricing announced, although the NYT reports it “will sell unsubsidized for the equivalent of about $670 to $760 for 16 and 64 gigabyte models”. So here’s where Nokia stands. Four and a half years after Apple announced the iPhone, Nokia has now announced a worthy rival. And it’s based on the MeeGo OS that apparently is a dead-end, as the company prepares to focus on Windows Phone 7.

You Can Help Mlkshk 

Andre Torrez:

Get Things Done without wasting money. Work hard. Do it yourself. Do a good job and you’ll be rewarded (did I mention I also grew up Catholic? Hah!).

Because of this I didn’t want to take someone else’s money for an idea that could only happen if I took full responsibility.

Mlkshk is a great site, and I love the way Andre and his wife are determined to get it off the ground without borrowing a dollar. Count me in for a $24 paid account.

‘An Infinite Amount of Care’ 

Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 letter to projectionists showing Barry Lyndon. Nice use of Futura.

Final Cut Pro X: Release Notes 

Too much information, Apple. How about a summary?

Windows Phone 7 on the Carriers’ Pay-No-Mind List? 

Michael Gartenberg, on Twitter:

At VZW and ATT stores to compare plans, both steered me to iPhone and Android devices.

Followed by:

In both stores when asked about #WP7 was told “you don’t want that”. In one instance was “corrected” and told it was called Windows Mobile.

Here’s a website — Windows Phone Tattletale — dedicated to documenting poor retail treatment of Windows Phone 7 devices. This sort of dismissive treatment can be devastating to a platform. This was the problem facing the Mac during the ’90s.

Samsung Galaxy Tab ‘Book’ App 

Why do people think Samsung rips off Apple? No idea.

Boston Bruins Run Up $156K Bar Tab Celebrating Stanley Cup Victory 

Includes a $100,000 bottle of Ace of Spades Midas champagne — but it was a big bottle.

Jay Yarow on Why the BlackBerry PlayBook Doesn’t Support Email 

Jay Yarow:

Turns out it had to skip native email support on the PlayBook because its architecture can’t support two devices with one person’s account, according to a source.

Here’s how our source explains it: “The Blackberry email system is the BES — which is the source/focus of all the famous BB security. The BES email server has the concept of one user = one device (or they call it PIN).”

Sounds silly, but it fits the evidence. No other explanation makes sense for why RIM, of all companies, would ship a device that doesn’t support email.

Update 1: Some feedback from readers saying that BES doesn’t actually have a one device per user limitation.

Update 2: More readers, via email, say that BES does have a one-device limitation. What allows BlackBerry users to access their email account from multiple devices are things like IMAP and Outlook’s proprietary protocol. But BES itself is single-device. Which raises the question of why the PlayBook doesn’t at least have an IMAP client.

Mat Honan Calls This Blackmail 

Mat Honan, on Mike Arrington’s creepy AOL/TechCrunch piece yesterday on Caterina Fake’s new startup:

Explicitly, it’s clear what he’s saying: If you, Mr. or Ms. Startup founder, don’t play ball with us, we will fuck you over. But the implicit stuff is more insidious to me.

Arrington is acting as if he’s above the mudslinging by not revealing details. But the problem with that stance is that had he not brought up the “sordid situation,” how would anyone have even known there was mud to be slung?

The piece was bizarrely personal, even by Arrington’s standards.

‘Finally’ 

Our collective impatience, captured. Everything new in iOS 5 should have been here already.

(Thanks to DF reader Drew Bingham.)

Everything Is a Remix: Part 3 

Pour yourself a tasty beverage and give yourself 11 minutes to watch this. Kirby Ferguson argues that progress comes from three things: copying, transforming, and combining. His main example: the original Macintosh. Nailed it.

Seven Months Flashless 

Shadoe Huard:

It has been 7 months since I’ve followed John Gruber’s advice and abandoned Adobe Flash. Put simply, the experience has positively affected almost every facet of using my computer. It’s faster, cooler, runs longer and most importantly, it’s infinitely less prone to infuriating me.

Along similar lines, Peter N Lewis (of Stairways Software fame), yesterday:

Months ago I followed @gruber’s advice and uninstalled Flash on my Mac (w/Chrome as fallback) — completely painless, well worth doing.

Phil Harrison on the Future of Gaming 

Edge Magazine interviews Phil Harrison, who helped launch the Sony PlayStation in 1996, on the future of gaming:

At this trajectory, if you extrapolate the market-share gains that they are making, forward for ten years — if they carry on unrestrained in their growth, then there’s a pretty good chance that Apple will be the games industry.

And the Apple TV doesn’t support apps yet.

Final Cut Pro X 

Now shipping, available only from the Mac App Store, for just $300. Motion 5 and Compressor 4 are out, too, for $50 apiece. Gary Adcock has a good first look at Final Cut Pro X for Macworld.

Egregious Dropbox Authentication Bug Yesterday 

Yesterday I saw this report from Christopher Soghoian, alleging that for a period of time yesterday, anyone was able to log into any Dropbox account using any password. It struck me as too astounding to be true.

Alas, it was true, and the hole was open for over four hours. Everything appears to be working properly now, but I suggest all Dropbox users check their account events log.

Proper Credit for Last Week’s Link on the Golden Ratio in iCloud’s Logo 

I first saw this on Alan van Roemburg’s Tumblr blog, and there was no indication that it wasn’t his own work. Ends up, though, that Van Roemburg took the image from Takamasa Matsumoto. (Van Roemburg has since added a “thanks to Takamasa”, but that wasn’t there when I first linked to it.) My apologies to Takamasa Matsumoto.

Integrity, AOL/TechCrunch-Style 

When I want to brush up on my ethics, I always turn to Mike Arrington.

Why Mobile Web Apps Should Stop Trying to Act Like Native Apps 

I love this piece by Craig Villamor:

If you’ve decided to deliver your app via the Web, you should embrace the capabilities and constraints of the Web. Don’t spend time and resources making a pretender app, spend that time making a great app that works on the Web.

Villamor cites Bagcheck as an example of a mobile web app that embraces its webbiness and doesn’t pretend to be a native iPhone app. I’d cite 37signals’s mobile version of Basecamp as another. Basecamp maybe veers closer to the pretending-to-be-a-native-app line, but it doesn’t cross it. I like the mobile version of Basecamp more than the “full” version.

(Via Faruk Ateş.)

HP TouchPad Goes on Sale July 1, Available for Pre-Order Now 

To me, easily the most appealing iPad competitor. But I think the Pre is the most appealing iPhone competitor, and it hasn’t fared well. HP has matched the iPad’s pricing: $499/599 for 16/32 GB Wi-Fi models.

I think the problem facing HP is summed up in the sub-head on this promotional page:

The ultimate in entertainment with Beats Audio and Adobe Flash.

That’s not a compelling answer to “Why should I buy this instead of an iPad?” I mean, who has even heard of “Beats Audio”?

