Linked List: May 2012

More Good Guesses Regarding Those ‘TBA’ WWDC Sessions 

Siri APIs, system-wide Facebook integration, inter-application communication — all good guesses from Matthew Panzarino. At least some of these guesses have to be right, no?

A Coincidence, Dustin Curtis Is Sure 

Shocking.

Fear and Loathing and Windows 8 

Epic 8,000-plus-word piece on Windows 8 by Michael Mace. At this length it’s more like a short book than a long article, but it’s packed with thoughtful criticism and praise.

I’ve spent the last several weeks asking myself why Microsoft chose to remove some Windows 7 features and exaggerate the prospects for Windows 8. There are many possible explanations. It could just be arrogance — they believe they can force customers to do what they want. It could be an excess of designer zeal — designers always think people will fall in love with their creations once they try them.

But it could also be insecurity. To me, it feels like Microsoft is in a quiet panic. When Apple says the era of the PC has ended, I think Microsoft may believe it even more than Apple does. Smartphones eat away at messaging, tablets compete for browsing and game-playing, and who knows what will come next. In the new device markets, Microsoft is an also-ran. I think Microsoft feels it must find a way to leverage its waning strength in PCs to make itself relevant in mobile.

Mace’s central premise is that the tech world is underestimating just how big a change Windows 8 is going to be, and how big a bet that is for Microsoft as a company.

His 13-minute video review is worth watching, too.

Steven Levy: ‘All Things D Is Haunted by the Man Who Isn’t Here’ 

Speaking of Jobs’s appearances at All Things D:

It’s the first D Conference since Steve Jobs died last October.

That’s huge. After all, the D conference was the only non-Apple event where the late Apple CEO deigned to appear. He was on stage for six of the previous nine iterations, including a legendary co-appearance with Bill Gates in 2007. You can even argue that this is the conference that Steve built: A key reason that the then-unfamiliar contender for the hotly competitive conference dollar became a must-attend event was the announcement of Jobs’ presence. True, Bill Gates was a fantastic get — but Jobs was the Holy Grail of speakers. Getting both was like hitting the daily double at long-shot odds. And Jobs’ regular appearances made D special.

So it’s no wonder that his ghost haunts the proceedings.

Pre-Paid iPhone Comes to Cricket Wireless 

David Goldman, reporting for CNN Money:

Cricket customers will have to pay nearly full price for the device, shelling out $500 for the 16 gigabyte iPhone 4S or $400 for the two-year-old iPhone 4. That compares to a $200 upfront cost on Verizon, Sprint and AT&T for the 16 GB iPhone 4S and $100 for the iPhone 4.

Unlike those subsidized phones, which require two-year contracts, Cricket’s iPhone will be available contract-free for $55 a month, with unlimited talk and text. Cricket also offers “unlimited data,” but the company will start slowing speeds down to a crawl after a user reaches 2.3 GB in a billing cycle.

$400-500 sounds like a lot compared to the subsidized contract prices, but man, $55/month is way less than what you pay at the major carriers.

The EFF: ‘Apple’s Crystal Prison and the Future of Open Platforms’ 

Micah Lee and Peter Eckersley, writing for the EFF:

Apple’s recent products, especially their mobile iOS devices, are like beautiful crystal prisons, with a wide range of restrictions imposed by the OS, the hardware, and Apple’s contracts with carriers as well as contracts with developers. Only users who can hack or “jailbreak” their devices can escape these limitations.

I support the EFF on the whole, but particularly with regard to the First Amendment. But they’re losing it with this “prison” analogy. The analogy doesn’t work. Prison is an unpleasant (to say the least) place, and prisoners are not allowed to leave. If you own an iPhone or iPad you can sell it or throw it in the trash whenever you want. Everyone sees this.

If you want to go with a room-and-board analogy, I’d say something more like a strict condominium board is more apt than a prison. Or a long-term-stay hotel. And in Hotel Apple, everything is very nice — looks cool, smells good, everything is clean and looks like new. But: you’re not allowed to move the furniture around, and you’re not allowed to bring in outside food that hasn’t been approved by Apple. You can leave whenever you want, but most people enjoy it very much and are happy to stay.

The whole room-and-board analogy is not a good one, so let’s stop stretching it. But my point is that people choose to buy an iPhone. No one chooses to go to prison. And if you happen to be in a situation where you’re “forced” to use an iPhone or iPad (by your school or work, say), it’s highly unlikely that any alternative platform they might have issued you would be any less locked down.

The piece is supposed to be a criticism of Apple’s platform design and policies, but really, what they’re doing is criticizing users for enjoying it.

Collected Videos of Steve Jobs at the D Conference 

Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher:

So, as a memorial to a great man and in the spirit of sharing a priceless piece of history, we are making all six of these appearances available on iTunes for free, in high-quality video. We thank Apple for its cooperation in making these videos available for all.

Five Things About Television 

I like the way Alex Micek is thinking here.

Horace Dediu on the Apple TV Business Model 

Still small potatoes for Apple overall, but they seem determined.

Tim Cook at the D Conference: Between the Lines 

Smart analysis by Dan Frommer.

Fantastical 1.3 

New in version 1.3: support for reminders. One year later, Fantastical is still my primary Mac calendaring app.

‘Sweep the Sleaze’ 

Oliver Reichenstein, on those insipid per-post social media buttons:

The previous wave of buttons for Delicious and Digg and Co. vanished, Facebook and Twitter and G+ might vanish or they might survive, but the buttons will vanish for sure. Or do you seriously think that in ten years we will still have those buttons on every page? No, right? Why, because you already know as a user that they’re not that great. So why not get rid of them now? Because “they’re not doing any harm”? Are you sure?

Update: I don’t think “sleazy” is the right adjective for these buttons. I’d just say they’re distracting, which to me is problem enough.

Macworld’s Live Coverage of Tim Cook at Some Conference 

Live coverage from The Verge and MacRumors, too.

Best line from Cook: “We’re going to double down on secrecy on products.”

David Pierce Reviews Samsung’s New Chrome OS Devices for The Verge 

I still think the same thing about Chrome OS as I did a year ago: “Chrome feels so much more Google-y than Android. Chrome feels like Google’s natural platform — all web, only the web. Android feels like an independent Google subsidiary.”

Decoding Share Prices: Amazon, Apple, and Facebook 

Jean-Louis Gassée analyzes the stock prices of Apple and Amazon (and Facebook):

Why do they think Apple has so much less room to grow than Amazon?

First, a big difference: Apple’s founder is no longer with us while Bezos is very much in command. This is no criticism of Tim Cook, Apple’s new CEO. A long-time Jobs lieutenant, the architect of Apple’s supremely effective Supply Chain, a soberly determined man, well liked, respected and healthily feared inside the company, Tim Cook is eminently credible. But traders are cautious; they want to see if the Cook regime will be as innovative, as uncompromisingly focused on style and substance as before.

I agree that investors are taking a wait-and-see approach to Tim Cook as CEO, but, I think overall, the Jobs-to-Cook succession has been a good thing for Apple’s share price. Investors dislike uncertainty and Steve Jobs’s health had been a source of uncertainty for years. Steve Jobs’s value had been drained from Apple’s share price years ago. Apple has reported great numbers so far under Cook, but they’re not that different than the numbers Apple has been reporting quarter-after-quarter for years now. I think one of the biggest reasons Apple’s share price has gone up under Cook is that there were so many investors who truly worried that Apple would fall apart without Steve Jobs.

‘Clearly This Stuff Isn’t Selling’ 

Hugo Miller reports for Bloomberg that RIM faces another huge writedown for unsold inventory:

The value of RIM’s in-house supplies grew 18 percent last quarter alone, a faster rate than at any other company in the industry, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. And that doesn’t include the BlackBerrys gathering dust at RIM’s carriers and retail partners. Apple Inc., meanwhile, saw its inventory decline 11 percent in the period from the previous three months.

Latest Identity Theft Scam: Fake Tax Returns 

Clever and insidious.

DF T-Shirts, Order While They’re Hot 

I’m still taking orders for this round of DF T-shirts through the end of the weekend, including the popular new “black helmet” model:

Thumbnail of a black DF helmet t-shirt.

They won’t be available again until the end of the year. Thanks to everyone who’s ordered already.

Bronson Watermarker 

My thanks to Quote-Unquote Apps for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Bronson Watermarker, their terrifically simple Mac utility for creating personalized PDFs and images. Easy one-click interface. Only $10 in the Mac App Store. And they have a free demo.

Tim Cook Gives Up $75 Million in Dividend Income 

Poornima Gupta, reporting for Reuters:

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook will not be earning dividend income on the more than 1 million shares to which he is entitled, which will cost him about $75 million. Apple said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday that Cook had asked to be excluded from a recently instituted company program through which employees can accumulate dividends on their restricted stock units that are still vesting.

Asked why Cook was doing this, Apple declined to comment beyond the filing.

One can only presume he did this to avoid any suggestion that he instituted the dividend to enrich himself personally.

Fortune’s Schlocky Tim Cook Cover 

Speaking of the Tim Cook story by Adam Lashinsky — Fortune’s cover “photo” is just embarrassingly bad. I put “photo” in quotes because it’s so Photoshopped it’s more illustration than photograph. Neither Apple nor Cook himself participated in Lashinsky’s article, and if Cook didn’t even talk to him, then he certainly wasn’t going to pose for a cover shoot. I sympathize with the dilemma this posed for Fortune’s editors. But they should have commissioned an actual illustration or used a photo of Cook on stage at a recent product announcement.

What they came up with — cropping Cook’s head from the photo on his bio page at Apple.com, and putting it on someone else’s body in a contrived pose — isn’t just goofy-looking, but I’d say downright disingenuous. To the casual observer, it looks like a cover photo that Cook posed for, when in fact he didn’t participate in any aspect of the story.

Adam Lashinsky: ‘How Tim Cook Is Changing Apple’ 

Cover story for the new issue of Fortune magazine. Good piece in many ways, backed by what was obviously a lot of reporting on Lashinsky’s part. But he’s straining to emphasize differences that just aren’t there. The more different he paints Apple under Cook, the more sensational the story. I’m certainly not arguing that nothing has changed at Apple, but the big picture is very little has changed. This is the closest Lashinsky gets to actual evidence that things have changed significantly:

If anything, Apple under Tim Cook will embrace efficiency to an even greater degree, especially as the company grows bigger and more complex — to the dismay of those who think techies should rule the roost. “It looks like it has become a more conservative execution engine rather than a pushing-the-envelope engineering engine,” says Max Paley, a former engineering vice president who worked at Apple for 14 years until late 2011. “I’ve been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global-supply management,” he says. “When I was there, engineering decided what we wanted, and it was the job of product management and supply management to go get it. It shows a shift in priority.”

It might also simply be the result of the shift in scale at which Apple is operating today. They sold 35 million iPhones and 12 million iPads last quarter. Is it not inevitable that global-supply management would grow in importance and influence with numbers like that? The question to ask is whether these changes are because of the differences between Tim Cook and Steve, or the differences in the size and scope of Apple’s business a decade ago versus today.

I don’t think any of the changes Lashinsky describes would be any different if Steve Jobs were still alive and at the helm (with the possible exception of the stock dividend and buy-back, which don’t pertain to the company’s culture and processes).

Apple’s Legal Response to DOJ E-Book Case (PDF) 

Apple:

The Government sides with monopoly, rather than competition, in bringing this case. The Government starts from the false premise that an eBooks “market” was characterized by “robust price competition” prior to Apple’s entry. This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon. At the time Apple entered the market, Amazon sold nearly nine out of every ten eBooks, and its power over price and product selection was nearly absolute. Apple’s entry spurred tremendous growth in eBook titles, range and variety of offerings, sales, and improved quality of the eBook reading experience. This is evidence of a dynamic, competitive market. These inconvenient facts are ignored in the Complaint. Instead, the Government focuses on increased prices for a handful of titles. The Complaint does not allege that all eBook prices, or even most eBook prices, increased after Apple entered the market.

