Linked List: October 2011

Android Hardware-Buttons Are (Conceptually) Broken 

Christoffer Du Rietz, on the Android “back” and “menu” buttons:

The sad thing is about all this is that having made the decision to use these buttons from the start, Google has locked itself in a mess of a UI-model. All Android apps would have to be redesigned should they want to change it around and fix this. In short, they’re stuck with a UI that sucks and they can’t fix it because they didn’t think it through thoroughly before the first launch.

Looks like they’re trying to fix this starting with the Galaxy Nexus by eliminating the hardware buttons but drawing them on-screen in the OS. Presumably, a future API revision could allow for apps that don’t need these buttons. Anyway, agree with his criticism of these two buttons completely. The Back button taking me somewhere unexpected was perhaps my single-biggest complaint both times I tested an Android phone.

The other lesson: the importance of getting things right, from the outset. If you’re designing just an app, you can fix many design errors later; if you’re designing an app platform, though, it’s hard to fix system-wide design errors without breaking existing apps.

AppleInsider: ‘Apple Reportedly Questioning Future of Mac Pro’ 

AppleInsider:

Although the Mac maker has reportedly developed a revision to the existing Mac Pro that may or may not see the light of day, people familiar with the matter said management as far back as May of 2011 were in limbo over whether to pour any additional resources into the product line.

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

New iPhone 4S Commercials 

These are some of the best ads I’ve ever seen. I love how in the Siri spots, the only faces entirely in the frame are the kids. Note too, that the narrator never says “Apple”.

Apple Spending Big Next Year on Retail and Cloud 

Erica Ogg:

Apple is doubling down on its retail and cloud operations. The company says it will spend about $8 billion in capital expenditures in 2012, which is almost twice as much as the $3.4 billion it spent during fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30. Apple doesn’t willingly telegraph its plans, but thanks to its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, we get a peek into where the company plans to invest its money next year.

That’s a big jump, and that’s interesting. But, if you really want your mind blown, read Horace Dediu’s take on these expenditures, and how they correlate strongly to iOS unit sales. Apple is implicitly forecasting another year of 100 percent iOS unit sales growth in 2012.

Josh Clark on ‘Edge Gestures’ 

Josh Clark on the new four-finger switching gestures on the iPad in iOS 5:

I’m a huge fan of the spirit of these gestures, but I’m not crazy about the execution. I wish Apple had followed the interaction already adopted by other platforms, including BlackBerry Playbook, Nokia N9, and the next version of Microsoft Windows. All of these platforms use edge gestures, a technique that is at once more internally consistent and more deferential to individual apps.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Streaming Live TV 

Chris Martucci:

From what I can gather, Gruber opposes the idea of “live streaming TV.” By that he means the cable TV we’re all used to — programs air at certain times, and that’s when we can either watch or record them for later viewing.

That’s not quite my stance. I’m not opposed to live traditional TV in any sense. What I’m thinking though, is that live streaming TV is the old way. It’s the established paradigm for how a TV works, what it does. You turn it on, pick a channel, and you see whatever is “live” on that channel right now.

Apple is only going to get serious about TV if they find a way to get past that paradigm. The old way of making cell phones, for example, was to make a device that was primarily designed for voice calls, with dedicated green/red hardware buttons for starting/terminating calls. Apple’s phone design still supported voice calls, of course, but relegated the entire phone experience to just another app. So maybe “live TV” would be just another app on an iTV. The base level of the experience, conceptually, would be a home screen full of apps, and old-school live streaming TV — if you have cable or satellite or whatever — would be one of those apps.

I’m just tossing ideas out here. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple never gets more serious about TV than it already is with Apple TV — a $100 box you attach to whatever TV set you want. But what I’m sure about is that if Apple does start selling its own TV sets, they’re not going to have much in common with TV sets as we know them. Apple undertakes major new initiatives only after figuring out a new way that shows that everyone already in the market is doing it wrong.

iOS 5 Bugs: Disappearing Wi-Fi Personal Hotspot 

I ran into this bug after restoring my new 4S from a backup of my iPhone 4. Resetting the network settings did the trick.

Mona Simpson’s Eulogy for Her Brother 

Heartbreaking and beautiful.

Microsoft Attorney Outlines Android Patent Tactics 

Microsoft attorney Horacio Gutiérrez, in an interview with James Temple of the San Francisco Chronicle:

When you buy the device as a consumer, you get it out of the box and enjoy it immediately. What you don’t see is an invisible web of licensing and cross-licensing arrangements that actually make it possible.

So licensing is not some nefarious thing that people should be worried about. Licensing is, in fact, the solution to the patent problem that people are reacting so negatively about.

But what about a company like Apple, that isn’t interested in licensing its patents? And Apple holds patents on things like a “slide to unlock” screen. You simply can’t argue that the patent system, especially with regard to software, is not in need of reform.

DollarApp: Big Words 

Those of you who follow the DF RSS feed know how the weekly sponsorship works. There’s one sponsor per week, and two posts: on Monday, an entry that appears only in the RSS feed, written by the sponsor; then on Friday, a thank-you post that appears on both the DF website and in the RSS feed, written by me. (You’re reading one of the latter now.) The rule for the sponsor-written Monday entries is that they’re limited to 100 words. Some sponsors try to use every word they can, and that’s fine. But some of my favorite sponsorship posts are the shortest ones. This week’s was the shortest ever, and is my new all-time favorite DF sponsorship post. I’ll repeat it here, in its entirety:

Tired of Twitter? Message in real life using Big Words.

That’s the entire text of the ad. I don’t know about you, but me, if I read that, my curiosity would be piqued. I would have to click. So: my thanks to DollarApp and Dom Sagolla both for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed, and for writing my all-time favorite sponsorship ad. Check out the app — Big Words does one simple thing, really well. Do me a favor and cough up a buck — one buck! — if only to reward him for a great ad.

The Siri Dictation Key Doubles as a Space Bar When Tapped Quickly 

Nice find by Gary Ng. Details, details, details.

The Subtle Changes in iOS 5 

Never stop sweating the pixels.

Jim Dalrymple Calls Bullshit on Today’s Samsung Smartphone Numbers 

Remember back in July, when Samsung announced it would no longer reveal phone and tablet sales data? They’re still not revealing them, but that hasn’t stopped Strategy Analytics from declaring them the unit sales leader in smartphones. (And it’s another case of shipments-vs.-sales-to-customers.)

I’m not doubting, by the way, that Samsung sold more “smartphones” than Apple for the quarter. They’ve always sold more phones, period, and the industry is rapidly transitioning to one where nearly all new phones are going to be “smartphones”. The point is that an analyst’s estimate for Samsung’s sales numbers should not be reported as fact, nor should shipments be conflated with actual sales.

ARM Welcomes Windows With 64-Bit Chips for Desktops and Servers 

I’ll bet Apple has both an ARM-based version of Mac OS X and an Intel-based version of iOS up and running in the labs. Apple loves having options.

Apple Lossless Audio Codec Now Open Source 

Apple:

The Apple Lossless Audio Codec project contains the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder. Also included is an example command line utility, called alacconvert, to read and write audio data to/from Core Audio Format (CAF) and WAVE files. A description of a ‘magic cookie’ for use with files based on the ISO base media file format (e.g. MP4 and M4A) is included as well.

Apache-licensed.

Sprint CEO Says iPhone Will Help Them Keep Unlimited Data Plans 

Elizabeth Woyke, interviewing Sprint CEO Dan Hesse for Forbes:

Industry observers often speculate when Sprint will have to adopt tiered pricing like AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Sprint is still not saying when it may make that switch, but credits the iPhone for helping it push the date out further. “One of the beauties of carrying the iPhone is it extends the period of time and increases the likelihood of us maintaining unlimited data longer because it uses our network so efficiently,” said Hesse. […]

The iPhone’s other strength stems from Apple’s tight control over iPhone applications. Since Apple makes iPhone apps meet network efficiency thresholds, iPhone apps tend to “ping” networks less often than other mobile operating systems do. Cutting down on app “noise” lets carriers operate their networks in a more productive and ultimately more profitable manner. “It’s almost like a Prius,” said Hesse, comparing the iPhone to Toyota’s fuel-efficient car.

Interesting. Most speculation I’ve seen is that the iPhone would hurry Sprint’s switch to tiered pricing, not delay it. Reading between the lines, he’s saying Android phones use a lot of data for apps running in the background.

(Via AppleInsider.)

Jack Donaghy Demos the Siri-Based Apple TV 

“Crap.” (Via Joey Tyson.)

Forrester Urges IT to Support the Mac 

As Philip Elmer-DeWitt quips, this really is a “hell has frozen over” moment.

Dan Frommer: ‘Here’s Why Apple’s TV Needs to Be an Actual Television, and Not Just a Cheap Add-on Box’ 

Dan Frommer:

Right now, the Apple TV box is aiming for “input 2” on your TV — most people still reserve “input 1” for their cable or satellite box. (Believe it or not, the average American still watches more than 5 hours of TV per day.) If you have a game console, maybe Apple TV is even input 3 or 4 — if your TV even has that many hi-def inputs. This was smart on Apple’s part, because for most TV watchers, today’s Apple TV box is still only a part-time solution.

But long-term, Apple probably wants its TV platform to be “input zero.”

To play devil’s advocate, what about all the people who’ve bought a nice new TV in the past, say, four years? Would Apple be willing to simply write all those people off? Maybe, insofar as they’d be getting into the TV set business for the long haul — willing to wait for whenever you are in the market for a new set. Tricky marketing problem, really.

Nick Bilton on an Apple Television Set: ‘It’s Not a Matter of if, It’s a Matter of When.’ 

And he says the interface will be Siri:

Alternative remote ideas floated by Apple included a wireless keyboard and mouse, or using an iPod, iPhone or iPad as a remote. None of these concepts worked. But there was one “I finally cracked it” moment, when Apple realized you could just talk to your television.

Enter Siri.

It’s the stuff of science fiction. You sit on your couch and rather than fumble with several remotes or use hand gestures, you simply talk: “Put on the last episode of Gossip Girl.” “Play the local news headlines.” “Play some Coldplay music videos.” Siri does the rest.

How would you tell Siri-on-TV to listen to your command, though, without an at least single-button remote? Without a prompt, how does Siri know when you’re talking to it?

Getting Siri to Pour a Beer 

Not exactly efficient in any sense of the word, but great choice of beer. (Via Dave Shea.)

They Had to Burn the Sheets 

Fresh off the presses, this week’s episode of the world’s most popular podcast devoted to the Free Software Foundation. Topics this week include the future of Apple TV, cable companies, iCloud, and Dropbox.

Brought to you by Squarespace and TinyLetter.

Motorola Mobility Third Quarter Results 

Another quarter, another financial loss for Motorola Mobility. Android is winning!

Porsche Design P9981 BlackBerry to Sell for $2000 

Easily the best-designed new phone of 2005.

HP to Keep PC Division 

You know what HP should do? They should acquire Netflix. Then a week later back away and say “Never mind.” Then a month later go ahead and buy Netflix. Those two are made for each other.

The Stallman Dialogues 

Conversations with Richard Stallman.

Microsoft’s Productivity Future Vision 

This video encapsulates everything wrong with Microsoft. Their coolest products are imaginary futuristic bullshit. Guess what, we’ve all seen Minority Report already. Imagine if they instead spent the effort that went into this movie on making something, you know, real, that you could actually go out and buy and use today.

Pixelmator 2.0 

Major update to a great indie rival to Photoshop. $30 introductory price in the App Store — $60 (and a bargain at that) eventually.

Richard Kerris Moves From HP to Nokia 

He left HP’s WebOS division earlier this week, and was just announced as Nokia’s “global head of developer relations”. What’s interesting is that it’s a job with Nokia, not Microsoft. What does it mean to be a “Nokia developer” when all Nokia phones are running Windows Phone 7? We’ll find out.

Visualizing Android Fragmentation 

Michael DeGusta:

I went back and found every Android phone shipped in the United States up through the middle of last year. I then tracked down every update that was released for each device - be it a major OS upgrade or a minor support patch — as well as prices and release and discontinuation dates. I compared these dates and versions to the currently shipping version of Android at the time. The resulting picture isn’t pretty — well, not for Android users.

