Linked List: July 2011

Might Be Time to Retire the ‘Smartphone’ Category 

Horace Dediu finds that “smartphones”, across the board, are no longer all growing in sales. Nokia’s and RIM’s are down, only Apple’s, Samsung’s, and HTC’s are up:

The fact that not all vendors benefit from a boom indicates that the early, happy days are over. People are noticing that there is a difference between smartphones and are not buying any and all.

Samsung Stops Reporting Phone and Tablet Sales Data 

Jordan Crook, AOL/TechCrunch:

Anybody notice something missing from Samsung’s Q2 results? Hint: it was the phone/tablet sales data. But why? Well, according to Samsung’s “new information policy”, phones and tablets data will heretofore [sic] remain a secret. “As competition intensifies, there are increased risks that the information we provide may adversely affect our own business,” said Samsung’s investor relations boss Robert Yi on the Q2 conference call.

I’m sure this has nothing to do with their tablet sales being weak.

Macworld Benchmarks Core i7 MacBook Airs 

Nice performance boost, particularly for the 11-inch model. But I’d like to know if it takes a hit on battery life.

A Brief History of Apple Not Buying Things 

Harry McCracken:

For years, Apple has confounded the rest of us by not buying things that it should clearly be buying. Not purchasing other well-known companies is so core to Apple’s strategy that it must have a whole department devoted to non-mergers and un-acquisitions.


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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

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 80 titles.

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.

We’re there.

Apple Holding More Cash Than U.S. Federal Government 

The BBC:

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 (£46.9bn).

Gmail Man 

No other company than Microsoft would produce a video like this. So utterly Microsoftian in its awkwardness. But it’s a fascinating competitive angle to take against Gmail.

The Verizon Small Bang 

The iPhone is selling well at Verizon, but what’s driving overall iPhone sales growth are sales outside the U.S. (It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Verizon iPhone sales when the new iPhone hits in September, though. Might be a lot of people waiting for that.)

‘He’s Not My Character to Write Anymore’ 

Nicest piece of writing you’ll read today. (Via Sippey.)

iPhones and iPads Drive Softbank’s Explosive Q1 Profits 

Darrell Etherington:

In case anyone doubts the power of Apple’s devices to lift the fortunes of its cellular network operator partners, Softbank’s newly reported fiscal first-quarter results (PDF) should prove convincing. The Japanese carrier reported a nearly 500 percent increase in net income for the quarter ending June 30 versus the same quarter last year. The company ascribed much of its success to strong demand for Apple mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad.

The evidence continues to mount that the Japanese hate the iPhone.

Nielsen U.S. Smartphone Market Share Numbers 

Android has 39 percent OS market share, but Apple is the number one handset maker. Ben Bajarin’s take:

What’s amazing to me is that Apple has accomplished 28 percent iOS smart phone market share with only one single new product each year. They haven’t needed a dozen or more devices on the market at any given time to garner such a large footprint in the market place. They have only needed one called the iPhone.

And this year they stretched the iPhone 4 to 15 months.

It Just Doesn’t Work 

Harry McCracken:

But there’s never been a time when so much of the new stuff I look at is so very far from being ready for mass consumption. Sometimes it’s a tad quirky; sometimes I can’t get it to work at all. And when I call the manufacturers for help, they’re often well aware of the problems I encountered.

Speaking of Google TV.

More Logitech Google TV Boxes Were Returned Than Sold in Q1 

Nilay Patel:

The Google TV-based Logitech Revue may go down in history as the product that forever changed the company. After a dismal Q1 in which the company lost $29.6m and “very modest sales” of the Revue were exceeded by returns of the product, CEO Gerald P. Quindlen is leaving and the Revue itself is being slashed below cost to just $99 — a move that’s costing Logitech some $34m in one-time charges.

Not so good.

Fall iOS Device Rumors 

Arnold Kim at MacRumors:

The China Times pinpoints the iPhone 5 release to the second week of September with an initial order of 4 million units. Suppliers are said to be currently preparing 400,000 trial run units. The news report also reports that the next iPad may be delayed until Thanksgiving due to component shortages.

New iPhones in September? Duh. Of course.

New iPad at Thanksgiving? Just one month before Christmas? Makes no sense. None. Anything new gets announced in September.

