My thanks to TripCase for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. TripCase is an iPhone app and web service for helping organize and manage travel plans. TripCase organizes all your travel information in one place, no matter where or how you booked. It monitors your trip and offers alerts for things like flight delays and gate changes. The TripCase app also has a great interface for making changes, like, say, comparing flight schedules and choosing an alternate flight.
TripCase is accessible via the web (including a great mobile web interface), and native apps for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry, and all of this is free. Get started by downloading the app or visiting TripCase.com.
The iPhone’s First Full Quarter on Verizon ★
Jenna Wortham, reporting for the NYT last week:
On Friday, while reporting its quarterly earnings results, Verizon
said it activated 2.3 million iPhones during the company’s
second quarter. That is a hefty figure, because the device has
been available on Verizon for only a few months, but it paled in
comparison to AT&T’s iPhone activations for the same quarter. On
Thursday, AT&T reported that it had activated 3.6 million iPhones
on its network, and that nearly a quarter of them were for new
customers to AT&T.
Wortham’s story is about Verizon, so it makes sense to focus first on the fact that the iPhone continues to sell better on AT&T. But what I find interesting is how much better it’s selling than Android phones:
Although Verizon continued to achieve sales from its catalog of
Android and 4G devices, the company sold far fewer of those
devices than they did iPhones. For the quarter, the company
reported sales of 1.2 million LTE and Android devices, which
includes tablets, smartphones and wireless modems.
So Verizon sold twice as many iPhones as all Droids combined.
[Update: What the NYT reports above is not what Verizon reported. On page 9 of Verizon’s report (PDF from a PowerPoint deck), they report: “2.3 million iPhone 4 units activated” and “1.2 million 4G LTE device sales”. So that 1.2 million number does not include 3G Droid phones. Neither “Android” nor “Droid” appears anywhere in their report. They simply don’t report the total number of Droid phones sold (nor total smartphones).]
Perhaps Verizon’s iPhone sales were temporarily inflated last quarter because they only just started carrying it. But on the other hand, maybe there are a lot of would-be Verizon iPhone customers who are waiting for the iPhone 5 in September. And keep in mind that Verizon, for now, only has the premium-priced iPhone 4; AT&T has the 3GS, which they sell for just $49 subsidized. I expect Verizon to eventually match AT&T in iPhone sales.
Sandvine: Netflix Rising (PDF) ★
From a new market research report from Sandvine:
Assuming there are 81 million broadband-connected households in
the United States and 8 million in Canada, then Netflix’
reported numbers for March 2011 suggest roughly 28% market
penetration in the U.S. and 11% in Canada. Both of these
calculated market shares closely match what Sandvine observes on
networks in each country.
How are people streaming Netflix?
The top 4 devices (Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC and Wii) account
for more than 85% of total Netflix traffic.
Fascinating how Netflix has effectively built its streaming service on the big three console gaming platforms.
Skating to Where the Puck Was ★
Darren Murph on the new Mac Mini:
I made crystal clear in my Mac mini review just how awful a
decision it was to nix the [optical drive] in the consumer version
of the machine, particularly with Apple making no efforts
whatsoever to shrink the chassis in the drive’s absence. My
primary beef is the removal of an optical drive on a desktop. Is
Apple seriously so naive that it thinks all Mac mini users will be
perfectly fine taking to the wild, wild web to find whatever
content and software they’d like to enjoy, including new-release
films and 1080p content? And what, may I ask, comes next?
Murph, back in February 2010, on the iPad:
The iPad is, in my mind, one of Apple’s biggest misses. […]
I can’t begin to explain how disappointing this device is in the
sense of being a usable computer. There’s a 1GHz CPU in there that
can’t even be used for multitasking. There’s no camera for video
chatting. There’s no way to watch a Flash video and chat within an
IRC client at the same time. There’s not even a way to connect a
USB device to this without paying Apple extra for an adapter. The
iPad is remarkably limited in scope and functionality, and for no
good reason. A netbook can run circles around this in terms of
actually getting work done, and if I want to enjoy multimedia,
I’ll carry around something that can fit in my pocket.
Restore Safari 5.0.3’s Tab Opening Behavior ★
Dan Moren points to OpenAtEnd, a small Safari extension that restores the old tab opening behavior in Safari 5.1. Me, I love the new tab opening behavior in 5.1.
The Talk Show, Episode 53 ★
One year to the day that we rebooted the franchise.
Brought to you by three excellent sponsors: Sourcebits, Campaign Monitor, and Wx from Hunter Research Technology.
Nintendo Slashes Price of Slow-Selling 3DS ★
Larry Frum, CNN:
Competition from the new PlayStation handheld Vita device,
expected later this year, may also be spurring the price move.
Vita is expected to hit the marketplace at $249, with more than
Yes, I’m sure it’s the unreleased Vita that concerns Nintendo most in handheld gaming.
From the DF Archive: Full Metal Jacket ★
Yours truly, reviewing my then-new 15-inch PowerBook in 2005:
The other major feature of the 15-inch (and 17-inch) PowerBook
keyboard is that it offers illumination, which illumination can be
triggered automatically by ambient light sensors located under the
speaker grille. The sensor works great, and the illumination is
genuinely handy in low-light situations. I expect this feature to
eventually find its way into every Apple laptop.
Apple Holding More Cash Than U.S. Federal Government ★
Latest figures from the US Treasury Department show that the
country has an operating cash balance of $73.7bn (£45.3bn).
Apple’s most recent financial results put its reserves at $76.4bn
The Cult of Centrism ★
We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands,
while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over
backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all
spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of
So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation
in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent —
because news reports always do that. And we have influential
pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist
president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.
The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist
president — actually a moderate conservative president.
Apple’s P/E Ratio ★
If a company’s P/E ratio is supposed to be indicative of its
growth prospects, then why is Netflix’s P/E ratio more than 4.5
times higher than Apple’s when Apple is growing its bottom line
more than twice as fast as Netflix is?
I think it’s psychological. Wall Street, collectively, can’t wrap its head around just how big Apple has gotten and how fast it continues to grow. Ten years ago Apple traded at $10 a share; five years ago $65. That’s the Apple Wall Street remembers, and thus today’s Apple at $400 seems like it’s had a really nice run to reflect its last five years of success. The stock is weighed down by old impressions of Apple as a smaller company with niche appeal.
Eric Schmidt, BlackBerry User? ★
Maybe it’s just a spare for when his Android phone’s battery dies?
The Kobo App Removes Its Store ★
Jim Dovey, developer of the Kobo iOS app, on the changes they were forced to make to keep it in the App Store:
The store was removed because Apple rejected any updates which
included it, period. They also rejected any updates which stated
that Apple required its removal, or indeed any mention of
‘compliance with App Store guidelines’. It was further
rejected for the cardinal sin of allowing users to create a Kobo
account within the app. Then it was rejected for providing a link
to let users create an account outside the app. Then it was
rejected for simply mentioning that it was possible to sign up,
with no direction on where or how one could do that. Then it was
rejected for making any mention of the Kobo website. Then for any
mention of ‘our website’ at all, in any language. We
additionally cannot make any assertions that Kobo provides content
for sale, however obliquely.
I should note, however, that the Borders app for the US was
subject to almost NONE of these restrictions. This is all the more
amusing since the Borders US app is built from the exact same
source code, with a different colour scheme and titles.
But it seems like Amazon is under the same restrictions with the Kindle app — not only does the latest version of the Kindle app not have a link to the Kindle Store, but there is no mention of the Kindle Store within the app, period. Maybe Borders got a pass because they’re going bankrupt? As it stands, this is very strange — you can create a Kobo account within the Borders iPhone app, but not within the Kobo iPhone app.
Dan Frommer on the Removal of the Kindle Store Link in the iOS Kindle App ★
Dan Frommer, arguing that Apple’s new “if it’s in the App Store, we get 30 percent of everything purchased through it” policy has forced Amazon and other e-book sellers to make their apps worse:
One argument I’ve heard is that Apple is, in theory, acting in
the customer’s best long-term interest here: iTunes is an
easier payment method than Amazon’s Kindle store, so Apple
should try to pressure companies to use iTunes for everything over
the long run. You know, starve the losers and feed the winners.
But that argument doesn’t hold up in reality. Amazon doesn’t
set its prices for e-books — book publishers do. There’s no
realistic room in its business to give Apple a 30% cut. Maybe 5%,
but not 30%. Same goes for many other services. So using iTunes is
Pretty much spot-on. That the e-book market is set up in a way that doesn’t allow for Apple’s 70/30 split is not Apple’s problem, however.
I think it’s reasonable for Apple not to allow App Store apps to sell content on their own, within the apps themselves. But I think a better compromise would be to allow linking to a store, so long as the links open in Safari rather than within the app itself. In the app: you play by Apple’s rules. On the web: anything goes.
(Worth noting: Frommer left Silicon Alley Insider a few weeks ago to strike out on his own with SplatF. I’m really enjoying it.)
Lukas Mathis on the iPhone’s Home Button ★
The rare case where I strongly disagree with Lukas Mathis. I think Apple has done very well with the iPhone home button. Perhaps the difference for me is that I spend almost all my time on the first two or three screens of apps. Those three screens I keep meticulously organized, and I don’t use folders on them. The rest of my screens are barely organized at all — full of apps I use but rarely and which I typically launch through the search feature.