This took a lot of effort, and his resulting infographic is striking. Many Android phones ship on day one with an old version of the OS and never catch up at any point. Fantastic work. Pretty good analysis too:

In other words, Apple’s way of getting you to buy a new phone is to make you really happy with your current one, whereas apparently Android phone makers think they can get you to buy a new phone by making you really unhappy with your current one. Then again, all of this may be ascribing motives and intent where none exist — it’s entirely possible that the root cause of the problem is just flat-out bad management (and/or the aforementioned spectacular dumbness).

Bloomberg TV+ for iPad 

This is the future of TV. The full Bloomberg news channel, free of charge, on your iPad. Apps are the new channels.

Condé Nast Subscriptions Up 268 Percent Since Newsstand Launch 

Darrell Etherington, GigaOm:

The publisher, which puts out many top-tier magazines including Wired, GQ and The New Yorker, has seen digital subscriptions rise 268 percent since Newsstand arrived with the iOS 5 update almost two weeks ago.

Not only did subscriptions increase, but single issue sales also skyrocketed with a 142 percent increase when compared with the eight weeks prior to Newsstand’s launch. Both represent increases as measured across all nine of Condé Nast’s digital titles available on the iOS platform.

Location, location, location.

Richard Stallman’s Hypocritical Stance on Cell Phones 

Richard Stallman:

  • I refuse to have a cell phone because they are tracking and surveillance devices. They all enable the phone system to record where the user goes, and many (perhaps all) can be remotely converted into listening devices.
  • In addition, most of them are computers with nonfree software installed. Even if they don’t allow the user to replace the software, someone else can replace it remotely. Since the software can be changed, we cannot regard it as equivalent to a circuit. A machine that allows installation of software is a computer, and computers should run free software.
  • When I need to call someone, I ask someone nearby to let me make a call.

“Hey that thing is terrible. The government is using it to track and spy on you, and the software is evil. Can I borrow it for a second to make a call?”

Codify 

Program games for the iPad — on your iPad.

‘Needs More Texture’ 

Neven Mrgan:

Some time later, I worked on a twitter client with my pal Buzz. A friend of his who worked at Apple told us this little story. One day while riding the elevator at Infinite Loop, he found himself in the freakiest scenario any Apple employee can imagine: alone, with the elevator door opening to let Steve in. Being a well-adjusted individual, Buzz’s friend promptly disappeared into the tap-world of his iPhone, lest he say or do something wrong in Steve’s presence. It was still the early days of iPhone apps, and Steve did something that had apparently become a habit with him. He reached for the iPhone and asked,

“What app is that?”

“Birdfeed”, came the reply.

Steve tapped here and there, flicked the scrollview a bit, then handed the phone back. “The background needs more texture,” he said.

I’ve heard similar stories regarding other apps, particularly within Apple. This is why Aqua debuted with those horizontal stripes. This is why Brushed Metal became a rock star. This is why iOS’s default UI theme features those vertical background stripes. This explains the proliferation of dark linen. And I’m definitely not saying it was Steve Jobs alone who held this opinion.

I’m just saying there’s a very strong line of thought within Apple, which came (and I’ll bet still comes) from the top, that distinctive in-app textures are important.

‘Don’t Buy a Parrot Figuring That It Will Be a Fun Surprise for Me.’ 

From Richard Stallman’s 9000-ish-word rider for speaking engagements:

I do not eat breakfast. Please do not ask me any questions about what I will do breakfast. Please just do not bring it up.

It’s a lot to read, but worth it. If you have to skim, don’t miss the sections on hospitality and music. (Via Jacqui Cheng.)

On Apple’s Skeuomorphic UI Textures 

James Higgs, on the stark contrast between Apple’s minimalist hardware and often exuberantly-decorative software:

It should probably be obvious that my own preference is for design without ornamentation, certainly without a hint of sentimentality, and that I detest these new apps. Why?

Simply put: it’s because they are lies. They attempt to comfort us (to patronise us) by trying to show how they relate to physical objects in the real world when there is no need. How are we helped to understand what Find My Friends does by the addition of “leather” trim? And how difficult can it be for someone, even a relative digital newcomer, to understand a list of books? Difficult enough that the only possible way they could understand it is to present them in a “wooden” bookshelf format?

My record as a critic of Apple’s use of over-the-top UI textures speaks for itself. And I’ve long noted something that Higgs emphasizes: that the use of these software skins today —rich Corinthian leather, dark linen, etc. — seems in contrast with the minimalism and truth of Apple’s hardware. The iPhone 4 and iPad are made of glass and aluminum, and they look like glass and aluminum. That’s truth. A decade ago, Apple’s exuberant software skins — candy-colored Aqua and brushed metal — always struck me as being designed as natural counterparts to Apple’s hardware of the day. Aqua was like the candy-colored iMacs, brushed metal the PowerBooks and Mac Pros.

I think Higgs is overthinking this, though. These themes aren’t lies. They’re not designed to help users understand how these apps work. They’re just decoration. They’re per-app branding. Apple no longer endorses system-wide visual uniformity. Special apps are supposed to look special. Why is Find My Friends wrapped in rich Corinthian leather? Because someone at Apple likes (and, sadly, if my guess is right, better said liked, past tense) how it looks.

And as for the dichotomy between Apple’s hardware and software designs: I think Apple sees the hardware as the universal frame, the software as dozens of diverse pictures.

Sprint Talks iPhone 

Sinead Carew and Yinka Adegoke, reporting for Reuters:

Sprint, which started taking iPhone orders on October 7, said it would pay Apple a subsidy that is 40 percent higher, or $200 more per device, than what it pays for other phones.

Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse told analysts on a conference call that the iPhone would be worth the extra cost as it has already lured record numbers of new customers to Sprint.

I’ll bet that’s true for all iPhone carriers, not just Sprint. This is how Apple soaks up a majority share of the industry’s profits while only selling 3 percent or so of the total handsets.

21-Month-Old Nexus One ‘Too Old’ for Android 4.0 Upgrade 

The Nexus One was released in the U.S. in January 2010, and in Europe in May 2010. (The iPhone 3GS was released in June 2009, and just got an upgrade to iOS 5.)

Nokia’s First Windows Phones: Lumia 710 and 800 

The Lumia 800 looks like the Windows Phone Mango device to get.

The Apple-Fication of Everything 

Dan Frommer:

Go to the “thermostats” page on the Home Depot website — I’ve sorted the results to put the most expensive ones at the top of the page — and see a bunch of white plastic boxes with black-and-green LCD displays. And now you see why the Nest thermostat is exciting people today.

More than anything, this reminds me of the slide of 2006-era smartphones — Motorola Q, BlackBerry Pearl, Palm Treo, Nokia E-something-something — that Steve Jobs displayed before he introduced the iPhone for the first time. Night and day.

Apple’s priorities — simplicity, beauty, excellence — are becoming the industry’s priorities. You don’t have to be a former Apple employee to get on board this train, though.

Two-Thirds of Google’s Mobile Search Traffic Comes From iOS Devices 

Seth Weintraub, last month:

But as part of the testimony, Creighton said briefly (before she was cut off) that 2/3rds of mobile search comes from Apple iOS devices. That’s pretty interesting considering the share of Android devices in the market.

Keep this in mind, both regarding Siri as a threat to Google, and with the whole “Android is winning because there are more Android handsets than iPhones” thing.

I’ve speculated for years that by making Apple into an enemy, Google could wind up losing money with Android, long-term, compared to a hypothetical world where they’d kept Android as a BlackBerry-ish OS rather than an iPhone-ish one. iPhone users are the cream of the crop, demographically.

The Limits of Human Rationality 

Jonah Lehrer, writing for The New Yorker on Daniel Kahneman’s new book, Thinking, Fast and Slow:

It’s impossible to overstate the influence of Kahneman and Tversky. Like Darwin, they helped to dismantle a longstanding myth of human exceptionalism. Although we’d always seen ourselves as rational creatures — this was our Promethean gift — it turns out that human reason is rather feeble, easily overwhelmed by ancient instincts and lazy biases. The mind is a deeply flawed machine.

Depressing, in a way, but it explains so much of our collective behavior. (Via Kontra.)

How Siri Disrupts Search 

Rich Mogull, at TidBITS:

Siri doesn’t replace search, but in many cases it circumvents it by directing users straight to integrated partner services. When you ask for the nearest Indian restaurant there’s still a search taking place, but it’s through Yelp, not a generic search engine that would include Yelp plus various other results.

By skipping the search engine and going straight to a designated source there is no place to insert advertising.

‘That Is All’ 

Fabulous book trailer for John Hodgman’s That Is All, the finale in his trilogy of complete world knowledge.

Lex Friedman Reviews Eight iPhone 4 Battery Cases 

On any typical day, my iPhone battery lasts all day, easily. And my new 4S seems to get about the same battery life as my old 4 did. But when I’m traveling and depending on my iPhone for my net access all day long, I need more power. Previously I had one of those external battery dinguses, but last year I bought a Mophie Juice Pack Air, and I’ve found I greatly prefer a battery case over the external battery packs. It’s like having a much thicker iPhone with somewhere around 1.6 times the battery life.

But it seems to me like my Juice Pack doesn’t hold as much juice as it did when new, and, I figure, if I’m going to buy another battery case that fits the 4/4S form factor, now is the time to do it, when I’ll maximize the time I’ll be carrying a phone that fits it. I like my Mophie, but I’d rather have something slimmer than either of the Mophie models, even if it packed a bit less capacity. Put a Juice Pack-encased iPhone in your jeans pocket and it feels like you have a Samsung Galaxy Battleship in there.

The two most tempting ones, judging by Lex Friedman’s survey of the field: the Incipio OffGrid (.5 inches thick, vs. .7 inches thick for the Juice Pack Air) and the Third Rail Slim Case. I’ll probably just stick with my Juice Pack Air, though.

Robot Barf 

When your kids ask you “Where do QR codes come from?”, send them here.

Someone’s Starting to Get a Clue 

From Anand Lal Shimpi’s review of the Asus Zenbook laptop:

In our earlier coverage I pointed out that ASUS had moved Microsoft’s required Certificate of Authenticity to the power brick, something that’s usually located on the system itself. Microsoft mandates the sticker’s placement on the system, however there is a clean PC program an OEM can apply for in order to somewhat skirt the requirement. ASUS did apply for and was approved, allowing it the luxury of moving that CoA sticker to the power adapter. While it does improve the beauty of the machine, it also means that if you lose your power adapter you do lose your CoA.

Microsoft and Intel were also petitioned to allow greyscale versions of their respective product logos. ASUS’ request was also approved, which is why you see less obnoxious Intel inside and Windows 7 stickers on the Zenbook.

Fewer stickers on the laptop itself, and the grayscale ones are more tasteful. But you know what’s cool? Not slapping stickers on laptops in the first place.

Stephen Fry on Steve Jobs 

I missed this when Stephen Fry wrote it a few weeks ago, just after Jobs’s death. Brilliant:

As always there are those who reveal their asininity (as they did throughout his career) with ascriptions like “salesman”, “showman” or the giveaway blunder “triumph of style over substance”. The use of that last phrase, “style over substance” has always been, as Oscar Wilde observed, a marvellous and instant indicator of a fool. For those who perceive a separation between the two have either not lived, thought, read or experienced the world with any degree of insight, imagination or connective intelligence. It may have been Leclerc Buffon who first said “le style c’est l’homme — the style is the man” but it is an observation that anyone with sense had understood centuries before. Only dullards crippled into cretinism by a fear of being thought pretentious could be so dumb as to believe that there is a distinction between design and use, between form and function, between style and substance.

The whole piece is great, and so much great stuff has been written about Jobs and Apple in the last month, but the above paragraph is just perfect.

Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma 

James Allworth:

They can do it because Apple hasn’t optimized its organization to maximize profit. Instead, it has made the creation of value for customers its priority. When you do this, the fear of cannibalization or disruption of one’s self just melts away. In fact, when your mission is based around creating customer value, around creating great products, cannibalization and disruption aren’t “bad things” to be avoided. They’re things you actually strive for — because they let you improve the outcome for your customer.

Is Mobile Safari Faster on iOS 5? 

Spoiler: yes.