Update: Lots of feedback arguing that Dr. Dre’s Beats brand has good consumer recognition. I remain skeptical that this is a flagship selling point for a tablet, though, no matter how popular their headphones are.

And Glenn Fleishman had a good quip:

Whenever a hardware maker has to put the name of another company in its ads as a selling point, it may already have lost.

‘Why Should Somebody Buy This Instead of an iPad?’ 

Harry McCracken:

As a lover of competition, though, I’m itching to see other tablets arrive that deserve to do well, too. So that question — “Why would somebody buy this instead of an iPad?” — is stuck in my head. I’ve been trying to figure out how an Apple rival can come up with a tablet that pretty much answers that question for itself. And I’ve come up with thirteen ways it could happen.

Great analysis. Nothing particularly original, but a comprehensive look at the entire iPad competitive landscape. Lay it all out like McCracken has and you see just how strong a position the iPad is in.

One quibble, though:

But there are people who take their Flash so seriously that they won’t buy a tablet that doesn’t support it.

Really? Who? I think the people who are Flash-die-hards aren’t buying tablets, period. They’re sticking with their Windows PC laptops.

Man Robbed Bank for $1, Hoping to Be Sent to Prison, So as to Obtain Health Care 

NBC News:

That’s right, James Verone says he has no medical insurance. He has a growth of some sort on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot. He is 59 years old and with no job and a depleted bank account. He thought jail was the best place he could go for medical care and a roof over his head. Verone is hoping for a three-year sentence.

Only in America.

The Theory That Hardware Is Easily ‘Mimicked’ 

Steve Lohr posits that IBM is the model for companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google to follow:

In recent years Apple has been unmatched in applying its core assets to new markets. Its hallmark skills are the intuitive usability of its software and the inspired design of its hardware — talents long appreciated by loyal Mac users. Yet in the PC industry, Apple machines are still dwarfed by those running Microsoft’s Windows.

Dwarfed in unit sale numbers, but number-one in profit share.

Apple looks to be riding a money train for some time. Its current model is focused on selling its stylish devices; the company’s online software and marketplace (for digital media and mobile apps) are mainly servants of the hardware, pleasing consumers so they are more apt to buy iPods, iPhones and iPads.

Yet Apple’s product designs, however impressive, will eventually be mimicked and come under price pressure, just as the mainframe did, predicts Michael A. Cusumano, professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In time, he says, Apple may want to borrow a page from I.B.M. and rely increasingly on software and services for its livelihood.

I wonder if the professor thinks companies like, say, Rolex and BMW ought to shift to “software and services” too? I don’t think this guy understands Apple at all.

SecondConf 

Three-day single-track conference in Chicago for iOS and Mac developers, with a great lineup of speakers. Almost explicitly a replacement for the late great C4, and I mean that as a high compliment.

John Paczkowski: ‘Consumers Don’t Want Tablets, They Want iPads’ 

Or as Marco Arment put it back in December: “There really isn’t much of a ‘tablet’ market.”

This is, perhaps, the most polarizing topic of punditry in tech today. Will the iPad’s long-term share be more like the iPod’s or the Mac’s? High-end and market-dominant? Or high-end but niche?

Skype Said to Fire Executives, Avoiding Payouts After Microsoft Takeover 

Joseph Galante, reporting for Bloomberg:

Skype Technologies SA, the Internet-calling service being bought by Microsoft Corp., is firing senior executives before the deal closes, a move that reduces the value of their payout, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Cue the Nelson Muntz “Ha-ha!”

NYT Article Asks Whether It’s a Good Idea for Investors to Pump Tens of Millions of Dollars Into Startups With Half-Baked Poorly-Conceived Ideas 

Claire Cain Miller, writing for the NYT:

Two of Color’s photo-sharing competitors, Instagram and PicPlz, exemplify the lean start-up ethos. They started with $500,000 and $350,000, respectively, and teams of just a few people. As they have introduced successful products and attracted users, they have slowly raised more money and hired engineers.

Color, meanwhile, spent $350,000 to buy the Web address color.com, and an additional $75,000 to buy colour.com. It rents a cavernous office in downtown Palo Alto, where 38 employees work in a space with room for 160, amid beanbag chairs, tents for napping and a hand-built half-pipe skateboard ramp.

The difference between Instagram/PicPlz and Color isn’t just how much money they needed to get going. It’s that Instagram and PicPlz are easily understood, clearly appealing concepts. It’s easy to see what they do, and why one might want to use them. Color is just a mess. That they raised a ludicrous sum of money proves only that fools and their money are soon parted.

So what is Color going to do? Double down on the crazy:

Mr. Nguyen said the company had taken the criticism to heart and charted a new course. He fired Color’s president, Peter Pham, and its engineers are building a new version of the app to be released later this summer.

Mr. Nguyen outlined an ambitious plan to compete with Apple, Google and Facebook by tying together group messaging, recommendations and local search, all while making money through advertising. He plans to build applications that will use data from Facebook to create temporary social networks, say at a conference or sporting event, to help users meet people who grew up in the same town or like the same band.

“It’s literally going to turn your Facebook network from 500 people to 750 million people,” Mr. Nguyen said.

Sounds great.

The New York Post Turns Off Web Access for iPad Users 

They’re telling iPad web users to download their app from the App Store — and the app requires a paid subscription. I think this is a bad idea, and likely doomed to failure, but it shows just how problematic the web is, financially, for traditional newspapers.

Dave Winer:

Okay this is bad. This is breaking the web. If no one used the iPad it wouldn’t matter. But lots of people use it.

I wonder how Apple feels about this? I can’t imagine they like it. I can see the ads now. “Get an Android tablet to read the web.”

Mika Mobile on Android Development 

Interesting take on Android development from Mika Mobile, who ported their game Battleheart from iOS to Android. Much of their story runs contrary to the conventional wisdom: they’re making money on paid downloads for Android, and it doesn’t seem like device fragmentation was a major problem (thanks to the game being built atop Unity). But customer support is a major issue: many Android users have problems with simply downloading apps.

Jon Stewart on Fox News Sunday 

Fascinating, smart interview between Fox News’s Chris Wallace and Jon Stewart. Example from Stewart:

“The bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism, conflict, and laziness.”

‘After All, We’re All Somebody’s Father’ 

“From the Cat” takes the cake.

iStockphoto 

My thanks to iStockphoto for again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. iStockphoto is the web’s leading source of royalty-free stock photography. Great photos, great search, affordable prices.

Their best-selling collection — The Vetta Collection — includes photos, video, and illustration. It’s great stuff, check it out and see for yourself.

‘Brain Drain’, Indeed 

Dan Lyons yesterday at The Daily Beast, on “Apple’s Brain Drain”, an “exodus” of top executives:

But in recent months two top lieutenants have left the company, and while it is way too early to say that Apple is in trouble, it seems we may be seeing a changing of the guard at the company, one that will mark the end of an era that began in 1996, when Jobs returned to the company he co-founded and launched the most remarkable turnaround in corporate history.

