Notebook From Zoho ★
My thanks to Zoho for again sponsoring the DF RSS feed to promote Notebook, their new app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android. It’s a graceful, well-designed, beautiful alternative to Evernote. Notebook uses a few simple metaphors. At the top level are notebooks, which offer a huge assortment of creative cover options. Inside notebooks are cards, with four types: text, pictures, audio recordings, and to-do lists. It’s all very obvious and well structured, and they make great use of gestures to do things like pinch cards together to put them into a stack within a notebook.
It’s a free download, and absolutely worth checking out. A lot of thought and care went into the design and implementation of this app.
Option 6: No Bundled Ear Buds ★
Regarding my piece yesterday on the five options I see for Apple regarding what kind of ear buds they’ll bundle with the upcoming no-headphone-jack iPhones, several readers suggested a sixth: no bundled ear buds in the box.
This strikes me as highly unlikely. Nine years later, “a widescreen iPod with touch controls” remains one of the fundamental purposes of the iPhone. It needs headphones of some sort, and if none are included in the box, it would reek of a nickel-and-dime move. Nor do I think Apple will simply include the 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter — like I wrote yesterday, that would imply that most people will use headphones with the standard jack, which is contrary to the notion of removing the standard port from the device.
The WSJ on Apple’s ‘Hard-Charging’ Negotiations With TV Networks ★
Shalini Ramachandran and Daisuke Wakabayashi, reporting for the WSJ:
Some people close to the talks say Apple was reluctant to share
important details, including how subscribers would navigate the
channel menu. Comcast’s Mr. Roberts didn’t see Apple’s proposed
“How about you sketch it on the back of this napkin?” Apple was
asked at one meeting, say former Time Warner Cable executives. An
Apple official replied that the software would be “better than
anything you’ve ever had.”
Of course Apple wasn’t going to show Comcast the interface. They didn’t show the iPhone to AT&T (then Cingular) back in 2006, either. And the fact that these TV executives are now talking to the news media about it shows why. Entertainment industry executives have notoriously loose lips.
Mr. Cue is also known for a hard-nosed negotiating style. One
cable-industry executive sums up Mr. Cue’s strategy as saying:
In 2013, Mr. Cue met with Mr. Britt, Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff
Bewkes and other executives in Mr. Britt’s office overlooking
Manhattan’s Central Park. Time Warner owns HBO, TNT, CNN and other
channels. Apple’s Mr. Cue arrived 10 minutes late and was wearing jeans,
tennis shoes with no socks, and a Hawaiian shirt, says a
person familiar with the meeting. The other executives were
The thing is, they are Apple. Apple wants deals with these TV networks, but doesn’t need them. Matthew Panzarino:
Translation: Apple wasn’t budging and can afford to wait so
content providers are playing this out in the press.
Josephine Wolff: ‘The DNC Should Never Have Been Running Its Own Email Server’ ★
The DNC is never going to be the equal of these companies
employing thousands of engineers and managing millions of email
accounts when it comes to security, so perhaps it should stop
trying and let the experts take over.
That’s a suggestion bordering on sacrilege to many people who care
about security, who believe real security and strong encryption
are possible only when you manage your own data and encryption
keys yourself. And it’s true that trusting a company to manage
your email reduces your security in some ways. For one thing, it
certainly means that company has access to all your email
messages. For another, it may mean that law enforcement or
intelligence officials can access those messages without your
knowledge through court orders or mutual agreements with that
company. So there are definitely trade-offs, and if those are the
security threats you’re most worried about, and you’re equipped to
configure your own server setup, then you probably should not
entrust your email to a third-party provider.