Rolex 

From a Slate story by Seth Stevenson, on Rolex signing Tiger Woods to an endorsement contract:

Privately held since its formation in 1905, Rolex is a notoriously tight-lipped company. It doesn’t release revenue figures, or explain leadership transitions. (It had a total of three CEOs from 1905 until 2008, when then-CEO Patrick Heiniger resigned under mysterious circumstances.) Even the corporate structure is a bit murky. Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf died childless in 1960, leaving control of his company to a charitable foundation he’d established. The Hans Wilsdorf Foundation runs Rolex to this day. When I emailed a polite-but-elliptical media-relations woman to ask whether Rolex is essentially a nonprofit, and who the foundation’s major beneficiaries are, she responded with this sentence: “The principal focus of the foundation is to support a variety of philanthropic endeavors.”

I did not know that.

The Ubuntu Font Family 

I don’t particularly care for it, and don’t think it’s going to age well, but it sure strikes me as better than Roboto. Update: The monospace variants of the Ubuntu font are really nice.

AirPlay TV 

Joe Hewitt speculates on AirPlay’s potential regarding these “new TV by Apple” rumors. In short: latency, latency, latency.

Bloomberg: Jeff Robbin Working on Next-Gen TV Project at Apple 

Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is turning to the software engineer who built iTunes to help lead its development of a television set, according to three people with knowledge of the project. Jeff Robbin, who helped create the iPod in addition to the iTunes media store, is now guiding Apple’s internal development of the new TV effort, said the people, who declined to be identified because his role isn’t public.

If it’s true, and if it ships, put my money down on “iTV” as the name. (I know, that was the code-name of the Apple TV during development, and Apple apparently changed it because of the ITV network in the U.K. But the “iPhone” trademark was held by Cisco, too.)

Steven Levy Profiles Nest Labs 

Steven Levy:

The problem was that the thermostat would draw power only from the tiny trickle of electricity from its wires. “We spent cumulatively more than 10 man-years working on the technology to enable remote control over the Internet while the device is on the wall, asleep, without using external power,” says Matt Rogers. “It basically took all our years at Apple to do that. What makes an iPod play music for 24 hours is what enabled us to do this for the product.”

A big part of my talk last week at the Çingleton Symposium was about how dominance leads to influence, and how because Apple now dominates the tech world, its influence is beginning to spread. We’re going to see more products and companies that adhere to Apple-like ideals and priorities.

Google Reader and Mac/iOS RSS Readers That Sync 

Brent Simmons on the recent changes to Google Reader:

I’m not an RSS reader developer any more. But if I were, I’d start looking for an alternative syncing system right now.

Troubleshooting a Battery-Sucking iPhone 4S 

This is one of the nerdiest sentences I’ve written in months, but here goes: I loved this iPhone 4S battery-life troubleshooting story by Chris Breen.

Fraser Speirs’s Week With iOS 5 

Fraser Speirs spent a week on vacation with only his iPhone and iPad:

Put it this way: I’m home now and there’s not one task that cropped up during the week that I had to say “I’ll have to wait until I get back to my Mac to finish this”. That, to me, is the interesting bit.

Entrepreneurs Who Go It Alone 

Speaking of Marco Arment, here’s a Time magazine piece on the rise of one-man-show businesses, using Instapaper and Maciej Ceglowski’s Pinboard as examples.

Official Marco.org In-Depth Review of the iPhone 4S 

From Marco Arment’s copiously-detailed iPhone 4S review:

I don’t notice the speed increase.

It’s easier to notice by going back to the no-S iPhone 4 for a few hours.

Labeling the Back Button 

Good rule of thumb: label the button with where you’re going back to.

Being able to label the back button is a big reason why the iPhone’s on-screen buttons are better than Android’s hardware Back button. A dedicated hardware Back button can never answer the question “Where?”

Nest — New ‘Learning Thermostat’ 

Looks gorgeous and clever. Reminds me of HAL. Here’s CEO Tony Fadell — that Tony Fadell — introducing the company in a blog post:

“So what are you working on lately?” a friend asks over lunch.

“I started a new company. We make thermostats.”

They chuckle, take a bite of their salad, “No, seriously. What are you doing?”

“I’m serious. Thermostats.”

Comparing the iPhone 4S Camera Against Others 

Lisa Bettany:

A photo comparison from all iPhone version cameras (first generation iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, the new iPhone 4S), a point-and-shoot camera, the Canon S95 ($500), and a professional dSLR, the Canon 5DMKII ($4000+) in two situations: 1. A macro setting to test detail and quality of the cameras; 2. A backlit skyline shot.

Not bad for four years of progress.

Apple Tweaks Colors of iPad Smart Covers 

They dropped orange (my wife’s favorite) and “tweaked” my favorite, the leather navy one, to be “more navy”. Best news is that they’ve added a nice dark gray polyurethane one — I thought it was somewhat crummy how in the original lineup, the only dark ones were the more expensive leather ones.

Updated MacBook Pros 

Faster CPUs and bigger hard drives.

‘I Finally Cracked It’ 

Marco Arment on the passage in Isaacson’s biography where Jobs tells him he’s “cracked” the problem of creating an Apple-quality TV.

The way to revolutionize the TV market is to cut out all of the legacy. No cable companies. No broadcast tuners. No channels. No DVRs. All internet delivery. All on-demand. No commercials.

But that’s an incredibly tall order. Apple can do a lot, but I’m not sure that they can do that, given how much of it is out of their control.

It’s all about content. I don’t even think it’s that hard to imagine a truly game-changing TV from Apple — but such a thing would require massive participation from content providers. I’m not going to hold my breath.

The other thing that’s always struck me is that even if Apple could get a ton of content providers on board with the idea, they’d still have to worry about cable providers because so many of us get our Internet service from a cable company. What’s to stop Comcast from throttling your bandwidth after you drop TV service and pay them for nothing other than Internet service? Ideally the feds would prevent that, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that either.

Good Point on Amazon’s New KF8 E-Book Format 

Guido Henkel on KF8:

The big problem with the introduction of the KF8 format is that Amazon is doing a pretty hack job with this, I am very sorry to say, because, according to Amazon’s announcement and FAQ, none of the older Kindles will be able to support this format.

Why is this a problem? Well, as a professional eBook formatter, the question for me is, how am I supposed to deal with this? Instead of creating the foundation for one rock solid Kindle platform that has powerful capabilities, Amazon is now going down the road of platform fragmentation.

Amazon promises that their tools will convert KF8 files to alternate formats compatible with older Kindles, but as Henkel notes:

Just because KindleGen 2 promises to convert your books, doesn’t mean you should, because the output quality will be dubious at best. Of course, if you are part of the I-don’t-care-just-make-it-easy, Smashwords-adoring crowd, yes, that might work for you, but if you take pride in your ebook’s layout and formatting, this is not going to fly.

Market Share Claim Chowder 

From a December 2002 CNet piece by Joe Wilcox:

“Certainly by… 2005, possibly by the end of 2003, Linux will pass Mac OS as the No. 2 operating environment,” said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky.

Reads better if you pronounce certainly like Curly from The Three Stooges.

(Thanks to DF reader Steven Klein.)

Dick Cavett on Steve Jobs 

Dick Cavett:

“How does it feel to be Dick Cavett?”

That’s what he said.

What a dumb question, I thought. This guy can’t be very bright.

The “guy” was named Steve Jobs. Turned out he was reasonably bright.

Flash Player Access to Your Camera and Microphone Is Controlled By Adobe 

Yet another reason to keep Flash uninstalled in your primary web browser.

Siri and the Phonetic Name Fields 

Simon Evans on the phonetic name fields in Address Book/Contacts:

What they didn’t mention is that adding information to these fields will almost certainly mess up the sorting of your contact list.

To understand why, you need to understand their intended function.

They are there to aid with the sorting of Japanese and Chinese names. That’s why they don’t show up by default when using English as the system language. (Oddly, they can’t even be added if you’re using British English.)

Yeah, seems like a nice idea to use these fields to aid Siri, but it’s not what they’re there for.

‘Celebrating Steve’ Special Event 

Apple has posted the video from their on-campus event last week, celebrating the life of Steve Jobs. Can’t imagine there’s anyone who reads DF who isn’t going to want to see this.

Ten Years Ago Today: iPod 

Jonathan Seff’s Macworld review of the original iPod:

Apple’s iPod, a 6.5-ounce MP3 player the size of a deck of cards, is one of the most exciting products to come from Apple in years. Powered by FireWire, the iPod can hold as much as 5GB of data, providing a compelling balance of size and capacity. However, this combination of features comes at a relatively high price: $399.

Nailed it. The price and being Mac-only limited the appeal, but the kernel of not just a good idea but a great one was there from the start.

It’s hard to remember the pre-iPod Apple. How unusual, if not downright surprising, it was for Apple, the company that made Macintosh computers, to venture into the pure consumer electronics space with something like a portable music player.

Juice Box Mixology 

Kim Lisagor:

At the end of a busy school day, kids need some love from a relaxed, supportive parent. At the end of a busy work day, some of us need a little help to become that parent. Here’s what to do when the closest mixer is a juice box.

Shipped vs. Sold, Redux 

Kevin C. Tofel, on a Strategy Analytics report that pegs Android tablet “market share” at 26.9 percent:

I asked Strategy Analytics to clarify both of those points and received the following email response from Neil Mawston, the analyst who wrote the report: ”Yes, the press release refers to shipments, not sales. All sub-versions of Android are included. Yes, the B&N Nook Color tablet is included in the tablet figures.”

While that clarifies the definitions used for the analysis, it also muddies the waters for actual market share of Android tablets in use by version. 

VueScan Mobile 

My thanks to Hamrick Software for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote VueScan Mobile. VueScan Mobile is a powerful, easy-to-use app that lets you use your Wi-Fi printer/scanners from HP, Epson, and Canon on your iOS device.

VueScan Mobile works with a long list of popular Wi-Fi-enabled scanners, saves scanned images to your photo library, and can send images to any other app that reads PDFs or JPEGs, including iBooks, Dropbox, and GoodReader.

VueScan Mobile’s big sibling VueScan is great desktop scanning software for the Mac, Windows, and even Linux. Hamrick does one thing and they do it incredibly well: they make great scanning software.

Jon Stokes on Next-Gen ARM CPUs, and Apple’s Switch to Intel 

Jon Stokes:

Years ago, I heard the back-story on Apple’s switch to Intel first-hand from some folks on the IBM side of things, and what I learned was that Steve Jobs agonized over this decision and waited until the morning of the keynote before pulling the trigger on this move. He actually went into that day with two keynote presentations prepared: one for a PowerPC-based product line, and one for The Switch. When he pulled out The Switch presentation, the IBM team was absolutely as stunned as the rest of the world, as was the P.A. Semi team who had been separately assured by Jobs that their dual-core PowerPC part would find its way into Apple portables.

I believe it, but this sort of conflicts with reporting by CNet and The Wall Street Journal — both of which reported Apple’s surprise switch to Intel for the Mac a few days before the WWDC keynote. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Apple “decided” to switch to Intel a few days before WWDC, but that nothing had been signed in ink until the morning of the keynote.

Anyway, good stuff on next-gen ARM technology, as usual from Stokes.

Maybe Microsoft Should Get Into the Concert Ticket Business? 

Some camp-out-all-night-outside-the-store lines are not alike.

This Is Not a Cheesesteak 

Splendid new blog documenting sandwich atrocities.

Newsstand Is Driving a Surge in Magazine, Newspaper iPad App Subscriptions 

Jeff Sonderman, Poynter:

A couple weeks ago I predicted that Apple’s virtual Newsstand for iPads and iPhones would provide “a little more convenience for the user, and a little more discoverability for the publisher — but nothing here is a game-changer.”

I stand by the first part of that diagnosis, but it’s now clear there is something game-changing about Newsstand. Since Apple launched it last week in the latest version of its iOS operating system, its impact has been immediate and significant. Many Newsstand apps now rank among the top free apps overall, and magazine and newspaper apps are benefiting from a surge of downloads and subscribers.

I think it’s all about prominence and visibility. The iOS home screen is prime real estate. It’s up there with the Google home page. There is no clutter, and Apple is judicious when adding new items. People notice Newsstand. It was the first thing my mom asked me about after she upgraded her iPad to iOS 5.

Ben Brooks said it well:

For power users the Newsstand seems stupid and annoying, I suspect though that for many non-power users it is more of a “finally” type system. It makes searching for, downloading, paying for periodicals very easy.