As usual from Apple, plain straightforward language, and few minced words. (Via Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica.)

Computers as Trucks 

John Lilly:

I picked up a phrase some time ago that I think applies: “The next big thing is always beneath contempt.” Implication being that it is, of course, until it isn’t. Until it’s too big to ignore. This has happened over and over again in our society. In the middle ages, people assumed that no serious discussion could happen in anything but Latin — the so-called “vulgar” languages had no merit. And writers assumed that nothing interesting or lasting would come from this new medium of television. And, I think, people assume right now that nothing important will be created from a 10-inch touch screen without a keyboard (let alone a tiny 3.5-inch screen).

(Via MG Siegler.)

Facebook Camera vs. Instagram 

What I think happened: It was clear soon after Instagram launched that it was a hit, and Facebook was savvy enough to realize that an integral part of Instagram’s appeal was that it came in the form of a well-designed, well-engineered native iPhone app. Not just Instagram, either — I think Zuckerberg saw that for mobile, the HTML/CSS/JavaScript web is not enough. Native apps are essential, thus the talent acquisitions of superstar outfits like Sofa and Push Pop Press. I bet Facebook has more native mobile apps on the way.

So the Sofa team got to Facebook a little under a year ago, and I’m guessing, soon started work on Facebook Camera. A year ago, building a Facebook version of Instagram sounded like a good plan. “We should have an app like Instagram for taking and sharing photos on our social network”, more or less. But after another year of growth, I think Mark Zuckerberg saw that an app was not enough. Instagram’s own fast-growing social network was a threat. That their own well-made, well-designed Instagram-like app was on the cusp of release made no difference.

Yahoo had a chance to buy Google in 2001 but then-CEO Terry Semel didn’t pull the trigger. I don’t think Instagram is the next Google, but Zuckerberg sure as shit doesn’t want Facebook to be the next Yahoo.

‘Dare I Say, Kubrick?’ 

This week’s episode of The Talk Show:

Special guest Adam Lisagor joins John Gruber to discuss the whole thing with the show leaving 5by5, spitball ideas Apple might add to iOS 6 and iCloud, and gush over the trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming film, The Master.

Brought to you by Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit 10, the professional HTML and text editor for the Mac; and Red Sweater Software’s MarsEdit, the premier desktop blog editor for the Mac.

Jim Dalrymple on the 7-Inch iPad 

Jim Dalrymple:

Analysts and media types insist that Apple needs to bring a smaller tablet to market to ward off the threat from Amazon.

There are a couple of things to consider with this argument. First, people that use that as the basis for the release of a 7-inch iPad are full of shit. Second, using that argument shows they don’t understand Apple and how the company works.

Three Things That Should Trouble Apple 

Guy English:

I believe that many Apple observers have been too invested in picking off the low hanging fruit of obviously out-of-touch commentators, columnists, and analysts. Apple is winning. It’s fun to pick on the idiots, and we do tune in for the affirmation that engenders, but that’s not insight. It’s a tag team wedgie patrol. It takes a clever intellect to dismantle bullshit but, ultimately, it often just ends up with pantsing the dumb guy. Rather than doing that let’s aim to pants the A-grade quarterback.

Here are the top three problems I believe Apple faces in the near term.

Great piece, with much to ponder. I wish I’d written this first. Perhaps I would have if I weren’t guilty as charged, spending too much time dismantling bullshit.

I Can’t Believe I’m Putting the Word ‘Phablet’ on DF, Even if Only in a Blockquote 

ABI Research:

More than 208 million phablets, a hybrid device that is larger than a smartphone but smaller than a tablet, like the Samsung Galaxy Note, will be shipped globally in 2015.

I prefer the term “big-ass phones”. Anyway, noted for future claim chowder.

AirFloat 

Another iOS app that acted as an AirPlay receiver, and, like Airfoil Speakers Touch, it was removed from the App Store recently.

‘Inexpensive’ 

Al Jigong Billings, regarding my short piece earlier on Woz’s 1977 description of the Apple II:

I think @gruber misunderstands “inexpensive” since MacBooks cost double [those of its] competition.

Let’s put aside arguments about whether Macs are, today, price competitive against similarly-equipped PCs. I’ll just point out that it’s no coincidence that Apple’s Mac business has thrived financially as the prices have gone lower. You can get a MacBook Air for $999 — that’s pretty amazing in the context of historical MacBook/PowerBook pricing.

Woz wrote, “To me, a personal computer should be small, reliable, convenient to use and inexpensive.” He wrote that in 1977 about a very different machine, but that’s a perfect description of the iPad.

The Verge: HP’s WebOS Enyo Team Is Going to Google 

Nice scoop by Chris Ziegler at The Verge:

The HP team responsible for Enyo — webOS’s HTML5-based application framework that debuted on the TouchPad — will be leaving the company and starting at Google shortly, The Verge has learned. What this means for the future of Open webOS is unclear; Enyo and the developers supporting it are central to HP’s open source strategy for the operating system going forward, and it’s hard to say whether this move will have any effect on the planned late 2012 release for version 1.0.

Woz’s 1977 Description of the Apple II for Byte Magazine 

Woz:

To me, a personal computer should be small, reliable, convenient to use and inexpensive.

Talk about a company that has stayed true to its roots.

Update: Don’t miss the PDF scan of the original magazine article.

‘Life’ 

Speaking of those celebrities-using-Siri ads, Apple just posted two new ones, both starring John Malkovich. (Via TUAW.)

‘Put Tickets Botulinum’ 

Speaking of Paul Kafasis, he decided to try to duplicate Sam Jackson’s “remind me to put the gazpacho on ice in an hour” Siri directive:

If you’ve used Siri yourself, however, you know the disclaimer of “Sequences shortened” is more than an understatement. They’ve edited out the inevitable “No.…NO.…NO!” as well as significant quantities of exasperated sighs. After hearing Jackson say the word “hotspacho” for the umpteenth time, I decided to run a little test.

App Store Removal of the Week 

Rogue Amoeba’s Paul Kafasis:

Last month, we introduced Airfoil Speakers Touch 3, which added the ability to receive audio directly from other iOS devices, as well as iTunes. Users and reviewers alike have loved Airfoil Speakers Touch, particularly the new version. For our part, we’ve been thrilled to be able to provide this much-desired functionality.

Today, we’ve been informed that Apple has removed Airfoil Speakers Touch from the iOS App Store. We first heard from Apple about this decision two days ago, and we’ve been discussing the pending removal with them since then. However, we still do not yet have a clear answer on why Apple has chosen to remove Airfoil Speakers Touch. Needless to say, we’re quite disappointed with their decision, and we’re working hard to once again make the application available for you, our users.

As far as we can tell, Airfoil Speakers Touch is in full compliance with Apple’s posted rules and developer agreements.

However cruddy it is to have an app rejected during the review process, it’s worse to have it yanked from the store after it had been approved. Rogue Amoeba’s been promoting this new version to users for a month now.

I can’t imagine what Apple would object to with this app, or why they wouldn’t provide Rogue Amoeba with a precise explanation before removing the app.

Update: I just posted a brief follow-up after some interesting back-and-forth with a few informed sources. In short: I think this is not as mysterious or capricious as I first thought.

Microsoft to Bake Flash Player Into IE 10? 

Windows 8 Secrets:

Two years ago, Microsoft declared that the future of video on the web would be powered by HTML 5. Today, however, a lot of web video content is still delivered via Adobe Flash technology. So, in a somewhat surprising move, Microsoft is integrating Flash directly into Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 and doing so in a way that does not undermine the safety and reliability of the Metro environment.

Skating to where the puck is now, rather than where it’s going to be.

Seagate to Buy LaCie 

Seems like a good pairing — I’ve purchased an awful lot of LaCie enclosures with Seagate hard drives over the years. But it occurs to me that I don’t think or worry about storage devices anywhere near as much as I used to. (Via Peter Cohen.)

Ford Gets Its Logo Out of Hock 

Speaking of logos:

In 2006, Ford pledged its famous logo, along with virtually all of its U.S. assets, as collateral to secure a $23.5 billion loan to restructure its ailing business. At the time, Ford was criticized for betting the company, including all its factories and other trademarks like Mustang and F-150, to take on more debt, but the loan ended up being Ford’s savior, providing an important cushion that allowed it to escape bankruptcy a few years later, unlike General Motors and Chrysler Group.

Under terms of the loan, all collateral would be released when two of the three major credit rating agencies restored Ford’s debt rating to investment grade. Standard & Poor’s upped its rating on Ford a few weeks ago. Today, Moody’s did the same, raising Ford’s senior unsecured ratings to Baa3 from Ba2 and Ford Credit to Baa3 from Ba1.

Sure hope I never have to hock #4a525a.

Former Apple employee Joe Moreno, on the switched orientation of the Apple logo on Mac laptops a dozen years ago:

Opening a laptop from the wrong end is a self-correcting problem that only lasts for a few seconds. However, viewing the upside logo is a problem that lasts indefinitely.

I remember this change being surprisingly controversial. It wasn’t about being confused how to open the laptop, but about to whom the Apple logo should look “right” — you, the user and owner of the machine, or everyone else while you’re using it. Today, this seems to be a settled debate. Does any laptop maker still orient their logo the other way?

Update: Lenovo ThinkPads, for one, still orient the logos the other way. As for which way is “right”, Daniel Jalkut has a good analogy.

This Week, in Ketchup-Bottle Technology News 

Austin Carr, writing for Fast Company:

The result? LiquiGlide, a “super slippery” coating made up of nontoxic materials that can be applied to all sorts of food packaging — though ketchup and mayonnaise bottles might just be the substance’s first targets. Condiments may sound like a narrow focus for a group of MIT engineers, but not when you consider the impact it could have on food waste and the packaging industry. “It’s funny: Everyone is always like, ‘Why bottles? What’s the big deal?’ But then you tell them the market for bottles — just the sauces alone is a $17 billion market,” Smith says. “And if all those bottles had our coating, we estimate that we could save about one million tons of food from being thrown out every year.”

Really is a little freaky.

Jury Flummoxed Over Google-Oracle Patent Fight 

Caleb Garling, reporting for Wired:

Basically, the ’104 patent covers a way of improving the software compilation — the process of translating programming code into an executable application. The method described uses “symbolic references” to identify data during compilation rather than numeric memory locations. Oracle argues that Dalvik uses symbolic references, but Google says it doesn’t.

The jury has been deliberating over the claims for a week now, and on Tuesday, it had two more questions for the court, and both were related to the nuances of “symbolic references” and how they apply to data retrieval.

How could a randomly-selected jury possibly decide this? No knock intended against the jurors themselves — and it sounds like they’re doing their best to make an informed decision. But there’s a difference between a jury of your citizen peers and a jury of your technical peers.

‘Alternative Mobile Computing Devices’ 

Dell CFO Brian Gladden, after the company reported another disappointing quarter:

Our notebook business contracted 10% as we saw a more aggressive competitive environment particularly in the entry level and emerging markets. We believe some of the tougher competitive environment can be attributed to channel inventory rebuilding, following the hard disk issues of the past two quarters. In addition, we are seeing more consumer spending diverted to alternative mobile computing devices.

Dell’s market cap closed today at $26+ billion.

Hard to believe this was just six years ago.

New Google Doodle Uses Web Audio API 

Web audio: the post-Flash web frontier. I can’t stop playing with this thing, so fun.

Andy Baio’s XOXO Festival 

Looks like a great event. I’m fascinated to see how Kickstarter does for pre-selling conference tickets. In my mind, Kickstarter feels ideally suited for this — but Kickstarter often surprises me.

Why Dan Ackerman Thinks a Retina Display on a MacBook Could Be a Bad Idea 

Speaking of Apple and retina displays, Dan Ackerman:

For example, today I could easily tell someone shopping for a laptop that a good sweet spot to look for in a premium 13-inch laptop is a screen resolution of 1600 × 900 pixels. In the future, would I have to suggest 1600 × 900 if a laptop is from one list of PC makers with one type of DPI technology, and a second set of recommended resolutions for brands that use different DPI settings? Good luck fitting all that on the shelf tag at a brick-and-mortar retailer.