Tablet Web Browsing Market Share 

Charles Arthur, reporting on these web browsing stats from Netmarketshare:

In other words, for every thousand page views by a tablet, 965 would come from an iPad, 19 from a Galaxy Tab, 12 from a Xoom and 3 from a PlayBook. (In market share terms, that would show up as Android having a 3 percent share.)

With 25m iPads sold, that would imply (on a like-for-like basis) that there are something like half a million Galaxy Tabs in use, and 325,000 Xooms.

Sometimes a Cigar Is Just a Cigar 

Nice piece by John August regarding Rob Ager’s detailed analysis of Kubrick’s Overlook Hotel sets:

The fact is, Kubrick doesn’t have to do either. Audiences easily accept that the two locations are the same, not because Kubrick has perfected some form of cinematic spatial disorientation, but because that’s how movies work.

When Shelley Duvall is crawling out the window, what matters is that we believe it’s the same window inside and outside — not whether it’s a corner apartment. Kubrick isn’t performing some amazing psychological trick here.

EA CEO: Consoles Now Only 40 Percent of Games Industry 

EA CEO John Riccitiello, in an interview with James Brightman at IndustryGamers:

Consoles used to be 80 percent of the industry as recently as 2000. Consoles today are 40 percent of the game industry, so what do we really have? We have a new hardware platform and we’re putting out software every 90 days. Our fastest growing platform is the iPad right now and that didn’t exist 18 months ago.

Page One: Banish Multi-Page Articles 

Excellent Safari and Chrome extension from Josh Clark:

I despise multi-page articles with the heat of a million suns. The Page One extension for Safari and Chrome fixes them, automatically displaying the single-page version of articles for several popular news sites.


Update: See also: AutoPagerize, which takes a different tactic. (Via Shawn King.)

Redesigning and Re-Thinking the News 

Paul Scrivens:

Could you imagine watching a news broadcast that split the screen into 16 squares and they all reported the news at once? That is how most news sites feel to me. Newspapers always have one front page article that receives the giant headline treatment. The rest of the articles the readers have to “scroll” and find. Why can’t their online counterparts work in the exact same way?

HTML5 Fullscreen Video 


Until now, the lack of true fullscreen playback has been the biggest limitation of HTML5 over Flash video. Safari already offered a basic fullscreen option for HTML5 video players, but this was via a non-customizable QuickTime view that didn’t allow the player to be branded or to feature custom controls.

Retrevo Survey on the Tablet Market 

Interesting results, particularly the one showing Amazon’s brand strength. But keep in mind that in February 2010, a Retrevo study predicted the iPad was unlikely to be a hit.

On Designing a Big News Site 

Thoughtful piece by Joshua Benton, responding to Andy Rutledge’s proposed New York Times website redesign:

The challenge of a news organization that pumps out that much content is how to present it all in a way that maximizes its value, both journalistically and financially. There are many, many beautiful websites around the Internet that, as lovely as they are, would be awful as an entry point of a news site. (Similarly, stripping stories down to just headlines — no intro text, which Rutledge dislikes for some reason, no thumbnails — may maximize typographic beauty, but it doesn’t do much for enticing a click.)

The core problem facing The Times — and all other big news sites — is CPM advertising. They need to “entice clicks”, so they wind up with overly dense designs and gimmicks. Just look at how uncluttered the print edition of The Times is, and how it’s designed to emphasize what is important.

With print, newspapers chase circulation — readers. With the web, they’re not chasing readers but instead page views. It’s a corrupting revenue model.

The Cult of Centrism 

Paul Krugman:

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 public opinion.

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 

Matt Richman:

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 a non-starter.

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 

Paul Kedrosky:

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.

Nailed it.

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 another NLE.

James Surowiecki: ‘Why We Don’t Need a Debt Ceiling’ 

James Surowiecki:

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 

Andy Rutledge:

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 

Dave Winer:

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 

Sarah Perez:

Adobe is shutting down two of its app stores dedicated to mobile and desktop application distribution, Adobe InMarket and the Adobe AIR Marketplace.

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 as before.

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 Apple offers.

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 

James Fallows:

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 that simple.

First rule of marketing: have a great product or service to sell.

Larry Tesler on the History of Scrolling Direction on the Mac 

Larry Tesler:

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 “top-endians”.

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? 

Brier Dudley:

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.

Mac Malware ‘Explosion’ Missing in Action 

Richard Gaywood:

The appearance of the MacDefender trojan back in May provoked a lot of back-and-forth between various tech writers (including your humble correspondent). Was this a sign that the good times were ending? That the Mac platform would come under ever-fiercer attack from malware authors? That soon we’d all be running resource-sucking virus scanners and a-fearing every link we clicked?