Undocumented APIs and Android 

Tim Bray on the Android Developers Blog, in a post euphemistically titled “New Public APIs in ICS”, which is really about widely-used undocumented APIs (a.k.a. private APIs, in Apple parlance) that have changed in Android 4.0:

And we also think that most developers know that when they use undocumented APIs, they’re making a commitment to doing the right thing when those APIs change.

Interested to see how this goes.

AT&T Seeing ‘Tremendous, Tremendous Demand’ for iPhone 3GS 

Peter Cohen, quoting AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega:

I also mentioned in my notes that we have another device that I think is going to dramatically change those people that are on smartphones and quick messaging devices, the 3GS, which is free with a 2-year contract. We’ve seen a tremendous, tremendous demand for that device even though it’s a generation old. And actually, we’re getting more new subscribers coming on the 3GS on the average than other devices.

That’s the power of “free*”, even when the asterisk is a requirement that you sign a two-year contract that costs like $1,500, minimum. Also, worth keeping in mind: the 3GS is an advantage AT&T still has over Verizon and Sprint — there is no CDMA iPhone 3GS.

Update: Interesting point from a DF reader on Twitter:

Wondering how many of those free 3GS’s are the third (teenager!) phone on a family plan. That can be as low as $25/mo.

I hadn’t really thought about family plans, but that makes sense — “free*” is a lot closer to no-asterisk-just-plain-free in that case.

AnandTech on Mobile Display Pixel Density 

Brian Klug and Jason Inofuentes compare the pixel density of the Galaxy Nexus with other leading Android handsets and the iPhone 4(S).

Why the QR Code Is Failing 

Sean Cummings:

People will not adopt a technical solution that serves to replace a manual task, if that solution is less efficient than the manual task it replaces. How could we think that QR codes for marketing would work any better than CueCat? Did we not learn the first time?

QR codes are built for machines, not humans. And they’re ugly.

Update: Mikey-san nails it:

Robot barf looks like QR codes.

Kindle Format 8 

At a glance, this seems like a richer format — giving more control to designers — than ePub.

‘What the Fuck Is Wrong With You People?’ 

Jon Stewart on Republicans’ “thank America last” stance regarding the Obama administration’s success in Libya.

This Is How Science Works 

Kevin Drum:

Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent. And University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is notorious for believing that conventional wisdom is often wrong. For example, the conventional wisdom about climate change. Muller has criticized Al Gore in the past as an “exaggerator,” has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre’s famous takedown of the “hockey stick” climate graph made him “uncomfortable” with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on.

So in 2010 he started up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) to show the world how to do climate analysis right. Who better, after all?

I’d Vote for Them 

Screenshot of Siri. I asked “Play the latest episode of the podcast
        back to work”. Siri responded, “Here’s your The Presidents of the
        United States of America…”.

Anyway, speaking of podcasts, great episode of Back to Work this week, talking about iCloud.

Skyping a Deuce 

This week’s episode of America’s favorite game show, The Talk Show. Topics include: Siri, Apple’s earnings announcement, Roboto, Dropbox, iOS Twitter integration, the Çingleton Symposium, Badger Face, the Galaxy Nexus, iPhone cases, and a bunch of other nonsense. Brought to you by some of the finest sponsors in the world: Sourcebits, RE:minder, and Shopify.

Great Artists Steal the Future 

The T.S. Eliot quote at the end really nails it.

James Kendrick: ‘After the iPhone 4S, Android Just Feels Wrong’ 

Long-time Android user James Kendrick:

This realization hit me hard, as I found that as I used the Nexus, a phone I absolutely love, the user experience was jangling my nerves. The inconsistencies in the interface between apps and the occasional lag doing simple things like scrolling in windows just screamed at me. I hadn’t really noticed it before, but after using the iPhone these things jump out at me. […]

The biggest area of discontent is in web browsing, one of the primary things I do with a smartphone.

iPhone 4S Commercial 

Great music, great pacing. Love the framing of the faces. Better than most movie trailers.

Pre-Order ‘Steve Jobs’ From Amazon 

Call me old-fashioned, but a book like this, I get in hardcover.

Pre-order links for the new-fashioned: Kindle and iBooks.

‘I’m Going to Destroy Android, Because It’s a Stolen Product’ 

The AP, quoting from an advance copy of Walter Isaacson’s imminent Jobs biography:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Jobs used an expletive to describe Android and Google Docs, Google’s Internet-based word processing program. In a subsequent meeting with Schmidt at a Palo Alto, Calif., cafe, Jobs told Schmidt that he wasn’t interested in settling the lawsuit, the book says.

“I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.” The meeting, Isaacson wrote, resolved nothing.

I’m pretty much in no-spoiler mode on this book, but I had to post this.

Siri Searches Bing and Yahoo, Too 

Nice find by Greg Sterling.

iCloud Calendars Are Type-Specific 

From BusyCal’s “Upgrading to iCloud” support page:

iCloud calendars are type-specific. Each iCloud calendar may contain either Events or To Dos, but not both. When you move your calendars to iCloud, each calendar will be split into two calendars — one for Events and one for To Dos.

This was a source of confusion for me, because iCal doesn’t list reminder-only calendars as separate calendars, but BusyCal and certain other CalDAV clients do.

E.g., with MobileMe, I had one calendar named “John”. When I upgraded from MobileMe to iCloud, that calendar was split in two — one for events, one for reminders — but both were named “John”. BusyCal shows two calendars, but iCal still shows just one. The app that handles this best is — perhaps unsurprisingly — the web-based iCloud Calendar app. There, calendars and reminder lists are presented in the source list as discrete items.

Apple’s Relentless Push Forward 

David Barnard, on Apple’s aggressive move forward to iOS 5:

At a time when most current Android devices — even the ones that will be sold over the holiday shopping season — won’t ever have the option to install Android 4.0, Apple is specifically pushing the iOS install base forward. Apple wants all iOS users on iOS 5, not just the ones who buy a brand new device.

How to Disable Internal MacBook Display When External Display Is Attached 

Mac OS X Hints:

Before Lion it was possible to run an external display off a laptop and have the internal display disabled, even if you opened the lid. This can be useful for a myriad of reasons including energy saving and better Wi-Fi reception. With Lion the internal display will always turn on when the lid is opened, even if there is already an external display connected.

I just ran into this after upgrading my main machine to Lion. A little nvram command-line jiggery-pokery does the trick.

Decades-Old ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ Strip Succinctly Explains Occupy Wall Street Movement 

Remarkably apt.

Thirteen Observations Made by Lemony Snicket While Watching Occupy Wall Street From a Discreet Distance 

Best thing I’ve read about Occupy Wall Street. Love this one:

11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.

(Via Aaron Swartz.)

How to Bring Good Design to a Platform 

Stupid arrogant iOS and Mac developers. Think they know it all. Google will show them.

Let’s Take This One With a Grain of Salt 

Ina Fried, covering some conference in Asia on some website:

Andy Rubin thinks there is a lot of potential for phones to be more useful companions, but says he is not interested in turning Android devices into personal assistants.

“I don’t believe that your phone should be an assistant,” the Android chief said in an interview on Wednesday just after appearing on stage at AsiaD. “Your phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone.”

What do you expect him to say about Siri, though? “Well, Apple really pulled ahead of us there”? Not going to happen. The truth is, Google has been working on voice-driven stuff for mobile devices for years. The primary interface to their Google for iPhone app is voice. The ante has been raised, and the correct play is for Google to downplay Siri’s relevance until they feel they’re competitive. This is like Steve Jobs dismissing video-playing iPods, claiming that no one wants to watch movies or TV shows on a handheld display, one year before Apple shipped video-playing iPods.

FlatpanelsHD on the Galaxy Nexus 4.65-inch OLED Display 

Rasmus Larsen:

And if you calculate the real pixel density you will find that the Galaxy Nexus is actually closer to a “real” ppi value of 200, which is slightly lower than on the Galaxy S II (that uses a Super AMOLED Plus with RGB pixel structure). Some claim that a PenTile panel needs around 420 ppi to qualify as a Retina display and that is probably also the reason why Retina is nowhere to be found on the specs sheets of neither Galaxy Note nor Galaxy Nexus. If you are keen on a Samsung smartphone you might even find that the screen in the Galaxy S II is better. But the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S still lead the pixel race. Some people say they never notice the PenTile pixel structure but it is just like a stain on a carpet; once you see it, it is hard to disregard.

My problem with OLED displays is color saturation. I have yet to see an OLED display where colors aren’t severely over-saturated. Blacks are blacker, yes, but colors are way off. This seems to be another area where iOS and Android devices are diverging.

Newest U.S. iPhone 4S Carrier: C Spire 

CNN Money:

C Spire, a wireless carrier you’ve probably never heard of, announced Wednesday that it will become the fourth U.S. wireless provider to sell the iPhone 4S.

The regional carrier formerly known as Cellular South serves just under 900,000 customers, mostly in Mississippi. By contrast, Sprint, previously the smallest carrier to sell the iPhone, serves 52 million customers.

Why a tiny regional like C Spire and yet still not T-Mobile? My guess is that it’s because T-Mobile uses a different band for 3G than AT&T (and most other GSM carriers around the globe). C Spire is a regular CDMA carrier, so the iPhone 4S just works. Getting 3G to work on T-Mobile would require different GSM antenna hardware, I think. (Via Joe Stump.)

Lies, Damned Lies, and App Store Statistics 

Interesting analysis of iOS App Store popularity by category, by Casey Fleser. (Via Jamin Guy.)

What Is a Computer? 

Sesame Street, 1984. These kids got it.

iPhone’s Phonetic Name Fields 

Shawn Blanc:

Two little-known fields in iPhone contact cards are the Phonetic First and Last Names. Fill them in to help Siri understand your requests better and to keep Siri from mispronouncing the names of your friends and family.

The fields aren’t new, but their usefulness for Siri is.

Remember the Milk, Now Integrated With Siri 

Remember the Milk now works with Siri. How? They added CalDAV server support — add your Remember the Milk account as a CalDAV server on your iPhone, and set that account to be the default for reminders, and boom — new reminders created with Siri will go there. Clever.

China Is Now Apple’s Second-Most Important Market 

Erica Ogg:

Calling the progress in China “amazing,” Cook said that if you count the greater China region as a whole (which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan) it now accounts for 12 percent of Apple’s full-year revenue for 2011. That’s up from just 2 percent in fiscal year 2009, he said. That makes it Apple’s “fastest-growing region by far.”

Wonder if there’s any room for growth in China.

Yonhap News: ‘Galaxy Nexus Designed to Bypass Apple Patents’ 

Lee Youkyung, reporting for Yonhap News:

The Galaxy Nexus smartphone, the first handset built using a new version of the Android system called “ice cream sandwich,” is designed to bypass potential legal attacks from Apple Inc., the mobile chief of Samsung Electronics Co. said.

“Now we will avoid everything we can and take patents very seriously,” Shin told reporters Tuesday on the eve of the Galaxy Nexus launch. His comments were embargoed until Wednesday.

As opposed to all their previous phones?

Lytro Camera 

Speaking of fascinating new imaging technology, Lytro today started taking preorders for their new “light field technology” camera. The result allows you to “focus” the image after it was taken. Sounds amazing, and the examples look good. I’ll let others be the guinea pigs on this, but I’m tempted.

(In another sign of the changing times, their desktop editing software only supports one platform, and that’s the Mac, not Windows.)

Image Deblurring 

Fascinating new research from Adobe. (Via Scott Beale.)

Buying Coffee and Creating Jobs 

Joe Nocera on an interesting job creation plan from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz:

Here’s the idea they came up with: Americans themselves would start lending to small businesses, with Starbucks serving as the middleman. Starbucks would find financial institutions willing to loan to small businesses. Starbucks customers would be able to donate money to the effort when they bought their coffee.

F-Secure: ‘Mac Trojan Disables XProtect Updates’ 

Speaking of Mac malware:

Recent analysis has revealed to us that Trojan-Downloader:OSX/Flashback.C disables the automatic updater component of XProtect, Apple’s built-in OS X anti-malware application.

Might be worth keeping an eye on. Remember, though, it’s a Trojan — something you need to be tricked into installing manually, including typing your admin password.