I can’t tell if this is a joke, parodying the antiquated specs-driven process of buying a Wintel PC, or if Ackerman really has zero clue about how Apple works, and why people buy Apple products.

Here’s how Apple will sell retina display MacBooks: by telling us and showing us that they’re jaw-droppingly beautiful. That’s it.

THX1136 

Big scoop by 9to5 Mac:

Both of these phones sport a new, larger display that is 3.95 inches diagonally. Apple will not just increase the size of the display and leave the current resolution, but will actually be adding pixels to the display. The new iPhone display resolution will be 640 × 1136. That’s an extra 176 pixels longer of a display. The screen will be the same 1.94 inches wide, but will grow to 3.45 inches tall. This new resolution is very close to a 16:9 screen ratio, so this means that 16:9 videos can play full screen at their native aspect ratio.

We’ve also heard that Apple will be taking full advantage of their new pixels. Apple is currently testing builds of iOS 6 that are custom-built to the new iPhone’s display. These builds include a tweaked home screen with a fifth row of icons (besides the stationary app dock) and extended application user interfaces that offer views of more content. Apple is able to pull this off with the same sharpness as the current iPhone Retina Display because of the additional pixels.

What I’ve heard from a couple of little birdies is only that Apple has been noodling with increasing the height of the display, keeping the width and pixel density exactly the same as on the iPhone 4 and 4S. I had not heard an exact pixel number for the new height. 1152 made some sense, but doing some math after reading Weintraub’s report, 1136 makes a lot of sense.

First, at 1136 × 640, you get a diagonal of 1,303.877 pixels after applying the Pythagorean theorem. There are no such thing as fractional pixels, but what I’m talking about here are pixels as a unit of length, equal to 1/326 inch. Divide 1,303.877 by 326 and you get 3.9996 inches. Boom, a “4-inch” display. I’m sure if Apple instead went to 1152 pixels in height — which works out to 4.042 inches — they’d still just call it a “4-inch” display, for the sake of neatness, but it’s at least somewhat interesting that 1136 is the closest they could get to precisely 4.0 inches.

Second, aspect ratio. With a 640-pixel width — which everything I have heard and seen reported suggests is set in stone — there is no way get to precisely 16:9:

(16/9) × 640 = 1,137.777…

You can’t cut seven-ninths of a pixel. 1138 × 640 would be a tad closer to 16:9, but 1136 × 640 is within five-thousandths of an inch of exactly 16:9. So I think Apple would be safe to bill an 1136 × 640 display as sporting a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Update: 1136 × 639 would be exactly 16:9. One pixel away.

‘Pete Rose: Here Now’ 

Heartbreaking 8-minute short film on Pete Rose’s day to day life, selling autographs and baseball memorabilia. Directed by Eric Drath and produced by ESPN Films.

Oh Yeah, Coda 2 Is Shipping Later This Week, Too 

Really curious how these new visual, resizable, scrollable tabs play out. I would love to see how they worked in Safari, for one thing. My money says Panic just redefined the de facto standard UI for tabbed documents on the Mac.

But maybe I’m underestimating how garish or cluttered these thumbnail-style tabs would look in a web browser?

Update: A few readers have pointed to OmniWeb’s visual/thumbnail tabs as a good example of prior art. OmniWeb’s are in a drawer, arranged vertically, but much of what I like about Coda’s new tabs are the same things I have long liked about OmniWeb’s — you can identify them by what they look like. Can’t wait to see if this design takes root.

Diet Coda 

Blockbuster new iPad app from Panic:

Diet Coda takes everything we’ve ever learned about world-class web code editing, and wraps it up to-go. It’s packed with features, bathed in fun, ready to work.

I’ve been beta-testing Diet Coda for a while, and it’s a hell of an app. I’m retiring the old “iPad is only for consumption” sarcastic schtick because at this point, it’s such utter nonsense. But forget the features and capabilities and touch-based UI design for the moment, and let’s just celebrate what, to me, is the best name for an iPad app ever.

Creating the Windows 8 User Experience 

At over 11,000 words, it’s more like a small book than an article, but there’s fascinating insight into Microsoft’s design thinking in this piece by Jensen Harris, their lead UI designer.

Their top two design goals are, I think, shared with Apple:

“#1 Fast and Fluid”

Fast and fluid represents a few core things to us. It means that the UI is responsive, performant, beautiful, and animated. That every piece of UI comes in from somewhere and goes somewhere when it exits the screen. It means that the most essential scenarios are efficient, and can be accomplished without extra questions or prompts. It means that things you don’t need are out of the way.

Followed by, at #2, “Long Battery Life”. But clearly, they also see something very differently:

Windows 8 imagines the convergence of two kinds of devices: a laptop and a tablet. Instead of carrying around three devices (a phone, a tablet, and a laptop) you carry around just a phone and a Windows PC. A PC that is the best tablet or laptop you have ever used, but with the capabilities of the familiar Windows desktop if you need it. You may choose to carry a tablet, or you may choose a laptop/convertible, but you do not need to carry around both along with your phone. You never think about a choice, or fret over your choice of what to carry. Things just work without compromise.

Overall, Windows 8 continues to strike me as ambitious, different, and carefully considered. Microsoft clearly sees why the iPad has been so successful, and they’re being smart: they’re learning from iOS and adapting, not copying.

Sturm und Drang 

Germans have the best words.

iPhone Charger Teardown 

Ken Shirriff:

Disassembling Apple’s diminutive inch-cube iPhone charger reveals a technologically advanced flyback switching power supply that goes beyond the typical charger. It simply takes AC input (anything between 100 and 240 volts) and produce 5 watts of smooth 5 volt power, but the circuit to do this is surprisingly complex and innovative.

‘Skyfall’ Teaser 

“Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.”

‘Why Wasn’t I Consulted?’ 

Paul Ford:

A surprising portion of the writing about the web is actually about WWIC, about the question of who controls what territory. Here are a few random examples of how this plays out, from my WWIC folder: Michael Arrington’s “Digg’s Biggest Problem Is Its Users And Their Constant Opinions On Things.” Or the way that digital groupies claim ownership of their heroes online.

Via my pal Jim Ray.

Behind a Press Release 

I’ve never seen Community, but I really enjoyed this refreshingly honest entry by Dan Harmon on his getting fired from the show.

Daring Fireball T-Shirts 

Available now, through the end of next week: DF t-shirts. Order while they’re hot.

Zeldman’s Web Design Manifesto 2012 

Zeldman:

This is my personal site. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

The Mule Radio iPhone App 

Speaking of Mule Radio Syndicate and The Talk Show, our mutual friends at Black Pixel have just launched the brand-new Mule Radio iPhone app. The interface is simple and beautiful. Free download on the App Store.

The Talk Show 

I am, uncharacteristically, genuinely excited to announce that my Oscar-, Emmy-, and Grammy-winning podcast, The Talk Show is now on Mule Radio Syndicate. This week, I’m joined by special guest John Moltz, who was recently released from prison and is writing at his brand-new Very Nice Web Site. Topics include Mozilla’s antitrust concerns regarding Windows for ARM’s iOS-like restrictions on third-party apps, new reports that the next iPhone will sport a 4-inch display, Android device fragmentation, and dreamboat actor Ashton Kutcher.

Brought to you by Rogue Amoeba’s Piezo, the charmingly simple audio recording app for Mac; and by the all-new Basecamp from 37signals, the world’s most popular web-based project management app.

VoodooPad 5.0 

Major update to Flying Meat’s personal wiki app for the Mac. Chock full of great new features, but my favorite is this:

VoodooPad 5 includes a new Markdown page type with syntax aware editing and preview. And when you export for the Web, ePub, or even PDF, VoodooPad will render your page into rich text for display.

VoodooPad is one of those rare apps that’s in a category by itself. There’s nothing else like it.

Taking Apart the Fuji X100 

Crazy how invasive salt water is to gadgetry.

2001: A Space Odyssey iPhone Charger Built With Lego 

Awesome.

Twitter Is Tracking You on the Web 

Dustin Curtis:

Basically, every time you visit a site that has a follow button or a hovercard, Twitter is recording your behavior. It is transparently watching your movements and storing them somewhere for later use. Right now, that data will make better suggestions for accounts you might want to follow. But what other things can it be used for? The privacy implications of such behavior by a company so large are sweeping and absolute.

The other implication is that every website you visit that includes “tweet this” buttons or <iframe>-embedded tweets is enabling Twitter to track you on the web.

How Yahoo Botched Its Acquisition of Flickr 

Lengthy, detailed treatise by Mat Honan for Gizmodo:

There’s a difference between a missed opportunity and a complete fuck-up. When Yahoo failed to capitalize on Flickr’s social potential, that was a missed opportunity. But if you want to see where it completely fucked up, where it just butchered Flickr with dull knives and duller wit, turn on your phone and launch the Flickr app. Oh, what’s that, you don’t have one? Exactly.

Flickr could have — should have — been to mobile photography what Instagram has become.

Baidu Cloud Smartphone 

Kaiser Kuo, writing for Baidu Beat:

Chief among the Cloud-based services that Baidu Cloud offers, Baidu will provide every purchaser of the handset with 100 gigs of free personal storage through Baidu Netdrive. This will allow users to capture multimedia content and upload it instantly to the Cloud. In addition, the handset will include Baidu Music, Baidu Map, Baidu Mobile IME (input method editor) and other mainstream applications. It will also include the Baidu Cloud Store, with access to a huge range of applications. Additionally, the Baidu Cloud Smart Terminal platform provides mobile data monitoring, pre-pay credit recharge, and many other convenient services.

So it’s an Android-based phone, with every Google app replaced with an equivalent “Baidu” app. Plus 100 GB of cloud storage. I don’t know if it’s any good, but it’s interesting.

Lenovo Drops Classic Keyboard on New ThinkPad Laptops 

The end of an era.

Bullish Cross Initiates Rare Buy Rating on Apple 

Andy Zaky:

Now here are the reasons why we believe its time to buy Apple and why we feel the valuation is incredibly attractive today. At $533.52 a share, Apple trades at 13x last year’s earnings and at only 10.56x our expect October earnings. Those are incredibly low valuations even for Apple. At the November 25, 2011 lows, Apple traded at a 13.13 P/E ratio. So today, Apple is trading at a lower valuation than it was at the November lows. At the June 2011 lows, Apple was trading near a 15 P/E trailing P/E ratio.

This is only the fifth time Zaky has issued a buy on Apple. He’s four-for-four.

Rene Ritchie on the Ramifications of a 4-Inch iPhone Display 

There are numerous ways Apple could change the physical size of the iPhone, but none of them are painless or easy fragmentation-wise. Rene Ritchie does a good job here analyzing Apple’s options.

My money remains on changing the aspect ratio and keeping the pixel density the same. Going from the current 3:2 aspect ratio 960 × 640 display to something like a 9:5 1152 × 640 display. Yes, this would introduce a new headache for developers, but iPhone apps are already supposed to be somewhat flexible vertically, to account for the double-height status bar when there’s an active phone call or audio recording.

And don’t forget the operations angle. My understanding is that these displays aren’t manufactured at their finished sizes — they’re manufactured in big sheets that are then cut to size. So instead of ramping up manufacturing of an entirely new display, Apple would simply be cutting slightly larger displays out of the same “iPhone retina display” sheets they’ve been producing ever since the iPhone 4 hit production.

Lastly, the above is only my conjecture if Apple were to switch to a larger iPhone display. If Apple changes the iPhone display size, this is how I think they’ll do it. I still think that’s a big if, though, and wouldn’t be surprised in the least if this year’s iPhone ships with a good old-fashioned 3.5-inch 960 × 640 display.

Nielsen on U.S. Smartphone and Mobile App Growth 

Nielsen:

Roughly a year ago when we summarized the state of smartphones at the Appnation conference, less than 40 percent of mobile subscribers in the U.S. had smartphones. Today, one in two mobile subscribers has a smartphone and that figure is moving steadily upwards.