If, however, you’re more concerned about your email being read by
external attackers in, say, Russia, then the perceived security of
handling all your own email may do more harm than good. And if
your area of expertise is political strategizing and maneuvering,
rather than encryption protocols and firewall configurations, you
would almost certainly be better off delegating responsibility for
your email to a company that knows what it’s doing.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since the DNC emails leaked — and in light of Hillary Clinton’s controversy over the use of a private email server. Should these organizations even be using email at all? Server-side storage makes searching and access to one’s account from multiple devices more convenient, but it exposes these organizations to huge risk. Mobile messaging with end-to-end encryption (Signal, iMessage, WhatsApp) is in many ways less capable than email, and eliminates certain decades old conventions like “forwarding”, but it’s inherently more secure.
Email might be too ingrained to walk away from. It’s universal. But the high-profile targets like the DNC (or the United States Secretary of State) running their own servers is certainly not the answer. What’s the best solution?
Update: Slack is an obvious and common choice. But the difference between Slack and email is that email allows for communication with the outside world, not merely internal communication with a team.
Mike Isaac, reporting for the NYT:
On Tuesday, Twitter’s ailing position among its peers was
underscored once more when the company reported its worst
quarterly revenue growth ever and only a slight increase in
users for the second quarter. The company also signaled that its
prospects were unlikely to improve in the short term.
Twitter posted revenue of $602 million for the quarter, up 20
percent from a year ago and below Wall Street estimates of $607
million. Its net loss narrowed to $107 million, or 15 cents a
share. Twitter’s users grew 3 percent from a year ago, to 313
Twitter’s advertising strategy has never made sense to me. My gut feeling is that Twitter is not long for this world as an independent company.
Facebook Reports Huge Increase in Profit, Almost All of It Mobile ★
Over $2 billion in profit for the quarter, up from just $719 million a year ago. That’s amazing growth. Among their highlights:
- Daily active users (DAUs) — DAUs were 1.13 billion on average
for June 2016, an increase of 17 percent year-over-year.
- Mobile DAUs — Mobile DAUs were 1.03 billion on average for June
2016, an increase of 22 percent year-over-year.
- Mobile advertising revenue — Mobile advertising revenue
represented approximately 84 percent of advertising revenue for the
second quarter of 2016, up from approximately 76 percent of advertising
revenue in the second quarter of 2015.
They’ve completely pivoted from a website meant for PC browsers to a mobile company with a slew of popular apps.
The New York Times puts this in context:
The rise was driven by strong mobile ad sales, as well as a steady
ascent in its number of users. Facebook now counts 1.71 billion
monthly active users, up 15 percent from a year ago. And in a sign
of how indispensable the social network is to people, the amount
of money the company can squeeze from each user globally jumped to
$3.82, up from $2.76 a year earlier. In the United States and
Canada, Facebook’s most valuable markets, the company makes an
average of $14.34 per user.
Alphabet’s ‘Moonshot Projects’ Lost $859 Million Last Quarter ★
Seth Fiegerman, reporting for CNN Money:
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, saw sales from its
so-called moonshot projects hit $185 million in the quarter ending
in June, more than doubling sales from the same quarter a year
ago. But the company is losing far more money from those efforts.
Losses for “other bets,” as Alphabet characterizes the segment,
rose to $859 million for the quarter from $660 million a year
Those bets include risky, capital intensive projects like
self-driving cars and Google Fiber, which delivers high-speed
Internet. Most of Google’s sales in this group are said to come
from Fiber as well as Nest, and Verily, a life sciences division.
Those mounting losses may put a dent in Alphabet’s pitch to Wall
Street that it can be more responsible with its spending.
Alphabet as a whole reported $4.88 billion in profit for the quarter, so these moonshots are well within the company’s means, but you can see why investors might want to see the company shut these things down.
They’re obviously worried about it. Last week they granted Conor Dougherty of The New York Times behind-the-scenes access, which included this observation:
What all these efforts have in common, besides imaginative power,
is that they do not make any money. X’s budget and head count are
a secret, but shareholders’ perceptions about the division were
aptly summed up by a poster board in its Mountain View, Calif.,
offices. It had a picture of a burning $100 bill followed by,
“Investors think we do this.”