Well, in a word: no. It wasn’t. And I’ve got some science to prove it.

I’m sure Ed Bott can explain.


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 or downloading the app from the App Store.

Don’t Hold Your Breath on That Apple-Hulu Deal 

Peter Kafka:

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 Outback?

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.

Sounds great.

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 the future.

(Via Kontra.)

Restore Safari’s Downloads Keyboard Shortcut 

Daniel Jalkut:

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 popover.

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 

Christopher Breen:

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 

Andy Ihnatko:

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 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 competitors’ business.

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’ 

David Barnard:

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 done recently.

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 

BBC News:

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 

John Paczkowski:

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 

Dan Goodin:

“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 drastic one.

“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 

Armin Vit:

Rather than try to one-up their selections I’m going to one-down them. Herewith, then, are the Top Ten Worst Westerns. Observations inside.

You can tell he’s right on most of these, from the posters alone.

Stuart Carlton on Apple’s Cash Hoard 

Stuart Carlton:

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 overpriced stock).

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 artificially constrained.

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:

  • Full-Screen
  • Resume
  • Auto Save
  • Versions
  • 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 

Jim Dalrymple:

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 its customers.

“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 that.”

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 cables. [...]

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 harassment.”

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:

  1. Do a complete backup clone to an external FireWire drive.
  2. Test that the backup is indeed bootable and up to date.
  3. Unplug the backup drive.
  4. Pop in the installer DVD and launch the “Install Mac OS X” app.

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 

Ryan Singel:

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 defined.

In essence, Swartz is accused of felony hacking for violating MIT and JSTOR’s terms of service.

That’s terrifying.

Mac OS X Lion Will Launch Tomorrow 

Serenity Caldwell:

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 App Store.

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.

Apple, today:

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 

Apple PR:

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 academic papers.

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 Brothers Group.

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 

Shawn Blanc:

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’ 

Ian Betteridge:

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 for Google.

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.)

Byte Retracts That ‘Sobering Look at Apple’ Column 

I can’t recall anything like this retraction. Good for Byte, though: the editor’s note is exactly right.

Michael Gartenberg: ‘Why Apple Dares to Change Your Apps’ 

Michael Gartenberg on Final Cut Pro X:

No matter your thoughts on the specifics of the app and what if offers, Apple’s moves here show a good deal about how Apple works, its overall strategy, and how it thinks about growing its business.

Many companies are institutionally afraid of change. Apple is afraid of stagnation.

European App Developers Withdrawing From U.S. Because of Patent Trolls 

This is why we can’t have nice things.


My thanks to Smile for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote PDFpen, their Mac app for editing PDFs. Here’s a short list of just some of PDFpen’s features:

  • Add signatures to PDF forms and email them back
  • Make corrections and changes to documents, including editing images
  • OCR for scanned documents

For me, it’s worth it for the signature/email feature alone. I haven’t sent a “fax” since I started using PDFpen. The Pro version of PDFpen even lets you turn websites into multipage PDFs that you can mark up for revisions.

Download a fully-functional demo of PDFpen or PDFpenPro and see for yourself. At $59.95 (or $99.95 for Pro), it’s the affordable and better-designed alternative to Acrobat.

iPod Sales Expected to Decline 7.2 Percent Year Over Year 

Philip Elmer-DeWitt:

iPod sales hit 22.7 million in the Christmas quarter of 2008 and have been going downhill, with seasonal spikes, ever since.

The quarter that ended nearly three weeks ago is likely to continue that trend, according to the 43 analysts — professional and amateur — we polled in advance of our quarterly earnings smackdown.

You know who called it? Bill Gates, back in 2005:

“As good as Apple may be, I don’t believe the success of the iPod is sustainable in the long run. If you were to ask me which mobile device will take top place for listening to music, I’d bet on the mobile phone for sure,” Gates said.

I somehow doubt that Gates would have correctly predicted the leading brand of mobile phone for music listening, though.

iOS 4.3.4 Software Update 

Fix for that recent PDF vulnerability.