The latest defector is retail chief Ron Johnson, who announced yesterday he would be leaving to become CEO of retail giant J.C. Penney.

In March, Apple lost Bertrand Serlet, a revered software engineer who oversaw development of operating-system software for Macintosh computers. Serlet had been working with Jobs since the days of NeXT, the computer company Jobs founded in the 1980s after being tossed out of Apple.

“Defector”? “Exodus”?

Jobs has been out of the loop since January, when he announced he was going on yet another medical leave.

“Out of the loop”?

Pretty sure Lyons should have stuck to the Fake Steve schtick.

Ars Technica: ‘iOS 5 Finally Brings Nitro JavaScript Speed to Home Screen Web Apps’ 

I like the “finally” in the headline. It’s been three months.

Man of the Week: Republican New York State Senator Roy McDonald 

On reversing his opposition to gay marriage in New York, Sen. Roy McDonald:

“You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing.

“You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.

“I’m tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I’m trying to do the right thing, and that’s where I’m going with this.”

More like this, please.

Martin Pittenauer’s Short (and Admittedly Biased) History of Collaborative Editing 

Nice historical overview from SubEthaEdit co-creator Martin Pittenauer.

Today’s Edition of ‘Good Luck With That’ 

Stuart Sumner for Computing:

Apple cannot continue to lock down its iOS platform and restrict the types of software developed for it, says security firm Kaspersky’s CTO Nikolay Grebennikov.

Speaking to Computing, he said: “Apple simply can’t continue with its current closed approach, and in my opinion, to remain competitive it should be looking to open up its platform within a year.”

“The Android platform, which is growing its market share, is much more open than the Apple iOS and it’s easier to create new applications for Android, including security software,” said Grebennikov.

MacDailyNews’s translation:

“We wish Apple would make its platform insecure like Google, so that we can sell ‘security’ to hundreds of millions of iOS users.”

From the DF Archives: Why RIM Is Screwed 

Yours truly, back in May 2008, on the trouble the iPhone posed for RIM:

There is marketing. There most certainly is design. But at the core of this market — by which I mean the market for handheld multitasking web-surfing networked-everywhere “phones” which are really computers — is engineering.

Apple is the best handheld computer engineering company in the world today, hands down. They’re also the best handheld computer user experience design company. And they’re not sharing.

I.e., RIM was bringing knife-making skills to a gun-making market battle. Starting with the iPhone, the mobile industry shifted from phone/messaging to full-on mobile computing, and RIM wasn’t prepared for that. And in hindsight, that’s why Android has fared so well in the three years since I wrote the above. Android is a mobile computing platform, not merely a phone/messaging platform.

‘A Computing Platform Runs on Momentum’ 

Michael Mace, on “What’s Next for RIM?”:

To restore momentum in a faltering platform, you need a hit product. Can RIM generate one? The company says it will accelerate the introduction of new products, which sounds sensible in the abstract, but if it’s possible to develop products faster, why didn’t RIM do it before? And considering RIM’s history of shipping buggy devices, I tremble at what its products might look like if they were developed even faster.

I think Mace has RIM pegged.

Apple Could Buy the Mobile Phone Industry 

Horace Dediu:

Given the current valuations, it would not be difficult for Apple to acquire every phone vendor except for Samsung with cash alone.

Dear Photograph 

“Take a picture of a picture from the past in the present.”

‘Nice Shirt, Handsome’ 

Just posted: episode 47 of The Talk Show:

Dan and John discuss the latest post-WWDC Apple news, Project Spartan, Mobile Me’s transition to iCloud, The Living Daylights, and more.

Brought to you by FreshBooks and Sound Studio 4. Our show last week did over 800,000 downloads — if you have a product or service you’d like to promote to the world’s smartest and best-looking audience of nerds, get in touch with Dan Benjamin.

Backslapping as Waterloo Burns: Tough Times Ahead for RIM’s Co-CEOs 

Tom Krazit at PaidContent on the conference call yesterday with RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie:

“This is fun,” Lazaridis said during the conference call, of his 20-year partnership with Balsillie. “We’re changing the world.”

The truth is that RIM hasn’t produced anything that has changed the world in a very long time. No one would deny that RIM did indeed help change the world with one of the most iconic mobile products ever produced over the last 20 years. But the technology industry — and the mobile world in particular — is very much a “what have you done for me lately?” world, and RIM executives will never be caught answering that question honestly in public.

Laugh it up.

The Android Tablet Problem, Nicely Summarized by One Review’s Conclusion 

Marco Arment dissects/translates Ryan Paul’s review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for Ars Technica:

The main users who will find the Tab 10.1 appealing are Android enthusiasts who like the platform’s flexibility, are tightly bound to Google’s Web service ecosystem, and are comfortable using Android phone applications on a 10.1-inch screen.

“Only die-hard Android fans should buy this, and even most of them won’t enjoy it.”

More grading on a curve.

Pogue on the Samsung Chromebook 

David Pogue:

Truth is, considering how stripped-down the Samsung is, you have to wonder why it’s as big, heavy and expensive as it is. You can find plenty of full-blown Windows laptops with the same price, weight and size.

Maybe the Chromebook concept would fly if it cost $180 instead of $500. Maybe it makes more sense if you rent it (students and corporations can lease Chromebooks for $20 to $30 a month). Maybe it will fly once this country gets free coast-to-coast 4G cellular Internet, which should be just after hell freezes over.

For now, though, you should praise Google for its noble experiment.

Really? Why? Would everyone have praised Apple for its “noble experiment” if the $500 iPad had been too big and heavy, felt like it was worth only $180, and was “a 3.3-pound paperweight” when offline? Fuck that. This is the big leagues. There is no credit for trying.

Capo on Sale 

Chris Liscio, on winning the ADA for his amazing app Capo:

So, to celebrate my excitement about this win, and to speed up the adoption of Capo on the Mac and iOS, I’ve put both the Mac and iOS versions of Capo on sale. Up until June 30th, you can buy either (or both!) product(s) for 20% off.

If you play music and haven’t checked out Capo, you’re nuts.

Facebook’s Purported Upcoming iPhone Photo Sharing App 

MG Siegler:

Either way, based on the images in front of us, the best way to think about it appears to be Path meets Instagram meets Color meets (Path’s new side project) With — with a few cool twists.

Sounds great, except for the Path, Color, and Facebook parts.

Did the Bottom Drop Out on Blackberry Average Selling Price? 

Matt Richman does some back-of-the-envelope math:

Last quarter the ASP of a Blackberry smartphone was $302.26. This quarter it’s $268.56. Things aren’t looking good for RIM right now.

He might be off somewhat, because he had to make some assumptions to work out the math, but I’ll bet he’s in the ballpark. Remember, RIM announced a few quarters ago that they would no longer be reporting ASPs, because, obviously, they knew the numbers weren’t going to be good. They were right.