Nathan Myhrvold, King of the Patent Trolls ★
Myhrvold, however, is now regularly writing columns in praise of
the glories of the U.S. patent system, about how technology
companies once ignored patents, and how it’s now coming back to
bite them. Myhrvold, a principal in a patent holding company,
somehow gets treated deferentially, in a way that, say, a hedge
fund manager talking about his largest position wouldn’t be. […]
What we have here, in short, is this: Myhrvold is happy to see
patent portfolios like Nortel’s being bid up because it
increases his own company’s value with its thousands of patents.
This is an arms-dealer applauding the outbreak of hostilities,
meanwhile pointing to people making war-like faces on the
sidelines. (Whoa, watch out for those guys!) This is far, far from
a disinterested observer of a fundamentally broken U.S. software
patent system. Let’s end the deference.
The Campaign for Real Monopoly ★
Critical Miss Gaming Society on Monopoly:
Because it’s crap. It takes ages to play, suffering long
action-free periods in which the players endlessly circle the
board in search of the streets they need to complete a set, and
lacks the interaction between players that we look for in a game.
In short, it’s boring and lacks skill.
Except that it isn’t crap. Actually. You just have to play it the
way it was designed to be played.
You just have to read the fucking rules.
I had no idea most people played without the auction rule. That’s the best part of the game. (Via Marco Arment, who has some good comments on the game.)
TidBITS’s Favorite Hidden Features in Mac OS X Lion ★
Nice list of Lion details.
Spatial Impossibilities in ‘The Shining’ ★
Mind-blowing. (Part two here.)
Why CrumplePop Is Betting Everything on Final Cut Pro X ★
CrumplePop, a professional video effects development shop:
Our conclusion is that FCP X will be the best option for the
largest number of professional editors going forward. We have
started to port all of our products to FCP X, and hope to have
this complete by late summer 2011. We won’t be supporting
James Surowiecki: ‘Why We Don’t Need a Debt Ceiling’ ★
In the past few years, the U.S. economy has been beset by the
subprime meltdown, skyrocketing oil prices, the Eurozone debt
crisis, and even the Tohoku earthquake. Now it’s staring at a
new problem—a failure to raise the debt ceiling, which would
almost certainly throw the economy back into recession. Unlike
those other problems, however, this one would be wholly of our own
making. If the economy suffers as a result, it’ll be what a
soccer fan might call the biggest own goal in history.
News Redux ★
In digital media — websites in particular — news outlets seldom
if ever treat content with any sort of dignity and most news sites
are wedded to a broken profit model that compels them to present a
nearly unusable mishmash of pink noise… which they call content.
Matt Gemmell: ‘Apps vs. the Web’ ★
Love this bit on “Frames of Interaction” and input scope:
We can cope with a surprisingly high degree of interaction
frames, but we’re not optimised for it. Try running an operating
system within a virtual machine, and tell me you’ve never made
an error of input scope, sending a command to the host instead of
the guest system or vice versa. Web apps within browsers are
essentially the same situation.
Really smart piece.
Update: Fireballed; cached here.
Why Google Cares if You Use Your Real Name ★
There’s a very simple business reason why Google cares if they have
your real name. It means it’s possible to cross-relate your account
with your buying behavior with their partners, who might be banks,
retailers, supermarkets, hospitals, airlines. To connect with your use
of cell phones that might be running their mobile operating system. To
provide identity in a commerce-ready way. And to give them information
about what you do on the Internet, without obfuscation of pseudonyms.
Simply put, a real name is worth more than a fake one.
I’ve Got It ★
Robert Cyran and Martin Hutchinson:
Microsoft needs to concentrate on a different kind of search:
finding a buyer for Bing, its online search business. Bing is the
industry’s distant No. 2 after Google. It has become a
distraction for the software giant — one that costs shareholders
dearly. The division that houses Bing lost $2.6 billion in the
latest fiscal year. Facebook, or even Apple, might make a better
home for Bing. A sale would be a boon for Microsoft’s investors.
This gives me an idea that could put Bing in the black for Microsoft. They charge pay-per-view admission to listen live to the phone call as Steve Ballmer calls Steve Jobs and pitches him on Apple buying Bing.
Adobe Shuts Down Its App Stores ★
Adobe is shutting down two of its app stores dedicated to mobile
and desktop application distribution, Adobe InMarket and the Adobe
Adobe had app stores?
Gary Hustwit’s Ten Westerns ★
It’s not my very favorite, but as I look at these lists, the one that’s in everyone’s top ten is John Ford’s The Searchers.
‘Look at That, You Son of a Bitch’ ★
Perspective, from Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell.
How Amazon Brought Their iOS Kindle App Into Compliance With Apple’s New Terms ★
The Amazon Kindle Team:
In order to comply with recent policy changes by Apple, we’ve also
removed the “Kindle Store” link from within the app that opened
Safari and took you to the Kindle Store. You can still shop as you
always have - just open Safari and go to
If you want, you can bookmark that URL. Your Kindle books will be
delivered automatically to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, just
There you go. This is the result of Apple putting its own interests ahead of those of its users. It’s certainly not drastic (as it would be if Amazon had pulled the app from the store entirely), but in no way can it be argued that this is an improvement for users.
Don’t Hold Your Breath ★
Cory Doctorow calls the new Samsung Galaxy Tab “meh”:
Ever since the iPad shipped, I’ve been waiting impatiently for a
comparable Android device to emerge — something of like shape,
size and capacity, but from a more open ecosystem than the one
I love these sort of reviews. I want an Apple-quality product without the Apple, and I’m sure I’ll get one soon.
Update: Doctorow also writes:
Samsung really doesn’t seem to have its head around the notion of
Android’s strength being its non-proprietary, open nature.
As Lessien quipped, how much does this matter to “people who don’t eat ZealotFlakes for breakfast”?
This American Life: When Patents Attack ★
Fantastic hour-long exposé on Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures, which comes out looking like the root of all evil in the U.S. software patent protection racket. Lodsys, of course, is one of their shell company fronts.
Kudos to Chris Sacca for having the stones to go on the record, calling Intellectual Ventures out for what it really is:
A mafia style shakedown, where someone comes in the front door of
your building and says, “It would be a shame if this place
burnt down. I know the neighborhood really well and I can make
sure that doesn’t happen.” And saying, “Pay us up.” Now
here’s, here’s what’s funny. If you talk to … when I’ve
seen Nathan speak publicly about this and when I’ve seen
spokespeople from Intellectual Ventures, they constantly remind
us that they themselves don’t bring lawsuits, that they
themselves are not litigators, that they’re a defensive player.
But the truth is that the threat of their patent arsenal can’t
actually be realized, that it can’t be taken seriously unless
they have that offensive posture, unless they’re willing to
assert those patents. And so it’s this very delicate balancing
act that is quite reminiscent of scenes you see in movies when
the mafia comes to visit your butcher shop and they say to you,
“Hey, it would be a real shame if somebody else came and sued
you. Tell you what, pay us an exorbitant membership fee into our
collective and we’ll keep you protected that way.” A
protection scheme isn’t that credible unless some butcher shops
burn down now and then.
The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling ★
It’s based on data from the Congressional Budget Office and the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Its significance is not
partisan (who’s “to blame” for the deficit) but intellectual. It
demonstrates the utter incoherence of being very concerned about
a structural federal deficit but ruling out of consideration the
policy that was largest single contributor to that deficit, namely
the Bush-era tax cuts.
Yeah, That’s the Ticket ★
Matt Burns, writing for AOL/TechCrunch:
Honeycomb tabs are living a life of obscurity, unable to get a
footing in the general consumer mindset, and are generally as
unlikable as an unloved middle sister. Why? Marketing. Apple
is good at it and Honeycomb tab makers are bad at it. It’s
First rule of marketing: have a great product or service to sell.
Larry Tesler on the History of Scrolling Direction on the Mac ★
The original Lisa and Mac vertical scroll arrows were at the top
and bottom of the vertical scroll bar, and the up-pointing arrow
moved the content down. I ran a user study in the early days of
Lisa development that informed that design.
Most (but not all) study participants expected to position the
mouse near the top of the window to bring the content hidden above
the top of the window into view. One reason was that they were
looking at the top of the window at the time. Another reason was
that they were more likely, as their next action, to select
content in the upper half of the window than in the lower half.
Consequently, we made the upper member of the arrow pair move the
content down. With apologies to computer architects, I’ll call the
majority whose expectations were met by this decision the
McDonald’s Wi-Fi Setup Instructions, Windows vs. Mac ★
There is no step four.
More Evidence of Low Sales of Android Tablets ★
Breakdown by Google of Android devices in use by screen size. “Xlarge” is defined as any screen 7 inches or larger. By Google’s count, only 0.9% of activated in-use devices are tablets. Multiply that by the 135 million total Android “devices” that Larry Page announced last week during Google’s quarterly analyst call, and you get 1.21 million tablets. Compare that to the 28.73 million iPads Apple sold through the end of June.
(Thanks to DF reader Thomas Scrace.)
Apple’s Strength in the College Market ★
The University of Texas publishes an annual report on its campus computer network, including breakdowns of usage by OS. iOS accounts for 83 percent of mobile devices; Android a distant second at 12. For “traditional wireless devices”, Mac OS X accounts for 52 percent; all versions of Windows combined: 47.
I’m linking to my own hosted screenshot of page 15; here’s the original 3.3 MB PDF document. (Thanks to DF reader Don Nunley for the link.)
What About the Price of Tea in China? ★
Don’t be surprised if you walk into the corner minimart one day soon and find that the corn dogs cost $1.50, instead of 99 cents. This will have nothing to do with spiraling health-care costs, fuel prices or the federal debt.
Blame Steve Jobs instead.
Microsoft-centric writers are losing their minds.
