Ratio is the result of pondering coffee makers for several years. After listening to many customers complain about flimsy plastic parts, complicated programming steps, and overall inelegance, I decided to draw together a team of talented designers, engineers, and creatives to build a new company that is devoted entirely to coffee machines of unmatched beauty and quality.
This is an object of inspiring quality and craft. It combines the wonderful taste of a Chemex with the ease of a drip coffee machine. The $395 sale price tag (regular $480) is a little steep for me, especially considering how much I love my AeroPress, but this is a piece of kitchen equipment to admire.
Sharp’s PN-K321 4K Ultra HD LED monitor, which displays images at a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution, is on sale for €3,999 (US$5,444) through Apple’s U.K. and other European online stores. The monitor is not yet listed on Apple’s U.S. online store.
This is particularly intriguing in the wake of Dell’s announcement of a 4K display which they say will be affordable:
The Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD Monitor (UP3214Q) is available globally starting at $3,499. The Dell UltraSharp 24 Ultra HD Monitor (UP2414Q) is now available in the Americas, starting at $1,399. It will be available worldwide on December 16. The Dell 28 Ultra HD Monitor (P2815Q) will be available in early 2014. […]
The Dell 28 Ultra HD Monitor will be available in early 2014. Offering the same incredible Ultra HD screen performance as the Dell UltraSharp 32 and Dell UltraSharp 24 Ultra HD Monitors, but priced at under $1,000…
All three of Dell’s displays are being offered for far (far) less than Sharp’s; it isn’t the result of retail markup by Apple, either. Oh, and remember that UK pricing is egregious; the Sharp sells for around $3,500 in the US. If you think all of these displays are expensive, by the way, remember that the 30-inch Cinema Display was first priced at $3,300 in 2004, which is $4,079.95 in 2013 dollars.
I bet Apple’s sale of the Sharp display is a temporary measure until they release a 4K Thunderbolt Display, though. And, yes, I want one.
The implications of iBeacon go beyond Apple stores. One day, commuters might get information on subway delays as they stand on the platform, while museum visitors might get details on the painting they are standing in front of. Other retailers will be also able to offer deals or track which aisles shoppers linger in the longest.
There are huge implications beyond retail. What Apple is rolling out right now is only scratching the surface, and is probably the least interesting (at least, to me) implementation of iBeacon. If this takes off, transit authorities won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars per bus stop to install LED displays, for instance. For smaller cities, that’s not a big deal; in Calgary, we have 5,874 bus stops, which could potentially mean a large cost savings.
Or consider some of the things which NFC is used for today which could be migrated to iBeacon. The possibilities are more open and adaptable because the technology doesn’t require hardware beyond Bluetooth 4.0, which has been seen in most major smartphones since about 2011. NFC, on the other hand, has seen a poor adoption rate, even though it was rolled out sooner.
This is a much smarter way of creating augmented reality. Instead of holding your phone up and using its camera-and-display combo as a sort of augmented window into the world, iBeacons allow for similar functionality in a much subtler way. My biggest question is whether this technology will be easier for Muggles1 to understand and use.
You know, people who don’t read Daring Fireball, TechMeme, or yours truly. ↩
We all know Android devices aren’t supported for as long as iOS devices; “Fidlee” has put together a chart which demonstrates the speed at which they lose support.
It’s a little more complicated than the chart makes it out to be, though: not all devices in either ecosystem necessarily support all of the features of each version of the OS. My iPhone 4S does not support AirDrop because it lacks the hardware for it, while a friend’s iPhone 4 doesn’t support all of the iOS 7 blurring, because it can’t be rendered quickly enough. But enough of the APIs are supported for developers on all devices that they can require the latest version of iOS for an app and still have a broad user base.
…six days ago. I should pay attention to my Vimeo feed. Scott Simpson’s talk is very funny, while Sebastiaan de With’s is insightful, and Jonathan Rentzsch’s has a lot of consonants in a row. Christina Warren’s talk is absolutely one of the most honest and significant of the year, though. Every year, the conference seems to produce some of the best talks in the indie software/Mac user/nerdy conference space. You weren’t doing anything tomorrow, right?