Update: This piece by Michael Mace pretty much predicted exactly the decline we’re seeing. Might be worth a re-re-link.

RIM Announces Layoffs, 500,000 PlayBooks Shipped 

Jim Dalrymple:

According to the company’s results, net income for the quarter was $695 million, or $1.33 per share diluted, compared with net income of $934 million, or $1.78 per share diluted, in the prior quarter and net income of $769 million, or $1.38 per share diluted, in the same quarter last year.

Their stock is just getting killed in after-hours trading — down over 15 percent as I type this sentence. Scratch that, 16 percent.

‘Foolproof and Incapable of Error’ 

Two perfect 2001: A Space Odyssey posters by designer Justin van Genderen.

The iPhone Feature-Checklist Steamroller 

Marco Arment:

Since the iPhone’s release in 2007, many prospective buyers have declined to choose the iPhone because of a real or perceived shortcoming in its feature checklist.

Every time iOS or the iPhone is updated, Apple picks away at that list.

Wishful Thinking 

Ki Mae Heussner, for AdWeek:

“I think apps are dead in three to five years,” said Seth Sternberg, CEO and founder of Meebo, which connects people with their friends across the Web.

Noted.

For advertisers, that means the ability to track users as they hop among different programs — from The New York Times “app” to the Facebook “app” and beyond — and then potentially serve up relevant ads.

Sure would be great if advertisers could track whatever I’m doing on my phone.

Acer Halves Tablet Forecast 

Bloomberg:

Acer Inc., the Taiwanese PC maker battling excess inventory and a share-price slump, more than halved its tablet forecast because of concerns a weaker European economy may damp demand.

Tablet shipments will be about 2.5 million to 3 million units this year, President Jim Wong said in Taipei today. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer JT Wang as recently as May 10 forecast selling 7 million of the devices, which compete with Apple Inc.’s iPad and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Tab.

Via Dare Obasanjo, who tweets:

Acer finds out what I’ve always said, there isn’t a tablet market, there’s an iPad market.

Michael Bloomberg Calls for Immediate Immigration Reform 

Michael Bloomberg:

The Mayor proposed green cards for graduates with advanced degrees in essential fields; a new visa for entrepreneurs with investors ready to invest capital in their job-creating idea; more temporary and permanent visas for highly skilled workers; guest-worker programs to ensure agriculture and other key sectors can thrive; and a revaluation of visa priorities that places a focus on the nation’s economic needs.

Exactly right. (Via Mike Arrington at AOL/TechCrunch.)

Project Spartan 

MG Siegler claims a scoop:

As we understand it, Project Spartan is the codename for a new platform Facebook is on verge of launching. It’s entirely HTML5-based and the aim is to reach some 100 million users in a key place: mobile. More specifically, the initial target is both surprising and awesome: mobile Safari. […]

Yes, Facebook is about to launch a mobile platform aimed squarely at working on the iPhone (and iPad). But it won’t be distributed through the App Store as a native application, it will be entirely HTML5-based and work in Safari. Why? Because it’s the one area of the device that Facebook will be able to control (or mostly control). […]

Reached for comment on the matter, Facebook said they had “nothing to share”. But we don’t need their confirmation. Why? Because I’ve seen Project Spartan with my own eyes.

Will be interesting to see how this pans out. Not sure what it means if it’s true that their initial target is Mobile Safari specifically, not mobile WebKit in general. My guess is that it’s simply a result of Mobile Safari being so far ahead of the Android WebKit engine.

Some Clouds Have a Golden Lining 

Nice deconstruction of the iCloud icon by Naoki Takahashi.

Vancouver Riots After Canucks Lose to Bruins in Stanley Cup Finals 

Hey dummies, you’re supposed to riot when you win. Happy riots are the way to go.

(These two have the right idea, though.)

Polaroid’s SX-70: The Art and Science of the Nearly Impossible 

Terrific piece by Harry McCracken on Polaroid founder Edwin Land, and the SX-70 camera:

“Don’t undertake a project,” an oft-quoted Land maxim goes, “unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.” The SX-70 was both.

Storyboarding on the iPad 

Stu Maschwitz on using the iPad app Penultimate for storyboarding:

I approached the developer, Ben Zotto, about my desire to use Penultimate for storyboarding. The app then offered a selection of three paper styles; plain, lined, and graph. Rather than myopically suggesting he add storyboarding templates, a rather niche use case, I suggested that it might be of general interest to his users to allow custom papers. I must not have been the only one thinking this, because just this May, Ben released a Penultimate 3.0 with exactly that feature. He even used a film storyboard as his example.

Good way to think about making feature requests.

Joanna Stern Reviews the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 

She gives it high marks for the hardware — display, camera, build quality — but low marks for battery life and third-party app selection. Not much of the review is about software, period. Nor is any sort of answer to “Why buy this instead of an iPad?” proffered.

Another Salient Difference 

Merlin Mann:

Google: Thanks for looking at 100s of ads you hate.
Apple: Thanks for buying 100s of dollars of stuff you love.

What We Talk About When We Talk About RSS 

Brent Simmons:

People sometimes say that “RSS is dead,” that it lost to Twitter and Facebook. They don’t always specify what they’re talking about, so I’ll look at each meaning of “RSS” and figure out which ones are dead.

And then I’ll play you out with a song.

(By the way, Brent’s new gig, Sepia Labs, launched last week at WWDC.)

Next Generation of Android Phones to Lose the Hardware Buttons? 

Jonathan S. Geller at BGR with leaked info of the purported next-generation Nexus phone:

The display is said to be a 720p HD “monster-sized” screen, and it won’t feature physical Android menu buttons below the screen anymore — everything will be software-based. More after the break.

Those hardware back/home/menu/search buttons were a bad idea from the start.

That, Too, Was Quick 

2K Games, makers of Duke Nukem Forever:

2K Games does not endorse or condone the comments made by @TheRednerGroup and confirm they no longer represent our products.

Apple Dropping the ‘Mac’ From ‘Mac OS X’? 

It’s often been referred to colloquially as just plain “OS X” ever since it was announced, but this is the first time Apple has dropped the “Mac” from the name in marketing materials. I have no idea why, but I wouldn’t read too much into this. I think they — where by “they”, feel free to substitute you-know-who — just think it sounds better. And it clarifies that Mac is the hardware, OS X is the software — just like how iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad are hardware, and iOS is the software.

Update: Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the only reason “Mac” was ever put into the name of the OS was for the ill-considered cloning era. Prior to the clones, it was just called “System 7”, “System 6”, etc. They renamed it “Mac OS” so there’d be some sort of Mac involved on machines that themselves could not be called Macs.