The combination of big ideas, lofty rhetoric and a strict code of
secrecy has made X a source of endless speculation and conspiracy
theories. The one you hear most frequently, usually from
competitors and venture capitalists, is that X is a giant public
relations plan to distract regulators from Google’s search
business, which is under scrutiny around the world.
Cynical though that sounds, it points to something that seems
fundamentally true: Many of history’s great corporate research
efforts, like Bell Labs and Xerox PARC, have come from companies
that were monopolies or close to it.
WSJ: ‘Google Profits Surge on Strong Ad Demand’ ★
Jack Nicas, reporting for the WSJ:
Alphabet’s growth continued in the second quarter as companies
bought more ads on its search engine and other products, while
users increasingly clicked on those ads. Alphabet revenue, fueled
almost entirely by Google’s advertising business, rose 21 percent to
$21.5 billion in the second quarter from a year ago, or 25 percent on a
constant currency basis. Excluding payments to advertising
partners, revenue was $17.5 billion, beating analysts’ estimate of
Net profit for Alphabet rose to $4.88 billion, or $7 a share, from
$3.93 billion, or $4.93 a share, a year prior. Excluding certain
items, Alphabet earned $8.42 a share, beating analysts’ estimates
of $8.04 a share.
Another interesting point of comparison: Samsung’s handset business alone generated about the same results as Alphabet as a whole last quarter.
The iPod Classic and Obsolescence ★
Lindsay Zoladz, writing for The Ringer:
“Wow,” a man said to me recently on the subway, “I haven’t seen
one of those things in years.” He gestured toward the
scuffed-yet-still-sleek, aluminum-colored rectangle in my hand
— a 160GB sixth generation iPod Classic. I blinked for a
moment. We were not talking about, say, a quill pen, a monocle,
or a bottle of Crystal Pepsi, but an electronic device I had
purchased in 2010.
I knew what he meant, though. Technology moves at hyperspeed.
Apple has created and helped universalize a particular kind of
planned obsolescence — its products have to go out of
fashion and/or break every few years, to ensure you’ll buy a newer
one — and as a result, in the eyes of the general public, Last
Year’s Model has never looked like more of an antique.
It strikes me as odd to state as fact that Apple’s products are designed to “break every few years” one paragraph after saying she still uses a six-year-old iPod.
Michael Heilemann, in a comment:
Eh… Isn’t it more that technology, and especially Apple, has a
tendency to move so fast that obsolescence naturally occurs?
Exactly. The idea is even more absurd when you consider that Apple products hold their value on the resale market far longer than competing products. As I wrote three years ago:
If your car breaks down after just a few years, are you not more
likely to replace it with a different brand? To posit that Apple
customers are somehow different, that when they feel screwed by
Apple their response is to go back for more, is “Cult of Mac”
logic — the supposition that most Apple customers are irrational
zealots or trend followers who just mindlessly buy anything with
an Apple logo on it. The truth is the opposite: Apple’s business
is making customers happy, and keeping them happy. They make
products for discriminating people who have higher standards and
less tolerance for design flaws or problems.
DigiTimes Hints at Updated MacBook Air With USB‑C ★
Cage Chao and Joseph Tsai, reporting for the notoriously unreliable DigiTimes on the industry’s slow uptake of USB-C:
Currently, Apple has decided to adopt the USB Type-C interface for
its MacBook Air, while Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard (HP)
are upgrading one of their notebooks’ regular USB port to the
Type-C. Lenovo, Acer and Dell are still evaluating the option.
It is possible that Apple has a significant update to the MacBook Air in the works. But my hunch remains that they do not. If there’s any truth to the above, I’m guessing the above is actually the new MacBook Pro.
Samsung Posts Highest Profits in Over Two Years Thanks to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge ★
Harish Jonnalagadda, reporting for Android Central:
Strong sales of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge have led to Samsung
posting an operating profit of $7.22 billion (8.14 trillion won)
in Q2 2016, up 18% from the same period a year ago. Overall
revenue was $45.1 billion (50.94 trillion won), a 5% increase from
The handset business accounted for half of Samsung’s bottom line,
with the division netting $3.83 billion (4.32 trillion won) in
profit on a revenue of $23.5 billion (26.56 trillion won). Samsung
noted that the larger and more expensive S7 edge model made up
over half of the sales of its flagship series, with the Galaxy A
series and J series also seeing an uptick in sales in the
mid-range and low-end segments.