My thanks to Squrl for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Squrl is a new way to collect and organize video clips from across the web. Sign up for a free account and use the simple bookmarklet to collect videos from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and other services. You can also pull in video from links you see on Facebook and Twitter. Create playlists and shareable “channels”. Think of it as something like Instapaper or Reading List, but for video instead of reading.
Of course Squrl has an app for the iPad and iPhone — it’s free, and supports AirPlay for playback to Apple TV. Get started by visiting Squrl.com or downloading the app from the App Store.
Don’t Hold Your Breath on That Apple-Hulu Deal ★
If you stop by a Subaru dealer and end up kicking the tires on a
new Outback, are you in early talks to consider a bid on a new
Well, sure. But if you drive off the lot in your old Civic and
never come back, no one’s going to be shocked.
I just don’t see that Hulu has much that Apple would want. Streaming TV content rights, that’s about it. But content deals expire. I could see Apple working out a deal to get Hulu on Apple TV, like they have with Netflix, without buying the company.
‘Keep It Secret, Dude’ ★
Just posted: this week’s episode of The Talk Show. Topics include OS X Lion, scrolling direction, the new Mac hardware, and Tomorrow Never Dies. Special guest star: James Bond movie and Tuco’s Law expert Jonas Gruber.
Brought to you by the fine folks at The Omni Group and Harvest.
Stumbling Toward Disaster ★
David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush:
But in the argy-bargy, keep this in mind: the debt problem has
become a debt crisis for one reason only: because Republicans put
the threat of debt default on the table.
That never needed to happen.
House Republicans could have kept the debt ceiling issue wholly
separate from the budget cut issue.
The 2-Hour Post-PC Device ★
Kevin C. Tofel:
Fujitsu is launching a unique dual-mode smartphone tomorrow in
Japan that doubles as a handheld Windows 7 computer. Known as
the Fujitsu F-07C, the device works as a Symbian phone for
standard phone use, but can switch to Windows 7 with the touch of
a button, notes SlashGear.
Techniques for Voicemail Hacking ★
On a recent episode of The Talk Show, regarding the News Corp. voicemail-hacking scandal in the U.K., I wondered aloud just how these voicemail accounts were broken into. I got a slew of links from listeners, but I liked this overview by David Rogers. It’s appalling how easy some of this was.
Noted for Future Claim Chowder ★
Maxwell Wessel, Harvard Business Review:
iTunes as we know it is over. It is walking, talking, and
continuing to pretend it’s alive, but Spotify, Europe’s
outrageously successful streaming music product, has just shown us
Restore Safari’s Downloads Keyboard Shortcut ★
Downloads used to be shown in a completely separate window, which
could be toggled using the keyboard shortcut Cmd-Option-L. In
Lion, they appear in a popover panel attached to the toolbar of
whatever browser window you happen to be using. Unfortunately,
there is no keyboard shortcut to toggle the appearance of this
Using FastScripts and a simple UI Scripting script, I was able to
restore this functionality, so that Safari on Lion toggles the
appearance using the old familiar Cmd-Opt-L shortcut.
Bombing and Gun Attack in Norway ★
Elisa Mala and J. David Goodman, reporting for the NYT:
Powerful explosions shook central Oslo on Friday afternoon,
blowing out the windows of several government buildings, including
one housing the office of the Norwegian prime minister. The state
television broadcaster, citing the police, said seven people were
killed and at least 15 injured; a spokeswoman for the prime
minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said he was “safe and not hurt.”
Shortly after the explosions, which appeared to be a bomb attack,
a man dressed as a police officer opened fire on a summer camp for
young members of the ruling Labor Party on the island of Utoya in
the Oslo fjord, about 25 miles from the city, and wounded at least
five, a Norwegian security official said.
Good thoughts for everyone in Norway. The photos are painfully reminiscent of Oklahoma City.
Farewell Front Row ★
And yet, there’s been nary a peep about the termination of one
of the key features of Apple’s digital hub strategy: Front Row,
the media-center-on-the-Mac application that was wildly popular
until everyone seemed to forget that it was there. Today, install
Lion, mash Command-Escape, and what you get is absolutely nothing.
Making Desktop Web Apps in Lion ★
Automator — that singularly-awesome utility and infrastructure
for automating damned-near any task — has a new feature that
allows you to open any webpage inside a popup window. It’s so
easy to use and it’s so goddamned useful that I’m amazed
it’s not being promoted.
I love this feature.
MacBook Air Benchmarks ★
Mac Mini Benchmarks ★
MacMiniColo.net reviews the new Minis:
These new Mac minis are absolute screamers.
Looks like a great upgrade.
Bloomberg: ‘Apple Said to Consider Making Bid for Hulu’ ★
Andy Fixmer and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:
Apple Inc., sitting on $76.2 billion in cash and securities, is
considering making a bid for the Hulu online video service, two
people with knowledge of the auction said.
That’d be one way to get rid of Hulu’s Flash-based interface.
Microsoft Quarterly Results: $6 Billion in Profit ★
Seems they forgot to report the number of Windows Phone 7 sales.
Nokia Q2 Loss of Nearly €500 Million ★
Ingrid Lunden, PaidContent:
Nokia today reported an operating loss of €487 million for the
quarter, a decline of €782 million from the same quarter a year
ago, when it made an operating profit of €295 million. The
declines seen at the handset maker were near-total, represented by
a string of negative percentages down the balance sheet. […]
Every single device category saw declines in sales, from
smartphones to featurephones. Before today’s results were
posted, analysts thought the company would see a hit from reduced
demand for low-end devices, but it was actually the smartphones
that saw the biggest decline. That’s the counter point to
results from the likes of Apple, which is running away with
I say they’re toast. They’ve bet their future on Windows Phone 7, which though it looks good, doesn’t seem to be getting any traction in the market.
Apple: Lion Downloads Top One Million in First Day ★
Seems like the upgrade process is working well for people, too.
David Barnard: ‘Everyone Borrows, Google Flaunts It’ ★
In “Everything Is a Remix” Kirby Ferguson makes a compelling
and fascinating case that innovation and creativity lean heavily
on prior art. That’s always been the case in technology,
especially software, but I can’t recall a single company going
so far in “borrowing” from product after product as Google has
He cites Google+’s Facebook-likeness, and in particular the similarity of their respective iPhone apps.
Chrome Doesn’t Have Much Support for Lion Features ★
Chrome is a great browser, but it’s not (yet?) a good Mac browser. Better than Firefox ever was, though.
Strategy Analytics Tablet Market Share Numbers ★
Bloomberg, back in January:
Google Inc.’s Android software boosted its share of tablet
computers almost 10-fold in the fourth quarter, narrowing the lead
of Apple Inc.’s iPad, market researcher Strategy Analytics said.
Android devices captured 22 percent of global tablet shipments in
the three months to Dec. 31, up from 2.3 percent in the preceding
quarter, the Boston-based researcher said in a statement today.
The iPad accounted for 75 percent of shipments in the period, down
from about 95 percent, it said.
That’s the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab, the one that ran the non-tablet Android 2.3. And these sort of reports are what led to the whole sell-in/sell-out thing with Samsung later that month. So it seems pretty clear that today’s numbers from Strategy Analytics only reflect how many tablets are being put on the market, not how many are actually being sold to customers.
Arrington: Google Tried to Buy Color for $200 Million ★
Mike Arrington, AOL/TechCrunch:
About the same time, multiple sources have confirmed, Google was
also making a run for Color, the mobile social network founded by
Bill Nguyen. This was well before Color launched, and Google was
looking at the company’s potential as well as the team. Google
offered $200 million for the company, according to our sources.
A confusing poorly-designed product but which collects a ton of personally identifying information about its users? Of course Google wanted to buy Color.
Russia Classifies Beer as Alcoholic ★
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill that
officially classifies beer as alcoholic.
Until now anything containing less than 10% alcohol in Russia has
been considered a foodstuff.
iPad and the Opportunity Ahead ★
According to Good Technology, which provides mobile device
management services to 49 of the Fortune 100 and 182 of the
Fortune 500, 27 percent of the mobile devices activated by its
enterprise customers during the second quarter of 2011 were
tablets. And most of those were iPads.
More than 95 percent, actually.
As I wrote in January, Apple is to the post-PC era what Microsoft and Intel combined were for the PC era. They control the dominant software platform and reap the majority of the profits from hardware. When people argue that Apple has somehow already grown as big as it can get, they’re not seeing the size of the opportunity that remains ahead. Imagine how big a combined Microsoft and Intel would have been 20 years ago. Then consider that the post-PC/mobile market is going to be bigger than the PC market.
Lion Security Improvements ★
“It’s a significant improvement, and the best way that I’ve
described the level of security in Lion is that it’s Windows 7,
plus, plus,” said Dino Dai Zovi, principal of security
consultancy Trail of Bits and the coauthor of The Mac Hacker’s
Handbook. “I generally tell Mac users that if they care about
security, they should upgrade to Lion sooner rather than later,
and the same goes for Windows users, too.”
Not a Good Sign for RIM ★
Tablets using Microsoft Corp software saw stronger sales than the
high-profile Playbook from BlackBerry maker Research In Motion in
the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.
Even though Microsoft has yet to launch a version of its Windows
software designed specifically for tablet computers it still
picked up a 4.6 percent share of the market in the second quarter
compared with a 3.3 percent share for Playbook, which is based on
RIM’s QNX software.
They say Android is up to 30 percent, and the iPad down to 61 percent, though. That doesn’t jibe at all with what I’ve seen with my own eyes on airplanes and in coffee shops. I see iPads everywhere. I’ve seen like maybe two or three Android tablets, total. If they’re selling one Android tablet for every two iPads, where are they? Other countries than the U.S., perhaps?