WWDC Wayback Machine: 1999 

Mike Silverman found his WWDC 1999 schedule:

Apple was just coming out of their mid-decade tailspin, and new Interim CEO Steve Jobs was presiding over a company on the rebound. The iMac was fresh, colorful and awesome, and the stock was rocketing into the 20s. And yes, there was WWDC so developers could learn about new technologies. Mac OS 8.5 was coming, and Mac OS X was the future. WWDC itself was held in the San Jose convention center. It was smaller, less then a fifth the size of today.

TouchPad to Ship With Flash 10.3 Beta 

When will the best Flash Player for mobile be out of beta? “Soon”, I’m sure.

I’m Not Sure What There Is to Sigh About 

John Allsopp:

I’ve long since pointed out the logical fallacy of the assertion of CocoaTouch apps having the best looking UI. All you need to demonstrate the fallacy of the assertion is to point to a single web tech based app that is better looking than a single CocoaTouch App — which is not even worth attempting it is so obviously true.

I certainly never said that. My piece yesterday certainly argued in broad strokes, but the broad strokes are true. Good native iOS (and Android, and WebOS) apps look better and offer a better experience than good mobile web apps. Of course there are excellent mobile web apps, and of course there are crummy native mobile apps. There are also many situations where making a mobile web app instead of a platform-native app is the right way to go. No one is arguing otherwise.

While we typically associate latency in applications with network performance, I’m guessing Gruber is referring to responsiveness to user input. Is this a huge concern for app developers? Not that I’m particularly aware of.

Every good iOS developer I know of is obsessed with user input touch responsiveness and animation frame rates.

Tim Bray on ‘Web’ vs. ‘Native’ Apps 

Tim Bray:

I’m pedantic enough to be a little irritated by the common “Web vs Native” usage. They’re all Web apps, and this argument is really about client platforms; no more, no less.

That’s not the thrust of his piece, but it’s a good aside. I’ve made a similar argument in the past, that we should perhaps use “web app” to mean any app that is built around HTTP communication, and “browser app” to mean a kind of web app written in HTML/CSS/JavaScript which runs in a web browser. Things like iOS and Android Twitter clients are web apps, in my mind, they’re just written using platform-native toolkits.

Duke Nukem’s PR Firm Threatens to Punish Sites That Run Negative Reviews 

At least they’re honest, I guess.

Honorary Ohioans of the Day: The Dallas Mavericks 

Loyalty rewarded and honored.

That Was Quick 

HTC, one day after saying they’d given up on bringing Android 2.3 to the HTC Desire because “there isn’t enough memory”:

Contrary to what we said earlier, we are going to bring Gingerbread to HTC Desire.

Samuel L. Jackson Reads ‘Go the Fuck to Sleep’ 

Audible is giving the audiobook away for free. Perfect.

Bloomberg: Comcast Is Already Violating Conditions of NBCU Merger 

Sam Gustin:

News giant Bloomberg has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, accusing Comcast of violating conditions it agreed to as part of its merger with NBC Universal, which created a $30 billion entertainment colossus.

Bloomberg argues that Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, has exiled its financial news television network to cable-dial Siberia, far away from the “existing news neighborhoods” where it groups major news channels like MSNBC, CNBC, and Fox News.

Very surprising.

HTC Desire Won’t Get Gingerbread 

HTC, on Facebook:

Our engineering teams have been working hard for the past few months to find a way to bring Gingerbread to the HTC Desire without compromising the HTC Sense experience you’ve come to expect from our phones. However, we’re sorry to announce that we’ve been forced to accept there isn’t enough memory to allow us both to bring Gingerbread and keep the HTC Sense experience on the HTC Desire. We’re sincerely sorry for the disappointment that this news may bring to some of you.

Very surprising.

Paul Thurrott on iOS 5 and Lion 

On iOS 5:

Best features were literally copied from other mobile platforms.

True!

On Lion:

Since making the transition from its buggy Mac OS past to the more durable and reliable Mac OS X, Apple has delivered a decade’s worth of minor, purely evolutionary updates, and Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” is just the latest.

True!

One could argue that these are purposefully antagonistic ways of saying these things. Or, perhaps better said, purposefully belittling. With Mac OS X in particular, to my recollection, Thurrott has had this same take for every single major (i.e., new cat name) release. Every single one, he’s considered to be “minor” and “evolutionary”. The insinuation I always get from Thurrott’s takes on big-cat Mac OS X releases is that Apple can’t or at least doesn’t attempt sensational mind-blowing new releases, but yet through marketing trickery they convince the press and a large and ever-growing audience of enthusiastic fans of the company that these (to Thurrott’s mind) incremental upgrades are in fact sensational major new upgrades.

I’ll just say this. Compare Lion side-by-side with Mac OS X 10.0 (“Cheetah”) and you’ll weep with joy at how much better it’s gotten. This is how Apple rolls — steady, relentless, incremental progress.

Putting His Money Where His Job Is 

From the J.C. Penney press release announcing Ron Johnson taking the job as CEO:

As a demonstration of his confidence in J. C. Penney’s long-term potential, Mr. Johnson requested and has committed to make a personal investment of $50 million in the Company through the purchase, at fair market value, of 7 1/2-year warrants on 7.257 million shares of J. C. Penney Company stock. The warrants cannot be sold or hedged for the first six years of their term and have a strike price of $29.92, the closing price of the stock on the business day prior to Mr. Johnson’s commitment to purchase the warrants.

So instead of merely being given stock, he’s also buying it.

Horace Dediu: ‘Why an Unlocked Phone in the US Matters’ 

Horace Dediu:

The way to think about it is that the iPhone has just become more “liquid” and it can now flow to parts of the world where it has been difficult to acquire. The iPhone was already liquid to some degree with unlocking and sales through Hong Kong/UK, but the US market’s retail footprint and the lower costs that result will boost liquidity dramatically and probably increase volumes substantially.

Makes sense. In other words, these unlocked iPhones sold in the U.S. aren’t for the U.S. — they’re for the parts of the world without carrier deals with Apple.

Apple Now Selling Unlocked GSM iPhone 4 in the U.S. 

$649/749 for 16/32 GB, respectively. But why now? What doesn’t make sense is that there are only two GSM carriers in the U.S., AT&T and T-Mobile, and they don’t use the same 3G band. So if you buy one of these to use on T-Mobile you’ll be stuck on EDGE, right?

Apple Retail Executive Ron Johnson Leaving for J.C. Penney 

Elizabeth Holmes and Joann Lublin, reporting for the WSJ:

J.C. Penney Co. is tapping Ron Johnson, head of Apple Inc.’s iconic retail stores, as its new president and eventual chief executive, people familiar with the situation said.

The company is expected to announce Mr. Johnson’s appointment later today. Mr. Johnson will become CEO in the next few months, succeeding long-time leader Myron “Mike” Ullman. He joined Apple from Target Corp., where he was vice president of merchandising for stores.

Johnson has been at Apple since the outset of its retail stores.

Update: Look at the jump in Penney’s stock price this morning on this news.