The Sandbox Is Not Optional on iOS 

From a post at ReadWriteWeb by Dan Rowinski on Lookout, a “security” app for the iPhone:

Lookout has created an app that is as simple as the iPhone. It is lightweight, easy to use and works. In terms of malware, Lookout can add its Android-style virus detector if iOS is ever drowned in malware.

No, it can’t. App Store apps can only read and write to the file system within their own sandbox. They can’t examine other apps, nor the data of other apps. There will never be third-party antivirus software in the App Store so long as the sandboxing rules remain in place. And so long as the sandboxing rules remain in place, there shouldn’t need to be.

We can argue about whether you should run anti-malware software on your Mac. But it can’t even exist on non-jailbroken iOS devices.

Acclivity NYC 

Acquirers of the other two Sofa apps, Checkout and Enstore. Long-time Mac users will recall Acclivity NYC’s parent company by its former name, MYOB. Should be a great home for these apps.

Taking a Call From the Chairman 

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son:

I visited Apple for the announcement of the iPhone 4S [at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California]. When I was having a meeting with Tim Cook, he said, ‘Oh Masa, sorry I have to quit our meeting.’ I said, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘My boss is calling me.’ That was the day of the announcement of the iPhone 4S. He said that Steve is calling me because he wants to talk about their next product. And the next day, he died.

(Let’s not read much into the subject of the call, though.)

‘Way Down Inside’ 

Michael Winslow gets the Led out.

My Favorite Pen: The Zebra Sarasa 0.4mm 

Black ink, of course. Been using it for a few years now, nothing else comes close. (Well, the Uni-ball Signo RT 0.38mm comes close.) Anyway, if you’re not buying pens from JetPens, your pen probably sucks.

Andy Rubin: ‘I Don’t Think There Should Be Apps Specific to a Tablet’ 

Joanna Stern:

“I don’t think there should be apps specific to a tablet,” [Rubin] said. He also added that “if someone makes an [Ice Cream Sandwich] app it’s going to run on phones and it’s going to run on tablets.” Now, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think there shouldn’t be apps optimized for larger screens, it just means that ICS will continue to work like Honeycomb, with a single app scaling differently to different screen sizes. (He referenced staying away from the Apple iPad / iPhone division in the App Store.) That makes sense to us, but Rubin didn’t seem to be too concerned with those large screened apps: “the Twitter phone app works fine on a tablet.” Indeed it does, but the experience is nowhere near as good as the one tweaked to take advantage of the iPad’s larger screen.

In other words, Google’s grand-unification strategy for Android 4 is basically to treat tablets as big phones. Given how big Android phones are getting, maybe that’s the right strategy.

New Home for Versions and Kaleidoscope: Black Pixel 

Black Pixel acquires the SVN client and file comparison app from Sofa, after Sofa’s talent acquisition by Facebook.

The Galaxy Nexus Is Big 

At 4.65 inches diagonally, this isn’t just a little bigger than the iPhone’s 3.5-inch display, it’s way bigger. Here’s a sketch I whipped up in a notebook. I like Kottke’s take:

Ben: That’s no moon. It’s a phone.
Han: It’s too big to be a phone.
Luke: I have a very bad feeling about this.

It’s always hard to judge color reproduction in a photo of a display, but, man, the colors look crazy over-saturated to my eyes. Check out the orange on the side-by-side renderings of This Is My Next’s home page.

Roboto Is a Four-Headed Frankenfont 

Stephen Coles:

When an alphabet has such unrelated glyphs it can taste completely different depending on the word. “Fudge” is casual and contemporary. “Marshmallow” is rigid and classical. This is not a typeface. It’s a tossed salad. Or a four-headed Frankenstein. You never know which personality you’ll get.

Here’s his graphic showing the four typefaces from which Roboto seems to be derived.

Roboto vs. Helvetica 

I was too kind last night. Roboto is a Helvetica rip-off. It’s Google’s Arial.

Remembering Steve Jobs 

New from Apple:

Over a million people from all over the world have shared their memories, thoughts, and feelings about Steve. One thing they all have in common — from personal friends to colleagues to owners of Apple products — is how they’ve been touched by his passion and creativity. You can view some of these messages below.

I’ll Just Cherry-Pick the Negative Part Because I’m a Biased Pro-Apple Shill, Not Because It’s Further Proof That Android Has Endemic Performance Problems or Anything Like That 

Vlad Savov, hands-on with the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Nexus:

As to overall performance, we saw a good deal of stutter in the Galaxy Nexus before us. Taps were not always recognized and there were occasional delays in performing an instruction, though in Google’s defense, it was a phone fully loaded with running tasks and the software is being continually improved and optimized (i.e. it’s not yet fully baked). That having been said, it unfortunately remains the case that Android isn’t as swift and responsive as iOS or Windows Phone (or even MeeGo Harmattan on the N9). Or at least it wasn’t on the demo phone we got a look at. The subtle, pervasive lag that has characterized the Android UI since it inception is still there, which is not a heartening thing to hear when you’re talking about a super-powered dual-core device like the Galaxy Nexus.

See also: Mike Rundle.

Robotica 

I wouldn’t call it a Helvetica rip-off (like Arial), but Android 4’s new system font Roboto is definitely a lot more Helvetica-esque than Droid Sans (the old Android font) was. I’d say it’s like a cross between Helvetica and DIN, but inherited more of Helvetica’s genes. Here’s a comparison I just whipped up between the two — each word set once in each font. (Helvetica on the top, Roboto on the bottom, in case you can’t tell the difference.) I doubt most people could tell them apart, and the uppercase R is almost shameless.

Definitely a better-looking typeface than Droid Sans, though, that’s for sure.

Joshua Topolsky Interviews Matias Duarte on the Design of Android 4.0 

Josh Topolsky:

“Across the board Google and Android is taking design a lot more seriously,” Matias says, and points out that Roboto is used throughout the system. “There’s this thing that’s happening right now in user interface design that I find kind of shackling. The faux wood paneling trend, and the airport lavatory signage trend.” He laughs when he says this and pulls up a slide on his computer, a split screen of an Atari 2600 and… airport lavatory signage. It’s an obvious dig at both Apple and Microsoft.

“The biggest problem behind these trends is not anything about the aesthetic quality about them, but rather the framework that they impose on everything else,” he opines. “Right now if you look at all of these applications that are designed in this real-objecty, faux wood paneling, faux brushed metal, faux jelly button kind of thing… if you step back and you really look at them, they look kind of juvenile. They’re not photorealistic, they’re illustrations.”

After a weekend using the rich Corinthian leather of Find My Friends, I’m open to this line of thinking.

EFF Gets Privacy Answers From Amazon Regarding Silk 

EFF:

We are generally satisfied with the privacy design of Silk, and happy that the end user has control over whether to use cloud acceleration.

Playboy’s Correspondence With Hunter S. Thompson 

Date unknown:

P.S. — Inre: Qui’s request for “my hangover cure” — it’s 12 Amyl Nitrites (one box), in conjunction with as many beers as necessary.

(Via Metafilter.)

Apple’s Quarter in Charts 

Nice overview from Dan Frommer.

Apple Predicts Record iPhone, iPad Sales and Hints at a $40 Billion Quarter 

MG Siegler:

Apple is so confident that next quarter is going to be a blow-out quarter that twice on their earnings call today, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer went out of their way to predict that Apple would see record iPhone and iPad sales next quarter. That’s something Apple never does. Their guidance is always very general (and again, low) and they stick to talking about things at a high level. Not today. This is two Apple executives going out on a limb to predict records for their two key products next quarter.

Dan Lyons Interviews Woz 

Woz:

So we made Breakout and it was a half-man-year job but we did it in four days and nights. It was a very clever design.

Instapaper 4.0 

Great update to a great app and service.

‘This Remarkably Sucky, Shoddy, Sloppy, Slapped Together Disaster of a Phone’ 

That’s Louis Bedigian, writing for Forbes, describing the iPhone 4S.

‘Bigger Than the PC Market’ 

From The Verge’s liveblog coverage of Apple’s quarterly analyst call:

Q: How big do you think the tablet market could be?

A: (Tim Cook) We thought from the beginning that it would be a huge market, and it’s even bigger than we thought. We think it’ll be even bigger than the PC market — that’s just what I think it can be. It’s a huge opportunity for Apple across time.

Think about that.

Dropbox Profile at Forbes 

Victoria Barret at Forbes, on the inside story of Dropbox:

In December 2009 Jobs beckoned Houston (pronounced like the New York City street, not the Texas city) and his partner, Arash Ferdowsi, for a meeting at his Cupertino office. “I mean, Steve friggin’ Jobs,” remembers Houston, now 28. “How do you even prepare for that?” When Houston whipped out his laptop for a demo, Jobs, in his signature jeans and black turtleneck, coolly waved him away: “I know what you do.”

So for everyone who’s ever asked why Apple didn’t just buy Dropbox, the answer — according to the Dropbox founders at least — is that they tried.

Total Android 3 Tablets Sold to Date: 3.4 Million 

That’s less than the number of iPhone 4S’s Apple sold last weekend.

Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results 

Apple PR:

The Company sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 21 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, a 166 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

Net profit is $6.62 billion, up from $4.31 billion a year ago.

Good numbers, but for once they fell short of analyst expectations. Note though, that Apple didn’t miss its own guidance — just the pulled-out-of-thin-air consensus guidance of Wall Street analysts.

Update: The stock price is down almost 7 percent in after-hours trading; probably a good time to buy.

‘Four Months With Android: Reflections, Grievances and Some Tenuous Metaphors Bundled Up Into a Weighty Tome’ 

Ryan Heise, summarizing his four months using Android:

Another short winded point, as I’ve gone over this before. Android’s stock browser, Browser, is trash compared to Mobile Safari. It is slow (often to the point of being unusable), renders sites poorly all too often, and is generally a bad experience. And I’m letting the atrociousness of the Droid family of fonts slide.

He’s got a nice comparison video, illustrating his point. His whole write-up matches my own experience with the Nexus S, really.

Motorola Motoactv 

I’m not sure if they’re ripping off Apple’s iPod Nano, or Samsung’s business model of ripping off Apple designs.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at Web 2.0 

Amir Efrati, reporting for the WSJ from the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco:

Twitter is all about “simplicity in a world of complexity,” Costolo said. “Apple thinks about things the same way.”

This is true, I think. As is this, from later in the interview:

Google and Facebook “will be different from the experiences we want to offer to our users,” he said.

Sprint Ad on Back Cover of the New Issue of Rolling Stone 

Perfect.

Dr. Drang on iMessage 

Obviously, if you (or someone on your plan, like Dr. Drang’s daughter) send and receive many messages to non-iOS device users, then sure, obviously, you still need a big or unlimited SMS plan. But almost everyone I text to or from has an iPhone. I hardly need SMS any more. And this weekend in Canada at the Çingleton Symposium, none of us Americans in attendance needed to worry about international texting costs (at least while on Wi-Fi).

It’s at least as big a deal as BBM, right? And BBM is a big deal for RIM.

Mail Improvements in iOS 5 

Nice overview of what’s new in Mail in iOS 5 by Jeff Richardson.

Update: My pal Koz says Richardson missed the number-one new feature in Mail — the ability to turn off the unread message count icon badge. (Settings: Notifications: Mail: Badge App Icon.)

A Duet With Siri 

“I’m OK if you’re OK.”

Siri and Trust 

Ed Wrenbeck, former lead developer of the Siri iPhone app (before it was purchased by Apple):

For Siri to be really effective, it has to learn a great deal about the user. If it knows where you work and where you live and what kind of places you like to go, it can really start to tailor itself as it becomes an expert on you. This requires a great deal of trust in the institution collecting this data. Siri didn’t have this, but Apple has earned a very high level of trust from its customers.

The Cycle Wherein Apple Creates a Product and People Copy It and Then ‘Improve’ Upon the Design and Then People Ask Apple to Do the Same ‘Improvements’ and Apple Doesn’t and Then People Get Mad at Apple and Apple Keeps Making More Money Than Everyone Else 

And the Headline of the Week award goes to Trevor Gilbert.

William Gibson on The Setup 

This man has his priorities in order:

Neither hardware nor software excite me very much, after whatever brief (and usually painful) novelty has worn off.