I’ve been a little quiet lately because I have been preparing for an exhibition I curated. It’s called “Departures”; here’s an excerpt from my curatorial statement:
These sundry works have been selected from a much greater pool of works by [Teresa] Tam, and have been arranged in an open but deliberate narrative. By placing older works in context with more recent ones, parallels are revealed in the aesthetic and formal choices despite years and mediums of separation. Further exploration reveals that this is not a simple retrospective, but rather a more complex commentary on the mediums’ influences on each other. There are analog “glitches” in the Polaroids which are reflected in the digital glitches created in the videos, for example.
Due to their arrangement in the gallery, the individual works are given new context and meaning; collectively, they form an entire work unto itself, which I have titled “Departures”.
I try not to self-promote here, but I wanted you to understand my absence. This has been a huge amount of work, and I look forward to showing you a little more very soon.
Ben Thompson, as is typical for him, nails why a China Mobile iPhone is kind of huge. I mean, you’d expect the launch of an iPhone on the world’s largest carrier would be big, but not this big. It’s really big.
[Microsoft's Julie] Larson-Green explained the original aim of Windows RT: “Windows on ARM, or Windows RT, was our first go at creating that more closed, turnkey experience [like the iPad], where it doesn’t have all the flexibility of Windows, but it has the power of Office and then all the new style applications. So you could give it to your kid and he’s not going to load it up with a bunch of toolbars accidentally out of Internet Explorer and then come to you later and say, why am I getting all these pop-ups. It just isn’t capable of doing that by design.
“So the goal was to deliver two kinds of experiences into the market, the full power of your Windows PC [on the Surface Pro], and the simplicity of a tablet experience that can also be productive. That was the goal. Maybe not enough. I think we didn’t explain that super-well. I think we didn’t differentiate the devices well enough. They looked similar. Using them is similar. It just didn’t do everything that you expected Windows to do. So there’s been a lot of talk about it should have been a rebranding. We should not have called it Windows.”
Maybe calling it “RT” wasn’t a good idea, either. Who knows what a runtime environment is, anyway?
But, to her credit, Larson-Green says exactly what everyone else (including yourstruly) has been saying for a long time: the lack of differentiation between the two nearly-identical versions of Windows which did wildly different things. Customers aren’t stupid, but trying to understand the myriad differences and nuances specific to each version of Windows is a waste of their time.
The sputtering launch of Healthcare.gov is something I’ve been watching from a distance, but it’s troubling. On the one hand, a comparison of its reliability against other large websites is perhaps unwarranted, given the time those websites have had to ramp up to meet demand (and, let’s not forget that downtime still occurs for large web services — Twitter, anyone?).
But, on the other hand, it’s clear that it’s a complete mess. It might be because I’m outside the US, but if I try to visit Healthcare.gov, I am only able to see the default Apache “It works!” page — and, yes, I wholly appreciate the irony of this.
Because the procurement process is such a headache, agencies often lock in contractors for longer periods. This speeds things up, but it also gives preference to Beltway insiders and excludes smaller companies. As a result, new programming frameworks and development methods take a long time to reach the government. A company that has already bagged a 10-year contract has little incentive to innovate.
Instead of trying to repeal the law, if the government should be spending time revisiting how it purchases and deals with IT. If that can’t happen, more than just healthcare will suffer in the future.
It seems like the procurement process was a nightmare in the pre-IT days; with the speed at which technology moves now, it’s even worse. This isn’t a problem with the Affordable Care Act, but rather a larger problem of how government contracts are awarded. The worst thing that could happen now is for the process to remain the same.
Spotify on Tuesday unleashed a load of data, revealing that each time a user listens for a song, rights holders are paid between $0.006 and $0.0084. Over the course of 2013, the company says it will have paid $500 million in royalties, representing half of the $1 billion Spotify sent to rights holders since setting up shop in 2008.