In other words, there is a lot of headroom remaining. It’s a growth market.

By most measures, it has been the year of the App once again, driven mostly by the rise of Android and iOS users who have more than doubled in a year and account for 88 percent of those who have downloaded an app in the past 30 days. In just a year, the average number of apps per smartphone has jumped 28 percent, from 32 apps to 41. Not only is the 2012 smartphone owner downloading more apps, they are increasingly spending more time using them vs. using the mobile web — about 10 percent more than last year.

Hence the agitation of web-centric companies like Facebook and Google.

JustNotes 

Back in 2009 I wrote about a then-new iPhone notes app called Simplenote. It’s still my favorite today, with a spot on my first home screen. Simplenote uses its own cloud-based syncing service, and offers an API for other developers, and there are a bunch of notes app for the Mac that offer Simplenote syncing.

A new one, JustNotes, is now my favorite for syncing with Simplenote from Mac OS X. Simple and obvious. Ben Brooks wrote a full review of JustNotes, and I pretty much agree with every word of it.

Update: Cody Fink at MacStories has a review of it, too.

The Worst Phones You Can Buy 

Sam Biddle surveys the bottom end of the cell phone market.

The OS X Naming Problem 

Pretty convincing argument that Mountain Lion will be the last of the big-cat names for major OS X releases.

‘High Fives All Around’ 

Arik Hesseldahl, reporting on a document drop by Oracle in its ongoing Itanium lawsuit with HP:

In the emails, Intel, for its part, certainly looks like it wants out of the business of making the chip, but is willing to accept HP’s money to keep churning them out. Asked at one point what would happen if HP didn’t pay a certain amount to Intel, Intel would — in the words of Martin Fink, then-head of HP’s Business Critical Server business — shut down the teams producing certain chips that were in the process of being designed, and slap “high fives all around.”

Samsung Loses $10 Billion in Market Value After DigiTimes Reports Apple Is Ordering DRAM From a Competitor 

Reuters:

Shares in Samsung Electronics Co slumped more than 6 percent on Wednesday, wiping $10 billion off the electronics giant’s market value, on a report that Apple placed huge chip orders with troubled Japanese chip rival Elpida.

Taiwan’s DigiTimes, an online trade news site, reported that Apple recently placed large mobile dynamic random access memory (DRAM) orders with Elpida’s 12-inch plant in Hiroshima, Japan, securing around half the facilities total chip production. It cited unnamed industry sources in its report, which hit shares of major chip suppliers to Apple.

This highlights the bizarre relationship between Apple and Samsung, where in the consumer space they’re direct competitors (arguably even arch rivals — they’re the only two companies turning a significant profit in the handset industry), but behind the scenes in Samsung’s component supplier business, Apple is their most important customer. I suspect this is what investors are reacting to. It’s not about one order of DRAM; it’s about concern that Samsung is going to lose Apple as a component customer across the board.

Funny, too, that this would happen the day after Harry McCracken’s epic DigiTimes fact-checking piece. I question anything DigiTimes reports. I’d double-check if they told me today is Wednesday. But regardless of whether the report is actually true, it is true that Samsung’s stock price took a dive because of it.

Android Fragmentation: One Developer Encounters 3,997 Devices 

Casey Johnston, reporting for Ars Technica:

One developer can do business with nearly 4,000 distinct Android ROMs, according to data posted by the creators of OpenSignalMaps on Tuesday. […]

The developers logged 3,997 distinct devices, the most popular of which was the Samsung Galaxy S II. This figure was inflated quite a bit by custom ROMs, which overwrite the android.build.MODEL variable and cause those phones to be logged as separate devices. 1,363 types were logged only once, and while some were custom ROMs bucking the numbers, a good few were just massively unpopular devices — for example, the Hungarian 10.1-inch Concorde Tab.

The Hungarian 10.1-Inch Concorde Tab is my new favorite Android device name.

Walt Mossberg on Microsoft’s ‘Signature’ PCs 

Mossberg:

Microsoft also offers a program that, for $99, will turn users’ Windows 7 PCs into Signature versions, if the owner brings the computer into one of its 16 stores, due to grow to 21 outlets in coming months.

In other words, you pay $100 to get the crap removed from your new computer. Nice.

WSJ Says Apple Is Switching to 4-Inch iPhone Displays 

Lorraine Luk and Juro Osawa, reporting for the WSJ from Hong Kong:

The new iPhone that Apple Inc. is expected to unveil this year is likely to have a larger display than its current models have, with the company ordering bigger screens from its Asian suppliers, people familiar with the matter said.

The new screens measure at least 4 inches diagonally, the people said, compared with 3.5 inches on Apple’s latest model, the iPhone 4S. Production is set to begin next month, the people said. Analysts have predicted that the next iPhone will come out in the fall.

Not much to add, other than that next month strikes me as early for production to start if it isn’t launching until fall.

Ashton Kutcher Dressed Like Steve Jobs 

Now it’s come to this: I’m linking to TMZ.

Google Green 

Nicely done package from Google explaining and illustrating their environmental strategies. Impressive and never-before-seen look inside some of their data centers. And their “Story of Send” is Google at its whimsical best.

Glassboard 2.0 

Brent Simmons:

We at Sepia Labs just released Glassboard 2.0 for iPhone and Android. There’s even a new web app — in beta (still suffers from cats). (All three apps are free.)

Two things.

First, Brent is a friend and someone whose work I’ve long admired. When Brent does something new, it’s a sure thing I’m going to check it out. I did that with Glassboard, and, I must admit, I didn’t get it at first. Just didn’t see how I’d use it. But then I went to a weekend-long conference where a dozen or so of my friends set up a board on Glassboard. We shared notes, jokes, links, and things like where we were going to eat and drink. All of it private, with instant SMS-like notification of new messages and comments. Now I don’t know what I’d do without Glassboard.

Second, the user interface in version 2.0 is so much improved over 1.0, I’m not even sure where to start. It’s a great update to what was already a great app and service.

Analyst Says Google Chrome Is Coming to iOS 

Jay Yarow, regarding a report by analyst Ben Schacter claiming that a version of Chrome for iOS is imminent:

Google is currently paying Apple an estimated 50%-60% revenue share for searches done through the Safari search box, says Schacter. So, if there is $1 billion in gross search revenue from iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches, Apple gets $600 million, Google only gets $400 million. By cutting out Safari, and owning all the searches, Google gets to keep all of the revenue it generates.

I wonder if this is true. I know that Apple gets money from Google for searches conducted through Safari’s search field, but is it feasible for it to be a revenue share? How would Apple verify the prices paid by the advertisers?

The catch for Google is that Apple doesn’t allow third-party applications like Chrome to act as defaults. So, if you click on a link in an email it will take you mobile Safari by default instead of Chrome.

The other catch is that the App Store rules don’t allow third-party software runtimes. Yes, Chrome for the desktop is based on WebKit, but it’s Google’s own fork of WebKit, and Google’s own JavaScript engine. Chrome for iOS would have to use iOS’s system standard WebKit, and the slower non-Nitro JavaScript engine.

Update: To be clear, I’m not saying these limitations would prevent Google from making a good version of Chrome for iOS. They could compete on features alone — bookmark and tab syncing with desktop Chrome, for example — and build a compelling Safari rival.

However, as Schacter says, this could be the second wave of browser wars. Microsoft was hammered in the late nineties by the government for making IE the default browser on Windows, and thus marginalizing the then dominant Netscape browser. If Apple is going to follow the same playbook, the government too might follow the same playbook and come after Apple. And don’t forget, Google has been active in D.C. making friends, while Apple has has largely given D.C. a cold shoulder.

There are good security reasons for Apple’s ban on third-party runtimes and disallowing marking memory as executable (which is why App Store apps don’t get the Nitro JavaScript engine). But I can’t think of a good reason why iOS users can’t specify third-party apps to be their default web browser (or email client, or calendar).

How to Use a Paper Towel 

Seriously, this is a terrific presentation.

Airport Security News of the Day 

David Porter, reporting for the AP:

More details are emerging in the case of a Newark Liberty Airport security supervisor who allegedly has been using the identity of a dead man for the last 20 years.

Law enforcement authorities involved in the investigation say Nigerian Bimbo Oyewole began using the identity of Queens, N.Y., resident Jerry Thomas three weeks before Thomas was shot and killed in 1992.

God forbid a passenger gets to the security line holding a cup of coffee, though.

Fact-Checking DigiTimes 

Harry McCracken:

But the thing is, Digitimes isn’t just wrong some of the time. When it comes to the big Apple stories, it’s wrong most of the time. Sometimes wildly so. It’s reported that its sources had said that Apple was going to release MacBooks with AMD processors, iMacs with touch screens, iPhones with built-in projectors and iPads with OLED displays. Those products, and others mentioned in Digitimes articles, never showed up.

DigiTimes is the tech news equivalent of a supermarket tabloid. The difference is that everyone knows that supermarket tabloids are full of shit, whereas DigiTimes continues to be treated as a reputable news source.

‘Sabotage’ Re-Imagined 

Hilarious pitch-perfect tribute to Adam Yauch.

What Eduardo Saverin Owes America 

Farhad Manjoo on Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin’s utterly shameless renunciation of his U.S. citizenship to avoid post-IPO capital gains taxes.

From the DF Archive: Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Macrovision CEO Fred Amoroso’s Response to Steve Jobs’s ‘Thoughts on Music’ 

Keep in mind while re-reading this piece from 2007 that this clown — who in response to Steve Jobs’s seminal (and in hindsight, remarkably prescient) “Thoughts on Music” argued that Jobs was wrong and that the answer was more DRM — is the new chairman of the board at Yahoo.

‘Reblog’ Regurgitation Dirtbaggery From The Next Web 

Joshua Gross:

Not only did they not credit my content in the original post, but the second sentence of the first paragraph is taken nearly word-for-word, as is most of the second paragraph.

(Gross’s story that The Next Web ripped off, “The $144,146,165 Button”, is worth a read. Small details can make a big difference.)

The Discrepancy in Android Web Browser Usage Numbers 

Peter Bright at Ars Technica, on mobile web browser market share across the whole web (as reported by Net Market Share):

In mobile, iOS users continue to outnumber Android users, with the surprising implication that Android users don’t actually use the Web very much on their smartphones.

Net Market Share’s current numbers for mobile (including tablets): 63 percent for iOS, 19 percent for Android. But, looking at Ars Technica’s own traffic, Android comes out ahead of Mobile Safari, 37 to 32 percent. (Although I wonder how much of their “Mozilla compatible” mobile traffic originates from iOS.)

This nicely illustrates the dichotomy between Android usage in the nerd world vs. the world at large.

Glenn Britt, CEO of Time Warner Cable: ‘I’m Not Sure I Know What AirPlay Is’ 

Brian X. Chen, writing for the NYT Bits blog:

AirPlay, a software tool included with Apple’s iPads and iPhones, is widely viewed as being potentially disruptive to the cable industry, because it makes it easy for people to view a broad variety of Internet content on a television. Time Warner Cable’s leader, however, hasn’t heard of it.

Zero surprise.

Update: Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? Glenn Britt, next CEO of Yahoo.

Anatomy of an iTV Rumor 

Philip Elmer-DeWitt debunks the latest round of “confirmation” of an Apple-branded TV set:

What none of these reporters mentioned (or apparently bothered to consider) is that Gou — whose factories assemble 40% of the world’s electronic devices — is one of the industry’s most secretive executives. He is privy to the future product plans of the most valuable electronics brands — not just Apple, but also Sony, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and the rest. He is trusted by his business partners because he never leaks their secrets.

Given how jealously Apple guards its own secrets, and how relentlessly it pursues those who spill them, what are the chances that Gou would say anything — ever — about an unannounced Apple product, real or imagined?

I’d say, nil.

Exactly. Too many people don’t even think before regurgitating this stuff.

HP Restarts Tablet Manufacturing 

Suchit Leesa-nguansuk, reporting for The Bangkok Post:

Hewlett-Packard has announced it will resume production of consumer tablets but says it will run them on Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system. The world’s largest technology firm suspended its TouchPad WebOS tablet production line last year on poor sales.

