The iPhone 5S and 5C →

September 18, 2013 |

Great insight and very thorough analysis from Gruber, as usual. The whole article is great, absolutely worth reading in spite of its length. However, this bit really takes the cake. Just how fast is the iPhone 5S, really?

To put that in context, the iPhone 5S beats my 2008 15-inch MacBook Pro by a small measure in the Sunspider benchmark (with the MacBook Pro running the latest Safari 6.1 beta). The iPhone 5S is, in some measures, computationally superior to the top-of-the-line MacBook Pro from just five years ago. In your fucking pocket.

In your fucking pocket.

‘Nuff said.

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The Merry Stormtrooper →

September 17, 2013 |

Nishant Kothary, a former Microsoft employee, has an interesting view on they key to success:

The secret, as Mihaly discovered by studying all types of people in the flow state, lies in setting achievable goals that are just a wee bit out of reach. The kind of goals that will require you to stretch yourself and grow in order to achieve them. And when you meet them? Raise the stakes, and repeat. That’s it. This is a profoundly simple concept in theory. But as the saying goes, “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.” And it’s because it’s always easier said than done.

Very sound advice. If you have the time, read it. If you don’t, read it anyway.

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Yesterday's iPhones →

September 13, 2013 |

Marco Arment nails it:

Apple’s intentionally pushing their flagship product downmarket. They’ve lost a lot of sales over the years because the iPhone was too good: people who didn’t want to spend $200 and up for a contract phone, people who thought they didn’t need a high-end phone, people who thought the iPhone was too fragile for their lifestyle. The new 5C, and iOS 7, looks more casual and costs $100 less. The message is clear: this is a phone for everyone. Whether that holds up remains to be seen.


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I want to play a game...

September 11, 2013

Billy the puppet from Saw

It’s the day after the much-awaited release of new iPhone models, which means it’s only a matter of hours until we start seeing the classic post-event reactions from the press. The same story happens every year, of course, with almost mathematical precision. Allow me to summarize this now standard procedure in ten easy steps:

1) A few months ahead of a suspected new iPhone release, the press starts suggesting random features and building up incredible expectations, citing mostly “sources close to the supply-chain” and “people familiar with the matter who wished to remain anonymous”.

2) Out of the many features that those “industry analysts” come up with (some of them utterly ridiculous), a few start becoming more popular due to sheer repetition, and a consensus is reached by the press that if Apple doesn’t implement them in the new iPhone, then Apple is doomed.

3) One to two months before the suspected release, pieces about how “Apple is losing ground to Android”, and “facing increased competition from Samsung” appear everywhere. The new iPhone is Apple’s last hope.

4) In the last few days before Apple unveils the new iPhone, most news outlets publish “rumor round-up” pieces, trying to guess what the phone will look like. At this stage, mockups of the new device surface everywhere and most people take them as fact.

5) 24 hours before the event, some outlets try to backtrack a bit, downplaying their previously-reported-as-fact rumor pieces in case they screw up stupendously.

6) The actual new iPhone is introduced, which of course looks nothing like the mockups and includes maybe one (two at the most) of the features mentioned by the press.

7) The two journalists who guessed the correct features rush to point out how they were right all along (“Called it!”). The rest of the press declares the new iPhone a failure for not including any of the other features. Reactions are typical: only fanboys will buy it, Steve Jobs never would have done it, innovation is over, Apple is doomed.

8) Normal people queue up for hours on every Apple retail store to get their hands on a new iPhone.

9) Apple sells a gazillion iPhones and no one from the press remembers a word of what was published during the last 3-4 months. The press changes its tune: the iPhone’s success is now obvious and anyone who didn’t see it coming is a moron.

10) Repeat ad nauseam.