This is at odds with the extremely low payouts reported by bands such as Grizzly Bear or Galaxie 500. My guess is that the discrepancy is between Spotify paying “rights holders” and the artists reporting what they were actually paid; “rights holders” sounds like it describes what is paid to the combination of artist, record label, songwriters, and so forth. There’s also the chance that these royalty rates may have been adjusted since the first wave of these stories broke several years ago.
If you use an Android phone — and I know a few of you do — this is a must-download. VSCO Cam is undoubtably my favourite photo editing app for iOS, and I’m sure it’s just as great on Android.
Update: I’ve seen a few complaints about the UI, especially its reliance upon symbolism. It’s a little tricky to get used to; it isn’t as easily-discoverable as, say, Snapseed or Analog. But if you’ve ever used Lightroom or Aperture, the symbols will all feel similar to you. It’s very powerful once you get the hang of it.
I am perhaps not the best person to review an iPad. My iPad history is short: it began with an iPad 2, which was replaced with a third-generation model. That’s it. I have not spent substantial time with a fourth-generation iPad, a first-generation Mini, or an iPad Air, so I lack any point of comparison to recent models. Therefore, this won’t, can’t, be a review which compares the Mini against the other offerings out there and establishes the benefits and drawbacks of owning this against those. Rather, this will be a review of why I moved from a third-generation iPad (iPad 3 from here on) to an iPad Mini, and my experiences with this product in that context.
This iPad Mini, then.
I bought a space grey 16 GB WiFi iPad Mini. Its 16 (ish) gigabytes of storage are plenty for me, as I don’t keep a local media library on the iPad. It is WiFi-only because my 3G plan includes tethering and I don’t want give my cell carrier any more money than I already do. I chose space grey because it looks badass.
My last new iOS device was a third-generation iPad, so I haven’t really experienced the enormous leaps Apple has made in build quality, aside from brief glimpses in an Apple Store. This iPad Mini is built so well that it seems as if it isn’t made, but sort of birthed in a fully-formed state. Every time I think the bar for build quality cannot be raised any higher, Apple proves me wrong. It’s a wonderful product to hold and to use.
It’s also extraordinarily thin and light. Apple says that it’s slightly thicker than the first-generation Mini, but it’s pretty thin any way you look at it. It’s obviously lighter than my iPad 3; what I was surprised by is just what that weight difference does to the device. When I got my iPad 3, I explained why I didn’t mind the weight increase:
Of course, Apple would rather they reduced weight with each generation of any of their portable products. But I would prefer to keep the battery life the same and increase its weight than preserve the weight of the iPad 2 and lose even an an hour of power. That’s exactly what they’ve done. Despite my heavy usage during the first weekend, battery life was never a concern.
The iPad 3 weighs 650 grams; the iPad Mini I’m holding weighs just 331 grams. Truth be told, the iPad 3 isn’t actually that heavy; I’m pretty scrawny, but it’s not an effort to use with one hand. But when devices shrink to this size, every extra gram feels substantially greater. As a result, the iPad Mini doesn’t feel like it’s half the weight of the iPad 3 — it feels like it’s a quarter of the weight, or even less. It’s crazy light.
Unlike the iPad 3’s hot and expensive A5X chip, the iPad Mini uses the A7 SoC; so, unlike the iPad 3, it doesn’t get warm to the touch. After using the Mini for even a day, I picked up my iPad 3 and it felt large, cumbersome, and heavy. The improvements of the Mini are extremely noticeable in such a positive way. In simple terms, this means you get a Retina display without the compromises you’d expect, such as those in the transition from the iPad 2 to the iPad 3. And, oh, what a display.
The Retina display in this year’s iPad Mini has the same 326 pixel-per-inch density as an iPhone, so it comes as no surprise that it’s tack-sharp and looks like a printed page. The reason I didn’t buy an iPad Mini last year is because I do an awful lot of reading on my iPad; the display in the model sitting right in front of me absolutely solves that issue. While it isn’t laminated to the glass like the iPhone’s display is, it sits close enough that there’s no noticeable distortion or aberration. If you thought the previous generation iPads were like a touch screen magazine, this is even closer.