Florian Mueller on the Apple-Nokia Settlement 

Florian Mueller:

The fact that Nokia has demonstrated its ability to defeat Apple — after the most bitterly contested patent dispute that this industry has seen to date — is a clear proof of concept. Other companies whom Nokia will ask to pay royalties will have to think very hard whether to pay or pick a fight.

This is also very significant with a view to Android. Given that Android is in many ways a rip-off of Apple’s operating software, Android-based devices are highly likely to infringe on largely the same Nokia patents that Apple now felt forced to pay for.

Nokia Beats Apple in Patent Dispute 

Nokia PR:

The financial structure of the agreement consists of a one-time payment payable by Apple and on-going royalties to be paid by Apple to Nokia for the term of the agreement.  The specific terms of the contract are confidential.

“We are very pleased to have Apple join the growing number of Nokia licensees,” said Stephen Elop, president and chief executive officer of Nokia. “This settlement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

Walt Disney Explains the MultiPlane Animation Camera in 1957 

Using technology to tell better stories, and make better movies. He’d have loved Pixar. (Via Coudal.)

Now That’s How You End a Review 

Neil Davey reviews Duke Nukem Forever:

If this was 15 years in the making, it makes you wonder what they did for the other 14 years and 10 months.

iCloud’s Missing Web Interface 

Josh Topolsky questions the lack of a web interface in Apple’s iCloud announcement:

Let’s be clear about what happens when iCloud goes live — according to what was described on stage at the event, and what I’ve confirmed with Apple PR — the service will effectively replace the current web offerings of MobileMe. That means that when the cutoff date of June 30, 2012 comes around for users, the web-based email client, calendar, contacts app, and other components of the web suite will cease to exist. You will no longer be able to log in and check your mail through a browser, change calendar events, or edit contacts. It’s unclear right now if the photo and video sharing aspects of MobileMe will continue, but there was certainly no mention of sharing or web views at the conference. Your devices will become not just the primary place where Apple intends for you to do your work and get your content — they’ll be the only place.

I think that’s a bad assumption. I would wager that, sometime between now and 30 June 2012, iCloud will offer a web interface just as good as if not better than MobileMe’s (and quite possibly, under the hood, based on MobileMe’s). They just haven’t announced it yet, and if Apple hasn’t announced it, they won’t talk about it.

In short, there is no reason to assume that iCloud as it will exist 12 months from now will be limited to what was announced one week ago.

iOS 5: What You Need to Know 

Week-old, but new to me, this is an excellent overview from Macworld of what’s new in iOS 5.

(Note that Macworld is correct that FaceTime doesn’t work over 3G, there are some signs that FaceTime-over-3G might be coming to iOS 5 when it ships — albeit on a carrier-by-carrier basis, sort of like hotspot tethering.)

And another good look at some iOS 5 details here, from Chris Foresman.

How Many iPhone Users Backup Via iTunes Tethering? 

David Chartier:

A little birdie says that about 50 percent of Apple Store customers who need to get their iPhones swapped have never plugged them into iTunes after the initial activation and sync. This is a big reason, according to this birdie, for why Apple Store Geniuses are excited about iCloud.

I believe it.

There’s a Reason iOS 5 Is Called ‘Beta’ Software 

Malcolm Barclay, on bad reviews showing up in the App Store for apps that have problems running on the iOS 5 beta:

Downloading and installing beta versions of iOS is akin to moving into a near-new house with missing windows, no carpet and some furnishing. In other words, it’s a building site. If you don’t understand this distinction, then you have no business installing it. You may not even be able to roll back to a prior iOS because of the firmware (software written directly to internal chip-sets) updates that will occur. You could brick your phone.

Other companies mean different things when they say “beta”. Apple means, “This software is ready for testing but not ready for production use.”

Update: Neven Mrgan, two years ago:

Proposal for a simple change to the App Store: those running pre-release versions of the iPhone OS and iTunes (which is now required to install the OS) should not be allowed to rate and review apps.

Awesome People Hanging Out Together 

Camaraderie captured. No pictures from WWDC, alas.

Lessien’s Thoughts on Last Week’s Keynote 

Lessien:

Apple’s vision of the cloud makes native apps better. Others see the cloud as a substitute for native apps.

Bingo.

I Like My Odds in This Argument 

Yours truly, two weeks ago, arguing that Windows 8 is fundamentally flawed as a competitor to the iPad:

The iPad succeeds because it has eliminated complexity, not because it has covered up the complexity of the Mac with a touch-based “shell.”

Aaron Holesgrove, arguing that I’m wrong:

Actually, the iPad succeeds because it enables you to read websites whilst sitting on the toilet and play casual games in bed. It’s a toy. You can’t eliminate complexity when there was never any complexity in the first place – Apple went and threw a 10″ screen on the iPod Touch and iPhone and called them the iPad and iPad 3G, respectively.

Worth a Re-Read: ‘Cutting That Cord’ 

I wrote this piece two months ago; after this week’s news and announcements, it feels like two years ago.

I underestimated Apple.

Tim Bray on NetNewsWire 

Tim Bray:

Brent has said repeatedly that he thinks “Lite 4.0” is his best code ever, and I agree. It does less than NNW classic, but for the basic routine of plowing through a lot of feeds to see what’s new, you just can’t beat it. It’s blindingly fast, the presentation is visually tasty, and the number of key­strokes to do anything is always 1.

For obvious reasons, NetNewsWire was a frequent topic of conversation this week at WWDC. One thing is clear: it is beloved.

Pixelmator 2.0 Sneak Preview 

My thanks to Pixelmator for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed — and, my congratulations, too, for their well-deserved Apple Design Award this week at WWDC.

Pixelmator is a beautiful, easy-to-use image editor for Mac OS X. They’re now previewing the next major release, Pixelmator 2 — slated for release this summer as a free upgrade for anyone who’s purchased Pixelmator via the Mac App Store.

Apple Enters the Fray Against Lodsys, Files Motion to Intervene 

Florian Mueller:

Nine days after Lodsys sued seven little app developers in the Eastern District of Texas, Apple filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings.

Welcome news.

Facebook Acquires Sofa 

This acquisition was the talk of the WWDC Bash last night. A lot of people were surprised — the Sofa guys do great work but don’t seem to do the sort of things Facebook would be interested in. I don’t think this is the last such design talent acquisition they’re going to make. Facebook is building a serious, world-class design group.

More here from MG Siegler.

Apple Reverses Course on in-App Subscription Policies 

Jordan Golson, MacRumors:

Apple has quietly changed its guidelines on the pricing of In-App Subscriptions on the App Store. There are no longer any requirements that a subscription be the “same price or less than it is offered outside the app”. There are no longer any guidelines about price at all. Apple also removed the requirement that external subscriptions must be also offered as an in-app purchase.

So, this resolves the conflicts with apps like Kindle, Netflix, and MLB At Bat. This is good.

The Talk Show, Episode 46, Reporting From WWDC 

I know: there is so much to write about what Apple has announced this week — and I’ve done very little of it thus far. But this show with Dan Benjamin is, I think, an excellent brain-dump of what I’m thinking about Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud.