Restarting production is a strategic move aimed at capitalising on the extraordinary growth in tablet sales, chief executive Meg Whitman said yesterday at the Global Influencer Summit 2012.

Extraordinary growth in tablet sales, or extraordinary growth in iPad sales?

Gina Trapani on ‘Brogrammer’ Culture 

Gina Trapani:

That’s one small way brogrammer culture is actually useful. It’s a red flag for women engineers, product developers, designers, project managers, marketers, business development and PR specialists. It says: This is a company that you’d want to avoid.

Agree completely, but I’d go further and say it’s a red flag for anyone, regardless of their gender or job.

Drawing Bad Conclusions 

Peter Kafka, reporting on some video-watching numbers from Freewheel, an online video ad company:

More evidence that Microsoft is increasing its lead in the digital living room race: Data that shows its Xbox gaming console is the most popular non-PC device to watch Web video. That is, more people are watching Web stuff on Microsoft’s machine than on the iPad, iPhone or any Android machine, anywhere. And when it comes to home viewing, competitors like Apple TV, Google TV and Roku are so far behind they’re not even competitors.

That Xbox is proving to be a popular — and growing — platform for video is interesting. But there’s no use comparing it to Apple TV based on Freewheel’s data, because, as Kafka himself points out in his next paragraph:

Now the asterisks: Freewheel is only measuring “professional content” that runs with ads, because that’s how it makes its living. So that means it’s counting stuff from companies like NBC, CBS, ESPN and Vevo, but not YouTube cat videos. It’s also not measuring Netflix usage. On the other hand, this isn’t a poll or sample, but data compiled by the company’s own ad servers.

So the reason Apple TV doesn’t show up in Freewheel’s data is because it doesn’t show any ad-backed video. Freewheel’s data isn’t about online video watching — it’s specifically about ad-backed online video watching. It may well be that Xbox is used for more aggregate video watching than Apple TV, but you can’t make such a comparison using Freewheel’s data.

And it shows you how much ground Google will need to make up as it gets ready to relaunch its Google TV. Ditto for Apple, if and when it ever gets serious about transforming Apple TV into something other than a “hobby.”

Again, Apple TV is irrelevant to any discussion based on Freewheel’s data. And as for making up ground, iOS devices account for 57 percent of Freewheel’s reported usage — double Xbox’s share.

Assuming Freewheel’s data is both accurate and relevant, the conclusion we should draw from it is that iPhone/iPad/iPod iOS devices dominate post-PC ad-based video watching, Xbox is second with half iOS’s share, and Android is a distant third with half-again Xbox’s share. Kafka somehow draws the conclusion that Xbox is winning and Apple TV is way out in crickets-chirping territory.

They Did Say It Was a ‘Dude’ Who Was Getting a Dell 

Christiane Vejlø, on a Dell-hosted conference in Denmark:

Dell’s moderator continues talking about his two Rolex watches and he then presents the next speaker from Intel. After the break Mads Christensen shares with us his whole “show” about the bitchy women who want to steal the power in politics, boards and the home. “Science” he calls it and mentions that all the great inventions come from men. “We can thank women for the rolling pin,” he adds. And then the moderator of the day finishes of by asking all (men) in the room to promise him that they will go home and say, “shut up bitch!”.

Update: Faruk Ates tweets, summarizing this comment thread on Boing Boing:

Nutshell: some say Mads Christensen is like Stephen Colbert, and that the joke is lost on non-Danish people. But, I don’t buy it.

Why I don’t buy it: Christensen has a history of making extremely tasteless, offensive remarks that go far beyond Colbert-style humor.

I guess that’s the question. Is this Christensen a Colbert-style parodist (which may well translate poorly internationally), or a Rush Limbaugh-style shit-stirrer?

Businessweek on Apple’s Dominance in Hollywood Product Placement 

You can’t fake cool.

Update: I’m not sure what Businessweek’s headline means, though: “Apple, the Other Cult in Hollywood”. I think they’re comparing Apple to Scientology, but who the hell knows.

Adobe Will Release Security Patches for CS 5 Apps 

They caused a bit of an uproar when they initially decided not to patch these apps, but they’ve changed their mind.

Facebook, Another Service Helping to Kill Text Messaging 

It’s hard to think of a technology that more deserves to die than SMS.

Nokia’s Last Stand 

Peter Kirwan profiles Nokia’s executive leadership for Wired. The bottom line seems simple and obvious: Nokia’s fate is tied to that of Windows Phone.

Scott Thompson Who? 

Kara Swisher, on Yahoo’s ever-deepening ignominy:

Yahoo’s embattled CEO Scott Thompson is set to step down from his job at the Silicon Valley Internet giant, in what will be dramatic end to a controversy over a fake computer science degree that he had on his bio, according to multiple sources close to the situation.

The company will apparently say he is leaving for “personal reasons.”

Harvest 

My thanks to Harvest for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Harvest is a time-tracking system for the web, Mac, and iPhone — designed for creative professionals, with an emphasis on ease-of-use and productivity. The new Mac desktop client has a great-looking interface and provides a slew of conveniences, including hotkeys to start timers and automatic idle time detection.

Watch the demo, then give Harvest a spin with a free 30-day trial.

John Paczkowski Confirms New iOS Maps App 

John Paczkowski:

We’ve independently confirmed that this is indeed the case. Sources describe the new Maps app as a forthcoming tent-pole feature of iOS that will, in the words of one, “blow your head off.” I’m not quite sure what that means, and the source in question declined to elaborate, but it’s likely a reference to the photorealistic 3-D mapping tech Apple acquired when it purchased C3 Technologies.

iOS 6 Maps 

Speaking of Mark Gurman, he had a piece today on a major update to the Maps app in iOS 6:

According to trusted sources, Apple has an incredible headline feature in development for iOS 6: a completely in-house maps application. Apple will drop the Google Maps program running on iOS since 2007 in favor for a new Maps app with an Apple backend. The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience.

No surprise to anyone even vaguely paying attention to the cold war between Apple and Google. Jason Snell, responding on Twitter:

Does 9to5 Mac not know that the iOS maps app has always been called Maps, not Google Maps? […]

Maybe it’s the Apple Kremlinologist in me, but the genericness of Maps.app has made me always feel Google would be dumped eventually.

The Maps app has always been Apple’s. It’s only the back-end data they got from Google. (Gurman says much the same later in the article, but the lead I quoted above suggests otherwise.)

iCloud ‘Beta’ Website Briefly Shows Web Apps for Reminders and Notes 

Federico Viticci:

Available at beta.icloud.com, I managed to grab a screenshot before Apple quickly pulled the website and started redirecting it to iCloud’s public website. The beta page showed a testing environment, and I was able to see the Notes icon in the background, as tweeted by Troughton-Smith.

Over at 9to5Mac, Mark Gurman found references to an even more intriguing subdomain: developer.icloud.com.

Microsoft Antitrust Finding Specific to Windows on Intel? 

Hal Berenson, retired engineer and general manager from Microsoft, back in February:

Microsoft can get away with Office as the only non-Metro app on ARM because the anti-trust finding was specific to Windows on Intel.

I’m no lawyer, but a quick perusal of the Department of Justice’s 1999 Findings of Fact (PDF) has me nodding my head in agreement. I count 36 instances of “Intel-compatible PC operating systems”.

Study: NFL Players Living Longer Than General Population 

Mike Freeman, reporting for CBS Sports:

The main conclusion of the NIOSH study, which it says was commissioned by the union, is that players in the study had a much lower rate of death overall compared to men in the general population. This means, on average, NFL players are actually living longer than men in the general population which contradicts a popular notion that former NFL players live into their mid-50s.

Out of the 3,439 players in the study, 334 were deceased. Based on estimates from the general population, NIOSH had anticipated 625 would be deceased.

Good news for football.

Google Agrees With Mozilla’s Windows RT Browser Concerns 

Google statement:

We share the concerns Mozilla has raised regarding the Windows 8 environment restricting user choice and innovation. We’ve always welcomed innovation in the browser space across all platforms and strongly believe that having great competitors makes us all work harder. In the end, consumers and developers benefit the most from robust competition.

Microsoft is free to ship a fully-functional version of IE for Chrome OS, right?

Asa Dotzler Objects to Windows on ARM Locking Out Competing Web Browsers 

Asa Dotzler, Mozilla’s product director for Firefox:

Here’s what’s going on. For Windows on X86, Microsoft is giving other browsers basically the same privileges it gives IE. It’s not great that you don’t get those privileges (certain API access) unless you’re the default browser and I think that’s deeply unfair (a post for later,) but at least we’re able to build a competitive browser and ship it to Windows users on x86 chips.

But on ARM chips, Microsoft gives IE access special APIs absolutely necessary for building a modern browser that it won’t give to other browsers so there’s no way another browser can possibly compete with IE in terms of features or performance.

In other words, Microsoft is setting policies for Windows for ARM that are a lot like Apple’s policies for iOS. These policies and restrictions make just as much sense for Microsoft as they do for Apple. The problem for Microsoft, as Dotzler points out in the comments on his piece, is that Microsoft has made antitrust agreements that seemingly preclude such restrictions.

Serious question: What if Windows 8 for ARM, instead of being called “Windows RT”, were instead called, say, “Metro OS”? Would that make a difference? Is Dotzler arguing that Microsoft should not be permitted to ship a version of Windows that locks out third-party browsers, or that Microsoft should not be permitted to ship any OS that locks out third-party browsers?

Lightroom 4 Now Available on the Mac App Store 

Lightroom continues to lead the way for Adobe’s Mac development.

BetterZip 2 

Haven’t mentioned BetterZip in a while, but it’s still my favorite compression/archive tool for Mac OS X, and version 2 added some sweet features like Quick Look. $20, worth every penny.

New Google Plus Mobile App Ships for iOS 

Apparently Google hasn’t gotten the memo from Fred Wilson and Eric Schmidt that developers should write for Android first.

‘You Write Until You Come to a Place Where You Still Have Your Juice and Know What Will Happen Next’ 

Ernest Hemingway, in a terrific 1958 interview with George Plimpton:

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.

I have a collection of creators-on-creating quotes, but this one might be my favorite. Strikes me as good advice for any sort of creative work.

And, regarding getting work done:

But I have worked well everywhere. I mean I have been able to work as well as I can under varied circumstances. The telephone and visitors are the work destroyers.

Two Universes 

Michael Lopp:

[T]here are a lot of folks who think gamification means pulling the worst aspects out of games and shoving them into an application. It’s not. Don’t think of gamification as anything other than clever strategies to motivate someone to learn so they can have fun being productive.

DVDs and Blu-Rays Will Soon Carry Two Unskippable Government Warnings 

Nate Anderson, writing for Ars Technica:

Will the two screens be shown back to back? Will each screen last for 10 seconds each? Will each screen be unskippable? Yes, yes, and yes.

An ICE spokesman tells me that the two screens will “come up after the previews, once you hit the main movie/play button on the DVD. At which point the movie rating comes up, followed by the IPR Center screen shot for 10 secs and then the FBI/HSI anti-piracy warning for 10 secs as well. Neither can be skipped/fast forwarded through.”

So to encourage people not to engage in piracy, they’re going to force everyone to watch yet another annoying, time-wasting, gratification-delaying warning screen that can only be avoided by engaging in piracy. They’re purposefully making the movie-playing experience worse for honest paying customers.

HP Expands Ultrabook Line, Unveils ‘Sleekbooks’ 

Well, there we go. HP’s problems are all solved and the company’s PC business is back on track. All they needed was yet another gimmicky marketing name for a new batch of MacBook Air knockoffs.

President Obama Endorses Same-Sex Marriage 

The trend is clear:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York said, “No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people, and I have no doubt that this will be no exception.”

Andy Ihnatko Reviews iPhoto for iPad 

Andy Ihnatko:

During this time, you will obsessively peck at iPhoto’s “Help” button. When you tap it, every button and interface element acquires a yellow coaching tag. It looks as though iOS is being pecked to death by a flock of canaries.