Update: Looks like those numbers are for units shipped, not units sold. Except that for Apple those numbers are one and the same, because they’re selling iPads as fast as they can make them. Judging by Google’s own numbers for Android OS versions in use, it sure seems like a lot of Android 3 tablets are sitting on store shelves.
Panic Introduces the World’s First Emoji Domain ★
What a crappy idea.
Nice to Meet You, Too, Steve ★
From Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller:
The story goes that ESPN president George Bodenheimer attended the
first Disney board meeting in Orlando, Florida, just after the
company had bought Pixar, the innovative animation factory, and
spotted Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a hallway. It seemed like a good
time to introduce himself. “I am George Bodenheimer,” he said
to Jobs. “I run ESPN.” Jobs just looked at him and said
nothing other than “Your phone is the dumbest fucking idea I
have ever heard,” then turned and walked away.
That would be this phone, I believe, on which ESPN and Disney wound up losing $135 million. (Thanks to Beau Colburn.)
Save Sheet Shortcuts in Lion ★
Matt Gemmell on the new keyboard shortcut for the “Don’t Save” button in the standard sheet that appears when you close a document with unsaved changes — it used to be Command-D, but now it’s Command-Delete:
Since the user will probably associate Command-S with saving (it
triggers the Save menu command, after all), it makes sense to also
assign that shortcut to the Save button within the sheet. However,
that creates a problem: the previously-standard Command-D shortcut
for “Don’t Save” puts two opposing commands on adjacent keys
(since S and D are adjacent on a QWERTY keyboard).
It would be unacceptable to invite the inevitable physical slips
this would case, so “Don’t Save” is now triggered by
Command-Backspace (which is an excellent shortcut, since not
saving means your document’s contents will be deleted, in a
sense, and hitting Command-Backspace is slightly more difficult
than hitting Command-D).
He’s right that Command-Delete is safer for a destructive shortcut, but there’s another reason for the change. In previous versions of Mac OS X, choosing Save in this sheet would then open a second sheet, the standard Save dialog box. In Lion, this confirmation sheet has been combined with the Save dialog box. And in the standard Save sheet, the shortcut Command-D has always been a shortcut for changing the Save destination to your desktop. That’s still the case. So it’s not that Command-D no longer works in this sheet, it’s that it now means “change the location to the desktop”.
Lion is the eighth landmark new-big-cat-name release of Mac OS X in a little over ten years. There’s a pattern to these releases. Rumors, anticipation, release. Many things have changed in the interim. Apple’s industry stature, the size of the Mac user base, the relative position and importance of the Mac in Apple’s overall product lineup, the App Store.
But one thing has stayed the same: John Siracusa’s splendidly deep, obsessively detailed, spot-on accurate reviews of each release. Lion, happily, is no different.
(But from the things-that-have-changed department: this time you can buy Siracusa’s Lion review as a $4.99 Kindle book. (And make no mistake — it’s book-length.) Use that link and Siracusa himself will get an extra kickback from Amazon.)
Apple Launches Business App Store for Volume Purchases ★
Enterprise software sales, Apple-style.
Speaking of Giving Money Back to Apple Shareholders ★
Verne G. Kopytoff, reporting for the NYT:
As one example of its success, Apple turned its tablet into a $6
billion business in the quarter. That is twice as big as Dell’s
entire consumer PC business.
From the Claim Chowder Hall of Fame, circa 1997:
And at the Gartner Symposium and ITxpo97 here today, the CEO of
competitor Dell Computer added his voice to the chorus when asked
what could be done to fix the Mac maker. His solution was a
“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the
shareholders,” Michael Dell said before a crowd of several
thousand IT executives.
Bottom Ten Westerns ★
Rather than try to one-up their selections I’m going to
one-down them. Herewith, then, are the Top Ten Worst Westerns.
You can tell he’s right on most of these, from the posters alone.
Stuart Carlton on Apple’s Cash Hoard ★
Richman’s wrong here. Using cash to buy back stock is an
excellent way to increase shareholder value, assuming that the
stock in question is undervalued. If a stock is undervalued, each
dollar of buyback creates more than one dollar of value. It’s
like buying dollar bills for, say, 75 cents. There is a good
argument that AAPL is undervalued right now. If so, buybacks would
create shareholder value.
The problem with the MSFT and RIMM buybacks was that the
companies were buying back stock that was overvalued. The problem
wasn’t the strategy (buybacks), but the execution (buying back
Makes sense. I.e. Apple should buy back Apple stock for the same reason any investor should buy Apple stock: it’s a good investment.
Update: To be clear, I’m not saying I think Apple should do a buyback. I’m just saying I agree with Carlton that Apple, with an undervalued stock today, would be in a different (better) position if they were to do a buyback today.
MG Siegler: ‘The MacBook Is Dead. Long Live the (New) MacBook Air.’ ★
He likes it:
Everything I loved about the last iteration of the Air holds true
here as well. The battery life is excellent. Apple says the
13-inch model should last 7 hours during regular web usage, I’ve
been seeing just shy of that after heavy usage. (The 11-inch model
is said to get the same 5-hour battery life as the previous
iteration.) Thanks to the Flash storage drive, the machine boots
up in roughly 12 seconds. And it awakens from sleep instantly.
Standby mode is still up to 30 days with this battery.
Matt Richman on Apple’s Cash Hoard ★
Matt Richman on the common refrain that Apple needs to spend its cash on stock buybacks and shareholder dividends:
No. As Horace Dediu pointed out, when technology companies institute stock buybacks, they don’t create a lot of shareholder value, if any at all. Microsoft has spent a little more than $97 billion on buybacks since 2004 and its share price has gone up less than 10%. Over the last 10 years, it has spent over $170 billion on both buybacks and dividends while MSFT has gone down 19.92%. At the same time, networking giant Cisco has returned $50.7 billion to shareholders since the beginning of 2004 while its share price has dropped 35.58%. Additionally, RIM’s stock price has plummeted 21.16% since it announced a share buyback program less than 30 days ago, on June 16th. Though other factors certainly could have played a part in the depreciation of the share prices of the aforementioned companies, using cash for stock buybacks and dividends clearly isn’t the best way to increase shareholder value.
‘The Product Has Not Been Sold’ ★
Those “smart cases” for the Galaxy Tab? Too big a knock-off even for Samsung.
$10 says the only “mistake” was putting a Samsung logo on the packaging.
‘Insurance, Loans, Mortgage’ ★
Analysis by the SEO hucksters at WordStream of the most profitable keywords for Google AdSense. Their pie chart is an atrociously bad infographic — the total pie doesn’t correspond to Google’s total ad revenue, but rather to the total revenue from just the top 20 keywords.
But it’s fascinating to me that Google makes so much of its money from spammy words like “insurance”, “loans”, “mortgage”, “attorney”, “credit”, and “lawyer”.
Lion Recovery ★
Essential knowledge for all Mac users:
OS X Lion includes a new feature called Lion Recovery that
includes all of the tools you need to reinstall Lion, repair your
disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup without the need
for optical discs.
This is how you can troubleshoot and reinstall Lion without a DVD or USB stick installer. Yes, in August, Apple is going to start selling Lion on USB sticks. But I think most of us really will be able to get by without them. That’s why the USB stick installers are going to cost $69, a $40 markup over the App Store download. Apple wants us to go download-only.
Scrollvetica is a free app from my friend Jim Correia, which he wrote while using the developer seeds of Lion:
If you spend part of your time living in the future, with default
Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad settings, you may find it difficult
to switch between the future and the present and maintain any sort
of input device sanity.
Scrollvetica is a simple hack which inverts all scrolling events
on Snow Leopard such that the effective scroll direction is in the
direction of finger movement.
My number one Lion tip: No matter how wrong it feels, stick with the new trackpad scrolling direction. Give it a week. At first it will drive you far crazier than you expect, but then you’ll get used to it.
I tested the Lion seeds on my secondary Mac, a then-brand-new-but-as-of-today-not-so-new 11-inch MacBook Air. The inverted trackpad scrolling drove me nuts. But after a week or so, it felt right. If you’re going to be using both Lion and Snow Leopard for now, running Scrollvetica on Snow Leopard will help you switch.
(There’s also Scroll Reverser, a free app from Pilotmoon that pretty much does the same thing. And if you’re stuck using Windows, maybe this will work for you there.)
A Princely Sum ★
Remember way back yesterday afternoon, when Apple released another quarter of blowout financial numbers? Here’s a bit from Horace Dediu on Apple’s ever-growing cash hoard.
Really, just go to the Asymco home page and read it top to bottom. It’ll make you smarter. Seriously, just look at this piece from Dediu analyzing how he vastly underestimated the number of iPhones Apple would sell last quarter:
So we are witnessing a pivotal moment in the product’s strategy.
By slightly lifting off the gas in terms of product cycle, Apple
actually set the iPhone loose. The imposition of a yearly cycle on
the product coupled with unlimited demand caused it to be
I.e., the evidence strongly suggests that by not releasing a new iPhone in June, Apple sold more iPhones.
Joshua Allen, Writer for Hire ★
If your problem is that you need not a good writer but a great one, your problem is now solved.
OS X Lion Server on the Mac App Store ★
$50 add-on to Lion.
Safari 5.1 ★
Snow Leopard release of the same new version of Safari as in Lion. Don’t let the .1 fool you, this is a major release. Not sure why it’s a manual download/install only, instead of an automatic software update for Snow Leopard users. Maybe that’s coming soon?
Update: A few hours later, and it’s now rolling out via Software Update.