Siracusa Said So 

“Actual Quotes, Complaints, and Wise Sayings From John Siracusa as Heard on 5by5’s Entertaining Hypercritical Broadcast.”

If it wasn’t obvious, I’m out at WWDC this week. I’m getting the sense that Lodsys has threatened many more developers than we’ve heard about.

Steve Jobs Presents New Campus Building Plans to Cupertino 

Make no little plans.

Photo of the Week 

What a great picture by Lea Suzuki for the SF Chronicle.

Apple’s iOS 5 Features Page 

Nicely done, as usual.

Reminders is a weird app. There’s no way to drag to reorder items in a list, for example. Looks pretty, though, and the proximity-based reminders are some serious flying cars and jetpacks holy shit we’re living in the future shit.

iOS 5 Screenshots and Tidbits at Engadget 

So much new stuff. More at BGR, AppleInsider, and 9to5 Mac.

The Financial Times Moves to a Web App for iOS 

The Financial Times:

We have launched a new, faster, more complete app for the iPad and iPhone which is available via your browser rather than from an app store. We’re encouraging our readers to switch immediately to the new FT web app, as many new features and sections will be added over the coming weeks.

More on this move here in a story at the NYT.

Best of BTS 

Angus R. Shamal:

A selection of some of the most awesome Behind-the-scenes shots I’ve seen from some famous movies found at aintitcool.com. Back when set designs were huge and hand made, when special effects where mechanic and photographic and film stars were risking their lives on the set.

So great.

iMessage 

Jordan Golson for MacRumors:

If it sounds like BBM, RIM’s BlackBerry Messaging service, that’s because, well, it sounds a lot like BBM actually — and increases device lock-in as well.

It also means iPhone users with iPhone-using friends and family no longer need SMS. I’ll cancel my SMS plan as soon as this ships.

(A well-informed little birdie tells me that Apple’s phone carrier partners around the world found out about iMessages when we did: during today’s keynote.)

Apple’s Press Release for iCloud 

Note that they don’t use the word “sync”. I’m pretty sure they never once uttered “sync” during the keynote today either. The verbs they use are store and push.

The gist is that Apple considers syncing to mean peer-to-peer — something where every device is on equal footing. With iCloud, there is one official data store: iCloud’s. As Jobs put it on stage, iCloud’s data is “the truth”. This means no conflicts or merging. What you see is what iCloud has stored on a server in North Carolina.

Whither MobileMe? 

Apple stopped taking new signups today, but will keep it running until next June.

Nook Simple Touch Compared to Kindle 3 

Nice review by Marco Arment.

Like a Ponzi Scheme 

Conor Sen makes the case that Groupon is effectively insolvent:

So a company that owes $230 million more than it has, and appears to be burning through $100 million or more a quarter, is using money raised from later investors to pay back early investors? Sounds vaguely familiar.

(Via Rands.)

iStockphoto 

My thanks to iStockphoto for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. iStockphoto provides outstanding stock photography, royalty-free, at affordable prices. Their search feature is excellent, which is good, because their library is huge and wide-ranging. Try it and see for yourself.

Apple vs. Wintel 

Nice catch from MacDailyNews: as of the close of market today, Apple is worth more than Microsoft and Intel combined. And some tasty claim chowder on this Bill Gates quote from June 1998, regarding Steve Jobs’s return to Apple as CEO:

“What I can’t figure out is why he [Steve Jobs] is even trying? He knows he can’t win.”

According to Wolfram Alpha, using their mean market caps for the entire month of June 1998 (it was a volatile month amidst the boom), the Wintel combination was worth $339 billion, vs. $3.5 billion for Apple. Put another way, Microsoft and Intel combined were worth 96 times more than Apple then. Since then, you get this.

Sarah Palin Explains Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride 

Student of history Sarah Palin:

He who warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.

Mike Monteiro:

By the time Palin’s campaign is over Paul Revere will be firing AK-47s and setting bear traps.

‘Huge’ 

Robert Scoble, on Twitter:

Next week will be a huge week for those of us who have lived on Twitter for last few years. Apple is building Twitter in deeply into iOS 5.

Asked then whether he knows something or is just going on published rumors, he says he knows something.

Brent Simmons on NetNewsWire 

Brent Simmons:

Of all the many, many things I’ve learned in the past nine years, it’s that the best part isn’t money or winning awards or the small fame that comes with a successful app, it’s when people write to say they love the software.

Daniel Pasco on Black Pixel’s Acquisition of NetNewsWire 

Daniel Pasco:

For many of us, NetNewsWire was the inspiration to quit our jobs, get serious about learning Objective-C, and go indie.

DHH on the Groupon IPO 

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Groupon has filed its S-1 and hopes to raise $750M in its initial public offering. Given they’re currently losing a staggering $117M per quarter, despite revenues of $644M, they’ll be burning through that cash almost as soon as it hits their account.

At the moment, it’s costing them $1.43 to make $1, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any cheaper. They’re already projected to make close to three billion dollars in revenues this year. If you can’t figure out how to make money on three billion in revenue, when exactly will the profit magic be found? Ten billion? Fifty billion?

I feel like the Groupon IPO is an elaborate practical joke.

Red Pop — The Big Red Button for Your iPhone Camera 

Count me in for this Kickstarter campaign from Brendan Dawes and Beep Industries.

(And compare and contrast the production quality of their video versus Microsoft’s first look at Windows 8.)

Why Windows 8 Fails to Learn the iPad’s Lessons 

Jason Snell:

The iPad, like the iPhone, was a success because it did not attempt in any way to replicate the desktop PC experience in the way that Windows tablets (and Windows Mobile) did. Apple used the underpinnings of OS X to form the basis of iOS, but at no point in iOS do you see anything that could be remotely mistaken for a Mac. On Windows 8, in contrast, Sinofsky says that there’s no way to kill the Windows desktop: “It’s always there.”

Beyond the basic device experience, imagine if Mac developers didn’t need to do any work to get their apps to run on the iPad. Many of them wouldn’t have bothered. The rest certainly wouldn’t have rushed.

Does the Phone Market Forgive Failure? 

Horace Dediu, regarding yesterday’s announcement by Nokia that handset sales would fall short of previous expectations:

One of the details of Nokia’s warning which did not get a lot of attention was the mention that profitability for the current quarter could not be guaranteed. That is to say that Nokia may make a loss, perhaps for the first time in more than a decade.

This may not be that newsworthy except for the strange fact that as far as I’ve been able to observe, any company in the mobile phone market that ended up losing money has never recovered its standing in terms of share or profit (i.e. AMP index value has never recovered).

The #4A525Aholes Flickr Group 

Best thing you can do with a brand-new DF T-shirt? Add a picture to the best-dressed group on Flickr.

New Airport Extreme and Time Capsule? 