Good interface design is as transparent as possible, because I don’t want to have to think about it. I just want to write, or do whatever else I’m doing, and not have to think about whatever I’m doing it on.

Now It’s Just Getting Ridiculous 

Scroll down a bit on Samsung’s website for the Galaxy Player 50 and you’ll see this image, which shows a maps interface that’s just an ever-so-slightly-modified rip-off of the iPhone Maps app. Screenshot, for posterity.

(Via Jeremy Phillippe.)

Update: Looks like Samsung lifted the screenshot from this 2008 screenshot by Laura Scott, as seen in this post at BlogHer.

Update 2, one day later: Samsung took the page down.

A Video Shot on the iPhone 4S 

Not bad for a phone camera.

The Amazing Type-Writer 

My favorite new iPhone app in months. It’s a cross between a painstakingly skeuomorphic old-timey typewriter and an-Instagram-ish public gallery for sharing your output. Great fun with a price that blows the competition out of the water.

iPhone 4S First Weekend Sales Top Four Million 

Apple PR:

“iPhone 4S is off to a great start with more than four million sold in its first weekend—the most ever for a phone and more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

It just keeps growing.

‘I’m Coming to Paros’ 

Fox studio chief Jim Gianopulos on working with Steve Jobs. Great story.

Joanna Stern Reviews the Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook 

Joanna Stern:

“Ugh, this keyboard!” That may not have been the very first sentence I typed on the chiclet panel, but it was surely amongst the second or third. As I mentioned before, the plastic deck feels shockingly cheap, and the matte keys sprouting out of it are no different; they are flimsy, mushy, and grossly flat. The spacing on the keyboard is perfectly adequate, but why Acer had to make the arrow keys smaller than a peanut (literally) is beyond me. Yes, the panel will get the job done and the keys themselves actually have a bit more height than those on the VAIO Z, but it can in no way compare to the backlit keyboards on the Samsung Series 9 and the MacBook Air in terms of build. In fact, I’ve seen Acer make better quality keyboards on its cheaper Timeline and Ethos series.

Looks like Intel’s “ultrabook” class is off to a great start.

VMware Fusion 4 

Once again, my thanks to VMware for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote VMware Fusion 4, the newest version of their software that lets you run Windows and Mac applications side by side. In addition to Windows, VMware Fusion supports running over 200 operating systems on your Mac, including OS X Lion. It even supports the new Windows 8 developer preview — it’s the best way to try Windows 8 on your Mac.

New features include drag-and-drop installation, support for adding Windows apps to Launchpad, and up to 2.5× faster 3D graphics than previous versions. VMware Fusion 4 is available now for an introductory promotional price of $49.99.

Tony Fadell Statement Appended to Businessweek’s Scott Forstall Profile 

This statement from Tony Fadell was appended to Businessweek’s Scott Forstall profile late in the day:

“I inherited the competitive iPhone OS project from Jon Rubenstein and Steve Sakoman when they left Apple. I quickly shuttered the project after assessing that a modified Mac OS was the right platform to build the iPhone upon. It was clear that to create the best smartphone product possible, we needed to leverage the decades of technology, tools and resources invested in Mac OS while avoiding the unnecessary competition of dueling projects.”

That pretty much directly contradicts the story laid out by (anonymous) sources in the original story. Fadell has long been gone from Apple — no reason for him to speak up now other than that he wanted to.

Which Is Which? 

Reuters reporter Dan Levine, tweeting from the Apple-Samsung hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh yesterday:

Koh just held both tablets above her head, one in each hand, asked Samsung lawyers to identify which was which. Took them a while to do so…

(Via Darrell Etherington at GigaOm.)

iOS 5 Cache Cleaning 

Marco Arment on a subtle but potentially far-reaching change in iOS 5:

There’s no longer anywhere to store files that don’t need to be backed up (or can’t be, by the new policy) but shouldn’t be randomly deleted. This is problematic for lots of apps […].

This kicks in when free space is low, so it’s going to affect people with 8 and 16 GB devices more than those with 32 and 64 GB devices.

Character-by-Character Insertion Point Movement in iOS iWork Apps 

Interesting tip: in the new iOS iWork apps, you can move the insertion point one character at a time by swiping left/right. This isn’t a system-wide shortcut, though — it only works in Numbers, Pages, and Keynote.

Update: You can swipe with two fingers to move forward/back a word at a time, and three for the entire line — but I find these gestures hard to use, especially on the iPhone. If they’re not perfectly horizontal they scroll the view.

Update 2: DF reader Dave Tach, via email:

For whatever it’s worth, the trick seems to be to peck in the direction you want the cursor to move rather than to swipe. If your fingers stay on the glass for more than the tiniest fraction of a second, then you wind up scrolling the view.

This works like a charm for me, and is especially helpful for the word-wise two-finger gesture.

iOS Fonts 

Starting with iOS 5, the same 58 font families are now installed on both the iPad and iPhone. Hooray for more Gill Sans on the iPhone. (Fonts installed on Android: 3.)

A Trick That Lets You Hide – But Not Use – iOS 5 Newsstand in a Folder 

I’ve been asked by several DF readers if there’s a way to put Newsstand into a folder. Officially, no, there isn’t. The reason is that Newsstand is really a folder — it’s just a magic folder created by and controlled by the system, not you. And iOS doesn’t let you put folders into folders.

Here’s a trick from Dave Caolo that will let you do it. (And because Newsstand really is just a folder, the same trick lets you put any folder into another folder.)

It’s clearly a bug though: once you do this, you cannot open any such folder-in-a-folder, and if you try, Springboard (the app that is the iOS home screen) will crash. So this is really only useful for those of you who not only don’t want Newsstand, but who can’t even bear the thought of stashing it on your last home screen.

Twitter and iOS 5: Sharing Made Simple 

I think iOS’s built-in support for Twitter is a huge deal. Effectively, iOS now treats tweeting as a peer to SMS and email. Anywhere where you could previously send something by text or email, you now should have the option to tweet it, too.

El Presidente 

This week’s episode of The Talk Show:

iOS 5, the iPhone 4S, Siri, the new camera, RAM usage and battery life on the iOS platform, the conclusion of the 2011 baseball season, and hints about the next series of movie reviews.

Also: my pitch for a new show starring Bob Newhart and Tim Conway. Brought to you by the fine folks at Squarespace (special coupon code “IDONTKNOW10”), EasyDNS (coupon code “5BY5”), and Rackspace Cloud.

Against Close Buttons 

John Kneeland argues that close buttons are wrong for iOS:

The most egregious example of this interface inconsistency is in the teeny tiny close buttons that pop up on the iOS interface when you want to close apps in the app switcher, delete apps from the homescreen, or close a browser tab. It’s even worse in Apple’s new iOS notifications system, which decided being hard to use wasn’t enough and it should be hard to see as well.

In the case of closing Safari pages, he argues that WebOS does it right, with its flicking gesture to close cards.

It’s a good argument, but I disagree. The advantage of explicit close buttons is that they are obvious. No one has to explain to someone how to close a page in Mobile Safari on the iPhone — the X-in-red-circle is explicit and obvious. If that weren’t there and you had to flick pages to the top of the screen to discard them, users who didn’t know about or remember the gesture would be lost.

Gestures, to me, are the touchscreen equivalent of keyboard shortcuts: a convenient alternative, but almost never a good choice for the primary interface for a task. So, sure, it’d be nice if you could flick pages to the top of the screen to close them in Mobile Safari, but keep the red close button there too.

The key to iOS’s success is that you can figure almost everything out just by looking at it. If a button is too hard to tap (like the ones in Notification Center — Kneeland is right about that) the solution is to make them bigger, not to get rid of them.

iOS 5 Tips, Tricks, and Hidden Features 

Good list from Chris Herbert at MacStories.

‘Not Really Focused on the Device’ 

Khidr Suleman, on an interview with Michael Dell at “Dell World 2011”:

Dell did play down the failure of products such as the Dell Streak to make an impact on the market.

“Within the $3 trillion industry that we’re in, the consumer business is worth $250bn. Dell is much more focused on providing a complete set of solutions to customers, including the device, but we’re not really focused on the device.”

“Not really focused on the device”? Good luck with that.

Speaking of Grains of Salt Regarding Businessweek Stories 

From a Peter Burrows piece for Businessweek, “Working With Steve Jobs”, interviewing former AOL CEO Barry Schuler:

Steve Jobs was a genius, but he knew his limits.

“He was never a guy who tried to make believe he had expertise in something,” said Barry Schuler, now a partner at venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

That was clear to Schuler when he got a call from Jobs in early 1997 to come over to his old offices at NeXT Software in Redwood City, Calif. Jobs, at that point, hadn’t yet agreed to run Apple on a permanent basis.

“What’s this Internet thing?” Schuler recalled Jobs asking. “I don’t get it. What are people doing on it? What do they like about it?”

Steve Jobs didn’t get the Internet? In 1997? OK, sure. Here’s Steve Jobs, in his classic interview with Wired in 1996:

The Web is exciting for two reasons. One, it’s ubiquitous. There will be Web dial tone everywhere. And anything that’s ubiquitous gets interesting. Two, I don’t think Microsoft will figure out a way to own it. There’s going to be a lot more innovation, and that will create a place where there isn’t this dark cloud of dominance. […]

If you look at things I’ve done in my life, they have an element of democratizing. The Web is an incredible democratizer. A small company can look as large as a big company and be as accessible as a big company on the Web. Big companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars building their distribution channels. And the Web is going to completely neutralize that advantage.

Yeah, he didn’t get it at all.

Update: Here’s Jobs in 1985 — 1985! — in his classic interview with Playboy:

The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people — as remarkable as the telephone.

Thanks to John Siracusa for the link.

Doing Things That Can’t Be Done 

Herb Sutter on Dennis Ritchie:

C is a poster child for why it’s essential to keep those people who know a thing can’t be done from bothering the people who are doing it.

Businessweek Profiles Scott Forstall 

Adam Satariano, Peter Burrows and Brad Stone:

Some former associates of Forstall, none of whom would comment on the record for fear of alienating Apple, say he routinely takes credit for collaborative successes, deflects blame for mistakes, and is maddeningly political. They say he has such a fraught relationship with other members of the executive team—including lead designer Jony Ive and Mac hardware chief Bob Mansfield—that they avoid meetings with him unless Tim Cook is present.

I’m taking that with a grain of salt, given the anonymous sourcing, but if true, that’s not good. Good piece overall, though, and there’s no argument that Forstall is now The Man when it comes to all things iOS.

Update: The thing to keep in mind while reading a piece like this is that no one who currently works with, admires, or even likes Forstall is going to talk to reporters for a profile like this. Their sources are — and they acknowledge this in the article — people who dislike him and didn’t work well with him, or who at least have left the company. But in broad terms I think the portrait they paint in this piece is accurate: Forstall is polarizing within Apple, he’s hard to work under because he’s extremely demanding, and he probably is the most political — or at least politically adept — senior executive in the company.

Also, this bit from the article is the only real “WTF” in the piece:

At weekly Monday meetings, Apple executives disagreed about matters all the time, but could count on Jobs to make the final call. Its board of directors must find a new chairman and take a more assertive role guiding the company.

I’d say this is pretty much exactly the opposite of what Apple’s board should do.

Dan Moren Reviews iOS 5 

Great overview of the major new features. I’ve been running the developer seeds on my main iPhone for so long, that I’ve forgotten that some of this stuff is new.

See also: Rene Ritchie’s comprehensive iOS 5 walkthrough at TiPb.

Fire Spotter 

Glorious new limited-edition Field Notes notebooks. Turn up the volume and watch the movie on the biggest display you can find.

Matt Taibbi’s Advice to the Occupy Wall Street Protesters 

Matt Taibbi:

Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about. It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it’s supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.

The Last Time I Saw Steve Jobs 

One of my favorite stories heard this week. So great.

R.I.P. Dennis Ritchie 

Creator of the C programming language, co-creator of Unix. A true titan of computer science.

iTunes Movie Trailers App 

File under “the shift from websites to apps”. (Via MacStories.)

AirPort Utility for iPhone and iPad 

In the future, you don’t need a Mac or Windows PC, and the future is getting near.

Apple Releases Find My Friends 

Sporting soft Corinthian leather upholstery.