Top Ten Westerns ★
Jim Coudal’s list of top ten westerns, in response to his re-linking to Mike Royko’s list in a classic 1997 column.
I’ll go with, unordered: Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (maybe the only trilogy where each successive film was better than the last), Rio Bravo, The Searchers, Unforgiven, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Once Upon a Time in the West. Lots of overlap with Jim’s list, unsurprisingly, but I’ve got the whole Leone/Eastwood trilogy and he doesn’t. The only one on my list made in my lifetime is Unforgiven, and most of the movies in spots 11-20 could easily slip into my top ten, depending on my mood.
iWork 9.1 Update ★
Free update for the iWork suite:
Adds support for Mac OS X Lion, including:
- Auto Save
- Character picker
These are significant new features — the iWork apps now take advantage of the best new stuff in Lion.
Jim Dalrymple Talks to Apple Executives About Lion and Today’s New Mac Hardware ★
With the release of the new MacBook Air came the demise of the
white MacBook. Apple said it made sense after seeing the trends of
“One of the things we saw is that the MacBook Air was simply
more popular than the MacBook,” said Moody. “It does more in
half the weight and in half the volume.”
The one advantage the white MacBooks had over the Airs is that hard drives store more data than flash drives. That’s it. Hard drives are going the way of the dodo, though.
A new Mac mini was also released with faster processors, and
surprisingly to some people, no optical drive. Apple said the
popularity of the Mac App Store helped with that decision.
“We found that the majority of customers don’t use the optical
drive on a regular basis,” said Moody. “Things are changing.
The primary use for the optical drive was to install software, but
the Mac App Store provides a more efficient method for doing
Optical drives are the new floppy drives.
Counterfeit Apple Stores in China ★
Love That New OS Smell ★
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is on the App Store.
Transcript of Tim Cook’s Comments During Today’s Analyst Call ★
Tim Cook, as quoted by Macworld:
I think the Android activation number is a difficult one to get
our hands around. Because unlike our numbers, which you can kind
of go to our data sheet, and add the iPhones and iPads, and make a
reasonable approximation of the iPod touch—which we said is over
half of our iPod sales—you can quickly see that in June quarter
we sold over 33 million iOS devices. And across time… we’re
now over 222 million cumulative iOS devices. So we think this is
incredible. So our numbers are very straightforward, they’re
transparent, and they’re reported quarterly.
Translation: “We don’t think Google’s ‘activation’ numbers translate directly to ‘devices sold’.”
And if you read between the lines in Cook’s comments on the prepaid market, he seems to be hinting strongly that Apple is going to soon pursue the unlocked market with a lower-priced no-contract iPhone. Maybe the iPod Touch goes away, replaced by a $249 or $299 no-contract iPhone?
FBI Arrests College Students, Cashiers, and a Landscaper for ‘Anonymous’ Hacks ★
Ryan J. Reilly:
A total of 16 people with ties to the “hacktivist” group
“Anonymous” were arrested by the FBI on Monday. Fourteen of them
were charged in connection with an attack on PayPal, which was
targeted by “Anonymous” because the website suspended the account
of WikiLeaks after it released classified State Department
Many of those arrested individuals form a motley crew of cashiers
and college students, according to their Facebook profiles and
frequent appearances on online message boards. Scott Arciszewski,
arrested today in Florida, was a Sears sales associate who quickly
took his website offline because his “parents don’t need the
Sears Mistakenly Advertises iPad 2 for $69 ★
John Cox, Network World:
No, you can’t buy an iPad 2 for $69, or even $179. But the
mistaken, wildly low prices by a third-party reseller on Sears’
website has triggered an acrimonious debate on the retailer’s
Facebook page, with nearly 400 customers weighing in. […]
The critics insist that Sears and GSM On Sale should honor the ad
pricing even though it was a mistake. “your company should’ve
honored their word and sold those IPads for $69 and stop being so
greedy!! Think about the consumer who keeps you in business
instead of always looking for ways to make a profit!” was posted
by Kellee Whipple.
I don’t think Sears is the greedy one here.
Apple’s Revenue by Product Line Since 2005 ★
The slope on the cumulative revenue line is astounding. And note that the iPad, in just five quarters, has passed the Mac. (Thanks to Jason Snell; see Macworld’s coverage for more graphs.)
I Still Believe in Murphy’s Law ★
An oldie but goodie from the DF archives four years ago: my recommendations for installing major Mac OS X software updates:
So, in short:
- Do a complete backup clone to an external FireWire drive.
- Test that the backup is indeed bootable and up to date.
- Unplug the backup drive.
- Pop in the installer DVD and launch the “Install Mac OS
Step 4 has been obviated by the App Store, of course, but steps 1-3 still stand. Do not assume that going from 10.6 to 10.7 will be an easy or seamless transition. If you really want to be prepared, check out Joe Kissell’s $10 e-book, Take Control of Upgrading to Lion.
MacRumors on Apple’s Quarterly Results ★
Look at the slope on that first graph.
Ryan Singel on the Feds’ Case Against Aaron Swartz ★
But the feds clearly think they have a substantial hacking case on
their hands, even though Swartz used guest accounts to access the
network and is not accused of finding a security hole to slip
through or using stolen credentials, as hacking is typically
In essence, Swartz is accused of felony hacking for violating MIT
and JSTOR’s terms of service.
Mac OS X Lion Will Launch Tomorrow ★
The cat’s out of the bag: During Apple’s third-quarter
financial earnings call Tuesday, chief financial officer Peter
Oppenheimer announced that Lion would debut Wednesday on the Mac
If I had to guess, I’d say early in the morning, like, say, 5:30a PT / 8:30a ET.
Maybe Next Quarter ★
Eric Raymond, 89 days ago:
The question is no longer whether Android can be stopped, but when
Apple’s market share will fall off a cliff. I think that could
easily happen as soon as the next 90 days; one of the patterns in
technology disruptions is that collapse often follows the
victim’s best quarter ever.
The Company sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter,
representing 142 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.
Apple Third Quarter Results: Revenue Up 82 Percent, Profits Up 125 Percent ★
The Company sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter,
representing 142 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.
Apple sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter, a 183 percent
unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 3.95
million Macs during the quarter, a 14 percent unit increase over
the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 7.54 million iPods, a 20 percent
unit decline from the year-ago quarter.
20 million iPhones in the quarter, 142 percent year-over-year growth. For a product that, just four years ago, many doubted that Apple would be able to sell 10 million of per year. Note too that even the iPod Touch can’t halt the collapse of the iPod. On the analyst call, Peter Oppenheimer stated that the iPod Touch account for “over half” of iPod sales. The iPhone is the iPod killer.
These are blowout numbers even by Apple’s standards. The stock is up to over $400 (6 percent gain) in after-hours trading.
Wall Street Journal Publishes Story on Apple CEO Succession ★
Yukari Iwatani Kane, Joann S. Lublin, and Nick Wingfield, reporting for the WSJ:
Since Steve Jobs went on medical leave this winter, some members
of Apple Inc.’s board have discussed CEO succession with executive
recruiters and at least one head of a high-profile technology
company, according to people familiar with the matter.
The conversations weren’t explicitly aimed at recruiting a new
chief executive and were more of an informal exploration of the
company’s options, said these people. The directors don’t appear
to have been acting on behalf of the full board, some of these
people said. Apple has seven directors, including Mr. Jobs.
It is also unclear whether Mr. Jobs was aware. In response to
questions from The Wall Street Journal about the discussions, Mr.
Jobs said Monday in an email, “I think it’s hogwash.”
To say that the timing of this story — published 24 minutes before Apple announces its quarterly results — is suspicious is an understatement.
Bringing in an outsider to replace Jobs would be catastrophic. If Jobs steps down any time soon, his successor will be, or at least should be, Tim Cook. The only other names that make sense are all on this page — and none of them are in the middle row.
Value Thresholds ★
David Gelles, reporting for The Financial Times on Eric Schmidt’s criticism of Apple, Microsoft, and RIM for (in Gelles’s words) “spending richly on patents rather than innovating”:
Google opened the bidding for the more than 6,000 Nortel patents
in April with an offer of $900m. After a bidding war ensued, the
search group was eventually outgunned by the consortium, which
together paid $4.5bn. “The price exceeded our value
threshold,” Mr Schmidt said.
Apparently Google had a different “value threshold” when they sought to buy Groupon:
Google’s much-rumored acquisition of Groupon is off, we’ve
confirmed with a source with knowledge of the deal. The news was
reported earlier by Chicago Breaking Business, and we’ve
verified that the deal is indeed off.
The two companies have been in serious negotiations for at least
the last week, with reports stating that Google was bidding as
much as $6 billion for the red-hot local deals company.
Back to Gelles’s story on Schmidt and Google:
“We chose not to bid at that level. I presume people spent
$4.5bn to do something with them,” he said of the group that
bought the bankrupt communication equipment maker’s patents.
“They didn’t just wake up and say ‘oh, we’d like to have
this patent portfolio’. I don’t know what their intent is, but
we, as a company, worry that this is an attempt to use patents
rather than to innovate.”
Translation: Google, as a company, is worried that Android violates one or more of the Nortel patents.
BBEdit 10 ★
Huge update to my favorite app of all time. Available for a limited time for just $40. I’ve been beta-testing 10 for months and at this point I couldn’t bear to go back to version 9.
