Here is a pretty epic and accurate description of the hubris of the new Internet-rich. Now that a small group of people has accumulated vast amounts of money, employing desperately few Americans, paying very little in taxes, isolating itself in wealthy bubbles while the rest of America slowly smolders, what will we do when they try to take over the government? Nope, not in some hypothetical far future; pretty much it all starts right now. First one off the Internet wins.
Like many people who moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s, I did it because San Francisco was cheap. It didn't have the lowest rents—in the California of three recessions ago, a Silver Lake bungalow or blocks-from-the-beach Santa Monica apartment were even more affordable than the chilly city by the bay—but it was the only West Coast town you could survive in without a car. With a $35 Fast Pass, all the smelly buses and dinky Muni trains and even the cable cars were there for the riding to and from work, whether you were a bartender or a waiter or (like me) a very fast typist irregularly [...]
The world runs a little bit more smoothly without troublesome humans mucking up the works. Consider the least sexy sex scandal of all time, 60-year-old David Patraeus and his various middle-aged twin Florida gal pals and wives and shirtless old FBI agents trying to figure out this whole "sexting" business. Why not just have drones do the war fightin', right? OH WAIT THIS IS OBAMA'S PLAN.
Meanwhile, in China, there is trouble at the factories that produce our beloved iPhones and iPads and those iDevices currently manufactured in a compromise size between that of the iPhone and the iPad. The workers want the jobs, because of the [...]
First in a series of two essays today on freedom and the Internet. Next: Google, Sci-Fi And The MTA.
Late last Friday, news broke that the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, an online discussion board and community commonly referred to as the WELL, was on the verge of being shut down. Founded in 1985 as a dial-up BBS, the WELL is an enormously important part of internet history, both as a place where things happened and as a model for how discussion and community should work on the web; the comments system below this post owes its existence, in many ways, to the WELL. The site's ethos [...]
"Over two decades the quintessential Chinese factory worker has gone from earning $50 a month assembling $100 sneakers to $300 or so a month, depending on overtime, assembling $300 or so smartphones. If a Foxconn worker — given the other opportunities in life and the current no-cell-phone policy on the factory floor — was going to splurge on a smartphone, the only reason he wouldn’t buy an iPhone is that Apple products are inevitably a ripoff, which is the not-so-dirty secret of 31.5 percent operating margins.
The late Steve Jobs is known to have been very keen on "taste." Microsoft has absolutely no taste, he said, going on to explain that by this he meant that "they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their product." Great products, he said, were a "triumph of taste." The exquisite taste of Jobs himself has long been a matter of doctrine in the tech world. Kevin Kelly's remarks after his death expressed the general sentiment: "Steve Jobs was a CEO of beauty. In his interviews and especially in private, Jobs often spoke about Art. Taste. Soul. Life. And he sincerely meant [...]
The first time you hear a very clear Chinese woman's voice say "Sou Sou!" in your living room while you are supposedly alone, it is natural to brush it off. There are so many things making noises all the time! The second time, weeks later, when you're sitting alone by the fireplace reading at midnight, is terrifying. At this point, it is natural to wonder if this is how Moses or Allah or Jesus or Neale Donald Walsch or Oral Roberts or Ted Nugent or Charles Manson felt, when they first heard voices telling them what to do. But what did "Sou Sou!" even mean? It seemed less like [...]
Google's Android phones are used by more people, yet Apple's App Store sells 400% more than Google's online store for Android apps. How is this even possible? Consumer tech experts say it's because Apple started early and has stringent quality control and also has a whole lot of iTunes account holders who typed in their credit card information before they even owned a smart phone.
Consumers are more willing to fork over their money for an iOS app, because they know they’ll probably get their money’s worth, says app developer Zak Tanjeloff with DLP Mobile. “The App Store has a higher proportion of quality apps, thanks to the [...]
You could argue that the brown-liquor renaissance of recent years has been a reaction to the vodka-drenched Pucker-corrupted cocktail decade that preceded it, which experienced its nadir in the hideous appletini. But in the tail end of apple season, with plenty of good cider available, I wanted to renew the apple "martini" (I succumb to the troubling but widespread practice of categorizing mixed drinks by glass) and unlock its long-betrayed potential. While bourbon may spring to mind as the obvious way to achieve this, I realized that, in fact, brandy was the key here, and I had a chance to resist the bourbon hegemony that has crowded out brandy from [...]