Seth Weintraub:

Our sources noted that Airport Express has been plentiful but supplies of TimeCapsule and Airport Extreme have been tightening globally the way products usually do before a refresh.

What we do know is that Apple has been internally testing Time Capsules to cache Software Updates for both Mac and iOS devices. The way we’ve heard it works is that the new Time Capsule learns which devices connect to it via Wi-Fi. It then goes out to Apple’s servers and downloads Software Updates for those products.

There might be something to this.

What if this is a way for iOS devices to do software updates without being tethered to a Mac or PC — including device backups, synced when the device is charging?

Chris Clark’s Month With the Nexus S 

Speaking of iPhone users who tried the Nexus S and documented their experience, Chris Clark spent a month with the Nexus S and wrote about it back in March. I had it in my to-link-to queue but somehow never got around to actually linking it — I think because at the time I still planned to write about my own month spent using a Nexus S.

The truth is, my experience and thoughts almost exactly mirror Clark’s. (The only difference is that Clark likes Android 2.3’s UI for placing the insertion point in text; I do not.) I can’t emphasize enough how closely Clark’s thoughts on the Nexus S and Android match my own.

Ryan Heise’s Dinner With Android 

Ryan Heise, who describes his iPhone as “the best computer I’ve ever owned”, has switched to a Nexus S and is documenting his experience:

So what’s the point? To try to understand the legitimate differences between iOS and Android without the inane fanboyish screaming from either side, and to do this firsthand. I like gadgets, and I’ve spent a decent amount of time with iOS, BlackBerry OS, WP7, and WebOS. But very little with the biggest player in the smartphone market. Now, for better or worse, that will change.

Motorola CEO Says Open Android Store Leads to Quality Issues 

Nancy Gohring, IDG News:

Motorola’s CEO blamed the open Android app store for performance issues on some phones.

Of all the Motorola Android devices that are returned, 70 percent come back because applications affect performance, Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility, said during a webcast presentation at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology conference on Thursday.

Unlike most other mobile app stores, the Android Market is totally open, meaning anyone can upload an application to the store. While Google removes applications that are found to be malicious, there is no mechanism for ensuring that applications perform efficiently.

“For power consumption and CPU use, those apps are not tested. We’re beginning to understand the impact that has,” Jha said.

Take your time.

Secret Horse-Doping Lab 

Episode 45 of The Talk Show, and it’s a good one:

John Gruber and Dan Benjamin discuss Amazon’s music downloads, Bill Gates and Microsoft, Eric Schmidt, the ASUS Padfone, Logical Punctuation, Apple’s cash, their WWDC predictions, iOS Twitter integration, and A View to a Kill.

WWDC 2011 App 

Includes the full schedule and more. Love that the icon is Moscone West. (Note: The app is free but you need to be a WWDC attendee to sign in to the app.) Here’s my favorite search.

‘Barry Lyndon’ Blu-ray 

Gary Tooze on the just-released Blu-ray edition of Barry Lyndon:

SD was problematic with this title but Blu-ray has ‘turned the corner’ returning the visuals to the painterly luster of their theatrical roots. This is dual-layered with a modest bitrate for the over 3-hour film framed for this release in 1.78:1. Colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate and there is softness in the scenes that were shot in that manner. This Blu-ray probably looks as close to Barry Lyndon as we have seen from the digital medium. Kubrick fans should rejoice.

It’s gorgeous. I mean, look at this. Just $13.99 at Amazon.

Previewing ‘Windows 8’ 

Some genuinely interesting and intriguing UI design. I particularly like the “snapping” idea, where you can tile two apps on screen together.

And why is the production quality of Microsoft’s video so low? The audio quality is horrendous and the video isn’t much better. That’s just embarrassing for the first look at Microsoft’s flagship product.

Google’s +1 Button for Websites 

Thank goodness. There weren’t enough shitty little buttons (Arial, Google? really) on every post on websites like Mashable and TechCrunch.

Google Discloses China-Based ‘Hijacking’ of Gmail Accounts 

Amir Efrati, reporting for the WSJ:

Google Inc. said it uncovered a computer attack from China targeting prominent users of its Gmail service, potentially further complicating relations between the Internet giant and the country with the highest number of Internet users.

Google said hundreds of Gmail users, including U.S. government officials, Chinese activists and journalists, were tricked into sharing their passwords with “bad actors” based in China. The attackers were able to read and forward the victims’ email.

Shaquille O’Neal Retires 

Four-time NBA champion, utterly dominant in his prime.

Why Bond Switched From a Beretta to a Walther PPK 

Let’s make it a Bond trifecta, with this fine installment from Letters of Note.

‘Never Say Never Again’, Remixed 

Speaking of James Bond:

This is my interpretation of what the opening of Never Say Never Again might have been like if it had of been made by EON Films as an Official 007 title. It features music from From Russia With Love and Thunderball, the opening title sequence of Thunderball, with new credits to reflect the cast and crew of NSNA, the Dionne Warwick version of “Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”, and a new gun-barrel sequence featuring an aged (and hatless) Sean Connery.

The difference between this remix and the actual opening of Never Say Never Again is the best example I’ve ever seen regarding the importance of music and editing to filmmaking. So great. If only we could get the whole movie re-cut like this.

The Bond Mixology 

Fun and useful $2 iPhone app by Jay Thrash:

From Connery to Craig, The Bond Mixology meticulously documents every movie, every scene, and every drink consumed by the world’s greatest spy.

Twitter Announces Photo Hosting 

Jack Dorsey:

Millions of people share photos on Twitter every day. We’re going to make that easier than ever. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be releasing a feature to upload a photo and attach it to your Tweet right from Twitter.com. And of course, you’ll soon be able to easily do this from all of our official mobile apps. A special thanks to our partner Photobucket for hosting these photos behind the scenes.

Why Phil Plait Is (Still) Not Worried About His Cell Phone Hurting His Brain 

Phil Plait:

You may also wish to note what other things are categorized as Group 2B possible carcinogens, including gasoline, pickled vegetables, and (GASP!) coffee.

My opinion here is that while a link between cell phones and brain cancer cannot be ruled out, without a strong correlation and a numerical statement about the odds, it seems very unlikely to me that such a connection is something to worry about. I’m far more worried about the dingus in traffic in front of me gabbing to his friend on his phone and causing an accident than I am about me getting brain cancer from my own.

In FCC Filing, Sprint Blasts AT&T for Inept Network Management 

Phil Goldstein:

Specifically, Sprint argues that AT&T, in its April 21 filing with the FCC, makes numerous claims worthy of “Alice in Wonderland.” For example, Sprint notes that AT&T claims that it doesn’t compete with T-Mobile, despite listing T-Mobile as one of the five competitors consumers may choose from in an example of how “fiercely competitive” the market is.

Sprint also argues that AT&T has a reservoir of unused spectrum and that AT&T has failed to adequately invest in its network.

Tell us what you really think, Sprint.

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