Aaron Swartz Indicted, Charged With Data Theft ★
Nick Bilton, writing for the NYT Bits blog:
Aaron Swartz, a 24-year-old programmer and online political
activist, was indicted Tuesday in Boston on charges that he stole
over four million documents from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and JSTOR, an archive of scientific journals and
The charges were filed by the United States Attorney for the
District of Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, and could result in up
to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
In a press release, Ms. Ortiz’s office said that Mr. Swartz
broke into a restricted area of M.I.T. and entered a computer
wiring closet. Mr. Swartz apparently then accessed the M.I.T.
computer network and stole millions of documents from JSTOR.
Demand Progress, the political activism group Swartz founded, has a response:
“This makes no sense,” said Demand Progress Executive Director
David Segal; “it’s like trying to put someone in jail for
allegedly checking too many books out of the library.”
“It’s even more strange because the alleged victim has settled
any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or
damage, and asked the government not to prosecute,” Segal added.
They don’t address the charge that Swartz “broke into a restricted area of M.I.T. and entered a computer wiring closet”, but the fact that MIT/JSTOR apparently asked the government not to prosecute seems compelling.
Update: Via Jason Levine, here’s a copy of the indictment. The damning bit:
On January 4, 2011, Aaron Swartz was observed entering the
restricted basement network wiring closet to replace an external
hard drive attached to his computer. On January 6, 2011, Swartz
returned to the wiring closet to remove his computer equipment.
This time he attempted to evade identification at the entrance to
the restricted area. As Swartz entered the wiring closet, he held
his bicycle helmet like a mask to shield his face, looking through
ventilation holes in the helmet. Swartz then removed his computer
equipment from the closet, put it in his backpack, and left, again
masking his face with the bicycle helmet before peering through a
crack in the double doors and cautiously stepping out.
Google+ iPhone App Hits App Store ★
An interesting app for a service I do not enjoy. It does not solve my fundamental problem with Google+, which is that it feels like work to use.
Google’s iOS mobile team has developed their own UI idioms for their iOS apps. Part of that is their own visual aesthetic, but there’s more to it than how it looks. It’s certainly not Android-like, but it’s not iOS-like either. For example, this Google+ app uses left-right swiping to change views in your “Stream”. I see three: Incoming, Circles, and Nearby. The idiomatic iOS design for this would be a tab controller at the bottom with three tabs, one for each view. Google+ has a thin header at the top of the view, showing all three, with the current view in the middle, in a slightly larger font size. To switch from, say, Circles to Nearby, you swipe left. But you can keep swiping left, left, left to cycle around, like a carousel.
I’m not going to argue that this sort of UI experimentation is wrong. It’s just that in this case, I don’t like it personally. Compare and contrast with, say, apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot. Both those apps use custom controls and sound effects, but their customization is mostly aesthetic. At a wireframe level, both Twitterrific and Tapbots follow common iOS design patterns: you tap to change views, you swipe to move content within the current view.
The Google+ app feels like it was designed by people who don’t like the standard iPhone design idioms. And stuff like the button order here is just plain awful. Update: Bizarrely, the app doesn’t work on the iPod Touch; only iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4.
The Obamas Watch the Women’s World Cup ★
Even the President of the United States needs two remote controls. Looks like an iPad next to his chair, a MacBook Pro under the First Lady’s feet, and a Flip camera next to the remotes.
AppleInsider: Lion, New MacBook Airs to Be Released Wednesday ★
Neil Hughes, AppleInsider:
According to people with proven track records who would be in a
position to know, the new product launches are set to occur later
this week. Specifically, one person said the products would be
released on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
Borders Goes Under ★
Mike Spector and Jeffrey A Trachtenberg, reporting for the WSJ:
Borders, which employs about 10,700 people, scrapped a
bankruptcy-court auction scheduled for Tuesday amid the dearth
of bids. It said it would ask a judge Thursday to approve a sale
to liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon
The company said liquidation of its remaining 399 stores could
start as soon as Friday, and it is expected to go out of business
for good by the end of September.
My home has shelves and shelves of books purchased from Borders.
Reading on the iPad ★
And so — perhaps intentionally, or perhaps unintentionally —
digital magazines that replicate their printed versions are, in
some ways, feeding on the mindset that printed content has a
higher value and novelty than digital content does.
I think it’s simply a reflection of what the magazines’ editorial staffs actually believe: that the print edition is the “real” version of the magazine.
To Blanc’s list of things he seeks in iPad magazines, I’ll add two:
Reasonable download sizes. A copy of The New Yorker should not weigh 150 MB. That takes way too long over a slow Wi-Fi connection, let alone 3G (and 3G is metered on the iPad — some iPad 3G users only have 250 MB total data per month). Books from the Kindle and iBooks stores generally weigh in at 10 MB or so. You should be able to download a copy of magazine quickly over 3G. Condé Nast would never ship the paper magazine in a box that weighs 50 pounds. But that’s exactly what their digital editions feel like.
Resolution independence. These magazines and newspapers that render each “page” as a static 1024 × 768 image are going to look like utter ass on the iPad 3’s 2048 × 1536 retina display. Plus, it’s the fact that these pages are rendered as static images that makes the issues such gargantuan downloads.
Ian Betteridge on Google’s ‘Openness’ ★
Some of their efforts are extremely valuable: for example, while I
think WebM is crapola, it’s valuable to have a freely-licensable
codec that will (hopefully) be widely supported. I doubt that
MPEG-LA would have been as generous with the terms for H.264 as
they are currently had Google not waved the big stick. And
that’s an area where there’s little direct revenue implication
Agreed, up to the last sentence. Google, as the owner of YouTube, must serve more H.264 video than any other entity on the planet. More generous licensing terms from MPEG-LA surely must have a “direct revenue implication” for Google.
And that’s the issue: Having invoked the magic “open” word,
you’re a hostage to fortune. Any time that the rational decision
is “don’t be open” (as it is, arguably, with Honeycomb’s
source) sneering naysayers like me will be on your case, whacking
you over the head.
Don’t forget the hypocrisy though. It was exactly the issue of the openness of Android’s source code that Andy Rubin called the “definition of open”.
Samsung Galaxy Tab Smart Case ★
Looks familiar. Can’t quite place where I’ve seen something like this before, though.
(Great digging by Christian Zibreg at 9to5 Mac on this story.)
Good News From Steve Dorner ★
Remember back in January, when Eudora-creator Steve Dorner announced he’d been diagnosed with cancer? Good news:
I had another PET CT on Monday, and received the results today.
The remaining lump is no longer hypermetabolically active and is
probably just scar tissue.
There will be another PET CT in three months to reconfirm, but it
looks like I’m in remission.
Josh Topolsky Interviews HP’s Stephen DeWitt and Jon Rubinstein on WebOS, the Death of Palm, and Partnering With Amazon ★
I tried reading this and couldn’t get past the bureaucratic-ese. Seems like wheel-spinning.
Update: Scroll about halfway through and it does get a little juicier. To be clear, I think Topolsky asked good questions throughout; it’s the long non-answers from DeWitt and Rubinstein that got to me. The back-and-forth between Topolsky and Rubinstein on the upcoming TouchPad 4G, and why in the world it would have a faster processor than the just-released regular TouchPad, is worth it.
Unrest at the Huffington Post.
The Rise and Fall of the Independent Developer ★
The scary part is that these infringements can happen with any
part of our products or websites: things that you’d never
imagine being a violation of someone else’s intellectual
property. It feels like coding in a mine field.
From our experience, it’s entirely possible that all the revenue
for a product can be eaten up by legal fees. After years of
pouring your heart and soul into that product, it’s devastating.
It makes you question why the hell you’re in the business: when
you can’t pay salaries from product sales, there’s no point in
building it in the first place.
In a nut, the App Store is so popular that it’s attracting sharks, and the sharks are making it too expensive for indies.
Paraphrasing/Rewriting vs. Aggregation ★
Simon Dumenco wrote this column for AdAge last month about the Twitter trending popularity of Apple’s WWDC announcements vs. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s weenie-pic scandal. It got picked up by Techmeme, and then by the Huffington Post:
HuffPo’s aggregation, titled “Anthony Weiner vs. Steve Jobs: Who
Won On Twitter?”, consisted of basically a short but thorough
paraphrasing/rewriting of the Ad Age post — using the same set-up
(i.e., pointing out that Apple had the misfortune of presenting
its latest round of big announcements on the same day Weiner
resigned from Congress) and the bulk of the data presented in the
original Ad Age piece. HuffPo closed out its post with “See more
stats from Ad Age here” — a disingenuous link, because HuffPo had
already cherrypicked all the essential content. HuffPo clearly
wanted readers to stay on its site instead of clicking through to
So what does Google Analytics for AdAge.com tell us? Techmeme
drove 746 page views to our original item. HuffPo — which of
course is vastly bigger than Techmeme — drove 57 page views.
As Gabe Rivera (the guy behind Techmeme) argues here, Dumenco has an interesting comparison here, and his main point is absolutely spot on: there is no ancillary benefit to having a massive site like Huffington Post rewrite your story, even if they include a link, because almost none of their readers click such links. They’re stealing attention.
But Dumenco shouldn’t be calling what The Huffington Post did (and does, all day, every day) “aggregation”. Paraphrasing/rewriting is not aggregation.
MG Siegler on the Competitive Implications of Amazon’s Purported Upcoming Tablet ★
He sees it as much more of a threat to Google than to Apple:
That’s why Google should be scared shitless of this Amazon
tablet. Thanks to the “openness” of Android, Google has handed
Amazon the keys to the Android kingdom. Amazon is going to launch
a tablet that runs Android, but it will be fully Amazon’d. It
will use Amazon’s Appstore, it will use Amazon movies, it will
use Amazon books, it will use Amazon music, etc. Google will have
no control over this, even though it will be the seminal Android
tablet. That would be terrifying for any brand.