On paper, the Mini should have a better-quality display than my iPad 3 does1 — it has the same number of pixels in a smaller space. In practice, however, the difference between those pixel densities is negligible: I can’t see individual pixels on either model unless I look very closely at, say, an uppercase “A” or “V”. Both displays have such a high pixel density that it’s hard to tell them apart.
All of this amazing display tech hasn’t come without a few hiccups, though. The earliest iPad Mini recipients reported significant image retention, similar to that of some of the first Retina MacBook Pros. Sure enough, I got worried when my iPad Mini arrived and — after going through the initial setup steps — I was presented with the “Connect to iTunes” screen, which has a white line drawing of a Lightning cable on it. After connecting, the screen changed, but the ghost of a Lightning cable remained for several minutes.
However, since then, I haven’t seen any retention at all. My guess is that either the winter delivery or the high contrast of the “Connect to iTunes” screen were to blame. I ran Marco Arment’s retention test and my iPad passed. In day-to-day use, I haven’t seen any issues whatsoever, even in places like the barely-changing status bar area.
One point of contention has cropped up with regard to this display, though: its colour gamut is relatively small. DisplayMate compared the iPad Mini against Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 7, and concluded:
[T]he iPad mini with Retina Display unfortunately comes in with a distant 3rd place finish behind the innovative displays on the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and new Nexus 7 because it still has the same small 63 percent Color Gamut as the original iPad mini and even older iPad 2. That is inexcusable for a current generation premium Tablet.
A damning critique of what should be the iPad Mini’s preeminent feature.
In his review, Anand Lal Shimpi came to a similar (if less strongly-worded) conclusion:
The difference is small but apparent, particularly if you’re used to panels with full sRGB coverage like the iPad Air or any of the rMBPs/iMacs. The biggest deviations are in reds/blues and magenta in between as you can tell from the CIE chart above. […]
Compared to the previous generation mini we’re obviously talking about a much better panel. But for those of you on the fence between the mini and Air, the Air does still hold a display advantage.
My iPad 3 very nearly has the full sRGB gamut. In a side-by-side test, the iPad Mini’s colours don’t pop quite as much, but it’s genuinely — hand on heart — fine. I browsed through the Atlantic’s selection of entries in this year’s National Geographic photo contest on both iPads and my calibrated Thunderbolt Display. The Mini was noticeably weaker than the others but, while I wish it had a full sRGB gamut, the difference isn’t as egregious as DisplayMate makes it out to be. It’s somewhat disappointing when comparing it to the (much cheaper) Amazon and Google units, but it was not a large concern. If it wasn’t pointed out, I likely wouldn’t have noticed.
Day to day use of the iPad Mini is sublime. At the very first iPad introduction, Steve Jobs described how exciting it was to hold the internet in your hands; with this iPad Mini, it feels like that to an even greater extent. This is due to a combination of the weight, size, and display quality. Nothing I’ve ever seen or used comes close to this browsing experience. It’s small and light enough to comfortably sit in one hand, so it’s a casual but very powerful way to work or to relax.
I did mean work, by the way. Even though it’s quite narrow on the long edge, you can still type on the onscreen keyboard with ease. Unlike a 10-inch iPad, it doesn’t feel like a full-sized keyboard, but I found it very comfortable to type on. As a bonus, it’s certainly easier to thumb type in portrait orientation. And because it’s pretty much the same as an iPad Air underneath — the processor is clocked at an imperceptibly lower rate, everything else is identical — it runs every application with aplomb. Numbers and Pages were as zippy as you’d like. Keynote was pretty great as well, though it did struggle when opening a 200 MB media-heavy presentation which I previously created on my Mac. But, hey, it takes a while to open that on my Mac, too; it’s a big presentation.
My biggest complaint with the iPad Mini is, as ever, that Apple hasn’t put enough RAM in it. Tabs in Safari are routinely dumped, even if there are only a few open, and apps are very likely to have been terminated in the background when switching between them.