Those numbers for revenue and profit are remarkably similar to Apple’s for the same quarter ($42.4 billion in revenue, $7.8 billion in profit). Android isn’t making money for handset makers in general, but it is for Samsung.
Update: I took the numbers from Android Central at face value, but should not have. “Operating profit” is not the value to compare, net profit is. Samsung’s net profit for the quarter was $5.2 billion.
Apple Celebrates One Billion iPhones Sold ★
Not bad for nine years, but even more impressive when you consider they reached 500 million just two years ago.
Update: Engadget, shockingly, filed the news under “finally”.
Apple Hires QNX Founder Dan Dodge to Work on Car Project ★
Mark Gurman and Alex Webb, reporting for Bloomberg:
Apple Inc. has hired the former head of BlackBerry Ltd.’s
automotive software division as new leadership at the
iPhone-maker’s car team places increased emphasis on developing
self-driving technology, according to people familiar with the
Dan Dodge, the founder and former chief executive officer of QNX,
the operating system developer that BlackBerry acquired in 2010,
joined Apple earlier this year, the people said. He is part of a
team headed by Bob Mansfield, who, since taking over leadership of
the cars initiative — dubbed Project Titan — has heralded a
shift in strategy, according to a person familiar with the plan.
The initiative is now prioritizing the development of an
autonomous driving system, though it’s not abandoning efforts to
design its own vehicle. That leaves options open should the
company eventually decide to partner with or acquire an
established car maker, rather than build a car itself.
Self-driving capabilities have always been part of Apple’s car project. It’s obviously the future. Hiring Dodge seems like a big deal, though. QNX is one of the preeminent real-time operating systems. As Apple creates its own real-time OS, it’s surely helpful to have an executive with industry-leading experience in the field.
(This is Gurman’s first story for Bloomberg after leaving 9to5Mac.)
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The Last VCR Will Be Produced This Month ★
Ananya Bhattacharya, writing for Quartz:
Japan’s Funai Electronics, which makes its own electronics, in
addition to supplying companies like Sanyo, will produce the last
batch of VCR units by July 30, Nikkei reported (link in Japanese).
The company cites difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts as
one of the reasons for halting production.
It can take a surprisingly long time for a technology to go from obsolete to truly dead.
Part Two of Elon Musk’s Master Plan for Tesla ★
So, in short, Master Plan, Part Deux is:
- Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery
- Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major
- Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual
via massive fleet learning
- Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it
Cogent read. Musk is a remarkably clear thinker. He’s often compared to Steve Jobs, and rightly so in many ways, but they sure aren’t alike in terms of revealing plans for the future.
Stephen Colbert’s Killer Week ★
Some great stuff this week broadcasting live, after each night of the Republican National Convention. Jon Stewart’s desk piece last night was vintage Stewart, and Laura Benanti’s impression as Melania Trump was great. And we saw the return of Colbert’s conservative pundit alter ego.
Nintendo’s Stock Has Doubled in Value Since Pokemon Go’s Release ★
Yet another sign that the market, collectively, acts impetuously, but amazing nonetheless.
Birkenstock Quits Amazon After Counterfeit Surge ★
Ari Levy, reporting for CNBC:
Plagued by counterfeits and unauthorized selling on the online
shopping site, the sandals company will no longer supply products
to Amazon in the U.S. starting Jan. 1. Additionally, Birkenstock
won’t authorize third-party merchants to sell on the site,
according to a letter the company sent to several thousand retail
partners on July 5.
The memo, from Birkenstock USA CEO David Kahan, was obtained
confidentially by CNBC.com.