I’ve heard talk about Amazon’s Android skunkworks project for over a year. The gist of the whispers I’ve heard is that they’re not planning to use a stock version of Android, but instead they’ve more or less forked the OS, using Google’s Android as a foundation for Amazon’s tablet OS. Presumably, the Amazon Appstore is a sign that Amazon’s Android OS will be app-compatible with Android as we know it, but I don’t expect much if any Google branding or apps.
Barnes and Noble has already done the same thing with the Nook, but I suspect Amazon has something more ambitious in the works.
WSJ: Amazon Plans iPad Rival in Coming Months ★
Stu Woo and Yukari Iwatani Kane, reporting for the WSJ:
Amazon.com Inc. plans to introduce a tablet computer before
October, said people familiar with the matter, in a move that will
heighten the online retailer’s rivalry with Apple Inc.
The Seattle-based company will also release two updated versions
of its popular Kindle electronic reader in the third quarter of
the year, the people said. One will be a touch-screen device. The
other won’t have a touch screen, but will be an improved and
cheaper adaptation of the current Kindle, said people who have
seen the device.
I wonder if Amazon thinks of tablets as PCs.
Apple Announces App Store Volume Purchasing for Business ★
Whether you’re providing apps to two employees or ten thousand,
the Volume Purchase Program makes it simple to find, buy, and
distribute the apps your business needs.
The Volume Purchase Program also provides a way to purchase
custom B2B apps built by third-party developers to meet the unique
needs of your business.
Interesting. Wonder how approval will work for these B2B apps?
Bancroft Family Members Express Regrets at Selling Wall Street Journal to Murdoch ★
Richard Tofel, ProPublica:
“If I had known what I know now, I would have pushed harder
against” the Murdoch bid, said Christopher Bancroft, a member of
the family which controlled Dow Jones & Company, publishers of The
Wall Street Journal. Bancroft said the breadth of allegations now
on the public record “would have been more problematic for me. I
probably would have held out.” Bancroft had sole voting control of
a trust that represented 13 percent of Dow Jones shares in 2007
and served on the Dow Jones Board.
How in the world could anyone have suspected four years ago that Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. — the company behind Fox News — might not be stewards of journalistic integrity?
Guess I Was Wrong About the ‘Slowly’ Part ★
Speaking of AOL/TechCrunch, here’s Dave Feldman on the process behind their new branding and website design:
As Michael Arrington posted on Friday I’m Dave Feldman, and
I’ve been acting as product manager for the TechCrunch redesign
since the beginning of 2011. The project began last fall
before AOL’s acquisition of TechCrunch. By December it needed
product management — providing feedback and direction to the
design agency (Code & Theory), defining product requirements,
understanding TechCrunch’s unusually collaborative editorial
process, determining information architecture, and ultimately
coordinating the development and launch. Mike asked AOL’s Brad
Garlinghouse for a product manager & project lead. He turned to
AOL’s head of Consumer Experience, Matte Scheinker (my
manager). Matte’s team specializes in “strategic projects”
where additional product, design, and/or process expertise is
needed. He agreed to take on the project and put me on the case.
After Arrington sold TechCrunch to AOL, I expected AOL to slowly but surely saddle them with a bunch of “biz-dev” jerkoffs and institutional bureaucracy.
More on AllThingsD and Linking/Crediting ★
MG Siegler, on this Ina Fried report for AllThingsD that’s seemingly based on a TechCrunch story but gives no link or credit to TechCrunch:
But here’s the problem. Fried reports it as happening “last
week”, but that’s not true at all. The spin-off actually
happened six weeks ago. I knew this information when I wrote the
story, but I didn’t include it, because I didn’t think it was
particularly relevant. But it has turned out to be a great trap!
What Fried is essentially saying by saying “last week” is that
she read our report from last week and assumed it happened at that
time (a fair assumption, but an incorrect one!). How can one do
such a thing and still get away without citing or linking? Well,
it’s clearly a pattern of jackassery.
He tacks on a link to this other story, which does mention TechCrunch reporting, but doesn’t include a link to the article.
EA Buys PopCap for $750 Million in Cash and Stock ★
Would this have happened if not for iOS?
Clever idea, nicely presented: Marked is a Mac app that gives you a Markdown preview from any text editor. $2.99 on the App Store.
‘They’re Selling a Screen With a Giant Calculator Attached to It. It’s Not a Cool Device Anymore.’ ★
Terrific inside look at RIM by Jonathan Geller at BGR, based on interviews with current and former employees at the company:
RIM was hoping to blow through the 500,000 units and have carriers
take orders for millions of additional PlayBooks, but that has not
happened yet. Mike Lazaridis looks at it as, why aren’t people
buying this tablet when it has the most powerful engine with
respect to multitasking, and supports Flash? But consumers have
spoken pretty loudly a number of times, and Mike unfortunately
leads the product side and continues to miss the mark with the
masses, a former RIM executive told me. “I don’t even see
anyone in Waterloo walking around with a PlayBook that doesn’t
work for RIM,” another former RIM employee said.
What Would Don Draper Do? ★
This calls for a drink.
Why Taylor Martin Switched From an HTC ThunderBolt to an iPhone 4 ★
Taylor Martin, writing at PhoneDog:
Seeing as I’m not exactly a big fan of the Cupertino-based
company, a lot of people were surprised when they discovered I had
switched back to the dark side. But to be honest, it was a much
wanted and needed switch that had to be made. The ThunderBolt –
despite being a great device – has been driving me crazy for the
past three months.
He cites five reasons: design, stability, battery life, apps, and camera.
Other than that, how’d you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
Update: Don’t miss the comment thread on this one.
Martin Burgers ★
Dean Martin’s recipe for hamburgers. Sounds perfect.
Microsoft: Windows 7 Hits 400 Million Licenses Sold ★
Todd Bishop, for GeekWire:
At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles this morning,
Microsoft updated its Windows 7 sales figures — saying that the
current version of its operating system has sold 400 million
licenses, significantly outpacing Windows XP’s growth over the
same period of its life.
HP’s Tortured WebOS Positioning ★
The less-than-perfect features widely remarked upon by reviewers
will be taken care Real Soon Now. According to Walt Mossberg’s
TouchPad review, “H-P acknowledges most of these problems
and says it is already working on a webOS update, to be delivered
wirelessly in three to six weeks that will fix nearly all of
But, wait a minute, if the bugs can be exterminated so quickly,
why didn’t HP wait “three to six weeks” and execute the
perfect launch promised by their CEO? Did Apotheker get to test
the product himself and decide it met his standard for perfection,
or did his staff tell him bedtime stories?
Shawn Blanc Reviews the HP TouchPad ★
Copiously detailed review. Great eye for detail. A must-read if you’re intrigued at all by WebOS. Hard to pick a pull quote, but I’ll go with this one on the TouchPad’s support for Flash Player:
In theory, the TouchPad gives you “the full web”. In reality you get less.
Proposed Name for a Retina Display iPad 2: ‘iPad Pro’ ★
This new high-end model will be called iPad Pro, not iPad 2 Plus.
Why? Well, first Apple isn’t Samsung. The company doesn’t
add prefixes and suffixes except for ‘i’ and ‘Pro’.
If — and I think it’s a big if — Apple were to unveil an iPad 2 with a retina display, sold alongside the existing iPad 2 models as a premium option, then yeah, I think “iPad Pro” sounds about right.
But Apple still can’t make the existing iPads fast enough, and none of their competitors on the market seem to be making any dent in the market. So even if Apple could do a retina-display iPad this year, I’m not sure there’s any reason they should.
Android Could Be a Billion-Dollar Business, for Microsoft ★
Trefis Team, writing for Forbes:
All these patent agreements could generate revenues well in excess
of $1 billion for Microsoft by the end of 2012. Currently,
Microsoft Office and the Windows operating system are the most
valuable segments for Microsoft; however, Android could turn out
to be its next billion dollar business and one of its largest
revenue generators – surpassing the value of its own Windows 7
platform and perhaps Bing in the not too distant future.
Nice work if you can get it.
Bloomberg: Apple Cutting iAd Rates ★
Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:
Apple Inc.’s iAd mobile-advertising business has cut rates by as
much as 70 percent as some marquee clients are using rival
services, two people with knowledge of the matter said, signaling
the company is struggling to parlay its technology leadership into
success in the ad industry.
Are any developers making good money from iAd? I’m not aware of any.
During his introduction of iCloud in the WWDC keynote, after he revealed that the service would be free of charge and without ads, Steve Jobs said: “We build products that we use too, and we just don’t want ads.” When he said that, I remember thinking, yeah, that’s an obvious shot at Google, but Jobs really sounded like he meant it. He really doesn’t want ads next to his email.
But I also remember thinking that it didn’t sound like the sort of sentiment you’d expect to hear from the CEO of a company running a would-be major mobile ad network.
Apple Brags of 15 Billionth App Store Download ★
Apple PR today:
“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to
become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the
world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior
vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Thank you to all
of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of
the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for
surpassing 15 billion downloads.”
An interesting number in there: Apple is claiming “200 million iOS users”. At WWDC they claimed to have sold over 200 million iOS devices, but devices and users don’t correlate one-to-one — some people own multiple (or like in my case, many) iOS devices, and some iOS devices (especially iPads, I bet) are shared by multiple family members.
‘I Believe You Are the Greatest Film-Maker at Work Today.’ ★
Solid gold from Letters of Note: Stanley Kubrick, age 31, writes to Ingmar Bergman. Best explanation you’ll ever find of what Kubrick attempted to achieve in his own pictures. (Via Coudal, of course.)