Safari tabs suffer most from the low RAM, particularly when a tab has a form of some kind. There is no nastier surprise than switching to another tab to check something and then switching back to find that the page will refresh and the form contents have been cleared. It’s not as if every tab is playing loads of GIFs or anything, either — this happens on a regular basis with almost wholly text-based pages.
I see three ways in which this could be mitigated:
User-entered content should always be preserved if the system needs to dump an app from memory.
The memory consumption of the operating system could be reduced.
iPads could ship with more RAM.
Way One is relatively straightforward, while Way Two is incredibly difficult — it isn’t as if Apple is being cavalier with the system’s memory usage as it is. Both have the advantage of being backwards-compatible, though. But I don’t see memory consumption going down in the future, so Way Three seems necessary as well.
My only other complaint has to do with the Smart Cover. For the most part, it does its job admirably, but the tri-fold arrangement makes it awkward to deal with. The old four-fold version could fold back on itself and felt much sturdier. The tri-fold version can’t fold back on itself, so if you unfold it and hold the iPad with your left hand, as I do, it kinda flops around on the back. It also feels less study: I tend to use my Smart Cover in the landscape keyboard-friendly orientation (as opposed to the nearly-vertical orientation) and, though I’m not a heavy typer, the magnetic connection has occasionally given out underneath my fingers.
Despite these quibbles, however, this iPad Mini is one amazing product. If the iPad Air is like a magazine, this is like a novel. Indeed, I’ve spent a lot of time reading on this iPad in just the first couple of weeks I’ve owned it (including guiltily digesting “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls“). But, despite its size, I’ve also produced a fair amount of stuff as well — a number of posts on Pixel Envy, including some of this review, were written on it. It’s super light and tiny, so you can toss it in pretty much any bag and bring it everywhere with you. If you have a hankering for a sub-10-inch tablet, the iPad Mini is truly wonderful. It absolutely feels like the future.
It’s interesting to look back at pre-release rumours which pondered how Apple would market an apparently superior display at a lower price point. The answer is obvious: the “Retina” brand encompasses all displays of high-enough density so the pixels cannot be seen. From a customer’s perspective, there is no difference. ↩
Fascinating article by Ralph Langner, for Foreign Policy:
Three years after it was discovered, Stuxnet, the first publicly disclosed cyberweapon, continues to baffle military strategists, computer security experts, political decision-makers, and the general public. A comfortable narrative has formed around the weapon: how it attacked the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz, how it was designed to be undiscoverable, how it escaped from Natanz against its creators’ wishes. Major elements of that story are either incorrect or incomplete.
That’s because Stuxnet is not really one weapon, but two. The vast majority of the attention has been paid to Stuxnet’s smaller and simpler attack routine — the one that changes the speeds of the rotors in a centrifuge, which is used to enrich uranium. But the second and “forgotten” routine is about an order of magnitude more complex and stealthy.
Apple recently acquired social-media analytics firm Topsy Labs Inc. for more than $200 million, according to people familiar with the matter. […]
The company is one of a handful of Twitter Inc. partners with access to the so-called “fire hose”— the full stream of tweets since 2006, which now average roughly 500 million a day. Topsy then analyzes this information and resells it to customers. […]
If I had to hazard a guess, this might be related to Apple building out the relevancy engine of its App and iTunes Stores. Adding social signals to the search algorithms of its stores could help to improve the relevance of search results and help Apple surface apps that are hotter and more interesting to users. Tracking app trends across social networks would allow them to fine tune categories and collections of apps, and surface apps that are gaining steam more quickly.
Recommendations are only as good as the inputted data; if Apple increases the size of the data input, the output recommendations improve.
“We are also trialing a 250/50 Mbps tier using DOCSIS 3.0 in select markets to test consumer interest,” Comcast spokesperson Charlie Douglas told Ars. “The interest in these ultra, ultra high-end speed tiers is today still rather limited.”
Comcast’s data overage fees might put a damper on customer enthusiasm for speeds in the hundreds of megabits. Comcast actually does deliver a half-gigabit to home customers, but that offering relies on fiber to the premises rather than cable. The 505Mbps down and 100Mbps up service is available in some markets for $399.95 a month, nearly six times the price of Google Fiber.