“The Amazon marketplace, which operates as an ‘open market,’
creates an environment where we experience unacceptable business
practices which we believe jeopardize our brand,” Kahan wrote from
the company’s U.S. headquarters in Novato, California. “Policing
this activity internally and in partnership with Amazon.com has
Amazon has a real problem on its hands.
iOS Gets Thicker ★
Luke Wroblewski posted an interesting side-by-side comparison of the Today view, Control Center, and standard sharing sheets in iOS 7 and the iOS 10 public beta. Much less transparency, more solid shapes in place of outlines, and more use of color. Wroblewski attributes this to Jony Ive’s “receding presence” at Apple. I do not agree. I think these changes were inevitable, no matter Ive’s day-to-day involvement with UI details. iOS 7 went to an extreme (remember the crazily thin weights of Helvetica Neue in the betas that summer?). A gradual thickening and increase in UI affordances (more buttons that look like buttons, card-like things that look more like cards; more discernible on and off states) seemed like the obvious course.
For what it’s worth, I really like the UI changes in iOS 10, on both the iPhone and iPad. This is the sort of thing that takes years of refinement to achieve. It wasn’t feasible for a 9-month project like the iOS 7 redesign to debut with this level of refinement.
Amazon’s Fraudulent Seller Problem ★
Remember last week’s link about Chinese counterfeits polluting Amazon’s inventory? They have another problem: outright fraud. Emily Heller:
Tried to buy a doormat and here’s what arrived: a piece of foam
with a photo of the thing I wanted printed on it.
Here’s an even more ridiculous example.
XKCD: Free Speech ★
Good bookmark for those who persist in arguing that Twitter booting harassers from their service is an abridgment of “free speech”.
I will add: Expressing controversial or even unpopular opinions is one thing, and Twitter should remain open to that. Harassment is something else entirely, and Twitter should have zero tolerance for it. Empathetic human beings can tell the difference. Bullies, on the other hand, conflate the two. Milo Yiannopoulos getting kicked off Twitter had nothing to do with his conservative politics and everything to do with his leading a hate mob of racist misogynists.
I understand the concern that if Twitter starts suspending accounts for one thing (harassment), they might start suspending accounts for the other (expressing controversial opinions). That’s why Twitter’s solution needs to involve actual human beings. Rational people should have tolerance for ideas that offend them. No one should be asked to tolerate personal abuse.
‘The Internet Is Turning Us All Into Sociopaths’ ★
Archived 2012 piece from the now-defunct The Kernel:
What’s disturbing about this new trend, in which commenters are
posting what would previously have been left anonymously, is that
these trolls seem not to mind that their real names, and sometimes
even their occupations, appear clamped to their vile words. It’s
as if a psychological norm is being established whereby comments
left online are part of a video game and not real life. It’s as if
we’ve all forgotten that there’s a real person on the other end,
reading and being hurt by our vitriol. That’s as close to the
definition of sociopath as one needs to get for an armchair
diagnosis, though of course many other typical sociopathic traits
are also being encouraged by social media.
Well-said. But the kicker is the byline.
(Via Charles Arthur.)
Dollar Shave Club: ‘Our Blades Are Fucking Great’ ★
I’d seen this before and remember liking it, but Ben Thompson implored readers to re-watch it in his aforelinked piece on Dollar Shave Club’s $1 billion acquisition by Unilever, and I have to concur with his assessment: it’s one of the best product introduction videos of all time. 90 seconds long and not a word or moment is wasted.
Dollar Shave Club and the Disruption of Everything ★
Probably the most important fact when it comes to analyzing
Unilever’s purchase of Dollar Shave Club is the $1 billion
price: in the world of consumer packaged goods (CPG) it is
shockingly low. After all, only eleven years ago Procter & Gamble
(P&G) bought Gillette, the market leader in shaving,for a
staggering $57 billion.