Walter Isaacson’s Upcoming Steve Jobs Biography Gets New Title ★
The previous title was atrocious; the new one is perfect.
John Adams: ‘It Is More Important That Innocence Be Protected Than It Is That Guilt Be Punished’ ★
I almost linked to this page of quotes from founding father John Adams yesterday, but I’m glad I held off. This one seems more apt today:
It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that
guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this
world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is
brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen
will say, “whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial,
for innocence itself is no protection,” and if such an idea as
that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be
the end of security whatsoever.
(Via Andy Ihnatko.)
Number two sounds cute.
‘Designed for Use’ ★
Speaking of Lukas Mathis, he’s written a book for The Pragmatic Programmers on user interface design: Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web. See also: his FAQ for the book.
The Capacitive Button Cult Must Be Stopped ★
A button with no physical hardware, so it makes no distinction
between “I pressed that button because I meant to” and “my finger
brushed against the face of the phone, sending me to another
screen against my will, sometimes even losing data in the
(Via Lukas Mathis.)
Verizon’s New Smartphone Data Plans ★
Phil Goldstein, FierceWireless:
Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney told FierceWireless that new
smartphone customers will choose from one of three options: $30
for 2 GB, $50 for 5 GB or $80 for 10 GB. There will be an overage
charge of $10 per GB of data. Verizon will also charge $10 for 75
MB per month for feature phone users. AT&T Mobility
charges $15 per month for 200 MB and $25 per month for 2 GB.
“Unlimited” hasn’t worked for the carriers, and has never truly meant unlimited anyway. If you use more than 2 GB per month you’re going to pay more, but this strikes me as fair, because most people don’t use that much data.
What I don’t get is why not offer everyone the $10 for 75 MB plan? Lower the monthly minimum and get more people to switch from feature phones to app phones.
Tim Bray: ‘Things About Google+’ ★
Good points from Tim Bray on Google+.
Something that occurred to me over the weekend is that Google+’s name suggests that this is a major initiative from Google. “Google” has always meant two things: the company, and its flagship product, the search engine at google.com. Google offers many products, but its main product has always been search. Adding a “+” — not the word plus but merely the punctuation character — strikes me as perhaps the most aggressive way that Google, the company, could attempt to redefine what “Google” means to the public at large. If it works out as they hope, the result is that we’ll wind up thinking of this social network at least as much as we do about web search when we think of “Google”.
Bing for iPad 1.1 ★
Very clever new “lasso” feature: start a new search just by drawing a circle around words on the current web page.
Word of the Day: Monopsony ★
Philip-Elmer DeWitt, culling analysis from Horace Dediu’s podcast and this thread on Quora:
In this way, according to Dediu, Apple has become not a monopoly
(a single seller), but a monopsony — the one buyer that can
control an entire market.
A compelling argument that Apple is using its cash hoard to great competitive advantage.
Jon Rubinstein Sends Message to HP Staff; Addresses TouchPad Reviews ★
Jon Rubinstein, in a leaked company-wide memo:
In that spirit, Richard Kerris, head of worldwide developer
relations for webOS, reminded me yesterday of the first reviews
for a product introduced a little over ten years ago:
“…overall the software is sluggish”
“…there are no quality apps to use, so it won’t last”
“…it’s just not making sense….”
It’s hard to believe these statements described MacOS X — a
platform that would go on to change the landscape of Silicon
Valley in ways that no one could have imagined.
I think that analogy works.
RIM Doubles Down on Flash ★
“What’s so special about web browsing on the new BlackBerry PlayBook? That’s right, it runs Flash.”
Update: DF reader Brian Smith spotted something fishy at the 19-second mark. Update 2: A bunch of readers say there’s nothing fishy about it — it’s a man and woman co-holding the PlayBook. Looks fake to me, though. Anyway, go Flash.
A Brief Look at Apple’s Stock Seasonality ★
Every year, Apple tends to see some sort of a correction which
takes place during the first half of the year and usually ends
between May and August. In six out of the last seven years, Apple
has rallied at least 48% off of its lows.
Lion Compatibility Update for My Simple Inbox Archiving Script for Apple Mail ★
Back in 2007 I published an AppleScript that I use daily with Apple Mail. I read email in batches, and just leave the read messages in my IMAP inboxes. When I’m done reading email, I run this script, and it moves all read unflagged messages in each inbox into an “Archive” mailbox for the corresponding account. I’ve been using this for over four years now.
The script, as originally published, doesn’t work in the Mac OS X 10.7.0 developer GM seed. I’ve updated the script with a workaround so that it now works both on 10.7 and 10.6. You can see the changes in the revision history for the script at Gist.
WordPress for WebOS ★
Nice-looking blog-editing and management app for the TouchPad.
Billings Pro 1.5 with Marketcircle Cloud ★
My thanks to Marketcircle for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Billings Pro 1.5. Billings Pro is a multi-user time tracking and invoicing solution for the Mac and iPhone, and it includes a web app for time keepers. With Marketcircle Cloud, you get the Mac and iPhone experience with the convenience of online storage and syncing. They handle the hosting, setup, and backups, you get to focus on actual work.
I would have given my left arm for something like Billings back when I was doing freelance design work. Try it free for 30 days.
Revising the Definition of ‘Pro’ ★
In the world of Apple, a Pro product used to mean “designed for
high-end professionals with needs far beyond those of mortal
men.” Now it simply means “the high-performance model.”
‘Windows. Windows. Windows. Windows.’ ★
Paul Thurrott, quoting Steve Ballmer at, of all places, a meeting of the Seattle Rotary Club:
“If you cut me open and saw what was inside,” he continued,
“[It’s] Windows. Windows. Windows. Windows. Our company was born
on the back of Windows. Windows underpins a huge percentage of all
of our success, all of our profitability, all of the important
things that we do. So, how important is it? ‘Very’ would be a very
MacRumors: OS X Lion License Permits Virtualization ★
The Golden Master version of OS X Lion (10.7) just released to
developers includes the final end-user licensing agreement (EULA)
which reveals that users can run up to two additional instances of
OS X Lion on their same machine without a need for extra licenses.
This is welcome news to developers, for one thing. They want to run multiple versions of Mac OS X under VMware or Parallels for compatibility testing.
Andy Hertzfeld on His Role in Google+ ★
One thing that I learned during the launch of the original
Macintosh in 1984 was that the press usually oversimplifies
everything, and it can’t deal with the reality that there are many
people playing critical roles on significant projects. A few
people always get too much credit, while most people get too
little, that’s just the way it has always worked. But luckily,
it’s 2011 and I can use the service that I helped to create to
TwUI — Core Animation UI Framework for Mac ★
New open-source framework from Twitter engineers Loren Brichter and Ben Sandofsky:
TwUI brings the philosophy of UIKit to the desktop. It is built on
top of Core Animation, and it borrows interaction ideas from
AppKit. It allows for all the things Mac users expect, including
drag & drop, mouse events, tooltips, Mac-like text selection, and
so on. And, since TwUI isn’t bound by the constraints of an
existing API, developers can experiment with new features like
block-based drawRect and layout.
Kodak Plunges 19%: Patent Suit Against Apple, RIM Remanded to Judge ★
Remember when Kodak was a great product company?
‘Designed by HP in California’ ★
Nice catch by Shawn Blanc on the TouchPad packaging.
‘Killer Elite’ ★
Robert De Niro, Jason Statham, Clive Owen. Count me in.
A Preview of Gmail’s New Look ★
Google and good design. This is going to take some getting used to.
‘Own a Shape’ ★
Microsoft’s Metro UI owns the square. Apple has a corner on the
roundrect, from the Springboard launcher to the iPhone hardware
itself. Nokia, despite its late entry with MeeGo’s Harmattan UI,
found the squircle unclaimed and ran with it beautifully. Palm has
used the circle from the early days of PalmOS, and in WebOS, HP
continues the tradition with care (one might even note that both
Palm and HP structure their wordmarks around the circle).
Sachin Agarwal on Why Apple Built Final Cut Pro X ★
I worked on Final Cut Pro from 2002 to 2008. It was an amazing
experience. The Final Cut Pro X project was just getting started
when I left Apple. It was an ambitious and controversial move, but
it made sense for Apple. Here’s why:
Apple doesn’t care about the pro space.
The goal for every Apple software product is to sell more
hardware. Even the Mac operating system is just trying to get
people to buy more Mac computers. The pro market is too small for
Apple to care about it. Instead of trying to get hundreds or even
thousands of video professionals to buy new Macs, they can nail
the pro-sumer market and sell to hundreds of thousands of
hobbyists like me.
Hard to argue with that, in broad strokes. But if Apple doesn’t care, period, about the pro space, why keep “Pro” in the app’s name? Why preview it at NAB in February, to an audience of the very pro-y-est editing pros?
I think Apple plans for Final Cut Pro X to grow from where it is today to eventually meet the needs of high-end pros. What this release shows is not that Apple doesn’t care about the pro market at all, but rather that they don’t care enough to prevent Apple from releasing a version that pros can’t yet use.
Apple and Microsoft Beat Google for Nortel Patents ★
Chris V. Nicholson, reporting for the NYT DealBook:
Nortel Networks, the defunct Canadian telecommunications equipment
maker, said that it had agreed to sell more than 6,000 patent
assets to a consortium made up of Apple, Microsoft and other
technology giants for $4.5 billion in cash.
The group of companies — which also included Research in Motion,
Sony, Ericsson and EMC — beat out Google and Intel for the
patents and patent applications that Nortel had accumulated when
it was still one of the largest telecom equipment makers in North
I’d sure love to know how the sides got drawn in this. How did Google get excluded from that consortium?