At that price, no wonder interest is low. While some may scoff at an ultra high-speed connection, consider all of the things delivered over that connection: operating systems, applications, movies, and streaming music. All of these common uses would benefit enormously from a gigabit ethernet connection.
This egregious pricing isn’t entirely the fault of the providers, though. North American cities have a penchant for single-family low-density urban planning, so running fibre for miles to a hundred-home suburb becomes extremely expensive. More dense regions don’t solve the problem, either: they require much more robust infrastructure to cope with the traffic. And, as Brodkin explains, there are existing infrastructure reasons which limit the ability to upgrade some regions.
Even if all of the above hurdles were overcome, though, there’s still the issue of extremely limited choice. The simple reason why gigabit connections haven’t permeated and become cheap in most communities is because most communities have only two or three ISPs to choose from, if they’re lucky; in many markets, there’s just one ISP. When such a powerful industry is controlled by so few players, it becomes a consumer’s nightmare. To paraphrase Elliot Jay Stocks, ISPs have all the power of a utility, yet none of the responsibility.
Of course, in most cities, utilities are run by the local government — either at a municipal or provincial (state) level. So what about a more-or-less municipal ISP? Jon Brodkin explored that concept last week:
While businesses in the Bryan/College Station area pay $3,395 per month for 50Mbps download and upload, businesses only pay $99 for the same service in Chattanooga, Benham told Ars. Bryan/College Station officials are looking for affordable gigabit fiber for residents and 10 to 100Gbps for businesses, along with public wireless networks. The region includes Texas A&M and other institutions in a thriving research sector.
Chattanooga, Lafayette, and other communities have built their own fiber networks, with the utility serving as the Internet provider. Government-run networks aren’t for everyone, though—Louisville and the metro area of Bryan, Texas, and College Station are both hoping to attract private companies to build out a fiber network.
Perhaps a government-run network might not be your flavour; you may cite Eddy Snowden’s disclosures, to which I’d respond that if the NSA is tapping internet connections at high-level providers, what’s the difference? There are potentially other concerns with such a scheme, depending on where you live and your particular political bent. I’d welcome it as an option, at the very least.
This is a fascinating article in the Economist about USB-based power coming as soon as next year — up to 100 Watts of DC power, no less. Buried near the end, though, is this beautiful, wonderful, musical sentence:
[USB inventor Ajay Bhatt's] next plan is to make the USB cable “flippable”—so that the plug fits the socket whichever way it is inserted (for now it works only one way round).
Jeff Bezos: These are effectively drones but there’s no reason that they can’t be used as delivery vehicles. Take a look up here so I can show you how it works.
Charlie Rose: All right. We’re talking about delivery here?
Jeff Bezos: We’re talking about delivery. There’s an item going into the vehicle. I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not.
Charlie Rose: Wow!
Jeff Bezos: This is early. This is still…years away. It drops the package.
Charlie Rose: And there’s the package.
Jeff Bezos: You come and get your package. And we can do half hour delivery.
Charlie Rose: Half hour delivery?
Jeff Bezos: Half hour delivery/and we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds, which covers 86 percent of the items that we deliver.
I’m stunned; this is the future. If you had half-hour delivery for nearly anything you could order, can you imagine the possibilities of what you might order? I live centrally in my city, but I can’t find crème fraîche near me. What if I wake up and realize that I don’t have enough coffee for a party I’m hosting, and I already have a lot on my mind? What if my printer ran out of ink at 3:00 AM for an assignment I must hand in at 9:00?1 The possibilities for this are fascinating.
There are loads of questions, obviously, about how such a scheme might work. But, as Bezos notes in the interview, this is quite far in the future. I can’t help but admire Amazon’s innovation in these sorts of areas.
Right up until 9:14 PM on November 22nd, 1987, what appeared on Chicago’s television sets was somewhat normal: entertainment, news, game shows. That night, as usual, Dan Roan, a popular local sportscaster on Channel 9′s Nine O’Clock News, was narrating highlights of the Bears’ victory over the Detroit Lions. And then, suddenly and without warning, the signal flickered up and out into darkness.