This explanation of what happened to Kyle McDonald after he installed image-capturing software in Apple store computers is fascinating.
I may never stop laughing. Here is some advice for how to accomplish price-fixing, which we have learned here in US v. Apple et al (PDF), the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice against ebook sellers for conspiracy to fix prices with Apple, so as to undermine Amazon. (Fun fact: the defendants in the case account for a full half of Amazon's ebook revenue.)
"Double-deletion" of email is the apparently common practice of deleting an email in your inbox, then deleting it again in your trash. It also largely doesn't work.
Also, "pro tip": it really helps if you don't keep emails about double-deleting your emails [...]
Blech, it's going to take ages for the thirty-odd different class action suits against Apple and/or various book publishers and Amazon and Barnes & Noble for ebook price-fixing to get consolidated and settled, at which time, in 2018, we all get checks for 30 cents and sign away our rights to further recourse and then keep buying ebooks from this cartel. Meanwhile, there's apparently a smoking gun, or someone who claims they saw a gun smoking, at least: a source who says he or she was privy to the actual alleged strategy for price-fixing. (This person, or others similarly situated, should feel free to email us to tell all.)
When I was a sophomore in college I was an incredibly cool and awesome girl, so my two best friends and I did what cool and awesome kids do in college and spent our spring break at Colonial Williamsburg. Don't get me wrong: it was awesome. We were the only people there over 16 and under 40; one of us danced the minuet in a dance-styles demonstration, one of us caught the blacksmith's eye, and all three of us got strange, bemused looks from the employees/waiters/reenactors who were the only people there around our own age. “What are you doing here?” the waiter in one tavern asked. We answered cheerily, [...]
Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Google, Chevron, Disney, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Oracle, KB Home, Yahoo, Qualcomm, Hilton, Oracle, eBay, Charles Schwab, Clorox, Adobe, Oracle … it seems like a lot of the world's top companies are based in California, including more than half of the NASDAQ technology index. But Texas Governor Rick Perry is the kind of man who knows things in his heart, and he won't let any fancy coastal-elite numbers and facts get in the way of what God tells Rick Perry in the dead of night.
Australian police are warning the people down there to stop using Apple's terrible maps program, because the app is so worthless that people could easily die if they believe the ridiculous maps have any connection to earthly reality. For example, Apple Maps is telling gullible Australians that an entire city, Mildura, is hidden within a vast and terrible wilderness 44 miles away from the actual city.
Police have received calls from motorists who have been stranded in the park without adequate food and water for as long as 24 hours. The park does not have a water supply, police said. Combined with the fact that temperatures in the [...]
It helps to be "cool," in this world. Apple is cool! Barack Obama is/was cool, too! But not Microsoft. It is nice that Bill Gates is saving the world from diseases, but that doesn't make kids want a Zune. That's why Microsoft investors are very excited about CEO Steve Ballmer making the company's offerings cool. The band Weezer played a Microsoft store in a Virginia mall, so that's something. Hip hop and skateboards could be next for the software giant.
Second in a pair of essays today on freedom and the Internet. Previously: What are the politics of the Internet?
Last week, gracious youngsters from Google, Inc. were stationed below 14th Street, handing cards to commuters. The cards confirmed that those wireless signal bars appearing on certain subway platforms weren’t phishing expeditions by identity thieves or digital phantoms. Rather, they were the fruit borne of a partnership between Google and a wireless Internet provider named Boingo. Log in to their hotspot and get a summer of free Wi-Fi access all over New York City. In return, Google gets to hoard the information they generate, assembling an accurate picture of [...]
If I could award a prize for the best chapter title ever given in a work of fiction, I would bestow it at once on British author Ernest Bramah for the title of Chapter III of Kai Lung's Golden Hours (1922): "The Degraded Persistence of the Effete Ming-Shu." Bramah is better known for his blind detective, Max Carrados, but to my mind the comic tales of Kai Lung (most of them free on Project Gutenberg) are his best. They are sublime, particularly if you enjoy a rococo, antiquated, kooky imitation-Chinese English style:
"It has been said," he began at length, withdrawing his eyes reluctantly from an unusually large [...]
In a poignant demonstration of how the emptiness at the center of American life has resulted in a yearning so desperate for any kind of connection with which to fill that gaping void, a whole bunch of people showed up early today at the train station for the opening of an electronics store.