New Patent Troll Surfaces: Kootol 

Lex Friedman, reporting for Macworld:

On Friday, Kootol Software announced that it sent notices of the alleged patent infringement to a variety of companies you may have heard of; in addition to Apple, Kootol sent letters to Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, AOL, Facebook, Twitter, Nokia, Foursquare, IBM, LinkedIn, MySpace, RIM, Quora, Salesforce, Twitpic, Ubermedia, and iOS and Mac software developer The Iconfactory. Those last three companies all make software that integrates directly with Twitter.

Make a Twitter client, get sued. Sheds new light on Hockenberry’s piece the other day.

Tim Foremski on Google’s Quarterly Results 

Tom Foremski:

Google’s own sites, such as search, gmail, etc showed 39% growth in the most recent quarter compared with the year ago quarter, to $6.23 billion.

Google partner sites grew at nearly half the rate: just 20% compared with a year ago, to $2.48 billion. This huge disparity between the growth rates of Google sites and partner sites is without precedent for most of its history.

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 

Craig Hockenberry:

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 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: 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.

Edward Tufte’s ‘Slopegraphs’ 

Great piece on data visualization by Charlie Park:

What’s interesting is that over 20 years before sparklines came on the scene, Tufte developed a different type of data visualization that didn’t fare nearly as well. To date, in fact, I’ve only been able to find three examples of it, and even they aren’t completely in line with his vision.

When the Internet Turns Vicious 

Interesting discussion on the Andy Baio/Jay Maisel fair-use conflict at The Online Photographer. Don’t miss the comments.

‘We View a Tablet as a PC’ 


Microsoft’s Windows Phone president Andy Lees at the Worldwide Partners Conference once again tried to shoot down hopes for tablets based on Windows Phone 7. The use of the mobile OS would be “in conflict” with Microsoft’s notion of having the full speed of a computer in any design, including truly mobile tablets. He insisted that users would want to do PC-style activities on a tablet and saw Windows 8’s networking and printing support as being important.

“We view a tablet as a PC,” Lees said.

It’s no surprise that I think Microsoft is wrong here. There’s a tectonic shift going on, and they’re in denial. But regardless if you think they’re as wrong as I do, there’s no denying that Microsoft and Apple have a fundamentally different view of the coming decade: more PCs vs. post-PCs.

Lees might as well have said, “We think Apple is fundamentally wrong on the iPad.” But so how does Microsoft rationalize the iPad’s success and popularity?

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 

Jean-Louis Gassée:

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 them.”

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’ 

Jin Kim:

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.

This Is What Derek Jeter Did Yesterday 

Yours truly, on American McCarver:

He had faced a moment of intense pressure, an opportunity for historic heroics, and came through in the most perfect conceivable way. He thanked the crowd. He acknowledged David Price with a respectful gesture. (No pitcher wants to be the answer to this sort of future trivia question.) He pointed to his parents and girlfriend in the stands. He exalted in the moment.

The game went on.

See also: Jason Snell’s piece on the terrific come from behind American victory over Brazil in the Women’s World Cup today.

Fortune Examines IDC’s Pessimistic Tablet Sale Numbers 

Philip Elmer-DeWitt:

Then I took a second look at IDC’s report. What I missed the first time — and what these reporters failed to take into account — is that IDC was talking about Q1 2011, which runs from January to March, not Q2 2011, which ran from April to June.

Of course tablet sales dipped after the October-to-December holiday quarter. We knew that months ago. This is news?

Jackass of the Week: Daniel Bailey 

You’ll have a hard time finding an article more wrong — factually and strategically — than this one.

Bond 23 Casting News 

Nice choice for Moneypenny.

NYT Curbs David Pogue’s P.R. Appearances 

I was not aware that Pogue is a freelancer, not a full-time staff member.


My thanks to DaisyDisk for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. DaisyDisk is a terrific utility for the Mac. It presents you with a graphical overview of your hard disks, allowing you to easily see what they’re filled with. When you’re low on disk space, DaisyDisk a great way to find large files that you no longer need. Great for cleaning out old unwanted files in preparation for upgrading to Lion, too.

DaisyDisk is fast, easy-to-use, and looks fantastic. Right now it’s on sale in the Mac App Store for just $9.99 — 50 percent off its regular price.

Motorola Drops Price of Wi-Fi Xoom by $100 

So now instead of being more expensive and less popular than the iPad, it will be the same price and less popular than the iPad. (3G models without a contract still start at $799.)

TSA Agent Caught With Passenger’s iPad in His Pants 

I love the lede on this story by Matthew Hendley:

While most Transportation Security Administration employees are busy groping people or taking naked pictures of them, the cops say one of those employees was putting fliers’ electronics down his pants.