So, with this in mind, I want to play a game. What would have happened if Apple had introduced this iPhone 5s back in 2007 instead of the original iPhone? To normal people, it would have been an obvious and monumental revolution, much like the original iPhone actually was. But to industry analysts and Steve Ballmer, nothing is ever enough. Let’s wonder what they may have had to say about the iPhone 5s:

  • “A Golden Mistake: why Apple’s iPhone will ultimately fail”

  • “One Hit Wonder? The iPod company fails to replicate its success with expensive new touch-based, fingerprint-reading phone”

  • “Abandon Ship: Apple’s foray into phone market doomed to failure”

  • “Ten reasons I won’t be buying an iPhone (and why you shouldn’t either)”

  • “A golden phone without a keyboard? Good luck with that”

And my personal favorite:

  • “No keyboard, no removable battery and no Flash: much-hyped Apple iPhone dead on arrival”.
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Your meat addiction is destroying the planet →

September 03, 2013 |

Great piece by Laura June for The Verge:

On Monday, August 5th, 2013, at a television studio in London in front of around 100 people, Dr. Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands unveiled the culmination of five years of research: a lab-grown “test tube” beef burger, cooked in a pan and served to two members of the public. Though a handful of tiny pieces of such meat had previously been displayed, the burger in that pan was the first fully cooked specimen tasted and admired by everyday citizens. “A few cells that we take from a cow,” Post says, can be turned into “10 tons of meat.” What Hanni Rützler, an Austrian researcher, and Josh Schonwald, a Chicago-based food writer — the “tasters” — were eating was 100 percent perfect beef. It had never been slaughtered, had never been properly “alive,” and most importantly, had never been a living, breathing animal. The meat, which contained no fat, was pronounced to have “quite a bit of flavor” by Rützler, and the consistency was said to be “perfect.” “Some people think this is science fiction,” Sergey Brin, founder of Google and the single donor who provided funding (nearly $1 million thus far) for Post’s research, said, but he sees it as an achievable goal.

I have to confess, I have mixed feelings about this type of research. It certainly feels like tampering with Nature a bit too much, which may have unexpected consequences. On the other hand though, it’s clear that our current meat consumption habits are not sustainable on a global scale. Something has to give.

From a moral standpoint I guess this solution is actually pretty safe, considering no animals need to be slaughtered to produce the meat. In that aspect it’s nothing like cloning animals or genetically manipulating them to make them grow faster. I keep trying to come up with a reasonable objection to this type of manipulation but so far, I can’t help but feel that the benefits far outweigh the risks.

It it were up to me, I would much prefer to eat a lab-grown burger than to become a vegetarian but hey, to each his own.

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Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki to retire | The Verge →

September 03, 2013 |

I know I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I just have to link to it anyway:

Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary Oscar-winning Japanese animator known for directing Studio Ghibli movies such as Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, and Kiki’s Delivery Service, is retiring from feature-length film production.

Mr. Miyazaki is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers. His work is a perfect reminder that our imagination knows no boundaries, and can conquer anything.

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Kevin Spacey Urges TV Channels to Give Control to Viewers | YouTube →

September 02, 2013 |

Impressive. Much respect to Kevin Spacey for standing up against big studios like this. He is absolutely right about this, too: the future of the entertainment industry belongs to viewers. We have the power to decide what we watch and how we watch it, and we are not afraid to use it.

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Steve Ballmer to resign as CEO sometime in the next 12 months | →

August 24, 2013 |

I am writing to let you know that I will retire as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 months, after a successor is chosen. There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.

The right time would have been sometime during 2007 but hey, better late than never.

Make no mistake, whatever the wording of this announcement, there’s nothing voluntary about his decision: he was showed the door. It amazes me how this man could hold on to his job for so long, especially when it became obvious just how clueless he was as to how to adapt his company to compete in a post-iPhone world.

Microsoft has wasted a few precious years in the mobile race thanks to this man’s arrogance and lack of foresight. Instead of leading the mobile revolution, they now find themselves playing catch-up against two great front runners who aren’t even looking in the rearview mirror.

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Working in the Shed →

August 06, 2013 |

Matt Gemmell, on how important it is to find the right place to work, one that allows you to focus your creative energy instead of wasting it on distractions. Lots of great stuff in here:

We have limited time. Our workdays are only so long. Our evenings. Our lives. We spend too much of our time on trivia. Some distraction is healthy and necessary, but we all know that the scales have long since tipped. The internet isn’t to blame – it’s us. We’re weak, and our natural tendency is to feed that weakness rather than struggle against it. Some people are more prolific than others, but the boundaries don’t lie where we think they do: context and self-discipline are much, much more important than your personal pace or ability. The difference that a creativity-conducive environment can make is profound.

Spot-on. I also love Matt’s scientific approach when it comes to testing one of his theories, or confirming a hunch. Experiments are fun!

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Quote of the Day →

August 01, 2013 |

Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.

Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805), German dramatist and poet.

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