Linked List: August 12, 2008

Best Buy to Start Selling iPhones in September 

The Associated Press:

Best Buy Co. will start selling the iPhone on Sept. 7, becoming the first U.S. chain to do so outside of Apple Inc.’s and AT&T Inc.’s own stores.

(Why does the AP use those “Co.” and “Inc.” abbreviations? The sentence would read so much cleaner without them.)

Because They’re Spiteful Small-Minded Idiots Who Hate Their Own Customers 

The number two item in PC World’s “11 Things We Hate About iTunes” list is “DRM (Boo!)”:

iTunes gave us the 99-cent song download, thus paving the way for honest people to buy music at a fair price. So why does the iTunes Store still employ digital rights management (DRM) for the majority of songs in its library? Blaming the record labels no longer holds water: AmazonMP3 and Rhapsody are among a growing number of services selling DRM-free MP3s from all the major labels, not just EMI. At least iTunes no longer charges extra for the latter’s “iTunes Plus” selections, but why hasn’t Apple given DRM the heave-ho once and for all?

Because the music labels (other than EMI) won’t let them.

Pirating the Olympics, Then and Now 

Andy Baio:

Back in 2004, the place to go for illegal Olympic videos wasn’t BitTorrent, popular trackers like Suprnova, or mainstream P2P clients. The best coverage, surprisingly, was found in the old-school Usenet binaries. It was a mish-mash of events, skewed heavily towards events with bikini-clad women, Brazilians, or bikini-clad Brazilian women, but other popular events and the opening ceremonies also showed up.

iPhone-Optimized Google Translate 

Terrific web site for the iPhone.

Kottke’s Jakob Nielsen Winamp Skin 

Still funny, eight years later. (Thanks to Dave Miller.)

Steve Jobs on ‘Concept Cars’ 

Speaking of Apple and “concept designs”, here’s an apt bit from Lev Grossman’s 2005 “How Apple Does It” profile for Time magazine:

Ask Apple CEO Steve Jobs about it, and he’ll tell you an instructive little story. Call it the Parable of the Concept Car. “Here’s what you find at a lot of companies,” he says, kicking back in a conference room at Apple’s gleaming white Silicon Valley headquarters, which looks something like a cross between an Ivy League university and an iPod. “You know how you see a show car, and it’s really cool, and then four years later you see the production car, and it sucks? And you go, What happened? They had it! They had it in the palm of their hands! They grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory!

“What happened was, the designers came up with this really great idea. Then they take it to the engineers, and the engineers go, ‘Nah, we can’t do that. That’s impossible.’ And so it gets a lot worse. Then they take it to the manufacturing people, and they go, ‘We can’t build that!’ And it gets a lot worse.”

(Thanks to Scott Stevenson.)

Why Apple Doesn’t Do ‘Concept Products’ 

Brilliant essay by Kontra at Counternotions:

Why hasn’t Apple, the most innovative and visionary company in computing, produced a single concept product or vision in over a decade? Because, to paraphrase Jobs, real artists ship.

Hank Williams: UI Guru Jakob Nielsen’s Site Is Unreadable 

The conventional wisdom on Jakob Nielsen and has always been something along the lines of, Sure, his site is ugly, but his advice is great. I’ll just come out and say it: I think Jakob Nielsen’s advice tends to be trite. And his writing style never comes across as actual prose; rather than feeling like reading an essay, reading Jakob Nielsen always feels like reading a summary of an essay.

And then there are the people who declare that is in fact brilliantly designed, and that those who criticize it as ugly or cluttered or childish just don’t see how brilliant it really is.

The Onion Weighs In 

Insightful as ever.

Launchpad Chicken 

Jean-Louis Gassée on the MobileMe launch:

Simple is hard. Easy is harder. Invisible is hardest.