(Via Rodolfo Roca.)

Murdoch Closing Tabloid Linked to British Hacking Scandal 

Sarah Lyall, reporting for the NYT:

Britain’s media and political landscape shifted Thursday as the powerful Murdoch family summarily announced plans to shut down the disgraced mass-circulation tabloid at the center of a deepening scandal over journalistic malfeasance, and arrest seemed imminent for the paper’s once politically influential former editor.

Bizarre and sordid saga.

Buttering Both Sides 

Episode 50 of America’s favorite podcast. Topics include the persistent rumors of fall iPhones and iPads, the broken glass on Dan’s phone, managing email, Microsoft’s Android profits, Google+, 115054901319079500672, and this week’s Bond movie: GoldenEye.

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.

Matt Neuburg’s ‘Programming iOS 4’ 

Hot off the O’Reilly presses: Matt Neuburg’s 834-page iOS programming tome. Neuburg is my favorite programming book writer, period.

(Buy it from this link to Amazon and I’ll get the kickback dough; I’d have linked with Neuburg’s Amazon Associates code, but he lives in California so that won’t work anymore.)

The Grand Rapids Lip Dub 

Roger Ebert calls it “the greatest music video ever made” (and there’s a damn handsome man about 24-seconds in).

The Post-PC Era Will Be a Multi-Platform Era 

Horace Dediu:

But we’re not in the PC era any more. That era had very high software development costs. It had very difficult software distribution channels (retail box sales typically) and very few categories of software with high price points. It was also dominated by institutional buyers which did not give quarter to small vendors. It was also a time when there were orders of magnitude fewer users and even fewer buyers.

Google’s Product 

Mike Elgan, back in February 2009:

Google makes billions of dollars in revenue each fiscal quarter. That money comes about by the same process that all companies use: They sell a product to their customers. Their customers pay money for that product.

Who’s Google’s customer? You? Really? When’s the last time you paid Google for anything?

Advertisers are Google’s customer. What do they sell to advertisers? They sell you. Or, at least, they rent you out, or provide access to you.

He wrote this in the context of the then-new Google Latitude. It seems more apt than ever today.

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.)

Larry Mendte’s Five Funniest Philadelphians on Twitter 

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 

Jon Bell:

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 process.”

(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 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”  “’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 

Andy Zaky:

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.

Yay! Fourth of July Fireworks 2011! 

Cabel Sasser’s annual fireworks packaging design roundup.

I love this country.

Jim Ray on Grilling Burgers 

Damn tasty. His thumb-press tip is genius.

The Perfect Holiday 

Greg Knauss, at American McCarver:

There is nothing more American than the Fourth, and nothing more ideal: picnics and fireworks and no gift-giving and exactly zero obligation to see your extended family.

And sports. American sports. Especially baseball.

Samsung Drops Patent Lawsuit Against Apple in U.S. 

Bomi Lim, reporting for Bloomberg:

Samsung Electronics dropped the suit on June 30 “to streamline the legal proceedings,” Nam Ki Yung, a spokesman for the Suwon, South Korea-based company, said today in a telephone interview. Samsung will continue to defend its patent rights through a counter-claim in an earlier suit Apple filed at the same court in San Jose, California, he said.

And on the flip side: “Apple Files Motion for Preliminary Injunction in the U.S. Against Four Samsung Products: Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, Galaxy Tab 10.1”.

Google Bid ‘Pi’ for Nortel Patents and Lost 

Nadia Damouni, reporting for Reuters:

At the auction for Nortel Networks’ wireless patents this week, Google’s bids were mystifying, such as $1,902,160,540 and $2,614,972,128.

Math whizzes might recognize these numbers as Brun’s constant and Meissel-Mertens constant, but it puzzled many of the people involved in the auction, according to three people with direct knowledge of the situation on Friday. [...]

“Either they were supremely confident or they were bored.”

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’ 

Ken Segall:

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 fair answer.”

MacRumors: OS X Lion License Permits Virtualization 

Arnold Kim:

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+ 

Andy Hertzfeld:

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 clarify things.

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’ 

Clayton Miller:

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).

Great observation.

Sachin Agarwal on Why Apple Built Final Cut Pro X 

Sachin Agarwal:

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 America.

I’d sure love to know how the sides got drawn in this. How did Google get excluded from that consortium?