To be sure Gillette is still dominant — the brand controls 70
percent of the global blades and razors market — but there is
little question that Dollar Shave Club is a much better deal, in
every sense of the word. Understanding why Dollar Shave Club was
cheap means understanding why its blades are cheap, and
understanding that means understanding just how precarious the
position of P&G specifically and incumbents generally is in the
emerging Internet economy.
Fantastic piece — Thompson makes a strong case that the seemingly unrelated creation of Amazon Web Services and YouTube a decade ago created the opportunity for Dollar Shave Club to disrupt a titan like Gillette.
Exploring the App Store’s Top Grossing Chart ★
Fascinating analysis and data visualizations by Graham Spencer, writing for MacStories:
One of the most striking things you’ll notice when browsing the
Top 200 Grossing apps is that they are virtually all offered as
free downloads. In my survey, just three apps were paid apps
upfront; Minecraft (#33, $6.99), Grindr (#95, $0.99), and Facetune
(#183, $3.99). The other 197 apps were free to download.
I knew intuitively that most top-grossing apps were free downloads with in-app purchases, but I wasn’t expecting the results to be so overwhelming.
(Also: What a remarkable game Minecraft is. Its staying power is amazing, and it is standing in lone opposition to the IAP-ification of mobile games.)
‘See if You Can’t Leave Me About a Good Inch From Where the Zipper Ends … Right on Back to My Bunghole’ ★
Worth a re-link, for the sake of some politics we can all agree on: Lyndon Johnson ordering pants.
Charlie Warzel, reporting for BuzzFeed:
Twitter has banned one of its most notoriously contentious voices.
On Tuesday evening, the microblogging service permanently
suspended the account of conservative commentator Milo
Yiannopoulos, a day after he incited his followers to bombard
Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones with racist and demeaning
“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on
Twitter,” a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to
BuzzFeed News. “But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted
abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the
targeted abuse or harassment of others.”
This is being framed by Yiannopoulos’s supporters as suppression of free speech. These people are very confused about free speech. It’s simple: Yiannopoulos has the right to say and write whatever he wants. But Twitter is not a public resource. In the same way that a coffee shop or restaurant should never allow someone (let alone a mob of people) to harass other patrons, Twitter should not allow it on their service.
So kudos to Twitter for standing up to this troll. But it shouldn’t take a celebrity to drive Twitter to action. Twitter needs to systematically boot harassers at every level.
Joanna Stern on Amazon’s $50 Blu R1 HD Phone ★
Joanna Stern, writing for the WSJ:
In life, you get what you pay for.*
*Exceptions: Costco wine, $1 New York City pizza and the Blu R1 HD
smartphone, now sold by Amazon for $50. In those cases, the
quality of the product far exceeds your low expectations.
Yes, you read that right, there’s an Android 6.0 smartphone that
costs less than family dinner at the Olive Garden. It’s cheap, but
it’s not, you know, cheap.
There’s a reason for that. Even though Amazon sells the R1 HD for
as little as $50, on the open market it starts at $100. Why the
discount? Ads. Sorry, “special offers.” Which are ads.
This is a much more Amazon-like phone than the Fire Phone was, and I suspect, more likely to be a success.
Drudge Report: Roger Ailes Leaves Fox News With $40M Parachute Amid Harassment Probe ★
Katherine Krueger, writing for TPM:
The conservative link aggregator site Drudge Report reported
Tuesday afternoon that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was leaving his
post as an investigation into Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment of
employees is underway.
While the site’s signature blaring siren landing page featured the
breaking headline, no source was immediately provided.
It would be hard to overstate the influence Ailes held over modern political discourse here in the U.S. Fox News changed the country, and Ailes was Fox News.
As for Drudge’s source — it has to be Rupert Murdoch, or one of his sons.
Update: 21st Century Fox statement on Twitter:
21CF statement: Roger is at work. The review is ongoing. The only
agreement that is in place is his existing employment agreement.
But The New York Times reports that his tenure is all but over.