One Downside of iCloud Replacing MobileMe: Third-Party Mac App Uncertainty 

Bare Bones Software’s Yojimbo FAQ:

Q: Can I use Yojimbo with iCloud?

A: All existing versions of Yojimbo require MobileMe to perform Mac-to-Mac syncing; they will not work with iCloud.

Thus, if you wish to continue syncing Yojimbo, you should not convert your account to use iCloud at this time. (Apple will continue to offer MobileMe service through June 30, 2012.)

We do intend to support iCloud in a future version of Yojimbo (well before the MobileMe sunset date). However, since we are still investigating related technical issues, we don’t yet have a concrete answer; as soon as we do, we’ll post info on our website.

The loss of MobileMe syncing in Yojimbo is the only sore spot I’ve run into after switching my MobileMe account to iCloud. MobileMe syncing in Yojimbo worked great; now, because I’ve moved to iCloud, it’s gone.

Now, long-term, this might prove to be a boon for Mac developers like Bare Bones, because iCloud is free, and MobileMe is not, so, eventually, when Yojimbo supports iCloud for syncing, far more users should be willing and able to take advantage of that. But iCloud storage for Mac developers, though promising, is still a bag of question marks.

Here’s a big one: will iCloud storage for Mac apps be restricted to App Store apps? That’s been a question since WWDC in June and Apple has yet to answer it. My gut feeling/semi-informed hunch is that yes, it will be restricted to App Store apps, so that Apple can approve all iCloud storage use cases in advance, and easily pull the plug on any app that proves to be abusive in the wild. Put another way, my bet is that if your app isn’t signed by Apple, it won’t be able to write to an iCloud container. But no one outside Apple knows yet.

Drama on the Sprint International Unlocking Front 

Some confusion here. First Sprint tells Engadget:

Our SIM does not come out of the device - I believe the same is true of Verizon’s iPhone but you would need to confirm that with them. Customers can sign up for one of our international rate plans and use this phone all over the world.

But then, in an update, Sprint changes its tune, saying “the SIM is removable and is not affixed to the device”.

I can confirm that the SIM card pops out of the Sprint iPhone 4S, but I don’t know what the deal is with international roaming and prepaid SIMs. I’ll have the phone with me in Montreal this weekend, so I should be able to find out then.

Windows Phone, One Year In 

Horace Dediu:

During the last quarter for which we have data (ending June) I have an estimate that Windows Phone sold only 1.4 million units (Gartner’s sell-through analysis suggests 1.7 million). That gives Microsoft a 1.3% share of units sold (Gartner 1.6%), a new low.

In other words, for that entire quarter, they sold about as many total Windows Phones as Apple sold iPhone 4S preorders last weekend. This must be frustrating for Microsoft — Windows Phone 7 is better than Android from what I’ve seen. And even if you disagree with that assessment, I don’t see how anyone could say its quality and appeal are proportionate to its sales figures. Getting traction in the market is hard.

(Anyone at Microsoft: I’d welcome a Mango phone to review. Get in touch if you can make that happen.)

Getting Started With iCloud 

Nice overview by Serenity Caldwell at Macworld.

How Gizmodo Escaped Indictment in Last Year’s iPhone Prototype Theft 

Greg Sandoval and Declan McCullagh, reporting for CNet:

“What we were looking at was possession of stolen property and whether the evidence supported extortion,” Wagstaffe said. “You can say we were looking at whether their actions supported that they participated in the theft of the phone. We didn’t think it supported either.”

Wagstaffe said, however, that his office’s review of the computers seized from Chen’s home showed the correspondence between Gizmodo editors was “juvenile.”

“It was obvious that they were angry with the company about not being invited to some press conference or some big Apple event. We expected to see a certain amount of professionalism — this is like 15-year-old children talking,” Wagstaffe said. “There was so much animosity, and they were very critical of Apple. They talked about having Apple right where they wanted them and they were really going to show them.”

Shocking.

RAM vs. Energy Consumption 

So why didn’t the iPhone 4S go from 512 MB to 1 GB of RAM? Only Apple knows for sure, but I found this blog post from Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky interesting:

Something that might not be obvious is that minimizing memory usage on low-power platforms can prolong battery life. Huh? In any PC, RAM is constantly consuming power. If an OS uses a lot of memory, it can force device manufacturers to include more physical RAM. The more RAM you have on board, the more power it uses, the less battery life you get. Having additional RAM on a tablet device can, in some instances, shave days off the amount of time the tablet can sit on your coffee table looking off but staying fresh and up to date.

I’d always thought that the trade-off with more RAM was simply a matter of price. More RAM costs more money. I’d never thought of it as a factor in battery life.

How International Is the iPhone 4S ‘World Phone?’ 

Jason Snell:

But there’s a new wrinkle that potentially makes the international-roaming experience better on Sprint and Verizon iPhones than it is on AT&T. Sprint plans to sell the iPhone 4S with its micro-SIM slot unlocked; Verizon’s will be initially locked, but if you’ve been a customer in good standing for 60 days, you can call Verizon and ask for an “international unlock.” […]

So if you’re a Sprint or Verizon iPhone 4S customer traveling internationally, you can buy a pre-paid micro-SIM card with dramatically cheaper rates for data and voice calling, rather than pay for international roaming offered by U.S. carriers to their existing customers.

Very cool. And keep in mind that while your phone number changes with a pre-paid SIM, your iCloud ID doesn’t, so you can use iMessage to send and receive messages from other iOS users.

A Conversation With Siri 

Video of Jason Snell using Siri. Matches my experience. Mostly amazing, sometimes just doesn’t get you, but even when that happens, it’s usually easy to correct/clarify what you mean. (See the rest of Snell’s iPhone 4S review here.)

Apple’s 1987 Knowledge Navigator, Only One Month Late 

Andy Baio:

So, 24 years ago, Apple predicted a complex natural-language voice assistant built into a touchscreen Apple device, and was less than a month off.

iPhone 4S Benchmarks Start Leaking Out 

As promised by Apple, graphics performance is up about 7×.

You Are Underestimating the Future 

Michael Lopp, on Steve Jobs’s 1997 WWDC closing keynote:

I was an Apple employee for eight and half years and I didn’t see the video until after I’d left the company. For those who worked there and for those who have watched Apple’s success, what resonates from this crackly old video is that it was clear that Steve could see the future. He may have given features, products, and strategies different names at the time, but so much of what Apple has become is described in a video from almost 14 years ago.

BBM Server Takes a BM 

Charles Arthur, reporting for The Guardian:

Smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM) is facing a user revolt after tens of millions of users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa suffered a second day without services such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), as the company struggled with problems at its hub in Slough, Berkshire.

The company also revealed that the areas affected now include South America, with users in Brazil, Chile and Argentina suffering loss of service.

Starting to feel bad for RIM.

‘That’s What I Wear. I Have Enough to Last for the Rest of My Life.’ 

Gawker has an excerpt from Walter Isaacson’s imminent Jobs biography, regarding his iconic wardrobe.

Completely Broken, All Right 

Speaking of Paul Thurrott, here’s a prediction of his from just before last week’s event:

I have one prediction of my own. And that is that Apple will completely revamp the very much broken external antenna design that it saddled iPhone 4 users with.

Good call — the 4S antenna looks totally different.

Oh, Wait, THIS Is What Explains the iPhone 4S Preordering Success 

Paul Thurrott:

Apple’s lackluster iPhone 4S garnered more than 1 million preorders in its first 24 hours of availability, though much of that is likely tied to the delayed launch.

Sure, so I guess when Apple announces its quarterly results next week, they’ll say that iPhone 4 sales dropped precipitously over the last three months. Right?

CSS Shaders: Cinematic Effects for HTML 

John Nack:

So, yeah: Adobe’s using Flash-derived technology to make HTML5 more competitive with Flash.

Crazy, right? Not at all: this increases your ability to present visually rich experiences, and that increases Adobe’s ability to sell you tools for creating those experiences.  The different playback technologies are just means to those ends.

More like this, please.

‘Your Heart Running Around Outside Your Body’ 

Eric Schmidt on Steve Jobs:

Steve and I were talking about children one time, and he said the problem with children is that they carry your heart with them. The exact phrase was, “It’s your heart running around outside your body.” That’s a Steve Jobs quote. He had a level of perception about feelings and emotions that was far beyond anything I’ve met in my entire life.

Update: Love the sentiment, but it’s not original to Jobs. It’s from Elizabeth Stone.

Did You Hear They Invented Indoor Plumbing? 

Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson:

I do not own an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod or a Mac. I abandoned my typewriter only recently. In short, I have not enlisted in the digital revolution. […]

By history’s measure, [Steve] Jobs’s achievements are tiny.

[Jobs’s] modest legacy will fade with time. A century from now, historians and ordinary Americans will still remember Edison and Ford. Jobs will be a footnote, if that.

Guy who admits he only recently gave up his typewriter thinks Steve Jobs’s achievements are “tiny”. Stay relevant, pal.

Oh, That Explains the iPhone 4S Pre-Ordering Success 

Wendy Li, writing for The International Business Times:

However, when iPhone 4S was launched, Apple fans were disappointed somehow, for they were expecting the redesigned iPhone 5 as rumors suggested. Naturally, many analysts had predicted a subdued response to iPhone 4S.

But no one foresaw that the tech genius Jobs would suddenly pass away, only one day after iPhone 4S was released. Jobs’ demise stirred sadness and grief around the world and it’s believed that Jobs’ untimely death has rocketed demand for iPhone 4S from consumers.

Sure, that’s the explanation. It certainly couldn’t be that people love what they’ve heard about the iPhone 4S and simply want to buy one and would have done the same even if Steve Jobs hadn’t died, and that the “4S is disappointing” naysayers are the same bunch of dummies who dismissed the iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS as well.

The initial disappointment was replaced by fans’ strong desire to remember Jobs, according to Barbara Sullivan, Managing Partner of Sullivan, a branding and marketing agency. “The preorders may also be part of respect for what Jobs has done,” she said. “It’s almost like putting flowers by his headquarters.”

Almost.

Apple iPhone 3GS Disappoints 

Twice as fast and an improved camera? That’s it? Hmm, sounds familiar.

Peter Sichel: ‘When Market Share Is Used to Mislead’ 

Peter Sichel:

Many reviewers don’t even realize what the product is. They still believe the iPhone or iPad is mostly a hardware product defined by its specifications. Apple has invested 10 times more R&D resources to create the iOS software and supporting eco system than its hardware. Apple didn’t design the hardware to match some feature checklist, they designed it to make their software amaze and delight customers, to create an emotional connection that effects peoples lives. To compare the iPhone or iPad to other products primarily on their hardware specifications is not representative of the quality of experience users are likely to have with the product.

I suspect most people will read the above and either think that it correctly describes everything that’s wrong with the rest of the industry, or, that Sichel exemplifies everything that’s wrong with Apple users and developers. There’s no middle ground here.

5by5: Thank You, Steve Jobs 

Likewise, from 5by5:

A collection of stories, thoughts, and memories about Steve Jobs and Apple by 5by5 hosts and friends, expressing how their lives have been changed for the better by Steve and Apple.

Your Mac Life: Steve Jobs, In Memoriam 

Speaking of Shawn King, he put together a nice episode of Your Mac Life with a dozen Apple writers’ memories of Steve Jobs.

iPhone 4S Rumor Accounting 

Shawn King’s Stupid Apple Rumors site tracks the accuracy of Apple-related rumor sites. The results over the last 10 weeks: terrible.

Long before I started Daring Fireball, I often wondered how hard it would be to run an Apple rumor site with a high degree of accuracy. The answer is obvious in hindsight: it’d be easy. Wait until you get something you know to be accurate, and run it. The problem is the waiting part. What happens if you go a week, a month, or even months between any accurate information? The site goes dry. So the choice facing rumor sites is this: they can be accurate, but publish only sporadically; or they can publish random sensational bullshit on a frequent basis. There is no way to publish accurate Apple rumors on a frequent basis.

Prison 

Harry McCracken, on accusations by Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond that Steve Jobs built freedom-sapping digital “prisons”:

Tyranny? Nope, sorry. People who use Apple products considered their options, and chose Apple. If they regret their decision, they can dump it at any time. If you call Apple tyrannical, you’re using a definition of the word so loose as to strip it of any real meaning whatsoever.

It’s ridiculous. In a real prison, you can’t choose to leave.