But here’s the point: Somewhere around Day One of Week Two, the clouds part. You’ll see a logic behind iPhoto that wasn’t immediately apparent and you’ll have forgiven those weird choices. From that day forward, until some company produces an even better photo editor or until the heat death of the universe, you’ll be working with a desktop-grade app with few limitations. Isn’t that better than an app that you completely figure out in five minutes and then completely outgrow in five weeks?

Detailed review of perhaps the most ambitious iOS app to date.

(I’ve heard that, in development, Apple was unsure whether to call it “iPhoto”, “Aperture”, or something entirely new. “iPhoto” won out, obviously, but Apple was aware from the start that this iOS app is in many ways more complex than iPhoto for Mac.)

Smoked by Windows Phone by the Numbers 

Speaking of Windows Phone, Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph has an update on their “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign. It occurs to me that Rudolph is to Windows Phone today what Guy Kawasaki was to the Mac back in the mid-’90s: a likable human face for a likable underdog platform.

Paul Thurrott: ‘Is Time Running Out for Windows Phone?’ 

Paul Thurrott:

I’m as concerned, in a way, with what is very clearly yet another do-over. Yes, Windows Phone 8 will retain the Windows Phone name, and yes, it will run “legacy” Windows Phone 7.x apps, those apps that were written in Silverlight or the game-centric XNA APIs. But with Silverlight and XNA both silently cancelled deep within Microsoft’s ever-reimagined corporate hulk, the move to a variation of WinRT means that Windows Phone is starting over again. That means more work for developers who, let’s face it, haven’t really had much incentive to adopt this platform in the first place.

Interesting piece. I wasn’t aware just how big a change, under the hood, Windows Phone 8 will be.

As for time running out, I don’t think that’s quite Microsoft’s problem. I see no reason why, if they stick with it, Windows Phone couldn’t take off eventually, even after a few years of slow sales. One of the things that has made the mobile market so vibrant is that people buy new phones frequently — often every two years — and there’s relatively low friction to switch between platforms. Just because Windows Phone 7 hasn’t made a significant dent in the market doesn’t mean Windows Phone 8 is similarly doomed.

But can not is different than will not. The iPhone succeeded because consumers demanded it. Android succeeded because the carriers pushed it. Windows Phone has neither the iPhone’s consumer demand nor Android’s carrier support. Something has to change there.

My advice to Microsoft would be to go after Android, hard. Make Windows Phone the carriers’ best friend. Target your advertising on BlackBerry holdouts and dissatisfied Android users. Position Windows Phone as the alternative to the iPhone.

Apple’s Purported 9.8 Percent Tax Rate 

The NYT’s “Apple pays less than 10 percent of its profit in taxes” controversy broke while I was traveling home from Ireland, and I missed this refutation by Tim Worstall at Forbes:

So, what the NYT/Greenlining calculation has done is compared the profits in 2011 not with the taxes paid on profits from 2011. It has compared profits in 2011 with the taxes calculated on the basis of 2010′s profits.

I.e., Apple makes estimated quarterly tax payments based on the previous year’s profit, and because Apple’s profits are growing at an absurd rate, their estimated payments for this year were low compared to their actual profit. This piece by Worstall from two weeks prior has more details, including this from Apple’s own 10K filing:

The Company’s effective tax rates were approximately 24.2%, 24.4% and 31.8% for 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively. The Company’s effective rates for these periods differ from the statutory federal income tax rate of 35% due primarily to certain undistributed foreign earnings for which no U.S. taxes are provided because such earnings are intended to be indefinitely reinvested outside the U.S.

So far as I can find, the Times has not issued any sort of correction or defense of its reporting on Apple’s tax rate.

DragonDrop 

Terrifically useful simple little utility for Mac OS X. Only $5.

The Point of Samsung’s Interest in Tizen 

Same basic idea as Android, but without Google.

Shell Apps and Silver Bullets 

Benjamin Sandofsky:

The difference is shell apps come from the wrong mentality. They start from, “How do we reduce effort?” instead of “How do we deliver the best product?”

Great products require more work. They requires commitment, attention to detail, and leaving your comfort zone. Shortcuts are just a distraction.

(Via David Weiss.)

LG to Launch Google TV in U.S. in Late May 

Miyoung Kim, reporting for Reuters:

LG Electronics Inc, the world’s No.2 TV maker, plans to launch Internet-enabled TV based on Google’s platform in the United States in the week of May 21, as the South Korean firm seeks to gain a larger share of the emerging Internet TV market, a senior LG executive said on Monday.

Perfect — just in time for summer.

Amazon’s Opaque Strategic Goals 

Farhad Manjoo, writing at Pando Daily:

What struck me when I saw the zero price for The Hunger Games is that I simply don’t know what Amazon is up to with the lending library. This is not a novel sensation: I am frequently flummoxed by Amazon, the most inscrutable of all the companies I cover regularly. Amazon is the one major tech firm whose operations, investments, and short- and long-term goals are completely hidden from the reporters and analysts who try to watch its every move.

Samsung’s First Prototype Tizen Device 

I don’t get it. What is the point of this OS? What am I missing?

Update: Via Twitter, Matthew Thomas argues that the same logic I applied regarding HP and Microsoft Windows back in 2009 applies here, with Samsung and Google Android. That’s a good point.

Mark Alldritt’s Postmortem on FaceSpan 5 

Mark Alldritt:

I am a self-funded Indie (lone) developer. I made a number of classic business blunders on the FaceSpan 5 project. I broke the golden rule: never (never!) rewrite a software product. I massively underestimated the effort required to complete the product. I set off without having sufficient resources to complete the project. Because I took so long to complete my work, the market moved on — AppleScript’s importance to the customers I intended to target declined. Some may argue that the market was never really there to provide a return for a product of this complexity. Finally, I didn’t pull the plug soon enough. Hindsight its great.

He may be right about that golden rule, but, his aborted rewrite of FaceSpan was truly a magnificent idea. It may well have been a doomed-from-the-start business idea, but it was a marvelous software idea.

How Apple’s 1944 Promotional Film Came to Be 

Michael Markman:

One of my early Apple projects has just made its way to YouTube. It was a World War II movie made for the Apple International Sales Conference in the summer of 1984. Embedding is disabled, by you can find it here: 1944.

Here’s the backstory.

Joe Biden Endorses Same-Sex Marriage 

Vice President Joe Biden:

Look, I am Vice President of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. All the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.

What Retail Is Hired to Do: Apple vs. Ikea 

Interesting comparison of Ikea’s and Apple’s retail stores, by Horace Dediu and Dirk Schmidt at Asymco. Includes this excerpt from Clayton Christensen’s Integrating Around the Job to Be Done:

The company has been slowly rolling its stores out across the world for [close to 50] years; and yet nobody has copied Ikea.

Why would this be? It’s not trade secrets or patents. Any competitor can walk through its stores, reverse engineer its products and copy its catalog. It can’t be that there is no money to be made: its owner Ingvar Kamprad is the third richest person in the world. And yet nobody has copied Ikea.

eBay’s iPad App 

Mikhail Madnani, writing at Beautiful Pixels about the new 2.0 release of eBay’s iPad app:

The overall app is very smooth, responsive (are you listening Facebook?) and supports both portrait and landscape mode. The app is full of pleasing subtle textures that make you want to use the app more and more.

Good design. From eBay. Think about that. This is Apple’s influence on the industry as a whole.

Apple Releases iOS 5.1.1 

Only 50 MB. Hurrah for incremental updates.

Dalton Caldwell: ‘Two Brilliant Moves That Helped Create the Apple iOS Powerhouse’ 

Dalton Caldwell, hailing the strategic wisdom of Apple’s 2002 decision to take the iPod (and iTunes) to Windows, and the way they segment the iPhone market with older models, rather than designing new low-end models from scratch:

Why hasn’t Dell or Samsung or HP implemented their own version of the “Moore’s law market segmentation” strategy? Nothing about this strategy would seem to require it to happen at only Apple (or is specific to mobile devices). I am sure there are a lot of reasons, and there is a very good chance I simply don’t understand the hardware supply chain complexity.

I suspect one reason no other phone maker does this is that so few high-end phones from three years ago would have any appeal today. iPhones are designed to stand the test of time.

Update: Apple shipped iOS 5.1.1 yesterday. iPhone 3GSs bought in June 2009 are eligible to upgrade to iOS 5.1.1 today. How many Android phones from 2009 are running an even vaguely up to date OS? None.

Evernote Acquires Penultimate 

Phil Libin, writing for the Evernote weblog:

Penultimate is hugely popular. In fact, according to Apple, it’s the #4 best-selling paid iPad app of all time. When you have such a great product, the last thing you want to do is mess with it. That’s why Penultimate creator, Ben Zotto, is joining Evernote to head up future app development. Penultimate will stay a separate, elegant application and will get many much-requested Evernote-y improvements including full search and synchronization. Ben will also lead the effort to put handwriting and digital ink functionality into other Evernote products and platforms, so you’ll see handwriting cross-pollination popping up everywhere.

Penultimate is a great app, but I think it’s been eclipsed by Paper.

Apple ‘Forced’ to Respond to Ultrabooks? 

Erica Ogg:

Today, you can buy an “ultrabook” that’s thicker than an inch, is heavier than 4 pounds, has a 14-inch screen, a traditional spinning hard drive, and decent battery life. They’re also priced between $700 and $900, or slightly below the $999 entry level 11.6-inch MacBook Air. In other words — nothing has changed. PC makers have been making laptops for years that could beat Apple on specs and often price and still Apple has done its own thing and continued to rake in profits.

Exactamundo. Apple is about as fearful of ultrabooks as they were of netbooks.

2007’s Pre-M3 Version of Android: The Google Sooner 

Steven Troughton-Smith:

When Google first showed off Android, they showed it running on a device very similar to Blackberries or Nokia E-class devices of the time. This device was the Google Sooner - an OMAP850 device built by HTC, with no touchscreen or WiFi. This was the Android reference device, the device they originally built the OS on.

Recently, I got access to a Google Sooner running a very early version of Android. With all the recent information coming out of the Oracle vs Google trial, I thought it would be interesting to take you on a brief tour of the OS.

Fascinating stuff.

‘Wake Up. Be Bold.’ 

I’m sure this campaign will sell a lot of BlackBerrys and turn RIM right around.

Update: Neven Mrgan:

I’m sure RIM’s new “You’re either in business or you’re not” campaign won’t be ironic at all two years from now.

‘The Avengers’ 

Saw The Avengers last night with my boy and we both loved it. Good characters, good effects, relentless pacing, and a nice sense of continuity with the movies that came before it. In a word: it was fun. And: it was funny. Ruben Bolling tweeted:

You can spend $800,000 on a certain special effect, and the audience can yawn. Enhance it with a genuine laugh and the audience is vibrating.

Writer/director Joss Whedon wielded a deft touch and deserves acclaim. It really offers the best of what theatrical big-budget blockbusters can offer. Effects that demand a big screen, and laughs that are best shared with a packed house.

If VLC Can Ship a Free DVD Player, Why Can’t Microsoft? 

Ed Bott on Microsoft’s decision not to include DVD playback in the regular versions of Windows 8.

‘Phiwladelphia’ 

This week’s episode of The Talk Show. Topics include Steve Jobs’s goofy Willy Wonka idea, RIM’s goofy “Wake Up” campaign, and Roger Ebert’s non-goofy list of the ten best ever films.

Brought to you by Textastic, TapTyping, and Squarespace.

Galaxy S III Designed by Lawyers? 

Ron Amadeo, writing for Android Police, thinks many of the design changes in the Galaxy S III — both hardware and software — were made in response to Apple’s trade dress infringement suit against Samsung:

So there you have it. A darn-near perfect explanation of the GSIII design. Sure, it’s butt ugly, but it’s also 100% (well maybe 90%) lawyer approved. An amorphous, unsymmetrical blob that doesn’t come in black, with a non-permanent dock and non-square icons. There’s no way Apple can add this design to their Samsung lawsuit.