The Safe Haven of False Equivalence ★
Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann, writing for Vox:
In April 2012, we created a major stir in the political world with
a long piece in the Washington Post Sunday Outlook section called,
“Let’s Just Say It: The Republicans Are the Problem.” It was
adapted from our book published days later, It’s Even Worse Than
It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the
New Politics of Extremism, and this was our money quote:
The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier in American
politics — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited
social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise;
unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and
science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political
As scholars who had worked for more than four decades with
lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, we faced a ton of scorn from
sitting Republican lawmakers and outside observers for making this
argument — and denial from most of the mainstream media. For
reporters, professional norms and concerns about accusations of
partisan bias dictated that the parties be treated equally,
whatever the underlying reality. The safe haven of false
equivalence led the press to ignore one of the most consequential
developments in contemporary American politics: the radicalization
of the Republican Party.
Particularly apt after the opening night of the Republican convention, which saw multiple speakers calling for the opposing party’s candidate to be “locked up”, Russian-style, and an opening benediction — a prayer — that described the opposing party as “enemies”.
‘The Secret History of Mac Gaming’ ★
Richard Moss is raising funds to publish what sounds like an amazing and beautiful book, on the history of Mac gaming. Just the list of interviews brings back a flood of memories. The book is at 61 percent of its funding goal as I type this — I’d love to see the DF audience push it over the top.
Update: Now fully-funded. Great news. Can’t wait to read this book.
Trump’s Ghostwriter Speaks ★
Jane Mayer, writing for The New Yorker:
And so Schwartz had returned for more, this time to conduct an
interview for Playboy. But to his frustration Trump kept making
cryptic, monosyllabic statements. “He mysteriously wouldn’t answer
my questions,” Schwartz said. After twenty minutes, he said, Trump
explained that he didn’t want to reveal anything new about himself
— he had just signed a lucrative book deal and needed to save his
“What kind of book?” Schwartz said.
“My autobiography,” Trump replied.
“You’re only thirty-eight — you don’t have one yet!”
“Yeah, I know,” Trump said.
“If I were you,” Schwartz recalls telling him, “I’d write a book
called ‘The Art of the Deal.’ That’s something people would be
“You’re right,” Trump agreed. “Do you want to write it?”
Field Notes Reporter’s Notebook ★
My thanks to Field Notes for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their brand new Reporter’s Notebooks. Regular readers know that I’m a huge fan of Field Notes — I carry one with me just about everywhere I go — but these Reporter’s Notebooks are really something special. It’s a reinvention of a classic style, designed with the help of John Dickerson, host of CBS’s Face the Nation. Seriously, the host of Face the Nation helped design these notebooks — how cool is that?
The main thing about Field Notes is that they’re just great notebooks, period. But what makes me adore them is the attention to detail. Everything from the paper stock to the ink to the typography (all Futura, all the time) to the utterly amusing small print inside the covers is considered with loving care.
Also, they are fundamentally damned practical. That’s true in spades with these Reporter’s Notebooks. They fold over when held in hand and lay flat on your desk. The inside cover is full of useful information, including a glossary of journalistic lingo and standard proofreading marks. Tucked into the back cover’s receipt pocket is a doozy of a story from Dickerson’s upcoming book Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History, adapted by Dickerson himself into the writing style of early 19th century newspapers. What more could you want?
At the very least, you should get yourself a two-pack of these notebooks. But what you really ought to do, if you love good notebooks, is buy yourself a Field Notes annual subscription. You’ll get these Reporter’s Notebooks to start, and after that, every three months you get something new, automatically. It’s like a little surprise present to yourself every three months.
Barack Obama, Night Owl ★
Fascinating behind-the-scenes look inside the White House, by Michael D. Shear for the NYT:
Mr. Obama calls himself a “night guy,” and as president, he has
come to consider the long, solitary hours after dark as essential
as his time in the Oval Office. Almost every night that he is in
the White House, Mr. Obama has dinner at 6:30 with his wife and
daughters and then withdraws to the Treaty Room, his private
office down the hall from his bedroom on the second floor of the
White House residence.
There, his closest aides say, he spends four or five hours largely