Charlie Stross Argues for a Bigger iPhone 

Charlie Stross, iPhone-user, makes the case for a 4-inch display.

I disagree with his assumption that one-handed usage is mostly about voice calls. I use my iPhone one-handed, as a communications device, all the time. It is true that typing works far better two-handed, but Siri should alleviate that problem too, particularly for tweet/SMS-length input.

Good argument, though.

The iPad Marches On 

New numbers from Comscore:

In August 2011, iPads delivered 97.2 percent of all tablet traffic in the U.S. iPads have also begun to account for a higher share of Internet traffic than iPhones (46.8 percent vs. 42.6 percent of all iOS device traffic).

Wonder which tablets split the other 2.8 percent?

Comparing Big-Ass Smartphone Screens to 1950s Tail Fins 

This is the absolutist position, and I don’t agree with it. I don’t think 4-inch and bigger screens are silly or needless. For some purposes, bigger is better, and for people who value those purposes, these are better devices. What I believe is that 3.5-inches (or so) is the sweet spot — the best trade-off.

But I do think there’s a Pepsi Challenge type effect going on here. The thing with the Pepsi Challenge was that most people preferred (and prefer today) the taste of Coke over Pepsi, when drinking a full serving. But, when you only take a sip or two of each, people tend to prefer whichever is sweeter, and that was Pepsi. Some people really do prefer Pepsi, of course. But I think there are a bunch of people buying big-ass Android phones after taking just a sip or two in the store.

Ripe 

The Seattle Times interviews Windows Phone chief Andy Lees:

Q: Do you think the iPhone 4S (running on iOS 5) gives you an opening? Do you think they missed an opportunity there?

A: Yes I do. I think, from an end user’s experience on the software, there’s a lot of interesting reviews written comparing us to iOS 5 and the amount that we’ve got done in 11 months — so some people (are) making comparisons of pace. […]

From a pure hardware perspective, I was surprised they’re not giving the consumer more choice. People want a variety of different things.

So there have been one million pre-orders for Windows Phone 7 devices running Mango?

iPhone 4S Pre-Orders Top One Million in First 24 Hours 

How will Apple recover from this debacle?

Netflix U-Turn 

Zero points for consistency.

Square Now Processing $2 Billion in Payments Per Year 

Gaining traction fast.

Size 

Marco Arment:

Android phones have been one-upping each other with screen size a lot recently. It’s an interesting tactic that seems to be working, at least relative to other Android phones. When comparing phones side-by-side in a store, the larger screens really do look more appealing, and I bet a lot of people don’t consider the practical downsides.

Apple generally tries to make it instantly obvious which of its products are better — what the trade-offs are. 16/32/64 GB: pay more, get more storage. iPhone 4S vs. 4: faster, better camera, Siri.

Bigger-screen iPhone proponents are telling me via email that they don’t necessarily want Apple to replace the 3.5-inch models with a 4-point-something inch one — just want a bigger screen model added to the lineup. But then which is “better”? I think it’s likely that many customers’ intuition would tell them that bigger must be better, and they’d make a choice they’d come to regret. What appeals to you in-store, side-by-side, isn’t necessarily what will appeal to you in long-term actual use.

Panic of the Plutocrats 

Paul Krugman:

The way to understand all of this is to realize that it’s part of a broader syndrome, in which wealthy Americans who benefit hugely from a system rigged in their favor react with hysteria to anyone who points out just how rigged the system is.

This is clearly political, but what’s interesting is that it’s not conservative/liberal, and it’s definitely not Republican/Democrat — both our national parties are the parties of Wall Street. For now.

Pixar’s Homepage 

Perfect.

‘Fuck Michael Dell’ 

A little dose of life at Apple, circa 1997, from John Lilly.

Here’s to the Crazy One 

Great piece by MG Siegler.

VMware Fusion 4 

My thanks again to VMware for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote VMware Fusion 4, the newest version of their software that lets you run Windows and Mac applications side by side. In addition to Windows, VMware Fusion supports running over 200 operating systems on your Mac, including OS X Lion. It even supports the new Windows 8 developer preview — it’s the best way to try Windows 8 on your Mac.

New features include drag-and-drop installation, support for adding Windows apps to Launchpad, and up to 2.5× faster 3D graphics than previous versions. VMware Fusion 4 is available now for an introductory promotional price of $49.99.

Initial Reaction 

Ina Fried, reporting on first-day iPhone 4S preorders:

“AT&T has seen extraordinary demand for iPhone 4S, with more than 200,000 preorders in the first 12 hours alone, the most successful iPhone launch we’ve ever had,” an AT&T representative told [some website]. […]

“We are very, very pleased with the initial first day of iPhone 4S preorders,” Sprint Vice President of Product Development Fared Adib said in a statement. “Today’s sales and the overall customer experience greatly exceeded our expectations.”

But then Fried ends the piece with this:

Initial reaction to the iPhone 4S was somewhat muted, given its similarity to the iPhone 4, though the new device does pack a higher-resolution camera, a faster A5 processor and Siri, its voice-powered assistant software.

Initial reaction by whom? What could be more initial than record-breaking preorders in the first 12 hours consumers were able to order the product? What she really means is that a bunch of self-proclaimed technology experts and analysts had a muted reaction after Apple announced it, and that, as ever with Apple, they just don’t get it.

3.5 Inches 

Dustin Curtis explains the advantage of a 3.5-inch screen over 4-inch (and bigger) ones: the ability to cover the entire screen with your thumb while using it one-handed.

Phone Etiquette, the Jobs Way 

How to start a phone call.

Samsung, Google Cancel Launch Event 

No one’s in the mood for fun.

Drance on SJ 

Matt Drance:

Edison. Ford. Disney. Jobs.

An era has ended, and we now sit to reflect on our good fortune for having lived in a time when a true giant walked the Earth.

“SJ” was how so many of my friends at Apple referred to Jobs in the third person. Steve was the man. SJ was The Eye, the presence.

Devour’s Steve Collection 

If you want to watch Jobs, you’ll do no better than Devour’s tribute page. The best, the pinnacle, I say, is the January 2007 introduction of the original iPhone. That’s Jobs, and Apple, at their very best. The greatest single leap forward.

Siracusa 

John Siracusa:

When I was a kid, I had a picture of the original Macintosh team on my bedroom wall. It showed a hundred or so Apple employees standing in front of an office building. Some people on the left were holding a cloth banner with the “Picasso” Macintosh logo on it. A man sitting on the ground on the right cradled a baby. Front and center, crouching with an original Macintosh computer perched on his knee was Steve Jobs, wearing jeans, a long-sleeve black shirt, and gray sneakers.

Two Minutes With Steve 

Michael Sippey:

It started a week before the keynote, when we arrived at 1 Infinite Loop with our app and two minute demo script. We thought we were ready. We weren’t. They worked with us non-stop that week to refine our app, shape our story and polish our script. We rehearsed hundreds and hundreds of times (“Better. Now do it again,” was a constant refrain), and presented to dozens of different people inside Apple.

Including Steve.

Making a Dent in the Universe 

Jason Snell:

He was the face of the company I’ve covered for coming up on 20 years. His return to Apple saved it from oblivion. And then we got the world-changing products.

‘Last American Who Knew What the Fuck He Was Doing Dies’ 

The Onion:

“We haven’t just lost a great innovator, leader, and businessman, we’ve literally lost the only person in this country who actually had his shit together and knew what the hell was going on,” a statement from President Barack Obama read in part.

‘All of It’ 

Panic says goodbye.

Steve Jobs Narrates ‘The Crazy Ones’ 

Heart-breaking. Awe-inspiring.

Wired’s Tribute Page 

Nicely done.

‘It Means to Say Your Goodbyes’ 

The most he ever revealed about himself — his 2005 commencement address at Stanford. Can’t think of any better way to sign off tonight than to quote Steve himself:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

‘He Changed the Way Each of Us Sees the World’ 

President Barack Obama:

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.

Tim Cook’s Company-Wide Email 

Tim Cook:

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

Steve Jobs Dies 

So it goes. So it goes.

Damn it. I thought the “That day has come” line in his resignation letter implied the end was near, but, truth be told, I never gave up hope that Steve would beat this again.

What a life.

That’d Be Some Fall 

Zach Epstein:

But an interesting takeaway from yesterday’s announcement may simply be that Apple has fallen from grace in some respects. Apple is fallible, even if the 4S ends up being a success. A company that could do no wrong in recent history just, well, did wrong in the eyes of pundits who had previously viewed every Apple product announcement as a gift from the heavens.

So even if it’s a success, it’s a fall from grace? And since when does Apple care what the pundits think? And since when are new Apple products met with universal acclaim from the pundits? Remember the original iPad? Lots of pundits thought it was boring. The knock on the iPad 2 was that it wasn’t better enough to encourage existing iPad owners to upgrade. Etc.

Were yesterday’s hardware announcements spectacular? No. But Apple product announcements seldom are. The show me something new and shiny pundits have never understood Apple.

By Any Other Name 

Marco Arment:

Would as many people be disappointed if Apple had released the same device but called it the iPhone 5?

Likewise, why the disappointment in no new form factor? The iPhone 4S internals are cutting edge. The external design is still the best-looking device on the market. The new-form-factor “iPhone 5” everyone was hoping for had the same internal specs — dual core A5, improved camera — as the actual iPhone 4S, right?

One Case Manufacturer Still Confident in Tapered iPhone 5 Design 

Mmm, claim chowder.

Apple Special Event October 2011 

Apple has posted the video from today’s event.

iPhone 4S 

Nice use of HTML5 animation.

It’s Good to Be President 

Yoni Heisler:

But what we didn’t know was that Obama got his iPad 2 a little bit before the rest of us, from Steve Jobs no less.

In a recent interview with George Stephanopoulous of ABC News, Obama explained: “Steve Jobs actually gave it to me, a little bit early. Yeah, it was cool. I got it directly from him.”

Figuring Out Numerals 

Speaking of fonts, here’s a great piece by Yves Peters on the differences between figure styles in fonts. Don’t miss his follow-up, either. (Thanks to Joe Clark.)

Adobe Acquires Typekit 

Great move by Adobe. They’re looking forward, not back.

Update: Adobe acquired PhoneGap, too. Same praise applies: looking forward, not back.

Sprint iPhone to Be a “Multibillion Dollar Gamble,” Reports WSJ 

Tell me again how Android is beating iOS.

(And I like Nilay Patel’s point here — 8 million iPhones per year is not that many. If Sprint’s service is good, that’s a very doable number.)

Android From the Perspective of a Former iPhone User 

I’m only linking to this review of the HTC Thunderbolt because it reinforces my existing views:

Then I could go on to say it doesn’t have an antenna issue like the iPhone 4. That would be a lie, because it does. If you hold it wrong then you’ll be constantly losing your signal and wonder why. I emailed HTC’s support team about this and told them that it really needs to be fixed. The man told me “Hold it differently.” It seems that any way I hold it causes a problem with the signal, no matter if it’s on 4G or not.

Scaling at Instagram 

Mike Krieger, Instagram co-founder, on their engineering blog:

With more than 25 photos and 90 likes every second, we store a lot of data here at Instagram.

25 photos per second is more than the 24 frames per second of a motion picture.

Whatever Happened to the iPad Rivals of 2010? 

Harry McCracken takes a look back.

Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales 

Deep report by Asjylyn Loder and David Evans for Bloomberg on Koch Industries:

A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East — has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Great investigative reporting.

Lori Dorn’s Experience With the TSA 

TSA: keeping us safe from women with breast cancer.

Security/Privacy Vulnerability Found in HTC Android Devices 

Looks like an issue in HTC’s code, not mainline Android.

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network Charity Walk 

Just a few hours left in my wife’s fundraiser for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network Charity Walk. She’s just a wee bit short of her goal — I’d be thrilled to see her make it.

The Deck 

Want to put your product or service in front of millions of savvy, curious, and good-looking people?

We have a last-minute opening for an advertiser on The Deck Network for October. We’ll do a nice deal for someone who can pull the trigger quick.

We’re now taking reservations for November, December, and Q1 2012 too.

Amazon Statement on the Privacy Implications of Silk 

Om Malik got a statement from Amazon, regarding the privacy implications Chris Espinosa raised about Silk’s cloud-backed architecture.

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