It really does look a lot less like an iPhone than previous Galaxy S models.

‘Write It Down, in Big Letters. I’m Not Going Out Like This.’ 

Best thing I’ve read all day.

Chitika: iPad Accounts for Nearly 95 Percent of Tablet Web Traffic 

Chitika:

Based off of impressions across our network, the iPad accounted for 94.64% of all tablet based traffic. This is impressive in and of itself but to put this number into perspective, the next closest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy tablet, boasts a lack luster market share of 1.22%. Coming in last, in respect to traffic share, was the Barnes and Noble Nook with a meager 0.53% traffic share. In defense of the Nook, it is used primarily as an e-reader, with the capabilities of a tablet.

Android is winn… ah, forget it.

(Via Ina Fried.)

Tom the Dancing Bug’s Inner Hive 

Ruben Bolling:

The comic strip is more well-read and well-known than ever, but it makes far less money than it used to. This seems to me an anomaly — as the comic is enjoyed (hopefully) by more people, it should generate more, not less, revenue.

This anomaly is one of the defining features of the digital world, and it’s up to me to figure out how to make it work. That led me to this idea:

I’m selling subscriptions to the appropriately cheesily-named INNER HIVE. It’s not a charitable support-me program, because I don’t think that will work by itself in this context. I wanted to make it a real transaction where the buyer gets something of real, greater value than the money spent. Plus I didn’t want to get involved in the logistical nightmare of distributing tote bags.

$9.99 every six months to support one of my all-time favorite comics. Boom, done.

Steve Jobs Plays FDR in Long-Lost 1984 Internal Sales Movie 

I’ve got nothing, other than that I wish this had stayed lost.

The War on Drugs 

Ian Lovett, reporting for the NYT on a college student who was locked up by the DEA for four days in a cell with no food, no water, no toilet, and no human contact:

But for Mr. Chong, the celebration ended in a Kafkaesque nightmare inside a San Diego Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell, where he said he was forgotten for four days, without food or water.

To survive, Mr. Chong said he drank his own urine, hallucinated and, at one point, considered how to take his own life. By the time agents found him on the fifth day and called paramedics, he said he thought he could be dead within five minutes.

AnandTech: The iPad 2,4 Review: 32nm Brings Better Battery Life 

Great find by AnandTech: a new version of the $399 iPad 2 using a significantly smaller and more efficient A5 system-on-a-chip.

iOS Dropbox App Kerfuffle Ends, but Highlights Confusion About Guidelines 

Nice piece by Jacqui Cheng on the recent rash of App Store rejections of apps that integrate with Dropbox. (Spoiler: it’s all about the benjamins.)

iPad Keyboard Prototype 

Quite clever iPad text editing concept video by Daniel Hooper. I am not convinced that this is a solution that Apple would actually consider, but the problem it tries to solve is very real. Once you get used to it, the iPad keyboard isn’t bad for typing, but no matter how acclimated you are it’s poor for editing. It’s fiddly, slow, and (because you have to take a hand off the keyboard) disruptive to select text.

Father Time, Still Undefeated 

Yours truly, on 42-year-old Yankees great Mariano Rivera’s tragic, fluke, season-ending knee injury:

Time’s effects, even against Rivera — the most graceful and elegant ballplayer I’ve ever seen, the closest thing in sports to an ageless wonder — are ignominious. The Yankees often win, but in the end, time always wins — the one opponent against which even the Yankees will forever be underdogs. To struggle against time is to struggle against the inevitable. We all know you can’t beat time, but the joy of these aging Yankees is that sometimes you can get lucky and race ahead of it for a while. But now this.

‘I Had All the Ideas for Star Wars and Everything’ 

Swiss film director Nathaniel Hörnblowér, righteously calling out the travesty of the best director award at the 1994 MTV VMAs. (Skip to 2:15.)

Beastie Boys Co-Founder Adam Yauch Dead at 47 

Rolling Stone:

Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47, Rolling Stone has learned. Yauch, also known as MCA, had been in treatment for cancer since 2009. The rapper was diagnosed in 2009 after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland.

Not Getting It 

Ben Kunz, writing for Businessweek, wants Apple to make some sort of “petite glass” small TV screens that aren’t computers:

Second, Apple’s real play will be content sales, not TV hardware profits. As I noted last September, the typical U.S. consumer still watches 5 hours and 9 minutes of television a day, but only about 18 cable channels out of the 130 received by the average home. There is huge bloat in what we subscribe to, and we pay cable companies about $74 billion annually for this privilege. Add the $70 billion in TV ad spending, and Apple could grab a slice of a $144 billion video market if it could convince us there’s a better way to stream moving images.

This betrays a complete lack of understanding of how Apple functions financially. They make almost all their money, both revenue and profit, from hardware. Media content — movies, TV shows, music, apps — is icing on the hardware cake. Compare Apple’s financials to, say, Amazon’s. And Amazon’s model is pretty much exactly what Kunz is espousing here — lower-cost low-margin hardware that exists not as a profit center unto itself but rather as a platform for media content sales.

Amazon’s most recent quarter: $192 million in profit. Apple’s: $11.6 billion. The quarter was 90 days long. That means Apple made $128 million in profit, on average, per day. Let that sink in: Amazon made $192 million in 90 days. Apple made $128 million per day. Methinks Apple will stick with its focus on hardware profits.

Third, consumers want to watch video everywhere while multitasking. Recent studies by Nielsen show that for most of the day, except for prime time in the evening, consumers watch TV while doing something else — texting on phones, typing on laptops, folding laundry, skimming magazines. More than 1 in 5 U.S. adults have read a book on an e-reader. Younger demographics in particular are watching video via Hulu and YouTube on computers. We want more screens, and we want to do other stuff while watching, so why wouldn’t Apple sell pretty little panels to spread throughout our homes?

They already make these “pretty little panels”. They’re the displays in iPads and iPhones.

Facebook Made $9.51 in Ad Revenue Per User Last Year in the U.S. and Canada 

How many ad-based media companies could survive on $10 per reader/viewer/user a year? Facebook makes it work by having a staggering number of users.

What Would the End of Football Look Like? 

Economists Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier, writing for Grantland back in February:

This slow death march could easily take 10 to 15 years. Imagine the timeline. A couple more college players — or worse, high schoolers — commit suicide with autopsies showing CTE. A jury makes a huge award of $20 million to a family. A class-action suit shapes up with real legs, the NFL keeps changing its rules, but it turns out that less than concussion levels of constant head contact still produce CTE. Technological solutions (new helmets, pads) are tried and they fail to solve the problem. Soon high schools decide it isn’t worth it. The Ivy League quits football, then California shuts down its participation, busting up the Pac-12. Then the Big Ten calls it quits, followed by the East Coast schools. Now it’s mainly a regional sport in the southeast and Texas/Oklahoma. The socioeconomic picture of a football player becomes more homogeneous: poor, weak home life, poorly educated. Ford and Chevy pull their advertising, as does IBM and eventually the beer companies.

I think the only way the game survives, long-term, is if the rules change dramatically to something like flag football — to a sport that resembles basketball in terms of athleticism, pace of play, and violence. Me? I think I might enjoy watching such a football very much. But I don’t think most NFL fans would. Too many NFL fans are in it for the violent hits, not despite them.

Football, Dogfighting, and Brain Damage 

Sadly relevant New Yorker piece by Malcolm Gladwell from 2009. I don’t think football as we know it is going to be around much longer.

European Regulators May Reopen Google Street View Inquiries 

Kevin J. O’Brien, reporting for the NYT:

European privacy regulators said Wednesday that they were considering reopening their inquiries into Google’s collection of personal e-mails and Web searches for its Street View service. The move came after revelations that the activity had not been a lone programmer’s error, and that others at the company had been told about it.

Uh-oh.

Have Kindle Sales Plunged? 

Amazon has never released Kindle sales data, but Paulo Santos makes a case that sales have plunged — both for the e-ink models and the Fire:

To put it short. The Kindle eReader has dropped out of bed. It has fallen beyond the wildest dreams of Amazon.com’s management. They never told it to the market, but this is reality. I have proof, and the proof is undeniable. The drop in Kindle eReader sales came with the introduction of the Kindle Fire, and the cannibalization has been nothing short of stunning, massive. Why do I say this? Well, Amazon.com has slowed down its demand for Kindle eReader e-ink screens to near zero since December 2011, the month after the Kindle Fire was introduced. Basically at that point Amazon.com had enough Kindle eReaders’ screens on hand to fill demand for at least 4 months straight.

Welcome to Zynga; I Hope You Like Shoving Shit at Your Users 

Kunur Patel, reporting for Ad Age:

Now, with a direct-sales force that’s been on the ground for a whole eight weeks, Draw Something is inserting advertisers’ paid terms into the game for players to literally draw brands.

Here’s how the game works: Pick a word from a list of three, then create a drawing so a Facebook friend can guess that word and you can win points. For the ad product, imagine inserting words like “Doritos” or “Coca-Cola” in among “golfer,” “bikini” or “fireworks.”

Draw your own ads, how fun!

Samsung S-Voice 

Love that purple tint. Where do they come up with such innovative designs?

More ‘Winning’ 

Reuters:

Alsup had sealed an internal 2011 Google document which contains profit and loss numbers for Android in 2010. However, the judge read aloud certain portions of it in court on Thursday.

The judge did not disclose the specific loss figures for Android, but said it lost money in each quarter of 2010. “That adds up to a big loss for the whole year,” Alsup said.

Verizon Sales Reps Pushing Android Phones Over iPhone 

That said, Verizon seems to be doing its best to push Android phones over the iPhone. David Goldman, reporting for CNN Money:

I had 10 conversations with Verizon sales representatives in New York stores, on the phone, and in online chat sessions, asking about my options for a new smartphone. Here’s what I found: Next time you walk into a Verizon store looking to buy a smartphone, expect the hard sell on a 4G Android device.

In each of the 10 discussions, representatives steered me toward either the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, the Droid Razr, or the LG Lucid — all 4G-capable phones running Google’s Android software. […]

“The iPhone is a great phone, but it’s on 3G,” said one representative at a Verizon Wireless store in midtown Manhattan. “I’m not going to recommend a phone that’s outdated.”

I’ve got ten bucks that says this practice doesn’t change after Apple ships an LTE iPhone — they’ll just come up with a new reason.

I can see where Verizon is coming from, of course. They’re a carrier, not a handset maker, so they want to emphasize the importance of the network over the device. But as for being “outdated”, all three of those phones currently ship running Android 2.3, which shipped in December 2010.

While We’re Talking About iPhone/Android Market Share Numbers 

Dan Lyons, back in January 2011, “The Verizon iPhone Is Too Late”:

But Apple’s big weakness is its control-freak nature and insistence that there is only one way to make a smart phone. No matter how many carriers sign on to carry the iPhone, in the long run, Apple has again set itself up to be a niche player in smartphones, just as it is in PCs.

Meantime, here in 2012, the iPhone once again accounted for a majority of Verizon’s smartphone sales, and Apple earned 73 percent of the total profit in the handset industry. That’s a nice niche.

‘Winning’ 

MG Siegler, again, on the discrepancies between smartphone sales data from carrier and market share surveys from NPD and ComScore:

It means that Android was/is winning in market share because Apple was/is allowing it to.

Android was previously the top smartphone OS for both Verizon and Sprint. But that was only because the iPhone was not available on either network until last year. When it became available, it quickly shot to the top. One type of phone outsold hundreds of other models combined. That’s pretty insane.

I’ve been asking for years: Is there a carrier anywhere in the world that carries both the iPhone and Android phones where the iPhone is not the top-selling phone?

Bud Light Lime-a-Ritas 

The apocalypse draws nigh:

Anheuser-Busch’s marketing story is that beer drinkers had been mixing Bud Light Lime into margaritas to create “beer ritas,” so the company decided to simplify the process. “Lime-a-Rita just adds a new level of convenience by providing a beverage with the perfect balance of flavors,” he says.

