Kevin Michaluk wants the Apple Watch Edition to cost $10,000 →

February 18, 2015 |

Kevin Michaluk:

Functionally, there is no benefit to purchasing a gold Watch Edition model over the much less expensive Watch or Watch Sport. All three models will accomplish the same tasks on your wrist. That said, for all those out there, myself included, who have the Watch Edition on their “to buy” lists, this truth simply does not matter. It’s like telling an aficionado of luxury mechanical timepieces to buy a quartz or digital watch because it tells time more accurately. When moving into the realm of luxury watch pricing, It’s not about what the watch does for the owner. It’s about what the watch means to the owner.

Exactly. Some purchases are made with the heart, and they’re all about the emotions associated with the product, not necessarily the product itself. This is why Leica can get away with charging $8,000 for a camera that is functionally no better than many others that cost less than $2,000.

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Princeton University receives the largest donation of rare books in its history, including the first six Gutenberg Bibles →

February 18, 2015 |

Interesting news from Princeton University:

The Scheide Library has been housed in Princeton’s Firestone Library since 1959, when Scheide moved the collection from his hometown of Titusville, Pennsylvania. It holds the first six printed editions of the Bible, starting with the 1455 Gutenberg Bible, the earliest substantial European printed book; the original printing of the Declaration of Independence; Beethoven’s autograph (in his own handwriting) music sketchbook for 1815-16, the only outside Europe; Shakespeare’s first, second, third and fourth folios; significant autograph music manuscripts of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Wagner; a lengthy autograph speech by Abraham Lincoln from 1856 on the problems of slavery; and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s original letter and telegram copy books from the last weeks of the Civil War.

What a fascinating development. I’m not a religious man, but I do love rare books, and the historical value of the first six Gutenberg Bibles is undeniable.

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The case for protected bike lanes →

February 18, 2015 |

Ben Schiller:

The report from Portland State University looks at eight “Green Lane” projects sponsored by PeopleForBikes, an advocacy group in Colorado. Researchers tracked the impact of the new lanes in Austin, Chicago, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., by analyzing camera footage, interviewing cyclists, and sending out surveys to local residents.

Almost half of riders said they were cycling more frequently as a result of the new lanes, with those on Dearborn Street, in Chicago, reporting the biggest increase. Most importantly, the research found that the lanes increased participation in cycling generally. Ten percent of cyclists said they would have used another form of transportation before the lanes were built.

I could be wrong, but this sounds pretty logical to me.

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Inquisitive: Behind the App →

February 18, 2015 |

Myke Hurley:

In the first episode of “Behind the App”, a special series of Inquisitive, we take a look at the beginnings of iOS app development, by focusing on the introduction of the iPhone and the App Store.

Interesting new series, and the production values are the best I’ve seen in a good, long while. Absolutely recommended.

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My review of the SIRUI T-025X travel tripod was published on Tools & Toys today. If size and weight are important to you, I can’t recommend this tripod enough.

As a side note, this review took a lot of work, particularly those long-exposure shots of Madrid’s Gran Vía and Puerta de Alcalá at night. They were very fun to shoot but man, was it cold. The Live Composite mode of my E-M10, together with the Remote Shutter mode of the Olympus Image Share iPhone app made my life a lot easier, but I really need to get myself a pair of touchscreen-compatible gloves.

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100 Years Later, Antarctic Explorers' Huts Look Frozen in Time →

February 17, 2015 |

Fascinating story by Christine Dell’Amore for National Geographic, on how conservators of the Antarctic Heritage Trust restored four portable wooden huts to their original 1917 condition:

The buildings include Shackleton’s 33-foot-long (10-meter-long) Nimrod hut on Cape Royds, where workers unearthed a stash of whiskey [sic] and brandy, libations that fortified the men during the 1907 Nimrod expedition. Another, the Terra Nova hut on Cape Evans, was the largest Antarctic building of its time at 50 feet (15 meters) long. It contained a never-before-seen handwritten notebook of George Murray Levick, a member of Scott’s 1910-13 Terra Nova expedition.

Well, obviously. How somebody could survive in the South Pole without a steady supply of whisky is, frankly, beyond me.

Via Messy Nessy.

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Marco Arment on the likely future of blogs →

February 17, 2015 |

Marco Arment:

Mine’s been clearly flat and slowly declining — the first time the trend has ever gone down — even in periods where I write a lot. I’ve talked to some friends who have seen similar plateaus and declines over the same period, also for the first time. Inbound links from bigger sites also aren’t worth as much as they used to be, suggesting that even big sites are struggling to maintain and grow their traffic.

Nobody’s really talking about it, but I suspect this is a wider trend: blogs aren’t dying, but they are significantly declining. 2015 might be a rough year.

I, too, am sensing this trend, and I’ll be perfectly honest: it scares the crap out of me.

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Dustin Curtis on technology as a fashion accessory →

February 17, 2015 |

Dustin Curtis makes an interesting observation on how some technologies grow to become personality-defined choices once they mature:

I think the same thing is happening right now in the computer and mobile devices industry. Computers and phones have historically been sold based on performance, screen size, and battery life. The slow march of technological progress through the 1990s and 2000s was obvious to anyone who knows the word “megahertz”. But in the past couple of years, I think we have finally reached the 1945 equivalent in automobiles: all devices sold today can do everything any reasonable customer would want. The computer is now feature-complete. Almost all model segmentation is now based on the personality of the customer.

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Jony Ive and the Future of Apple →

February 16, 2015 |

My apologies, because everybody you know on the Internet has probably also linked to this fantastic profile of Jony Ive by Ian Parker for The New Yorker, but I simply couldn’t let it pass.

More than any particulars about Ive’s work (of which the piece, unsurprisingly, reveals very little), what I find fascinating is Ive’s depiction of his personal friendship and professional relationship with Steve Jobs:

The Wired article appeared that June. The next month, Jobs, who had left Apple twelve years earlier, and gone on to launch Pixar and NeXT, returned as Apple’s C.E.O., supplanting Gilbert Amelio. Jobs and Ive had an intense first meeting. Ive said, “I can’t really remember that happening really ever before, meeting somebody when it’s just like that”—he snapped his fingers. “It was the most bizarre thing, where we were both perhaps a little—a little bit odd. We weren’t used to clicking.”

And later:

At Jobs’s memorial, which was held on the lawn at Infinite Loop, Ive said, “Steve used to say to me—and he used to say this a lot—‘Hey, Jony, here’s a dopey idea.’ And sometimes they were: really dopey. Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room, and they left us both completely silent. Bold, crazy, magnificent ideas. Or quiet, simple ones which, in their subtlety, their detail, they were utterly profound.” Ive said to me, “I couldn’t be more mindful of him. How could I not, given our personal relationship, and given that I’m still designing in the same place, at the same table, where I spent the last fifteen years with him sat next to me?”

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Today is International Verify Your Backups Day →

February 13, 2015 |

Adam C. Engst:

The best defense against entropy is a good backup strategy. To quote a long-ago ad campaign from backup software maker Dantz Development, “To go forward, you must back up.”

But as those of us who have had to rely on our backups in the past know, the act of backing up is only the first small step in the full equation — it’s being able to restore that really matters.

I fully endorse this newly-minted tradition.

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