In the control room of WGN-TV, the technicians on duty stared blankly at their screens. It was from their studio, located at Bradley Place in the north of the city, that the network broadcasted its microwave transmission to an antenna at the top of the 100-story John Hancock tower, seven miles away, and then out to tens of thousands of viewers. Time seemed to slow to a trickle as they watched that signal get hijacked.
Bizarre nightmare fuel. I might not sleep as well tonight.
David Braue of ZDNet has an interesting idea of why Maps exists in Mavericks:
This lies at the crux of Apple’s decision to move Maps into Mavericks: the company has effectively staked its claim in the idea of what I might call Mapping as a Service (MaaS).
This is the concept of providing a consistent technology platform between desktops and mobile devices that will allow applications to just assume that a certain degree of mapping capability is available with a single tap. Rather than being an optional addon, geospatial capabilities become an intrinsic part of the user experience.
There are all sorts of new and improved location-based APIs in Mavericks; the Maps application has a natural place on the OS as a result. As a result of it being a native application, it feels a lot more engaging and powerful than a web-based tool. Swiping, zooming, and trackpad gestures all provide for a better user experience.
But if Braue is right, my initial doubt over a native Maps application was clearly ill-founded; not just for the reasons above, mind you, but for larger, more powerful reasons.
[T]here is now no visual reminder within the Newsstand icon that there are publications inside, waiting to be read. On top of that, in iOS7 users can now hide the Newsstand icon inside a folder. The once-special treatment that Apple gave publishers in order to encourage the distribution of magazines to the iPhone and iPad had apparently vanished, at least in terms of visual prominence.
Background downloads and silent content-available push notifications could only be used in Newsstand apps prior to iOS 7. But under iOS 7, these are available to all apps.
Adding insult to injury, the new NSURLSession background-download system is much better than Newsstand’s old NKAssetDownload system, and during the iOS 7 beta, Newsstand developers were told to stick with their old system and not use the new one.
It’s hard to see why publishers would want to use Newsstand any more, aside from having a special section in the App Store.
What’s up for debate is whether Google’s blistering rate of patenting means the company is inventing more—and more valuable—technology than it did before. Is Google 500 times as innovative as it was a decade ago just because it is winning 500 times as many patents? Or have circumstances forced the search giant into behaving like the kind of company it professes to despise: the kind that spends a great deal of time, money, and effort on legal maneuvers of dubious value to the public?
Certain Internet companies have a selective perspective on patent assertions. They preach peace to Congress but pursue war when it seems opportune.
If the fans of an English soccer side fail to support their team when it’s down, they will hear their rivals chant, “You only sing when you’re winning.” Some companies’ approach to patents is to only sue when they’re winning, but when they’re not, they turn up the volume in lobbying and public relations. They cry foul over a broken patent system, privateers, trolls, and allegedly conspiring competitors.
Either companies are just playing the game while the game is in play, while simultaneously trying to ensure meaningful patent reform, or they are being disingenuous with their public relations. Either way, I think they enjoy benefitting from patent litigation while preaching to those who support them that they dislike that very same litigation. If the question is one of whether the patents which are being sued over are legitimate, I think that’s a separate debate entirely. But Google isn’t dumb — Apple, Amazon, and Facebook aren’t dumb either.
Still, there’s a zaniness about the currency. Bitcoin is built on a weird mix of the most old-fashioned kind of speculative greed, bolstered by a contemporary utopian cyberlibertarian ideology. Boosters say that bitcoin is the currency of the future. I’d argue that the phenomenon is a digital gold rush perfectly emblematic of the present.
There was a great tweet from the Visual Idiot the other day:
1848: thousands in San Francisco mine for gold, hoping to be rich.
2013: thousands in San Francisco mine for Bitcoin, hoping to be rich.
The crazy thing about bitcoin, from my perspective, is that it’s a currency that behaves more like a volatile commodity.