(Via Karl Welzein, of course.)

Flipboard for Android Debuts as a Galaxy S III Exclusive 

Another high-profile iOS exclusive expands to Android.

RubyMotion: Ruby for iOS 

Interesting new commercial Ruby-based development toolchain for iOS. Based on MacRuby, it produces native iOS apps, but they’re written in Ruby instead of Objective-C, and skip Xcode altogether:

While you can certainly configure an Xcode workspace to program in RubyMotion, we do not provide any support for Xcode out-of-the-box. We do not believe that Xcode makes a good environment for Ruby development (or development in general).

$199, currently on sale for $149.

See also: Ryan Paul’s piece on RubyMotion at ArsTechnica, from which I learned that RubyMotion is in fact by Laurent Sansonetti, the creator of MacRuby. Color me even more intrigued.

The No Future League 

Will Bunch of the Philly Daily News on NFL great Junior Seau’s death:

He was just 43.

And it was an apparent suicide, no less — a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.

But while the Twittersphere and Facebookland erupted in the usual rituals of 21st Century celebrity death, with TMZ racing to report the grim news that Junior Seau had passed, inspiring thousands of re-tweeted RIPs and sad reminiscing about his glory days in the middle of the San Diego Chargers’ defense, there seemed to be one element sorely missing.

Surprise.

And when people are no longer surprised at the sudden death of a 40-something icon of pro football, then something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Think about this:

The average American lives to be 75. The average pro football player lives to be 55.

Harry Marks Is Giving Up Reading for a Year 

Harry Marks:

Now I want to see words at a distance. By separating myself from written language, I’ll be able to see which aspects of reading are truly valuable, which are distractions, and which ones give me explosive diarrhea.

Amazon Will Make Its Own TV Shows 

JP Mangalindan, writing for Fortune:

On Wednesday, the company announced its intentions to develop original comedy and children shows that will be distributed by way of its online streaming service, Amazon Instant Video. “Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love,” Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, said in a release. “In the course of developing movies, we’ve heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children’s genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series.”

So I guess this means the Justice Department is about to investigate Apple TV.

Sales Versus Surveys 

MG Siegler, a few days ago:

So on one hand, we have actual, verified and legally reported public data from the three largest U.S. carriers. On the other hand, we have a survey.

If I wanted to be a dick, I’d suggest that these surveys skew toward Android because Android buyers are more likely to be dumb enough to waste time answering market share surveys. But I don’t want to be a dick, so I won’t.

Jay Yarow vs. NPD Regarding U.S. Smartphone Market Share for Q1 2012 

Jay Yarow does some math and finds that NPD’s report on U.S. smartphone market share doesn’t add up:

Total it all up, and Apple had 63% of the smartphone market on those three big carriers. Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T account for ~80% of the overall wireless market in the U.S., according to a Yankee Group report from August.

If Apple accounted for 63% of 80% of the smartphone sales on those carriers, then it had 50% of the total smartphone market in the U.S. in the first quarter of the year.

NPD got its numbers — 61 percent Android, 29 percent iPhone — not from carrier data but from a survey of 13,000 people. It just doesn’t make sense. Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint all say the iPhone accounted for a majority of their smartphone activations for the quarter, but NPD says Android had more than double the market share for the quarter.

NPD’s survey results must be statistically flawed, unless (a) the Yankee Group report is wrong that the big three carriers account for 80 percent of the U.S. market, and (b) there are an awful lot of prepaid Android smartphones being sold on the smaller U.S. carriers.

The Brooklyn Nets 

There’s something a little off about the typography, I agree, but I think Armin Vit is too harsh on the identity design for newly-moved-to-Brooklyn Nets. (And I think Paul Lukas at Uni Watch misses the mark completely.) The Nets’ previous identity exemplifies everything that’s wrong with modern sports logo design — every trendy effect you can find, glommed all together. This new design is simple, sturdy, and timeless. It makes it look like the Nets have always been in Brooklyn, and that they always will be.

Target Dropping the Kindle 

Love this quip by Tom Reestman on Twitter:

How long before Amazon sicks the DOJ on Target?

The Next iPhone’s Name 

Devir Kahan:

Every time I hear someone make some prediction about the upcoming iPhone 5 I cringe. You see, we don’t have to make any predictions about the iPhone 5 because we have it already. The iPhone 4S is the fifth iPhone Apple has produced.

Logically, yes. But let’s face it — if Apple decided that “iPhone 5” was a good name, they’d use it, whether it’s the sixth actual iPhone or not. (I’d argue the next iPhone will be the seventh: the CDMA iPhone 4 is a different device [including a better antenna design] than the GSM model.)

Regardless, I think logic dictates that the next iPhone will simply be called “iPhone” and be referred to by Apple as “the new iPhone” just as, at this point, none of Apple’s other products use numbers.

I agree, which, if we’re right, makes the whole “Will they call it iPhone 5 or 6?” question moot.

Matt Gemmell’s iPad Productivity Apps 

The apps he uses.

Mr. Jobs and the Great Glass Elevator 

Andy Ihnatko guest-hosted this week’s MacBreak Weekly, and I was lucky enough to be one of the panelists, alongside Jason Snell, Chris Breen, and Rich Siegel. Great show, I thought.

Congress Should Grill the FCC Over Redacted Google Wi-Fi Snooping Report 

Chris Soghoian, writing for Wired:

However, even if the FCC lacked the legal authority punish Google, nothing prevented the agency from alerting the public, the media, and Congress to the full extent of Google’s sins. Instead, the agency opted to keep the public in the dark.

The FCC has yet to reveal the reasons why it opted to so heavily redact the most damning portions of the Google WiFi report. Congress should not wait for the FCC to volunteer an explanation. It should demand answers.

Charles Arthur on Google’s Street View Data Collection 

Charles Arthur:

And if there’s one thing that the last few years have taught us, it’s that the suggestion of a “rogue” worker having acted alone to do something which led to an intrusion is never correct. There has to be a failure of management oversight as well.

And what did Google say? Initially, that the data collection happened “mistakenly”. No, it didn’t. Initially, that only “fragmentary” data was collected. No, it wasn’t: the first page of the FCC report says that: “On October 22 2010, Google acknowledged for the first time that ‘in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords’.” That it was the work of one engineer acting alone, and not in any way part of how Google rolls.

Arthur posits that the problem is arrogance — his headline reads, “Google’s Problem Is That It Now Believes Itself Above Others — Even Governments”. I’d say it’s more of a reckless sense of entitlement regarding privacy. Google sees itself as entitled to all information. If they can see it, they can collect it. I can see their thinking (though I don’t agree with it): they were just driving around on public roads, collecting data that was in the air.

Profit Share 

Horace Dediu on the just-completed quarter:

Apple captured 73% of phone industry profits and Samsung captured 26%. HTC took 1%. Everybody else lost money.

Text-Only Instagram 

A picture says 140 characters.

‘Apple Will Sell a Few to Its Fans’ 

This fine bit of analysis by Matthew Lynn for Bloomberg from January 2007 is worth a revisit, in light of Nokia’s and Motorola’s recent quarterly results:

The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won’t be whispering nervously into their clamshells over a new threat to their business.

The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant.

Motorola just posted an $86 million loss. Nokia lost $1.2 billion (with a “b”).

ImageOptim 

Helpful freeware tool for reducing image sizes:

ImageOptim optimizes images — so they take up less disk space and load faster — by finding best compression parameters and by removing unnecessary comments and color profiles. It handles PNG, JPEG and GIF animations.

(Via the aforelinked piece by Jeremy Keith.)

Jeremy Keith on Website Optimization 

Jeremy Keith:

Well, here we are fifteen years later and thanks to the rise of mobile, bandwidth is once again at a premium and we can be pretty sure that plenty of people are accessing our sites on slow connections. Yet again, mobile is highlighting issues that were always there. When did we get so lazy and decide it was acceptable to send giant unoptimised images down the pipe to our long-suffering visitors?

Hear, hear.

Motorola Mobility Q1 2012 Financial Results 

From the “Mobile Devices highlights” section of Motorola’s press release

Teamed up with Bubba Watson, four time PGA Tour winner, including the 2012 Masters [missing comma sic] to introduce MOTOACTV Golf Edition, a cutting-edge GPS golf tracker, virtual caddy and online clubhouse.

They shipped 8.9 million “mobile devices” (including 5.1 million smartphones), and lost $86 million doing it. But they shipped an “online clubhouse” so, hey, good quarter.

Apple and Pebble 

John Battelle:

Is Pebble playing with fire here? Would Apple ever change its developer terms of services to cut the new company off?

I think Battelle has a good point here, that one reason Pebble may have had trouble raising money from VCs is the fear that Apple might cut Pebble off at the knees. But I think the way Apple could most hurt Pebble is not by changing the SDK, but by releasing its own linked-to-your-iPhone wristwatch gadget. (Imagine, say, an iPod Nano with Pebble-like features and a LunaTik-style strap.)

Pebble is already hindered by the limited amount of interaction a Bluetooth device can obtain from an iPhone. E.g., it can notify you of incoming phone calls, but not messages or emails.

Apple Rejecting Some Apps With Dropbox Integration 

Federico Viticci:

Apple’s 11.13 rule isn’t new, and before we dabble in speculation about Apple wanting to “kill Dropbox”, I suggest we wait.

Where’s the fun in that?

‘We’ve Seen This Before’ 

Jan Libbenga, writing for The Register back in November 2007:

The iPhone? Undoubtedly a very nice product, but there is no virtual substitute for a real keyboard, reckons RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis: “Try typing a web key on a touch screen on an iPhone, that’s a real challenge. You cannot see what you type.”

Lazaridis told European reporters in Waterloo, Canada last week, that he isn’t too impressed with Apple’s iPhone and it won’t be a threat to the success of BlackBerry’s smart phone (with over 10.5 million users).

“The iPhone has severe limitations when it comes to effortless typing. Of course you have more screen space, with more artistic interactions, but that’s not enough. We’ve seen this before when Palm tried virtual keyboards. When they launched the Treo they licensed our keyboard.”

I don’t know what a “web key” is, but I do know what good claim chowder tastes like, and this is it.

Update: Best guess, submitted by a few readers, is that Lazaridis said “WEP key”, not “web key”, and was misquoted.

Amateur Hour Is Still Over 

Ian Austen, reporting for the NYT:

Research in Motion on Tuesday unveiled prototypes of the new BlackBerry 10 phone and operating system that the company hopes will be its salvation, in a form that looked quite rough around the edges. Among the features missing on the test phones given to software developers was the ability to actually make phone calls or access wireless networks.

Shocking, from the company that sells a tablet that doesn’t do email.

The incompleteness of the phone only becomes apparent when it is switched on.

Is this the dumbest sentence I’ve read all day, or is The New York Times getting a sense of humor?

Update: That sentence has been (wisely) removed from the article, but it was there when I linked it.

2008 Claim Chowder: ‘Top 10 Reasons Why the iPhone Is No BlackBerry’ 

Some tasty claim chowder circa 2008, from Al Sacco at CrackBerry:

I could go on, but for me, the feature that takes the cake is the full QWERTY keyboard found on many RIM devices.

But the real gem is #1 on his list, “The iPhone Third-Party Apps Debacle”:

Sure the iPhone SDK has been released, and there might be some great apps in the works, but in my opinion, that’s too little, too late, as they say.

Times Change 

From a 2008 story by Brad Stone for the NYT:

There’s a reason that R.I.M. is averse to the iPhone’s glass pad. “I couldn’t type on it and I still can’t type on it, and a lot of my friends can’t type on it,” says Mike Lazaridis, R.I.M.’s co-chief executive and technological visionary. “It’s hard to type on a piece of glass.”

Mr. Lazaridis thinks that e-mail-dependent BlackBerry owners demand the reliability and tactile feedback of a keyboard.

BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Developer Testing Device 

Reminds me of some other device. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

RIM, Not Samsung, Orchestrated Phony ‘Wake Up’ Protest at Australian Apple Store 

Even better than their “Amateur Hour Is Over” campaign.

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